Leadership Lessons From The Great Books – Essays on Practical Politics by Theodore Roosevelt

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Leadership Lessons From The Great Books #91 – Essays on Practical Politics by Theodore Roosevelt

  • 00:00 Welcome and Introduction – Essays on Practical Politics
  • 02:00 Leaders Have a Vision of the Future
  • 05:41 Essays on Practical Politics by Theodore Roosevelt.
  • 11:46 What Kind of Guardians Do We Want to Rule Over Us?
  • 21:05 Effective Parliamentary Action Requires Hard Work, Tact, and Knowledge.
  • 26:50 Changing Political Demographics from 1883 to 2024.
  • 31:46 “The Character of Our Political Leaders.”
  • 39:02 The Commodore Versus the Labor Leader Representative.
  • 43:19 Politicians Prioritize Power over Getting Things Done.
  • 52:30 Voters Unaware of Tax Burdens, Indifferent to Corruption.
  • 56:30 Breaking The Political Machine in 2024–and Beyond!
  • 01:00:35 The Power of Small Donors in American Politics.
  • 01:08:39 Why Learn About Politics and Policies? Listen!
  • 01:11:20 Staying on the Leadership Path with Essays on Practical Politics.

Music: Sergei Rachmaninoff; Suite No. 2 for two pianos, Op. 17, recorded live in the Tapestry Room of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston.

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is pleased to share this concert under a Creative Commons Music Sharing License. For details see https://www.gardnermuseum.org.

Opening theme composed by Brian Sanyshyn of Brian Sanyshyn Music.

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Because understanding great literature is better than trying to read and

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understand yet another business book, on the Leadership Lessons from the Great

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Books podcast, we commit to reading, dissecting, and analyzing the

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great books of the Writers canon. You know those

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books from Jane Austen to Shakespeare and everything else in

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between that you might have fallen asleep trying to read in

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high school. We do this for our listeners, the owner, the

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entrepreneur, the manager, or the civic leader who doesn’t have the time

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to read, dissect, analyze, and leverage insights from

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literature to execute leadership best practices in

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the confusing and chaotic postmodern world we all now

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inhabit. Welcome to the Rescuing of Western Civilization

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at the Intersection of Literature and Leadership.

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Welcome to the Leadership Lessons from the Great Books podcast.

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Hello. My name is Jesan Sorrells, and this is the

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Leadership Lessons from the Great Books podcast, episode

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number 91 with our book

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today, a meditation

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on practical politics, from a

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former president from the early

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20th century, the leader of the Bull Moose

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Party and a progressive Republican who charged

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at San Juan Hill, a man who would

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describe himself as being self made and yet a

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man who came from what was considered one of the richest

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families in the early 20th century.

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Essays from a man who busted

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trusts and placed himself against

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what we would call the gilded billionaires of his time.

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We are going to be reading today a couple of

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essays on practical politics

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by state legislature turned

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president Theodore Roosevelt.

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Leaders have a vision of the future at the end of

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the year rather than continuing to flagellate and

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naval gaze in abstractions about sins and

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transgressions of the past. And when you do that,

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realize that the new man you’re

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seeking to create is still going to be bound

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by the exegesis of human

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nature.

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And so we’re going to pick up today, in Essays on

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Practical Politics by Theodore Roosevelt,

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written during the time when he was in the New York

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State Assembly, a representative from the 21st

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district. He began as a,

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minority leader, on January 1, 18/83.

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And then he, he continued his

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service in, in government by moving on to the United

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States Civil Service Commission and then later to presidency of

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the New York City Board of Police Commissioners. But Theodore

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Roosevelt, t Teddy Roosevelt, t r Roosevelt,

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was a member of the New York State Assembly, starting in

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January 1, 18/82, through December 31st

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of 18/84, and he ascended, as I said there

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previously, to being minority leader in January of

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18/83. So these essays, which,

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I, got as a reprint from the collection of the University of Michigan

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Libby, via Google Book, so this is open source. Can

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go check this out, were written during his time

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in the state legislature, and were published, as

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part of, Teddy Roosevelt’s Attempt to, get

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people to understand how legislation, how

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parliamentary procedure, and how government

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actually works. So picking up from

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the introduction from Teddy Roosevelt’s essays on

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practical politics. These

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2 essays appeared originally in the century. Both alike were

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criticized at the time as offering no cure for the evils

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they portrayed. Such criticism shows in the 1st

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place a curious ignorance of what is meant by the diagnosis of a

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disease. For my articles pretended to do nothing more than

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give what has apparently never before been given, an

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accurate account of certain phases of our political life with its good

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and bad impartially set forth. The practical politician,

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who alone knows how our politics are really managed, is rarely willing

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to write about them unless with very large reservations.

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While the student reformer, whose political experience is limited to the dinner

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table, the debating club, or an occasional mass meeting where none but his

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friends are present and who yet seeks in pamphlet or editorial column to

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make clear the subject hardly ever knows exactly what he is talking about

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and abuses the system in all its parts with such looseness of

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language as to wholly take away the value even from such utterance

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such of his utterances as are true.

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In the 2nd place, such criticism shows in the mind of the critic, the tendency

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so common among imperfectly educated people to clamor for

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cure all or quack remedies. The same habit of

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thought that makes a man in one class of life demand a medicine that will

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ease all of his complaints offhand makes another

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man who probably considers himself very much higher in the social

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scale expect some scheme of reform that will, at a

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single fell swoop, do away with every evil from which the

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body politic is suffering. Each of these

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men is willing enough to laugh at the other. And after all, their inconsistency is

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no greater than is that of the editor who in 1 column denounces governmental

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interference with the hours of labor and in the next calls for

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governmental interference with the party primaries or vice versa,

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apparently not seeing that both are identical in kind and being

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perhaps necessary deviations from the old American principle that the

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state must not interfere with individual action even

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to help the weak. There are many reforms,

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each of which, if accomplished, would do us would do us much good.

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But for permanent improvement, we must rely upon bettering our general

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health, upon raising the tone of our political system.

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Thus, the enactment enforcement of laws making the merit system as

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contrasted with the spoils system universally applicable among all minor

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officials of county, state, and nation would measurably improve our

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public service and would be of a measurable benefit to all honest men, rich or

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poor, who desire to do their duty of public affairs without being opposed Tom bans

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tens of trained mercenaries. The regulation of the liquor traffic so

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as to expose it to strict supervision and to minimize its attendant evils would

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likewise do immense good. But even if the power of the saloons was

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broken and public office no longer a reward for partisan service,

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many and great evils would remain to be battled with.

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No law or laws can give us good government. At the utmost, they

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can only give us the opportunity to ourselves to

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get good government. For instance, until the control of

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the alderman over the mayor’s appointments was taken away by Bill, which I always

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esteemed Tom my chief of service to have introduced and been instrumental in

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passing, New York City politics were hopeless.

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Now it rests with the citizens themselves to elect

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a man who will serve them wisely

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and faithfully.

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So this year on the, on the podcast or the season On

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the podcast, I guess, we’re going to or we’re going to

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continue the efforts that I talked about in

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our New Year’s Day post where we sort of laid out

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the foundation for where we’re going to be going here in, in 2024.

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And, of course, it is an election year in the United States of America.

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We have the republican primary occurring, right now as I’m

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recording this, this podcast episode

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today. It’s been going on for quite some time. We have a

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democrat primary, ostensibly, that is

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also running, although everyone knows that the current president

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is probably going to be the nominee barring ill health

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or death. And so there’s really no surprises

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right now, in America, around our

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presidential politics. The only real surprise in

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2024 is what is the battleground

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upon which, the election will be

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he fought. What is going to be, to use a military

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terminology, what’s going to be the Gettysburg, what’s going to be the Verdun, what’s going

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to be the Mogadishu that

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the various parties and their supporters and

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factions, or the 2 parties and their supporters and factions will wind

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up on. A lot of that battleground is occurring,

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or is being laid out, and has been for, since for the

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last 4 years since the last election, has been

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laid out on social media, on places

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like Facebook and TikTok and YouTube

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and Twitter. Social media platforms have become the

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new battlegrounds. But, also,

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the old battlegrounds are still there, and these are battlegrounds

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around ideas. Now I’m a big

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fan of ideas, as you know, if you listen to this podcast for any length

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of time. And so we’re going to explore an idea in this

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episode. We’re gonna use Theodore Roosevelt’s ideas that

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he wrote as a young assemblyman as an anchor for where we can

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go to think about this idea. And, of course,

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this year, we are exploring solutions to problems, not merely,

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chewing over over old problems repeatedly and

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then not offering any solutions. So, well,

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Roosevelt offers some solutions, and that’s helpful because we need to think about

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solutions in an election year to some of the more damning

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and damaging problems that we have currently

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in the body politic.

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Roosevelt opens essays on practical politics with the

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introduction that I read, by going back to

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an age old question, which we we explored in episode number 90 with

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Tom Libby. I would encourage you to go listen to that episode, the one we

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kicked off this year with, on the republic by Plato.

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And, and and he he begins with this

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idea, which has haunted, American

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politics for decades, probably going all the way back

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to the founding, honestly. And it is this idea of what kind of

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guardians do we want to rule over us?

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What kind of people do we want to have in

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charge? Do we wanna have people who are moral? Do we wanna have people who

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are ethical? Or do we wanna have people who

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are progressive in their political thinking,

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but who are maybe a bit more conservative in their social

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thinking? Or do we want to have alignment

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in our guardians? Do we want to have alignment between

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their personal lives and their professional pursuits,

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or do we all want to be deceived?

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This is a key question. Do we want

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to be deceived? Do we want to have alignment? Do we want

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to have a mismatch? And each voter answers this

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question differently for themselves inside of themselves.

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And then the mass of voters, not necessarily always the

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majority, and then our society pushes

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through culture, through social norming, through,

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the Book Politic pushes our elected leaders,

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and actually raises up our elected leaders, from

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the lowest possible level to the highest possible level,

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and and and encourages them to become, Well, whatever it is

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we want them to become. And Roosevelt’s going to

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talk about the difference between, versus

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leaders from the country. And that difference, even though it existed in

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18/83, when he writes about it, you can still

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hear the difference today. The only

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maybe real change there is that the person from the

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country and the person from the city are now both on Instagram.

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Legislatures are made up of people, and people in any society are

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fundamentally flawed. The fundamental

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catch in human nature is that we are full of sin. We

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are full of sin from beyond the cradle. And sometimes

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some of us don’t get ahold of it, and it we take it with us

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beyond the grave. And no amount of utopian

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manipulation is going to change that. That is

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beyond the can of politics. But

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in the 19 sixties 19 seventies in this country,

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the Libby born generation began a mantra. They began

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stating the idea or at least began really buying into the idea

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at a mass level that we could create this new man. We could

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create this new human being through the vagaries of

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technology, This human being that would not be flawed

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and that if at minimum we couldn’t create a human being, at the

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very minimum we could create new politics, and the politics

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would lead us well, would lead us to a new world

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order.

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Just like most utopian schemes, that didn’t happen.

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And now we’re left with the same old problems searching

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for ancient solutions.

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Back to the book, back to essays on practical

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politics. So we’re going to pick up, here in

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his first essay, that Theodore Roosevelt

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wrote, once again for, as he mentions in the introduction,

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for Century Magazine.

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This is on the phases of state legislation

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in the Albany legislature. So for those of you who are

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unaware, Albany is the capital of the state

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of New York, not New York City as much as you may think it

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should be. And, when you

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shuffle off to Albany, from New York City or from

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anywhere else in New York state, even back in 18/83,

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you were going someplace that had a lot of political clout.

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We don’t think of New York state as having political clout these days. As a

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matter of fact, a lot of our thinking around that has moved,

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to places like Texas or California or

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Florida because of population shifts.

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But back in the early part of the 20th

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century and the late part of 19th century, New

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York state was the state to go to. New York state was the state

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to be in. As a matter of fact, New York state was a very strong

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Republican state. New York City has always leaned

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Democrat. It has book, of course, become more Democrat and more

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more progressive over the course of time. But in the, later part

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of 19th century and the early part of 20th century, New York State

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itself was, in the modern conception of electoral

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politics in America, a red state. As a matter of fact, most of the

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country was a red country. Now

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With that being said, Roosevelt,

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and not just Teddy Roosevelt, but also,

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his, his cousin who would come along later, Franklin Delano Roosevelt,

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were considered to be, relatively moderate to liberal,

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republicans during their time. Now that means something

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different than what it means now. And

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they were governing and they were leading from a

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sense of Victorian aristocracy, which,

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00:17:44,330 –> 00:17:47,850
again, we don’t have a whole lot of examples of that in our

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modern society, in our modern culture. And so when Roosevelt

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writes, about the, the

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phases of legislation, he is going to start with this

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core idea, which comes out of Victorian mindset,

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00:18:03,210 –> 00:18:06,755
this core idea of character. So we’re going to pick up

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from his essays on practical politics with the character

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of the representatives. The

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representatives from different sections the state differ widely in character.

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Those from the country districts are generally very good men. They are

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usually well-to-do farmers, small lawyers, or prosperous storekeepers and are

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shrewd, quiet, and honest, they are often narrow minded and slow to receive

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an idea. But on the other hand, when they get a good one, they cling

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to it with the utmost Tenacity.

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They form very much the most valuable class of legislators. For the most

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part, they are Native Americans, and those who are not are men who have become

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completely Americanized in all their ways and habits of thought.

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One of the most useful members of the last legislature was a German from a

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writers county, and the extent of his Americanization can be

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judged from the fact that he was actually an ardent prohibitionist.

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Certainly, no one who knows Teutonic human nature will require further proof.

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Again, I sat for an entire session beside a very intelligent member from Northern

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New York before I discovered that he was an Irishman. All his

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views of legislation, even upon such subjects as free schools and the improved

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propriety of making appropriations from the treasury for the support

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of sectarian institutions were precisely similar to those of his

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protestant American neighbors, though he himself was a Catholic.

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Now a German or an Irishman from one of the great cities would have retained

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most of his national peculiarities.

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It’s from the same great cities that the worst legislators come. It’s

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true that there are always among them a few cultivated and scholarly men who

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are well educated and who stand on a higher and broader intellectual and moral

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plane than the county members, but the bulk are very low indeed.

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They are usually foreigners of little or no education with

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exceedingly misty ideas as to morality and possessed of an

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ignorance so profound that it could only be called a comic

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were not for the fact that it has at times such serious effects upon our

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laws. It is their ignorance Quite as much

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as actual viciousness, which makes it so difficult to procure the

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passage of good laws or prevent the passage of bad ones. And it is the

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most irritating of the many elements with which we have to contend in the

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fight for good government.

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Mention has been made above of the bribe taking, which undoubtedly at times occurs

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00:20:28,265 –> 00:20:31,625
in the New York legislature. This is what is commonly called a

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00:20:31,625 –> 00:20:35,470
delicate subject with which Diiella, therefore, according to our usual

306
00:20:35,470 –> 00:20:39,149
methods of handling delicate subjects, it is either never discussed at all or

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00:20:39,149 –> 00:20:42,825
else discussed with the grossest exaggeration. But most certainly, there is

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00:20:42,825 –> 00:20:46,664
nothing about it which is more important to know about which it is more important

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00:20:46,664 –> 00:20:50,265
to know the truth. In the each of the last

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3 legislatures, there were a number of us who were

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00:20:53,769 –> 00:20:57,529
interested in getting through certain measures which we deemed to be for the public

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00:20:57,529 –> 00:21:00,835
good, but which were certain to be strongly opposed, some for

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00:21:01,075 –> 00:21:03,895
political and some for pecuniary reasons.

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Now to get through any such measure requires genuine hard work, a certain

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00:21:09,230 –> 00:21:12,990
amount of parliamentary skill, a good deal of tact and courage, and above all,

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00:21:12,990 –> 00:21:16,670
a thorough knowledge of the men with whom one has to deal and of the

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00:21:16,670 –> 00:21:20,205
motives which actuated them. In other words,

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00:21:20,205 –> 00:21:23,805
before taking any active steps, we had to size up our fellow legislators to find

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00:21:23,805 –> 00:21:27,400
out their past history and present character and associates, to find out

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00:21:27,400 –> 00:21:30,780
whether they were their own masters or were acting under the direction of someone else,

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00:21:31,160 –> 00:21:34,140
whether they were bright or stupid, etcetera, etcetera.

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As a result and after very careful study conducted purely with the object of

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learning the truth so that we might work more effective effectually, we

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00:21:42,090 –> 00:21:45,450
came to the conclusion that about a third of the members were open to corrupt

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00:21:45,450 –> 00:21:49,130
influences in some form or other. In certain sessions, the proportion was

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00:21:49,130 –> 00:21:52,924
greater and in some less. Now it would, of course, be impossible for

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00:21:52,924 –> 00:21:56,205
me or anyone else to prove in a court of law that these men were

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00:21:56,205 –> 00:22:00,010
guilty except perhaps in 2 or 3 cases. Yet we felt

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00:22:00,010 –> 00:22:03,289
absolutely confident that there was hardly a case in which our judgment as to the

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00:22:03,289 –> 00:22:07,130
honesty of any given member was not correct. The 2 or 3 exceptional

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cases alluded to where legal proof of guilt might have been forthcoming were instances

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in which honest men were approached by their colleagues at times when the need for

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00:22:14,565 –> 00:22:18,280
votes was very great. But even then, it would have been almost impossible to

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punish the offenders before a court for it would have merely resulted in his

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00:22:22,040 –> 00:22:25,765
denying what his accuser stated. Moreover, the

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members who had been approached would have been very reluctant to come forward for each

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00:22:28,885 –> 00:22:32,620
of them felt ashamed that his character should not have been well enough to

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known well enough known to prevent anyone’s daring to speak to him on such a

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subject. And another reason why the few honest men who are

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00:22:39,660 –> 00:22:43,465
approached for the Libby rarely makes a mistake in his estimate of the men

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00:22:43,465 –> 00:22:46,905
who will be apt to take bribes, do not feel like taking

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00:22:46,905 –> 00:22:50,540
action in the matter is that a doubtful lawsuit will

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00:22:50,540 –> 00:22:54,160
certainly follow, which will drag on so long

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that the public will come to regard all of the participants with equal

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distrust while in the end, the decision is

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quite as likely to be against them as

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to be for

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00:23:10,507 –> 00:23:11,007
them.

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Alright. So what are we to take from that? Well,

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I think the biggest thing we could take from that is the character counts.

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Right? Men from the city, men from the country.

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00:23:43,590 –> 00:23:47,289
And and he talks a lot in that piece there about,

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people of certain national origin. Right? And he talks about

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Americanization. Back in the late

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00:23:55,865 –> 00:23:59,409
19th century, just as in our own

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00:23:59,409 –> 00:24:03,070
time, immigration was going on, but not immigration

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00:24:03,130 –> 00:24:06,895
from Mexico to America. No. No. No. No. No. It was

358
00:24:06,895 –> 00:24:10,735
immigration from Eastern Europe to North

359
00:24:10,735 –> 00:24:14,414
America that was happening, particularly people of Slavic

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origin, Russians, Eastern Europeans,

361
00:24:18,240 –> 00:24:21,059
Ukrainians, Hungarians, those types of folks,

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00:24:21,840 –> 00:24:25,385
folks who are Polish, out of a Polish background were coming to the

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00:24:25,385 –> 00:24:27,805
country, as well as Italians,

364
00:24:29,705 –> 00:24:33,380
and, folks from Southern Europe, like the Greeks.

365
00:24:33,440 –> 00:24:37,200
Right? Those folks were coming to America. They were coming to America in

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00:24:37,200 –> 00:24:40,825
bucketfuls. And I’ve been to Ellis Island before. And, actually, I

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00:24:40,825 –> 00:24:44,585
shouldn’t say bucketfuls, shipfuls. And they were showing up. They were

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00:24:44,585 –> 00:24:47,644
being deloused. They were being given Americanized names,

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00:24:48,400 –> 00:24:51,920
they were being sent Tom, well, sent to

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boroughs in New York City or sent west, to

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00:24:55,735 –> 00:24:58,955
work in places like, Kansas

372
00:24:59,495 –> 00:25:03,195
and Missouri and Wisconsin and

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00:25:03,335 –> 00:25:06,930
Nebraska. We read a little bit about this,

374
00:25:07,410 –> 00:25:11,190
last year when we covered, My Antonia.

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00:25:11,945 –> 00:25:15,785
And that was episode number 84 by Willa Cather where we

376
00:25:15,785 –> 00:25:18,845
talked about where she, talked about immigration,

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00:25:19,950 –> 00:25:23,250
from, those foreign countries and how that impacted,

378
00:25:23,710 –> 00:25:27,330
people in Nebraska, people who were Americans.

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00:25:27,575 –> 00:25:31,175
So when Roosevelt talks about Americanization, he’s talking about

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00:25:31,175 –> 00:25:33,115
people shedding their,

381
00:25:37,230 –> 00:25:40,690
shedding their Eastern Europeanness to become

382
00:25:41,310 –> 00:25:44,894
white Anglo Saxon protestants, to become WASPs. Right?

383
00:25:45,195 –> 00:25:48,955
And that’s why he was surprised by the German, but

384
00:25:48,955 –> 00:25:52,799
he was also surprised by the Irish. Now the

385
00:25:52,799 –> 00:25:56,559
the thing with Irish folks, and there are Irish Protestants as well

386
00:25:56,559 –> 00:26:00,240
as Irish Catholics. The big concern in the late 19th

387
00:26:00,240 –> 00:26:04,075
century historically, in America was the presence of

388
00:26:04,075 –> 00:26:07,835
Catholicism and the idea among the white Anglo

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00:26:07,835 –> 00:26:11,460
Saxon protestant majority in the United States at the

390
00:26:11,460 –> 00:26:14,980
time that anyone Catholic was going to be more loyal to the

391
00:26:14,980 –> 00:26:17,960
pope than they were going to be loyal to the constitution.

392
00:26:19,695 –> 00:26:23,455
See, this was back when religion actually mattered and when

393
00:26:23,455 –> 00:26:27,260
people actually had a religious, mindset. It

394
00:26:27,260 –> 00:26:30,940
didn’t mean they were moral. It didn’t mean that they did not sin. It did

395
00:26:30,940 –> 00:26:34,620
not mean that they did not make mistakes or have opinions

396
00:26:34,620 –> 00:26:38,065
that we would find Tom be disgusting or just

397
00:26:38,125 –> 00:26:41,485
hard to hear, what it meant was they had a

398
00:26:41,485 –> 00:26:44,705
religious framework to put those opinions into.

399
00:26:45,220 –> 00:26:48,759
And it was a religious framework that was given to them by the Protestant church

400
00:26:49,139 –> 00:26:52,659
and, of course, by the Catholic church. And there were a lot of Catholics in

401
00:26:52,659 –> 00:26:56,475
New York State at the Time. New York state now,

402
00:26:56,615 –> 00:27:00,294
irony upon ironies, is now one of the least religious

403
00:27:00,294 –> 00:27:04,140
states, in the northeast and one of the, I believe, the top

404
00:27:04,140 –> 00:27:07,520
5 or top 10 least religious states in the United

405
00:27:07,660 –> 00:27:11,385
States. Where did all the Catholics and protestants go that were once

406
00:27:11,385 –> 00:27:14,745
in New York City? Well, they all immigrated to other

407
00:27:14,745 –> 00:27:18,570
places or they were well, and I

408
00:27:18,570 –> 00:27:22,190
hate to frame it this way, but they were pushed out of their boroughs.

409
00:27:22,330 –> 00:27:25,309
Right? They or they abandoned their religion,

410
00:27:25,924 –> 00:27:29,684
after World War 2 and raised subsequent generations to

411
00:27:29,684 –> 00:27:33,225
be a religious and rely on the WASP culture

412
00:27:33,524 –> 00:27:36,300
to do the work that family

413
00:27:37,080 –> 00:27:40,920
and the church used to do. So this is why

414
00:27:40,920 –> 00:27:44,735
Teddy Roosevelt was surprised at the Irish guy whom

415
00:27:44,735 –> 00:27:48,415
he thought would be more akin to what the pope wanted was

416
00:27:48,415 –> 00:27:51,710
really akin to what, well, to what

417
00:27:51,950 –> 00:27:55,409
Roosevelt wanted as a member of the WASP

418
00:27:55,549 –> 00:27:59,390
aristocracy. These dynamics are still

419
00:27:59,390 –> 00:28:03,134
playing out today in America. That’s why I’m bringing this up.

420
00:28:03,134 –> 00:28:06,735
Look. If you are listening to this and you were born anywhere between

421
00:28:06,735 –> 00:28:10,115
1984 and 1997 or if you were born between 1997

422
00:28:11,020 –> 00:28:14,860
and, and and 2017. I want you to listen very,

423
00:28:14,860 –> 00:28:18,675
very closely. Nothing that you are seeing anywhere on

424
00:28:18,675 –> 00:28:22,515
social media around politics is new. None of

425
00:28:22,515 –> 00:28:25,910
the racial division is new. None of the,

426
00:28:26,690 –> 00:28:30,530
political division is new. The thing that is different is we don’t

427
00:28:30,530 –> 00:28:34,165
have religious language to encapsulate how we talk about this division, and

428
00:28:34,165 –> 00:28:37,385
we need to get that back into our body politic, I think.

429
00:28:38,485 –> 00:28:42,245
But we do think of politics religiously. We do think of

430
00:28:42,245 –> 00:28:45,490
politics in the same way Theodore Roosevelt did. It was just that we don’t like

431
00:28:45,490 –> 00:28:48,710
to say it out loud. Or I should say,

432
00:28:49,170 –> 00:28:52,784
those who are on the left and the right of political factions in the United

433
00:28:52,784 –> 00:28:56,625
States like to talk about nothing but politics, but they

434
00:28:56,625 –> 00:29:00,250
talk about it in the language not of solving problems, which is

435
00:29:00,250 –> 00:29:03,930
what frustrates many of you, but they talk about it in the fervent language

436
00:29:03,930 –> 00:29:07,310
of religion, which means there’s always an existential

437
00:29:07,370 –> 00:29:10,294
crisis, and there’s never a transcendent

438
00:29:10,835 –> 00:29:14,514
solution. Theodore Roosevelt is doing

439
00:29:14,514 –> 00:29:18,090
something different in Essays on Practical Politics. That’s why it’s called

440
00:29:18,090 –> 00:29:21,769
Essays on Practical Politics. Key term

441
00:29:21,769 –> 00:29:25,455
there is practical. What are we actually doing?

442
00:29:25,455 –> 00:29:29,294
What’s the actual outcome of our character? And that’s why he starts off

443
00:29:29,294 –> 00:29:33,020
with character. That’s why he talks about who these people are and

444
00:29:33,020 –> 00:29:36,540
how they have become Americanized because book in the day, the solution to the

445
00:29:36,540 –> 00:29:40,240
character problem was that everybody needed to be or needed to adopt

446
00:29:40,784 –> 00:29:43,298
writers angle Jesan protestants Sorrells.

447
00:29:46,165 –> 00:29:49,880
Do we advocate for that now? Well, no. No. We

448
00:29:49,880 –> 00:29:53,400
don’t. Now in America in 2024, I think Theodore

449
00:29:53,400 –> 00:29:57,240
Roosevelt would be shocked at how much of a melting pot

450
00:29:57,240 –> 00:30:00,645
we have. But he would not be shocked that even in that melting

451
00:30:00,645 –> 00:30:04,404
pot, a person of, Hispanic descent, a

452
00:30:04,404 –> 00:30:08,060
person of African American descent, a person, who is

453
00:30:08,060 –> 00:30:11,900
a lesbian, a person who identifies as being gay, a

454
00:30:11,900 –> 00:30:15,315
person who identifies as being, you know, a

455
00:30:15,315 –> 00:30:18,995
vegan, a person who identifies in any of these other spaces

456
00:30:18,995 –> 00:30:22,595
where we put identity these days is still behaving with their

457
00:30:22,595 –> 00:30:26,260
character in the exact same way that the

458
00:30:26,260 –> 00:30:29,640
legislatures and the legislators were behaving

459
00:30:30,900 –> 00:30:33,665
with their character In 18/83,

460
00:30:38,045 –> 00:30:40,865
there are no new things under the sun.

461
00:30:42,890 –> 00:30:46,350
And the practical nature of people and the practical

462
00:30:47,130 –> 00:30:50,575
motivations of people should not

463
00:30:50,635 –> 00:30:54,395
be masked by calls

464
00:30:54,395 –> 00:30:58,150
or appeals to their identity. Instead, we should look

465
00:30:58,150 –> 00:31:01,830
through those surface things. This is a practical solution to

466
00:31:01,830 –> 00:31:05,130
this problem. We should look past the surface appeals

467
00:31:06,195 –> 00:31:09,715
and begin to look more closely and to

468
00:31:09,715 –> 00:31:12,775
examine more critically people’s hearts

469
00:31:13,315 –> 00:31:14,135
and motives.

470
00:31:46,675 –> 00:31:50,160
Alright. Back to the book, back to essays on Practical

471
00:31:50,160 –> 00:31:53,780
Politics. We’re going to pick up a little bit further down,

472
00:31:53,920 –> 00:31:57,300
and we’re going to address, in in

473
00:31:57,840 –> 00:32:00,615
parallel to this idea fear of character,

474
00:32:01,715 –> 00:32:05,555
in the state legislator. We’re going to talk about

475
00:32:05,555 –> 00:32:08,135
incidents of legislative experience,

476
00:32:10,200 –> 00:32:13,660
and, we’re going to see how the shenanigans of the past,

477
00:32:15,160 –> 00:32:18,975
seem to have an echo in the shenanigans over

478
00:32:18,975 –> 00:32:22,815
the present from Essays on Practical

479
00:32:22,815 –> 00:32:26,240
Politics by Theodore Roosevelt. A mixture of

480
00:32:26,240 –> 00:32:29,919
classical and constitutional misinformation was displayed a few

481
00:32:29,919 –> 00:32:33,520
sessions podcast in state senate before I was myself a

482
00:32:33,520 –> 00:32:37,345
member of the legislature. It was on that occasion it was on

483
00:32:37,345 –> 00:32:41,024
the occasion of that annual nuisance, the debate upon the Catholic

484
00:32:41,024 –> 00:32:44,789
protectory item of the supply bill. Every year, someone who

485
00:32:44,789 –> 00:32:48,630
is desirous of bidding for the Catholic vote introduces this bill, which appropriates

486
00:32:48,630 –> 00:32:52,385
a sum of varying dimensions for the support of the Catholic protectory, an

487
00:32:52,385 –> 00:32:55,745
excellent institution, but one which has no right whatever to come to the state for

488
00:32:55,745 –> 00:32:59,424
support. Each year, the insertion of the item is opposed by a small

489
00:32:59,424 –> 00:33:02,990
number of men, including the more liberal Catholics themselves

490
00:33:03,210 –> 00:33:07,050
on proper grounds and by a larger number from simple bigotry. A fact which

491
00:33:07,050 –> 00:33:10,654
was shown 2 years ago when many of the most bitter opponents of this

492
00:33:10,654 –> 00:33:14,495
measure cheerfully supported a similar and equally objectionable one

493
00:33:14,495 –> 00:33:17,970
in aid of a Protestant institution. On the occasion

494
00:33:18,030 –> 00:33:21,790
referred to, there were 2 senators, both Celtic gentlemen, who were rivals

495
00:33:21,790 –> 00:33:25,555
for the leadership of the minority. One of them a stout, red faced literature

496
00:33:25,555 –> 00:33:29,075
man who went by the name of Commodore, owing to his having seen service in

497
00:33:29,075 –> 00:33:32,835
the navy, while the other was a dapper, valuable fellow who had at one

498
00:33:32,835 –> 00:33:36,210
time been on a civic commission and was always called the

499
00:33:36,210 –> 00:33:39,730
counselor. A mild mannered countryman was opposing the

500
00:33:39,730 –> 00:33:43,325
insertion of the item on the ground, perfectly just by the way, that it was

501
00:33:43,325 –> 00:33:47,005
unconstitutional, and he dwelled upon this objection at some

502
00:33:47,005 –> 00:33:50,765
length. The counselor who knew nothing of the constitution, except that it

503
00:33:50,765 –> 00:33:54,610
was continually being quoted against all of his favorite projects fidgeted about for

504
00:33:54,610 –> 00:33:58,050
some time and podcast jumped up to know if he might ask the gentleman a

505
00:33:58,050 –> 00:34:01,785
question. The latter said yes, and the counselor went on,

506
00:34:01,785 –> 00:34:05,325
I’d like to know if the gentleman has ever personally seen the Catholic protectory.

507
00:34:06,425 –> 00:34:10,060
No. I haven’t, said the astonished countryman. Then what do you

508
00:34:10,060 –> 00:34:13,900
mean by talking about it being unconstitutional? I like to know. It’s no more

509
00:34:13,900 –> 00:34:17,614
unconstitutional than you are, not one bit. I know it, for I’ve

510
00:34:17,614 –> 00:34:21,455
been it and seen it, and that’s more than you’ve done. They turned into

511
00:34:21,455 –> 00:34:24,915
the house with a slow and withering sarcasm, he added,

512
00:34:25,310 –> 00:34:28,850
the throne with the gentleman is that he occupies what lawyers will call a kinda

513
00:34:28,909 –> 00:34:32,590
quasi position upon this bill and sat down

514
00:34:32,590 –> 00:34:34,929
amid the applause of his followers.

515
00:34:37,135 –> 00:34:40,815
His rival, the Commodore, felt he had gained altogether to its glory from the

516
00:34:40,815 –> 00:34:44,639
encounter. And after the nonplus countrymen had taken his seat, he stopped

517
00:34:44,639 –> 00:34:48,480
solidly over to the desk of the elated counselor, looked at him

518
00:34:48,480 –> 00:34:52,235
majestically for a moment, and said, you’ll excuse my

519
00:34:52,235 –> 00:34:55,915
mentioning Sorrells that a gentleman who has just sat down knows more law in a

520
00:34:55,915 –> 00:34:59,675
week than you do in a month. And more than that, counsel Shaughnessy, what

521
00:34:59,675 –> 00:35:02,580
do you mean by quote, in Latin on the floor at his house when you

522
00:35:02,580 –> 00:35:06,420
don’t know the alpha and the omega of the language. And back

523
00:35:06,420 –> 00:35:09,800
he walked, leaving the counselor in humiliated submission

524
00:35:10,694 –> 00:35:14,075
behind him. Pause for just a moment.

525
00:35:14,855 –> 00:35:18,549
I don’t think that there’s anything better that

526
00:35:18,549 –> 00:35:22,250
anyone’s doing on Instagram than that entire interaction

527
00:35:22,710 –> 00:35:26,410
right there. Back to the book.

528
00:35:27,145 –> 00:35:30,365
The counselor was always falling foul of the constitution.

529
00:35:30,905 –> 00:35:34,365
Once when defending one of his bills, which made a small but wholly indefinable

530
00:35:34,585 –> 00:35:38,310
appropriation of state money for a private purpose, he asserted, that the constitution

531
00:35:38,370 –> 00:35:42,130
didn’t touch little things like that. And on another occasion, he remarked to

532
00:35:42,130 –> 00:35:45,730
my presence that he never allowed the constitution to come between

533
00:35:45,730 –> 00:35:49,474
friends. The Commodore was, at that time,

534
00:35:49,474 –> 00:35:53,075
chairman of a senate committee before which there sometimes came

535
00:35:53,075 –> 00:35:56,214
questions affecting the interests or supposed interests of labor.

536
00:35:56,740 –> 00:36:00,420
The committee was hopelessly bad in its composition, the members being

537
00:36:00,420 –> 00:36:04,200
either very corrupt or exceedingly inefficient. The Commodore

538
00:36:04,260 –> 00:36:08,085
generally kept order with a good deal of dignity. Indeed, when, when as

539
00:36:08,085 –> 00:36:11,925
not to in as not infrequently happened, he had looked upon

540
00:36:11,925 –> 00:36:15,400
the rye that was flavored with lemon peel. His sense of personal

541
00:36:15,400 –> 00:36:19,160
dignity grew till it become fairly majestic, and he ruled the

542
00:36:19,160 –> 00:36:21,980
committee with a rod of iron. By the way, pause.

543
00:36:22,625 –> 00:36:26,385
When Roosevelt says, and I quote, he had looked upon the rye that was flavored

544
00:36:26,385 –> 00:36:29,745
with lemon peel, what he means is the man had been drinking rye

545
00:36:29,745 –> 00:36:33,130
whiskey with Lemon. Back to the

546
00:36:33,130 –> 00:36:36,970
book. At one time, a bill had been introduced, one of the several

547
00:36:36,970 –> 00:36:40,555
score of preposterous measures that annually made their appearance purely for purposes

548
00:36:40,555 –> 00:36:44,395
of Buncombe, by whose terms all laborers of the public

549
00:36:44,395 –> 00:36:48,075
works of great cities were to receive $3 a day, double the market

550
00:36:48,075 –> 00:36:51,800
price of labor. To this bill, by the way, an amendment

551
00:36:51,800 –> 00:36:55,560
was afterwards offered in the house by some gentleman with a sense

552
00:36:55,560 –> 00:36:59,000
of humor, which was to make it read that all the inhabitants of great

553
00:36:59,000 –> 00:37:02,665
cities $53 a day and the privilege of laboring on the

554
00:37:02,665 –> 00:37:06,105
public works if they chose. The original author of the bill

555
00:37:06,105 –> 00:37:09,840
questioning questioning doubtfully if the amendment didn’t make

556
00:37:09,840 –> 00:37:13,600
the measure a trifle Tom sweeping. The measure was, of course,

557
00:37:13,600 –> 00:37:17,060
of no consequence whatever to the genuine laboring men,

558
00:37:17,385 –> 00:37:20,365
but was of interest to the professional labor agitators,

559
00:37:21,305 –> 00:37:25,040
and a body of the latter requested to leave to appear before the committee.

560
00:37:26,000 –> 00:37:29,360
This was granted, but on the appointed day, the chairman turned up in a condition

561
00:37:29,360 –> 00:37:32,800
of such pretentious dignity as to make it evident that he had been out on

562
00:37:32,800 –> 00:37:36,625
a spree of protracted duration. Down he sat at the

563
00:37:36,625 –> 00:37:40,385
head of the table and glared at the committee men while the latter whose faces

564
00:37:40,385 –> 00:37:43,984
would not have looked amiss in a rogue’s gallery cowered before

565
00:37:43,984 –> 00:37:47,760
him. The 1st speaker was a typical professionally laboring man,

566
00:37:47,760 –> 00:37:51,120
a sleek, oily literature fellow with a black mustache who had never done a stroke

567
00:37:51,120 –> 00:37:54,615
of work in his life. He felt confident that the Commodore would favor

568
00:37:54,615 –> 00:37:58,135
him, a confidence soon to be rudely shaken and began with a

569
00:37:58,135 –> 00:38:01,550
deprecatory smile. Humble though I

570
00:38:01,550 –> 00:38:05,150
am. Rap, rap, rap with the chairman’s gavel and the following dialogue

571
00:38:05,150 –> 00:38:08,595
occurred. Chairman with dignity, What’s that you said you were,

572
00:38:08,595 –> 00:38:11,815
sir? Professional working man decidedly taking aback.

573
00:38:12,194 –> 00:38:15,954
I I I said I was humble, sir. Chairman reproachfully, are you an

574
00:38:15,954 –> 00:38:19,770
American citizen? Professional working man. Yes, sir. Chairman

575
00:38:19,770 –> 00:38:23,210
with emphasis. Then you’re the equal of any man in this state. Then you’re the

576
00:38:23,210 –> 00:38:26,575
equal of any man on this committee. Don’t let me hear you call yourself humble

577
00:38:26,575 –> 00:38:30,255
again. Go on, sir. After this

578
00:38:30,255 –> 00:38:33,935
warning, the advocate managed to keep clear of the rocks until having worked himself up

579
00:38:33,935 –> 00:38:37,570
to quite a pitch of excitement, he unconsciously exclaimed, but the

580
00:38:37,570 –> 00:38:41,250
poor man has no friends, which brought the Commodore down on him at

581
00:38:41,250 –> 00:38:44,744
once. Wrap wrap wrap with his gavel and he scowled grimly at the offender

582
00:38:44,964 –> 00:38:48,805
while he asked with deadly deliberation, what did you say that

583
00:38:48,805 –> 00:38:52,609
time, sir? Professional working man hopelessly. I said the poor

584
00:38:52,609 –> 00:38:56,450
man had no friends, sir. Chairman with sudden fire, then you lied,

585
00:38:56,450 –> 00:39:00,175
sir. I am the poor man’s friend. So are my colleagues, sir. Here, the

586
00:39:00,175 –> 00:39:03,775
rogue’s gallery tried to look benevolent. Speak the truth, sir. With a

587
00:39:03,775 –> 00:39:07,075
sudden change from the matter admonitory to the matter mandatory,

588
00:39:07,859 –> 00:39:10,740
Now you sit down quick or get out of here some or get out of

589
00:39:10,740 –> 00:39:14,500
this somehow. This put an end to the sleek gentleman

590
00:39:14,500 –> 00:39:18,085
and his place was taken by a fellow professional of another type, a great

591
00:39:18,085 –> 00:39:21,445
burly man who would talk to you on private matters at a perfectly natural tone

592
00:39:21,445 –> 00:39:24,645
of voice, but who, the minute he began to speak of the wrongs with a

593
00:39:24,645 –> 00:39:28,450
capital w, of Libby with capital l, bellowed it as he as if

594
00:39:28,450 –> 00:39:32,210
he had bet a bull of. The commodore, by this time, pretty

595
00:39:32,210 –> 00:39:35,830
far gone, eyed him benevolently, swaying to and fro in his chair.

596
00:39:36,335 –> 00:39:39,935
However, the first effect of the fellow’s oratory was soothing rather than

597
00:39:39,935 –> 00:39:43,615
otherwise and produced the unexpected result of sending the

598
00:39:43,615 –> 00:39:46,690
chairman fast asleep, Sitting Bolt Upright.

599
00:39:47,869 –> 00:39:50,510
But in a minute or 2, as the man warmed up to his work, he

600
00:39:50,510 –> 00:39:53,985
gave a peculiarly resonant howl, which

601
00:39:53,985 –> 00:39:57,585
wake the Commodore up. The latter came to himself with a

602
00:39:57,585 –> 00:40:01,205
jerk, looked fixedly at the audience having caught sight of the speaker,

603
00:40:01,520 –> 00:40:05,140
remembered having seen him before, forgot that he had been asleep, and concluded

604
00:40:05,280 –> 00:40:09,040
that it must have been on some previous day. Hammer, hammer, hammer with the gavel,

605
00:40:09,040 –> 00:40:12,755
and I’ve seen you before, sir. You have not,

606
00:40:12,755 –> 00:40:16,515
said the man. Don’t tell me I lie, sir, responded the Commodore with a sudden

607
00:40:16,515 –> 00:40:20,260
ferocity. You’ve addressed this committee on a previous day. I

608
00:40:20,260 –> 00:40:23,940
have never began the man, but the Commodore broke in again. Sit down, sir. The

609
00:40:23,940 –> 00:40:27,720
dignity of the chair must be preserved. No man shall speak to this committee twice.

610
00:40:28,045 –> 00:40:31,345
The committee stands adjourned. And with that,

611
00:40:31,885 –> 00:40:35,665
he stalked majestically out of the room, leaving the committee

612
00:40:36,020 –> 00:40:38,760
and the delegation to gaze sheepishly

613
00:40:39,619 –> 00:40:41,880
into each other’s

614
00:40:43,465 –> 00:40:43,965
Faces.

615
00:41:11,369 –> 00:41:14,589
The late great political commentator

616
00:41:15,210 –> 00:41:18,865
radio political commentator, Rush Limbaugh, I

617
00:41:18,865 –> 00:41:22,545
think I can probably I’ve been far enough away now from

618
00:41:22,545 –> 00:41:26,390
his, passing a few years ago to be

619
00:41:26,390 –> 00:41:30,230
able to quote this Tom you. He used to say on

620
00:41:30,230 –> 00:41:33,990
his show that and it is a

621
00:41:33,990 –> 00:41:37,655
clever sort of framing for

622
00:41:37,655 –> 00:41:41,115
what we just read there. He used to say politics

623
00:41:41,335 –> 00:41:43,990
is celebrity for the ugly.

624
00:41:45,010 –> 00:41:48,450
And he wasn’t wrong. Ugly in behavior, ugly in

625
00:41:48,450 –> 00:41:52,275
character, or just even ugly in Jesan, but he

626
00:41:52,275 –> 00:41:56,035
was really focused on how, you know, politicians like to

627
00:41:56,035 –> 00:41:59,795
hobnob with, with actresses and

628
00:41:59,885 –> 00:42:03,299
Sorrells, And, of course, we see that even in our day.

629
00:42:04,559 –> 00:42:08,019
But an interesting twist has occurred in the last 25

630
00:42:08,160 –> 00:42:11,944
years or so, and, of course, it has speeded up in the

631
00:42:11,944 –> 00:42:15,005
last 10 to 15 years with the

632
00:42:15,385 –> 00:42:19,170
ubiquitousness of social media. Now we have politicians

633
00:42:19,470 –> 00:42:23,230
who are beautiful or who could maybe be on the

634
00:42:23,230 –> 00:42:26,875
cover of a magazine or maybe are attractive enough

635
00:42:26,875 –> 00:42:30,495
to have their own show on the

636
00:42:30,715 –> 00:42:34,530
radio or maybe even on the television. And you have

637
00:42:34,530 –> 00:42:37,910
these people running around doing politics

638
00:42:39,250 –> 00:42:42,555
and becoming celebrities and being beautiful.

639
00:42:44,055 –> 00:42:47,675
Lauren Bonnert is attractive. Marjorie Taylor Greene is not

640
00:42:48,135 –> 00:42:51,860
hard on the eyes. Rashid Tlaib is

641
00:42:51,860 –> 00:42:55,380
not ugly. Dan Crenshaw is not

642
00:42:55,380 –> 00:42:59,140
hideous. And, of course, Tulsi Gabbard looks

643
00:42:59,140 –> 00:43:02,775
like she walked off of the cover of

644
00:43:02,775 –> 00:43:04,155
Vanity Fair.

645
00:43:07,070 –> 00:43:10,670
The politicians of the past were less concerned with their physical

646
00:43:10,670 –> 00:43:13,490
appearance and more concerned with

647
00:43:14,030 –> 00:43:17,205
getting stuff Done.

648
00:43:17,825 –> 00:43:21,345
Or at least that’s what we believe. Right? We believe that they were more

649
00:43:21,345 –> 00:43:24,970
concerned with getting stuff done. But you You think about

650
00:43:24,970 –> 00:43:28,650
that clip, right, that, that piece that I read there from Teddy

651
00:43:28,650 –> 00:43:32,250
Roosevelt’s own observation of politicians in

652
00:43:32,250 –> 00:43:35,885
Albany in 18/83, 18/84, and in 18/85.

653
00:43:36,185 –> 00:43:39,965
What you realize is they were no more concerned with getting things done back then

654
00:43:40,185 –> 00:43:42,445
than they are concerned with getting things done

655
00:43:44,900 –> 00:43:48,600
Now politics is not about getting stuff done.

656
00:43:48,740 –> 00:43:52,235
Politics for politicians is about having power. It’s

657
00:43:52,315 –> 00:43:55,455
about being able to bang the gavel, talk over people,

658
00:43:56,555 –> 00:43:59,995
get special favors, tell people what

659
00:43:59,995 –> 00:44:03,830
you want them to do and have the

660
00:44:03,830 –> 00:44:07,370
power to make laws, which are basically just force

661
00:44:07,910 –> 00:44:11,755
on paper, to make laws so that the

662
00:44:11,755 –> 00:44:15,435
thing that you want to have happen or the interest that you have to

663
00:44:15,435 –> 00:44:18,980
serve gets whatever it

664
00:44:18,980 –> 00:44:22,820
is that you promised them. The dirty

665
00:44:22,820 –> 00:44:26,375
little secret of politics in America, particularly politics in

666
00:44:26,375 –> 00:44:29,415
Washington, DC, and all the politicians that I mentioned are in Washington, DC, but you

667
00:44:29,415 –> 00:44:33,220
could find the same politicians in your local legislature or even in

668
00:44:33,220 –> 00:44:36,900
your state legislature, you can find the same people running for

669
00:44:36,900 –> 00:44:40,685
political position, in your local city council or on your

670
00:44:40,685 –> 00:44:44,285
school board or running for mayor. In

671
00:44:44,285 –> 00:44:47,905
general, what happens is people are more effective

672
00:44:48,125 –> 00:44:51,790
the closer they are to the voters as politicians, and they are

673
00:44:51,790 –> 00:44:55,230
less effective the further away they are as

674
00:44:55,230 –> 00:44:58,945
politicians from the people. I

675
00:44:58,945 –> 00:45:02,465
like Tulsi Gabbard and everything, and Dan Crenshaw seems like a cool

676
00:45:02,465 –> 00:45:06,065
guy, but he’s never gonna know who I am, and she’s not

677
00:45:06,065 –> 00:45:08,740
gonna care what I think about anything,

678
00:45:10,240 –> 00:45:14,000
which is why many of these politicians are going to well,

679
00:45:14,000 –> 00:45:17,460
not are going to, but are are consumed with creating Instagram

680
00:45:17,825 –> 00:45:21,664
accounts, and they are consumed with becoming celebrities in the

681
00:45:21,664 –> 00:45:25,444
same way that star athletes who used to be consumed

682
00:45:25,505 –> 00:45:28,980
with winning games now are more

683
00:45:28,980 –> 00:45:32,440
consumed with what their Instagram followers or their TikTok

684
00:45:32,500 –> 00:45:36,055
views are. That’s a

685
00:45:36,055 –> 00:45:39,595
major shift. Right? I mean, Quentin not Quentin. Sorry. Not Quentin.

686
00:45:39,654 –> 00:45:43,350
Andy Warhol. Not Quentin Tarantino. Andy Warhol infamously said

687
00:45:43,350 –> 00:45:47,030
back in the day, and I think Tarantino would probably agree with him, that everyone

688
00:45:47,030 –> 00:45:49,930
at some point will have their own 15 minutes of fame.

689
00:45:50,845 –> 00:45:53,565
And you could even say that I’m doing the podcast to get my own 15

690
00:45:53,565 –> 00:45:54,945
minutes of fame. Right?

691
00:45:57,484 –> 00:46:00,760
What are our motives for doing what we do? What are our motives for being

692
00:46:00,760 –> 00:46:04,520
in politics? What are your motives for having an Instagram account? What are your

693
00:46:04,520 –> 00:46:07,820
motives for running for political

694
00:46:07,880 –> 00:46:11,464
office? Are you running to actually change things

695
00:46:11,925 –> 00:46:15,765
or are you running for personal aggrandizement? Are you

696
00:46:15,765 –> 00:46:19,590
running so that you can bang a gavel and talk over people? The

697
00:46:19,590 –> 00:46:23,350
example that I think of is, is the

698
00:46:23,350 –> 00:46:27,110
late great Gary Shandling, right, who

699
00:46:27,110 –> 00:46:30,855
portrayed a senator in, Iron Man 1 and Iron

700
00:46:30,855 –> 00:46:34,214
Man 2, and I believe he was also in Iron Man

701
00:46:34,214 –> 00:46:37,920
3. And he pinned a, put a pin,

702
00:46:38,140 –> 00:46:41,440
a medal on Tony Stark after a particularly

703
00:46:41,740 –> 00:46:45,420
contentious senatorial hearing, and he whispered to

704
00:46:45,420 –> 00:46:49,225
him, isn’t it annoying, and I’m paraphrasing, but isn’t

705
00:46:49,225 –> 00:46:52,905
it annoying what a little prick can do to you? Now I

706
00:46:52,905 –> 00:46:56,170
personally think Gerry Gary Shandling is was a fairly funny comedian,

707
00:46:56,869 –> 00:46:59,849
and, of course, he looks like a United States senator.

708
00:47:01,270 –> 00:47:04,964
He was ugly. He was never physically appealing, and he

709
00:47:04,964 –> 00:47:08,105
knew it. And by the way, that was part of the joke.

710
00:47:09,125 –> 00:47:12,960
But the point is, What are your motives for doing what you’re

711
00:47:12,960 –> 00:47:16,720
doing? What are your motives for attaining fame? What do you wanna do with

712
00:47:16,720 –> 00:47:20,365
that thing once you get it? We

713
00:47:20,365 –> 00:47:23,984
don’t ask our politicians this nearly often enough.

714
00:47:24,045 –> 00:47:27,510
And very often because we do not ask, we

715
00:47:27,730 –> 00:47:31,490
we don’t get an answer. And by the way, the people who do

716
00:47:31,490 –> 00:47:35,250
ask, what are you gonna do with that power? Typically tend to be

717
00:47:35,250 –> 00:47:38,915
people with money who want something to

718
00:47:38,915 –> 00:47:42,275
happen that benefits them. They want to

719
00:47:42,275 –> 00:47:45,950
provide the answer to the politician for what they

720
00:47:45,950 –> 00:47:49,470
will do with the power. And, typically, the answer

721
00:47:49,470 –> 00:47:52,990
is, well, I’ll do what benefits the person who gives me the

722
00:47:52,990 –> 00:47:56,714
most money. If you’re

723
00:47:56,714 –> 00:48:00,474
okay with that, then keep on not paying attention to politics. Keep

724
00:48:00,474 –> 00:48:04,190
on thinking that it doesn’t matter. Keep on thinking that that’s something

725
00:48:04,190 –> 00:48:07,730
for smarter people someplace else over there. And by the way, Teddy Roosevelt

726
00:48:08,110 –> 00:48:11,810
makes that point as well in his essays on practical

727
00:48:12,030 –> 00:48:15,735
politics. It is up to the electorate to hold

728
00:48:15,735 –> 00:48:19,575
the legislator’s feet to the fire. It

729
00:48:19,575 –> 00:48:23,350
is up to us to mold our guardians into whatever

730
00:48:23,350 –> 00:48:26,790
mold we want them to be in, and it is up to

731
00:48:26,790 –> 00:48:28,970
us to keep them honest.

732
00:48:30,565 –> 00:48:34,165
But if we’re not smart enough or courageous enough

733
00:48:34,165 –> 00:48:37,625
or tactful enough or aware of parliamentary procedure

734
00:48:37,845 –> 00:48:41,340
enough to be able to do that or if we

735
00:48:41,340 –> 00:48:44,720
just don’t care and just want the system to quote unquote

736
00:48:44,780 –> 00:48:48,080
work, well, then we’re going to get

737
00:48:48,765 –> 00:48:52,464
People who want celebrity and money

738
00:48:53,325 –> 00:48:56,704
and power but not much else.

739
00:49:26,505 –> 00:49:30,180
Back to the book, back to essays on practical

740
00:49:30,180 –> 00:49:33,860
politics by Theodore Roosevelt. So we’re gonna turn a

741
00:49:33,860 –> 00:49:37,480
corner here as we approach the close of our podcast

742
00:49:37,940 –> 00:49:41,755
today, And we’re going to talk about

743
00:49:42,855 –> 00:49:46,635
we’re gonna talk about the machine and machine politics,

744
00:49:47,180 –> 00:49:50,000
not only in New York City in 18/83,

745
00:49:50,940 –> 00:49:54,560
but we’re going to make some points about machine politics or Roosevelt’s

746
00:49:54,620 –> 00:49:58,464
gonna make some points about machine politics that resonate down

747
00:49:58,684 –> 00:50:02,525
to our time. And I quote, in

748
00:50:02,525 –> 00:50:06,365
New York Libby, as in most of our other great municipalities, the direction of political

749
00:50:06,365 –> 00:50:09,570
affairs has been for many years mainly in the hands of a class of men

750
00:50:09,630 –> 00:50:12,690
who make politics their regular business and means of livelihood.

751
00:50:13,630 –> 00:50:17,424
These men are able to keep their grip only by means of the singularly perfect

752
00:50:17,424 –> 00:50:20,865
way in which they have succeeded in organizing their respective parties and

753
00:50:20,865 –> 00:50:24,330
factions. And it is consequence of the clockwork regularity and

754
00:50:24,330 –> 00:50:28,010
efficiency with which these several organizations play their parts, alike for

755
00:50:28,010 –> 00:50:31,630
good and evil, that they have been nicknamed by outsiders machines.

756
00:50:32,675 –> 00:50:36,515
While the men who take part in a control Sorrells they would themselves say

757
00:50:36,515 –> 00:50:40,215
run them, form now a well recognized and fairly well defined

758
00:50:40,275 –> 00:50:43,610
class in the community and are familiarly

759
00:50:43,830 –> 00:50:47,590
known as machine politicians. It may be

760
00:50:47,590 –> 00:50:51,355
of interest to sketch and outline some of the characteristics of these men and

761
00:50:51,355 –> 00:50:55,195
of their machines, the methods by which and the objects

762
00:50:55,195 –> 00:50:58,859
for which they book, and the reasons for their success in the

763
00:50:58,859 –> 00:51:02,700
political field. The men having control and doing all

764
00:51:02,700 –> 00:51:06,275
the work have gradually come Tom have the same feeling about

765
00:51:06,275 –> 00:51:09,975
politics, these are the machine men, that are running the machine,

766
00:51:11,155 –> 00:51:15,000
that other men have about the business of a merchant or a Facturer,

767
00:51:15,780 –> 00:51:19,460
it was too much to expect that if left entirely to themselves, they would continue

768
00:51:19,460 –> 00:51:23,305
disinterestedly to work for the benefit of others. Many a machine

769
00:51:23,305 –> 00:51:27,005
politician who is today a most unwholesome influence on our politics

770
00:51:27,705 –> 00:51:31,220
is in private life quite as respectable as anyone else. Only he has

771
00:51:31,220 –> 00:51:34,900
forgotten that his business affects the state at large and regarding it as

772
00:51:34,900 –> 00:51:38,660
merely his own private concern, he has carried into it the

773
00:51:38,660 –> 00:51:42,095
same selfish spirit that actuates the majority of the

774
00:51:42,095 –> 00:51:45,455
mercantile community. Our machine

775
00:51:45,455 –> 00:51:49,150
politicians in actual life act in just the same way. Their actions

776
00:51:49,150 –> 00:51:52,910
are almost always dictated by selfish motives with but

777
00:51:52,910 –> 00:51:56,290
little regard for the people at large. They therefore need continually

778
00:51:56,670 –> 00:52:00,335
to be watched and opposed by those who wish to see good

779
00:52:00,335 –> 00:52:03,775
government. And then Roosevelt describes the

780
00:52:03,775 –> 00:52:07,380
causes of machine politics here, and I quote, the

781
00:52:07,380 –> 00:52:11,060
chief causes, thus operating against good government are the

782
00:52:11,060 –> 00:52:14,820
moral and mental attitudes towards politics assumed by different sections

783
00:52:14,820 –> 00:52:18,445
of the voters. There is a great class of laboring

784
00:52:18,445 –> 00:52:22,205
men, mostly of foreign birth or parentage, who at present both expect too

785
00:52:22,205 –> 00:52:25,810
much from legislation and yet at the same time realize too little how

786
00:52:25,810 –> 00:52:29,570
powerfully, though indirectly, they are affected by a bad or

787
00:52:29,570 –> 00:52:33,330
corrupt government. In many wards, the overwhelming majority of the voters

788
00:52:33,330 –> 00:52:37,155
do not realize that heavy taxes fall ultimately upon

789
00:52:37,155 –> 00:52:40,994
them and actually view with perfect complacency, burdens laid

790
00:52:40,994 –> 00:52:44,680
by their representatives upon the taxpayers, and if anything, approve of a

791
00:52:44,680 –> 00:52:48,040
hostile attitude towards the latter, having a vague feeling of

792
00:52:48,040 –> 00:52:51,835
hostility towards them as possessing more than their proper proportion of

793
00:52:51,835 –> 00:52:55,355
The World’s Good Things, and sharing with most other human beings the

794
00:52:55,355 –> 00:52:59,115
capacity to bear with philosophic equanimity, ills merely affecting

795
00:52:59,115 –> 00:53:02,790
one’s neighbors. When powerfully roused on

796
00:53:02,790 –> 00:53:06,550
some financial but still bore on some sentimental question, the same

797
00:53:06,550 –> 00:53:10,065
laboring class will throw its enormous and usually decisive weight

798
00:53:10,305 –> 00:53:14,145
into the scale, which it believes inclines to the right. But

799
00:53:14,145 –> 00:53:17,605
its members were often curiously and cynically indifferent

800
00:53:17,990 –> 00:53:21,830
to charges of corruption against favorite heroes or demagogues so

801
00:53:21,830 –> 00:53:25,430
long as these charges do not imply betrayal of their own real or

802
00:53:25,430 –> 00:53:29,175
fancied interests. These voters are moreover

803
00:53:29,175 –> 00:53:32,875
very emotional. They value in a public man what we are accustomed

804
00:53:32,935 –> 00:53:36,454
to consider virtues only to be taken into account when estimating private

805
00:53:36,454 –> 00:53:40,150
character. I have more than once heard the statement, he is very

806
00:53:40,150 –> 00:53:43,990
liberal to the poor. Advanced is a perfectly satisfactory answer to the charge

807
00:53:43,990 –> 00:53:47,665
that a certain public man was corrupt. These

808
00:53:47,665 –> 00:53:51,505
working men are hardly prepared to understand or approve the American doctrine of

809
00:53:51,505 –> 00:53:54,965
government, which is that the state has no business whatever

810
00:53:55,630 –> 00:53:59,310
to attempt to better the condition of a man or set of men, but

811
00:53:59,310 –> 00:54:03,090
has merely to see that no wrong is done him or them by anyone else,

812
00:54:03,315 –> 00:54:07,095
and that all alike are to have a fair chance in the struggle for life,

813
00:54:07,714 –> 00:54:11,234
a struggle wherein it may as well be at

814
00:54:11,828 –> 00:54:15,460
Tom may as well at once, be freely thought be freely, though

815
00:54:15,460 –> 00:54:18,760
sadly, acknowledged, very many are bound to fail

816
00:54:19,140 –> 00:54:22,984
no matter how ideally perfect any given system

817
00:54:22,984 –> 00:54:25,165
of government may

818
00:55:11,089 –> 00:55:14,385
There’s an idea, that was

819
00:55:14,445 –> 00:55:18,045
stated in, Game of Thrones way back in the

820
00:55:18,045 –> 00:55:21,569
day. If you remember that show, You remember the ones of the

821
00:55:21,569 –> 00:55:24,630
dragons and, looked like medieval

822
00:55:25,223 –> 00:55:28,775
Tom? And, there was a blonde woman running around in it, She had an 800

823
00:55:28,775 –> 00:55:32,615
ton dragon. Remember that? Yeah. Well, the

824
00:55:32,615 –> 00:55:36,295
blonde woman told the short guy, the midget or I’m sorry. It’s

825
00:55:36,295 –> 00:55:39,830
not midget. It’s Small person. The small person in the show

826
00:55:41,090 –> 00:55:44,850
played by Peter Dinklage. And for if any of you hear this and

827
00:55:44,850 –> 00:55:47,745
you know Peter, please beg my forgiveness.

828
00:55:48,765 –> 00:55:52,205
But, anyway, they were talking, and, the the blonde

829
00:55:52,205 –> 00:55:55,960
lady made a point. Emile Clarke, I believe is the actress’s name.

830
00:55:55,960 –> 00:55:59,560
Anyway, playing Daenerys Targaryen. And, and she made a

831
00:55:59,560 –> 00:56:02,964
point, she said, and I quote, Lannister, Targaryen,

832
00:56:03,345 –> 00:56:06,865
Burethion, Stark, Tyrell, they’re all just spokes on a

833
00:56:06,865 –> 00:56:10,305
wheel. This one’s on top, then that one’s on Tom, and on and on and

834
00:56:10,305 –> 00:56:13,870
on it spins, crushing those on the ground. And then

835
00:56:13,870 –> 00:56:17,630
Tyrion Lannister, played by Peter Dinklage, says to her, it’s a beautiful

836
00:56:17,630 –> 00:56:21,235
dream stopping the wheel. You’re not the 1st person who’s ever dreamt it.

837
00:56:22,015 –> 00:56:25,695
And then Daenerys, the blonde lady responds, I’m not going to stop the

838
00:56:25,695 –> 00:56:28,195
wheel. I’m going to break the wheel.

839
00:56:30,079 –> 00:56:32,900
There are many people, in our time,

840
00:56:33,599 –> 00:56:35,710
in in 2024,

841
00:56:38,485 –> 00:56:42,265
but starting probably about 20 years ago, maybe even 30 now,

842
00:56:42,805 –> 00:56:45,705
who had a sincere

843
00:56:46,450 –> 00:56:50,290
who have a sincere and overwhelming desire to

844
00:56:50,290 –> 00:56:51,910
break the machine of politics.

845
00:56:54,265 –> 00:56:57,325
This goes along with our nihilistic

846
00:56:58,345 –> 00:57:01,785
and self centered in some cases and

847
00:57:01,785 –> 00:57:05,210
narcissistic in many cases Approach Tom Problem

848
00:57:05,210 –> 00:57:08,810
Solving. It also goes to, specifically in

849
00:57:08,810 –> 00:57:12,625
American context, our frustration with things that take too long

850
00:57:12,865 –> 00:57:16,465
for we are an impatient people and we like to get up after it, be

851
00:57:16,465 –> 00:57:19,525
done with it, and then get up after something else.

852
00:57:21,160 –> 00:57:24,380
What Roosevelt was talking about in his

853
00:57:24,680 –> 00:57:28,519
section there on the nature of the men who run the machine the

854
00:57:28,519 –> 00:57:32,345
machine of politics in 18/83 New York and the nature of the

855
00:57:32,345 –> 00:57:36,105
voters, specifically the laboring class, the working essays he called

856
00:57:36,105 –> 00:57:39,280
them, who vote for the politicians

857
00:57:39,900 –> 00:57:43,660
that are supported by this machine. The point that Roosevelt

858
00:57:43,660 –> 00:57:45,599
was making is that all this is symbiotic

859
00:57:47,915 –> 00:57:51,455
as was in his time such as it is

860
00:57:51,675 –> 00:57:55,215
in ours. See, in our time, the machine of politics

861
00:57:55,435 –> 00:57:59,180
still runs, and particularly in America with

862
00:57:59,180 –> 00:58:02,400
only 2 parties, though you can see this in parliamentary systems,

863
00:58:02,859 –> 00:58:06,675
the machine of politics is not just about Republican and

864
00:58:06,675 –> 00:58:10,435
Democrat. Okay? The machine of politics isn’t about the

865
00:58:10,435 –> 00:58:13,799
people that you see on the billboards or on your television

866
00:58:13,799 –> 00:58:17,319
campaign commercials. I could name names, but it doesn’t really

867
00:58:17,319 –> 00:58:21,160
matter. The people behind the machine, the people who give the

868
00:58:21,160 –> 00:58:24,964
money, the people who donate. Those are the people

869
00:58:24,964 –> 00:58:28,404
who put money in the machine and money is the mother’s milk of

870
00:58:28,404 –> 00:58:32,050
politics. It is also the gas in the car. This is

871
00:58:32,050 –> 00:58:35,810
how consultants, whether or not their candidates lose, still

872
00:58:35,810 –> 00:58:39,615
get paid. People were Fused by

873
00:58:39,615 –> 00:58:42,915
this voters are confused by this because they believe that

874
00:58:43,455 –> 00:58:46,895
they’re voting for the man or the woman who is on the

875
00:58:46,895 –> 00:58:50,660
ballot, and what they don’t realize is they’re

876
00:58:50,660 –> 00:58:54,180
voting for the machine that put the man or the

877
00:58:54,180 –> 00:58:57,725
woman on the ballot. And the machine is run by

878
00:58:57,725 –> 00:59:01,425
men whose interests do not align with theirs.

879
00:59:03,244 –> 00:59:06,920
Over the last 4 years in America, there has

880
00:59:06,920 –> 00:59:10,440
been a growing understanding of the nature of the

881
00:59:10,440 –> 00:59:13,420
machine behind the politician, the nature

882
00:59:13,905 –> 00:59:16,965
and the thought process of the billionaires

883
00:59:17,665 –> 00:59:21,045
behind our politics. Now

884
00:59:23,130 –> 00:59:26,650
On both the Republican and Democrat side, there are these

885
00:59:26,650 –> 00:59:30,410
billionaires. There are people who made their money in hedge funds, and

886
00:59:30,410 –> 00:59:34,050
there are people who made their money, selling widgets. But both

887
00:59:34,050 –> 00:59:37,825
of them would like to see the machine work

888
00:59:37,825 –> 00:59:41,630
for them. And the average voter, well, they can be

889
00:59:41,630 –> 00:59:45,470
damned. But the average voter now has access to

890
00:59:45,470 –> 00:59:48,995
the Internet, and now has access to social media and now has

891
00:59:48,995 –> 00:59:52,675
access to Google and research. The average

892
00:59:52,675 –> 00:59:56,055
voter now has access to more data and information

893
00:59:56,500 –> 01:00:00,339
than the average working man did in Theodore Roosevelt’s time. And what

894
01:00:00,339 –> 01:00:04,099
they’re doing with that information is they are using it to

895
01:00:04,099 –> 01:00:05,400
break the machine.

896
01:00:08,174 –> 01:00:11,934
By the way, the candidates that come out of those

897
01:00:11,934 –> 01:00:15,660
attempts to break the machine, the Ramaswamis,

898
01:00:18,040 –> 01:00:21,660
the Readers, the Trumps,

899
01:00:22,545 –> 01:00:26,085
at least in American politics. The candidates

900
01:00:26,465 –> 01:00:30,005
the people that come out of that machine typically are fed

901
01:00:31,080 –> 01:00:33,580
by the dollars of average people.

902
01:00:35,080 –> 01:00:38,815
If you don’t believe me, I once read a story in The Wall Street Journal,

903
01:00:38,815 –> 01:00:42,595
this has to have been probably about 6 months ago, maybe 8,

904
01:00:43,135 –> 01:00:46,849
about how, on the Republican Party, the vast majority

905
01:00:46,910 –> 01:00:50,210
of the donations going not to the candidates that you see

906
01:00:50,910 –> 01:00:54,555
on the Wall Street Journal or in the Washington Post, with the candidates whose names

907
01:00:54,555 –> 01:00:58,255
you see in your local elections, the vast majority of those dollars

908
01:00:58,395 –> 01:01:01,849
well over 50% were coming from people who were

909
01:01:01,849 –> 01:01:04,829
donating $100 or less.

910
01:01:06,570 –> 01:01:10,335
Small donors have power now and the

911
01:01:10,335 –> 01:01:13,395
machine the machine that was once run,

912
01:01:14,255 –> 01:01:17,615
by billionaires, and they are still there, don’t get me

913
01:01:17,615 –> 01:01:21,260
wrong, is gradually being eroded in America,

914
01:01:21,560 –> 01:01:25,400
and it is being replaced. And this is a solution to a problem. It

915
01:01:25,400 –> 01:01:29,015
is being replaced by a machine that is infinitely more

916
01:01:29,015 –> 01:01:32,795
populist book on the left and on the political

917
01:01:33,095 –> 01:01:36,670
right. This, of

918
01:01:36,670 –> 01:01:40,110
course, causes consternation because when small things come

919
01:01:40,110 –> 01:01:43,090
along that upend and disrupt large things,

920
01:01:43,655 –> 01:01:47,035
like small media coming along and upending large media

921
01:01:47,335 –> 01:01:50,795
or small donors coming in and upending larger donors,

922
01:01:51,255 –> 01:01:54,470
chaos reigns, which is what we’ve had in American politics

923
01:01:54,930 –> 01:01:57,990
for at least the last 4 presidential

924
01:01:58,450 –> 01:02:02,085
election cycles. That chaos isn’t

925
01:02:02,085 –> 01:02:04,904
going anywhere because we’re working something out fundamentally.

926
01:02:05,845 –> 01:02:08,585
We’re working out the breaking of the machine

927
01:02:09,570 –> 01:02:12,310
and the remaking of it into something,

928
01:02:13,490 –> 01:02:16,710
well, something that represents the actual working man voter,

929
01:02:18,795 –> 01:02:22,495
The working man voter whose life might have tragic

930
01:02:23,035 –> 01:02:26,610
consequences. Case in

931
01:02:26,610 –> 01:02:30,370
point, I recently saw a picture of a person

932
01:02:30,370 –> 01:02:33,350
who was photographed getting ready to go and vote,

933
01:02:34,205 –> 01:02:37,985
And this person was in a wheelchair clearly

934
01:02:38,045 –> 01:02:41,745
unable to walk, clearly sickly. And this person

935
01:02:42,125 –> 01:02:45,650
had their hands together and was bowed in prayer.

936
01:02:47,630 –> 01:02:51,070
A person living a tragic life or

937
01:02:51,070 –> 01:02:54,714
maybe their life is fine. Maybe it was just a snapshot

938
01:02:54,855 –> 01:02:58,315
in Tom, but understanding

939
01:02:58,615 –> 01:03:02,380
that life is tragic and understanding that it cannot

940
01:03:02,380 –> 01:03:06,140
be made fair by any form of government and that even

941
01:03:06,140 –> 01:03:09,040
the best governments attempt to

942
01:03:11,305 –> 01:03:13,485
Smooth the Path Somewhat.

943
01:03:15,385 –> 01:03:19,069
I think that that is something that is understood and

944
01:03:19,069 –> 01:03:22,829
appreciated by people who make 1,000 of dollars

945
01:03:22,829 –> 01:03:26,210
a year more so than people

946
01:03:27,535 –> 01:03:31,375
who scraped the top or skim the top off

947
01:03:31,375 –> 01:03:35,215
of a hedge fund to the tune of 1,000,000,000 of dollars a

948
01:03:35,215 –> 01:03:38,940
year. The people who are much closer to the

949
01:03:38,940 –> 01:03:42,380
tragedies of life will probably build a more

950
01:03:42,380 –> 01:03:46,085
populous machine. Will it be a better

951
01:03:46,085 –> 01:03:49,525
one? Well, Teddy

952
01:03:49,525 –> 01:03:53,365
Roosevelt and I would probably agree

953
01:03:53,365 –> 01:03:57,200
on this. We cannot say whether it will

954
01:03:57,200 –> 01:04:00,640
be good or bad, whether it will be better or worse, but we can

955
01:04:00,640 –> 01:04:04,445
say that it will still, At the end

956
01:04:04,445 –> 01:04:07,825
of the day, be a machine.

957
01:04:40,005 –> 01:04:43,845
Alright. Well, time to turn the corner. Talk a little bit about staying on

958
01:04:43,845 –> 01:04:47,550
the path here. So how do we How do we leverage

959
01:04:47,770 –> 01:04:50,910
insights from Teddy Roosevelt’s essays on practical politics?

960
01:04:51,930 –> 01:04:55,105
And, of course, tying that into what we read in,

961
01:04:55,505 –> 01:04:59,025
Republic of Plato, in episode number 90 with Tom

962
01:04:59,025 –> 01:05:02,810
Libby. And we’re gonna be following up this, this

963
01:05:02,970 –> 01:05:06,270
episode, with our next episode, we’re gonna be talking with, Libby

964
01:05:06,490 –> 01:05:09,310
Unger about Woodrow Wilson’s treatise,

965
01:05:10,625 –> 01:05:14,305
When a Man Comes to Himself. So what

966
01:05:14,305 –> 01:05:18,065
do these 3 things have in common? What do these 3 sort of

967
01:05:18,065 –> 01:05:21,460
ideas, have in comment. What are we trying to explore

968
01:05:21,460 –> 01:05:25,060
here at the beginning of the year, here on the podcast? Well,

969
01:05:25,060 –> 01:05:28,885
couple of different things. Remember I said we’re going to

970
01:05:28,885 –> 01:05:32,425
talk about solutions to problems more so on this podcast this year

971
01:05:32,485 –> 01:05:36,060
rather than constantly, talking about just the problems

972
01:05:36,060 –> 01:05:39,200
themselves. And the biggest problem that,

973
01:05:39,740 –> 01:05:43,580
Essays on Practical Politics reveals, and it is a problem that continues

974
01:05:43,580 –> 01:05:47,244
on down to our time, is that we don’t like the things our

975
01:05:47,244 –> 01:05:51,025
leaders do. Very rarely

976
01:05:51,405 –> 01:05:55,010
do you find someone who actually likes something

977
01:05:55,069 –> 01:05:58,349
that a leader does. And by the way, this could be a leader in a

978
01:05:58,349 –> 01:06:01,230
small business. This could be a leader in a community. This could be a leader

979
01:06:01,230 –> 01:06:04,895
in politics. You know, know? And and Abraham Lincoln notoriously said,

980
01:06:04,895 –> 01:06:08,735
you know, you can only, you can only, you know, make, some

981
01:06:08,735 –> 01:06:12,520
of the people happy some of the time. Right? Steve Jobs once

982
01:06:12,520 –> 01:06:16,220
quipped that if you wanna make everyone happy, hand out ice cream.

983
01:06:16,360 –> 01:06:19,960
Right? Being a leader is inherently about making

984
01:06:19,960 –> 01:06:22,494
some people happy. And then and sometimes,

985
01:06:23,515 –> 01:06:27,355
those people are a large minority. Sometimes it’s 49% of the

986
01:06:27,355 –> 01:06:31,150
people who are unhappy and 51% of the people who are cheering you

987
01:06:31,150 –> 01:06:34,910
would have your back. Well, when we don’t like what our

988
01:06:34,910 –> 01:06:38,635
leaders do, what are the functions Sorrells as a people

989
01:06:38,635 –> 01:06:42,395
in America to get rid of those people. Well, Theodore Roosevelt

990
01:06:42,395 –> 01:06:46,000
would say the function is politics. The function is the

991
01:06:46,000 –> 01:06:49,840
election cycle. The function is keeping a thumb on

992
01:06:49,840 –> 01:06:53,220
the administration and on the bureaucrats. And by the way,

993
01:06:53,484 –> 01:06:57,325
that whole system was smaller in his Tom, but the thing that you have to

994
01:06:57,325 –> 01:07:00,765
keep in mind is that even during his

995
01:07:00,765 –> 01:07:04,490
time, the administrative bureaucracy was thought to be too large. We

996
01:07:04,490 –> 01:07:07,609
look back on it and we go, my gosh, wouldn’t it have been amazing to

997
01:07:07,609 –> 01:07:10,685
live back then, if you really love freedom

998
01:07:11,145 –> 01:07:14,984
or if you really love open spaces and exploration, you

999
01:07:14,984 –> 01:07:18,204
could do anything back then in a way that you could can’t do it now.

1000
01:07:18,869 –> 01:07:22,010
Well, from the perspective of people back then, there was too much government,

1001
01:07:22,789 –> 01:07:25,210
the same perspective that we have now.

1002
01:07:27,035 –> 01:07:29,995
If we don’t like the things our leaders do, we need to tell them. That’s

1003
01:07:29,995 –> 01:07:33,835
the solution. There are so many outlets to do that these

1004
01:07:33,835 –> 01:07:37,660
days, and we are telling them. We are yelling at them.

1005
01:07:37,660 –> 01:07:41,339
We are exploring those outlets. The Internet and social

1006
01:07:41,339 –> 01:07:44,985
media has, of course, exploded the ability to directly We

1007
01:07:44,985 –> 01:07:48,765
touch, and I don’t mean by with our hands, but directly

1008
01:07:48,825 –> 01:07:52,125
impact the nature of legislation that occurs

1009
01:07:52,665 –> 01:07:56,360
not necessarily in DC, but in our own state

1010
01:07:56,360 –> 01:07:59,740
capitals, in our own towns, in our own backyards.

1011
01:08:00,520 –> 01:08:04,135
And then, of course, go vote. Right? Go get engaged.

1012
01:08:04,675 –> 01:08:08,455
Go sit in a caucus. Go figure out how votes are counted.

1013
01:08:09,315 –> 01:08:13,100
Myself, I used Tom, volunteered to be an election observer.

1014
01:08:13,100 –> 01:08:16,780
I did that for many, many years while I lived, in another state than the

1015
01:08:16,780 –> 01:08:20,085
one that I currently live in now. And so observing

1016
01:08:20,225 –> 01:08:23,925
elections gave me insight into the on the ground election

1017
01:08:23,984 –> 01:08:27,370
process. What’s writers, what’s wrong, What’s good, what’s

1018
01:08:27,370 –> 01:08:30,750
bad, and where the angles

1019
01:08:31,050 –> 01:08:34,604
are. Get involved. Tell your

1020
01:08:34,604 –> 01:08:37,965
leaders that you don’t like the things they’re

1021
01:08:37,965 –> 01:08:41,725
doing. The Jesan problem that faces us is that they don’t

1022
01:08:41,725 –> 01:08:45,330
listen to us when we tell them that we don’t like what

1023
01:08:45,330 –> 01:08:49,090
they’re doing. And the reason why they don’t listen to us is

1024
01:08:49,090 –> 01:08:52,825
because we’re approaching very often The Problem

1025
01:08:52,885 –> 01:08:55,865
Wrong, or we’re approaching it from an ego driven perspective.

1026
01:08:56,565 –> 01:09:00,165
Roosevelt actually has a piece in here that I didn’t read in his essays on

1027
01:09:00,165 –> 01:09:02,729
practical politics about all the letters that he received,

1028
01:09:03,590 –> 01:09:07,189
from various members of his constituency when he was

1029
01:09:07,189 –> 01:09:10,490
in Albany. And, you know, he he amusedly

1030
01:09:11,109 –> 01:09:14,774
sort of defines these letters, and defines these

1031
01:09:14,774 –> 01:09:18,314
misses in these communications as coming from people who are outsiders.

1032
01:09:18,854 –> 01:09:22,479
Right? And, you know, he describes

1033
01:09:22,780 –> 01:09:26,540
that the number of men who persist I’m gonna quote directly from this. The number

1034
01:09:26,540 –> 01:09:30,325
of men who persisted writing one leaders of praise, abuse and advice on every

1035
01:09:30,325 –> 01:09:34,005
conceivable subject is appalling, and the writers are of every grade from the

1036
01:09:34,005 –> 01:09:37,685
lunatic and the criminal up. The most difficult to deal with are men

1037
01:09:37,685 –> 01:09:41,510
with hobbies. There is the Protestant fool who thinks that our liberties

1038
01:09:41,510 –> 01:09:45,109
are menaced by the machinations of the church of Rome and his companion idiot who

1039
01:09:45,109 –> 01:09:48,330
wants legislation against all secret societies, especially the Masons.

1040
01:09:48,935 –> 01:09:52,314
Then there are the believers in isms of whom the women’s suffragists

1041
01:09:52,534 –> 01:09:56,135
stand out in the 1st rank. Now to the horror of my

1042
01:09:56,135 –> 01:09:58,920
relatives, I have always been a believer in women’s rights, but I must confess I’ve

1043
01:09:58,920 –> 01:10:02,680
never seen such a hopelessly impracticable set

1044
01:10:02,680 –> 01:10:06,040
of persons as the women’s suffragists who came up to Albany to get

1045
01:10:06,040 –> 01:10:09,824
legislation. They simply would not draw up their measures in proper form,

1046
01:10:11,244 –> 01:10:15,005
and on and on and on. If you wanna get the attention of

1047
01:10:15,005 –> 01:10:18,560
someone who’s in politics, someone who is a political

1048
01:10:18,654 –> 01:10:22,480
leaders, even in your town, you need to approach

1049
01:10:22,480 –> 01:10:26,275
them correctly. If you don’t like that

1050
01:10:26,275 –> 01:10:29,715
they don’t listen to you and do what they want, what you want them to

1051
01:10:29,715 –> 01:10:32,695
do, develop an interest in parliamentary politics

1052
01:10:33,290 –> 01:10:37,130
and develop an interest in the nature of elections. Yeah.

1053
01:10:37,130 –> 01:10:40,810
Yeah. Yeah. It’s sexy once every 4 years, right, Tom talk about

1054
01:10:40,810 –> 01:10:44,605
who’s at the top of particular ticket. It’s less sexy to

1055
01:10:44,605 –> 01:10:48,125
do the work 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10,

1056
01:10:48,125 –> 01:10:51,805
12 years beforehand to get that person to the top of a

1057
01:10:51,805 –> 01:10:55,230
ticket. And it all starts in your own backyard.

1058
01:10:56,730 –> 01:11:00,350
Finally, the last objection, the last problem that

1059
01:11:00,490 –> 01:11:04,075
Roosevelt offers us a solution for his essays on practical

1060
01:11:04,075 –> 01:11:07,915
politics is this one. I don’t have time to track all

1061
01:11:07,915 –> 01:11:11,650
of this down. Well, Hae san, I don’t have the time to pay

1062
01:11:11,650 –> 01:11:15,409
attention to politics. Hae san, I don’t have time to pay attention to

1063
01:11:15,409 –> 01:11:19,075
all the nonsense going on. I vote for these people once every couple of

1064
01:11:19,075 –> 01:11:22,915
years or once every 4 years. Isn’t that enough? Why do I have to know

1065
01:11:22,915 –> 01:11:25,875
parliamentary politics? Why do I have to know about the nature of elections? Why do

1066
01:11:25,875 –> 01:11:28,739
I have to know the policies? Why do I have to know who the donors

1067
01:11:28,739 –> 01:11:31,220
are? Why do I have to know all this stuff? I pay those people to

1068
01:11:31,220 –> 01:11:34,020
be experts to know all that stuff so that I can go off and do

1069
01:11:34,020 –> 01:11:37,435
the stuff that I’m an expert in. They’re not coming down and learning about my

1070
01:11:37,435 –> 01:11:40,875
job. To wit, I say

1071
01:11:40,875 –> 01:11:44,670
this. You’re correct. They don’t come

1072
01:11:44,670 –> 01:11:48,369
down to you and learn your job,

1073
01:11:50,355 –> 01:11:53,955
But you do go up to them and tell them how to do their job

1074
01:11:53,955 –> 01:11:55,015
all of the time.

1075
01:11:59,420 –> 01:12:02,960
One of the simplest ways to battle

1076
01:12:03,020 –> 01:12:05,680
the I don’t have time to track all of this down

1077
01:12:07,195 –> 01:12:11,035
idea is to listen to more podcasts like this

1078
01:12:11,035 –> 01:12:14,155
one, and there’s several other ones that are out in the market today that could

1079
01:12:14,155 –> 01:12:17,650
inform you. I would normally say listen to

1080
01:12:17,650 –> 01:12:21,330
radio and read at least a couple of journals that are

1081
01:12:21,330 –> 01:12:24,715
good public policy journals, but reading has gone by the

1082
01:12:24,715 –> 01:12:28,315
wayside, as I know. That’s why I host this that’s why I host this

1083
01:12:28,315 –> 01:12:32,050
podcast. Podcast, listen to others like it,

1084
01:12:32,050 –> 01:12:35,570
where you can break down ideas into smaller chunks that are

1085
01:12:35,570 –> 01:12:39,385
understandable. But at an even more practical level, Stop

1086
01:12:39,385 –> 01:12:42,905
watching Netflix. Stop doom

1087
01:12:42,905 –> 01:12:45,724
scrolling through Instagram and Facebook.

1088
01:12:46,985 –> 01:12:50,750
Put away the dopamine high of

1089
01:12:51,450 –> 01:12:54,910
whatever social media platform you particularly care for and

1090
01:12:57,985 –> 01:13:01,425
Pick up some interest. Pick up some

1091
01:13:01,425 –> 01:13:04,245
caring in your local political interests.

1092
01:13:05,590 –> 01:13:08,890
I don’t know if you know this, but in most local school board elections,

1093
01:13:09,430 –> 01:13:13,175
less than 2% of the available voters vote in

1094
01:13:13,175 –> 01:13:16,935
a local school board election. That means in an average town

1095
01:13:16,935 –> 01:13:20,635
of 10,000 people, less than 100 vote

1096
01:13:21,095 –> 01:13:24,650
in an election for school board. And

1097
01:13:24,650 –> 01:13:28,090
yet those are the people on that school board that are

1098
01:13:28,090 –> 01:13:31,704
determining what kind of education children in the schools

1099
01:13:32,644 –> 01:13:36,164
get. And those children in the schools become adults, and those

1100
01:13:36,164 –> 01:13:39,789
adults can become your coworkers, and some of them will become

1101
01:13:39,789 –> 01:13:43,630
your boss or your manager or your leader. Might be a really

1102
01:13:43,630 –> 01:13:47,305
good idea to show up for the school board elections. They

1103
01:13:47,305 –> 01:13:50,365
actually may matter more than who sits

1104
01:13:51,305 –> 01:13:54,445
in the Oval Office in Washington DC.

1105
01:13:57,619 –> 01:14:01,460
Just some things to think about and to take as solutions to problems that

1106
01:14:01,460 –> 01:14:04,599
we have during an election year 2024

1107
01:14:05,665 –> 01:14:09,365
and in all future election years where you will be listening to this

1108
01:14:10,305 –> 01:14:13,605
as we listen and as we read essays

1109
01:14:14,170 –> 01:14:17,230
on practical politics by Theodore Roosevelt.

1110
01:14:19,289 –> 01:14:22,835
And well, That’s it for

1111
01:14:22,835 –> 01:14:23,335
me.

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