tv After Words Sen. Ben Sasse Them CSPAN November 11, 2018 9:01pm-10:03pm EST
senator t13 it's great to have you on afterwards about interviewing you with this huge best-selling book. i love it i appreciate you asking me to do this this is the first you've done on the book quick. >> my pleasure people are all over the country are watching this. sometimes at 2:00 in the morning so what do you recommend for insomnia quick. >> why are you up at 3:00 a.m.? . >> getting to the real interview it is a wonderful book a prescription for what could be better but also a celebration of love letter to
america more specifically to nebraska. that's where i want to start so the characters in the scenery focusing on fremont nebraska and the wonderful people started with friends and family and neighbor so let's start there. let's just start with data. >> you went to harvard. >> i was not good enough to play sports. >> good answer. >> they knew it would not play in lincoln. everybody needs to be in love from where they are from. senator - - from half world if you cannot find the texture of
things it's hard to transfer your love to bigger and broader and wider community. >> that is a good synopsis of your book but tell me about your family. . >> fifth generation to bask in. and one generation letter that we celebrate in nebraska then it was part of the homestead act. farmers and want to get land and help these communities all over nebraska. to sound hyper german crabs and lockers. people competing to see how heavily accented. >> growing up in a large family in the area quick.
>> of range of like all my grandparents grew up on the farm, my mom, my grandpa who never went to college himself worked for 35 years as a business manager. >>'s you have members of your family quick. >> my dad and mom met while my dad was a student there i grew up on the edge of the campus so grandpa left the farm at 25000 per bit - - person town growing up connected to the college my mom grew up on the farm and the parents on both sides grew up on the farm. >> so you are super local even with washington d.c. spend as
much time as you can in nebrask nebraska. >> now they are both retired. mom is in good health dad is in medium health he has had kidney health but so he's to be the guy that introduced weightlifting to our town. so my dad was a bodybuilder and now a shriveled old guy they call him coach. >> because he was when - - you are so proud to be his son even you had little sasse on your uniform. >> yes but wanted to be connected to a tribe. >> your mother was a bank teller in fremont.
>> she was a stay-at-home mom and a night teller before that and i was a couple years older exactly when i came into existence. >> and with that declining local tribes out of long-duration and mom existed at exactly the time bank tellers were scared they would be displaced by automatic teller machine robots. >> host: we will get into that because that is an important topic.
with these adjectives. a husband and dad conservative republican and a cornhusker football addict. obviously is not a level of importance. >> what does that mean to be conservative today quick. >> i think the heart of conservativism is one - - conservativism is gratitude we inherited a structure we are a bunch of sinners the world could descend into chaos at any time but we have a framework for ordered liberty so people can live their actual lives and communities of love and persuasion , innovation and entrepreneurship. being a conservative starts with the assumption that we all inherited a bunch of things we need to learn to be grateful for there's a lot more to say and policy since
consummate - - but there is a lot we have inherited that we need to conserve. we are blessed we need to pass along those blessings. >> host: you talk about the blessings of what you came in living from where you came from remembering the things passed on to you and conserving those. so in essence it isn't economic policies but a way of thinking. >> we are skeptical of those european words but yes. [laughter] . >> remembering is a good way to say it so how often are people called to remember and we are supposed to remember that so if you have those nouns of identity one of the weird things about a moment is the fact we get them out of order. that is good and important but
some cannot be put in front of others i am genuinely husker addict if my kid cries when sports go poorly we have to see don't cry because you lost the game but when i was nine and ten i cried because it was so rare it was dramatic. >> the average was ten.2 wins. >>'s is a different experience but it is weird to be so in touch with football you would neglect your wife your kids you should not neglect your duties as a husband or father i think there's a lot happening in politics and civic life where people are getting identities out of order i'm a republican and conservative but that cannot be top two or three identity marker one of the things that
is worked about our time is people are willing to take partisan identities to run them up the flagpole and that's not healthy. >> host: the title of your best-selling book teeten so this is a solutions book let's start with the problem and your analysis and how the country can look better or be better and then we will have assignments and then be ready to go again. >> so this one key point so there are three kinds of people in america today. those who are mobile and those who are stuck. >> that doesn't have positive
connotations. that characterizes - - characterizes a lot of people so first of all, this is very autobiographical so to understand senator t13 you understand the relationship with your parents, kids, wife, fremont nebraska, i have known you for years and i feel like i know you better. this was routed with a highly mobile life so to explain how the book comes together you were undergrad at harvard at saint john's college in annapolis a consultant to dcg an assistant professor university of texas austin with hhs including assistant
secretary stint president of the university in fremont nebraska that we talked about and now a senator you are a lot of things. >> i have the outlier. >> but the youth movement what you have done a lot this is a celebration but yet your life typifies mobility. put that together for me to make these three categories one of the most basic things that's happening in our time is we have more mobile and more stock and a lot less routed so much of the title of teeten is anti- tribes that our more informed opposition then constructive but i don't
think political tribalism is that story of the moment but to fill that vacuum and the kinds of tribes to meet people happy family or deep friendship or meaningful work or local worship. all of those are undermined by the moment that we are at in history a lot of positive things we can and will say about technology but we have to be aware that is enabling us to flatten the world so we can just traipse across the surface so lots of people who traditionally have been routed are making understandable choices to become mobile but as they do the ecosystem left behind are really different. so a big share the people that stay in one place are those who have a decreasing number of choices there is broken stuff always i'm not a sociologist but of the moment
a lot of places are defined by the people who are stuck there not those who are choosing to invest and those people keep hopping i don't want to say precisely but to regard as things i'm guilty of it's too easy to see the grass is greener the more you jump the more you hop the more times you are mobile the harder it is to put down roots in the future but also the harder it is for everybody to find places that are interesting to put down roots because everybody plays musical chairs so those who are rooted could be mobile but choose those virtues and benefits. there's nothing wrong to be mobile for a time but it should be a means to an end because of the stuff that drives happiness with meaningful long-term work
those are all tightly connected and right now now there is places how to rebuild. >> the fraser use over and over in this book that you call it the hometown gym on a friday night. what is that quick. >> my dad was a football wrestling coach i live in a 25000 person manufacturing town from when i was born with a pig plant now it is a new chicken plant that is thriving we do egg manufacturing that
is the breadbasket of the world with lots of agricultural industries require small or medium-sized towns. so this town in the seventies and eighties there was a sense of people from the town with racial divides that this town was pretty homogenous back in the day that that would be any political differences? but everybody was a fremont tiger. that's where they would gather on a friday night. and that is what may divide you. my dad into referee for
different sports and to in any given week but all the coaches would end up in our kitchen talking late into the evening and they knew of these connection of the kid that sprained their ankle and picking them up from the hospital after the images come back he did not break the angle and where to drop off the casserole. that was personified if you go to a basketball game on friday or saturday night in the winter it was a picture of town assembled her homeroom. after college after i got married i was living in chicago across the street from
northwestern university. they went from being one of the worst football teams on their way to being pretty decent in 1994. these are not our stadium or arbor people but this is the same feeling that i grew up with. we pay taxes and about a dozen states following different opportunities across the country and every place we went felt like this is a place to love your neighbor but yet it doesn't feel like the gym. it doesn't feel like what i am use to so i thought it was just us that we were moving a lot we could not find these places but it turns out so writing about that bowling alone phenomenon.
putnam found that more americans were bowling in the 81 - - late 19 nineties but that was the lowest number of history so he dug in to find out sector after sector , community and industry americans were much less neighborly than in the past and something was happening. >> host: we call that social capital that ties and trust are starting to fray and as a result with the epidemic but let me ask you this. obviously it touched you with the hometown gym on a friday night and i felt nothing when i read that because i grew up in seattle washington but i feel nothing.
there is no gym. there was friday night i guess that comes to everybody but i have no sense of that. what does that mean? am i bereft? is that a problem? . >> there are lots of forms of manifestation that can happen in lots of ways but you put the right heading on what this project is about. serving in the senate where people act like politics are a mess we need to fix it by beating other people more in politics. >> so the answer should be more political winning at all think politics can fix this problem i think we are living through a time with a lot of economic back stories we should unpack but we are massively evaporating social capital and that comes from the disruption of technology in economic history.
>> celeste just stop and talk about this so basically talk about tribalism to say unilaterally negative phenomeno phenomenon. but when you don't have those good tribes or communities when you are bereft of the hometown gym you will put something inside of that whole inside of yourself where people are rooted and moving around and not paying attention to the local communities but cable tv shows on one of the cable networks and don't know their neighbors they will grab onto the first thing that gets their attention and is harmful to america. politics is so dangerous because it's a substitute for
the hometown gym on friday night. >> yes. exactly. that's a little nerve-racking to unpack happiness literature but the four things that drive whether or not people are happy is it a nuclear family, deep friendship? meaningful work and sense of shared vocation that you can do with other people and theological or philosophical framework? family is local. deep friendship is local most work is local. and at least the worshiping assembled aspect of theology is local all four are good tribes and it is a good thing to love your sister and care about your cousin to feel that instinctive sense that is not transactional somebody is hurting, i hurt my teenage daughter comes home from
school somebody mad one - - made their day or the boy flying down the street on his bike i don't choose to be happy i am just happy that is what friendship is like but it is a collapse statistically of the nuclear family for 70 percent of americans with those educational opportunities friendships have been cut in half in the last 27 years in 1990 when i graduated college the average american three.2 friends now it is one one.843 percent they have no confidence to have one friend or zero and four there is a huge difference. >> people who have a expanded sense of the self not a social media friend to rip somebody off in the senate to save my
friend. [laughter] like not transactional talking about your people there is that friendship that you talk about that you refract the goodness that you both understand and you actually argue with each other. >> people had four. now they had one. just under three decades. that's a crisis. the average duration at a farm in the seventies when i was a kid for primary breadwinner was 26 years now at a firm is four.2. so that means males in particular who ever really hard time building relationships after age 25 they don't develop new friends they atrophy the ones they use to have by age 30 and 35 it is hard to aspire to move up the
ladder with your factory job to buy a cabin next to each other by the time you are 50 at the lake to make 60 percent of six-year-old men and 30 percent of their wives say the best friend is there has been so that's what you are talking about. and this gets into a key topic that is the epidemic not of hate or disdain but the root is loneliness. the fact that too many people to have faith, family, community, friens , house of worship they don't have these institutions with the meaning of happiness. and as a result of that let's talk about that for a second
then we talk about some solutions. the biggest part of the book i have to say is when you become senator sasse the historian. look into the essence an excellent conservative and then figure out how to make progress going forward. the reason why i recommend this book to everybody it shows how to be a true progressive. let's talk about loneliness and you talk about this a lot. with the behavior of social scientist. wow you quickly become a historian. tell me why you are so concerne concerned. >> there is a phenomenon i lived in chicago the mid- 19 nineties and in 1995 the great
chicago heat wave. everybody mrs. o'leary's cow but the heatwave was a much bigger deal killed lots of people we just don't notice it in the same way because they are not those iconic images but the temperature for those ten days got so hot that all the people literally bait to death in their apartments. in public health experts went in afterwards they found out the death count was much higher than they had known it it turned out statistically much more male than female. >> of similarly situated people by age. why is this? a lot of these men had no relationships at all.
these men the loneliest people in america are college freshmen there's just a big moment when they are uprooted except for that moment to lose your drive and community in your hometown gym on a friday night later in life as people atrophy more and more relationship statistically the loneliest people are old men. if you talk to experts at the national institutes of health there is a real consensus emerging the last seven or eight years the number one health crisis in america from an actual disease basis is loneliness ten years ago nobody would have said this they would have said obesity the number one health expenditure but now 70 percent of obesity is part of loneliness you don't get fat
and then lose your friends. you lose your friends and you become isolated you sit around and eat instead. a lot of things feel like they are behavioral to be tackled without any capital or community turn out to be much more connected to community and neighborhood. and those that work on - - look the same with racial profile with very different health outcomes and one of those drivers is institutional america for 20 percent of americans with the country's leading expert of loneliness so i know you've read it but 20 percent of people suffer from loneliness to the point it is a detriment to their quality of life it is this proportionately college freshmen and especially men
and the answer to that is not mtv or not talk radio or not even senators on c-span. that's great but that will not fill the whole is what you are saying. . >> there is a high statistical correlation between happiness and knowing the person who lives two doors from you and many people don't live one - - know the person the lives two doors down and the inputs to that are complicated social media going from 200 of the 500 friends or 500 or 1000 you don't get happier if you go two or three real friends you do get happier and you are spending more time on social media you're less likely to know the person two doors down so that neighborly america a lot of scholars see that
atrophy of neighborly america and even though technology teaches us to be rootless. >> but fortunately unlike so much stuff that comes out in the nonfiction world you will just not isolate the problem have everybody say yes the biggest part is the solutions. we have to find the solutions but basically i want to ask a couple quick things. first, there is a connection between the problem and where we are in american politics today. the book starts off in fremont nebraska and it's hard for me to relate to but now where you
are now in the epicenter of the outrage of the industrial complex. you're on television, giving speeches in the senate, suffered through the ghastly kavanaugh hearing the matter what side you are on it was ghastly for america. so you connect the two it's only a couple of chapters but tell me how you talk about something that outrage industrial complex that gives somebody that false high from the hometown gym on friday night feeling it does not exist. >> i'm a cultural and intellectual historian by background not economic historians went to anyone here to look at structural but we should be aware the way we consume media so back to the frame of the book the long
last third what do we do about that? the first third is the collapse of deep friendships but the middle third which is short how we go from atrophy natural healthy tribes to the rise of the anti- try we can understand that dysfunction without being of the where we consume media right now. so in the fifties everybody has a lot of shared content. writing about this in a meaningful way "i love lucy" had a 68 percent share 60 percent of all households that met 95 percent knew within the last week so when
you have a lot more choice in between ice cream parlor of 400 flavors or three we will all choose the one with 400 flavors but most are happier only for three of not for centrally planned government but at the level of behavioral habit and personal virtue it's useful to understand chocolate ice cream is enough if you have 400 choices you can make them but there are ways to go through a decision set of 400 leaves you less satisfied that's the way we consume media now. when you fight with a core worker disagree on a project with a neighbor on politics you would just give it back to
your shared experiences like "i love lucy" would now a 93 percent have access to 500 channels or more we have almost nothing in common. so at a pop-culture level the way we consume news is becoming a much quicker confirmation bias feedback loop to tell us what we already thought was true the two most-watched program right now is sean hannity number 13.2 million every night which is 1 percent of the public and rachel maddow is the second most weeks and she is nine tenths of 1 percent. what ends up happening if you try to only speak to 1 percent or less you start to talk about people that are not in your universe as if they are not really people you don't
need to fairly reconstruct their arguments because you don't think conceivably they will be in your audience anyway. >> you're talking about the host. >> and the viewers that we know the people that live next-door to us a lot less than we use to. >> and also we put our social media feed and listening going to campuses where we have our confirmation bias so we talk more about those people than those that disagree with us with that outrage industrial complex but i hear you saying in the book that some people are getting famous to become more powerful on fragmenting our society.
>> there is a phenomenon on cable news and talk radio and click beat called and not picking with 320 million americans there is always some jackass doing something stupid. this is inevitable. if you are on the far left and want to misrepresent voter like donald trump you can find someone doing something terrible kicking his dog to say this is the view of all trump supporters of animal rights or make america great america - - again you can see a jerk at mcdonald's to wear slap the hat off the head you can find that but that doesn't mean it is representative of the democratic or republican america thinks about the policy or legislative issues or human dignity in their neighborhood. right now, a lot of what we talk about in politics is a
continuum of right to left but potentially is the intensification of political addiction so you have your political identity crowding out other identities in the sense treat your neighbor as a whole person and we the consumers are not usually aware enough of the algorithm will reshape what we read tomorrow so we end up with the world the person living right next door to has a completely different picture of what's happening in america because of the feedback confirmation loops we need to make sure we break out that all of america is the 1 percent who agrees
how terrible that other 50 percent is. >> instead of watching cable news, getting more outrage , can you believe what they are doing over there? . >> instead of that we are at the hometown gym. that's your point we are in the community maybe not politically but just like us with moms and dads that's why a thick community could solve the problem yes i want to acknowledge there is no simple solution because the paradox of choice is like we consume ice cream or cable news in my little farm town of 25000 people the same place that we moved back to ten years ago, i have been away 20 years at that point it turns out the attendance at all local sporting events is much lower
some of that is the atrophy of community but there are new sports not just consuming media there isn't just football and wrestling and track we also have soccer, hockey. lacrosse. . >> but now it even affects nebraska so the answer is not fremont nebraska her se is not sentimental but something that can exist that needs to exist in the current environment so what we need we need progress toward what we once had but in the best current and future form. >> that's the important part so now i want to talk about the agenda going forward
coming in two parts. first, becoming americans you are working but remembering taking the best from the past and applying that to the future it is increasingly fragmente fragmented, but there are solutions for this problem. hyphenated americans or a sense of more important per se with this type of margin but this is slightly different so we want you to explain this to people so now this is the historian to answer the two americas that hold the solution to this problem tell
an idiot. but that doesn't really fit with that fundamental anthropology. >> i have not seen it. it seems to me that every american in our system is supposed to conceive of themselves as a minority. one of those virtues of lots of factions is everybody has this regularly repeated psychological experience to say wow i don't have that majority view with this precise theological things and
with heaven and hell and the nature of god or the revelation or whatever the topic is to debate i don't want government to solve that problem because i want there to be room for me even if i'm not in the popular majority position for the moment. madison is the philosopher of anti- majority one --dash with those american ideas if you want to reduce the philosophy to one word is anti- majoritarianism. with our new democratic republic we don't want government to move so fast to run over human beings that could have dissenting views to persuade more people that have that majority view to fall out of favor in the future that is reticent to use power to run people over that is madison. >> so you talk about this
personally to regret the fact the current environment to have 100 percent is effectively zero you have done your work you actually want to leave something for the other guy you were in the minority because actually you are with my already so that's a good way to do business and politics and what we should have in our political system going forward. george washington. >> you want me to unpack vertical with separation of powers. >> but the ten hour version on the internet afterwords is well served by the ten hours. [laughter] . >> i got to participate in a long senate tradition of 110
years for the last 110 years the senate has once a year somebody stands up to read george washington's farewell address he did not want to become king george he resigned his commission the actual king george the third was stunned that he would really not seize power after the constitutional congress when washington is pushed to serving as the first president by acclamation he takes office and says he will not be king after two terms he decides it's important to teach them how to say goodbye and go back to mount vernon and he was an active member of the group of the society of cincinnati of those that would care for the health needs of retired soldiers.
>> a great statesman from ancient room one - - rome brought back to his farm gives up his commission. >> in such a hero to the american revolutionaries the roman general emperor regarded power as a means to the end to go back home to farm again and that american idea taps into the sense with all the original sin of native americans 4 million people to be a universal idea of a more perfect union today encompasses 320 million we believe the center of the world is not washington d.c. where we are sitting for these power centers how to use the armies and deploy them.
we think the armies are meant to maintain a framework for liberty so people across the 50 states and watching can view their community as the place of the neighborhood hometown gym should live. >> so in december 1796 or 1797 he decides to write this address and i get to deliver this in the senate for when washington left offices through the civil war the most basic text of what america means. they don't read the constitution but kids read in schools for the first 70 years of american life was george washington's farewell address to explain he would lay down power yet again and now at the end of the second term he wants to go back to mount vernon teach them how to say
goodbye and how to go back home because the center of the world should be the place where you love your spouse and raise your kids. >> but this is the lesson from today i did not have fremont nebraska but there should be something that i could build to go home to not my work, not my career, not television but thicker than that and more meaningful than that. >> host: prescription number one was become americans again. number two is a non sequitur. why is this up there in importance with medicine and
washington? i think i know but tell me, why is this so critical? . >> if we don't figure out as an amazing tool where you actually sitting with your kids and hosting your neighbors if there is a fatherless kid in your community you invite him to make part of your extended network come if we don't get that right then all of the upsides of technology will be net negative that technology upside of living through the digital revolution with more total economic outpu output, more high quality low-cost goods and services , but you want that freedom to not undermine the ability to put down roots so that analog
of mass and dirt dust realization 140 years ago the way we know we are going through something similar about the public health crisis which is loneliness you have the third consecutive year of life expectancy decline all the way back to the civil war but as long as we have had it never had three declining years. what happened up to the thirties the prohibition 85 or 95 percent supported you should make alcohol illegal because it was a loneliness crisis going from the farm to the city and there were kids passed out everywhere we have to figure out what to do with this crisis of hopelessness.
our depths of despair like opioid overdose more broadly, addiction, suicide the reason life expectancy is falling overwhelmingly the depth of despair because life seems so pointless to industrial urban america that people figured out how to rebuild those habits of community. >> fremont is of the fact it's agrarian but ethnic neighborhoods in the forties and fifties became social capital wellsprings and we had it figured out transitioning from lifelong work too much more digital portable jobs to allow us to be constantly mobile to figure out how to rebuild the social capital to create new wellsprings so we reverse that trend. we need to restore that in one piece learns how to manage
technology better so we don't constantly take that bait. >> we have low quality substitutes so for those real friendships that's a problem because those are hugely attractive and abundant no matter where you are you could be walking down the street setting limits is a smart thing to do with the average american is checking their iphone every four.three minutes and that is not healthy. >> we locked them up before we came in here. tell me quickly why i should buy a cemetery plot to make you have lots of opportunities of the world and it turns out
you could traipse across the globe from age 50 through 55 and all of a sudden you rediscover your mortality and wish you had thicker community than you have it is better to have the fact you are finite in mind from the beginning to plan backwards c would vest in someone who is trying to grow roots not die have a repotting problem if you transplant pot one time it still grows roots the second and third time it stops trying it internalizes it will get cut off and it's wasting so as a huge share most of us who spent a lot of time mobile saying it will probably move again there's no reason to get to know those
people that has no transactional benefit in the short term because you benefit to this community you should replenish it and you yourself should not flee to wrigley field just because one annoying person is talking at the dinner table assume you will engage them in six months even if you move to assume that you will be there for nine years ago i decided to take my parents advice to buy a plot at st. paul lutheran church cemetery on the ridge 12 miles from our house. do i think we will never move again? i don't know but we decided to act like we would stay in this community as long as we are there if you always assume that's we will die then eventually you will be right. >> and it changes your incentives.
>> i want to be clear this book is not technophobic i think the digital revolution is fascinating i have four for the mckinsey company that has a study that says the majority of the american workforce will probably be freelanced from three years from today 50 percent of the public will not earn more than 50 percent of their pay from anyone employer they will begin cobbling together lots of different jobs it is more complicated than huber but humans are smart in our brains figure out how to produce more effectively over time in that curve of productivity will go like that so that average duration of your job and firm and industry will get shorter and shorter. that is fascinating at the level of economics, technology it is mixed and scary but i
don't want to apply just because we are the richest people, middle-class, people, middle-class, america is the richest of all history i don't want to just say there are material benefits and spiritual cost and are also benefits but we have to figure out what those new habits look like there is a guy at duke doing work on economy three.oh essentially looking at the transition from agrarian to industrial to hyper industrial to digital economics. think about what future nomadic society looks like agrarianism when we first put down roots than the disruption to cities we would re-create what was great now go from urban industrial to more local some of those virtues is what humans use to know as hunter
gatherers we don't know all of this at one of the interesting ways is one of the cost of renting something became a lot cheaper than storing so there is an example if you could rent a drill it's a long example that there are two kinds the 50-dollar drill that almost always the battery is dead or what the experts yet - - the experts use them he will not buy that so we rent it but i could rent it for five minutes in the drone can drop it off at my mailbox i would much prefer to rent the drill two times a year than the $300 drill that somebody's - - some deals maintains my $50.1 usually has a dead battery. if you think about ridesharing in the city it's obvious if you live in a city the act of
start opening our minds to the possibility that some of the solutions to the crisis and technologies, some of the problems might be partially mitigated by technology as well. i don't want to just say stoic limitations on consumption. i want to think about what the next generation of less encumbering stuff might look like. >> host: conservative radical progress of technology and yet remembering here's the incredible thing about this interview 50 minutes have pass passed. we are going to have to stop and i'm grateful to you for writing this book for the viewers no doubt and i truly am looking forward to the wonderful things that are going to come next.
>> former federal reserve examiner discusses the close relationship between the new york federal reserve and the banks they regulate. after that the putative prize-winning historian discusses his new book on the founding fathers and coming up later tonight after words mac with nebraska senator ben sasse. i'm pleased to introduce carmen segarra and an attorney in private practice and cofounder
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