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tv   Charles Koch and Brian Hooks Believe in People  CSPAN  August 5, 2021 12:31am-1:33am EDT

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>> in june robert gottlieb the final editor of all of robert caro's books wrote an essay in "the new york times" on john gunther in the 900 page book europe 75 years ago called inside usa. in gottlieb's opinion, gunther was probably the best reporter america ever had. "
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prime example of this is true. the development effective vaccines as well as a host of other treatments happen in record time and in the co in the context of history is nothing short of miraculous. during toow the empowering of challenges and problems look what we have accomplished and overcome. when you do that who can doubt the ability of ingenuity? the book will discuss to believe in people bottom-up solutions to share this optimism regarding what empowered human beings canan accomplish and overcome. but also communicates genuine significant concern that we are increasingly trying to solve our challenges with w top-down approaches and more and more a banding problem
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solving at the local community and individual level by those that are closest to the problem with the most relevant knowledge. in order on —- in other words we are abandoning the paradigm from civilization of the past 300 years. i don't think the authors believe the authors need much of an introduction but i will give them one anyway is a genuine pleasure to welcome them to cato today. charles is onewi the greatest businessman of our lifetime with his father's help he returned to wichita the early sixties to help run the family business rock island and t14 industries on —- mining and now have been transformed into t14 industries that is now one of the largest and implying more than 130,000 people.
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and the s&p 500 just as noteworthy charles is one of been the foremost philanthropist his efforts have focused on investing in civil society to exemplify the bottom-up problem-solving approach while he has dedicated substantial resources to have a free and open society where every person can rise or every individual can have a prosperous and meaningful life. along the way he has a step this nonprofit goals including cofounding the cato institute. has been a long time since charles has spoken to cato we welcome him back the primary vehicle for philanthropy and social change stands together in a community of social entrepreneurs prior to his
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current responsibilities brian served for ten years as the o executive director as a premier research center for market oriented ideas advancing how markets work to improve people's lives and to apply economics to offer solutions for society's most pressing problem sharing my first-hand knowledge of joys and frustrations of managing a think tank has been a long-standing friend to cato charles and brian have recently read the book believe in people.ut in it they concede our country faces serious challenges but they insist that top-down approach to solve these problems is failing and will continue to fail i heard a
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call for dramatic change in approach to trust people on the individual and community level and in particular those that are closest to these problems of the most infinite knowledge to drive solutions in mrs. a call to action for all of us to recognize the special ability to contribute to these challenges and cannot underestimate each of the impact each of us has to solve them i am delighted brian and charles have join us to discuss the book in detail. charles you want your last book five years ago i heard you say on tv that your wife insisted she would never let you write another book. but yet you are here with your subsequent book so i assume the reasons for doing so were pretty important why did you write believe in the people and what are you hoping to accomplish? >> if you know my wife you know what she said was a little more severe than that. in fact. because i had a day job so most of my effort in writing a book was in the evenings and
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on the weekends which interfere just a little bit with family activities. she said just remember your next book will be with your next wife. she obviously didn't mean it but i had that pressure on one side but then on the other side brian was pushing me to take the principles that i described in good profit to build t14 industries and write a book how they could be applied by individuals in societies outside of business. so i started on that i have a lot of good ideas and a lot of good material that i couldn't seem to get it in the form that i thought it would accomplish what i had in mind
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so after four years of false starts and went back to brian and said thanks for getting me on this. i will give up the less you join me to stay in this out. so we spent the last year rewriting the whole thing and ended up with the book that you see, believe in people. my goal for the book from the beginning, and still is it would help many more people benefit from the principles of human progress that transformed my life and enable me to accomplish more than i ever dreamed. and is doing so today for many others and in fact the idea
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that enable social entrepreneurs over the last 200 years to transform the world. they did this by moving societies not perfectly but toward equal rights and mutual benefit where people more fully succeeded by assisting others in creating value for others and read many more people had the opportunity to realize their potential in this great enrichment started as societies began to believe in people and therefore began empowering them to discover their gifted recognize they could contribute and succeed.
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and then to take the next step and turn those gifts into valued skills which in turn they used to succeed by helping others succeed. 's what we help with this book it would help many more people take action to move us toward the ideal toward our north star that helps everybody rise. and i took to heart and learning these principles the whole range of ideas and philosophies including karl marx and one piece of wisdom was philosophers only interpret the world the point
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is to change it. that's what i have done on all of us not just to learn these ideas but apply them. >> you talk about changing the realtor or pry it —- period timeshift. what are some of those ideas? >> we will go even further to say we need many but anybody who is paying attention are looking around other country this isn't going well there has got to be a better way. we are not talking about small tweaks butyi truly leaning in and more fully applying thesear principles of human progress that charles justri mentioned i think of thoseti that are enshrined in the declaration of independence.
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that the cato institute was founded to advance and so many of us are working towards. this is the north star. so to get there we need to take it seriously. we do need a paradigm shift. the book puts forward three big ideas. the first is the notion the solution to our country's problems will have to be different and specific but the effective ones have one thing in common you have a deep belief in people. it sounds obvious but it is a paradigmd shift if you look at how we are doing things in the country right now our assistance are behaving as if most people don't have d anything to contribute that is wrong so we have to shift the paradigm with the belief in people and the second big idea the solutions that work best will be those that empower people from the bottom up rather than one-size-fits-all
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approach. that entails some pretty day changes in our thinking. the third big idea that we will unite with anyone to do right. we get a lot more done when we focus on the common ground withrs people who bring different perspectives or appear to bely different than we are rather than what we typically do as a society spend a lot of time searching where we differ then just focus on that. einstein said we willsa not solve the problems we have today with theo same ideas that were used to create them we havero to take that seriously we need a paradigm shift we need to rally the country around the ideas to help guide us forward to solve big problems. we think those have to be guided by the north star the principles of human progress.
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>> so thes classical liberal principles that gave rise to the great enrichment over the last 300 years them overtaken by what you said in the last part to unite with anyone i know that's from a great quote from frederick douglass you call him one of your heroes that he is a great example of the paradigm that you talk about of self-actualization to empower the individual. >> that's right. we wrote in the book he is a rolemo model for social entrepreneur. not only because he overcame so much and in spite of that, he accomplished so much
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he described his aha moment of what caused him to do that so there are lessons for all of us not that we will accomplish what frederick douglass did but we can learn from that if i could just mention a few, it'ss important the first is when he was eight years old. he learned he was not a slave because he was inferior but because he was being kept ignorant. he was determined to change that. so hee taught himself to read and then the next aha moment is when he was 16 he got the opportunity to teach sunday school to others who were enslaved and then to
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surreptitiously said he has all these problems and horrors of being a slave but what he said at last i found a way to contribute that was contribution motivated looking for ways to contribute and thene of course he was punished brutally for violating those rules that he couldn't take it anymore. so he beat up the slave breaker that they sent him to and because i don't care if they kill me i will not take this anymore and at last i am a man.
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i will leave if they kill me i don't care i t will escape. he escaped and got a job in the north and then earned a dollar on and said i'm not just a freeman i am a free working man once again to produce and contribute and then to go to these abolitionist rallies with all the top abolitionist were speaking and they called him toth speak and that he was the best speaker of them all. he found his gift and not to have vengeance against the horrors done to him and his people with those injustices against them and against all other people who are suffering women and immigrants and so
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on. that's a guide for all of us in by developing your gift that will help you become successful. if you lookk at someone like frederick douglass and then to say i cannot measure up to that makes them feel they don't have the individual contribution to make so what is interesting in the book with many case studies of a vibrant civil society and the
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state encroaching on our lives. those organizations helping to usewi with poverty are get themselves on the right trajectory. and individuals do make a difference. >> tell us more about those. >> and what we try to do in the book is tell stories that provide a guide for people who are looking to contribute to move our country closer to those ideals. the north star if you have a story like frederick douglass you think that goodness for incredible people like him.
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it will only be exceptional people like douglas that will move the country forward because the history of our country is a history of struggling to address injustices moving us closer to the north star in the social entrepreneurs that have done that, if you are panel of experts. and with the enslaved individual and he finds his gift and finds a way to literally change the course of world history. those are the stories we tell in the book the people that are closest to the problems that are best positioned to address them. so like poverty i in the country we open the book of a story we
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work with one —- an organization we work with it has the principles everyone has a gift with bottom-up solutions make a huge difference. and then founded by a again i named miller who grew up closest to the problem he is addressing. so what they do they don't tell people in poverty how to change they say a the answer to your challenges are within you. in the form of financial capital resources and we all rely on to be successful in our lives. and then to give $3500 over a couple of years not a ton of money but enough to make your difference. and then toli overcome poverty.
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and that approach is seen throughout all these different organizations to be tremendously effective in the face of tough fights. with that top-down alternative to a program like the family independence initiatives with the blue ribbon panel of experts to people what to do differently we spend trillions of dollars to do that but results speak for themselves the rate of poverty is not badged over 600 years but with family independence initiative it is a bottom-up solution a family that works with us for two years on average will improve their income byhi about 27 percent. that is huge relative of that baseline. anand is the real challenge of programs like this they double their savings and they realized to contribute and get on the right path so that
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bottom-up approach it really ist something that everybody can be engaged in and that's how if you file one —- find a way with a have to offer. >> can i mentioned another one? someone that i identify with a totally different background we have a similar moment. so out of self-defense he founded the blood in dallas. and of course god in all sorts of trouble and went to prison at 19.
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and then to say end time you are a natural leader. they want to associate with you and the problem is you have been leading for bad but you can also lead for good. and you can transform your life. and he says i didn't know i could do that. so he went to the library. and then to read all these books how to do it and read plato's republic and the people in the cave and those kept in the cave only saw shadows. they never sought reality i'm just livingvi in shadows i will
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go out and deal with reality and tried to help people rather than hurt people so he heard on the radio bishop omar about how to keep kids out of gangs, how to get the police and communities to work together and said i will join them. and then became a leader there and then at one of our events we offer the management framework market-based management to all the socialne entrepreneurs so how is that coming? first we are skeptical because we were running specialist like we run a gang.
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but then he went through how it was applying all the dimensions of market-based management and i said and time you learn market-based management quicker than any executive of any company we have ever acquired. talk about bottom-up that people do not know the potential of people who have never been in power and what it can do to transform them. >> this is not a new idea for people who have been working in classical liberalism you see u that in adam smith and the tocqueville. the role that the voluntary sector and civil society. and those to empower people
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what i describe as a family independence initiative is absolutely essential to the progress we can make and it is critical right now we tell the stories as a guide for people who are positioned to take action in similar ways and as an amazing storyteller and he used to challenge me. we are making the right arguments in economics chain by milton friedman. people will not be sitting around a campfire with the work we are doing with policy is important as it is. the stories in this book these
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are people using songs about and can inspire others to say this is the right way for our country to go forward. you have to celebrate the application of these ideas to demonstrate how it truly makes a difference in people's lives. if this isn't the answer than they are awfully scary. >> if we recognize we need. i'm shift in people's thinking, you don't get anywhere in politics until people change their paradigm. and then to go from top-down or bottom-up. what is involved of somebody changing their paradigm? what is a paradigm? it is t a worldview and those are evidenced it doesn't fit your paradigm.
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so this is heavy lifting to change your paradigm it is a weightlifter wanting to run a marathon. it takes strenuous effort and desire over time. so our job is with enough evidence and enough motivation to people to make that effort. so we have to show the stories that this works in that doesn't that will make your life better and those that you care about andth to eliminate the injustices you are worried about. but then we have got to celebrate to get the word out and we have got to scale and
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get this into people's consciousness so they are willing to make that effort. >> and the hockey stick that occurred over the last 300 years and with koch industries and that does occur to me that with those same principles to become so powerful, the challenges injecting them into sobriety, do you think this is the best way to tell the stories people get inspired by what they see ordinary folks from that initiative? >> you sold me but making that
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paradigm shift in societies. >> the best way to do it is experience that. >> it is enough to get people interested. so there is a better way than people have tos take action and see it for themselves that and to accomplish the goals that matter most to them and ultimately to help those around them that they care about. with that transformation in the key institutions that we rely on as a society to empower people for their potential. the role education plays, strong communities , businesses people work for and to create value in our society and sound public policy to play a critical
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role. and lastly you are working in a top-down environment that's the way things are right now and the data shows it is frustrating if you are a student and they say they are completely disengaged from their studies. education will not do its job. you are experiencing stifling environment that's what the data shows and nobody trust the government these days and for good reason. so if you work in any of those areas, take the first step. do as anton did start leaving for good. your teacher stop teaching to the test and innovate if you get the experience in and say this is working not just
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better for my students but for me then you are open to the paradigm shift that charles talks about. and fortunately there are tons ofio options are practical options to take the first step that can turn the principles more into a habit then something you look at from afar. >> to write about personal knowledge with the republic of science to the principles of human progress that we apply here at koch. and what we find to apply these principles, for example what makes usf successful at koch industries is to create value for allns constituencies. that is the first thing what
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capabilities with that would create value for the people in those organizations whether customers or suppliers and then empowering employees? communities and someone? they want us to succeed and is critical to succeeding long-term. as we d do this and then to go back to the concept of personal knowledge it's not just conceptual knowledge these habits became a part of yourself. not while they are still working here but they leave. they come in and see me and tell me the whole approach and focusing on how we create value for others in a mutual
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beneficial way. with my church and synagogue to help them to reach parishioners it has improved my family life and philanthropy. and that portion of the population that alone would transform a society. >> reading the book it is interesting because there is some messaging therefore folks who are not familiar those were not classical liberals but when i think about it and i hear you discuss it there are some important lessons for those of us who believe in those principles.
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with a policy arguments. and then to tell all the bad things and i guess it's pretty bad marketing because we are not focused onre all the great things we are not totally optimistic. >> we have really focused on this and stand together and with koch industries to partner with all sorts of people to apply the republic of science to build knowledge and then to help others. it is truly transformative. you may want to talk about the gains we made since we started focusing on following frederick douglass.
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>> talk about a stronger foray into partisan politics you say that isis a mistake and now you try this approach. >> to your first question how does policy balance into we have a society that is characterized by the north star. and where everyone can succeed and realize to contribute to society. the whole point of social theory or classical liberalism to discover how people can live well together it is a holistic vision of a good society it is a critical component is not that you
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don't focus on policy, you do. and then with those past policies to empower people but if you only focus on policy as i trying to advance a good society with your hands tied behind your back your not taking advantage of what is important toward that vision. and how community organizations are and then to see the opportunity to get engaged and how do we improve education and those to empower
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from the bottom up and find common ground and when it comes to public policy and politics in particular that's only one piece of what we do. and because of the overall effort but we have to know we are consistent and principles and rather them partnership and then to accomplish some stuff that way you can never take on the really big challenges in society and public policy so we change. and as soon as we started to lean in for anybody to do
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right republican or democrat we have your back. we started to accomplish things. that is the track we're on what that means in a principled way and how that can help us to accomplish things that we won't even touch it because it looks too hard. >> and what you help to put together and then to engage with democrats and republicans so i want to follow up on this a little bit so one of the challenges that i find in coalition building that folks that you are aligned with being principled with combative.e.
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and i think that is a real mistake because we are always open but we kept the same principles you have not change through political cycles. i just think there is too much outrage out there i want to be friends with everybody that's the way that you persuade that right now the zeitgeist is in wired that way and you get pushback from your supporters or people who are equating?
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and that doesn't mean you turn down the volume. >> the major problem today and left versus right so then to abandon the principles and the context to make a difference is do we have a bottom-up society and that gets power over people?
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and this isar very dangerous looking at the history of a good part of the 20th century, and it was a struggle between left and right and country after country. the more that people felt threatened by the left and they were doing the right they would get more extreme and become the tyranny. and those that were threat and by the right, joined the left and that turned into a tyranny. so we got to change that paradigm and got people to realize whatever strongman says they can get rid of the evil on the other side because we will abandon these principles of human progress
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but not for the people. >> and how concerned are both of you with the attacks on liberalism? and it's something i find very concerning. and then to say i like his social policy or his tax policy? with a threat to liberalism.
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>> i think it's the greatest challenge of our time? so those of us who have studied history and imagine many people those that have work toward a free and open society for whole lives, now is the time to stand up for these ideas and make the case based on the evidence that this is the path to realize the potential so right now and certainly never been a more urgent moment in my lifetime when you see so many people in our country feeling like the american dream that the
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institutions are failing them with this top-down approach that excludes people from society don't have much to offer they promise them the impossible promises because ultimately it's too terrible places and liberalism is a different ways so making the case that you don't have to settle. and it's what people can get on board with a its the best way to accomplish what you care about. that's my sense. >> i put this in the context of insights with the second
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volume of legislation in liberty in which keys and the discovery of mankind and that people can live in peace and to their mutual advantage if they are only limited by abstract rules of conduct. so what doess that mean cracks so the government rules should only be general. and then limiting what they are doing to empower them. and then to set the basic rules to be equal rights and mutual benefit where people
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succeed by helping one another. you get rid of cronyism and corporate welfare where the government rings the system or conspires with businesses and other groups to break the system. so that when government acts in that way so all the other key institutions in society with community education and business to focus on empoweringer people, rather than one-size-fits-all top-down approach. >> we have another quotation written in big letters that says the idea we must once again make the free and open society and intellectual adventure and that deed of
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courage that's more important today than it has's been for a long time. and then to see a path forward and then to bring back a better society. and then if someone can make a difference and then to despair not the free and open society. so there was the issue of despair. and people feel fatalistic that any one person can do. is there a basis for optimism?
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>> and he said that very thing. the problem of having a society where people are empowered and can self actualize rather than negatively motivated but they say i'm just one person. what can i do? that is all there is. each of us are just one person. what do we do? we join together. we partner with people we share a vision and values and particularly those with whom we have complementary capabilities. so together, we make each other much more successful. look at the great successful
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movements in the history of this country the abolitionist movement gay rights movement, civil rights, women's rights, and all happened that way. with just one people and one person at a time joining together to create this movement. that's what we need to do today to create these movements and then we join together and that is what stand together is. so we have thousands who work directly and hundreds of thousands who are activist on different issues. >> you did a great job to frame the challenge of this talk. these are real problems we have to address them if not we have severe consequences.
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but the trend of liberalism is positive. today is the best time to be alive. he had steve pinker talk about this. and whenever we see don he says we have to make sure people realize that these i ideas are working. we have a long way to go to help people across the world is not even imaginable tumor three years ago that challenges real we have to make sure we bring more and more people to recognize what actually works to solve these problems. >> but so many are concerned about short-term problems or short-term profits rather than how can i be successful over a
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long period? and then you become focused on building capabilities. and then appealing to a broad range of people those across the ideological spectrum you can see them and all those who endorsed that believes in people it is across the ideologicals spectrum. that is because we are offering a a different way. a better way. they are sick of this tribal where one —- warfare people wanting to succeed rather than i helping each other. >> and with that collectivist
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philosophy. and to celebrate the individual to use as a counterweight. >> i would say rather than collectivist i would say top-down. it isn't the collective it's a few people to get power and people following him because the other side will make it worse. and other than being a virtuous cycle it becomes a destructive spiral. and the only way we change that is to find a way to have
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everybody participate in the progress and that's what. we're trying to do. and as we g do that, things get better. >> and we stress the importance to create a mutual benefit. could this be turned on its head and misconstrued for top-down planning. >> as i said in the beginning, the key is to have people believe in themselves. if you give people more and they don't believe in themselves, they will have a negativeav attitude. so when you focus and then to
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make you successful too believe in yourself then you want to partner with others because you see you're not good at everything and if you partner with others then you will be more successful. and that was to help self actualize and to realize our potential and then they become contributionsd motivated rather than negatively motivated. >> we are getting close to the end. thank you to both of you. this has provided great overview of what the book is about.
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and with yourga comments again and again as a call to action and as we discussed very consistent and the challenge of getting people involved believing they can make a difference one of thed best stories i ever heard in that regard is justice clarence thomas. the first time i ever met him he was speaking to was small group whenever he's in a publicli place he gave a discussion s and the principles
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like an airport t somebody will come up and thank him for his service and then his response is what about you? and those individuals that are empoweredes that's where the change has to come from and that if we just indulge with the's @-at-sign they are intractable and not capable of overcoming. >> at calvary is not coming? and then to involve these principles to have a better future. >> and we all need to recognize if we not help make things better we are part of
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the problem. >> if you want to feel good about yourself and be optimistic of the future do something about it. >> what you are doing at cato is so important. i cannot think of a more important time for cato to do what you are doing and doing it so well. >> and charles played a big role to building that ecosystem. thank you for your role and all the work you guys are doing. when people say what we're doing a say look around. things are great. i don't believe we are doing
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well that if we are kids and grandkids will see me going down screaming. >> i'm 85 working harder than everit. i couldn't think of anything i would be rather doing. thank you for your time today. and we look forward to being back before too long stay safe and we look forward to seeing everyone soon. thank you
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>> it afternoon i'm president


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