Prof. Michael Sandel on Populism - rough transcript

The following is an EXTREMELEY rough transcript of a talk by Harvard Professor Michael Sandel. You can watch the full talk, "Michael Sandel: Populism, Trump, and the Future of Democracy" on Youtube.

I used youtube-dl to download the subtitles from Youtube and did some extremely basic reformatting.

I created this transcript because of a discussion about it on MetaFilter.


(Introduction:) Good evening ladies and gentlemen and a very warm welcome to the American Academy in Berlin. Thank you very much for joining us this evening on an especially attractive spring evening in Berlin in van Zee. We drew the curtain so that you could all concentrate on what is happening at the front of the room because frankly the back of the room through the curtains is also very beautiful but I'll start unusually by reminding you that we'll have a reception after the lecture and the question and answer period and that reception we hope will spill over to the terraces(?) and feel free I hope that's allowed anyway feel free to do that.

In addition to welcoming you it's an enormous pleasure and honor to welcome a Michael Sandel who will speak to us tonight on populism Trump and the future of democracy these are themes and problems that we are all thinking about as scholars and even more so as citizens. It's also a set of themes that the American Academy has been thinking about and emphasizing over the course of the current fall and spring semesters through the work of several our fellows through the work of several distinguished visitors and just last week in an inaugural program in New York City a collaboration with the New School for Social Research a long afternoon packed house seminar featuring eight of our alumni fellows on the theme of transatlantic perspectives on the new populism and nationalism, a situation that has become even more intense with the elections and Hungary over this last weekend.

This lecture tonight is the Airbus lecture and it's equally important and equally sincere for us to express gratitude to Airbus for their support of this visit and for their support of the American Academy in its mission to facilitate transatlantic exchange in public and economic policy as well as in the arts and the humanities.

It's a delight to welcome Michael Sandel back to Berlin where he spoke in spring 2013 about his then new book "Justice" at an event that we held at the øystein fell arc in their offices downtown. Michael Sandel as you know is a political philosopher and the ante and Robert M bass professor of government at Harvard University where he has taught political philosophy since 1980.

Professor Sandeul's latest book with money can't buy which you can buy for a little bit of money but what money can't buy the moral limits of markets describes how market values have crowded out non market norms in almost every aspect of life: medicine education government law art sports and even family life and personal relations. Justice Sandeul's widely acclaimed 2010 book was written to accompany his extremely famous justice course at Harvard University which he has taught for more than 30 years. Justice is the first Harvard course to be made freely available online and on television it has been viewed by the number we discussed earlier today 30 million people around the world. Professor Sandeul's other books include liberalism and the limits of justice democracy's discontent public philosophy essays on morality and politics and the case against perfection ethics in the age of genetic engineering. His writings have been translated into 27 languages. It's a delight to welcome Michael Sandel to the Academy. We'll have time for some questions and answers after his talk. If you would like to ask a question please wait for a microphone to reach you. Tell us very briefly who you are also for the benefit of people who will be listening online and then please do ask a question which always makes that part of the evening more crisp and more fun. So please welcome professor Sandel. [Applause]

Prof. Sandel Thank you, thank you, Michael for that introduction. It's a great pleasure to be here. We gather at a time when democracy is in danger: Russia Turkey Hungary Poland and other places that once offered democratic hope are now in varying degrees falling into authoritarianism. Democracy is also in trouble in sturdier places. In the U.S., Donald Trump poses the greatest threat to the American constitutional order since Richard Nixon and yet despite the floundering first year-and-a-half of Trump's presidency, the opposition has yet to find its voice. One might think that Trump's inflammatory tweets, erratic behavior, and persistent disregard for democratic norms would offer the opposition an easy target, but it hasn't worked out this way. For those who would mount a politics of resistance the outrage Trump provokes has been less energizing than paralyzing. This is for two reasons. One is the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Muller into the Trump campaign's possible collusion with Russia. The hope that Muller's findings will lead to the impeachment of Trump is wishful thinking that distracts Democrats from asking hard questions about why voters have rejected them not only for the presidency but at the federal and state level. A second source of paralysis lies in the chaos Trump creates: his steady stream of provocations has a disorienting effect on critics who struggled to discriminate between the more consequential affront to democracy and passing distractions.

The Italian writer Italo Calvino once wrote I spent the first 20 years of my life with Mussolini's face always in view Trump too is always in view thanks partly to his tweets and and partly to the insatiable appetite of television news to cover his every outrageous antic moral outrage can be politically energizing but only if it is channeled and guided by political judgment what the opposition to Trump needs now is an economy of outrage disciplined by the priorities of an affirmative political project what might such a project look like that's the question I'd like to try to answer tonight and to answer this question we have to begin by facing up to the complacence ease of establishment political thinking that opened the way to trump in the US and to right-wing populism in Britain and Europe in the first place the hard reality is that Donald Trump was elected by tapping a wellspring of anxieties frustrations and legitimate grievances to which the mainstream parties have no compelling answer this may means that for those worried about Trump and about populism it's not enough to mobilize the politics of protest and resistance it is also necessary to engage in a politics of persuasion such a politics must begin by understanding the discontent that is roiling politics in the US and in democracies around the world like the triumph of brexit in the UK the election of Trump was an angry verdict on decades of rising inequality in a version of globalization that benefits those at the top but leaves ordinary people feeling disempowered it was also a rebuke for a technocratic approach to politics that is tone deaf to the resentments of people who feel the economy and the culture have left them behind some denounce the upsurge of populism is little more than a racist xenophobic reaction against immigrants and multiculturalism others see it mainly in economic terms as a protest against the job losses brought about by global trade and new technologies but it's a mistake to see only the bigotry in populist protest or to view it only as an economic complaint to do so misses the fact that the upheavals we are witnessing are a political response to a political failure of historic proportions the right-wing populism ascendant today is a symptom of the failure of progressive politics the Democratic Party in the US has become a party of technocratic liberalism more congenial to the professional classes then to the blue-collar and middle class voters who once constituted its base a similar predicament afflicted Britain's Labour Party and led following its defeat in the last general election to the surprising election of anti-establishment figure Jeremy Corbyn as party leader the roots of the predicament go back to the 1980s Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher had argued that government was the problem and markets who were the solution when they passed from the political scene the center-left politicians who succeeded them Bill Clinton in the u.s. Tony Blair in Britain Gerhard schröder in Germany they moderated but consolidated the market faith they softened the harsh edges of unfettered markets but they did not challenge the central premise of the Reagan Thatcher era namely that market mechanisms are the primary instruments for achieving the public good in line with this faith they embraced a market-driven version of globalization and they welcomed the growing financialization of the economy in the 1990s the Clinton administration joined with Republicans in promoting global trade agreements and deregulating the financial industry the benefits of these policies flowed mostly to those at the top but Democrats did little to address the deepening inequality and the growing power of money in politics having strayed from its traditional mission obtaining capitalism and holding economic power to democratic account liberalism lost its capacity to inspire now all all this seemed to change when Barack Obama appeared on the political scene in his 2008 presidential campaign he offered a stirring alternative to the managerial technocratic language that had come to characterize liberal public discourse he showed that progressive politics could speak a language of moral and spiritual purpose but the moral energy and civic idealism he inspired as a candidate did not carry over into his presidency assuming office in the midst of the financial crisis he appointed economic advisors who had promoted financial deregulation during the Clinton years with their encouragement he bailed out the banks on terms that did not hold them to account for the behavior that led to the crisis and that offered little help for ordinary citizens who had lost their homes this was the decisive choice his moral voice muted Obama placated rather than articulated the seething public anger toward Wall Street lingering anger over the bailout would cast a shadow over the Obama presidency and would ultimately fuel a mood of populist protest that reached across the political spectrum on the left the Occupy movement and the candidacy of Bernie Sanders on the right the Tea Party movement and the election of Trump the populist uprising in the US Britain and Europe is a backlash against elites of the mainstream parties but its most conspicuous casualties have been liberal and center-left political parties the Democratic Party in the US the Labour Party in Britain the Social Democratic Party in Germany Italy's Democratic Party the Socialist Party in France whose presidential nominee went only six percent of the vote in the first round of the gener of the election before they can hope to win back public support progressive or center-left parties must rethink their mission and purpose and to do so they should learn from the populist protest that has displaced them not by replicating it xenophobia and strident nationalism but by taking seriously the legitimate grievances with which these ugly sentiments are entangled such rethinking should begin with the recognition that these grievances are not only economic they're also moral and cultural they're not only about wages and jobs but also about social esteem let me offer four themes that progressive parties need to grapple with if they hope to address the anger and resentment that royal politics today so here are the four income inequality what I call meritocratic hubris the dignity of work and pay patriotism and national community let me say a little bit about each of these four themes first income inequality the standard response to inequality is to call for greater equality of opportunity retraining workers whose jobs have disappeared due to globalization and technology improving access to higher education removing barriers of race ethnicity and gender this project is summed up in the slogan that those who work hard and play by the rules should be able to rise as far as their talents will take them you've heard this slogan reiterated in contemporary politics but it now rings increasingly hollow in today's economy it's not easy to rise this is a special problem for the u.s. which prides itself on upward mobility Americans have traditionally worried less than Europeans about inequality believing that whatever one's initial starting point in life it is possible with hard work to rise from rags to riches but today this belief is in doubt Hawkins born to poor parents tend to stay poor as adults those born in the bottom fifth of the income scale 43% will remain there and only 4% will make it to the top fifth it's easier to rise from poverty in Germany and Canada in Sweden and many European countries than it is in the US this may partly explain why the rhetoric of opportunity fails to inspire is at once did and so progressive should reconsider the assumption that mobility can compensate for inequality they should reckon directly with inequalities of power and wealth rather than rest content with the project of help of helping people scramble up a ladder whose rungs grow further and further apart but the problem runs deeper which takes me to the second theme meritocratic hubris the relentless emphasis on creating a fair meritocracy in which social positions really do reflect effort and talent this has a corrosive effect on the way we interpret our success or the lack of it the notion that the system rewards talent and hard work encourages the winners to consider their success their own doing a measure of their virtue and to look down upon those less fortunate than themselves those who lose out may complain that the system is rigged that the winners have cheated and manipulated their way to the top or they may Harbor the demoralizing thought that their failure is their own doing that they simply lack the talent and drive to succeed now in these sentiments coexist there's invariably they do they make for a volatile brew of anger and resentment against elites that fuels populist protest though himself billionaire Donald Trump understands and exploits this resentment unlike Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton who spoke constantly of opportunity Trump scarcely mentions the word instead he talks he offers blunt talk of winners and losers liberals and progressives have so valorized a college degree both as an avenue for advancement and as the basis for social esteem that they had difficulty understanding the hubris a meritocracy can generate in the harsh judgment it imposes on those who have not gone to college such attitudes are at the heart of the populist backlash and Trump's victory one of the deepest political divides in American politics today is between those with and those without a college degree to heal this divide Democrats need to understand the attitudes toward merit and work it reflects the third theme is the dignity of work the loss of jobs to technology and outsourcing has coincided with a sense that society Accords less respect to the kind of work the working class does as economic activity has shifted from making things to managing money as society has lavished outsize rewards on hedge fund managers and Wall Street bankers the esteem accorded work in the traditional sense has become fragile and uncertain new technologies may further erode the dignity of work some Silicon Valley visionaries anticipated time when robots and artificial intelligence will render many of today's jobs obsolete and so to ease the way for such a future they propose paying everyone a basic income what was once justified as the safety net for all citizens is now offered as a way to soften the transition to a world without work whether such a world is a prospect to welcome or to resist is a question that will be central to politics in the coming years to think it through political parties will have to grapple with the meaning of work and its place in a good life the fourth theme is patriotism and national community free trade agreements and immigration these are the two most potent flash points of populist fury on one level the these are economic issues opponents argued that pre trade agreements and immigration threaten local jobs and wages while proponents reply that they help the economy in the long run but the passion these issues evoke suggests that something more is at stake workers who believe their country cares more for cheap goods and cheap labor than for the job prospects of its own people feel betrayed this sense of betrayal often finds ugly intolerant expression the hatred of immigrants a strident nationalism that vilifies Muslims and other Outsiders a rhetoric of taking back our country liberals reply by condemning the hateful rhetoric and insisting on the virtues of mutual respect and multicultural understanding but this principle responds valid though it is fails to address an important set of questions implicit in the populist complaint what is the moral significance if any of national borders do we owe more to our fellow citizens than we owe citizens of other countries in a global age should we cultivate national identities or should we aspire to a cosmopolitan ethic of universal human concern these questions may seem daunting a far cry from the small things we discuss in politics these days but the populist uprising highlights the need to rejuvenate Democratic public discourse to address the big questions people care about including moral and cultural questions now any attempt to address questions like these to reimagine the terms of democratic public discourse faces a powerful obstacle it requires that we rethink a central premise of contemporary liberalism it requires that we question the idea that the way to a tolerant society is to avoid engaging in substantive moral argument in politics this principle of avoidance this insistence that citizens leave their moral and spiritual convictions outside when they enter the public square it's a powerful temptation it seems to avoid the danger that the majority may impose its values on the minority it seems to prevent the possibility that a morally overheated politics will lead to Wars of Religion it seems to offer a secure basis for mutual respect but this strategy of avoidance this insistence on liberal neutrality is a mistake it ill equips us to address the moral and cultural issues that animate the populace revolt for how is it possible to discuss the meaning of work and its role in a good life without debating competing conceptions of the good life how is it possible to think through the proper relation of national and global identities without asking about the virtues such identities Express and the moral claims they make upon us liberal neutrality flattens questions of meaning identity and purpose into questions of fairness it therefore misses the anger and resentment that animate the popular populace revolt it lacks the moral and rhetorical and sympathetic resources to understand the cultural estrangement even humiliation that many working-class and middle-class voters feel and it ignores the meritocratic hubris of elites Donald Trump is keenly alive to the politics of humiliation from the standpoint of economic fairness his populism is fake a kind of plutocratic populism his health plan would have cut health care for many of his working-class supporters to fund massive tax cuts for the wealthy but to focus solely on this hypocrisy misses the point when he withdrew the u.s. from the Paris climate change agreement Trump argued impossibly that he was doing so to protect American jobs but the real point of his decision its political rationale was contained in this seemingly stray remark quote we don't want other countries and other leaders to laugh at us anymore that's what he said liberating the u.s. from the supposed burdens of the climate change agreement then was not really about jobs or about global warming it was in Trump's political imagination about averting humiliation this resonates with Trump voters even those who care about climate change for those left behind by three decades of market-driven globalization the problem is not only wegg's wage stagnation and the loss of jobs it is also the loss of social esteem it's not only about unfairness it's also about humiliation mainstream liberal and social democratic politicians miss this dimension of politics they think the problem with globalization is simply a matter of distributive justice those who have gained from global trade new technologies the financial of the economy have not adequately adequately compensated those who have lost out but this misunderstands the populist complaint it also reflects a defect in the public philosophy of contemporary liberalism many liberals distinguish between neoliberalism or less a fair free-market thinking and the liberalism that finds expression in what philosophers call call liberal public reason the first neoliberalism is an economic doctrine whereas the second is a principle of political morality that insists government should be neutral toward competing conceptions of the good life notwithstanding this distinction there is a philosophical affinity between the neoliberal faith in market reasoning and the principle of liberal neutrality the affinity the parallel is this market reasoning is appealing because it seems to offer a way to resolve contested public questions without engaging in contentious debates about how goods are properly valued when two people make a deal they decide for themselves what value to place on the goods they exchange similarly liberal neutrality is appealing because it seems to offer a way of defining and justifying rights without presupposing any particular conception of the good but the neutrality is spurious in both cases markets are not morally neutral instruments for defining the public good and liberal public reason is not a morally neutral way of arriving at principles of justice conducting our public discourse as if it were possible to outsource moral judgment to markets or to procedures of liberal public reason has created an empty impoverished public discourse a vacuum of public meaning such empty public spaces are invariably filled by narrow intolerant authoritarian alternatives whether in the form of religious fundamentalism or strident nationalism this is what we are witnessing today three decades of market driven globalization and technocratic liberalism have hollowed out Democratic public discourse disempowered ordinary citizens and prompted a populist backlash that seeks to clothe the naked public square with an intolerant vengeful nationalism to reinvigorate democratic politics we need to find our way to a morally more robust public discourse one that honors pluralism by engaging with our moral disagreements rather than avoiding them disentangling the intolerant aspects of populist protest from its legitimate grievances is no easy matter but it is important to try understanding these grievances and creating a politics that can respond to them is the most pressing political challenge of our time thank you very much questions and Michael will call on the questioners thank you very much Osama Mach to see a fellow here at the American Academy and thank you for that talk I guess my question is on the fourth point you raised about patriotism and I'm wondering how you reconcile the call for a new form of patriotism or is it an old form of patriotism one with the history of race in the United States racism and the second with the history of nearly three decades of war in the Middle East and on the Middle East which by definition prompts xenophobia a sense of you know being under siege and so on and so forth so how do you reconcile or how do you bring in the history of war three decades nearly of active US war in the Middle East with your call for patriotism well not easily not easily that's why patriotism and nationalism are volatile forces and aspirations and precisely because they're bound up with war and injustice we have a tendency by we I mean mainstream liberal thinkers and citizens have a tendency to should try to downplay the place of patriotism or national community in politics because they're they are so dangerous and volatile and have such a history bound up with darkness what I'm suggesting is that difficult though it is to try to articulate a pluralist conception of national community it's even more dangerous to ignore it because unless we have open public debate about what pluralist conceptions of national community with a strong sense of mutual obligation among citizens might look like that yearning that aspiration will be answered will be met by the the harsh xenophobic version of nationalism that we're witnessing today thank you very much for the very fascinating talk how do you integrate into your criticism towards liberalism the European discussion which I'm more perceived as a combination of conservative moralizing and liberal economy I think it has been a different discourse in the United States but during the last I would say ten years or eight years the discourse about the problems in Europe in Germany was a very moralizing one not in your sense of moral D but in the sense of those who lose did not do well and those who have gained especially the societies which have gained they have done well the southern European countries it's their fault that they are so badly because they were lazy they were irresponsible et cetera so it was a discourse full of moral concepts how do you integrate that into your analysis well may I ask you a question and I'm a political scientist so yes yeah but before you give up the microphone could I ask you the the the following question do you think of course it's true there are moralizing strands and elements in existing public discourse much often they are as in the examples you gave often they they denigrate or criticize other people's or other societies do you think that the moral impulse in politics inevitably takes that form or do you think that there can be a morally robust kind of politics that is pluralistic and that it encourages engagement with other societies other cultures and so on of course I do yeah I do think that that is possible that it is needed right but I am a little bit afraid of taking the concept of morality and moral judgment yes and inclining more to can to make a difference between the legal and some moral judgments in the public sphere and there is a temptation in a kind of superficial concepts of morality to very quickly attribute failure for instance to moral deficiencies and this is a difficult point right this is partly what I worry about in the account of meritocracy there's the tendency as more with as Martin meritocratic ideals take hold for those on the top to assume that those on the bottom are there because they lack the virtue of hard work or talent to succeed and therefore they deserve it this would be an example I suppose of the bad moralizing that you're worried about and it's certainly true that moral argument in politics does take this form now what would be the alternative I suppose there are two possible answers one would be a conte and liberal answer which would be to say yes we must have notions of morality and moral duty in politics but it should be limited in limited to questions of legal rights identifying individual rights respect for persons as persons respect for the human dignity and autonomy of persons that's the kind of morality the Kantian morality that is safe so to speak to introduce into the public sphere but it's safe because it's delimited it doesn't enter into it simply insists on the morality of respect for human dignity let's say and autonomy and the ability to choose so that would be that you might call a robust conte and liberal account of the role of morality in the public square and I think that's inadequate so you you kind of forced me to to spell this out I think it's inadequate and how can I come here to Berlin and criticize the great Immanuel Kant that's almost heretical I think it's inadequate because it overly limits the the scope of moral discourse in public life to restrict it to juridical rights human rights human dignity important though they are it leaves out competing conceptions of the good life and I think many of the questions we face for example how properly to Accord respect to work what kind of social esteem to accord to work what should we go for a universal basic income and and let people go without work well you could try to answer that from a purely Contin abstract point of view but I don't think we would get very far I think we have to ask does leading a good life include a life of work and if so in what sense of work well this is the debate about how to live our lives it's not just a juridical debate it's not just a debate about individual rights that must be respected so that's the kind of that's the kind of broader moral debate beyond the strictures of Con Thien human dignity that I think is required which is why that version of liberalism compelling though it is I think is not enough Oh your ganache leg I'm professor for British culture at the homeward University and thank you very much for your wonderful talk actually I didn't expect any different self but I do have a question the the structure of your argument was based on the fact that there are people who are dissatisfied disenfranchised the political establishment and the politics have changed and the economy have changed now isn't it also relevant to see that aspiration self esteems and all these categories have changed dramatically particularly under the influence of the IT revolution and anti global economy and so on so that would of course Mike cause or pose a problem for politics for politicians all over the world to cope with a rising demand of aspirations and expectations of of the people I think that is seems to be something that you could gap which you could fill thank you for that I I think that the what I refer to as the legitimate grievances of working people and middle class people who have seen wage stagnation I think those grievances aren't fully captured by rising expectations that these voters have for themselves when they see through the internet or through cable television how other people live and are flourishing I think it's not just that expectations have risen and it's difficult to keep up technology and the global economy are often pointed to by establishment political parties and politicians as if they are influences that are not themselves political that come from outside to create new imperatives for the way we organize the economy and distribute the benefits of shared economic activity and I I don't think that's that picture is quite right technology in the form that we have it including the kind of technology that increasingly seeks robots to do jobs and artificial intelligence to perform tasks that human beings traditionally performed that's not a purely a political event like a change in the weather it involves the commitment of enormous resources it involves a set of ideas about what projects are worth pursuing through technology and what one's less so so I think part of an invigorated public discourse should not just take for granted and I you may not have been suggesting that we do take for granted but should not take for granted the direction of Technology or at the global economy these reflect political choices sometimes implicit but sometimes explicit and we should debate them as such what avenues of technology will contribute to better lives into a common good and what may undermine it we're beginning to have that debate now in the aftermath of the Facebook scandal where we recognize in Jeff Zuckerberg I think as soon as this lecture finishes we'll go before Congress to testify there he's I think waiting until we adjourn tonight but this highlights this moment highlights the technology is not like the weather something that just happens and then we scramble to respond politically the course of technology the uses to which it's put these are political choices not purely technical ones and and I am hoping that what comes of the recent debate about social media and tech companies is to have a more direct explicit deliberate public debate about the about what we want technology to do for us in what forms we want technology to take and what regulations should channel technology in productive rather than destructive directions hello my name is Kyle Randy luck and I'm quite someone said a political citizen and a friend of s and professor I really appreciated your talk or your speech and I would like to raise the question let's see if on an old-world liberal point of view in the old world world world Europe freaks I've seen okay the guys with thousand years of histories and play we mostly mostly looking on the American liberation from our point of view there might be also part of you to say that American rebel liberalism is extremes is a create a danger for the makers democracy as Trump and all the guys around it because this is greater than greater danger absolutely greater danger because what we observe there's a tendency to negate opinion of other people's to fight them with a rigged arisen which reminds us let's say of the way we talked of each other baby fight our disputes in the Middle Ages so and what do you think about this that an end there's a greater danger with the extremes of American liberalism because the way they try to change the way we think we should behave then if these guys run Trump and behind them that's the question no well by the extremes of American liberalism I can only what's that I can only guess what you have in mind by that and I have two guesses one you might mean the extremes of the neoliberal Washington Consensus economic policy or you might mean what some people mean by the extremes of American liberalism the insistence on the politically correct so I'm not sure which of those two worries you have so I would I would respond as as follows I think the the criticism that I would make of American liberalism is to a large degree applicable to social democracy in Europe which is an exhaustion of ideas that both that these are spent in my view spent ideologies that had American liberalism and European social democracy had energy and moral purpose in the years following the Second World War but that by the 80s and 90s they were beginning to lose their sense of purpose and mission these were the public philosophies that in large part created welfare state and many aspects of decent societies in in democratic countries but debating the welfare state is now and defending it in largely technocratic managerial terms and embracing uncritically market driven versions of globalization these positions represent the the descent of liberalism in the u.s. social democracy in Europe as a loss of purpose and I think voters sense this voters sense that American liberals and European Social Democrat have lost their way and have not found a voice or a language to address the big questions that matter now that would that's my I suppose criticism my challenge to American liberals and to European Social Democrats and it's I think a parallel predicament my name is Stephanie I am the ambassador Canadian ambassador in Germany do chapter for Canada and in the literature about populism it is usually identified as linked by two causes the first one is inequality rising inequality and loss of of social mobility the second one is the anxiety created by on control migration or the perception that it is out of control and also targeted to some communities especially Muslims identified to violent Islamism and then terrorism is it fair to say that in your presentation to second cause is more result of the first one and if it's the case I would dispute that I would say a country like Canada has been up to now up to now immune to this wave of populism mostly because we don't have irregular immigration we have three oceans as a neighbor and the United States one of the richest country of the world so it's helping us if I look at Hungary there isn't an entree there is no rising inequality or in Australia it's not the main problem it's quite flat the main problem is the fear to lose their national identity and even though they are in Ontario in Poland they don't have a lot of immigration as we know a skillful politician may use these fear especially toward non-christian immigration to be elected on xenophobia so I think we should not consider this second cause as only a consequence of the first but maybe I did not did not understand right you see right I agree it's not only the second is not only a consequence of the first I agree with that inequality and hostility toward immigrants these are certainly two ingredients in the populist protest but I think there is something more fundamental that connects with both of these two sources and that's a sense of disempowerment and social exclusion the fact that large parts of the population have been left behind not only in terms of the distribution of income and wealth the first point but more importantly in terms of social recognition and esteem which connects to questions of political identity but from the standpoint also of a recognition and a sense of having a meaningful say in shaping the forces that govern the collective life question of disempowerment and so I would say that rising inequality and increased levels of immigration have in different ways contributed to this sense of disempowerment in ways that give rise to fear about the loss of political identity but I would begin with those larger tendencies a sense of disempowerment feeling that when it's no longer accorded socialist recognition and esteem and then try to trace what I think are multiple causes for for those conditions thank you well I'm I'm Pauling and I of the fun photo alga - thank you for this really inspiring talk I would like to say something that that maybe you feel - it's the odd sense of being comforted by listening to you and reading your books and I'm trying to think why that is because we don't have answers and we were here a year and a half ago shortly after the election of Trump and there was some kind of confusion and feeling of being lost we talked about this earlier when when you call for analysis of what has happened - with Trump and his populism with what we have to do now you are also calling for some clear-cut vision or some politician who could take up you know right the challenge but we don't see that the only clear-cut people nowadays we see are really the other side Trump Ardoin audubon who just won again legitimately won again one has to say that so it seems just the opposite that politicians are withdrawing from what you would like them do giving battle why why is that or is that just my feeling or can't they be heard in the in the din of you know others giving battle well given I agree with you that we've not heard I've not been able to identify many compelling fresh voices among liberals or Social Democrats in a way that holds hope of reinvigorating public discourse and addressing these grievances I've not heard that now why has why is that the case here I can answer mainly from the standpoint of the US which I've been watching it close hand I think it's well in general I think it's partly that this requires an act of moral and political imagination that does not come easily to politicians ever politics is difficult that way and but it's also unpredictable when such figures may emerge so that may be some cause for hope so that's one observation but there are powerful tendencies in the opposite direction tendencies that just features of the current political arrangements that discourage a bolder moral and political imagination and in my own country this has partly to do with the the hold of big money on politics the the the need to respond to the donor class by American political parties and this is true Democrats and Republicans alike exerts a powerful constraint on moral and political imagination and it puts it creates incentives for parties and politicians who already have achieved office not to take chances not critically to reflect on their own failings or the failings of their party but instead speaking of the American case and of the Democratic Party in particular to await deliverance from robert muller that's what it boils down to and and so there's i think the democrats are so earnestly hoping for robert muller to save them to deliver them from this nightmare that they are failing to ask hard questions about why people didn't vote for them for what they had to offer why they've lost most of the state legislature nevermind the presidency nevermind both houses of congress they've lost most a legend nature's and most governorships so Muller isn't going to save them from that whatever he does and and yet there's a tendency given the the self conserving I would say complacent tendency of parties who have been a you know in Washington in this case for a long time not to be bold which is why I think if there are are to be such voices they're less likely to come from Washington establishment Democrats than from the states from some governor's maybe from the Midwest or West who have a fresh perspective and are less burdened by the stale formulas that have been tried again and again and again with less and less success now you tell me that what I have to say is comforting I hope I don't want this to be sound too discouraging but this I think is what would be required and it can happen I mean it can happen Barack Obama who of whom I had some criticism in the talk and he came more or less from nowhere a first term senator from Illinois not beholden in quite the same way at least not then to the system of campaign finance and there could be others I'm Kristen I'm Kristen Roman political psychologist from University of California and I'm fortunate enough to be a fellow this semester thank you for your talk which was so brilliant that I'm thinking that the person who was able to figure these things out in advance and respond to them was someone who's very high in political imagination and then I think of Donald Trump and I'm having a hard time reconciling that brilliant politician who tapped into all these things that you have only now identified for us and I'm having a hard time reconciling that with the Donald Trump's that I read about in fire and fury who seemed like nobody new way to get to the door so I'm on how you reconcile those two images and which one is the true Donald Trump because I think that relates very directly to the excellent question we just had which is how you respond to it then in terms of someone who has a moral and political imagination really I think part of a good part of political imagination and success derives not from political philosophy contine or otherwise Trump certainly can't be accused of colluding with contour any philosopher ever but sometimes political imagination comes from a keen intuition or instinct and the one keen intuition or instinct that he has that fit the moment was understanding and actually sharing in a sense of humiliation now it's paradoxical that a billionaire a real estate guy from New York would have that capacity but remember he always felt himself humiliated in the face of Wall Street elites New York elites he always hankered after being accepted and recognized and being looked down upon and even the banks with one exception which I won't mention did would not deal with them would not deal with him so he had the accumulated grudges and grievances of a lifetime that just happened to coincide with this moment when the mainstream parties had it had a ten year to the politics of resentment and humiliation so that's the only way christen that I can explain it but he he does that's that the one thing he is good at because he he feels it and the people who voted for him since there was something authentic there well putting all of the other stuff aside the entertainment and the hucksterism and the carnival barker side they saw that as amusing artifice but they knew that what are the one authentic thing about him was this sense of grievance of grudge of resentment of humiliation and that's that he comes by honestly so to speak let's suppose that Barack and Michelle Obama or in this audience and they listen to you and they said yeah let's go back to that vision how would you advise them to do it I would well I would say instead of bailing out the bank's bail out the mortgage holders the ordinary people who lost their homes and instead of letting the banks off the hook at a time when the taxpayers essentially owned the bank's exercised public authority the voice of the taxpayer of the citizen to to fire the management's of the banks who engaged in the behavior that led to the financial crisis and put in a different management that would be the second the third I would tell them is and while you're at it make sure that the new management of the that you that publicly accountable managers of the bank's not use their corporate largesse to lobby against reform of the financial industry and I would say mr. president I voted for you twice and had great hopes as we all did but these were three big mistakes and they came early and they they undermined in ways I don't think we fully recognized the moral energy and the moral authority of his presidency which had such hope in the in the campaign and I think it it affected the way the health care battle unfolded I think it his moral voice was muted actually in articulating why it was important to provide health care for everyone instead he fell into he master of rhetoric soaring moral and spiritual rhetoric when it came to defending health care said I was watching c-span I'm kind of a c-span addict that's where you see these unedited speeches of politicians making the case for health care saying to an audience somewhere we have to bend the cost curves in the out ears this is technocratic talk and I thought no wonder he's having such trouble getting health care getting support for health care so what I would say would be maybe there is a war between your spiritual side and your technocratic side let the spiritual side prevail that's what I would have said he claimed the privilege of the last question please adjourn to a more informal conversation next door and that is to cite as somewhat unpredicted element in the this 50th anniversary season of many important events from 1968 including the university revolts which in many ways really didn't go anywhere I'm thinking of the high school level protests since the massacre of the latest school massacre in Florida and I'm curious as to your thoughts on the political legs so to speak of this new generation of people who are demanding certain rights and protections that have to do directly with them as children really right where this will go right well thank you for that Michael little is more inspiring in the current sorry state of American public discourse little is more inspiring then the young people high school students from this Florida high school and then beyond throughout the country rallying and creating a movement for serious gun control what's what I find inspiring about it and here's an example of where a kind of rejuvenation might come these kids are 17 years old there was a town hall meeting now the American media is largely like media in many countries it's been remiss in not creating more forums for serious public discourse of the kind that we've been discussing tonight and that I've been calling for but CNN to its credit has did have a forum a town hall forum with in an arena with 7,000 or so people in Florida many of them young people and they had office holders the senators including Marco Rubio and others and and their lobbyists for the for the NRA for the National Rifle Association on the stage and had them questioned did you see this had them questioned by these seventeen year olds and those 17 year olds some of them asked harder smarter sharper questions of Marco Rubio and the NRA represented then any of the journalists the professional journalists had done and then any of the political critics of the gun lobby had done and they followed up they were respectful but they were strong they pressed their point and well Marco Rubio who's quite an adept politician a smooth politician was floundering under the interrogation by a 17 year old kid in Florida and the 7,000 people in the arena were registering very powerfully this so that was a great moment that was a kind of glimmer of the kind of awakening of the moral and political imagination that arise from unexpected directions and in this case arose from a horrific tragedy but it was an almost redemptive moment not because it will bring any meaningful gun control sadly I don't think it will in the short term but because it's a stirring of a moral and civic energy that provides an example at a time when so much of politics is mired in technocratic managerial talk and these kids in the 7,000 people in the arena and the people who watch them on CNN even if even if the gun lobby prevails this year or next year that political moment and the possibility that it intimates may be the most important thing of all thank you all