The Ricochet Podcast
Episode 161: Sowell Men

Guests: Thomas Sowell and John Yoo
Mar 29, 2013
Direct Link to MP3 File

Do you like good debates about politics and policy? All right, then we’ve got a podcast for you. This week on The Ricochet Podcast, Rob and Peter (Lileks was temporarily banished by the Skype gods) get into a crackling debate on a progressive’s advice to conservatives (thanks, virus cop!). What do you think the great Republican achievements over the past 40 years have been? Tell us in the comments below.

Then, one of the great thinkers of our time –Dr. Thomas Sowell– joins to discuss his new book Intellectuals and Race, whether could Cyprus happen here, and that now infamous RNC post-election report. Finally, our good friend John Yoo stops by to discuss SCOTUS, DOMA, and his quixotic run for the mayor of Oakland, California. 

Music from this week’s show:

Sweet Soul Music by Sam & Dave

EJHill is on a mission from God.

The Ricochet Podcast opening theme was composed and produced by James Lileks

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  1. rosegarden sj dad

    Life without Rob

    I haven’t had a chance to listen to this week’s podcast yet but finally got around to *last* week’s (Pat Cadell) podcast and wanted to chime in with this idea:

    * I got to hear more about Peter R’s socon attitudes and James L’s quasi-libertarian ideas (the censorship discussion) than previously. And while I align more with libertarians on these ideas I did sense that Peter R was more unleashed and forthcoming than usual and  I appreciated his candor; ditto with James.  It was refreshing hearing those two chat it up without the Big Dog in the room (no offense Rob). Great stuff as always!

  2. Astonishing

    Rob, before you decide conservatives should abandon social issues, and therewith the SoCons themselves, maybe you should test that business model here on Ricochet first.

    (It would be a very short test.)

    But, seriously, the liberal welfare state is not “here to stay.

    The liberal welfare state is unsustainable. It will sputter out or collapse altogether before long. It will end up in the ashheap of history. The real question is, what will replace the liberal welfare state when it dies under its own weight?

    In the meantime, the role of conservatives is keep alive an understanding of, attachment to, and belief in our founding principles so that when the liberal welfare state does collapse under its own weight, its successor will not turn to outright tyranny, but might return to those founding principles.

    Until the day the liberal welfare state collapses under its own weight, social conservatives will still predominate in some states and regions (like Texas), and we might even sometimes win a national election,  but only if we actually nominate a conservative presidential candidate (instead of McCains and Romneys).

  3. billy

    Couldn’t the creation of 401k plan (and other similar measures)  be considered a conservative achievement? 

  4. Guruforhire

    You can’t pass legislation by expanding the party with people that by stipulation won’t vote for it.

  5. I. raptus

    Peter was more feisty than usual.  Must’ve been the cold.

  6. Antiphon

    Peter, denial is not just a river in Egypt. Considering last weeks “Santorum could have won” argument, I’m starting to wonder…Republicans, including Regan, are simply managing the welfare state – as you said Regan was growing the economy to feed it. I can’t seem to refute Rob’s argument. Rand Paul and a bunch of guys have “found their voice”? You better give me something else because we couldn’t “find our voice” with 2010 and the Tea Party, so what other approach is there? Head to the pews?

  7. Bereket Kelile

    About what Peter and Rob were arguing about, I think looking at the national picture obscures what’s going on in each state. I’d say that the red states prove that conservative policies work and you can look at how people vote with their feet. You can also look at where the growth in the country is taking place-red states in the South. Just like what’s going on in the GOP, it’s important to define the context.

  8. viruscop
    Antiphon: Peter, denial is not just a river in Egypt. Considering last weeks “Santorum could have won” argument, I’m starting to wonder…Republicans, including Regan, are simply managing the welfare state – as you said Regan was growing the economy to feed it. I can’t seem to refute Rob’s argument. Rand Paul and a bunch of guys have “found their voice”? You better give me something else because we couldn’t “find our voice” with 2010 and the Tea Party, so what other approach is there? Head to the pews? · 7 minutes ago

    Take my advice.

  9. Ryan M

    Is this the counterpart to that podcast where you discussed the socon’s open letter?   I’m pretty sure I could still take Rob on this one … viruscop’s advice was eye-roll inducing.  Rob, I haven’t listened to your take, but if you give that nonsense more consideration than you did my well-thought thesis … er… I mean “some guy’s” well-thought thesis … so help me whatever deity it is that you liberals pray to.    ;)

  10. Monty Adams

    James, how old is your router? It may be on its last leg and that is why you’re getting kicked off so often.

  11. Ryan M
    Monty Adams: James, how old is your router? It may be on its last leg and that is why you’re getting kicked off so often. · 26 minutes ago

    He is in Minnesota.  He may need to buy it a little sweater so that it can muscle through those cold mornings.

  12. Full Size Tabby
    raycon and lindacon: Rob asks how did the Democrats succeed, and can we not follow their model.  They succeeded by expanding the electoral base numbers with the mantra of universal suffrage from 18 years up and to include the populations of cemeteries, prisons, asylums, care facilities for Alzheimers and dementia sufferers, battling against voter identification, using union money to taxi bums in shelters and from park benches, and anyone willing to give their vote away for a few bucks.

    They appealed to the lowest nature of Americans, and offered to subsidize every pathological being that comes along.

    . . .

    · 9 hours ago

    And the leftist wing was (and remains) more than happy to lie about its intentions, and to paint false pictures of its promises. Conservatives have a much harder time being so dishonest because conservatives instinctively respect people. Therefore, conservatives can’t follow the leftists’ post-1964 path.

  13. Chris Campion
    Don Tillman: Peter at 8:10:

    Uh, okay, however, when you say to me, “let’s begin by figuring out how to become a majority party”, it almost immediately follows from that that the correct thing to do is to sit down with a bunch of polling data and figure out positions that would appeal to the majority.  And that exercise leads to perdition.

    Woah, hold on Peter, that doesn’t follow at all. And just considering that as your go-to choice means that something is terribly wrong.

    The way to become the majority party is to simply present the horrible, awful results of the policies of the left. That’s all there is to it.  If Mitt Romney had campaigned on a platform of “Do you really want the entire nation to be Detroit?”, he would have won handily. · 4 hours ago

    This part struck me as atonal, too, I’m not sure what he meant.  The fact remains that, as you’ve outlined, we have mountains of evidence for how Progressivism Does Not Work, yet we decline to show the worst of it.

    I still don’t know why.  This is a Powerpoint waiting to happen.

  14. Spin

    I think that Rob and Peter at both right.  We have to figure out how to win that center part of the country or we are doomed.  The fact that we lost the White House again is proof of that.  

    And, we have to keep those elements of our platform that are important to us, and keep those front and center.  

    Peter’s comments about polling data are meant to suggest that if becoming a majority party is the goal, then it’s simple:  check the polls, find out what people want, and promise to give it to them.  And that’s a bad idea.  I’m pretty sure that is what Peter is saying.  

    And I go back to Rob:  he’s right!  The welfare and entitlement state just keeps growing and growing.  And we’ve done some great things over the years but we haven’t turned this back, not an iota, if you look at the numbers.

    But I do think there is a way back for Republicans, and it ain’t taking advice from a wet-behind the ears “progressive” who likes to rouse rabble.  Republicans lose when they act like Democrats, nationally.  

  15. Spin

    Democrats win when they act like moderate Republicans, nationally.  That tells me that to win the White House, Republican need a strong conservative candidate who doesn’t have a history of squishiness, but who also doesn’t have a dingbat past.  That means to me that we need a young Senator who talks the talk, and walks the walk .  As was said, it’s anything goes this next time around because we don’t have “the next guy.”  I’m excited about it.  

  16. Chris Campion

    Great podcast on a great run on a chilly New England evening, gentlemen.  Again, I believed I scared some raccoons with shouts of “No!” and “Shut up!” a couple of times, but there was always more laughs coming out than anything else.

    Rob’s right.  Narrowing the party’s platforms is going to leave fewer people planks to stand on, and that’s why we’re losing.   We haven’t been defining our ideas, we’ve been defining them down – and we’ve done a great job at painting ourselves, conservatives, exactly how progressives see us.

    They see us wrongly, undoubtedly, but we seem to manage to show them the worst, when what we really offer is the best thing the planet has ever had, and progressives, often mindlessly, are tearing down (by building up gov’t) as fast as they possibly can.  We need to take their gas cans away from them before the fire they’re starting finishes off what was once a great idea, because as we were warned, we might not be able to keep it.

  17. raycon and lindacon
    Astonishing: Rob, before you decide conservatives should abandon social issues, and therewith the SoCons themselves, maybe you should test that business model here on Ricochet first.

    (It would be a very short test.)

    But, seriously, the liberal welfare state is not “here to stay.

    The liberal welfare state is unsustainable. It will sputter out or collapse altogether before long. It will end up in the ashheap of history. The real question is, what will replace the liberal welfare statewhenit dies under its own weight?

    In the meantime, the role of conservatives is keep alive an understanding of, attachment to, and belief in our founding principles so thatwhenthe liberal welfare state does collapse under its own weight, its successor will not turn to outright tyranny, but might return to those founding principles.

    Until the day the liberal welfare state collapses under its own weight, social conservatives will still predominate in some states and regions (like Texas), and we might even sometimeswin a national election,  but only if we actually nominate a conservative presidential candidate (instead of McCains and Romneys). · 4 hours ago

    Edited 4 hours ago

    Cease conservatism to win an election… for what purpose?

  18. raycon and lindacon

    Rob asks how did the Democrats succeed, and can we not follow their model.  They succeeded by expanding the electoral base numbers with the mantra of universal suffrage from 18 years up and to include the populations of cemeteries, prisons, asylums, care facilities for Alzheimers and dementia sufferers, battling against voter identification, using union money to taxi bums in shelters and from park benches, and anyone willing to give their vote away for a few bucks.

    They appealed to the lowest nature of Americans, and offered to subsidize every pathological being that comes along.

    This is how conservatives will win in America, if that victory is worth anything.  If we cannot win by being conservatives, then winning is meaningless.

    Never forget that the Founders believed that they might lose the Revolutionary War, and all be shot.  They preferred that to winning by joining the Torries.

  19. Chris Campion

    I don’t remember Rob advocating for the commission of felonies in order to get votes.  We are certainly doing a lousy job of messaging if what we have to offer is not sinking in, and we are not getting the message out enough, we’re not stating our arguments well, and we especially do far too much of “go along to get along” at the highest levels of the party that we’re mostly toast before we even get out of the gate, electorally speaking.

    Picking up your toys and going home isn’t going to win an election, either, and that seems to be what so many are happy to do.  Build a wall, complain, and do absolutely nothing different in the next campaign.  We get exactly what we work for.

    raycon and lindacon: 

    This is how conservatives will win in America, if that victory is worth anything.  If we cannot win by being conservatives, then winning is meaningless.

    Never forget that the Founders believed that they might lose the Revolutionary War, and all be shot.  They preferred that to winning by joining the Torries. · 10 minutes ago

  20. Peter Robinson
    C
    Bereket Kelile: About what Peter and Rob were arguing about, I think looking at the national picture obscures what’s going on in each state. I’d say that the red states prove that conservative policies work and you can look at how people vote with their feet. You can also look at where the growth in the country is taking place-red states in the South. Just like what’s going on in the GOP, it’s important to define the context. · 4 hours ago

    Beautiful–and why didn’t I think of that while Rob was on the line?

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