On Tuesday’s episode of “The Andrew Klavan Show,” Klavan discusses the importance of compromise in the heat of political discourse and how the ultimate goal should be to keep people free. Video and partial transcript below:
One of my biggest beefs with commentators, on both the Left and the Right, is they had this idea, they put forward this idea, that there’s some system that somehow is going to fix everything, that humanity can be fixed.
On the Left, it’s like some big-government idea is eventually going to suppress all evil. They’re always talking about racism as if they want you to believe there’s some kind of emergency of evil and all it takes is for the wings of big government to come floating down on top of you, take that evil in its talons, and carry it away. Just ain’t so, there’s no government big enough to suppress the broken human heart, it just can’t be done. So, it’s just a way of getting more and more government forever … that’s their intention.
Well, we do it on the Right, too. We talk about capitalism, we talk about democracy, we talk about our Constitution as if those things are complete systems that either get rid of human evil or somehow nullify it, and nothing does. I mean, we all want businesses to thrive, we all believe in a free market, but things get out of hand. Right? It’s funny how the Left used to know this, but now they’ve forgotten it. Everybody supports these corporations that are so huge that they take away your privacy. They take away your right to free speech. They completely control people, and the Left used to say, “Oh, those corporations we must bring them down.” Bernie Sanders still says it, but he doesn’t mean it … We all want our Amazon, we all want our Apple, we want our iPods, we want all this stuff.
At some point, somebody has to say it’s too much, you have too much power. You shouldn’t be allowed to reach into my bedroom and find out what I’m doing or follow my searches and find out everything about me until you can control my life and control my speech. You really do not want that to happen. We want free markets; I want free markets. We even want global markets. When we talk about globalization that’s kind of a vague term, it’s a global world. We’re all in this one small planet floating in the vastness of space, we’re all going to be dealing with each other. But there are different ways to do that. Do we want to have separate markets? Do we want to have an American idea that stays alive? Or do we just want to open up our borders and let all these people pour in whatever their ideas are and completely change the nature of our country? We know what one side thinks, we know what the other side thinks, but no idea covers everything. Because even though we want free markets, they can destroy communities and communities are important.
If you want to keep the values alive the preserve conservatism, preserve Americanism and preserve free markets in fact, the underlying atmosphere for free markets, the underlying ground in which free markets grow, are good communities, churches that people can go to, families that are kept together. You can’t just keep saying to people, “Oh well, business has to be free, so your community is gone, your church is gone, your family’s gone, your wife has to work. Too bad.” It doesn’t work that way, everything needs bookends.
No system can control all things, it just doesn’t work that way. So, you have to feel your way. I mean I don’t like the idea of a welfare state, in principle, I’m against it. In principle, I’m against the idea that you take money away from one person and give it to another without a welfare state. You can’t keep freedom alive. Even Hayek, this Fredrick Hayek said this, he said, “you have to have a welfare state where people will be too afraid to be free. You don’t want people so afraid of what’s going to happen to their children if they lose their job or if they get sick that they will not be free.” You know it’s all well and good to go on the radio and sit in front of a microphone and slam your fist into your palm and say “this welfare state is destroying everything.” Everything needs bookends, no principal will keep you alive.
I get in these conversations when I go to colleges and speak because young people obviously are idealistic. They should be idealistic, and they say to you, “Well aren’t you violating your principles?” Yeah, I am violating my principles, I’ve got to. I’ve got to violate my principles to keep the ground on which my principles stand alive. If people are too afraid to be free, they won’t be free, so you need a bit of a welfare state. There’s no such thing as an age of republic or an age of democracy that doesn’t have some kind of welfare state.
We have a twofold problem; one is that the Left uses that fact to keep selling us a bigger and bigger welfare state. I believe that people shouldn’t starve in the streets if takes government action, I wish it could be done through our churches, I wish it were done through churches and communities, but if it takes government action just to keep people from being too afraid to be free, I’ll violate my principles and do it. But what we know is, the left is constantly adding things to the pile, right? We got to pay for college, you’ve got to pay for childcare, you’ve got to pay for this and that, you know you got to pay for choice, and we’ve got to pay for birth control. Choices that people make that they don’t have to make, that I shouldn’t have to pay for.
Because of that, because they say black, we say white, because they say up, we say down, we start saying well there shouldn’t be any welfare state, it just doesn’t work. So, we know that they’re going to use these places where freedom needs to be a little bit shored up by government systems, they’re going to use those to try and expand and expand and expand government. It’s the thin end of the wedge, it is a slippery slope. We have to stand on that slippery slope, plant our feet, and keep people from sliding down.
Those are the only choices we have. We don’t have a choice that we can keep people free. I mean like during the Depression that’s when things like communism and fascism became popular because when people panic and they become afraid, they buy into those systems. That’s why the Left is always selling panic. That’s why they’re telling you “Oh it’s hot outside, this is the end of the world. Run for your life and get a bigger, bigger government.” I mean that is why they do that all the time.