On Tuesday’s episode of “The Andrew Klavan Show,” Klavan discusses wisdom and virtue in our leaders after the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton. Video and transcript below:
So, let me start by showing you two videos that are, to me, the difference between wisdom and un-wisdom, wisdom and foolishness. First of all, here is the El Paso mayor, obviously this is where the right-wing shooter went off and killed so many people. This is Mayor Dee Margo talking about the tragedy in his town.
MARGO: We’re dealing with a tragedy of 22 people who have perished by an evil hateful act of a white supremacist that has no bearing or belong[ing] in El Paso. It was not done by any one from El Paso. No El Paso [resident] would ever do this. I don’t know how we deal with evil. I don’t have a textbook for dealing with evil other than the Bible. I’m sorry.
I’m sympathetic to the idea that the Bible is a textbook to deal with evil, but that’s not what makes that wise. What makes that wise is he understands that he’s dealing with something that is eternal in human affairs. He doesn’t have the answer that people who are hungry for an answer and looking for an answer will take, that will get you into trouble. He’s being wise. I also want to point out that this wisdom is coming from the mayor of El Paso, which is an honorable position, but obviously not a big national position. It’s not a network news position. It’s not a senatorial position. It’s not the president’s position.
And, you know, we were just talking before the show started about this new Tarantino film, “Once Upon a Time In Hollywood,” which I enjoyed. It’s a very thoughtful film, a very interesting films, but has a lot of flaws, a lot of self-indulgence. One of the things I loved about it, what I think is maybe the center piece of the movie, is the character played by Brad Pitt. And Brad Pitt plays a kind of loser. He’s a stuntman who’s become a driver to this kind of washed-up TV star. The TV star is a kind of the Clint Eastwood character, before he started making spaghetti westerns. Brad Pitt plays this guy. And yet you find out as the show goes on that this loser guy with no ambition, this guy was satisfied just to be a factotum — a follower — is the decent moral heart of the movie, and that’s a very Christian point. The Christian point that the people who run the world, the people who are the most important in the world, are not always the best people in the world.
I look back over our presidents for the last couple of years, you know. And the last one — Obama — was a narcissistic ideologue, who wouldn’t change his mind about his policies, even when he saw they didn’t work. He just went to the old Democrat playbook of dividing us over race. The guy before that, of course, was George W. Bush, who was a decent person, but also just not really equipped to deal with what he needed to deal with. And before that, you know, we had Clinton, who was credibly accused of being a rapist. Our presidents are our top people and are not always the best people… The people who are in the news, the people who are held up to us as idols, are frequently false idols. Maybe it’s the mayor of El Paso who has something really to speak to us, and we have to follow the wisdom and not the people.
One of many hilarious brothers that I have once made a really funny comment talking about someone he hated. He said, “He’s the worst person on earth who doesn’t run a country,” which I thought was a great line because it tells you [that] the powerful people are not always the wisest, not always the people we should follow. Now let me play you un-wisdom or foolishness.
Yesterday, I ended the show with an absolutely hilarious cut from the National Convention of Democratic Socialists. … The poor woman who was trying to chair the meeting couldn’t even get out a sentence without saying, “Oh, you used gender language! Oh, you’re doing this or you’re doing that!” So here is the guy at the Democratic Socialist National Convention, a super cut of him announcing the rules to the delegates.
DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST: We have quiet rooms that are available, there’s a range of options for these, right. One thing to note there, please don’t go into that space with anything that’s like an aggressive stance for instance, right. First and foremost, use the proper door, don’t try and exit through these or any other sort of like fun shortcuts you see. You have to have your credentials at all time. There are right-wing infiltrators who are trying to get in and generally try to be chill, right. Take a deep breath. Know better before you say anything. Please don’t tweet photos of your credentials if you have friends here that you would like to be here. Don’t let them in. Don’t make exceptions for those people. Don’t really talk to anybody who doesn’t have credentials. Especially if they claim to be from the press. Please do not talk to anybody who identifies themselves as a member of the press. Don’t talk to cops. Don’t talk to MAGA. Don’t talk to cops, if there are cops there, for any reason at all, right. If you do see someone talking to cops, let the marshals know.
Socialism doesn’t really seem all that relaxing does it. And, of course, this is the Left in a nutshell, and this is un-wisdom in a nutshell. The idea that you can control events to the extent that you can overcome the passions, evils, corruption that are endemic to being a fallen human being in a fallen world. I mean that it is the almost the definition, the picture of un-wisdom in the dictionary.
The picture of wisdom is a guy whose modesty, whose knowledge that there are things that can’t be controlled, things that can’t be fixed, things that are going to be what they are going to be. That is wisdom and this other thing leads to tyranny. It’s this idea that somehow, we can create something that is powerful enough to stop accidents, to stop tragedies, and stop evil.
I mean that’s how you get warnings on coffee cups that the coffee is hot. You know that’s how you get into these things. So, don’t use this word and don’t gender your language because then all the problems will exist. Because of the wonderful division of the genders — all those problems will disappear — if we just pretend those genders don’t exist.
There’s a piece in “The Wall Street Journal” today, by Christian Snyder — of “CollegeFix,” which is a great website —talking about bias response teams, and how they try to stop there from being any bias. They want to turn the college campuses into a surveillance state. And he went out and he got transcripts of them to find out what kinds of things were reported as “bias.” He says, “At the University of Utah, a male student was joking around with his friends. He was complaining that his computer battery was dying, someone gave him a plug to plug it in. He couldn’t get it in, they said, ‘Jam the cord into the power socket,’ and he said, ‘That’s rape and I am not raping my computer.’ He joked and a female student overheard that and filed a complaint.”
The reporting then becomes ideologically biased and this is the thing. You start out just trying to control what you think is evil, but then you realize that in order to do that, you must be the arbiter of good and evil. So, everything becomes your opinion writ-large, and you try to shut everybody down.
He has a “Michigan State University student, who reported his dorm roommate for watching a video of conservative commentator, Ben Shapiro.” Now, that I understand, of course, we all don’t want people running around listening to Ben Shapiro. But when a University of Oregon professor defended Justice Bret Kavanaugh’s nomination, a female student reported, “She was deeply offended, and that completely discredited sexual assault survivors like myself and Dr. Christine Blasi Ford.” A Portland State student “filed a complaint against a woman who jokingly described herself as being schizophrenic. An Asian-American student, at the University of Minnesota, reported a food service worker for saying hello in Japanese. An Indiana University teaching assistant filed a case against a guest lecturer, who tried to explain the role of the FCC by citing the Janet Jackson ‘Nipplegate’ controversy,” and so on and so forth.
Trying to stamp out evil becomes tyranny. It becomes this idea that you are the arbiter of where good and evil lies. And that’s the thing about Libertarianism, as a religion, even as a party, is not a good idea. But a little bit of “Judge not lest you be judged,” a little bit of “Live and let live” is the way forward for freedom. You have to have that for freedom. Cultural problems need cultural solutions. If you think there’s something wrong with the culture, you have to solve it that way.