Professor Lawrence Lessig on “The Corrupting Influence of Money on Politics”

so thank you Dean Lester do I call you Dean or do I call you acting okay justine Lester it's good it's wonderful to be here I'm but I have to confess I'm a little anxious to be here I'm anxious because one part of my life a big chunk of the last 25 years of my life has been as an academic but the part of my life I want to talk about tonight is life as an activist I spend a chunk of my life talking about academic questions but i would ask citizen questions tonight and I was led to this shift by a certain recognition a recognition that I know many of the people in this audience share the recognition that something fundamental is not working I got to this place by thinking about IP both VIP as in tcp/ip and the IP as in copyright as IP my academic work focused in this area in this sense I spent like chunk of my life in the same place Thomas Jordan spent his life and in this space as we talked about these issues for over 15 years I saw progress everywhere in the recognition and understanding of people universities businesses parents ordinary Americans about the need for progress and to update the way in which the law thought about both the regulation of technology and the regulation of copyright we saw progress everywhere except for this place in this place members of Congress promulgated ideas like the statute in honor of this great American the sonny bono copyright term extension act a statute which extended the term of existing copyrights by 20 years an idea which when we challenged in the Supreme Court we had a brief by a bunch of economists including this right let the left wait no I'm sorry this is non filming right wing Nobel prize-winning economist who said he would join the brief attacking the statute only if the word no-brainer was somewhere in the brief so obvious was it that you couldn't advance the public good by extending the term of existing copyrights but apparently there were no brains in this place when Congress unanimously extended the term of existing copyrights an institution that promulgated this statute the SOPA PIPA statute which brought Wikipedia to shut down in protest and a year ago then led thousands of people to call their Congress people to get them to withdraw that idea a regime that leads people like this US Attorney Carmen Ortiz to say something like stealing is stealing whether you use a computer command or a crowbar showing clearly she understands neither computers nor crowbars so the question is why is it I asked about six years ago our political system is so bad in understanding and updating its recognition the way the law should work in this particular area and about 2006 I'm embarrassed to say I had the recognition that of course it wasn't just here in the area of IP that this failure to understand an update occurred it was in a wide range of areas but the particular focus that I had at that time was around this film which a friend of mine made for al gore and so I got to see Gore present this talk again and again and again and it hit me I thought it was a smart person but when I realized it took me so long to recognize this I realized I couldn't be a smart person it hit me that it wasn't just esoteric questions like IP where we couldn't get a Congress to respond to the obvious truths that other people got it was in this fundamental area too and in many fundamental areas and when you ask why is it the institution was incapable of focusing here I was struck by the comments of James Hansen who of course is one of Al Gore's heroes in the context of this film but as hansen accounts for the failure of the system to understand and respond to global warming he says I believe the biggest obstacle to solving global warming is the role of money in politics so between night 2006 and 2007 I had the great pleasure of being in Berlin I was writing the final book that I wrote in this space remix about this issue and I was visited by an extraordinary young man Aaron Swartz who came to Berlin to attend a conference called the Chaos Computer Conference and in January came to visit me at at the American Academy and we had a long conversation that night the two of us and he said to me in that conversation how are you going to ever deal with the issues that you care about without dealing with this corruption first and I said to him you know Aaron it's not my field on my field and he said as an academic I said yes as an academic it's not my field my field is technology and policy and I focused my energy there and he said well what about as a citizen what about as a citizen and it was that conversation that led me to decide that I was going to throw away all the intellectual capital I had built for the last ten fifteen years and started a new project which announced that summer a project to focus on this question of the corrupting influence of money and how do we rally or build the recognition necessary to address it and it's this move between the academic and the citizen that I want us to think about tonight in particular I want to think about the luxuries we can afford as citizens and his academics because it's academics we have to recognize at least in America it's as great as it has ever been in the history of human culture it's as great as it's ever been the resources the opportunity the culture encourages us to take her to question to wait to watch to quibble it is what we do as academics the question I want to ask tonight is what do we do as citizens can we afford this luxury as citizens because when you think back to other moments in our history when a political system felt it had to confront fundamental issues it didn't have the luxury that academics have today think back to the founding framers recognizing the nation was about to fall off the cliff recognizing they needed to figure out a new structure all they had was history a little bit of law they didn't even understand Adam Smith yet they had no regressions they had didn't even have Windows 3.1 they had none of these things for addressing the most important issues that they had yet they had to address them it had to address them with what they knew and architect a constitutional system they felt what makes sense with what they knew the puzzle is now that we have more than they had but it feels as if we have less capacity to do anything with what we have less capacity to resolve and move forward to decide to fix and I think we can't afford less anymore we have to think about how do we frame what we do in a way to get us into something more so here's the argument i want to lay out i'm going to set it up with a certain framing of the problem but i want to introduce this problem by telling you a story and disney told me that all stories have to begin like this so once upon a time started out with all due respect to the dean there was a place called Lester land Lester land now jelly didn't mention this because it's a secret I don't like anybody know this so don't tell anybody but my first name is Lester so I'm allowed to make fun of last year's I'm not making fun of the Dean I'm making fun of I'm invoking my own name here Lester land so here's last early unless you looks a lot like the United States like the United States it has about 310 million people and of the 310 million people it turns out 144,000 of them are named Lester so that means about point zero five percent of Lester land is named Lester now the thing about Lester land is that Lester's have a certain kind of power in lesterland there are two elections every election cycle in Westerland there's a general election and there is a Lester election in the last election the Lester's get to vote in the general election all citizens over 18 in some states if you have an ID get to vote but here's the catch to be allowed to run in the general election you must do extremely well in the Lester election you don't necessarily have to win but you must do extremely well now what can we say about this picture of democracy called Lester lamp well we can say number one as a supreme court said in Citizens United but the people in lesterland have the ultimate influence over elected officials because after all there is a general election but only after the Lester's have had their way with the candidates who wish to run in that general election and number two we can say obviously this dependence upon the Lester's is going to produce a subtle understated may be camouflaged bending to keep these Lester's happy and number three reform that angers the Lester's is likely to be highly unlikely in leicester lat okay now once you have this conception of Lester land I want you to see three fins that follow from this conception number one the United States is Lester left the United States is lesterland United States also looks like this also has two elections one's called the general election the other is called the money election and the general election all citizens get to vote if you are over 18 in some states if you have an ID in the money election it's the relevant funders who get to vote and as in lesterland to be allowed to run in the general election you must do extremely well in the money election you don't necessarily have to win there are jerry Brown's in this story but you must do extremely well but here's the key there are just as few relevant funders in this democracy as there are Lester's in lesterland now you say really point zero five percent when hear the numbers from 2012 2012 point four percent of America gave more than two hundred dollars to any federal candidate point zero five five gave the maximum amount to any federal candidate point zero one gave ten thousand dollars or more to federal candidates 4000 three percent gave a hundred thousand dollars or more my favorite statistic point 0 0 0 0 for 2 percent and for those of you doing the numbers you know that's a hundred and thirty two Americans gave sixty percent of the super PAC money spent in the twenty twelve election cycle so I'm just a humble lawyer I look at point four point zero five 5.01 I think it's fair for me to say point zero five percent is a fair estimate of the relevant funders in our system for funding elections in this sense the funders are our Lester's now like we can say about Lester land this is what we can say about us a len number one Supreme Court is completely right the people have the ultimate influence the ultimate influence over the elected officials because there is a general election but only after the funders have had their way with the candidates who wish to run in that general election and number two obviously this dependent upon the funders produces the subtle understated camouflaged we could say bending to keep the funders happy members of Congress and candidates for Congress spend anywhere between thirty and seventy percent of their time raising money to get back to Congress to get their party back into power Democratic leadership handed out this PowerPoint slide to all incoming Democratic freshmen this slide which gives them their daily schedule their daily schedule which includes explicitly for hours voted to the task of calling to raise money and this is just during the day what do they do at night go to fundraisers and raise more money now any human that had this light would develop a sixth sense a constant awareness about how what you do will affect your ability to raise money in the words of the x-files they will become shape shifters as they constantly adjust their views in light of what they know will help them to raise money Leslie burn a Democrat for Virginia describes that when she went to Congress she was told by a colleague quote always leaned to the green and to clarify she went on he was not an environmentalist and then point three reformed that angers the funders is likely to be highly unlikely in USA as lesterland that's the first point to see here's the second United States is last LAN the United States is worse than westerlund worse than Lester work because you can imagine in lesterland if we lester's got a letter from the government that said you know you guys get to pick who's going to be the candidates that run in the general election you can imagine we would develop a kind of aristocratic attitude we would believe begin to believe we need to act in the interest of the country as a whole you know Lester's come from all parts of society at a rich Lester's poor Lester's black Lester's whites not many women Lester's except the Dean of course but not many women Lester's but put that aside for a second it come from all parts of society it's at least possible that the Lester's would be inspired to act for the good of lesterland but in our land in this land in USA land the Lester's act for the Lester's because the shifting coalition's that comprise the point zero five percent comprise two point zero five percent because of the issues they know will be decided in the next congressional term so if its climate change legislation its oil companies and coal companies that comprise a significant portion of the point zero five percent if it's health care its pharmaceutical companies or doctors or insurance companies that comprise a significant portion the point zero five percent whatever the issue is that what does that's what's determines who the Lester's are and these Lester's don't gather for the public interest so in this sense the United States is worse than less one point number three whatever one wants to say about Lester land against the background of its tradition whatever explains this interesting little place in our land in USA land we have to recognize that a Lester land like government is a corruption a corruption now by corruption I don't mean cash secret around in brown paper bags I don't mean a kind of Rob Blagojevich sense of corruption I'm not talking about the violation of any criminal statute I'm not asserting that anybody in our system does anything illegal I'm not talking about breaking the law instead I mean a corruption relative to the framers baseline for how the Republic was to function so the framers gave us what they explicitly called a Republican but by a republic they meant a representative democracy and bio representative democracy as Madison explains in Federalist 52 they meant a government that would have a branch that would be dependent upon the people alone here's the model of government they have the people they have the government and turn on slides it all the way that bounces like that okay the people and the government and through that exclusive dependency so would the public would be found but here's the problem Congress has evolved a different dependence not a dependence upon the people alone but increasingly dependent upon the funders this is a dependence too but it's different and conflicting from a dependence upon the people alone so long as the funders are not the people it is a corruption and we should understand it precisely as a corruption of the architecture of this Republic now I want to claim the right to say this that it's a corruption I'm going to claim the right as an academic to say this because I have credentials here right I'm a constitutional law professor deep I'm an adult constitutional law professor because I've been teaching for 21 years constitutional law okay and in the gestation period is getting really weird this was my teacher too okay so I have a sense of the Constitution tradition I think it was me to assert that this is I kind of ruption I believe that if I could bring a string of framers back I could convince them that this is a corruption of the system they described but the difficulty for me as an academic is that I want to say more than just that I want to say that this corruption has an effect I want to say has an effect on US citizens and it has an effect on our government so it as an effect are cysts citizens in the way drives us to regard our government so first effect is this Americans believe it's a separate question I think Americans are right to believe but let's focus on their belief americans believe quote money buys results in Congress seventy-five percent of americans according to a poll i conducted for the book that i published last fall a little bit higher Democrats and Republicans but i guarantee you before the republicans took control of the house it was just as many Republicans as democrats so whether it's two-thirds or a three-fourths here's the one thing we americans all believe money buys results in Congress leading to point number two that believe undermines trust in the institution of Congress ABC in new york times published a poll last year saying that nine percent of america a confidence in our Congress nine percent put that in some context but certainly the case at the time of the American Revolution higher percentage of Americans had confidence in the British crown than have confidence in our Congress today and that leads to point number three this weekend trust weakens the reasons one has to participate so this is the point that David Souter made in Nixon vs shrink Missouri he said leave the perception of impropriety unanswered and the cynical assumption that large donors call the tune could jeopardize the willingness of voters to take part in democratic governance it's would Rock the Vote discovered in 2010 in 2008 they turned out the largest number of young voters in the history of voting to that point 2010 they founded a significant number of their voters were just not going to turn out so they pulled them to ask them why the number one reason by far two to one of the second-highest reason was no matter who wins corporate interest will still have too much power and to prevent real change and it's not just kids vast majority people in 2010 who could have voted did not vote I submit in part at least because of this belief and even in this election for to the percent of the people who could have voted did not vote in part at least because of this belief that is its effect on us but maybe more significant is its effect on our government because I believe this economy has this corruption has a certain economy an economy that has actors the lobbyists the members the Lester's working together in an economy and this economy has an effect two in particular I want to identify here number one we can think of the economy of know that gets produced by this economy of these three actors number two the economy of extortion so let's think first about the economy of no in any system where this tiny fraction of the one percent are the relevant funders any system like this means that a tiny number of that tiny fraction of the one percent is sufficient to block any motion for change always or at least almost always and this points to the instability that I think we have allowed to evolve inside of this government this is the economy of know and this economy depends upon polarization to make it function better it depends upon dysfunction to make it function better because dysfunction makes it easier to sell the good that is being sold the good of saying no of stopping the system from functioning dysfunction is the business model Lee Fang at the nation wrote this piece about lobbyists we're trying to stop the reform of the Senate filibuster process and he quoted from a website one of the lobbyists describing the service that lobbyists could provide to any business that was so interested in securing it it's a service called managing holds and filibusters your organization has an interest in a bill that has been proven controversial and you require advocacy before those legislature legislators often back the bench Senate Republicans who may exercise is their prerogatives to delay or obstruct endgame strategies will give you a new way to manage your interest in a legislative environment that gives great power to individual senators we are auctioning the ability to block and it's because of this tiny number of less Lester's that are needed to exercise the leverage to get them to block to get them to say no that we have this economy of know at the center of the way this government now functions now there are exceptions we can now dream of the negation immigration reform because this party is fearing its own extinction there are exceptions the tragedy and Sandy Hook may bring us to a place that the government can finally address the problem of guns in a comprehensive way these are exceptions but there are exceptions against the background of a clear rule and if that rule I suggest that is the core of the instability in the way this government doesn't function so that's the economy of note and then there's the economy of extortion so I've pointed to the point zero five percenter Lester's think now about the point zero zero zero one four percent members of Congress because the dynamic that we should recognize is obvious once you think about it the dependence members of Congress creates their own dependencies to help them feed their dependency so think for example about this The Wall Street Journal two years ago was puzzled by the rise of what they called these temporary tax code provisions task code is riddled with the short-term provisions that expire at a certain point and if you want them extended got to go to Congress to get them extended once again and the number of these extensions was growing and the journal didn't quite understand why they would be growing like this but from the perspective I'm offering it should be obvious why they're growing like this Reagan gave us the first of these temporary provisions the 1981 research and development tax credit it was made temporary because there was an argument about whether work Democrats said it wouldn't work Republicans said it would work so they said okay let's make a temporary and then we'll ask economists after a period of time whether worked after period of time as …

Lecture 23: Building Blocks of Distributive Politics

– So we're now on the, into the fifth part of the course called, what is to be done? And I want to just begin by talking about the key features of the
politics of insecurity, some of which we addressed
earlier in the course and some in the last two lectures. But they really shape
the landscape on which we have to think about,
what can and cannot be done in politics, in
the world as we actually find it. And so, first thinking about voters. One thing that we have learned is that local inequalities matter
to people much more than global inequalities. Bernie Sanders can talk
as much as he likes about the top 1% and it will motivate activists on the left of the Democratic party but most voters really
care about much more local inequalities.

And we talked about this
earlier in the course when we were talking
about how capuchin monkey experiment was misinterpreted when the angry monkey was likened to
the Wall Street protester but whether the monkey was
angry because she or he was not getting something
that a similarly situated monkey was getting. The monkey was not troubled
that the researcher had a big bowl of grapes and cucumbers. So people tend to compare
themselves to similarly situated others. Oil workers might compare
themselves to coal miners. Auto workers might compare themselves to steel workers. And this is true up and
down the occupational scale. I think I mentioned to you, a professor would be much more troubled to learn that she or he is paid significantly less than say, $10,000 less than
a professor in the next office than to learn
they're paid half a million dollars less than the attorney next door.

So people tend to make local comparisons. And the idea that marked hope for, that people would start
to make more global comparisons, is not
supported by the research of sociologists and social psychologists. Secondly, think about
Rick Santelli's rant, another illustration of this point. This is the famous rant
on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange right after
the Obama Administration came into office and had
started talking about minor mortgage relief for homeowners. Nothing like John
Geanakoplos was proposing, but nonetheless he was proposing reducing interest rates at least
for a time on peoples loans and it produced a lot of
rage that was articulated in that video I showed you. At the end of it, his
calling for a tea party and people credit the formation
of the tea party with… As being, if you like,
catalyzed by Rick Santelli's rant on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

And you might also recall
that one of the things he complained about was, he
said, it's a moral hazard. It's a moral hazard. But notice of course,
bailing out the banks is also a moral hazard, right? Bailing out the banks is
giving banks the incentive to gamble with taxpayer's money. So while it may be a
moral hazard to bail out the homeowner's, it's
no less, you might say in some ways it's more
consequential moral hazard to bail out the banks. Nonetheless, what enraged him was that do you wanna pay for your
neighbor's mortgage?, he rhetorically said. So again, local comparisons
that matter to people. Think about the difference
between the Trump and Sander's campaigns on this question of who people compare themselves with. In many ways Trump and
Sanders ran a populist campaigns in the 2016 election. They attacked Wall Street
elites for being corrupt. But a difference was that Sanders talked a lot about inequality
whereas Trump did not. Trump never promised to reduce inequality. He never, as I said, even said what Ronald Reagan had said, that he wants America to be a country in which everybody can get rich.

All he said was that, you
people have been screwed. You people have been… Left behind by the… By the policies of foolish elites, he calls everybody idiots. And I'm gonna put America first and so on. And to the extent there
was a fairness argument. We talked about this in connection with Arlie Hochschild's
narrative of cutting in. Some people have cut in front of me and taken something that I would otherwise have gotten, right? Again, very local comparisons that people are making.

They are not thinking about what people, very distant from them
in the socioeconomic order are making. Related to that, closely related to that is a loss aversion and in its insecurity, often matter much more to
people than inequality. Again, think here of Trump's
make America great again. Something's been taken away from you. We're gonna bring it
back and do something. We're gonna recreate something
that had existed before. I am gonna bring back those jobs. I'm not gonna make you rich. I'm gonna bring back those jobs. That was the essence of his campaign whereas Hilary's was, she
took that other Reagan line, American's best days are ahead. Sunny optimism which is
a lot harder to sustain during an era of endemic
employment insecurity. And again, just driving
home the point that it's insecurity and the
fear of downward mobility that matters much more to
people than their place in the distribution of income and wealth, globally conceived.

Remember those data about
Trump primary voters. Only a third of whom earned
lower than the median income, below $50,000 a head per family. Another, 2nd and 3rd earned
between the median income and 100,000, and the third
third of primary voters not Republican voters
in the general election were Trump supporters. And in those primaries, so, again, middle-class people who feel insecure, and this is, what Dan
Markovits' book is about, may be just as anxious and mobilizable by a populist politician as poor people who feel insecure.

So the insecurity and
loss aversion matter more than inequality and
it's local inequalities that matter much more to
people than global ones. And then we're living in a world in which almost everywhere
organized labor is weaker than it's been in decades. We've seen, in country after country, the decline of union
movements, it's way down into single digits, in the US, and the majority of workers that are organized now are in public sector unions which do have some political clout. We will see next week when
we talk about education. But for the most part,
as a force in politics, unions have seldom been as weak, if ever, in the last 80 or 90 years, if ever, as they are today. This is particularly pronounced in the US, but we saw pretty much everywhere except one or two places like
Finland and Iceland, we've seen a decline in the
power of organized labor.

A concomitant to that, business interests are stronger than
they've been for decades. Partly because of the
collapse of a serious alternative out there. Communism to the extent
it exists politically is now supported by capitalists economies in places like China and
Vietnam and so there's no real alternative to
capitalism out there, which obviously, greatly,
increases the power of capital. Particularly in an era of globalization when it can easily flee, the flying East theory that Christina talked about in the China lecture. And in these, as jobs going
increasingly to technology, capital doesn't even need to flee in order to increase its leverage over labor. So we're living in a world in which labor is weaker than its been in living memory and business interests are more powerful than they've been in living memory. And then coming to Thursdays lecture of last week, we're also living in a world in which political
parties have become weaker and more fragmented just about everywhere.

And this is not something that has gone on for eight decades, but it certainly has gone on over the past
four decades as labor has become weaker, parties on the left have fragmented and we saw that as induced fragmentation on the right in multi-party systems and
all over the democratic world, this impulse to
democratize parties, to get more and more direct democracy in the governance of parties, and in making of decisions has greatly weakened parties in both multi-party systems and even two-party systems and indeed, even the… The platonic form of what used to be two-party systems. The Westminster system between their going for referendum between the changes in their leadership selection rules, between adopting things
like fixed parliaments and candidate selection
also being decentralized, they have replicated much of the rest of the democratic world in
making it much more difficult for parties to present, get elected on programmatic platforms
and then implement them as governments.

It's a world that's ripe
for populist charlatans who exploit insecurity and
promise snake oil solutions. So, what is to be done? Now at the beginning of the course when I prefaced some of these themes, in the first few lectures, I also said don't get too depressed. (class laughing) And in many respects, this
is a depressing prospect. But what I want to be arguing in these last lectures is that,
certainly we shouldn't give up hope and there
are ways of thinking constructively about
politics going forward. And indeed, in some
respects, there are reasons not just for hope but even some optimism. This was a distinction
Martin Luther King made towards the end of his life. He said he was no longer optimistic but he hadn't given up hope. I think there are some reasons to think that it might be possible to come up with constructive change and
build regressive support for it to happen.

And so that's where we're
headed in these final lectures. So, a central message of this final part of the course, and if
you like, presupposition of much that I'm gonna
say to you, power phrasing Immanuel Kant is that,
policy without politics is empty, but politics
with policy is blind. Policy, politics without policy is empty and politics without policy is blind. So, let me emphasize that it's not just in the real world but in
the academic literature, for the most part, people who study policy don't think very much about politics. They think about what
policies would be good, what should happen. But they have relatively little to say about how they're gonna get it to happen. Whereas people who study politics tend to explain why what happens happens but have way little to say
about what should happen.

And so there's this sort of
divergence of preoccupations. But I think that that is misguided. That we really need to think about what's desirable in the context
of what's feasible and take into account the constraints and possibilities that might be offered for thinking about policy rather than thinking about it in a vacuum. So just to give a couple of illustrations of policy without politics. Perhaps the most influential
book of political economy written in the last couple of decades is Piketty's Capital in the 21st Century. This is the book in which he argues that the reason for increasing inequality is that returns to capital exceed returns to the other factors of production. And so, wealth accumulates over time at the top. Economists debate his data and some ways of measuring this but
that's not my concern here. The other one I wanna just mention to you as examples of these brilliant economists, there's no question about
that, but the things that he says about politics are… Bereft if any serious attention as to how they might be enacted. So for example, in his
book published in 2014, in the penultimate chapter of that book, he calls for aggressive
tax on global capital.

And in the beginning of that chapter he does say, well this
might be a utopian idea. But we should still put it out there for thinking about where we want to get to and besides, it could
inform more realistic proposals like a
Europe-wide tax on capital. Now you might say, well in 2014, that wasn't, you know,
it might not have seemed a naive thing to say,
as naive a thing to say as it is today, but nonetheless, in 2018 he has pushed this
idea further with some other intellectuals in Europe, publishing what they call our Manifesto
for the Democratization of Europe, and you can
find it and peruse it at your leisure on their website.

They're calling for the creation of a new European assembly that would essentially function as a European-wide parliament that would have powers to raise revenue and manage budgets and it would be… The idea is that 80% of the legislators would be elected in the national elections so when you vote for your MP in the UK or Austria, they would
also, not only would they go to the British or Austrian parliament, they would also participate in this new European assembly. 80% of them would come there. The others would come from
the European parliament by proportional allocation. And they portray this as an alternative to the current EU structures
which are so constrained by the treaty-based character
of the European union which I lectured to you
about some months ago. But what do they ignore in proposing this? Why is it that the Lisbon Treaty ended up with a treaty-based system? It was because the more
ambitious proposals envisaged at Maastricht
were roundly rejected in referendums in Europe.

And so they had to
actually cancel a number of the plan referendums
because they saw the whole project of a never closer
union heading for catastrophe. And so they retreated. The Lisbon Treaty is really a retreat back to the idea that while EU is essentially a system of intergovernmental treaties in its ultimate legitimacy. They also argue that the purpose of this new European parliament is to do things like reduce inequality within the member countries. But why, if the member
countries in their own parliaments can't reduce inequality, why would anyone think
that sending them to a European parliament would enable them to reduce inequality any more effectively? So, and if you go and read the website that they have there,
which I urge you to do. It's certainly an
imaginative and interesting proposal in an intellectual sense, you will find the thing I said you should always be careful of.

Or should make you watch your wallet. The vast majority of it is written in a passive voice. The vast majority of it said
about what should happen. What should occur. What needs to happen. But of course, we can
talk until we're blue in the face about what needs to happen without having anything
to say about how to make it happen. What will be the political
forces that are gonna produce an outcome of this kind? And when you think back to the literature on the European Union, Tony Judt published his book in 2006,
post-war, when he warned. He said, the problem
with the European Union is that it's been an elite
project from beginning until end and as soon as
it gets into any trouble the popular resentment
of European-wide politics is going to erupt and it's
not gonna be pretty to see.

He turned out to be right about that. Adam Tooze in Crash
gives chapter and verse of the inability of the
European governing structures to come up with policies
that the populations in the constituent
countries will live with. And so, the nationalists of the countries within the European Union is very powerful in the idea that it's going
to go away anytime soon, I think is implausible. And I gave you a reason, if you think back to my lecture. Among the reasons is that the Europeans have contracted out their security to NATO over these past several decades whereas in the American case, what
built a sense of national purpose when we transitioned
from the Confederacy to the Constitution was the
creation of a National Defense and the funding of
Central National Defense. And then the idea that
people would identify with the national project rather than, what we might call the federal project, rather than the states,
that was a transition that was set in motion
by the centralization of our power over national security in the American system at the
time of the Constitution. There's never been an analog of that and so the idea of an ever closer union has largely been a fantasy
of elites for which popular support has never been dealt and indeed is less likely
to be forthcoming today than it has been since anytime since the financial crisis.

So the idea that we can
now create a new European parliament that, as they argue in cases of disagreement would
actually trump the decisions of the European Union
who which are constrained by the treaty-based
caricature that strengthens national parliament I think is, it's an example of policy without politics being ultimately empty. What about politics without policy? Well we have examples of that. Just to give one here. (drum music) (crowd chanting) – [All] Occupy Wall
Street all day, all week. Occupy Wall Street. – It's our duty as Americans to fight for our country and to keep it, you know, true to serving its people. And when it doesn't do that, it's immoral not to stand
up and say something. – I'm here myself as a free individual to humanize the markets and to have true participatory democracy.

Bottom up democracy. And to make Wall Street hear the sound of what democracy means. – What kind of power? – [All] People power. – Wall Street, it crashes, and you know, people start, people lose their jobs and things like that. We're very angry at Wall Street. It's a part of capitalism,
American capitalism especially, that's why we're here today… At Wall Street. – There's no reason to not be peaceful. We just wanna get a point across. We're just trying to let people know what's going on and why we're here for it.

– One in seven children
in the United States suffer from hunger, at
the same time we're giving billions and almost
trillions to Wall Street just for bailouts. Something needs to change. We need an economy for the people and by the people. Not by the rich and for the rich. – I mean, and the
government's doing the work for us, all they have
to do is cut some more people's insurance, unemployment benefits and it won't be a bunch
of 20-year old white college students out here, you know? – What would make today a success? What kinds of changes
would you like to see as a result of everyone
demonstrating today? – A success, it's already happening.

They corral the bull. And that's pretty much a
huge symbolic statement. – So there you have it. This is the beginning of
the Occupy Wall Street Movement. It was a movement that
was famously uninterested in articulating particular policies, in organizing itself behind
any particular agenda, but rather its purpose was to express this moral outrage at the
bailing out of the financial crisis and the inability
of the Obama Administration to do much else. They were to some extent triggered by the Arab Spring Movement
which had gotten going that year. But they really didn't advocate
any particular policies. And indeed if you think about… If you think about the
decision to occupy Wall Street, it was, you know, unlike,
at least the Vietnam protesters went to
Washington where something might be done about it. Whereas, here they went to New York and then spent the following Fall on many town and village greens around the country but because they lacked
organization or leadership or resources, once the cold weather came, they soon faded away. Now, this doesn't mean
that they were irrelevant to American politics. They articulated a moral
narrative that was, that had a certain kind
of coherence to it.

You might call it a
reactive moral narrative but I'm gonna have some more to say about the importance of moral narratives in effective distributed
politics later this morning. But they had nothing else. They had nothing more
than a moral narrative. And moral narratives on
their own is not enough. Again, this is politics without policy. So my agenda today is to get us to start thinking about
how, we can think about how there can be effective
policies in light of what we do know about politics. And one phrase that falls to mind is in one of John Rawls's less famous writings, his Law of Peoples it comes from, I believe, the way he first used it, this is the idea of Realistic Utopianism. And so, the thing about being a realist, about politics, in the real
politics sense of realist it is the danger of being
a realist is it might prevent you from trying
to do things that will change reality, right? That you'll be so constrained by one sense of the politic, you know, the politics is the art of the possible. You'll be so constrained by the notion of what's possible that you won't push for policies that might
change what's possible, right? So that…

I think we actually say in our book on the Death by a Thousand Cuts that real political creativity gets people to think that what they
had previously regarded as impossible is in fact possible, right? That's, you know, you wanna use the buzz words. You wanna push the envelope. Think outside the box. You've heard them all before. And if you're very
constrained in your thinking about what appears to be feasible in politics as we know
it today, you will not push to change the boundaries of what is possible in politics today. And so you run a risk
of being, if you like, captive of the inability
to think imaginatively about ways to change what is possible.

And so I like this phrase
realistic utopianism in that, it conjures up the idea of trying to get to a better
place but thinking about the steps from here to there. You've gotta think about
how you're gonna join the dots. How you're gonna in fact get policies adopted that might change the politics on the ground, which I think
is conspicuously missing in the proposal for European parliament that we just talked about. And so to make that case, what I'm gonna do today and then I'm gonna use this framework in
our remaining lectures is talk about what I'm gonna
call building blocks of effective distributive politics. And there are six of them. And I'm gonna spend a little bit of time on each of them.

And I will start with coalitions. Very important in politics
to think about coalitions. And the reason it's
very important politics to think about coalitions
goes back to our discussion of the differences between
the median voter story and the majority rule divide
the dollar game, right? So just to remind you,
the median voter story created the expectation that
because the median voter is always below the mean
voter, there would be downwardly distribution of wealth because politicians in search
of the median voter would advocate policies that the
median voter would prefer.

And that was the fear of
19th century liberals. It was the hope of Marx in his later years when he started talking
about the parliamentary road to socialism and it's embodied in the median voter theorem. The puzzle was that it doesn't happen in any kind of systematic way. And we thought one
reason for that might be that there's another
dimension such as race that people care about more. And we talked about
Nixon's southern strategy in connection with all of that. But then we talked about
the majority rule divide.

A dollar game …

Racism, Law, & Politics (Race Part 1) | Philosophy Tube

this video is part 1 of 2 in this episode we'll be looking at the work of Phalguni chef and learning about race racialization and political philosophy in part 2 we'll look at a case study and discuss the racialization of Muslims in so-called Western liberal societies we've got a lot of ground to cover today so I'm going to jump right in there's this big debate over whether race is a series of biological categories or whether it's just a social construct and in her book toward a political philosophy of race Phalguni chef tries to break away from that binary she says that to talk about race just as a biological category ignores all the ways that it's used in politics and law and to talk about it just as a social construct ignores the more interesting questions of who constructs it why do they construct it and how do they do it chef thinks that the concept of race is a type of technology it's a mental tool used by those in power that's the who they use it to manage unruly populations that's the why and they do this through racialization that's the how so let's go through it and I'll explain to you what all of that means the technology of race is used by sovereign power that's term that chef borrows from Foucault and for the purposes of this video we can take it to mean whoever is officially in charge and the systems through which their power is expressed chef's talk specifically about liberal societies by liberal societies shimming societies with certain basic assumptions at their heart for instance a division between the public and the private spheres an insistence that all citizens are equal emphasis on the rule of law where the law is thought to be fair and consented to democratically by the people liberalism also usually means capitalism and since the tail end of the 20th century it's increasingly meant neoliberal capitalism with an emphasis on low welfare low taxes and free markets chef has a very interesting view of what sovereign power and its legal and political systems of four she thinks that the purpose of the state is to conserve its own power and by extension conserve those basic liberal assumptions the function of government is not to ensure peace or justice or fairness or anything like that this is the self-preservation Society she thinks there's a paradox at the heart of liberalism liberal societies will talk the talk of inclusiveness and universal human rights for everyone even as they systemically exclude from that embrace certain groups of people think about how the founding fathers of the u.s.

Preached liberty and justice for all whilst owning slaves it's not always as stark as that but Sheth says that the promise of liberalism is very rarely realized for everyone but sovereign power has to preserve the basic liberal assumptions so what does it do it creates exceptions it rules out certain groups of people as not being eligible for entrance into the promised land as not being eligible for protection benefits voting rights whatever as a bonus if a population is enslaved or there's an unjust war or refugee crisis or a financial crash then those disasters can be written off as mistakes as misapplications of the principles of liberalism because sovereign power can always say oh the exceptions that we made at the time looked illegitimate but in hindsight there are actually errors anything but systemic problems okay so except that the technology of race is used by sovereign power trying to preserve itself we've covered the who but present itself against what exactly time to look at the why fortunately this bits pretty easy sovereign power wants to preserve itself against what chef calls the unruly the unruly is that which is unpredictable undependable or threatening to a political order sovereign power does not make exceptions of people randomly if your existence or the way you live threatens any of the basic liberal assumptions or even as is often the case if it's just perceived as a threat to them then you're in danger of being marked as unruly so for instance if you openly display your private values in public if you remind people that the law isn't always administered equally if you actually need the welfare state in order to survive then in the eyes of sovereign power you can be a threat whether they're consciously aware of that and whether you actually are or not so sovereign power wants to preserve itself against perceived challenges from the unruly by making exceptions of people it's time now to bring race back into this tie all the threads together and explain how making those exceptions works racialization is the process by which a population is divided and one group is pushed further and further away from that promise of liberalism both in the law and in the minds of the people it is quote the process of delineating a population in contrast to a dominant population and the corresponding political tension it is how sovereign power creates exceptions to its own rules and makes those exceptions seem totally legitimate and natural racialization protects sovereign power and suppresses the unruly because there's an implied threat of violence for those who can't get into the promised land if you're in the group that's racialized and pushed out and you don't get the protection or the benefits or whatever it is well then that'd be bad for you wouldn't it so you better stop being unruly and toe the line let's say that you and I represent sovereign power and there's this group of people that we think are unruly and we want to racialize them in order to do that we first need two things they need to have some distinguishing feature that we can use to point them out to the dominant population and say look there's the enemy it could be a physical thing like their skin color but it might not it could be their religion or their socioeconomic status or their sexuality if they don't have a distinguishing feature then we could always try giving them one like for instance making the weary yellow star or a red wristband they also need to be vulnerable already compared to the dominant population otherwise it's going to be very difficult for us to racialize and push them out maybe there's some historical inequality that hasn't been rectified maybe they're not represented in positions of power maybe they're new immigrants to our nation and they need our help to survive we take their perceived unruliness and we say everybody with that distinguishing feature is like that and that's how we write them all off as bad and begin to justify excluding them from society as a race a race that we have effectively just created now this bit is the hardest bit to understand the distinguishing features then become the criteria by which sovereign power tells us it's making the distinction it's actually distinguishing on the basis of unruliness but it's disguising that as a neutral objective possibly biological category think about the links that the Nazis went to to prove that Aryans were a different race from Jews or poles or whoever they wanted rid of at the time it's politics disguising itself as neutral objective science chef thinks that physiological markers like skin color and genetics don't constitute race rather those features are used to point out populations that are already being racialized and pushed out because sovereign power perceives them as unruly that's why some biological differences like skin color are thought to constitute race and some biological differences like hair and eye color are just natural variation within a race because the rules for deploying the concept of race don't come from biology they come from power all this theory might seem a bit abstract so let's look at a concrete example consider the internment of japanese-americans in the USA just prior to World War two many so-called japanese-americans were actually American citizens second or third generation descendants of Japanese immigrants they could be distinguished on-site from the dominant white population their ancestors had faced obstacles like the alien land more and laws against mixed marriages so compared to the white population they were already vulnerable when the war started the US government worried that they might rise up and commit mass sabotage that was the perceived unruliness and so on President Roosevelt's orders 120,000 people had their ordinary rights suspended and were imprisoned in concentration camps the state took a bunch of people who were in their eyes potentially unruly drew a line around them said everybody within that line is the same in terms of their threat to us regardless of how much individual evidence we may have for their cases and use that line as an excuse to literally lock them up so to sum up the concept of race functions as technology in a three-fold way firstly it classifies people according to their perceived unruliness secondly it disguises that classification under criteria that are politically neutral like skin color and finally it hides the true relationship of violence between citizens and sovereign power sheth's model of race is neither biological category nor social construct rather race latches on to certain observable variations in humans sometimes biological sometimes not and attaches socio-political importance to them in order to preserve power and this might actually explain a lot discriminating against somebody because their skin is a different color it's difficult to understand why anyone would do that but discriminating against somebody because you've been told people like them are a threat suddenly that's a lot easier to understand and it might explain a few things too like how young black men in the US are much more likely to be bought threatening and therefore shot by the police than young white men race is more than just a biological Katamon it's a socio-political one it's worth noting that once racialization becomes part of the law and the common discourse we can perpetuate it without even meaning to or realizing shets work has the power to transform not only our understanding of race but our understanding of racism you might have heard people say I have not racist because I don't hate anyone because of the color of their skin well now we know there's more to race than that we are better equipped to identify racist thinking in others and in ourselves I've had the misfortune of meeting a few racists in my time and they won't tell you that they hate people because of the color of their skin they'll tell you that people like that are aggressive or lazy or rude or whatever it is you may have also heard people say you can't be racist towards white people and at first glance that could look very odd but if chef is right that race comes from power given that white people have historically held the balance of power we can see that racism is a more specialized and technical subset of discrimination obviously if anyone were to just to quote the dictionary definition of racism or the common definition of racism to try and refute that they would be begging the question against all of shets work you would need to actually engage with their arguments which leads me finally to this there are some final concerns to address before we finish part 1 firstly does this erase racial identity some people very proudly self-identify as members of a certain race but if race is a tool of division and oppression created by the powerful then aren't we taking that identity away from them chef considers that and says no racial self-identity follows after a population has already been racialized the racialized population learns from sovereign power to identify themselves as different from them they are to be distinguished and we can have both secondly we've talked a lot of other failings of liberalism in this episode does that mean that liberalism as a project is doomed that fairness and equality and justice can't be had well not necessarily but what we need to realize is that the ideal of a liberal society is one that we often fall short of fairness democracy equality these might be worth striving for but we need to recognize not only where we fail to get them but also where we set ourselves up to fail some people I'm sure are going to say that chef is redefining the word race and you can't just redefine words well hold your horses there because she's not just plucking a new definition out of thin air so much as she is arguing that the old definition in the dictionaries and the common discourse actually leaves a lot of very important things out and if we wanted to critique chef's ideas if you're writing an essay or comment then the thing to do would be to ask does her model of race explain how we see the concept actually being used in the world not just how the dictionary says we should see it being used does it make any predictions about what we might observe does it explain any of the things we observed I've suggested already some ways in which it might easy useful remember though that it also makes some predictions about whose evidence we are more likely to think is authoritative in a society governed by sovereign power so what do you think of schatz work on race and power if you'd like a firmer grasp of how this theory translates into reality then you can click on my face right now and head on over to part two or I'll be discussing the racialization of Muslims there is a little bit more to racialization that I had time to mention today so if you want to hear more about it you can pick up a copy of Professor Schatz book leave me a comment telling me what you thought next time we could either look at John Stuart Mill's essay on Liberty or we could discuss what is fate and for more philosophical videos every Friday please subscribe this episode was sponsored by audible.com if you go to audibletrial.com/preneurcast you can cancel at any time and every time one of you signs up I get a tiny bit of cash which I really really appreciate

As found on YouTube

What is Soccer Politics?

[[Professor Laurent Dubois/Soccer Politics
Instructor]] “Really brilliant chess players are able
to think way in advance right? The great midfielders in soccer have that
sense of ability to predict where their position is, but then what that kind of pass will lead
too, right?” “Soccer politics is a class offered here
at Duke and it’s unique in that we have, we offer it as one lecture in English but
then there are multiple language sections. (Student speaking French) So this year students are taking it in French,
Spanish, Italian and English.

So we kind of bring together the language
and the teaching about the history of the sport for this kind of global look at the
sport and culture.”.

As found on YouTube

Fat and Identity Politics, UCLA

this is a very rich topic as habit that there's so many different things to say about so what I'd like to do today is to first of all trouble you a little bit and then really upset and then hopefully sir drawing back thinking that maybe this guy has a point anyways even though a lot of my senses are positively true so starting with the the topic of badness and identity politics but the notion of fat as a political issue i think is still very unusual to people it sounds very counterintuitive that that could be a political issue susie orbach 30 years ago suggested that fat was a feminist issue an idea which I think has become almost platitudinous in a way but as a professor so he indicates has perhaps been a serious injury arises in a variety of ways the feminism it's been mr.

Proclaiming that the person was the political and certainly I think that's nowhere more true than the context of arguments troubles over body weight in American culture today now what I'd like to do today is first of all the way out why I think we're in the grip of a moral panic on the issue of weight in America and then make an analogy to another area of social contention that is I think usefully compared to the moral panic that we're having overweight especially to the question of the kind of cures that are being put forward for the supposed crisis health crisis that we're facing because of the fattening America now I premises with the usual academic caveats about analogies being limited by their very nature as a strippa logician will point out say a is like B is always going to be to some extent false given that a is not be so there's going to be ways in which these analogies are not perfect if you wish to dismiss what I'm saying by pointing out that what I'm saying is not perfectly analogous feel free because you will certainly have been used to do that but that being said I do think analogy in this kind of contest we can secretly power organs and cause people to think about things in ways that they otherwise would not have considered so beginning first of all oh maybe said let me say a couple words first about how I got into this business in the first place I was a law professor and a lawyer by training and so are people naturally especially doctors are often curious as to why I am cramming them about their they're mistaken views on the relationship between body weight and health I got into this originally because there was a president of the United States name to a Clinton's 1990s and he had a lays on of a woman named Monica Lewinsky and the I was in a conference of a patient Bill Clinton at the time and I was a discover that that would seem to be a tremendous amount of anxiety and the culture about the fact that Monica was he was born with fact and it was a tremendous amount of discussion of that could understand it and I was doing that confidence and I had to fill enough a gap in the program with speaker drop that I was going to talk about media coverage and so I just did Alexis search an online search I put in the search charms Lewinsky and zaftig because I notice the word softy just out of curiosity how many of you know the words out that means maybe ten fifteen percent and imagining it is very very many socio-economic determines that we have no idea what was optic means i think is a yiddish ism it's from the german word for juicy and originally advanced custom n a curvaceous and therefore logically desirable woman but through semantic drift and became a euphemism for fat so to call it open and soft it was essentially it such a polite way of saying she was fat and so I was wondering why are all these stories singling that Monica Lewinsky is quote unquote fat and also by the way not coincidentally Jewish what's going on there especially given that the vast majority of Americans have no idea for words optic means and it was and a hundred stories that use the turns out digging and describing always that's how I got into it in the first place and then there's a really long story as in regard to how I found that this sounds like a wild separation but I tell you is true Bill Clinton got impeached because Monica this people together diet that is literally true and to find out how this little human companies but so with well just bracket at the moment that's how I got into it and when I was when I was getting too into the subject issue that I was just going to talk about bad anxiety in the context of a Clinton presidency and like most people of my background I just assume that it was true that mean that was really bad for you from a health perspective and I wasn't really questioning at all the venice area that sometimes the case for that proposition very poorly supported actually so much so that it could be analogized to a lot of other panics that we have in society or the risks that are either small such as smoking marijuana or non-existent such as being subjected to satanic abuse while you are a preschooler which probably none of probably some of you in my math you're some of you at least may have actually been none of you were subjected to can't refuse at that time but there was in the nineteen eighties in the United States a huge panic over a satanic ritual abuse in our preschools believe it or not there was a one of probably the most famous trial at your place regarding this happened right here in Los Angeles the McMartin trial I without my sentence essentially it was a not saying that no preschoolers ever been subjected to Costa tannic abuse but what happened was that there was the click on that there were hundreds of cases of this all around the United States and what it really turned on is essentially anxieties about women going into the pain workforce a band on the the satanic ritual users essentially imagined in three schools where this or folk Devils of this moral panic over having so anyways the young it turns out that that that the fat panic we're having America's largely like that it's a largely like reefer madness it's largely life satanic ritual abuse in our preschool it's largely like 153 kindness in the State Department Joel McCarthy it's piece of paper it's largely like crack babies will be known supercriminals I'm sure some of you will if you haven't already encountered these social phenomenon study more organized in a variety of social science concepts so to get to the meat gritty of why we're having now or how it is that we're having a panic or fat in the culture um let me just a sort of a few things for sort of punta there's a possible statistical demonstration of the things that i'm saying you can check that out check your visa first of all the correlation between Wayne and health is actually fairly weak except in real statistical extremes if you look at very thin people or whether we're rarely talked about in this context and extremely bad people you do see some kind of a significant correlation between health risk and weight but you probably have to be looking at fairly extreme subgroups of the population for the vast majority of people for essential for one hundred percent of people who are classified as overweight in our culture and for most of the people who are classified as obese in our culture going to have to go these four categories under way to never talk about and almost impossible for any human being to achieve it about like starvation towards rationalism Hollywood actresses then normal weight which means thinner than me and seriously and then are overweight which is me and eighty percent release and then obese which is like a really fat category well I'm is over though there's no increased risk associated with a boy whatsoever and in fact the highest i should say the lowest mortality list in the launch life expectancy is found in the overweight category so that's it has this Pony a category as you can get the lowest category on most people movies can we do not have increased mortality risk associated with their way although very very bad people do so correlation between weight and helpers in general and mortality was in particular is weak and tremendously exaggerated in the literature second as I'm sure many of you have already discovered by being introduced to those to the concept of the relationship and correlation and causation correlation is not the same thing as causation the fact that you see some correlation between body weight and health risk as distal experience does not mean that the body weight is causing the health risk it's associated with it but that's a different matter there's all kinds of reasons why there might be a correlation that is it's positive if you find that people like yellow t have a mutton-headed of stratospherically higher rate of developing lung cancer in the United States and people who don't that does not mean that teeth whitening is going to greatly reduce the risk of contracting lung cancer for reasons that I'm sure you can all figure out for yourself the confounding variables that might lead to people who are significantly heavier than average having increased health risk rather than the weight itself is identical let me just name a few lower socioeconomic status which is strongly associated with higher way the cultural the crab you are the more likely you are to be poor I mean comports and gentle bring bad for your health for all kinds of reasons in the United States not least of which being that we have a highly dysfunctional healthcare system at least four can put more now privileged a situation another reason why a very people who are significantly higher in the average might have increased health risk is dieting dieting is in general a pretty bad for people's health specifically was harmful people's health is is a weight fluctuation is so-called yo-yo dieting and wishes the outcome of a significant percentage of diet affects what people do is lose weight them to gain it back and at least certain cases more so when the effect that you get is the in the studies that I've looked at this have all found either that there is a there's a risk associated with weight fluctuation or there's no effect there are no studies that show that there's a positive outcome to a graduation which is very strongly suggest that weight fluctuations per se that all kinds of reasons is strongly associated with in competed with the increased congestive heart failure I'm hypertension and with and with other bad things as well so dieting which is the cure of course or the obesity epidemic and they they're compelled me actually the cause of the health risks associated the cause of many of the health risks associated with fatness another thing that's very bad for people's health is stressed I can feel the stress in this room right now it's just very comfortable to talk about this subject because people and I can go and win in this culture are basically largely uncomfortable with their bodies in regard to well thank you ok all right ok better speed up now I mean visit any I'm being a little bit decisions and I don't I don't wish me this is just because this is a census I think it's an extraordinary jen and subject I me just take a look round all right why am I getting to talk away i am about this kind of thing even though I'm quota for Roy which I am for it can we get on their cover because a man and there's a second reason I can what it is mainly about man and therefore i have 0 at time i think even though i'm overweight I'm thin right I'm thin in terms of the social meaning of thinness in our cultural man of my particular social class of that by the so forth is tight as thin and therefore even though i call it away at the BMI you know 25 change 5 367 pounds and that makes me overweight or the US government I am socially thin so I'm a man so I get to say whatever I want about weight and not be judged for it because nobody cares one that way needless to say i'm painting of their we brought fresh air okay so yes you know weight discrimination definitely affects men and it's not as if this kind of craziness does not have negative effects on men to it certainly does but it has a vastly stronger effect on women as i'm sure many recognize from his real life experience so i'm a man I can say what I want about weight without being judged by it for it and secondly I'm thin if I was a woman and I was 5 8-9 is 57 pounds i would not be thin even though ever have exactly the same body mass though I physiologically i have seen BMI body mass index but socially i would be in this context at least upper class privileged institution of higher learning i will be math and therefore of course i would not have standing to say anything about this because obviously quote unquote i will be rationalized for my own failure to have maintained in the glorious body type so stressed you're stressing about this right now okay that's bad for our health so this whole exercise is at least as a short term matter backyard isn't any good real long but worth it right now feel some stress to talk about this very subject so the correlation between weight and help us a week causation in regard to that correlation is very poorly established essentially not stablished at all because epidemiologist it's really improve science and when it's just impossible to control rigorously for the kind of confounders that we want to be able to control for saying they really didn't differ about the subject a third and this is the part that never ever gets acknowledged by people who know better even though they will acknowledge them and just renowned with the pronounced of a monstrous foot second later we can't make people thin okay there's no empirical proposition in medicine that is better established than this there is no no way to produce significant long-term point loss in a statistically significant population just don't know how to do it and that includes weight loss surgery or stomach annotation that does not produce significant long-term weight loss among most people who undergo it certainly what absolutely fails completely in terms of sequence significant long-term weight loss is random people about their weight and telling them that if they ate right and exercise more they would be thin for the vast majority of people that prescription is a complete failure now it's a hopefully relatively rare in medicine in particular and social policy in general to keep pursuing an intervention which is demonstrably a failure over and over again e of the you I'm Sherman no the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result that's just not right there's a very well done study here right here at UCLA about three years ago authored by Tracy man and others which had really excellent produce really excellent data for the question of how how well do diet programs were and the answer is they don't write it is I mean this is this is one of these things that is certainly in co Hagel you know my many people but no the really rigors they demonstrated in this study and very usefully so so even if it were true that the correlation between weight and health was strong even if it were true that the causation the causation that is pivotably a product of that correlation have been well established which it hasn't even if all that wood tree would still would not make sense to produce to pursue weight losses of probably how the remediation given that we don't know how to use it now I know a lot of you are thinking right now well I just know that's not true in my case because it may be true on mas so to speak but it's not true for me because i know that i just did x y and z I would weigh five pounds less or ten pounds less or 20 pounds less or 50 pounds less than I weigh right now which is what I should be doing but I shouldn't have had that little something together when I walked in but it was right hungry in but I go the you know I'll go to the gym for three hours tomorrow we can many people then maybe you're the exception there are exceptions of course are exceptions to every because I will get two other times but in general we can make people think about this given that our testament asian are not only failures but also positively harmful in all kinds of ways both physiologically and psychologically and given then finally the final point example says here that fitness is absolutely not necessary for hell what sense does it have to have a social policy as we do in the United States right now based on the notion that we are trying to make people thinner and for the purposes of improving their health the answer is that's a rhetorical question no sense at all in fact it's a miami sociologists don't like this kind of phraseology improve good reason but it's basically crazy it's a kind of cultural madness on on the loose and one of the great things about sociology as a feel is that it allows one to consider that today's in do tible scientific truth I'm firmed by the very best and highest authorities and consensus panels all over the world of mission statements of the world health organization and by your mother like all the top authority figures that all those things which are today and one day's truths that we hope to be self-evident then good that bad is tomorrow's unbelievable nonsense that you just can't understand how anybody could have built into that we see this over and over again in the history of science and history of Medicine in society in general and it's my belief I don't know when could be tomorrow it could be 50 years from now we will look that on the current orientation towards way in this culture and health as a form of social praising is similar to way that lots of people although unfortunately not our legal system look at things like reefer madness today or satanic ritual abuse in our preschools which I have to assure she was a really big deal 25 years ago so that's the UH that's the the thesis that's the situation I think and now I'd like to draw an analogy to another controversial topic which i think is usefully comparable in various ways a little different than others of course to the situation with fat panic in America today here I need to say a little something about terminology the word fat is almost like a verbal assault in this culture right I can't even say it's a without causing people to like I do that to Elysium researchers all the time private pray it's like what you have against back and it's like saying that is like saying that levels words you're just not supposed to say to people we're going I notice in the context of the Clinton whiskey they got it people fledged a lot less its semen stain dressed and then back I guess they'd seen same dress into my mother okay crazy about it but dad as another cab you have to be sour the but he's important to use the word because as Marilyn Juan all had to come to her talk a month from now but really want makes me look like Miss Manners and we are talking about this stuff and she's only a super powerful and important really sneaker as Marilyn Juan what has reminded us over and over again that is what fat people are it's a descriptor it's like it should be it isn't but it should be a neutral physical descriptor in this culture I was trying to come up with neutral physical descriptors but given our neuroses about bodies cartoon with a purely neutral this old script but something like I can't come up with even one but something she has freckles but as I am saying is i can teach tall because tall is very positive in the context of male frame I ensure that right you can't old obviously yeah but neither the idea the point is factually just a physical description saying all you know it's the kids are right ahead red red hair there that's with that kid single s just observe why is that absurd well it's absurd because it's an insult to call somebody fat why is it insult to call somebody fat because being fat is considered as these and a morally degrading status in this culture and therefore to call somebody fat to call in sick and to call them essentially vicious as most virtuous in some way you'll have a disease and you could cure yourself of this disease if you try hard enough and therefore a diesel to call you fat as Marilyn and many others have pointed out that's not the way off of me we ought to talk about as fat so what we should not talk about is obesity I hate it using that word title my boat and the end decided my shyness public decided that it was a necessary why should we be talking about a VC why shouldn't be not use the words obesity on boy because those words are begging the question those words are tainted semantic markers of a pathological state you can't in from some of you have to deal with nonsense questions all the time by how can you say it's over healthy to be overweight a lot of doctors to then it's just like that's like saying how do you say it's healthy to be sick I don't get that some nonsense stated to me well because the word all the way is because it's a fraudulent charge of junk science appeared simple so we shouldn't be calling people over Roy dovie's we should be calling them back because that's what fat people are I'm I'm not fat right now but in certain social context I would be if I was a 20 year old gay man Santa Monica if I was if I was a woman I'm quite sure in this particular i was saying earlier well language is important and that brings me to my my analogy which I've been creeping up to an analogy is s let us think about the parallels between the conceptualization of …