« Making Sense with Sam Harris

#161 — Rise & Fall

2019-06-24 | 🔗

In this episode of the Making Sense podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Jared Diamond about the rise and fall of civilizations. They discuss political polarization, disparities in civilizational progress, the prospect that there may be biological differences between populations, the precariousness of democracy in the US, the lack of a strong political center, immigration policy, and other topics.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Welcome to the making sense podcast. This is SAM Harris. Well not much housekeeping here today, I've spent much less time on social media of late, so much less in fact that I really can't judge whether what scene there this week just reflects and especially contentious week or whether I have changed in my sense of what is the acted ambient level of hostility, and lunacy on twitter. It has seemed completely crazy Every time I've checked back in over there. I I just reread the Unabomber's manifesto for the first time since it was originally published, as you recall, under threat, further maiming and murder, and it is
a slightly crazy document. You can certainly hear Kaczynski grinding his teeth in the background more or less throughout, but the truth is, it is better reasoned and modulated. Then half of what I see on twitter- and this is from people with blue check marks by names in large followings. I don't know what it means honestly say that half the people twitter seem less hinged than a man who was sending bombs in the mail, but it does seem that we're performing an experiment on ourselves, the consequences of which our as yet undetermined. Anyway, I'm very happy to have withdrawn to the that I have for more same. One of the things that happened this week is Coleman Hughes who's been a guest on this cast. He
pressure, naturally mature undergraduate still under graduate from Columbia. Today, studying philosophy Coleman testified in Congress on the top Gov, whether would make sense to pay reparations for slavery, and he argued against paying reparations. I'm not actually sure I agree with him, though he was perfectly national in his remarks I'll be going on his podcast in a few weeks. I think and will probably talk about this. I'm actually quite open minded on whether or not reparations makes sense. You might recall that hitch argue in a formal debate in favor of reparations is genuinely difficult question, so at a minimum I can say I'm quite open to arguments from both sides here anyway to
watch Coleman's testimony- and I heard the hissing and booing in the gallery to see the faces. Some people sitting behind him reacting to his arguments. And then to see the aftermath to the degree I did on social media, where at least one person with a blue check on an HBO writer called him a without a parent repercussions from among her fans. We have to find some correct course here, which brings me to today's podcast. Today, I'm very happy to finally connected with Jared Diamond in person. Where is professor of geography at UCLA author, quite famously the books, guns, germs and steel and collapse, and his newest book is upheaval. Turning points for nations in crisis.
He has won many awards, including a Macarthur Grant and a Pulitzer prize he's a member of the. U National Academy of Sciences and an all around fascinating man. In this conversation, we focus on the themes that Jerry is focused on in the books I just mentioned, which really are the rise and fall of civilization. We discussed Ical polarization in our time. We talk about disparities in civilizational progress. Why is that Europeans, for the most part, seemed to have dominated the globe. Talk with the precariousness of democracy in the? U at the moment the fact a lack, a strong political center immigration policy and as if you find conversations of the sword valuable, you can support the podcast by describing through my website as SAM
First dot org. I left the bonus question in this episode, but I have bonus questions from many other podcasts that will soon be rolled out as subscriber only content. There. Anyway, without further delay, I bring you Jared Diamond. I am here Jared diamond thanks for coming on the podcast. It's my pleasure. Thank you. I've been as many of my listeners will be. I've been an admirer of your work for many years. I this it's not your first book in the first book I read of yours was guns germs and steel, and I want to talk about the three of your books that seem to form a kind of unified picture of how civilizations arise and thrive and fail associate, I'm I'm thinking of guns, germs and steel collapse and the new one of people, and I I will focus on the new one, because it has a special relevance to the moment
from a publishing point of view and just from a you know what is happening in in our own country point of view, but doing this and it's a great pleasure to do this with you in person cloud I'm happy to discuss these subjects with you, which I guess interest you just as they interest me. So you, like many people who I admire. You have taken an unconventional route into focusing on you focus on. You were a physiologist at first for some time and now or functioning more in the mode of story and the way you have a formula I in the Geography Department at UCLA. How do you say if you, the one but you have respected or failed to respect the traditional boundaries between disciplines and what you've focused on it's, not something that I think unconsciously about it's, just that I'm interested in lots of things,
and already as a child? I was interested in boss of things in in high school. I expected that I was going to become a physician like my father, and so I figured that I would be doing science for the my life, the in high school in high. I would use the time to do things other than science, so in high school I took latin and greek, and I had wonderful history courses in call college again being pre med spectrum to do for the rest of my life, I took the minimum number of required science courses, I've never taken a biology course of an introductory bought that seller's agent in biochemical sciences, but I never took a course in biochemistry. Instead, I took courses in all sorts of possible things, took courses in astronomy, intensive russian music composition for professional musicians or
lyric poetry, so I was interested in all these things. I I then to go to medical school with a last minute. Instead got my went, took a phd to graduate study in physiology became one of the world's three experts on the gallbladder and I was hired by UCLA Medical School as a promising. What sounds like a backhanded compliment. It's in some way. The gallbladder is, is not an organ that we think a lot about and that's what The gallbladder does not play he. The reason I studied as the gallbladder is a model it it works. It uses the same mechanisms of the kidney in a test and use, and but it's easier to study so right. So I got a lot of mileage out of the gallbladder. I taught kidney physiology and intestinal Physiology, liver physiology to medical student.
Two two thousand and two, but then two things triggered by my shift out of gallbladders one was the birth of our twin sons in nineteen. Seven at that point. I realized that their future was not coach depend Not their future was going to depend on the state of the world, not even their own gall, not even close, because you can do without yeah gallbladder The thing was totally unexpectedly in nineteen eighty five, being watered when these Macarthur Foundation fellowships, which you would think would thrill me. So I got a phone call totally unexpected, because you don't know yet, if nominated totally unexpected, say This is KEN hope from the Macarthur Foundation. You've been watered a fellowship and will give you no strings from five years and will give you any questions and I was stunned and then I went into a depression for we. The only really the only lasting depression. My adult life
The reason was that the ward, in effect, to be jarred, we expect things of you and I was saying to myself, but you been wasting your time and gallbladders. What are you going to do about him? It was those two things: the Macarthur Award and the birth of my sons than that induce to to switch in nineteen. Eighty, seven gradually my interests in I enjoy doing physiology, but my interest in the decreased and I met on. I want to to switch from physiology to geography, but university appointments. I'm not a portable point where you can go around and find some department through will take you. Instead, my appointment was as a gallbladder physiologist right. It took a lot of negotiations to get me transferred from the Physiology Department to the Geography Department
been since two thousand and two. What did you get the Macarthur award for? Someone must have recognized that your your work held wider promise then focus on the gallbladder. How did that happened? I had already at the time I got the Macarthur award. I had a parallel career in og evolution because I've been a bird watcher, seven onwards, and so exactly after I got my phd in the year two after I got my phd at the time. I didn't know what the significance of it all was, but immediately began. Looking for another field, a parallel field like I seriously considered a career in conducting music, I seriously getting into pre columbian pottery, but those didn't taken. Instead, I went to new guinea. It was love at first sight and I've been studying new guinea birds since so for the Macarthur award. My work on New guinea birds. I'm sure was
that is not my gallbladder work then write that languages in Macarthur award. Right where you are a true polymath really I I got to think that there's certain We will age out of being poly, because there was a time with knowledge doubling every three to five here's. It becomes harder and harder to even tend to know much about so many things you. It seems to me that you we have managed it as your books. A test significance of your scientific background in how you approach writing history. That's that's interesting! It's not something that I thought of consciously, but the fact is that the my approach history is always comparative history. I've never most Historians do single case studies. So it's starting and write a book about 19th century Germany was 17th century France. I've never done that.
Is that all of my historical studies, the comparative I compare different countries with different societies, that's something that I learned right at the beginning my gallbladder potter career. When I went to Cambridge England to do my graduate study. My mentor was a great physiologist who was studying I and transported muscles. The way he did it, he was looking at the after potassium on sodium be flexing muscles. He did it beautifully if he had test tubes and he had two pieces of the same muscle. Two different tubes, one tube, have potassium in the other, two pack, no no potassium, so we compared pieces of the same muscle. Then, when I went to new guinea and began starting new guinea birds in order to study the effect of speech number one on species number two in new guinea: it's not
he did not or permissible legal to go around exterminating species number one on one belt. In order to see what that does to species to I had following different mountains. We have one mountain, for whatever reason lacked species one naturally, and then I can edit with another mountain that had species number. So my approach has always been a comparative approach and then, when I, when I got to history, I realized that with history, the comparative approach forces you to poses questions that you would never think of otherwise an example that I think of is that I love reading books about the American civil war. Like so many people all these fat books on the American civil war they'll devote six pages to second day of the battle of Gettysburg, but at the end, with eight hundred page book, they haven't discussed one most
things of the American Civil war, which is at the end of the war. The victors did not kill the losers instead of the end of the american civil. Only one person was executed and that was the commandant of Andersonville prisoner of WAR camp, we was the end of the spanish civil war. Victims killed them we losers at the end of the finnish civil war, the victors began to kill the losers at a rate higher than any modern genocide rated to Rwanda. If you come, a civil wars. You then struck by this thing, this crying out for explanation of the American civil war. But if you don't do comparisons, question doesn't rock so with comparative studies. Naturally, with a five hundred page book, I can't devote the whole book to nineteen century Germany after the fall buy the book among seven countries, but questions Ross and you can answer questions through comparisons vest my approached strain yeah and it
really is thrilling to read. So again, I want to talk about three of your books, but I guess what I'm frame the conversation with what seems to be the charged political moment, especially in as we notice it in our own country, the? U S in western Europe, and I don't how much time you spend on social media I think probably none here s. I don't know how to turn the ball this. This is if there's no other variable that accounts for your basic sanity. It's really that but just seem like. It is a concern you raise throughout your latest book upheaval, which is where What we're witnessing is a persistent and grow failure of political compromise and our ability to resolve our differences. Civil converge on answer two global problems that break us out of partisan
mark and I'm something recently worries us our right to be worried. We had talk about it as we get into a people been just wondering just how you view the current moment and how much of that was informing your writing of your latest book the current moment, mini right now with this year or since two thousand and sixteen no effect because I began the people often ask me: ass: did you start book in November two thousand and sixteen it took a little longer than that yeah. You know I began the book in twenty thirteen. I didn't foresee two thousand and sixteen it happened that the book was double.
At the right moment, not only Becaus, two thousand and sixteen exacerbated the breakdown of political compromise in the US, but also Brexit Brexit began after I started the book and I'm just back from from what ten days in the UK I wish shocked being in the UK. I've lived in the UK for five years and and I had thought that the United States had the most imminent problem, but no brexit is gonna. Put brexit threatens big problems of Britain before what's happening in the US, will cause big problems in the USA. Brexit risk d for the part of the UK secession of Scotland even secession war. When are your yeah, but it is also just such a is a breakdown of civility. That is, shocking. To me- and it's so cavalier me so I I perhaps you've noticed this if you
it's hard to know what one notices, if one isn't on twitter these days. But I don't know how widely reported this bin, but there's been this seeming epidemic of people throwing milkshakes at politicians, they don't like in the UK, especially and I look at this- for two lenses, one at once- just the kind personal I'm a understanding of as a semi public what it and and a controversial one. What my security, turns are and what it means to have someone come up to you in public and hit you with milk? even though you in in this case you have body guards around what that is actually, whether the perpetrators, know it or not, is a mock fascination. What it is is demonstrating that I can get this close no matter. You know whether your bill gates or whoever you are you familiar dollars a year on your personal security right now I can throw whatever I want in your face right and it advertisers that to the entire world, which includes people who
in fact, want to assassinate people. So there's that kind of narrow security concern which many people are unaware of, and when I, when I voice this on social media, you know many find risible like a wise, just a milkshake. What are you? This is not a mock assassination, the security Asians are graver than people realize, because what it does is just advertises persistent vulnerability, no matter how much you spent on security more important than that. It's a breakdown civility such that there very few stops past a milk take between where we are now and actual political violence. You can no longer resolve your differences with a political figure whose views you to test through conversation or debate or criticism, and you have mainstream journalists advocating for the public humiliation of people by throne, milkshake such that they no longer feel secure in their in their persons. It's it's,
I mean they're very again, there very few places to stop where we can arrest our slide into actual political violence. I was wondering how you view civility itself and inability to let words suffice as a break on our baser, our natures collectively. Well, it's it's! Not only politicians. I don't know with you know, just as you came in here that the entrance to my house now has metal wall rounded, with spikes at the top and Rihanna. I put those up about a decade ago, at a time when some egg anthropologist, once you reserve for more in sort of laughed with it and I've been given my run ins with anthropologist. The the angry anthropologist is a fig during my imagination that I can easily summoned. Most most most
just saw normal, decent human being yeah. Let's leave it there, but they're all a small number of very angry at more. So whenever, because you've been in other consequences for consequences or the putting up putting spikes on my fence and getting bodyguards, they were two broad shouldered gentleman. Black suits. Who accompanied me to a lecture that I gave at an unnamed nearby university, because an angry anthropologist called up. My host M began by saying: do you believe in academic freedom and then the I agree of Paul's proceeded to to say that he intended to attempt to disrupt my lecture. We had the two gentlemen in broad broad lack truth. It's something that a costly which I've not been
and physically attacked by certainly have been on the receiving end of of a lot of while verbiage yeah. It will let let's get into that a little bit. So I, let's start with guns, germs and steel. What was the thesis of that book and what was controversial about it? The question so the question of the book before we get to the visas version of the book is: why has history turned out differently for people of different continents? Why did you- and I are sitting here speaking English in land of native Americans, where the language five hundred years ago was Chumash? Why did it turn out that way? Why is it not the case that you mash is the language spoken in in London or why is it that say, bantu languages are not spoken in Australia. Why did history turn out that way? Why did history turn out with your asian people expand
we can predict within Eurasia Urine european people. So that's the question this way. It will end when the subtext of that, obviously, is that we're not just interested in who speaks which language? we're talking about? Why did certain civilizations thrive so fully that they could conquer and dominate others, and you have massive disparities in wealth in technological sophistication and all the rest, exactly the way the weight of my friends in New guinea put it? They talk about cargo cargo is the new guinea term for for all of the good stuff for metal technology riding medicine and the way New Guineans put it to me is Why did you why people develop the cargo while we black people had known new guineans, pose the question explicitly? The question was,
let me buy a new Guinean in one thousand nine hundred, and seventy two is a great question. I battled out something, but as soon as I said it, I knew that my answer was wrong. Why is that these really smart people in new guinea? Why is it that we Europeans are you can't find my way around the forest without being guided and I need a child leave me by the hand, so I won't fall off a cliff. Why is that the new guineans didn't didn't conquer the world. The thesis of guns, germs and steel, when you ask people when I ask professors biochemistry in the United States this question, why did Europeans conquer the world a typical answer? They'll get as well or or you know, I hate to say it- isn't politically correct, but higher iq and more brains than judeo christian work ethic, but more you have to do is can new guinea one day, and you see that it's not that Europeans have better brains, the new guinea. There was some other the
so guns, germs and steel in fact, interpreted, and the explanation is now widely accepted by people concerned. With these things, cons, rooms, steel interpreted, the different rates of development of people on different continents in terms of the wild plant and animal species suitable for domestication course everybody was hunter gatherers everywhere in the world until eleven thousand years ago. With news of agriculture, you got population explosion, food surpluses, surpluses who could feed inventors kings scribes, but only a tiny fraction of wild plant and animal species are suitable for domestication and you can satisfy yourself by just by taking a walk this weekend in the Santa Monica Mountains and seeing what there is out there that suitable for domestication, like Knuth.
Trying domesticate best case a skunk deer, so the people living in the areas with wild plant and animal species, the fertile Crescent China, Mexico with ones who got the head start on developing the Yeah so that I remember from that book, there's an arresting image of just how implausible be to try to saddle a rhino and ride it into battle and zebras is not, is not much easier to domesticate on the Animal Management Committee of the LOS Angeles Zoo, and I was astonished to learn the at that, the zoo animal that each year kills or cripples more more keepers zookeepers in the United States than any other is not tigers, but it's. Because I reserve the nasty habit, two things they have nasty habit of biting and they don't let go until you're dead. The other thing is very sad wow. There is never heard that they have a really vicious kick. The kick is useful to them be cause when there
being chased by a lion in the lion is ready for the next one. Last one the zebra kicks out and smashes the door of a lion. Zebras have not been domesticated there. People then point out to me that that the are there Lord Rothschild got some zebras. The pools of his card and yes, the you can occasionally get zebras to caught cars, but they never been domesticated horses and horses and donkeys have been domesticated. So you paint a picture of really sheer unearned geographic disparities. In luck Please leave geographic disparities we had that upsets. We have is twofold. First of all, to discuss why Europeans expanded over the world
means that you are euro, centric and racist. It's not nice to pose the question, but the fact is, everybody can see the Europeans rather than aboriginal strings. Are Africans conquer the world in a crisis out for explanation? The fact that that historians and archaeologists hadn't provide Nacido question that forces people to fall back on the obvious racial explanation? You can see the people of have different faces, and maybe that means that they have different brains so to pose. The question means that your bad, because you're racist and eurocentric right and then also to answer the question in terms of geography means geographic determinism, which is another dirty word. Geographic determinism seems to imply that the human spirit counts for nothing. Well, the human spirit counts for something within limits, but if you would like to stand at the North pole in January, T shirt and shorts and look to the human spirit to
allow you to say, I'm going to need a lot of lots of luck for the human spirit. All this geography has big effects and some cases the the big effects of dominant like standing North pole and see sure, but also developing agriculture. If you don't have the mystical species around there, you're not going to develop agriculture and without agriculture you don't develop metal tools and you don't felt writing and don't develop kings. So what has been the most persuasive the men against this thesis? Has there been anything none whatsoever? Is that he is to be able to say that that's great, the fact is the reason. No sirree there's no count recommendation. Occasionally. I recall one archaeologist, who said they were cultural reasons: why aboriginal Australians, never developed agriculture welfare, Heaven sakes? They are one hundred and eighty four different tribes in Aboriginal, Australia and the different from each other.
But Australia has no domestic will plant or animal species of macadamia nuts, but you can't fail to civilization based on on macadamia nuts, so there is no alternative explanation right, yeah, I'm totally persuaded of your thesis. I guess it also seems plausible to me that there are other between factors which arguably are of the sort raise that are even less politically correct. Then yours, which is any group people who are isolated enough so as to express biological and cultural variation, are going to differ in some factors that are relevant to their differential access as groups right. So whether it's biology and or culture is almost certainly both to some degree, there will be differences in the mean level of expression, of certain skills which could lead differential success, given given
environments that select for it right. So let me it seems to me to be an unsustainable and a funnyman. The unnecessary political commitment say that we know in advance that there are no differences between groups that are logically mediated and we know their cultural differences that are relevant to me. That is just that is obvious. The nose on anyone's face, but the idea that there could be biological differences that have implications for the success of the people. It does seem to me that we can't rule that out and no reason to rule that out once we know that our political commitment is it's that we want all of the is unearned differences in luck to be canceled. In so far as that increase,
it becomes possible and we want everyone to be able to thrive in whatever way they want to thrive, such that it's compatible with a thriving of other people. That has to be the punchline for how we build a viable global civilization. But the idea that I mean this is just to express the fear as clearly as possible. It seems- and this is I'm sure, anthropologist by the dozens would line up in defense of this notion- that the idea that, if we tested for GM's for the top one hundred, it's we care about in human beings, quantitative I'll, just one, but we could add in OC. If murder and everything else, we love about people whatever those traits are and we tested Norwegians. On those same trades, people like we are approaching some ethical or political emergency. If we don't clued in advance that
all of those mean values must be the same or if, if there's any difference between them, genetics can't have any thing to do with it right, even though we know that so much about ourselves is largely governed by what we are physically. That is genetically. So I wonder if you have any thoughts on that topic, all of what you say about expectations, it's it's all true people different different in I color around the world, people, different hair, color, red, yellow brown, black, etc. So why shouldn't? They also differ in quantitative ability or in in predisposition, to two verbalize in certain ways. Why should why they differ in in predisposition to tonal versus versus non tonal? Theoretically, that spot
the problem is that, despite a lot of effort by a lot of people to establish differences in, say, cognitive skills, differences, seven at a population level have not been established. Instead, they were obvious massive cultural effects on cognitive skills, my experience in new guinea. It doesn't take much time with New guineans, with traditional new guineans, to realize that these are smart people and yes, there are differences among New guineans bought on the average. My experience with New guineans right from the first year has been that they are more curious and they're more inventive, more more prone to
look for possibilities to use something they just strike me as this more alert than Europeans right now. The the reason for this weather, then, maybe there's an invidious comparison to draw between New guineans and Europeans for certain types of inventiveness. I'm understand that, like we, we don't what recently worried about, and this you're talking to someone who's still dealing with the aftermath of having had Charles Murray on the podcast and dealt with the whole legacy of his. Publicity problems really in the end, and it just seems to me that we can close the loop on the political and ethical concern without knowing what we're going to find over the next century of studying human Ology human genetics, its contribution to everything we care about. We know that we're living in a circumstance where each of us personally and all of us collectively have inherited the
as we find it. You know you didn't pick your ancestors and therefore you didn't pick your jeans. You didn't pick the society in which you were born and what tools you have to make the most of the situation. You didn't earn any of them right. You can't account for yourself and yet what we noticed the world over the end of a you, both within our society me your how many homeless, people that I pass on the way to your house to conduct this interview. I know that, but for a future Jews in my physiology or just in my history as a person, you know, opportunities I didn't get or didn't take advantage of. I would be one of those people who's going up now sleeping on the sidewalk tonight, so we know that we want to mitigate those disparities, and we know that be in good people and building good societies is spreading, get it on our commitment to mitigating those disparities, and you I find myself surrounded by people and again they seem disproportionately to be answered
or social scientists who feel that even to broach the topic that I just broach to, you is a sign of some covert interest. You know white supremacy or some insane political doctrine that you know has gotten people by the millions killed am in these are the kinds of political experiences were about to talk about I just think where we we have to pull back from this break, where we feel like we can't again. I was imminent expecting to bring this up to you, but giving your your academic part of it is. It seems worth doing? This is where the precariousness of our situation, intellectually, was going first forced upon me. I remember in two thousand and fourteen when it was found that Homosapien, in had been commingled with neanderthal dna to the tune of two point: seven percent or three percent
basically, everyone on earth, with the exception of people who have just all of their ancestors in Africa, is part all right, and so I remember going out on social media that day and quite sanctimonious Lee sand attention all racists, you were right. Whites are special were part, neanderthal, blacks are just human right. It took me about five seconds after sending a tweet two one and what if it had gone the other way? What if the only people on earth who were part neanderthal were people of african direct african descent that would have been in a life to ranging probably life, destroying discovery for the geneticists who had the misfortune to make it or for any journalist who had the temerity to even talk about it right? It just have been so awful for reasons that we have to perform an exorcism on. We can't pull
Klay be vulnerable to just the data coming in the data will be whatever they are right and who cares what who's part neanderthal in the end, but I feel that we, as a community of public intellectuals for lack of a better word, are truly vulnerable to.
There is a kind of moral panic around the politics of discussing human difference. If the studies were available, the the answers are likely to be on power RD to two people, who least expect the outcome of the studies. A personal example that I encountered was that that a friend introduced me to a perspective donor to support my research and the perspective donor was wealthy industrialist and then the friend made the horrible mistake of of talking about my new guinea work and then say no friend in front of the perspective donor Jared. Didn't you say that that New Guineans
Nike was more intelligent than Europeans, at which point the donor for the prospective donor flipped out her and said what has any new Guinean ever done for for world civilization? Well, you know if you, if you don't have metal tubes, your your capacity to possibilities of doing stuff, Abril, symbolization, limited fact is that the those who invented agriculture longest go Levin thousand years ago, the major causes of death in more in eurasian societies will last many millennia had been epidemic. Infectious diseases, which means of the strongest natural selection, is for overcoming resisting smallpox and measles and depends upon a bo blood groups and to to to to to it's a major cause of death was in new guinea the make
major causes of death for vacation fighting with other New guineans figuring out how to survive a frost were famine. This strong selection for intelligence, rather than epidemic diseases, because the population was large enough for the demo two seasons. Therefore it's it would not be surprising if the studies that you're thinking of end up showing the new guineans have not only more social skills develop culturally with a they have. They were genetically selected for superior cognitive ability, but there are a lot of people who would like. That can right, and I would also imagine that there's been a fair amount of selection pressure for intergroup violence. You know Al Group, violence yeah in basically any society that doesn't have a central government. What Central Gulf central governments
can you clear Warren Q? A hundred thousand people in in ten seconds? Yes, but what central governments can also do is is end wars. We were Saudis without centralized government, you can't and wars you can. You can reach a temporary peace for an agreement to halt hostilities, but then a batch of hot hits from your group go tack. Another group, you can't restrain the hot heads, so the fact is and again and the partials don't like to recognize the fact. This massive evidence with the the three percent of people who die violent deaths per year in traditional tribal societies without centralized government is considerably harder than in states is ordered near. What that's on that I have a point is that our mutual friend, Steve Pinker, has made to the concert many that I mean that that civilization as horrible as as recent or even distant wars
were again even add in world war, one and world war. Two to the ledger. What we see is a precipitous decline in the the risk that you are going to die at the hands of another person, as civilization has progressed, write ins and Steve with Steve has drawn on studies by anthropologists and archaeologists who surveyed dozens, maybe hundreds of societies around the world, traditional Saudis, yeah, you can come up with a couple of traditional societies with low rates of violence, but the great majority of rates of violence rates, of violent deaths percentages per year to do of the violent deaths in X,
s of those in excess of the worst of the worst in excess of whom to the twentieth century near so. Okay, we're we're on our way to your recent book. But let's touch on collapse. What was the thesis of that book thesis of collapses that in the in the past, societies have often collapse there are lots of collapses. Many of the more romantic mysteries that that I was interested in already as a teenager when so many people, the classic Maya civilization, most advanced civilization in the new world before before Columbus, that built the wonderful's in cities of T Colin, Blanket Classic Maya civilization and what ones collapsed. In the eight hundred to nine hundred Wally and while the Kommer Mpn and we're talking about? Was it something like fifty million people that might have been living in my in there's two days without the numbers David?
A few million, maybe was fine, then we missed, and there was lots of people right. Converter empire collapsed in the 1300s and 1400s Easter Island, Easter Island society. Although there're there're, some anthropologists, who don't like the conclusion Easter Island society, clearly had collapsed at the time that rogue Vien Rive their first european in one thousand seven hundred and twenty two. There are so many cases of past societies that collapsed with environmental factors. Playing a big role in the collapse is so my boom book collapse was about the collapses pass authorities there reasons other than environmental reasons, but environmental reasons played a big role in the past today, a reason for a difference between
societies in past, and today is the in the past. Without globalization, societies could collapse one by one when the broader classic Mart would declining. Nobody in Europe knew about it and they probably didn't even know about in the Valley of Mexico. Today, when a society is Sparling, and words other societies around the world get involved, and so today what we face is the risk of a global collapse. We no longer face the risk of of one by one e royal by collapse, so the thesis of collapse was about the The collapse of society, but also the survival of the Saudis, do especially to environmental reasons right. So your your recent book as a people, and you talk about the specific cases which you compare and I guess a lot, let's focus on
you talk about Finland and Japan and Chile in the? U guess those folks in Chile, because it the most alarming hello likely in the analogy you draw between it and our current cases is arresting and frankly interesting. That is, that more, not more arrested, because we were you, you make the point that you lived in Chile, but before the Pinochet coup and you had many friends in Chile who never would have dreamed in fact did not dream that their son he was vulnerable to this kind of descent into political violence and really just sadism of a sort that you know really represents the most extreme unraveling of a society. So had you told them that who going to happen in a few short years, they wouldn't believe they would have thought you were a
scaremongering conspiracy, theorist. It was not obvious just what path their society would take to unravel so fully, and yet it did, and yet. I find that making an analogy of that sort to our present case doesn't work. I mean, doesn't really raise the blood pressure for more than a second or two is just. It is still even granting the validity of the analogy. And what we'll talk about how Chile and the United States are different or the chili of the early 70s was different than the US now. But just what do you think about the psychological failure to the to be persuaded by an analogy that seems and then the many now he's like this man like so before I read okay, I remember reading some Op Eds written in jewish newspapers in Germany in the end 30s right- and these were the most sanguine dismissals of a more global concern about where the all of this could be headed it
hitler- can never do what he says he's going to do, because you know foreign powers, let it happen or something they just kept the Jews of the time seemingly safely at home? How do you view the justice enterprise of trying to persuade by referencing the institutions and cluelessness some previous generation and some other place and drawing the obvious conclusions in the United States. Now it looks normal around us in Chile, when I was living there in one thousand, nine hundred and sixty seven, it looked normal by chilean friends said we are a democracy will not like those other latin american country. We know how to govern sells not only that, but in night in nineteen, seventy three after the coup of September 11th March Lane friends related to be soon after the coup. When my friends was such a dinner party with about eighteen people, they were discussing so what
it happened. Now that there's a coup, the widespread view was that the coup was a necessary stage to the return of democracy to Chile Becaus they had been increasing chaos but economic chaos, an security chaos during the year. Seventy to seventy three leading up to the to the coup so the expectation of Chileans of centrist in even right wing to lions in nineteen. Seventy three was military government. How long will they stay in office three months two years MAX one person out of those eighteen said they might stay in power to nobody guessed that they would stay in power for seventeen years if it was unfair, in the United States. Things seem normal that something couple might the United States Code. They have to like. No, of course, we're not going to go the way of Chile. The chili The military had in chilean history intervened twice briefly
lane military in the 1930s briefly intervene to put down a proto, fascist movement and there red been intervention. Some info blade. Eighteen. N, Chile's middle of Latin America with their their military school, the income- yes, the American Military- has never intervened in politics lot. What's so, if, Marcus. He ends in the United States is not going to be a military coup instead, if democracy ends in the United States is going in by the things that have been going on for the last twenty years, and getting more and more in see, more and more democracy will will end in the process of of declining by remand during and by state election of those who also candidates for office? For example, the recent successful candidate for governor of Georgia was on leave for also the chief electoral official of Georgia, gerrymandering state state,
local electoral officials, for example, in Alabama to pop in motor vehicle offices and counties of Alabama african american majorities, to make sure that African Americans can't get a driver's license, which we welcome to vote and when there is a lawsuit, insisting the state of Alabama has to open DMV offices. Yes, opens the mint african American counties one day and one day of the month, and so on a week day. That's the way that democracy is in the process of ending in the United States not by military coup, also, we just see hyper partisanship. It wrote in the usual checks and balances at the level of the federal government, and also just the impossibility of getting things done, and we have just the legislative process grinds to a halt. The appointments of judges were not becomes
so partisan. That is a kind of a winner, take all phenomenon in politics that seems corrosive and also there's just you studiously avoid hooking your book to new cycles. The only mention trump once in the book and in the prologue and- and you all mention here here but interesting component of your analogy to chili, which is that I was rise to learn. This Pinochet struck everyone as a totally reasonable guy and modern guy a guy who is not likely to do anything extreme. The reason why this analogy is striking is that we're not in that situation at all with respect to Trump. I no one would imagine that he's a man guy or someone who's incapable of doing something extreme amended. This is he's a visibly disordered personality and
you're just those of us who are concerned about having promoted someone like this to the highest office in the land, console ourselves, with the notion that the institutions are such the system is such that, no matter how disordered he might become, he will not be obeyed at those critical moments where his disorder could could run down to the disadvantage of all humanity. But in the case of Chile, even there eat the war. Signs were not at all clear with respect to that. The person of Pinochet in the case of J, two very knowledgeable groups of people misjudged him. One was the CIA who
r c I a whose business it is to try to understand. People in the CIA prepared a report on a which, which concluded the teaser. Almost all men, oldest man, devoted to his family, with a strong interest in in religions and his children, his wife who would never become a political leader and then the other people who would deceive where his fellow generals be J. It's not the finish, a lead. The group he was a crew of four, the leaders of the chilean armed forces in the Chilean, the army chief of staff, was forced out so some of before this the planned coup so who's. The next army chief of staff will initiate in charge of the the army in the city gory any so so she was the logical person to be the army leader. The plan at the time of the coup was that the leadership of the
jointer would rotate among the heads of the differentially, an armed forces and when it came time for Pinot Shay to rotate out, he didn't rotate out, but he in fact had developed a secret service that terrified his own fellow fellow generals and admirals. So it's not trust the CIA, but also- and it's not just chill and intellectuals and chilean left wingers, it's chilean sent central, asian writers and chilean military leaders who misjudged pinot Shay here in the United States. So trump many people recognize negative qualities about about Trump Mitch Mcconnell. I would be perhaps more concerned about Mitch Mcconnell than I would about Trump, because Trump is so clearly aberrant. Mitch Mcconnell is more mainstream bad mainstream with, but again
let us not just bash one side in in my book. Not only did I avoid Trump after page twenty or so where I said this is the last mention of Trump. In my I minimized talking about Republicans and Democrats, it could because the right beer, the two cases before the, Preme Court now about gerrymander is one is a democratic gerrymandering, the others republican gerrymander. It's not the case that the that the two are equal in their frequency of Jeremy Anders but the fact is that even within the Democratic Party there is extremism, just as there is within the republic yeah. Why did I spend a lot of time warning about in criticizing the extremism on the left? In fact, it seems more hostile to free speech now at least extremism on the right and it's extreme views on the left are more mainstream than the extreme views on the right. Are you have imbeciles carrying Tiki
choose in Charlottesville on the right. That's the extreme right wing extreme left in certain regards his capture, journalism and academia, and at least with respect to certain issues around free speech? What does one do with the inconvenience detail that there really was a legitimate concern about the left image to take the Chilean as the Marxism requires a marxism of I day was your reasonable people could certainly have expected. It would have been politically and economically disastrous, and it was reasonable at the time for people in the enter on the right, and it was certainly for the US to worry about soviet style communism spread into yet and country in our hemisphere, and we had just gone through the cuban missile crisis that
is well understood now, although it probably wasn't so well understood the time to have been probably the most dangerous moment in human history. We have ideology on the left. That is create uncertain economic and political derangements, and there seem to be moments in human history, where the corrective to that is of necessity, blunt and and even violent, and you see perfectly reasonable ethical people being patient with what then quit very quickly proves unthinkable. You just your friends or people. You knew who were not alarmed about just the brute force, nations required to just get rid of this again day leftism and put play back onto a viable economic path and present
We, the people in the United States, were backing Pinochet, at least in the beginning, were not sadistic monsters. These were people who you know, at least in a pragmatic way. I decided it's just unacceptable, have a marxist nation in our hemisphere and use the same possibility emerging in western Europe. Now, with respect to what seemed to be quite reason, concerns about immigration now to range the politics of one country. After another and there's this can swing into populist right wing. How do you Do that because it's not it's not as simple as story is to say well Jay was a monster, and I N Day was represented the good side of that political question. Again, the was a was a mixed bag.
He was widely regarded as a very successful minister of Public health. When he came to power, he is announced. Goal was to bring marxist government to Chile by democratic means. He invited Fidel Castro to come to Chile. He considerable numbers of Cubans to to July two Chileans and to Americans? This was terrified. It had to be stopped by any means, because the cuban cuban missile crisis, it became clear soon after the cuban missile crisis, there were some very close calls. There were several of them involving submarines in plains where nuclear weapons illegal resorted to. So
it was the it was the policy, the american government to make sure that they would never again be a communist government in store in the western hemisphere. It was the policy of Chileans in the country to which, again day brought Fidel Castro. The fee would not be a marxist government installed in Chile in both centrist and right wing. Chileans were determined that again they could not be permitted. Do what he wanted to do also again day. He was torn between more radical and violent comfortable as more compromising left us like and This is hard to recover in the current climate, because there's been a strange nostalgia, creeping in leftist conversation around things like socialism and even marks the quality of life in the Soviet Union under soviet style, communism was abysmal, right and the
The liabilities of broadcasting. Their military strength to the rest of the world was obvious to have been opposed. Soviet communism was not to have been xenophobic or deranged by american nationalism, or hubris Rex Optional, more the vestiges of realism more empire or me was one could anathematized the Paula six of the Soviet Union purely on the basis of of a rational consideration of just how you want to live in a high, you think other human beings should want to live, and yet that seems to be somewhat difficult to recover. Now, I would say the same thing with respect to Islamism, Maria Islamic Fundamentalism, I the critique of that Cultural Oreo Asian and the and the political imperatives it voiced upon us
can be made without even a trace of xenophobia, much less racism, I mean one can be squarely in an ethical, liberal, pragmatic political found Asian and realize that you know the prospect of then under Sharia LAW or having a society that builds gulags for his political opponents. These are awful distortions, the well being and cooperation that's available to us. The problem, however, is that well, I feel like what we're seeing is that, whether the pendulum swing phenomenon or whether it's a the only people. Or energized enough to really draw the line at certain moments seem to be extremists of another sort again, the like the immigration concerns of Western Europe at the this conversation is largely being co opted by extreme.
Miss on the right. You know, nativists, populous anti semites actual, you know, aspiring fascists and It's me disastrous, the inability to find a moderate stain well intentioned ground from which to strongly resist. You know whatever the arrangement is coming from. One of the other political poll just invites the opposite political poll to fill that niche. I'm just back what last week class Monday from the UK with US arguments about Brexit. Initially, I planned for my book of people a chapter on
Britain's the country were appalled outside the United States were of live longer and as of twenty thirteen, when I was planning my book of people, the story about Britain will was Britain's having we made itself with considerable success after world war. Two I was living in Britain, fifty eight to sixty two that was in retrospect d, the time of peak change in Britain when, when Britain was shedding its empire, when the Suez affair of nineteen fifty six laid Bare Britain's inability to operate on world stage independently. The scrapping of Britain's class battleships incredible for the country that had the world strongest feet for so many centuries by scrapping us last battleships and then then in the in the
1970s Britain, recognizing that its trade most was mostly now with Europe rather than when the Commonwealth of Britain apply to join the European Union. So as of twenty thirteen, I envisioned a chapter on Britain in my book of evil about written, successful, selective change, but then with the brexit referendum, two thousand and sixteen and with the brexit parliamentary vote,.
Of two thousand and seventeen, I don't have a chapter on Britton Becaus this now a new crisis and the new crisis is moving so rapidly that it's it's difficult to cover. In a newspaper published on Friday that people are going to read on Monday, it's certainly not suitable for for discussing in a book. What struck me on my recent visit to Britain is that there is not a single conspicuous british politician with a sane policy regards Brexit
V V conservatives serve, the party is overwhelmed with pro brexit. There were some conservatives who anti Brexit and in a number of them, have split off of the conservative party, the Labor Party, which is apparently predominantly anti praxis. Nevertheless, the leader of the Labor Party, Jeremy Corbyn, will not take a clear stance about whether he wants a second referendum, so Britain seems tied up with it today with a leadership crisis with not one leader, not one significant leader planning on proposing the same policy for Britain and it it's it's sad. The country that can lead the World Mon Boxy
Is making such a mess of itself yeah? Not only Britain is, it seems to be much of western Europe and argue with the same forces are at work here and we we don't have our immigration concerns by comparison, seem rather farcical. What has happened in Europe of late, especially with the. The aftermath of the syrian civil war in those seem like legitimate, pressing concerns around assimilation and the the the just that the the sheer numbers of people showing up refugees and economic migrants and the political variable that seems most critical. There is anyone, whether they're in the center or their liberal, in every respect, but for this next Aaron's or there on the right. Anyone who raises a concern around immigration gets cash, the gated as a racist or obscene for doing so.
It's like there's no read that there's there's no ethical basis to imagine on the on the left to have a concern about who comes into the country: whether they assimilate and what number is whether they assimilate whether the culture of your society can be maintained in their presence. Your concerns about respect for free speech or gender equality or gay rights, or anything of that sort to even frame those concerns, is to be a bigot, and what that selecting for our people are you further to the right who don't care about aspersions bigotry and in fact many of them are actual bigots right and this this is what seems so destabilizing about the the way the left plays. These conversations politically David from recently made this point? If you are going to call every person who-
Voice is a concern about immigration, about having a defensible border, a fascist, initially only fascists, will show up to do the job yeah in Britain. It's paradoxical that the parts of Britain with the highest percentage of quotes, immigrants, people of non non non old, british background, London and southern eastern language. That England, that's that part of Britain with the highest percentage of immigrants was most strongly anti brexit and the strongest support for Brexit K came from rural areas of northern, where they have many one immigrant from the fewest immigrants, but in the in the United States states as well also Maria. I spend spend vacations each year in Montana
that we were. We were in an area Montana, on one of our visits. Are sons brought each year? They bring friends, school friends with them, and one year they brought one of the african american friends and that African American was for her. Could you in reviving reminded in a terrified if that was it at the time? But it's for is rural parts of the United States, the least affected by immigration novelist most upset about what I this is just the consequences of cosmopolitanism and globalization we have it in this urban rural split is, is a story of people gathering together in cities and disproportionately, becoming integrated in a global economy that, where you know the the winners of globalization are to be found if for either automating and or outsourcing
manufacturing, jobs to China and the the doing that are being disproportionately enjoyed in cities by people who love the fact that there, twenty different kinds of restaurant, within a mile of their homes? Is You see how in rural America or in you, England, immigration is largely and global? largely dark story even when the ever seven is not showing me. Basically, the the evidence is just a matter of in this case of jobs and economic prospects.
Leaking away, and I lack of social mobility among the countries that are discussed, what one of the most wealthy all interesting different ways for Australia, so Australia and Britain, and the only two countries to which I seriously considered emigrating muscular. I first visited Australia, one thousand nine hundred and sixty four. When I first visited Australia is struck me. Australia is more british than Britain. Australia was like Britain had been twenty years before I lived in Britain, one thousand nine hundred and fifty eight Australia still legally had White Australia policy, so that was one thousand nine hundred and sixty four right and gradually in the 90s in the 1960s nineteen 70s Australians woke up to the fact that their trade with Britain was crashing in their trade with Asia was increasing and it was not. It would not do to to say to the Japanese who becoming Australia's
First trade partners. We would love to trade with you, but you can't can't come settle in our country and during the sixties and seventies, then Australia gradually developed a changing over turning of its immigration policy to the point we were initially, it was white, Australia Policy and we're Strahan's. Reluctantly after world war, two accepted Italians. Greeks there was a wall, quotes wonderful, incredible statement, Australia's minister for for image rations after world war, two said with careful selection, Italians, good citizen, okay, so so was began to accept Italians and Greeks, but then sixties, 70s and 80s. Australia has accepting a massive immigration from from Asians point. Where would I brought Son Joshua to Australia for his semester abroad in two thousand
Josh, when I walked across the University of Queensland Campus in the Brisbane I felt I was at you Cal Berkeley. This was it's an asian majority campus in thousand eight or UCLA as is all you and a friend of mine who teaches at University of Sydney Medical School, majority of medical students and Sydney are from EAST Asia and from South Asia to Australia, has change. The self image massively from jeans boiled british subjects to being a real mixed community with its own identity, with the stench of the Bass boost bass nation for the purposes purposes. Why book? Australia was interesting because of my sin, case studies for were of explosive crises, to
we're invasions or threatened invasions invasion of Finland by the Soviet Union. The threatened attack on major Japan by the W by the United States and Britain and two were internal explosions, the chilean coup d'etat of nineteen. Seventy three in the the indonesian explosion, genocide, one thousand nine hundred and sixty five, but two were slow unfolding crises, Australia after World WAR, two and Germany after World WAR, two with Germany, gradually coming to grips with its nazi nazi history. So the the crisis, but this slow moving crises, but they they involved the same checklist factors as did the explosive crisis, namely in Australia. Issues in Australia were change. National identity and honest self appraisal, and recognizing that Britain
It was no longer able to protect Australia and changing selectively, so Australians are still big on sports in Australia is still in some respects, hyper democratic country. But it's changed. It's it's identity from boy being loyal subjects with the queen to be in their their own country, or just it look at this through the lens of immigration, for a second, more seems to me that there is hard to find the sweet spot, because if you found it tell me what it is, but I got like at one point in the book you talk about how you know based on American, sectionalism we are, we apparently are to learn from how other developed societies are are navigating these particular shoals. The weather is, with respect to healthcare, or or immigration or anything else, but you know prison Canada handles our immigration policy quite differently than we do and in Australia has handled it differently in the past, and yet
However, you handle it. It seems to me that you're open to the charge of Rank self rank self interest and failure of compassion with respect to the needs of the world's politically dispossessed at a minimum to speak of refugees in particular. So Canada, as you point out, filters, is carefully who comes in to the country than we do, and yet I would imagine any move in that direction on our part would be met on the left. With cries of you know, this is losing a phobia just take immigration as the this kind of case study. What do you think our immigration policy should be given? world's needs and given our own pragmatic self interest. It's me this for me to say what our immigration policy should be because one of the messages
immigration around the world is that the in immigration policy has to be one that is acceptable to the citizens of the country. It is no good telling the citizens of any country. This is what you should do. Klay rational immigration policy is, in Finland, so Finland, a country with its with its own language, that nobody else speaks and with us very strong national identity, be cause most families in Finland had people killed during the war against the Soviet Union to fins have a strong national identity. They were Somalis who immigrate to Finland it's hard to imagine people culturally, more different from fins than Sm Es, but the fins fins, adopted the policy we're going take some, but we want to take some mollies in numbers that we can provide
item with a strong entry into finnish society. How many smart small es can we accept in Finland providing them with education and housing and language training and job training that will enable them to make the transition into finnish society it's expensive, so the fins calculated we can afford to provide those opportunities for one thousand five hundred Somalis per year, one might say: well, seven, six, one thousand five hundred. That's ridiculous. You've you fans of being being heartless three out. Given the population, Finland, fifty her tamales Asus portion population. Finland is as if the United States were accepting eighty five thousand dollars.
So. The fans really making a big effort what they are. They are asking. How many can we take in a war for good opportunities to serve taking in ten times that number and watering lousy opportunities and no no opportunity Smartwater number? It seems to me that's an example of a of a rational immigration policy. All the differences you mentioned. The contrast between Canada and the United States is a dilemma. Should immigration be on the basis of reuniting families, that's a major consideration for the United States and also from the british immigration policy, in contrast, in both Australia and Canada, immigration policies based on a point system asking what to prospective immigrants, bring to offer to our country the consequences that the Canadians accept immigrants.
The approval rate among Canadians for Canada's immigration policies is eighty five percent. Probably the disapproval rate of United States for american immigration policy is eighty five percent, so it's essential whatever would ever immigration policy that is going to be it's gotta, be one that's going to be acceptable to the country yellow. Clearly we can stand outside a country and judge their biases and feel right to do So it is interesting to me- and I in in reading about japan- and I knew this batch band before I read your book, but in about Japan, I they have a immigration policy which, which you know Lynn, it to a single lucky person, you a decade or something ridiculous, and they seem quite satisfied around the politics and the ethics of that I'm not mistaken. I think it is a white supremacist, I'm a little
like NEO Nazi KKK, talking point in the US to point to Japan and say what's wrong with Japan. Why? Why can't we be like Japan right and that does put you know, Japanophile in an uncomfortable position of what is the the non racist, non supremacist defense of Japan's attitude toward immigration. First of all, we do respect to Japan. You tarnish Japan by saying that they accept one in in a decade, it's not as bad as that, in fact, for asylum speakers in Japan. A couple years ago, Japan Sept in one year one asylum speaker in the previous year. They expected SEP two two sorry: what was your order of magnitude off your order? Order of magnitude off Japan? Japan is the distinctive
it's a country that I know moderately well be cause to Maria I've. I've, japanese relatives and we have japanese cousins and and japanese japanese nieces Japan is ethnically the most homogeneous country in the first world. Japanese, have very strong social customs in New York, to to to follow those customs in in living in Japan, because the population density of Japan in the the settled area, it is higher than in any other. First world country people have chips so cram next to each other, but that they have to they have to share views in living together in these close numbers. Now the japanese Japanese suffer from their lack of immigration and they know it the ways in which they suffer or that he is not the pool of immigrants to serve as child care providers
with the result that women in Japan who want to remain in the workforce, but they have children, they can't they. They can't get childcare because they're off the immigrants. That's one thing that The second thing that they lose is old age. In the United States. The people who provide care at home for senior citizens are disproportionately immigrants, but that's not available in Japan or Japanese in american hospitals, much of the staff the the staff from the nurses, often from the Philippines in all the countries in Japan, and be cause. There's. Not all this. All this immigrant staff yeah, we were through horrible experience. We had one of our japanese relatives died and it took her three months in the hospital to die, but we know what it's like to be in the hospital in Japan be cause. There's not the pool of immigrant
meals are not served. Is the obligation of the family to provide meals, an your bed linens or changes the obligation of family with the Japanese know perfectly well, what's going on there, hospitals and they know what's going on with child care, and they know what's going on with elder care, but but they've decided that they would rather be homogeneous than except those immigrants. They do do Accepte contract laborers to do things such as to work for the Olympics and to work and shipbuilding except the contract laborers for a few years, but they what they're willing to pay this price because they value engine more yes. Why don't we stand in judgment on that added, If we tried to import that attitude, we would be right wing lunatics. How do we translate from culture to culture with respect to the
unavoidable moral charge of that kind of difference? Those who wish to make moral charges against the Japanese? Let them do it and see how far that gets stored. Changing japanese behavior want to make moral charges against the Japanese they're different mall charges that can be made against us, Americans, your honor! Well now I realize you're the time is precious short and I could. I could speak with you for Rob many more hours if you saying that our conversation has not at all exhausted or even fully covered. What's of interest in your book some rapid, some rapid fire questions now before the in the last ten minutes. Be yes for my job yeah it is, it is, come okay and they all just or I will. I will the use of of of rank racism on my way out. If you had one piece of advice,
a person wants to succeed in your field and you can construe your field? However, you like what would it be like one piece of advice would be get tenure before you start writing for the general public. Because of you start writing from the general but before you have tender, you will be told that you're all washed up, you're, prostituting yourself and and you're doing your writing for the public, because you are research, careers finished them the device that I do give it to people, and I could be me who want to publish books first, and then you write your book interesting. What, if anything, do you wish you'd done differently in your one? Is thirties forties fifties? Sixties, you can you can pick the the important decade gosh okay, so my first marriage ended in divorce and was very unhappy. Happy divorce I wish that been been different, otherwise, most of the things that I've I've done, I'm happy with you. I had my children kids were born when I was nearly fifty fifty.
Great age. For my kids to be born, I had I career in laboratory physiology. I keep my car new guinea birds. I have a very happy marriage of a grateful nation. My children, I'm in in good health, considering the alternatives things turned out: okay, nice. What book should everyone read what books everyone read read, read read whatever book you enjoy reading books that I personally what books of I enjoy? Is there any book that you reread with any regular? Yes, I I regularly read yeah. There are three books that I regularly read read. We read the complete Sherlock Holmes about every ten years, nice. I reread Thucydides the Peloponnesian war about every fifteen years. I really Thoreau's Walden about every thirty forty years. I it out, because I find it so upsetting that I have to make sure it. Those are those are
oh, and I I re read, and I read every week out which fights is biography of Johann Sebastian Bach's. I love Bach and I gained so much others rights nice. What negative experience one you would not wish to repeat as most only change you for the better, oh, my my nearly drowning in a boat accident off of off of Indonesia and about three thousand and forty years ago I stepped into that boat. I should not have stepped into that boat. I nearly died as a result. We would fished out fifteen minutes before sunset. If we hadn't been fished out, then I wouldn't be here, and I learned learned from that- take responsibility. It's not enough to scream the those stupid people in the boat. It was my fault for getting into and ever since then I've adopted an attitude of constructive paranoia and everything that could go wrong and it drives some people like most of my friends, crazy, but nevertheless I will not.
Step into? How should you have known not to get into that boat? The next day I like of course, an American who has seen that boat and not got into it, and so he had been spared my well, it's really just look like a bad boat that was liable to sink, or he said he looked at the young men. He looked at the cocky young men at the rudder and he he sized up correctly that there can be dangerous that they were going to be in cautious and, yes, they were in cautious that it was not an accident. It was. It was something that happened. The result of the are going too fast and high ceilings. So how long were you in the water for oh, we were in the water for a couple of hours What most worries you about our collective future raise the many topics in the book aspect of nuclear war. Climate change do we have. We haven't talked about what it, if you had to pick one thing that most concerns you: what? What? What should you be lying awake at night, worrying about you, go, get a Jared Diamond an which people hate the one thing that concerns me is people
for the one thing that is concerned, because the fact is we have to do with the do you risk ago got held among you with climate change and we have to deal with on sustainable resource use. We have to deal with inequality and if we solve any three of those and don't solve the fourth finish all right. So I'm three more here the this can be rapid fire. If you could dog just one mystery as a scientist or historian, what would it be? You know from the last question. It would be not to look for the one. ST to solve, because there are so many mysteries I would love to solve. I would to know what was the language of the the Harappan civilization and their undeciphered script, I would love to know what happened in that conversation between Simone Ball and December, ten, the resulted in semi Martin leaving forever. I would love to have in front of me the score of box, St Mark passion, which is lost.
I would love to have Sibelius's last symphony, his eighth symphony, which he burned I would love to have the missing books of Livy. I would love to have the other ten epics of the dozen epics that included the Iliad and odyssey. I didn't even know that there were there were a dozen epics of which the only honestly were two parts repressed wow. I did, and I missed that if you could resurrect just person from history and put them in our world today and you could give them the benefit of a modern education if necessary. Who would you pull back on the team? Oh, I would bring back. You know in Spanish but I wouldn't give him a shot is from otherwise oh education that got okay. Finally, the Jurassic park question forever in a position to recreate the t Rex. Should we do it yes and put it in a strong k g, it would be wonderful to have a t, rex and strong Cajun here see whether it had feathers and and what a social system was like in right at at and how what hunted and what it
did with those those useless arms actually related. Do you think we should eradicate the mosquito, crisper or some other technique. Should that happen soon? That requires study, because, if one radically to mosquitoes, I think one would discover that there would be some unexpected effects on the ecosystem. I might read a cake. The miscue, the mosquito that carries, carries malaria. Yeah that would require careful study, was injured, really been a pleasure to do this. Thank you for your time. Thank you for your time. This book is very interesting. If you find spike podcast valuable, there are many ways you can support it. You can review it on Itunes or Stitcher or wherever you happen to listen to it. You can share on social media with your friends, you can blog about it or discuss, put on your own podcast or you can support it directly and you this by subscribing through my website at Samharris, dot org and there
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Transcript generated on 2019-10-24.