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Dr. Larry Arnn on the Nice Terrorist Attack

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HH: This is the last radio hour of the week when I’m usually joined when we are lucky by Dr. Larry Arnn, president of Hillsdale College. We call it the Hillsdale Dialogue. Normally, we talk about the great works of Western Civilization, the great leaders of Western Civilization. Today, we are talking about an attack on Western Civilization. Dr. Arnn, welcome, a very somber day, I’m sad that we meet under these circumstances.

LA: It’s very hard now, Hugh, to, we’re learning in America to organize our schedule to any national event, because it may have to be delayed by a terrorist attack, because they’re happening all the time now.

HH: We are, when Lincoln addressed the nation at the Gettysburg Address, he said we are met on a great battlefield of that war. The great battlefields of this war are now Nice and Paris and Brussels or in Orlando, in San Bernardino. It’s not the kind of war in which we’re going to be able to mark out battlefields. It’s a beach. It’s everywhere.

LA: Yeah, that’s right, and the numbers are very great, right? So as I read, and as I understand, there are sections of French cities, and they were these little cities, or some of them not little, and the police just don’t go there. And they have, you know, parts of French territory are in the hands of hostile populations.

HH: The brand new novel by Daniel Silva, The Black Widow, talked about Molenbeek in Brussels as being a neighborhood which if not quite a no-go zone, is certainly under-policed to be almost a no-go zone. Let me play for you two reactions to yesterday, one by Newt Gingrich, which I personally consider to be over the top and not helpful, and one by Hillary Clinton, which continues the muted response which has crippled our effort to deal with the enemy. First, Newt Gingrich from last night on Fox News with Sean Hannity, cut number 19:

NT: So let me start with where I’m coming from, and let me be as blunt and as direct as I can be. Western Civilization is in a war. We should, frankly, test every person from here who is of a Muslim background. And if they believe in Sharia, they should be deported. Sharia is incompatible with Western Civilization. Modern Muslims who have given up Sharia? Glad to have them as citizens, perfectly happy to have them next door. But we need to be fairly relentless about defining who our enemies are. Anybody who goes on a website favoring ISIS, or al Qaeda or other terrorist groups, that should be a felony and they should go to jail. Any organization which hosts such a website should be engaged in a felony. It should be closed down immediately. Our forces should be used to systematically destroy every internet-based source. And frankly, if we can’t destroy them through the internet, we should destroy them with kinetic power using various weapons, starting with Predators, and just, frankly, just killing them. I am sick and tired of being told that the wealthiest, most powerful civilization in history, all of Western Civilization, is helpless in the face of a group of medieval barbarians who for example recently burned 20 young women to death, burned them to death, because they wouldn’t have…

HH: All right, no contrast that, we should test every Muslim and the rest, with Hillary Clinton talking to Anderson Cooper, cut number 13:

HRC: Well, I think it’s clear we are at war with these terrorist groups and what they represent. It’s a different kind of war, and we need to be smart about how we wage it and win it. So I think we have to look at all possible approaches to doing just that.

AC: When you say we’re at war, I mean, are we, who are we at war with? Are we at war against, I mean, radical jihadists, radical Islam? Who are we at war against?

HRC : We’re at war against radical jihadists who use Islam to recruit and radicalize others in order to pursue their evil agenda. It’s not so important what we call these people as to what we do about them.

HH: So Larry Arnn, we are actually at war with a caliphate that holds, that has a capital in Raqqa, which has outposts in Sirte, Libya, in Mosul, Iraq, and other places. Old borders don’t matter to them. It does matter what we call them. At the same time, I thought Newt was way over the top. What is the appropriate response for American political actors who seem to be perplexed in a way that Theresa May, the new prime minister, is not perplexed. She’s the most effective anti-jihadist, anti-radical Islamist leader in the world right now.

LA: Oh, yeah. Well, first of all, you know, the new people, the immigration, I mean, I think that Donald Trump has got a point, and that is, so let me step back now. I’m sounding like Hillary Clinton for a minute. So if you think about it this way, Islam is a universal religion that proposes a law. Now there are more than one strain of Islam, and there’s, but in the ISIS-controlled territories in Iraq and Saudi Arabia and places like that, they implement a law that comes from outside the country, that is to say from a universal god, and the authorities behind the law is the authority of priests. That is not religious freedom. And the core of America is civil and religious freedom. So of course, it’s easy to see. Let’s say that we imported into America, if we allowed into America, 401 million people tomorrow who all believed in Sharia law. Would that change the country? You know, it would be a different place overnight. And so the first thing is don’t do that.

HH: Right.

LA: America is a set of practices and beliefs. That’s what makes one an American. It’s not a race, and it’s not a religion unless, or any creed, except creeds and religions that opposed the central principles of the idea of the regime, civil and religious freedom.

HH: And that, by the way, is Constitutional.

LA: What?

HH: That is Constitutional. To control your borders as to who enters based on their ideology is a completely Constitutional exercise.

LA: So you know, to do that would be an important first step, and we’ve come a long way in this debate, in part because of events, and in part because of Donald Trump. A year ago, it was racist to say that you should look carefully at people who come from these, from the countries where these doctrines are flourishing. And now, it’s, so the first step is do that. And that will help a lot. Remember, those, the people who did the shooting in San Bernardino, there was that picture, I saw it on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, of them coming through immigration control. And they had a long record of advocating violence against Christians and infidels. And they are dressed like the people who commit these acts. So the point is we should be careful who we let become citizens of the United States. And Donald Trump’s campaign has prospered so far with that as its first tenet. Then I didn’t like what Newt said about anybody who goes to a website being arrested. That, there, I think it’s still on the books, but we have a long history going back to the American Revolution of making it a crime to join organizations that advocate, or to advocate the violent overthrow of the government of the United States. I don’t like those laws, but they have been present in every war. Under Abraham Lincoln, under the founders, under Franklin Roosevelt, you would only do it when there’s an emergency, when there’s a real danger. Justice Holmes’ thing is a clear and present danger. So what’s wrong with the claim that we should prosecute people who go to websites is the Smith Act doesn’t provide that we would prosecute people who read that literature.

HH: Nor could it. I mean…

LA: No.

HH: It couldn’t. It’s crazy. It’s the overstatement that undermines the appropriate. That’s why Hillary Clinton saying it doesn’t matter what we call it is wrong, and Newt overstating what we should do is wrong. We need to be, as Theresa May has been for six years, sensible.

LA: Yeah, if you, you know, America, the purpose of America is the protection of our rights. And central to those rights is freedom of speech. Freedom of speech is the defining characteristic of human beings. We can talk, and we can reason. Now anything that threatens freedom of speech, and the hard place, and it’s the reason why you have to have, you have to be reluctant about this, you know, the country has always been reluctant about this, is that when you curtail speech that threatens freedom of speech, then you’re in a difficult place, right? And so we should recognize that. In America, we have courts of law, so you know, what is the basis of the protection of our civil and religious freedom? It starts with separation of powers. Laws are made, presidents enforce them, and the courts decide the cases. You’ve got those protections.

HH: When we come back, we’ll continue with that.

— – — –

HH: We’re engulfed in a way. The President said they were the jayvees. Hillary Clinton says it doesn’t matter much what we call it. But it is a place, Larry Arnn. It’s a state. We don’t want to call it a state, but it is. It’s a caliphate. And they have territory, and they have an army. And that truck driver would have killed 184, or 18,084 if he could have been able to, and they will get weapons someday that will do that. I mean, we have to act.

LA: Yeah. Well, this war in its various forms, the American Embassy in Tehran was taken over on November 4th, 1979. So this is a war more than a generation old now. And it means, and we have not been winning it. I mean, one of the reasons I think that Trump is prospering, has prospered through the primaries and is doing well in the polls right now is that he calls these wars that we’ve fought a failure, and that they’re, you know, I support some of these wars. I don’t support them all. But we haven’t been winning. And we have to find a way to confront and attack these people, and you know, there are two places to do it – here and there. And it’s better to do it there. But what Newt is talking about is that some of the people are here, and it is certainly true that urgent efforts should be made to find them and deport them.

HH: That is true. And that’s what Theresa May did, and I wanted to get to your, and this, I want to talk about Mike Pence in this segment and Theresa May. I’m very cheered by her cabinet, by Liam Fox’ return to the cabinet, by Boris Johnson, exuberant and impolitic as he is, being the Foreign Secretary, but mostly by her seriousness of purpose. She is a great, she’s sort of Iron Woman 2.0.

LA: So far. First of all, think, I can’t remember the name of the man, I’m sorry to say, but her appointment to the new cabinet office for European relations…

HH: David Davis, I believe, yeah.

LA: That’s right. He was very tough in the leave campaign. And then she appointed Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary, and he’s got the best hair of any Foreign Secretary in human history.

HH: Agreed.

LA: And the Europeans are livid about that. And so they’re going to open these tense, complicated, dangerous negotiations for Britain, and are they going to get all the goodies? And are they willing to pay for them? And she appoints these two really tough pro-Brexit people. And that’s just a tremendous signal. And the papers in Europe I read, and the British papers, are full of condemnations of that. She had to know that was going to happen.

HH: And now I am, but, and Liam Fox, former Defense Secretary, she brought in some tough people.

LA: Yeah.

HH: I just think the UK is back in the game. And let me contrast Hillary Clinton’s nattering naysaying refusal to name the enemy with, here’s Donald Trump last night, cut number two, talking to Greta Van Susteren.

GVS: What do you think that President Obama’s going to be doing tonight about this, and contrast it with what you’d be doing tonight?

DT: Well, the first thing he should do is say it’s radical, if it is, and it may not be, and so I want to preface that, because, for both of us, because you’re in the same position as I am. But generally speaking, I don’t think the people come out of Sweden, okay? It’s probably, possibly, but if it is, if it is indeed radical Islamic terrorism, it’s about time that he would say so, okay? It’s about time, because you’re never going to solve this problem unless you’re going to define it. And it would be about time that we, that people would sigh with relief if he would say it.

HH: All right, so Larry, Dr. Arnn, we have 45 seconds to the break. That is blunt. I think we need more of that.

LA: Oh, boy. Look, why do people like Trump? The man is fearless and plain, and he brings these storms of condemnation down upon himself, and now, you know, he’s winning. I mean, right now, he’s ahead in the presidential race. And that’s because it’s not a good idea to fight a war when you’re unprepared to name your enemy.

HH: More from Dr. Larry Arnn, to receive Imprimis, the free speech digest of the university. All of our conversations dating back four years available at That is the website where you will find everything. You can binge listen. It will be good for your soul. Stay tuned.

— – – —

HH: And we talk about a Middle East that has birthed, or rebirthed a recurring variant of Islam which is dangerous and virulent, and is known, it is not a secret, it has a capital. It has an address. And our leaders call them jayvees, ignore red lines that are crossed, and lead from behind, and we have, what do you think Churchill would say about leading from behind, or Lincoln, Dr. Larry Arnn?

LA: Isn’t that funny (laughing)?

HH: It’s just amusing to think about that.

LA: Yeah, it is. If you get the idea, here’s why this is hard, but also, as you say, the situation is clarifying all the time, because of ISIS, because of its capital, because of the consistent now, for 37 years, advocacy of this kind of action by the government of Iran, we know places where this is advocated as is a matter of law. And these things involve, first of all, assaults upon the citizens of our country, and it is the first duty of the government to protect that. And they also include assaults upon the rights of fellow citizens if they are affiliated with this, because remember, the Sharia law involves the degradation of women. And that means that their testimony in court is not as reliable as the testimony of a man. It means that in cases of rape, there is great suspicion upon the woman who’s been raped, or allegedly been raped. And so those things are bad and barbaric practices. And we must not foster those in a country devoted to civil and religious freedom.

HH: Now that brings us to our presidential campaign, and I want to get your assessment of…a friend of mine, I don’t know him well, but I’ve broken bread with Governor Mike Pence at the Republican retreat. He sparked it up with President Obama before. He is 12 years a member of the House. He is a radio talk show host. I know him to be a friend of yours. Paul Ryan says he is a great friend of his. What does that selection, and it seems to be very secure, tell you about Donald Trump, about Mike Pence, and about the party and the administration that Donald Trump would put together?

LA: Well, Mike Pence is, I do know him well, and I admire him very much. In the House, he was one of the hardline guys, right? There’s about 40 of them. And they’re, I always like to say, there’s always 30 really great members of Congress.

HH: (laughing)

LA: (laughing) And you know, there’s a lot of good members of Congress, right? But I always think there’s about 30, and they’re just tough as they can be. Mike was one of those, but he was the one of those who always got on well with the leadership, too.

HH: Yes.

LA: They regard him as eloquent, you know, He’s a very deliberate man, right? He’s not, his manner is very different from Donald Trump. His principles, not so different. And so I think it’s a very good, he’s from the Mid-West, and I favor that these days. I moved there a long time ago and I like it.

HH: His border, his district bordered Ohio, so he was almost from The Land.

LA: Yeah, that’s right. That’s right.

HH: He could smell the air occasionally.

LA: That’s right. Well, Ohio is so aggressive, that if you live near it, like look at me. Look at the way you treat me, and I live 20 miles from Ohio. (laughing)

HH: (laughing) It’s so close, and yet so far.

LA: Yeah, there you go. Yeah, he’s, he is a measured man, and he’s strong, too. And so he’ll bring that. We don’t know who Hillary is going to pick, but of course, the big question as regards to the campaign, is how’s the debate going to go? And in recent presidential elections, there have been a lot of sparks from the vice presidential debates.

HH: Yes.

LA: And Joe Biden took on Paul Ryan really hard and interrupted him constantly, and was very aggressive. I thought Ryan did well, but that’s controversial. Some didn’t. And you know, there’s the famous thing with Lloyd Bentsen and Dan Quayle, you’re no Jack Kennedy.

HH: Yeah.

LA: And so that is going to matter a lot. And if you think about this race, it’s easy to see what the great episodes are going to be. First, next week is the Republican Convention. Are the speeches going to be good? Are the networks going to interview lots of delegates on the air who don’t like Donald Trump? And so that’s going to give it some negative cast. And then outside, there’s going to be protestors. And that’s going to give it, for Trump, some positive cast. And it’s interesting to see, you know, some famous people are not going to the convention. Ted Cruz is going to speak. Tom Cotton is going to…

HH: Tom Cotton. Tom Cotton’s going to speak.

LA: Yeah, and I have some idea what Tom Cotton is going to say, because I’ve talked to him about it. And I expect he’s going to be just awesome.

HH: Now I spent some time on Twitter last night, a series of ten tweets, urging that every speaker be sober, purposeful, directed, aware of the threat, not over the top, that they project sort of the grown-up party for a time of urgency. What do you think about that?

LA: Yeah, it should be, you know, Donald Trump himself is going to supply the boldness, right? I mean, I think he will probably be, you know, in one of his modes, which is frequent, Donald Trump gives elaborately contrived and reasonable speeches. And he lays things out in order. We refer to those as the teleprompter speeches. And then sometimes, he’s fearless in saying things that are not politically correct. And I expect there’ll be both, some of both of that from him. He does seem, intend to be himself all the time, and I even think that’s why he’s so successful. But the rest of them, I think, it’s a good idea to show that we are very determined people, that the Republicans are very determined people, and that they have a plan. And you know, I hope myself, I’m a Republican, and I’m speaking just for myself about that, I hope that they show unity. The Platform Committee is still working, I gather, for years and years…

HH: Sadly, they rejected your very good idea of a 1,300 word platform. I tweeted it out earlier today. You wanted to go back to the original, to the 1860 platform.

LA: Yeah, and that’s just a simple idea, right? For people to work together, they should work on the basis of grand goals. And those can be stated simply. Take, for example, the Declaration of Independence. Everybody knows what that is. Or everybody literate knows what that is. And the first Republican platform, and I’m proud to announce that the first version of that that was published and adopted by a newly-formed Republican committee was written by two people chiefly who worked at Hillsdale College. And it’s a simple condemnation. It’s a support of the Declaration of Independence, and of the Constitution of the United States. It is a declaration that slavery is evil. It is about 1,300 words long, and it contains 17 planks. And so something like that is what I wish they would do. And you know, I know, and both parties are like this now, my friend, Boyd Matheson, who published an article with me about this, and who took that, he’s on the Platform Committee, he texted me at one point, and he said very great reception for our platform, and we just talked about it a lot. And now, we’re talking about the regulation of prairie dogs. (laughing) And so…

HH: Now I have to go back, compared to the regulation of prairie dogs, I’m reading the British newspaper, the Telegraph. And it says in there Theresa May wields the axe on Cameron’s Notting Hill set, in “most ruthless cull in modern British political history, with Michael Gove among nine ministerial sackings or resignations.” What she is doing is making a clean break. She is making a decided break. And it’s energizing. Do you think Donald Trump ought to name is cabinet, or a large part of it, in order to demonstrate the sort of break we would have with this leading from behind, red line not crossing, jayvee-naming group of inept and energyless stumblebums?

LA: Well, the cabinet can be important or unimportant. It depends, because it’s not like the British…in the British system, the members of the cabinet are members of the Parliament. And they are chosen for two chief reasons, or I guess a third matters, too. One is very good friends of the prime minister, the other is enemies of the prime minister who are induced to support the prime minister and bring their supporters to the prime minister if they get a cabinet job. So that means that you sit around a table, and the prime minister is only first among equals, and they don’t really vote in the cabinet. They just talk, and then the prime minister summarizes what they’re, what’s to be done. And if you don’t like it, you can resign, and that might make a cabinet crisis, depending on how powerful you are. Then there are people who’d just be really good at their jobs. The new prime minister looks to have picked a bunch of people who are really tough, and a larger number of supporters of hers. And so she’s going to have a cabinet that might do some very decisive things, and I hope so.

HH: And a government majority, and of course, Labour is melting down. I’m joyful over the fact that it is collapsing. Is there that much difference, we have three Labour parties to look at – a Labour party in Venezuela, which is Hugo Chavez-oriented and now Madura run, a Labour party that began in Britain a hundred years ago and is now in the hands of Jeremy Corbyn and is melting down, and a labor party in the United States called the Democratic Party. Is there that much difference between them, Larry Arnn?

LA: Well, you know, the American Democratic Party is flirting, more than flirting, with socialism now. And that means the major means of production are owned by the government. And if that’s true, first of all, the government of the United States is now controlling more than half the economy of the United States. If it controls, and that’s dangerous, in my opinion, because our livelihoods are increasingly in the hands of a government that is so very large and powerful. If you expand that, at some point, then, I mean, Churchill, here’s the principle. Churchill makes a speech about the nationalization of steel, which he undid after he became prime minister in 1951. And he says you know, they’re not really doing this because they want more steel. We are producing plenty of steel. They want more power. And they have announced at the same time that they are looking for other industries, targets of opportunity, to nationalize. And all that is, Churchill goes on, is just an instruction to everybody in industry that if you raise your head in opposition, we might nationalize your industry.

HH: And isn’t that how the Democrats have been acting?

LA: So think of that power.

HH: Isn’t that exactly how they’ve been acting?

LA: Well, you know, the Republicans, too, sometimes. You know, they’re, look at the, you know, very large centralized administrative agencies have been built by Republicans since Reagan. And that’s not good, in my opinion, because you know, one of the things that Mr. Trump has been saying is we need to get rid of a lot of that stuff and return it to the states where it belongs. And forgetting for a minute, you know, the claims, and I won’t forget, I’ll say, the claim of doing that is if we can centralize control of some things, many things, and then we can bring scientific principles of public policy to them, the society can be more equal. But the offset against that, and anybody who’s sensible has to regard this as questionable, the offset is you are concentrating power in places where human beings are using the power, and they have interest, just like we do.

HH: And when we come back, we’ll continue that conversation with Dr. Larry Arnn. Stay tuned.

— – — –

HH: Dr. Larry Arnn, the enemy here is so evil, I just want to stress this, they will kill children. They killed two Americans, they killed Muslims. They just kill everybody. And I don’t know that the world has yet figured out we’ve got to go to Raqqa and Sirte and Mosul, and we’ve got to go as a world.

LA: I think so. You know, if, I believe, very much, first of all, the beliefs and principles of civil and religious freedom are very powerful. And so if we proclaim those and act according to those, then that is a support to the Muslims who agree with that principle and follow it. And of course, a very many do, including the very many in the United States. And so it is a protection of them, too. And the hard thing will be if, you know, what Newt called for was a test. It’s a little difficult to think what that test is going to be like. And in American history, when we have done this, and we haven’t done it very much, by the way, we’ve had laws on the books continuously. But when we try to inquire into the beliefs of a person, and penalize them for what they say, you know, Newt actually slips a little and proposed that we penalize people for what they read.

HH: Right.

LA: But you know, there go you and I. But if we try to do that, that’s very hard to do. And I was trying to say in my incoherent way at the beginning of this show, the procedures of courts, and the independent judiciary, is a protection when you enforce laws, all laws, and especially laws like that. And we may well have to activate some of those laws, but we should do it reluctantly and carefully, because you don’t want to hurt innocent people. And then on the other hand, look at this thing, and the numbers of people who are coming out of nowhere. They are trained somehow, they form these cells, and they decide to do these things on their own. And you know, goodness, in San Bernardino, a husband and a wife planned this for a long time, talked about it with many people, and went to their deaths together so that they could kill a bunch of people whom they did not know. And that’s, you know, that’s what’s happening.

HH: And to fight that requires a great deal of candor and transparency and resolve, and a repudiation, actually, of diversion. Now I don’t call a diversion the assassination of five police people in Dallas. That is murder. It is, though a horrific crime of last week, but I do think there is a great deal of diversion going on in the United States onto issues that are not as serious as the war. And what do you think of my assessment of that?

LA: Well, just remember, this war has gone on for 37 years. The body count is high, and the intention proclaimed by the propagators of it, as you say, they have an address, you know where they are, is that it will expand very greatly. And what are we going to think, you know, I mean, if they set off a dirty bomb in Manhattan or Chicago, there’ll be parts of a glorious achievement that we won’t be able to use for many years. And that’s possible now. You know, I gave a talk in Jackson, Wyoming last night, and one of the things I mentioned was we wouldn’t worry very much about these regimes except for the existence of technology, because you know, first of all, it’s an enormous achievement of man to put a big old huge airplane up on the air with all that moving mass. And that means that, that carries people to places where they need to go. And on the other hand, it can be turned into a weapon, and vast destruction can be done with it. And so these countries, they don’t really produce their own weapons, and they don’t really invent much, right? They just take what is out there in the world, because it’s invented mostly in the West, now in China, too, and Japan.

HH: And they use it.

LA: And it makes it very dangerous. And the challenge, this is one of the themes of Winston Churchill’s career. With this much power in human hands, how are you going to carve out a space for people to be free?

HH: And that is the challenge of this campaign. And we will continue to address it in the weeks and months ahead. All the Hillsdale Dialogues are available at Visit Get smart about what we need to know. Dr. Larry Arnn, thank you as always.

End of interview.


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