Philip K. Howard

  • Aired:  11/18/10
  •  | Views: 50,609

Philip K. Howard believes America's current political system conspires to argue about things that aren't relevant. (4:27)

MY GUEST TONIGHT, A LAWYER AND

THE CHAIRMAN OF COMMON GOOD.

HE'S THE AUTHOR OF SEVERAL

BOOKS, HIS MOST RECENT "LIFE

WITHOUT LAWYERS."

PLEASE WELCOME TO THE SHOW

PHILIP K. HOWARD.

SIR.

( APPLAUSE )

THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

FIRST, LET ME SAY, I'VE BEEN

READING AND ADMIRING YOUR BOOKS

FOR MANY YEARS NOW, AND IT'S

VERY NICE TO HAVE YOU ON THE

PROGRAM.

YOU SAY THAT GOVERNMENT IS NOT

FOCUSED ENOUGH ON THE

BUREAUCRATIC PROCESSES OF

GOVERNMENT AND THAT'S WHAT'S

BEEN REALLY LEADING US ASTRAY.

>> RIGHT.

NO ONE CAN MAKE CHOICES.

THERE'S SO MUCH BUREAUCRACY.

AND I SAID AT ANY LEVEL OF

RESPONSIBILITY, THE PRESIDENT,

THE SCHOOLTEACHER, THEY'RE NOT

ALLOWED TO USE THEIR BEST

JUDGMENT.

SO NOTHING HAPPENS SENSIBLY.

>> Jon: HAS BEST JUDGMENT BEEN

REMOVED BECAUSE OF... ARE WE

INCOMPETENT?

DO WE NO LONGER HAVE JUDGMENT?

IF YOU LET US HAVE JUDGMENT,

WOULD WE WALK INTO WALLS?

WHAT WOUND HAPPEN TO US?

ALL WE ARE ALL MR. MAGOOS NOW?

>> YES.

>> Jon: YES?

>> NO.

IT'S THIS IDEA THAT LECH CENTRAL

PLANNING.

YOU CAN TELL EVERYBODY HOW TO DO

THE JOB, THE TEACHER HOW TO DO

THE JOB AND FILL OUT TEN FORMS,

TELL HER HOW SHE'S TEACHING THE

CLASS, SHE'LL TEACH A BETTER

CLASS.

IF THE PRESIDENT WILL HAVE HIS

PEOPLE GO THROUGH TEN YEARS OF

REVIEW FOR AN ENVIRONMENTALLY

IMPORTANT PROJECT, THEN IT WILL

BE PERFECT.

UNFORTUNATELY THE ENVIRONMENT

WILL BE RUINED BY THE TIME THEY

PUT A SHOVEL IN THE GROUND.

IT'S THAT PROBLEM IN LIFE.

NO ONE CAN SAY GO.

NO ONE CAN ACTUALLY JUST

>> Jon: WE'VE TAKEN AN

IMPORTANT ROLE OF GOVERNMENT AND

NEUTERED IT TO SOME EXTENT.

>> WE'VE MADE IT FAIL.

WE'VE MADE IT FAIL BY BASICALLY

SHACKLING EVERYONE AT EVERY

LEVEL OF GOVERNMENT.

IT ENDS UP SHACKLING EVERYONE IN

SOCIETY, AS WELL.

NO ONE CAN USE THEIR COMMON

SENSE.

EVERYONE HAS THEIR NOSE IN A

RULE BOOK AS IF LAW WAS SUPPOSED

TO BE AN INSTRUCTION MANUAL.

IT'S SUPPOSED TO SET GOALS AND

BOUNDARIES.

PEOPLE HAVE TO BE FREE TO

ACTUALLY MAKE CHOICES THAT

BALANCE DIFFERENT PUBLIC GOALS,

FOR EXAMPLE.

>> Jon: RIGHT.

IT SEEMS LIKE THE ONLY TWO

CHOICES WE ARE ALLOWED TO MAKE

OR WE'RE BEING TOLD TO MAKE IS

WE CAN EITHER BE COME --

COMPLETELY FREE OR WE MUST BE

RUN BY AN INCOMPETENT,

BRAZIL-LIKE DEMOCRACY.

WHAT YOU'RE DESCRIBING, I DON'T

RECALL US HAVING THAT CHOICE.

WHAT YOU SAID, THE EFFICIENT

THING, I LIKE THAT.

>> YEAH, YEAH.

YOU KNOW, IT'S NOT THAT HARD.

IF YOU LOOK AT A GOOD CHARTER

SCHOOL, PEOPLE MAKE JUDGMENTS.

THERE ARE ACTUALLY AGENCIES FROM

TIME TO TIME WHERE PEOPLE

ACTUALLY MAKE JUDGMENTS.

MAYOR BLOOMBERG...

>> Jon: THE MINUTE YOU SAY

CHARTER SCHOOL, EVERYONE SAYS,

YOU'RE DESTROYING PUBLIC SCHOOLS

OR ALL THESE OTHER THINGS.

WE CAN'T EVEN HAVE THIS

CONVERSATION IT APPEARS.

>> RIGHT.

WE CAN'T IN THE CURRENT

POLITICAL SYSTEM BECAUSE THE

CURRENT POLITICAL SYSTEM HAS

ALMOST A CONSPIRACY TO ARGUE

ABOUT THINGS THAT AREN'T

RELEVANT.

WHEREAS WHAT'S RELEVANT IS HOW

YOU BUILD THE NEW POWER LINE,

YOU KNOW, HOW YOU ACTUALLY

BALANCE DIFFERENT PUBLIC NEEDS

SO WE CAN BALANCE THE BUDGET.

>> Jon: WHAT YOU JUST SAID

THERE MADE ME WANT TO HUG YOU.

( LAUGHTER )

>> I WANT TO HUG YOU, TOO.

>> Jon: ALL RIGHT.

THAT'S VERY NICE.

HAVE WE GOTTEN SO GOOD AT

POLITICS THAT WE'VE FORGOTTEN

HOW TO BE GOOD AT GOVERNANCE?

>> COMPLETELY.

AND ALL THE POLITICAL LEADERS,

MANY OF WHOM ARE ON THE BOARD OF

THIS ORGANIZATION I RUN, LIKE

HOWARD BAKER AND BILL BRADLEY,

WILL SAY THAT.

WHAT'S HAPPENED IS WE'VE

COMPLETELY LOST SIGHT OF THE

COMMON GOOD PLAYING THIS

PARTISAN GAME AND NO ONE IS ABLE

TO MAKE THESE CHOICES.

YOU KNOW, THERE HAS NEVER BEEN A

TIME WHEN GOVERNMENT WAS MORE

IMPORTANT.

WE LIVE IN AN ANONYMOUS,

INTERDEPENDENT WORLD.

I DON'T KNOW WHO PUT THE PAINT

ON THE TOYS THAT MY GRAND CHILD

IS PLAYING WITH.

>> Jon: THAT WAS MEMENT I

APOLOGIZE FOR THAT.

>> SO WE NEED GOVERNMENT AND WE

NEED IT TO BE FUNCTIONAL.

THE TEA PARTY IS RIGHT.

IT IS IDIOTIC.

BUT IT'S NOT BECAUSE WE DON'T

NEED GOVERNMENT.

WE MEADE IT TO BE HUMAN.

>> Jon: AND NIMBLE ANDAGE

I'LL.

WE DON'T HAVE A TON OF TIME.

I'M GOING TO THROW TO

COMMERCIAL.

CAN YOU STAY FOR ANOTHER FIVE

MINUTES AND TALK US TO ON THE

WEB?

PHILIP K. HOWARD.

PLEASE GET SOME OF HIS B

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