How do we assess information reasonably and logically in a post-factual world? Yaron Brook with the Ayn Rand Institute joined The Glenn Beck Program on Wednesday to discuss the latest fake news on President-elect Trump, a Trump presidency and how to logically access the relationship between Trump and Russia. Brook’s latest book — Equal Is Unfair — takes on the issue of equality. The left would have us believe that equality means equality of outcome or opportunity. Brooks makes the case that it means equality of freedom, liberty, rights and justice.
“The whole idea of equality is a false God. It’s a false God,” Brooks said.
Listen to this segment from The Glenn Beck Program:
Image: Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images
Below is a rush transcript of this segment, it might contain errors:
GLENN: We’ll have some idea, if government takes this report at all credible on Donald Trump. Because in that report, it says that Russia has made several deals on energy with Trump or Trump surrogates. I mean, again, where are we getting this? How is it happening? There’s no reason to accept this information, and there’s no reason to dismiss this information. It’s just out now, and it is what it is. We have to use some logic.
But we’ll see if anyone takes this seriously, seeing that Tillerson is having his confirmation hearing today. President of Exxon, let’s see if the senator brings that up. If they don’t, that speaks volumes about the credibility of this.
Yaron Brook is here from the Ayn Rand Institute. How are you, sir?
YARON: I’m good. How about you? Crazy times.
Yeah, I know. We had some plans to talk about some other things that are important.
YARON: Yep. Yep.
GLENN: First, I want to get your thoughts on this — this is — you’re a very logical reasoned man.
YARON: Yeah. Yeah.
GLENN: We are living in a time beyond reason and logic.
YARON: It is. Because reason and logic require facts. They require evidence. They require the ability to look at the world and know what’s true and what’s not or at least have an indication of what’s true or what’s not. We’re living in an era of fake news, where you don’t know where this is coming from, why this is being reported, who is reporting it. It’s really hard to get your head around it, and with good reason.
GLENN: Can I ask you a question? I have a two-volume set — I think it’s actually in my office, I have a two-volume set from 1926. It’s a reprint from the New York Historical Society.
GLENN: And it’s from the committee on the — the committee looking into the conspiracies of the Revolutionary War. It was convened right after the Revolutionary War. They wanted to find out where all these rumors came from, where all this fake news came from. And it’s probably 500 pages.
YARON: Yep. Sure. Sure.
GLENN: So fake news is not new. It’s always been this way. It’s just different.
YARON: Yeah. But it’s never had the credibility it has today. I mean, people are taking it seriously in a way they never did before.
YARON: And generally, we don’t discuss issues in a reasonable, logical way. This election, more than any other election, I think, was based so much on pure emotion.
YARON: And what we’re seeing today is the media — we’re seeing our political leaders. We’re seeing our intellectuals, from universities, promote emotion as the means towards knowledge, rather than thinking and reasoning and using logic. We don’t teach our kids logic —
GLENN: So how would you logically look at this story and say, “This is how we begin to untangle this story?”
YARON: Well, I mean, you really have to look at, “What are the real sources? Without sources, it’s really hard to untangle anything.” But you also have to look at, “Okay. What are the incentives? What’s going on here?”
And look, the Russians are bad guys. The Russians are bad guys. Putin is not a good guy.
And I think this — there’s some evidence to suggest — there’s a relationship between Putin and Trump. Something is going on. Trump is so adamantly defending Putin. Was throughout the campaign. Is now.
There’s some relationship between Trump and Russia. We don’t know what it is. You know, there’s no reason to believe these particular allegations. But one has to be skeptical about what is going on, given how adamant Trump is, in defending anything Russian.
GLENN: Could it be — could it be — let’s talk about Tillerson.
GLENN: Tillerson is a deal-maker. Okay? What is our foreign policy? I don’t know. We put a deal-maker in. And he’s best at making deals, where?
YARON: Russia and the Middle East. And I think much of our foreign policy — we are not going to be tough. With Tillerson there, we’re not going to be tough on Russia. We’re unlikely to be tough on Saudi Arabia and the Gulf —
GLENN: And you like Tillerson?
YARON: I like Tillerson.
Tillerson is an Atlas Shrugged fan. He’s not a guy. He’s obviously an incredibly competent CEO. He did a good job. I like CEOs. I like businessmen. I think they’re great. Right?
But is he a foreign policy expert? Does he bring a principled view of foreign policy? I mean, maybe. I just don’t know. I haven’t heard anything to suggest he does.
Look, Donald Trump is a pragmatist. As far as I can tell, there’s no principle driving a Trump administration.
And the people he surrounded himself with are mostly pragmatists. On a case-by-case basis, they might make the right choice. They might make the wrong choice. But there’s no principle.
What is America’s — and granted, there hasn’t been a principle on foreign policy in the United States for a very, very long time.
YARON: But this is taking pragmatism to the next level because it’s — you know, usually people apologize for not having principles. These guys embrace the fact that —
GLENN: Well, it’s not — to me, we’ve always said — or people have always said, we just — I wish somebody would run this country as a business.
You’re now going to see it run as a business. And we don’t have the CEO of the United States of America. That’s not how this job works.
YARON: It shouldn’t. We’re going to see how it works as CEO of America. I’ve come to call Donald Trump the central planner in chief. Because that’s how he’s acting. He’s acting as a central planner.
I’m going to fly and talk to Carrier. I’m going to go and talk to the CEO of Ford. I’m going to be the CEO of CEOs. I’m going to tell the business world — I’m going to tell markets how they should run, how they should function, as if I’m the CEO of the marketplace. But that’s central planning. And we know — and we know, if anything the 20th century has taught us, central plank does not work.
GLENN: Doesn’t work.
YARON: And it used to be what Democrats were proud of. Their central planners. And Republicans pretended at least not to be central planners. They were for free markets. Now that distinction is gone.
GLENN: Yeah. Only after — only after Hoover. Because Hoover was the last guy we had was very much Donald Trump. He was a central planner. He was a builder.
YARON: Well, yes. I mean, Hoover was the last businessman to be president. He gave us Smoot-Hawley, which was tariffs that drove us into the Great Depression.
GLENN: Yep. Yep.
YARON: He increased taxes. He didn’t decrease taxes. He was a terrible, terrible president.
You know, this trend, to a large extent, accelerated under Hoover. But it really goes back to Wilson —
GLENN: Yes. You don’t have to tell me.
YARON: I mean, Wilson is the first president to be a central planner.
Yeah, to bring it to the United States.
GLENN: You’re plowing an old field. Let’s plow a new one here.
The G.O.P. and what they’re going to do with Obamacare, we have had — we have had years for this moment.
YARON: It’s unbelievable to me. Six years, right? Since Obamacare was passed. They’ve been talking about repeal, replace, repeal, replace.
Okay. So where’s your plan? Right? You’ve had six years to put together a plan. The plan is not that hard. We’ve seen outlines of this plan in the Wall Street Journal, everywhere. There is a plan out there. Find it. Put it together. It might be flawed. It might not be the perfect plan. But don’t come out as babbling idiots, and we’ve got a plan. Maybe. We’ll see.
You know, it might take six months. It might take three years. Who knows.
I mean, this is really Republicans living up to the stupid party label, what they’re doing with Obamacare right now.
Now, on top of that, there are suggestions that they want to keep real important parts of Obamacare.
YARON: Preexisting conditions. If you load preexisting conditions onto insurance companies, they’re not insurance companies anymore.
YARON: They’re just Social Security-type companies. And they’re subsidiaries of the government, and the Democrats love this.
Obamacare was always planned to fail. The whole purpose of Obamacare was to fail. But to fail as a — as — as we trade markets. We trade marketplaces. We let you have your private insurance. That doesn’t work.
So we have to have single-payer universal health care run by the government. If Republicans play into that by keeping preexisting conditions or by doing other things that are basically destroying insurance markets, they’re just playing into the hands of the —
GLENN: What you’re saying right now is one of my biggest fears, is that people look at whatever is going to come out of the G.O.P. now as a conservative, small government, constitutional answer.
YARON: Yep. Yep.
GLENN: And I’m not seeing those yet. I hope to. But I’m not seeing — especially when it comes to Obamacare. When they fail or God forbid, make things worse —
YARON: This is it.
GLENN: — then everybody will say, “It’s time to go all the way. Let’s go Marxist.”
YARON: No, I mean, this is the lesson that everybody learned from the George Bush years. Right?
YARON: If this is what small government conservatives are, then we don’t want anything to do with that. And we got Obama, and we got everything that Obama represents. If this is what defending America means, going to Iraq and screwing it up, then we’re going to get an Obama to clean up the mess.
So, yes, the backlash against Republicans when they do really, really stupid things is what — is part of what destroys this country. And there’s nothing to suggest that this administration is going to be significantly different. We’ll see. We’ll see.
GLENN: Have you seen anything that surprises you, that you say, “Wow, this is good?”
YARON: You know, some of the appointments were — are not bad, right? Labor secretary. I forget the guy’s name. But seems like a good guy. He gets minimum wage. He gets some of these issues on the right way.
YARON: You know, Price as Secretary of Health and Human Services, I thought was a good choice. Price actually has a plan to replace Obamacare, you know, with free market reforms. Why not just embrace that, right?
YARON: He’s the Secretary of Health and Human Services.
But for some reason, the House and the Senate — and this is partially because Republicans are such cowards, they can’t actually embrace a free market solution to anything.
The one thing we will get — and we can guarantee this, right? — is a tax cut. Republicans are good at cutting taxes, right? They don’t cut spending, so the consequences: The next president has to raise taxes in order to close the deficit gap or pretend to close the deficit gap, but we’ll get tax cuts. And that’s a good thing. Right? I’m not going to demean tax cuts. But if you don’t cut spending, it doesn’t matter.
GLENN: Yeah. Okay. So one last thing here. Yaron Brook, from the Ayn Rand Institute. And one of the best critical thinkers in America.
YARON: Appreciate that. Thank you.
GLENN: When we’re looking at all of the things that we’re about to see, what is the — what is the flag that you would raise up and say, “We have to do this one thing?” Is it — is it a policy? Is it we have to get a handle on our — our uniting with each other, on fake news, on — what?
YARON: See. I don’t buy into this uniting stuff. We’re not going to be united. We’re split in this country. We’re split 50/50. We don’t agree. And I don’t have a problem with the fact that we don’t agree. There are clearly different points of view out there. I think some of us are, and most people are wrong. But that’s the reality. There’s disagreement. And I, for example, have always loved gridlock in Washington. I like disagreement in Washington because then they don’t —
GLENN: When I say uniting, I mean not tearing each other — not dehumanizing one another.
YARON: I mean, that would be nice, but —
GLENN: Being able to live next to each other and say, “Boy, I really disagree with him, but.”
YARON: It’s going to be difficult. I think what we need to rediscover to unite us and do a lot of things is, what is America? I think we’ve lost that. I think in that sense, Obama has won. We have become another European country. In many respects, the American spirit, what made us uniquely American, what are the foundation ideas — the foundational concepts of what America stands for?
The founding — the true founding principles of this country, that — that is not in the debate. Nobody talks about it.
And this presidential — you know, one was more than ever. Donald Trump never mentions the Founders. He never really talks about the Constitution. It’s not important to him, right? Those are principles.
God forbid we should have principles. We need to rediscover what we are. What is American exceptionalism? People throw that out all the time. And they claim, “Oh, we’re pro-American. We love America.”
But Donald Trump has raised that question up: What does it means to be pro-America? What does America first actually mean? And unless you understand what America is — America is not a geographical place. It’s an idea.
GLENN: It’s an idea.
YARON: And the question is: What is that idea? I think very few Americans today know what that idea is. I think that’s reflected in our politics. That’s reflected in our dialogue. Very few people know what the principles that this country was founded on are and what made us the greatest nation in human history.
GLENN: Let’s have you back, and let’s do an hour of just that.
YARON: Yeah. What is America?
GLENN: What is America? Would you do that?
YARON: That would be fabulous. Love that.
GLENN: Okay. Yaron, thank you very much.
STU: And, Yaron, the book is Equal Is Unfair.
YARON: Equal Is Unfair.
GLENN: I am sorry. I was not even told you had a book.
YARON: Well, I handed you a book not that long ago. A nice autograph.
GLENN: Oh, I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. Okay. Horrible.
YARON: But the book is called Equal Is Unfair. It’s available everywhere. And it takes on one of these big issues: What does it mean when the Founders say all men are created equal? Does it mean what the left suggests, equality of outcome or even equality of opportunity? And I argue no. It just means equality of freedom, equality of liberty, equality of rights, equality before the law, the law properly understood. And the whole idea of equality is a false God. It’s a false God.