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Truth and Propaganda in Politically Correct America
August 14, 2001
Larry Elder

Contents

David J. Theroux

Good evening ladies and gentlemen, my name is David Theroux and I’ve met many of you I believe. I’m the President of The Independent Institute. I’m delighted to welcome you all to our Independent Policy Forum program this evening. A number of you have been with us before.

The Independent Policy Forum is a regular series of debates, lectures, seminars, and panel discussions that we hold here at The Independent Institute’s Conference Center in Oakland, California.

Our program today is entitled “Truth and Propaganda in Politically Correct America,” and our speaker is talk-show host, columnist, and author, Larry Elder. For those of you who have not seen his book, Larry is the author of this book, The Ten Things You Can’t Say in America, from St. Martin’s Press. And it’s a fascinating, challenging, and spirited book, which I hope all of you will get a taste of tonight.

As many of you may know, The Independent Institute regularly holds events like this on major social and economic issues. I want to particularly thank Robert Mondavi Winery for kindly donating the wine that we enjoyed this evening.

For those of you who are new to The Independent Institute, you can find information in your registration packet. For those of you who are joining us on C-SPAN as viewers, we invite you to visit our Web site at www.Independent.org. for further information about our program in research, publications, events, media programs, and much more.

You can also find information on our Web site on upcoming events as well as in the packet for those of you who are attending in person today. And you’ll find information about our quarterly journal, The Independent Review, which I hope that everyone will be sure to subscribe to before you go to bed tonight. [Laughter.]

The Independent Institute is a non-profit, non-politicized academic research institute. We produce lots of books. We have a quarterly journal as I mentioned. We organize lots of conference and media programs like this evening.

Our next event is going to be held on September 5th. The program is entitled, “The Drug War on Trial: Two Judges Speak Out.” The program will feature two distinguished judges here in California: Judge James Gray, who is from the Orange County Superior Court in Santa Ana, California. He’s the author of a new book, Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed and What We Can Do About It. The second is Judge Vaughn Walker, who is Judge at the U.S. District Court in San Francisco. We hope that you’ll all be able to join us then.

Our speaker this evening believes that many of the sacred cows of both liberals and conservatives — about racism, sexism, health care, welfare, education, the family, the war on drugs, the media, gun control, and many other topics, may actually be rather soft-headed distortions that could actually be worsening the problems that people face, especially for the most disadvantaged.

So, this evening we wanted to consider these myths, and perhaps have a reality check, so that we don’t lose sight of perhaps more important matters, such as the truth about these issues and freedom in our society. Tonight we’ll discuss what’s really wrong with America and how a free people, rather than an intrusive bureaucracy, and politics, and the politics of bureaucracy, how freedom can actually fix these issues.

Our speaker is Laurence A. Elder. He is the number-one prime-time radio personality in Los Angeles. He hosts the “Larry Elder Show” on KABC Radio. His syndicated column is distributed by Creator’s Syndicate.

On his program, in his column and everything else he does, Larry invites us to think out of the box by reconsidering most of our most cherished assumptions, about ourselves, society, and government. Describing his political ideology as “fiscally conservative and socially liberal,” Larry is an enemy of ignorance, opportunism, victimization, xenophobia, and statism. In Larry’s words, “the status quo must go, or should I say, the statist quo should go.” And for being so honest and outspoken, a few years ago Larry was the target of a boycott campaign to have him purged from the airwaves. Fortunately for us, the effort failed.

He is known as the “Sage of South Central.” Larry Elder was born and raised in South Central Los Angeles. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Brown University, and his J.D. from the University of Michigan School of Law. After receiving his law degree, he initially worked at a large law firm in Cleveland, Ohio, and then opened Larry Elder & Associates, specializing in recruiting experienced attorneys in different programs.

At the same time, he launched his career in broadcasting, by hosting a topic-oriented TV program in Cleveland, first on PBS, and then later on a local Fox affiliate. Since that time, he’s been profiled on 60 Minutes, he hosted the ground-breaking PBS National Desk segment, entitled, “Redefining Racism: Fresh Voices from Black America.” He’s also been interviewed on virtually every major program you can think of: Oprah, The News Hour, Larry King Live, Politically Incorrect, The Late Show with Tom Snyder. I’m very pleased to introduce Larry Elder.

Larry Elder

Thank you very much for that introduction. Now, I have to live up to it. I promise I’ll speak quickly before Gray Davis can shut off the power. [Laughter.]

I never know how I’m going to be received. I was walking into a restaurant the other day and there’s this black guy there, and my first two chapters in the book have to do with race relations, and some of the things I say are pretty disturbing to a lot of people, especially black people. So the guys sees me, he goes, “Larry Elder! I hate you. [Laughter.] And I love you. You’re like castor oil. It don’t taste [good] going down, but it’s good for you.” Or as actor Michael McKean, the one who starred in This is Spinal Tap put it, I was on the show and he was in the Green Room. I finish the show, I come off. And he goes, “Larry Elder. I listen to you from time to time and I don’t always agree, but you’ve never reached the wrong conclusions stupidly.” [Laughter.]

Now people often ask me how I got into talk radio. It was really quite by accident. I had absolutely zero interest in the media. My mom always had the radio on when I was a kid, and it always seemed to me just noise. Somebody talking to somebody who was less informed than the other person. And I began writing op-ed pieces for local newspapers in Cleveland, and every now and then one would get published. And I wrote one attacking the welfare state, and I got a phone call from the programming director of a local radio host in Cleveland. “Would you like to come on his show and talk about your article?” And I said, “Well, I’ve never done any radio before, but sure, I’ll come on.”

So I come on, and for one hour I am called the most God-awful names you’ve ever heard. I get back to my office and the guy’s boss calls and he says, “My guy is going on vacation for a week. Would you consider sitting in for him?” [Laughter.] I said, “You’ve got to be kidding.” He goes, “Oh, no, I’m not kidding.” He said, “You were fantastic.” I said, “I was?” He said, “Yes, you were funny, you took a position, you defended it well, exactly what I look for in a talk show host. Sit in for this guy. You have no idea what you could do with your career if you were to move into this medium.” I said, “Well, it’s very flattering, I’m very honored, but no thank you.” He said, [Look, I’m going to give you 24 hours. You think about it and I’ll call you tomorrow.”

I went home. I was married at the time, and I said to my wife, Cindy, about this offer, and she said, “What do you think?” And I said, “Well, I think of talk radio as stupid, shallow and glib.” And she said, “It is. You’d be good at it.” [Laughter.] Which gives you an idea of that marriage. [Laughter.]

I keep a running list of all the names I’ve been called, and this is an abbreviated list: “whitey loving, self-loather, anti-black, pro-white, bug-eyed, Remus, Sambo, Sambo Tom, Clarence Thomas supporter, coon, sugercane negro, nattering nabob of negativity—a recent addition—the Anti-Christ—and one that really, really ticked me off—Republican. [Laughter.] A man can only take so much.

I am a libertarian. [Applause.] I am not a Democrat, but I think when Clinton tried to pull that oral sex isn’t adultery thing through, I’m sure I speak for a lot of men when I say for one brief moment, a lot of guys in America were saying, “Bill, you the man.” [Laughter.]

C. S. Lewis said, and I quote, “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercise for the good of its victims, may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busy-bodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep. His cupidity may at some point be satiated. But those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

And that to me typifies our modern welfare state. A lot of people like to attack liberals and statists and collectivists based on their intent. Their intent is a good intent. Most people I know who are liberal are liberal because they care. Most people I know who want a welfare state, want a welfare state because they sincerely believe the playing field is un-level and without some sort of government intrusion, some people will not be able to make it. That’s how they feel. They’re wrong, but that’s how they feel.

I’m a libertarian and by that I mean, an exponent of limited government. A government that stays out of my bedroom and a government that stays out of my wallet. I am not an anarchist. Absence of government is not what a libertarian believes. A libertarian believes in limited government, and I believe that the Founding Fathers drafted a document called the United States Constitution, which is a libertarian document.

You look at Article 1, Section 8, and I know that liberals like to quote the general welfare clause, but the general welfare clause is limited by the enumerated duties and powers the Federal government enjoys and the Federal government enjoys no other. That means that the IRS ought to be abolished. That means that government should be reduced dramatically. That means we should eliminate things like farm subsidies. George W. Bush just signed a $5.5 billion farm subsidy bill, in which he said, “Farmers represent the best of American values.” I don’t think a business that rests in part on government subsidies represents the best of American values.

Welfare—and I mean both the little welfare and the big middle-class, and upper middle-class welfare—all of that has got to go. Welfare has created a dependent class. In 1965, when Lyndon Johnson launched the War on Poverty, poverty was roughly about 12-13%. It was 70% at the turn of the century. Steadily declining, until he launched this War on Poverty, and all of a sudden, it began to level out. Yet we began having more and more children being born by single parents.

We have tobacco subsidies. We have dairy subsidies. We have sugar price supports. We have tuition subsidies. We, of course, have Medicare. We have Medicaid. All of these things have taken money from one sector of our society and given it to the other, while diminishing the incentive of both the giver and the given. These things are wrong. Minimum wage has got to be abolished.

Milton Friedman wrote in his book, Free to Choose, that the minimum wage laws are perhaps the most anti-black laws on the statute books. Why? Because until the minimum wage laws went into effect, black teenage unemployment and white teenage unemployment was about the same. In fact, a white person was a little less likely to find a job than a black person.

Suddenly, however, you impose an artificially high rate, which therefore gave an employer an opportunity to say, “OK, you’re going to make me pay more than I otherwise would pay. I will now choose from this class of people.” And thus began the first gap between black teenage employment and white teenage employment, a gap that has only increased over time. And Congress consistently increases the minimum wage laws.

This is not theoretical. My mom and dad owned a café near downtown L.A. for several years. And every time Congress would pass a minimum-wage hike, I would watch my mother and father sit down at the table with pen and paper and say, “OK, now what are we going to do? What dishwasher will we not hire? What waitress will now not get a raise?” And I watched them raise prices, and I watched business fall off, which inevitably happened anytime and every time they raise prices. This is not theoretical. I saw it happen.

The drug war. The drug war must be called off. Quite simply, it must be called off. For all sorts of reasons, not least of which is this: I own my body, not the state. If I choose to abuse my body, that is my call. That is not the state’s call. We are throwing people in jail, many of whom have never committed a violent offense. Why? Because they dealt drugs.

There is a huge problem with a perception on the part of black people that the criminal justice system is unfair to them. That there is racial profiling, that there’s DWB [“driving while black”]. This is largely a product of the war on drugs. Why do you suppose cops are pulling people over? Why do you suppose cops are stopping people? Because they are looking for drugs. This is largely a product of the war on drugs. You end the war on drugs, you immediately reduce the allegations of police profiling and DWB. Fifty percent of today’s prison population is black, many of whom are behind bars never having committed a violent offense. What they did was to deal drugs.

Odd, however, that that’s called racist. It was the Black Congressional Caucus in the mid-80s who were yelling and screaming and demanding that something be done to end this spate of murders as a result of crack trade. Please do something, said the Black Congressional Caucus. Congress said, OK, we will put in far harsher penalties for those who are dealing with crack. They did, and all of a sudden now a bunch of black people went to prison, and the very same people who 10 years ago were urging the government to crack down are now calling the government racist. Go figure.

We need to eliminate corporate taxes. I was intrigued to read a full-page ad by a bunch of black business leaders who were calling for the repeal of the death tax. You can always tell how somebody feels on that issue. You call it a death tax as opposed to an estate tax, you know where they’re going. [Laughter.]

The Nation of Islam, Minister Farrakhan, has also said that we ought to eliminate capital gains taxes. That was interesting. Eleanor Holmes Norton, the Washington D.C. delegate, once proposed that we eliminate taxes in the city of Washington D.C. in order to spur economic development. So every now and then you find these kinds of defections, and when you do, it’s nice to let them know.

Taking the Constitution Seriously

This libertarian approach that I have, and that many of you share, you know, we’re not alone. For the bulk of our nation’s history, that’s how people thought. For the first 150 years of our nation, that’s how the Supreme Court ruled. Walter Williams wrote an article called, “Could They be Elected Today?” And he talks about some of the presidents in the past. I mention the farm bill that George W. Bush signed, the $5.5 billion farm bill. In 1792, Congress appropriated some money to assist French refugees. James Madison, the principle author of the Constitution said, “I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of spending on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.”

In 1882, James Monroe was faced with a bill to expand construction on the Cumberland Road using Federal money. He said in his only veto, “I’m sorry. I think it will be a nice idea that the states are connected through roads, make things much more efficient, make commerce much better. However, when I looked at the Constitution, I don’t see the authority for it, and I’m vetoing this.”

In 1854, Franklin Pierce, vetoed a bill to help the mentally ill. “I cannot find any authority in the Constitution for public charity. This spending would be contrary to the letter and the spirit of the Constitution and subversive to the whole theory upon which the union of these states is founded.”

1887, President Grover Cleveland, our 22nd and 24th presidents, vetoed appropriation to help drought-stricken counties in Texas. “I feel obliged to withhold my approval of the plan to indulge in benevolent and charitable sentiment through the appropriation of public funds. I find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution.”

You know, we’re not idiots here. We’re not crazy. For 150 years, that’s how people thought—until FDR. There was the Depression, a recession that was made into a depression by a series of mistakes on the part of the Fed and on the part of our politicians, but there was a Depression. Twenty-five percent of Americans were unemployed. Fifty percent of black Americans were unemployed. Something had to be done in the mind of FDR, so he passed works programs, he passed farms programs, and the Supreme Court routinely struck them down, sometimes unanimously.

“Sorry, maybe these things are a good idea,” they said. “Maybe these things might indeed get us out of this recession, out of this depression. But there is no authority for them in the Constitution, and I’m sorry.” And they rejected these things, sometimes unanimously. FDR was so ticked, he promised to stack the Supreme Court with perhaps as many as three people that he would choose, and hopefully some of these decisions that were 6-3 or 5-4, he could switch. And finally one justice did switch.

And in a book called, Franklin Delano Roosevelt: A Rendezvous with Destiny, an author talks about that. He talks about Felix Frankfurter, FDR’s aide then, later appointed to the Supreme Court. And he urged him, “Look, just chill out. I know you don’t like these decisions, but sooner or later there’ll be enough public sentiment to push for a constitutional amendment.” FDR said, “Oh, absolutely not,” and then proceeded with his Court-packing scheme, and ultimately one of the justices cracked, somebody who had been voting against all of this New Deal legislation, and he switched.

Race Relations and Affirmative Action

I have frequently been attacked for my rather optimistic view about race relations in this country. Back in April of 1996, the mayor of Atlanta, Bill Campbell, the current mayor, said this, “Everybody who is a person of color in this country has benefited from affirmative action. There has not been anybody who’s gotten into college on their own, nobody who’s gotten a job on their own, no one who’s prospered as a businessman or a businesswoman on their own, without affirmative action.”

Geez. Does that include Michael Jordan? I mean, how bad is it? Our economy, the black economy, if it were separate, would be one of the 15 wealthiest nations in the world. We have a thriving black middle class. There is a wonderful book called, America in Black and White, by Steve and Abigail Thurmstrom, and they talk about the history of the growth of the black middle class. And believe me, the black middle class predates the civil-rights movement. And furthermore, the research does not indicate that the civil-rights movement—if by that you mean affirmative action—accelerated the development of the black middle class. Indeed, there is some evidence that it may have even retarded it. It is simply not true that but for affirmative action, there would be no black middle class.

One of the reasons people are so hysterical about the issue of affirmative action is because so many black people had been duped into believing that their success is a product of affirmative action. How utterly insulting to every black man and black woman in this country who busted his or her tail to become somebody. It is absolutely outrageous. [Applause.] We don’t need affirmative action. We need affirmative attitude.

When I started my business—if you ever start a business—you know you get inundated by people calling you. And I got call after call after call from insurance people that would stop by, sometimes without an appointment and would just show up. And usually I shooed them away. One time, this young black man showed up and I gave him a few moments, as I normally give them, and he seemed to me to speak English. One of the things that bothered me about insurance people is that I really didn’t understand what the hell they were talking about. [Laughter.]. This guy spoke English.

So I invited him in, decided to do business with him and went to lunch. He worked for a very big company, and he began to complain about business. And I said, “Well, I’m really kind of surprised, because your approach really is good. You’re a good-looking guy. You said you’ve been doing it for what, seven years? Why do you struggle?” And he goes, “Well, black businesses really don’t have that much money, and it’s kind of difficult.”

I said, “Black businesses?” He said, “Yes.” I said, “Is that your marketing niche?” And he said, “Well, that’s my marketing niche.” I said, [Did the company hire you and tell you that that would be your marketing niche?” He said, [No.” I said, [Did they imply that’s why they hired you, for that to be your marketing niche?” He said, “No.” I said, “Then please explain to me why you are limiting yourself to a market, which by your own admission, is not a very lucrative one.” And he said, “Well, I, well, I…” I said, [You mean, you feel more comfortable with black people.” And he said, “Yes.” I said, [Well, do you know, since I started my business, about 30 people have come to me to try to get me to do insurance with them, and you’re the only black one, which means the other 29 whites felt pretty comfortable with me? Why don’t you feel comfortable with them? You have just limited yourself. Why? Tell me why.”

I’m in a locker room after working out and I see this black guy from time to time, we’ve never really spoken and our lockers were this time next to each other, and we are getting dressed to leave, and we’re starting to talk and I tell him about my business. He says, “Tell me about your business.” I say, “Well, I place lawyers with law firms and corporations.” He said, “Oh, I didn’t realize that there was a search firm that specialized in placing minority lawyers.” I said, “I didn’t say I placed minority lawyers. In fact, probably 97% of the lawyers I place are non-black and 100% of my clients are non-black. What do you do for a living?”

He said, “Well, I’m a computer specialist, and I advise cities on how to install computer systems, and right now business is down because I work for black mayors. And there are only a handful of them, and they don’t pay very well, and they pay slowly.” And I said, “Why did you limit yourself to only providing computer systems for black mayors?” And he said, “Well, those are my contacts.” I said, “Did you ever try to find contacts with people who are in the private sector, or perhaps white mayors?” And I got the same answer I got from the other gentleman: “I just felt more comfortable.” Well, why would you limit yourself like this? Who told you this?

A baseball coach once told me that a negative attitude doesn’t affect a team, it infects it. And when you have Jesse Jackson going to Decatur, Illinois, and yelling and screaming about a school board for kicking out seven black kids, who we later find out had gang ties, and accuses that school system of racism and files a lawsuit, a lawsuit which by the way was later dismissed, and you have elementary school kids in Decatur, now telling their teachers, “You better leave me alone or else I’m going to call Jesse,” we’ve got a problem.

I subscribe to a newspaper called the L.A. Sentinel. It’s the black weekly in Los Angeles, and at one time, every couple of weeks there would be another hit piece on Larry Elder. I’m happy to report, things have changed a little bit now. And I read an extraordinary letter to the editor, and I want to read you this. The letter was in response to an article in the paper about the latest plan by the Los Angeles Unified School District to improve the prospects of black children. Three-quarters of inner-city kids in Los Angeles cannot read and write and compute at grade level. Three-quarters.

Here’s what this person wrote. I say this person, because I can’t tell whether this person is a male or a female.

“We black folks are always passing the buck and looking for someone or something to help us out of the miry clay. Black children are at the bottom of the totem pole in public schools. But we should not blame the schools for the failure of our offspring.

“I am a single parent, with a full-time job. Nevertheless, every day for one hour I sit with my four year old to do phonics, simple math, spelling, critical thinking, art, coloring, perception, and watching educational videos. On weekends, I take her to the library, or to the California Science Center, where she sees chickens being hatched and the heartbeat of an elephant. I take her to parks that have ducks, or other educational aspects. I read to her. I read books to her at least three times a week, and I point my finger at every word that I read to her. And I tell her that learning is fun and that reading and books are great. And now she enjoys creating her own stories. She is motivated and excited about learning as she explores the world around us.

“My child was psychologically tested one week after her fourth birthday and the results indicated that she scored between first and third grade levels in the superior range in reading, mathematics and written language skills. It’s about time we take responsibility of our own problems and stop looking for others to help us. There are times when I don’t physically feel like working with my child or reading her a story, but she is my responsibility, not the school’s. If we send our children to school unprepared, the schools are not going to work with them or give them individual attention. Instead they are going to place them in special-education classes, and label them as learning disabled.

“I am tired of hearing that standards for black folks have to be lowered and that we need a plan to help us. We need to help ourselves. There are too many black kids who come to school with little or no interest in learning. It is not the teacher’s responsibility to motivate them. We, as parents, need to get off our butts, get off the Internet, get off the cell phone, and take time for our children. And if we don’t have the time, we need to make the time.”

Powerful letter. [Applause.]

I gave a speech recently at the Anti-Defamation League. I may announce triumphantly that anti-Semitism in America is now at an all time low. Approximately 12% of Americans can be called anti-Semitic. I said to the head of the ADL, “Don’t look for that to drop too much further. Maybe you’ve got another couple of degrees in there, but you’re running right smack into the Elvis factor.”

I read a poll once that said 10% of the American people believe Elvis is still alive; 8% believe that if you send him a letter, he will get it. Start from there. The Elvis factor, it will always be with us.

One person told me, “Larry, I will support affirmative action until such time as the playing field is level.” I said, “When, pray tell, will that wonderful day come?” Jesse Jackson, David Duke and former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were walking down the beach and they saw a lantern. They picked it up, they rubbed it. The genie appeared and said, “Gentlemen, I’ll give you one wish, whichever one you want.” Prime Minister Netanyahu went first. He said, “I would like every Jewish American man, every Jewish American woman, every Jewish American child to leave America and return to their ancestral homeland, the great state of Israel.” Jesse Jackson said, “I’d like every African American male, every African American female, every African American child to leave America and return to their ancestral homeland, the great continent of Africa.” David Duke looked around and said, “I’ll have a small coke. No ice.” [Laughter.]

There is a school system in Barbados where the average, average SAT score in this island nation, which once also saw slavery, is over 1300. A deputy principal at one of the schools said, “Barbados parents, as a whole, hold education to be number one. That means parents accompany children to school for key tests, insist that they complete homework, and explain the importance and urgency of education.”

One of our education experts, Charles Glenn, went down to Barbados. Here’s what he observed: “In Barbados, there’s no culture saying the schools are racist, the tests are racist, I’m a victim. In Britain or in the United States, many kids are convinced there is nothing they can do to succeed.” And that is largely a product of the victocrat leadership that we have seen from this country.

Media Bias

I want to talk to you a little bit about the bias in the media. There was a poll taken some years back—and a lot of members of the media were very happy about this—showing that among Washington, D.C., reporters, 89% of them voted for Bill Clinton, 7% voted for his Republican opponent. Now those kinds of studies have been duplicated across the country. In my book, I have a chapter on the media bias, and I have in the index, several polls going back to 1960 showing very similar results.

Now, if reporters are human beings, and I think they are, it’s awfully difficult for you to exclude your bias, and the bias shows up in all sorts of ways. There was an article in the L.A. Times a few years ago about House Majority Leader Dick Armey. The writer referred to Dick Armey as a “hard-line conservative.” I thought that was an interesting expression, so I had my producer check and find out how often the L.A. Times used that term in the last several years, “hard-line conservative.” And the answer was approximately 77 times.

I then asked him to look over the same period of time, and find out how often the L.A. Times used the expression “hard-line liberal.” There must be a hard-line liberal if there’s a hard-line conservative. I would think Ted Kennedy or Maxine Waters or Tom Hayden, people like that ought to be hard-line liberals. Well, over the same period of time, the L.A. Times used the expression, “hard-line liberal,” twice, once referring to Mikhail Gorbachev. [Laughter.].

Peter Jennings on January 22, 1993, one of Bill Clinton’s first days in office: “President Clinton keeps his word on abortion rights. President Clinton kept a promise today on the 20th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion. Mr. Clinton signed presidential memoranda, rolling back many of the restrictions imposed by his predecessors.” Same day, Tom Brokaw: [Today President Clinton kept a campaign promise. And it came on the 20th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, legalizing abortion.” Dan Rather, same day: “On the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, President Clinton fulfills a promise, supporting abortion rights. That was 20 years ago today, the United States Supreme Court handed down this landmark abortion rights ruling, and the controversy hasn’t stopped since. Today, with the stroke of a pen, President Clinton delivered on his campaign promise to cancel several anti-abortion regulations of the Reagan-Bush years.” Okay?

George W. Bush, in one of his first days in office, reversed the Clinton policy and cut off Federal funds that go to international organizations that counsel abortion. Jennings: “One of the president’s first actions was designed to appeal to anti-abortion conservatives. The president signed an order reinstating a Reagan-era policy that prohibited Federal funding of family planning groups that provided abortion counseling services overseas.” Hmm, designed to appeal to anti-abortion conservatives. Dan Rather: “This was President Bush’s first day at the office and he did something to quickly please the right flank of his party. He re-instituted an anti-abortion policy.” Brokaw: “We’ll begin with the new President’s very active day, which started on a controversial note.”

So, when Bill Clinton rolled back the anti-abortion policies of his predecessor, he was keeping a campaign promise. When George Bush rolls back the pro-abortion policies of his predecessor, he is appeasing to his right flank. That ladies, and gentlemen, is bias. And it’s subtle, but it influences you. You’re sitting at home, you’re watching this, and you are subtly being influenced.

The paper the other day described the replacement of the Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. His name is Hebert, a free-market guy; he does not believe in price controls. Articles in the newspaper described him as a free-market apostle. His replacement however, was described as a pragmatist. You see the difference? Apostle, somebody who believes on faith, somebody who follows based on a feeling, no data, no studies, not like 4,000 years of recorded human history has demonstrated that price controls don’t work. No, he’s a true believer. He’s an apostle. [Laughter.].

The call for Gary Condit’s resignation has been entertaining, hasn’t it? First of all, why has it taken so long? But more importantly, the Fresno Bee and the Modesto Bee have both come out now saying that Gary Condit should resign because he has violated the public trust. Let’s try and work this out a little bit. He lied about not having a relationship with Chandra Levy.

Didn’t the Clinton people tell us that everybody lies about sex? He refused to speak to the police initially and when he did, he didn’t tell them the truth. Was he under oath the way former President Clinton was when he didn’t tell the truth? And he hired a PR person to trash the character of Chandra Levy. Didn’t the president do the same thing with fill-in-the-blank, Kathleen Willey or Gennifer Flowers or Paula Jones or Juanita Broaddrick, or you-know-who?

Yet, when someone like myself suggested that the president should resign, be impeached and be convicted, I was a Clinton hater. Yet, Gary Condit should resign for violating the public trust, but Bill Clinton should stay in office because the economy was good. [Laughter.] There’s a problem.

Dan Rather hasn’t even reported on Chandra Levy for almost three weeks. It was what, almost 10 or 11 weeks, wasn’t it, before he said one word about it? Can you really imagine a Republican who has lied to the police twice, reportedly tried to get someone to sign an affidavit that was false, hires a PR to trash her reputation, lies to his aides, sends his aides out who then, in turn, lies to us—can you imagine a Republican who’d be standing right now? Have you noticed how all of a sudden Gary Condit has gotten more and more “conservative” as he’s more and more in trouble? The Washington Times calls him a conservative. The Times of London refers to him as a right-winger. The Washington Post called him a Blue Dog Democrat. The Almanac of American Politics describes him as having one of the most conservatives record of any California Democrat.

Well, this is California. We have Gray Davis, who’s trying to prove that Marx was right after all. [Laughter.] We have Dianne Feinstein who opposes CCWs [carry and conceal weapons legislation], yet my understanding is that she, herself, has a permit to carry a concealed weapon even though she’s wealthy, probably has protection and I would think, should be able to provide for her own protection. And we have of course, Barbara Boxer, who’s to the left of her. So calling Gary Condit the most conservative Democrat in the state of California, is a little bit like saying of the Three Stooges, Moe was the sharpest. [Laughter.].

The president has been hammered on the environment, as you know. You’ve seen that commercial—“May I have more arsenic in my water, please?” Don’t you love that? I think three or four days were left in his term when Clinton reduced the levels of permissible arsenic in our water. So for the entire time of Clinton’s administration, somehow we’re able to consume the water okay. And the arsenic levels had been where they have been since 1942. So Bush comes in, he looks at what Bill Clinton did his last three days, puts it back to where it was and where it has been since 1942, and of course, he is an “environmental terrorist.”

Greg Easterbrook analyzed the Bush and Gore environmental stance and wrote an article for the liberal publication, The New Republic. “On almost every environmental issue, Bush has upheld Clinton-Gore position. All Bush has done is to delay the date on which trace levels of arsenic are cut. This is precisely what Bill Clinton and Al Gore did for almost eight years, postponing the tightening of the standard until just before leaving the White House.” And you look at issue after issue after issue and it’s just about the same.

Even the Kyoto Treaty, where the President’s been hammered. Article in the newspaper described the Treaty and I think the heading was, “Bush Turns Back on Global Warming Treaty.” And I read the article in vain for a bit of information which might I think provide a little bit of balance. And that is that before Al Gore went over there and signed this Treaty, the Senate passed a resolution unanimously, saying that if this Treaty excludes Third World countries, we will not ratify it. Gore goes over there, he signs a Treaty that excludes Third World countries. That Treaty was D.O.A., dead on arrival, no matter who was in office, Republican or Democrat, yet Bush got hammered. It’s not fair.

If you look at Bush’s rating numbers and they are quite positive except when you get to the environment. Now, assuming that his policies, Bush’s policies are fairly the same as Clinton’s policies. So how do you explain Bush’s popularity in a bunch of other areas until you get to the environment? The only explanation is that he’s gotten hammered by the media, like stories constantly talking about arsenic, constantly talking about the Kyoto Treaty, and therefore, he’s suffering from the public opinions.

Gun Control

Gun control. I just had the President of the NRA, Charlton Heston, on my show, and he made a—[Applause and boos.] made a movie, a remake of Planet of the Apes, has a cameo role in it, and the co-stars are Tim Roth and Mark Wahlberg, both of whom criticized Charlton Heston, and said that they were going to have some difficulty acting with him, because after all, he’s got this stand on guns. Tim Roth, in an interview said, “Well, I disagree with his position on guns, because I have kids.” Heston has kids, but I guess that doesn’t matter. Wahlberg says he has a different view on guns because he is from the ‘hood. Wahlberg’s from Dorchester, Massachusetts, and while he was beating up a Vietnamese man whose eye, by the way, he poked out, his brother was making millions of dollars in a rock group while he was in the ‘hood.”

Rosie O’Donnell, her bodyguard applied for a permit to carry a concealed weapon. Sharon Stone, the actress that made a big display of turning in her gun. She said she wants to rely on the police. There was an article about Sharon Stone in a movie magazine a few years ago. It turns out that in her very expensive home, someone was climbing her fence. She called 911 and no one came. She called 911 again, no one came. She got a shotgun, she went out and said, “If you don’t get off my fence, I’m going to blow your ass all over the place.” [Laughter] Later on, she turned in her guns and said she didn’t need them anymore. If a Sharon Stone needs guns, and she lives in a very expensive area with a gate and a security guard and all those kinds of things, what about you and me? What about you and me?

The So-called California Energy Crisis

I want to say a little bit about the so-called California energy crisis, if I could. We don’t have an energy crisis. We have a crisis of government. We have a crisis of ideology. We have a man in the Governor’s Mansion, who has spent most of his time trying to blame somebody else. He’s blamed Republicans. He has blamed the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

You heard that hideous comment he made about the CEO of Enron Corporation from Texas, Kenneth Lay? The Attorney General of California said, “I would like to personally escort Ken Lay to an 8 by 10 cell with some tattooed dude there who says ‘Hi, honey, my name is Spike.’” Interesting to have a number one law enforcement officer in California accuse a CEO of a felony before you actually make a charge. It turns out, too, that the two municipal utility companies here, including the DWP, were charging us more than Enron was charging. And we found out that many of the consultants that Gray Davis hired turned out to have investments in the very energy companies they were consulting with. Five of them have had to leave. Four fired, one resigned. And the prices, the long term prices? The contracts that Gray Davis’s team has entered into look like they may saddle us with billions of dollars in excess expenses that we, as taxpayers or ratepayers, will have to pay. All because amateurs got into a business that they had absolutely no business whatsoever getting into.

Article in the L.A. Times, “Chaos, Inexperience Hobbled Power Buyers.” Gray Davis himself said, “It’s like the Yankees playing a stick ball team. We’re totally out of our league.” The government didn’t do a very good job there. Education is complicated. The government’s not doing a very good job there. Medicine is complicated. The government is not doing a very good job there. Doesn’t this suggest maybe, just maybe, the government should be out of so many of the things that it’s in? [Applause.]

Optimism and Effort

People have often asked me, “Larry why are you so optimistic? Why are you so upbeat?” And it’s because of my mom and dad. My father was 13 when he left home. He worked when I was a kid, two jobs, full-time jobs as a janitor, cooked for a family on the weekend and went to night school three nights a week to get his GED. I never saw anybody work harder. And never once did my father tell me what a racist hell-hole America was. What he told me was “I only wish I could trade places with you, because right now the sky’s the limit.”

My mom once went to a department store, through the back door, where she was raised in Huntsville, Alabama, and when you put on a dress there, whether you liked it, whether it fit, if you were black, you bought it. Once it touched your skin, you owned it. My mom and dad told me that story fairly recently, about five or six years ago. We were sitting having dinner. And I turned to my dad and I said, “Dad”—my father is a man of very few words—I said, “was it that way with you, too?” My father said, “Hats, too.”

But never did they tell me that I couldn’t make it. My mom sat with me when I was a kid and we went through every single President in this little illustrated book, and we finished from George Washington to the then President Dwight Eisenhower, she said, “Larry, some day, if you want, and if you work hard, you can be in here.” It never occurred to me that she was wrong. [Applause.]

When I look at some of the things that some of our so-called black leaders have said, Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) once said of the 1994 Republican Congress, “they don’t say ‘spic’ or ‘nigger ‘anymore. They just say, ‘let’s cut taxes.’” Diane Watson, who recently got elected to Congress, was a State Senator during the Proposition 209 campaign. Ward Connerly, the black man that led the movement, happens to be married to a white woman. Diane Watson said publicly, “Let me tell you why you support this measure. You support this measure because you’re married to a white woman. You have no ethnic pride. You want to be white. That’s why you support this measure.” Bill Clinton made her Ambassador to Micronesia. It was interesting watching John Ashcroft go through his confirmation hearing and Barbara Boxer vote against him because she said, “I’ve looked into his heart.” I wonder if anybody looked into Diane Watson’s heart.

In 1901, a mere 35, 36 years after slavery, Booker T. Washington in a book called, Up from Slavery, said this:

“When a Negro girl learns to cook, to wash dishes, to sew, to write a book, or a Negro boy learns to groom horses, or to grow sweet potatoes, or to produce butter, or to build a house, or to be able to practice medicine as well as or better than someone else, they will be rewarded, regardless of race, or color. In the long run, the world is going to have the best, and any difference in race, religion or previous history will not long keep the world from what it wants. I think that the whole future of my race hinges on the question as to whether or not it can make itself of such indispensable value that the people in the town and the state where we reside will feel that our presence is necessary to the happiness and well-being of the community. No man who continues to add something to the material, intellectual and moral well-being of the place in which he lives, is long left without proper reward. This is a great human law which cannot be permanently nullified.”

1901: Affirmative action? Not in there. Set asides? Not in there. Lowering of standards? It’s not in there.

Ebony Magazine had a series in 1962 called “If I were Young Today.” And they asked achievers—a District Judge, an architect, a union organizer—what advice would you give young people today? A. Philip Randolph, founded the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, said, “Work hard.” Paul Williams, the architect who designed the theme building at LAX, “Work hard.” Herman Moore, “Work hard.” Not a single one of those gentlemen said one word about preferential treatment, about feeling sorry for us, about altering the playing field. They all said, “Work hard, be positive, be focused, read, study, develop expertise, work hard.”

The Civil Rights movement has gotten off the track. We went from demanding equal rights to demanding equal results. And there is a very big difference. [Applause.]

Let me conclude by telling you about a poem that I read when I was in high school. To give you some idea of the kind of motivation that I got from my parents, from my mom. The poem went something like this: “While riding through old Baltimore, so small and full of glee/ I saw a young Baltimorian a-looking straight at me. / Now, I was young and very small and he was no whit bigger / So I smiled, but he poked out his tongue, and called me ‘nigger.’/ I saw the whole of Baltimore from May until September / Of all the things that happened there, that’s all that I remember.”

Well, high school class, not too surprisingly, was unhappy. The teacher was unhappy. We talked about the covert, overt, unconscious, subconscious racism in America, the black attacks that black people face. Everybody was angry by the time we left.

I got home to my Mom. She was in the kitchen, cooking, and I said, “Mom, I want to read you a poem that we studied in class and get your reaction to it.” She said, “Sure, shoot.” I said, “Well, it goes something like this. ‘While riding through old Baltimore, so small and full of glee/ I saw a young Baltimorian a-looking straight at me. Now, I was young and very small and he was no whit bigger. So I smiled, but he poked out his tongue, and called me ‘nigger.’ I saw the whole of Baltimore from May until September / Of all the things that happened there, that’s all that I remember.’ My mother was stirring a big pot of greens. She took the spoon out, rapped it on the side of the pot, turned to me and she said, “Larry, it’s too bad he let something like that spoil his vacation.” [Laughter and applause.]

Ted Kennedy at his brother Robert’s funeral delivered the eulogy. To paraphrase it he said, some people see things as they are and ask why, others see things as they could be and ask why not. Sign me up for that. Thank you very much. Love you all and God Bless America. [Applause.]

David Theroux

Thank you Larry. We’ll now take questions from the audience and Carl has the microphone, so if you’d raise your hand, and I’ll let Larry take over as far as questions are concerned.

Larry Elder

Yes, sir, in the lavender.

Audience Member #1

This business about ending the drug war, presumably you mean legalizing drugs? That’s all fine with me, but there is one little proviso. Back in the days were drugs were legal, the few people that took them ended up in the gutter, so the moms could walk by and say to their kids, “Look here, this is what happens when you take heroin.” Nowadays, we give them counseling, therapy, free apartments; there’s a reward for it. Well, if you don’t cut back the social programs to reward it, if you don’t de-glorify it, and you legalize it, then every pusher is going to be out there in front of the schools giving it to little kids, right? Because that’s their business.

Larry Elder

No, I don’t see that at all.

Audience Member #1

The price is going to fall. The price is going to fall and it’s going to be—I’m not saying we shouldn’t legalize it, but what I’m saying is, I think legalizing has got to be tied to getting rid of all these programs that make it such a lovely thing to become a drug addict.

Larry Elder

Well, I don’t believe that people who are drug addicts are drug addicts because of programs. I think people are drug addicts for all sorts of reasons.

Look, if we legalize drugs, the black market goes away. The analogy to Prohibition is right on the money. We outlawed alcohol—and by the way, at least the people who were Prohibitionists for alcohol did it with Constitutional integrity. They amended the Constitution. We have not amended the Constitution for this war on drugs. It is to me, an unconstitutional war being fought at the Federal level.

But the price would go done dramatically. The people that are pushing right now will have to find something else to do. The price will probably be no more expensive than a carton of cigarettes, and I don’t know people who are bootlegging cigarettes, other than to steal them, because of the high taxes. If your argument is that if we tax it to the point where there’s still a black market, I’m with you. So therefore, we shouldn’t tax it to the point where there’s a black market.

But the price is going to go down. You will now not have the temptation of young people dropping out of school to earn a fast silly life selling drugs. Janet Reno estimates that around 50% of all street crime is directly or indirectly related to people robbing and maiming and stealing in order to support their habit. William F. Buckley, years ago, estimated that when you look at higher insurance costs, lost time from work, property being stolen, the amount of money that people are paying in excess of what they would pay if it were a fair market—we’re probably spending about three or four-hundred billion dollars fighting this so-called war on drugs. So for all those reasons, we ought to call it off.

Will there be more people using drugs if the drugs are legal? Nobody really knows. My suspicion is not. When you look at young people and you poll them and ask them why don’t you do drugs, at the bottom of the list is, “they’re illegal.” At the top of the list is, “they’re stupid, my mom wouldn’t like it, my dad wouldn’t like it, I wouldn’t like it, my friends don’t do it.” So I don’t believe there’s going to be a wholesale rush for people to do drugs. But if that is true, it’s the price of the ticket. It’s still my body. Why is it okay for the guy next door to come home and have a highball, but the guy next to him goes to jail if he has a joint. There’s a problem here.

Audience Member #3

Larry, you give a great speech. Have you ever thought of running for public office? [Applause.]

Larry Elder

Walter Cronkite once said, “I’d love to be elected. I’d hate to have to run.” I was first asked that when I first came on the air, and I thought it was the most outrageous thing I’ve ever heard. I mean, these views? Legalizing drugs, ending the IRS, privatizing Social Security, getting the government out of healthcare? I just felt that they were way too radical for people to accept.

Now that we’ve been on the air for about eight years, five years in afternoon drive time in Los Angeles, I can now do an hour where I talk about the privatization of welfare, and I don’t get battered the way I did about five years ago. So I think, at least in Southern California, anyway, more and more people are amenable to my ideas.

I have been approached by some people, fairly recently, to consider a run for Governor. [Applause.] But the Democrats wouldn’t have me. The Republicans wouldn’t have me. Who does that leave?

Audience Member #4

The Republicans will have you.

Larry Elder

Sir, over here?

Audience Member #5

Larry, do we have a bona fide black spokesman today? I mean, in the ‘60s, there was Martin Luther King and, of course, Adam Clayton Powell in the ‘40s. Is there really an authentic bona fide black spokesman?

Larry Elder

Is there an authentic bona fide white spokesman? [Applause.] A man once came into my father’s café—a white man—and he said, “Did you hear what your leader said the other night?” And my dad said, “My leader? Who are you talking about?” He said, “Jesse Jackson.” My dad said, “Wait, wait, wait, wait. Who is your leader?” And the guy goes, “Well, I don’t have one.” And my father said, [What makes you think I have one?”

There is no black leader today, nor should there be. The situation is dramatically different from the situation that Martin Luther King, Jr. faced. There was a recent article in the L.A. Times criticizing Martin Luther King III for lacking his father’s vision and drive. Well, the circumstances are altogether different. I feel that if there was a law against leadership malpractice, some of the so-called black leaders would be on death row. [Laughter and applause.]

When you have someone like Minister Farrakhan, who’s made the most horrific remarks about Judaism and Jews. When you have somebody like Al Sharpton, who once called Jews diamond merchants and whites interlopers. When you have someone like Julian Bond, who says that his number one agenda is to go after the new racists. When you have the Black Congressional Caucus opposing vouchers, which the majority of black inner city parents want, we’ve got a problem here.

Seventy percent of today’s black children are born outside of wedlock. Fifty percent of those in prison are black. Twenty-five percent of young black men have records, and as I mentioned earlier, inner city black kids—the majority of them cannot read and write at grade level. And Julian Bond says his number one priority will be to go after the new racists? I mean, there’s something very disturbing about that. So not only do we not have a black leader—nor should we have a black leader, given the complexity of a situation and given how successful the black middle class is—ones that hold themselves as black leaders are, in my opinion, incompetent.

I don’t challenge their heart, I challenge their head. I believe that Jesse Jackson, Maxine Waters, who justified the LA riots by saying “no justice, no peace,” Maxine Waters who refers to the Republican party as the enemy, Maxine Waters who once wrote a letter to Fidel Castro urging him not to extradite a former Black Panther who shot and killed a New Jersey trooper and escaped from prison about 30 years ago and fled to Cuba—she wrote Castro a letter urging him not to extradite her and referring to her as a freedom fighter and likening her to Martin Luther King, Jr. This is what passes for “black leadership” today and frankly it is quite pathetic.

I have, by the way, tried to get all these people on my show. The one time I had a—you really can’t even call it a debate—I was on a program with Jesse Jackson and the issue was—several years ago—was whether or not blacks had attained their fundamental civil rights. And I went first and I said, yes, black people have attained their fundamental civil rights. Jackson then began talking about the gap between the rich and the poor, and I said, “Well, Reverend Jackson, I thought this conversation was about civil rights, not about wealth. You want to have a conversation about what causes wealth, we can have that, but I thought we were here to talk about civil rights.” To which Jackson responded, [Well, obviously, Mr. Elder identifies with the white man.” [Laughter.].

Sir, back here?

Audience Member #6

When I was first training as a police officer, which I’ve retired from now, we used to make fun of the perverted little Mayberries where the justice of the peace and the sheriff would get a piece of the action on every speeding ticket, and we used to be pretty hard on people who would shoot to kill somebody fleeing for a non-violent offence. And yet I see in our drug war, there’ve been what, 30 some shoot downs including the murder of a missionary and a kid? We see asset forfeiture going mad, and police lining their pockets with what they can take from the suspect, and I’m getting mighty tired of law enforcement being corrupted from what was a decent profession into a nest of thieves and blue noses.

David Theroux

Do you have a question?

Audience Member #6

Well, I’d like your comment on it.

Larry Elder

Well, that is one of the many reasons, of course, to call off the war on drugs. The temptation for corruption, although I believe most officers are honest officers, the temptation certainly is there. You left out one other thing. The use of informants. How do you bust people without using informants? And of course, the informant has every reason to give up somebody, whether or not that person in fact is dirty is sometimes beside the point. So the growing use of informants, the growing use of electronic wire-tapping, the growing use of asset forfeitures, these are perfectly legitimate reasons on their own for us to reconsider the war on drugs. Yes, sir?

Audience Member #7

My question is this. As a black conservative, I look around and see that essentially everyone in the country, at some level, is getting used to bread and circuses, to put it plainly, and there seems to be a lot more of them then there are of us. I mean, we can look in this room right here. We had to hold this after work, because we were all working. We’re not out waiting for somebody to give us a handout. So I guess I wonder, or my question is, really how practical is it that we’re actually going to affect change, because there are just so many more of them with their hands out that are used to getting their hands filled up, and I mean, what are we going to do about it in the long run, I guess?

Larry Elder

Well, again, I am not at all pessimistic. I think things are getting better, and I think they will get better. Look, we have a very large growing black middle class. We have a Secretary of State who is black. We have a National Security Advisor who is black. We have lots of elected officials in the South who have been elected in majority white cities. When Jesse Jackson stood up and commented on a Supreme Court decision striking down race-based districts, he and others were yelling and screaming about the Southern blacks who now had to run in majority white districts. Well, what happened? Every single one of those that decided to run for re-election, every single one got re-elected. And the very same people were yelling and screaming about how bigoted white people were in the South, that they would never vote for them, didn’t say one word.

The situation is this. You and others like you are the ones who are out there every single day making it happen. There are two black Americas. There’s yours and mine and then the so-called underclass black America. That’s the one that I’m concerned about. Middle class blacks, who often talk about racism—look, they can fend for themselves. It’s the underclass, 30% of blacks that I’m worried about. Those are the ones—89% of black teens, according to a CNN-Time poll, said they found little or no racism in their own lives. Black kids, white kids, Asian kids, Hispanic kids pretty much watch the same television. Black young kids are less likely to self-identify as Democrats.

So I’m seeing a change here, and I’m seeing a change where a lot of young people are rejecting affirmative action. A lot of them feel that there’s a stigma there, and that they don’t want to have anything at all to do with it. And I see a world where more and more people are beginning to criticize some of these, what I call victocrats, and the victocrat mentality. I mean, the very fact that my book did so well, that I have the number-one rated show in Los Angeles, that others are beginning to speak out.

John McWhorter is standing over here. He wrote a book called, Losing the Race. John, you want to stand up? [Applause.] And it was a brilliant, brilliant book, and it talked about the anti-education ethos that so many black people have and what to do about it. The book sold extremely well, and John has been speaking out and making the rounds. There’s something going on that’s causing people like John and people like myself to get invited to speak at places like this. And for C-SPAN to carry it.

So I’m very optimistic and I think that more and more people looking at some of the personal habits of some of our so-called black leaders, are beginning to rethink their assumptions as well. So I’m very optimistic about the future. Yes, ma’am?

Audience Member #8

Would you clarify your view on, and in regard to, Clinton and Condit, with a libertarian support of personal rights? Is it the lie or the acts, or a combination?

Larry Elder

Well, I can only speak from my own perspective. I don’t know that there’s a libertarian point of view about either one of these things. My own opinion about Bill Clinton, I mean, aside from the fact that he’s a statist and a collectivist, the way most Democrats are, and unfortunately the way many Republicans are. Aside from that, I found him a charming, charming, devious person. And I felt that when you, as the number-one legal authority in the country, as Commander in Chief, when you lie under oath in a lawsuit that was launched by a private citizen, when you attempt to get others to lie under oath, when you suborn perjury, that’s it. End of statement. That’s a high crime and misdemeanor and he should have been thrown out of office.

Even Robert Byrd—isn’t it interesting, Robert Byrd was called the conscience of the Senate, until the impeachment, and when he began speaking out against Clinton—suddenly he wasn’t the conscience of the Senate anymore. He spoke harshly about the President, said that he had committed a high crime and misdemeanor but voted not to convict, because he felt that the people in his district didn’t want him to leave office but thought he should have left.

I mean, the rule of law is very important. You simply can’t have somebody lie under oath. There are people who have gone to jail who have lied under oath about sexual matters. Congresswoman Barbara Battalino had to go to jail. She lied under oath about a sexual matter. I had her on my show. There are people who are behind bars who have done exactly the same thing the President did and he got a pass, and it’s wrong.

And as far as Condit is concerned, it’s not about his personal life. His constituents will deal with him on that. It’s about when somebody is missing, and the police come to you, and they ask you about that person and you lie to them once, you lie to them twice, you lie to her family, you try to get somebody to sign a false affidavit, you hire a PR person to trash the character of the person who’s missing and who may be murdered, that’s enough. It’s enough. Yes, sir?

Audience Member #9

Can you give sort of an overview of the assault on your program and lessons learned kind of thing?

Larry Elder

OK. I’d been on the air for maybe a couple of years, getting all sorts of very nasty letters, and I started getting calls from our marketing department telling me that clients are beginning to leave my show. And I’m not supposed to name them by name, but if you’d heard my show, you can tell they’re not there anymore—this is about five years ago—and one after another began to pull. And we found out that a group called the Talking Drum Community Forum was sending letters to all of my clients, and they were receiving hundreds of letters from people who were very concerned about this racist talk-show host in Los Angeles named Larry Elder.

And there was a flyer with my picture on it and it says, “Here are some of the things that Larry Elder has said: ‘It’s OK for white people to call black people niggers. Blacks cause all crime in America.’” I mean, I work for Disney. Can you imagine if I ever said anything so idiotic? I would be fired by the first commercial break. Nevertheless, these clients—some of them were airline companies, some of them were food companies, some of them were consumer-products companies—nevertheless they got these letters, and they made some calls, and they said, “I don’t know who he is, I don’t know what he is, all I know is a bunch of black people are upset.” And of course, the idea is not to get caught between the dog and the hydrant. [Laughter.]. They pulled.

Five million dollars in lost advertising revenue. The station came to me and they said, “Look, we can’t make any money now off your show. We’re going to have to cut your show in half.” They did. They cut my show in half. I was on from three until seven and from that point on, I was on from three until five for 91 days. And the Elderados, as I call them, wrote and stomped and picketed, gathered around the station, lobbied for me to come back, and after 91 days I was back.

We found out that the Talking Drum Community Forum consisted of maybe 20 people. And we found that out because we decided to write to all these people and have them come in and have a session sort of like this one, meet Larry, talk to Larry, find out I don’t have horns and a tail and who knows, maybe they’ll stop doing this. So we sent letters and we kept getting back “no address,” “no address,” [no address.” They were all phony. Some guy had a handful of people generating a bunch of letters, giving people the impression that there were hundreds if not thousands of people who hated Larry Elder.

The interesting thing is, corporate America didn’t care. Nobody picked up the phone and did any investigation. They didn’t care. That’s why you have a Jesse Jackson mau-mauing Toyota, and having them kowtow and signing this multi-billion dollar deal. Racism is bad for business. And that’s why it’s so ludicrous to act as if racism is the number-one problem in America. For crying out loud! Marge Shott is the former owner of the Cincinnati Reds. Used to collect Nazi memorabilia, iron crosses, stuff like that. Look at her line up when she was running the team: Jose Rijo, Dion Sanders, Reggie Sanders, Dave Parker—not because she wanted them to come in for tea. She had to win. And she couldn’t win without black and Latin talent. Come on.

Ted Stepien was the former owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers. He decided to buy the team—this is in the ‘70s. And—late ‘70s—and he publicly said the reason the team is not doing well, from a commercial standpoint, is that there are too many black players. “When I buy this team, I’m going to put more white players on the floor.” Honestly, he said that. And bought the team and did just that. Have you ever heard of Mike Brats? Point guard. The team was worse than it was before. It had less fan support than before. Surprise, surprise, Ted Stepien found out the white people don’t want to watch white people lose any more than they want to watch black people lose. One more question. Yes, sir.

Audience Member #10

You have referred to several positive changes in our youth. I appreciate that. I am a pastor. How can we as a society, but especially churches, encourage those positive changes in our youth?

Larry Elder

I’ve been very disappointed with some of the clergy in Los Angeles, with the refusal to emphasize personal responsibility, and that’s what we’re talking about. Personal responsibility and accountability. The problems most people face are problems of their own making. And the good news is, they can be solved with effort and with hard work, and with hope.

I do a lot of speaking before young people, and I’m asked the same question over and over again: what can I do? And the answer is to think of yourself as an individual. Don’t think of yourself as a victim, don’t think of yourself with what I call the victocrat mentality. Stand on your own two feet. Work hard, be honest, be trustworthy and you’ll live a fine life. Find people who share your values. Get a job, any job, keep that job, do not quit that job until you get another job and you will not be poor. If you decide to get married, try and marry somebody who shares your values. Try to stay together. If you decide to have kids, try to stay together. My mother and my father have been married 53 years. It hasn’t always been good, but they stuck it out, and they were a positive model for me, and I hope if I ever have children, to be a positive model for mine. I think that’s it. [Applause.] Thank you.

David Theroux

I wanted to especially thank Larry Elder for his work. He’s a courageous figure. Obviously he stirs people up, and that’s exactly what we think our society needs more of, a discussion of issues that hopefully gets us closer to understanding them. Copies of his book, The Ten Things You Can’t Say in America, are available upstairs for those of you who don’t have a copy, and for those of you who do, he’d be delighted to continue autographing. I also want to thank all of you for joining with us and making our program so successful. I also want to thank all of our C-SPAN viewers for joining with us. We look forward to your joining with us at our next event. Thank you for coming. Good night. [Applause.]

END OF EVENT



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