What should I ask Ben Sasse?

by on May 19, 2017 at 9:25 am in Economics, Education, History, Law, Philosophy, Political Science, Religion, Uncategorized | Permalink

I will be doing a Conversations with Tyler with him, June 14, Arlington, 6:30 p.m., register here.

Here is Wikipedia on Ben Sasse.  In addition to being a Senator from Nebraska, he has extensive experience in government, was an assistant professor, president of Midland University, and he has a Ph.d. in history from Yale University, with a prize-winning dissertation on religious liberty and the origins of the conservative movement as it relates to the battle over school prayer.  He also now has the #1 best-selling book, on raising kids.

Just to be clear, I will not be making what you might call “very current events” the focus of this discussion.  So what should I ask him?

Update: rsvp link corrected.

1 Pshrnk May 19, 2017 at 9:31 am

Would you smoke a joint with Chuck Schumer?

2 Rich Berger May 19, 2017 at 2:55 pm

Or Nancy Pelosi. I think that would be highly amusing.

3 Rich Berger May 19, 2017 at 2:56 pm

No pun intended, but I’m pleased with it.

4 Moo cow May 19, 2017 at 9:33 am

Does he believe R > G? If so, is there anything government could or should do about it?

5 Tim Fitzgerald May 19, 2017 at 9:34 am

WRT religious liberty: what are his thoughts on religious liberty as it pertains to Obamacare (birth control for cloistered nuns, Hobby Lobby, etc.) or gay weddings (the Christian baker)? How, if at all, do those thoughts change when religious liberty concerns arranged marriages or female genital mutilation?

6 mulp May 19, 2017 at 1:21 pm

Not buying insurance or having it provided by government means imposing your medical costs on others.

New Hampshire Republicans opposed Obamacare and the State does everything possible to not pay medical bills, trying to figure out creative ways to get money from the Federal government, except from Obamacare. One way was taxing Medicare payments to hospitals to increase the price to boost the CMS payment, and then giving hospitals the tax on top of the money from CMS to pay for uncompensated care limited to rural areas. That was prohibited by Congress, so the State has been struggling to me it’s commitments to hospitals.

The latest news is New Hampshire is having trouble coming up with $7 million when hospitals were promised $15 million for uncompensated bills.

Then there is the opioid problem which the State is sorta handling with treatment paid by Obamacare “essential” benefits, again with Federal money – the drug addicts qualify for Medicaid because they are no longer middle class.

No one calling for free market health care supports creative destruction, and in fact, they oppose creative destruction in health care: abortion, euthanasia, making it easier to do drugs including ODing on fentanyl by ignoring those who supply it. Those would all cut health care costs imposed on others.

Creative destruction in health care seems to me to be consistent with Ben Sasse message to stop coddling and protecting people from themselves. Except he opposes medical creative destruction.

7 dan1111 May 19, 2017 at 2:55 pm

Not really responsive to the religious liberty conversation.

Your twisting of the term “creative destruction” is truly appalling, too.

8 Thomas May 19, 2017 at 8:13 pm

Only a leftist could fail to differentiate between forcing a marriage or mutilation and simply not doing something for someone. Leftists have some sort of cognitive defect.

9 Thorfinnsson May 19, 2017 at 10:14 pm

While leftists are indeed mentally defective, you’re still missing the point.

Intolerance of homosexuality is a normative cultural practice of American Christians (and most other cultures for that matter). Christians are appealing to religious liberty owing to political weakness.

If they held political power they’d be seeking to suppress homosexuality instead.

This is the way of the world.

And personally I don’t have a problem with arranged marriage (which appears to be quite successful) or female genital mutilation behind the hygienic issues (weird, but so is circumcision). They’re just not practices of MY PEOPLE, and I don’t want the people who do practice those customs living in my country.

Incidentally I noted that my other comments on this thread were removed.

I thought Tyler Cowen was a cut above the typical mainstream hack.

Turns out he’s another coward. I won’t forget this, pussy.

10 TR May 20, 2017 at 12:02 am

Doubtless he’ll give the answer any intelligent religious liberty supporter would give: (1) cakes and contraceptives involve your own property, whereas FGM and forced marriages involve coercing other people. (2) You can buy cakes and condoms cheaply at plenty of places. But you only get one clitoris and one childhood per life. Destroying either one is irreversible.

11 prior_test2 May 19, 2017 at 9:43 am

Yes, this is starting to get disturbingly common.

An English professor at GMU in the past was capable of pointing out to people when they had experienced strokes (minor, generally – but also quite reliable, with medical checking confirming what the professor had pointed out) due to various errors in their use of English. In the age of big data, one could speculate whether such patterns could also be discovered through various consistent errors.

12 prior_test2 May 19, 2017 at 9:45 am

Ask him what good Nixon biographies he could recommend.

13 dan1111 May 19, 2017 at 11:28 am

Hmmm…are you trying to sneak in a question on “very current events”?

14 prior_test2 May 19, 2017 at 12:37 pm

Not precisely – I had been pointing out for a while before, not just the last several days, that Prof. Cowen was wasting his time reading about fascism, which is very unlikely to arise any time soon (saying never is likely too strong, but I certainly doubt it happening in my life time) in America, and seems a hysterical overreaction to current events. Which Prof. Cowen seems to have gone along with, even if he can could supply various plausible reasons why he was just trailing along in the wake of mass Internet opinion making.

However, it was pretty clear that Nixon as president, and how the American political system handled him, would be likely be very instructive in the coming years. As a regular reader, you undoubtedly remember Prof. Cowen pondering presidential vindictiveness in the recent past. That had nothing to do with fascism, but Nixon is a giant among mortals (though possibly matched by LBJ, without the overt illegality) when it comes to such distinctly American concerns as presidential misuse of power revolving around vindictiveness.

And it is a valid question, to be honest. Not about impeachment – that is absurd as of today, and more of that Internet mass media hysteria – but simply looking at the past. Lots of people grew up during the Nixon age – but anyone roughly under 45 (or 50 – make your cut-off where you wish) has no personal experience of that era. Sasse, born 1972, certainly did not.

15 prior_test2 May 19, 2017 at 12:41 pm

I might add that the person that would have personally benefitted the most from reading a Nixon biography, assuming he drew the proper lessons, would have been our current president.

Because the last 10 days have seen a president who actually did live through the Nixon era make comparisons to then and now not only inevitable, but truly unavoidable.

16 dan1111 May 19, 2017 at 2:52 pm

Is there any book Trump would benefit from reading? Doubtful.

17 Lawrence Rothfield May 20, 2017 at 1:19 am

Presumes fact not in evidence — Trump doesn’t read.

18 Donald Pretari May 19, 2017 at 6:40 pm

A great book on Nixon is “The Foreign Politics of Richard Nixon” by Franz Schurmann. Another excellent book that features Nixon is Daniel P. Moynihan’s “The Politics of a Guaranteed Income.”

19 Gerber Baby May 19, 2017 at 9:47 am

About raising kids, ask him how he has considered behavioral genetics.

20 Gerber Baby May 19, 2017 at 10:33 am

Also, on his tw@tter account, he describes himself as a “Dad/husband,” his profile picture shows him upside down, and his background shows him, his wife, and his kids playing around in an informal setting, all wearing clothes of the same color.(You think that’s a coincidence?) I’ve seen a similar pattern among many other cuckservatives on their tw@tter accounts. The generous interpretation is that he’s rubbing the childless Left’s nose in his White conservative reproduction. Less generously, he’s signalling to female voters what a tamed man he is. Ask him which it is.


21 TMC May 19, 2017 at 5:04 pm

“Dad/husband. Husker addict.”

Those are Husker colors. You go ahead and read into it something deeper.

22 Jan May 19, 2017 at 7:00 pm

I think it is simply him cultivating a wholesome, family-man image for political reasons. Sure he deserves that image, inasmuch as the large majority of married dads are also wholesome family men, but that is the first thing he wants people to think about when they think of him.

23 Jeff R May 19, 2017 at 9:48 am

He’s a guy with some actual real world achievements under his belt. This used to be common for politicians, but that has changed markedly, and since Eisenhower what we get is mostly empty suits like Barack Obama and George W Bush. Why is this and how can we reverse the trend?

24 BJ dubbS May 19, 2017 at 10:00 am

What real world achievements? He touts his “turnaround” experience but as far as I can tell he spent one year as a jr associate at BCG when he was fresh out of college. So I would like to know exactly how much time Mr. Turnaround Guy has spent in business consulting, who his clients were, and when those engagements were. Because he has claimed that he was involved in “26 turnarounds in 21 years” and ]that he was “interim president of x, y and z” on the Kristol show and yet his LinkedIn account basically shows that he was a lifelong academic who spent eight years in graduate school, a few years as professor and then a couple years as an administrator. I don’t see more than one year of business experience in his LinkedIn profile, so where does the Mr. Turnaround title come from?

25 dan1111 May 19, 2017 at 11:40 am

So, here is Sasse’s CV so far at age 45: consultant, executive director of a religious organization, award winning PhD dissertation, assistant professor, chief of staff for a government department, chief of staff for a U.S. rep, investment adviser, university president, U.S. senator, bestselling author.

Really? This guy is not “accomplished”?

26 BJ dubbS May 19, 2017 at 12:33 pm

You’re right, he is accomplished. But he has the kind of resume that would impress a MR commenter, not a Nebraska farmer. And there is a bizarre disparity between his resume – professor, some government experience, some academic administration – and how he describes his career.

Here he is in the NYT: “My average duration in a job is more like six months, because I’ve done crisis and turnaround stuff for two decades. I’ve been in a lot of companies and not-for-profits and institutions that were really on fire; in a lot of ways, the Senate is the least urgent, least serious institution I’ve ever worked in.”

Sasse to Kristol: “I got there, having been a turnaround guy – I’d been a college president but I’d also done a lot of corporate strategy and not for profit strategy and interim president of x, y, and z when things were on fire – the Senate was a 6-year term, and so it provided a luxury.”

Sasse talking to Coca-Cola: “I knew pretty early on that I wanted to help organizations – both corporations and nonprofits – tackle big challenges. And that’s most of what I’ve done for the past 21 years. I’ve worked on about 26 strategy projects that have helped organizations find synergies and address challenges in mergers, during periods of rapid growth, or in crises.”

Sasse to a Omaha.com: “Over the years, he tackled projects for airlines, utilities, telecom companies and manufacturers.

He describes his consultant role as solving the problems that “companies face when they’re either growing really fast or in danger of going bankrupt.”

“I helped the leadership of Northwest Airlines figure out how to turn their planes around faster at the gate because we were getting our lunch eaten by Southwest,” Sasse said. “I just am really drawn to strategy problems and to big crises.”

Omaha.com also asked him about his academic career:
“Five college degrees?

“I guess,” he said, quickly adding that he continued to work full time during much of his postgraduate education.”

Truth: Sasse worked *1 year* as a strategy consultant, when he was 23. It was not his career. He did not work in strategy consulting when he was getting his Phd, instead he was a volunteer wrestling coach for Yale wrestling. Again: he never worked in conventional business consulting after quitting his jr associate role at BCG at age 23. His career pre-Senate was spent almost entirely in academia, collecting three masters degrees and a Phd. He also spent some time in gov’t, most of that time overseeing the Bush torture agenda. Not turnarounds, not business consulting. Sasse is not just lying, from what I can gather from his public statements, he is outright *delusional*.

27 Jan May 19, 2017 at 7:17 pm


28 thfmr May 19, 2017 at 10:16 pm

Recalls the CV of the wonderful Jeffrey Archer.

29 dan1111 May 20, 2017 at 3:04 am

So he’s a delusional wacko making up jobs left and right, but he also maintains an accurate LinkedIn profile that disproves his own claims?

He’s a politician, it wouldn’t be at all surprising if he exaggerates his record, but your theory seems implausible.

30 dan1111 May 20, 2017 at 3:32 am

A more plausible assumption would be that he omitted some older and/or short term positions from his profile as is common practice.

The article mentions working for McKinsey and working full time while getting degrees. Do you think he was outright lying about these things?

31 Bj dubbS May 20, 2017 at 8:08 am

Yes, he is lying about working full time as a consultant while getting a Phd. How much sense does that make? Earning a Yale Phd in six years is not easy. It’s not something you do in your spare time. He might have worked for full-time for the House overseeing the House page program while he studied at St. Johns College, but he leaves that out because, well, Mark Foley. He did work for McKinsey as an hourly employee (according to McKinsey), probably selling access to his DC contacts, so he left that off his profile too. Same with his shadowy “investment” experience. Second, I wonder how much Sasse even knows about business consulting. “Turnaround and crisis consulting” is not a real thing. Most business consulting is really boring stuff like “improving profitability of the Pampers email loyalty program.” Romney did turnaround stuff because he ran a private equity firm. Sasse’s financial disclosures say that his net worth is between $800,000 and $2 million, with most of his income coming from speaking fees.

32 Jeff R May 19, 2017 at 10:50 am

That’s fair, but the distinction between a venture that fails due to external factors and one that fails due to internal factors is often a subtle one. Maybe George W Bush is really a Jack Welch-level visionary who just had a 17 year run of bad luck. But somehow I doubt it.

33 Jeff R May 19, 2017 at 10:50 am

In which era?

The Duke of Wellington’s day, for example.

34 Art Deco May 19, 2017 at 11:02 am

So your complaint is about the corps of politicians we’ve had since 1830?

35 Jeff R May 19, 2017 at 11:17 am

More like 1880, but yes.

36 Thiago Ribeiro May 19, 2017 at 12:52 pm

It makes sense, my father told me his father told him his father used to say things were better when he was young.

37 TMC May 19, 2017 at 5:10 pm

Thiago +1 lol

38 Art Deco May 19, 2017 at 11:04 am

He did not have a 17 year run of bad luck. His time in baseball was quite lucrative. You keep pretending that did not happen.

39 Jeff R May 19, 2017 at 11:15 am

What do you mean ‘keep?” I never even mentioned it.

I have no particular animus against GWB. My inclusion of his name was mostly to indicate that I think the declining quality of Western political actors is a bipartisan issue. I’m sure George W Bush would be quite gratified to learn that some random guy on the internet so valiantly defended his reputation in the friggin’ MR comments thread, but I have no desire to debate the finer points of his resume. You can have the last word on the subject.

40 Art Deco May 19, 2017 at 11:18 am

What do you mean ‘keep?” I never even mentioned it.

You didn’t mention it and pretended it never happened because it rather complicates the point you wanted to make.

41 Thiago Ribeiro May 19, 2017 at 11:47 am

“Harry Truman (…) never had a satisfying trade or profession”.
Actually, one of his trades was so satisfying, the Soviets were sarisfied to name a play after it – The Mad Haberdasher by Anatoly Surov. Has anyone ever called George W. Bush the Mad Team Owner?

42 fuck Art Deco May 19, 2017 at 11:48 am

you’re just describing the difference between a private sector/corporate career track and an academic career track. do you mean to argue that only corporate executives ought to be considered accomplished professionals?

43 Art Deco May 19, 2017 at 12:06 pm

No, I’m not ‘describing the difference between a private sector/corporate career track and an academic career track.’, although in my book business gets more credit than academe. BO behaves likes he’s not on any career track. He goes to law school, but he lands neither a clerkship nor a berth in a law firm once he graduates. After a year, he lands a part-time position on the Chicago law faculty. Over 12 years, he never publishes a single scholarly article. He’s on renewable multi-year contracts, not on a tenure track with it’s up-or-out pressures. He specializes in ‘constitutional law’. See Wm. Dyer on this point: there’s nothing wrong with that per se, it’s just that it’s the subdiscipline of law where (more than any other) a teacher can fake it. He lands an associate’s position a year later, but practices for just three years before being recoded as ‘of counsel’; he allowed his law license to lapse six years after that. Prior to 2004, the only competitive election he ever faced was an attempt at a seat in Congress in 2000, when Bobby Rush shellacked him in the Democratic primary; his election to Congress in 2004 was in part consequent to two opponents getting knocked out of the race when confidential materials from their divorce cases were made public.

The one thing you can say in his favor is that he knew how to leverage a life of ticket-punching, or at least to be the on-air talent while others were making it happen for him.

44 Ricardo May 19, 2017 at 1:15 pm

In other words, Obama first wrote a book, then practiced law at a firm for three years and then served in the Illinois state legislature for eight years while also serving as an adjunct at University of Chicago Law School during most of that time. Obama is not an academic and he would have had to give up practicing law or serving in elected office if a tenure-track position was his goal. As you almost certainly know, being a tenure-track academic is an intense career that leaves little time for any other pursuits.

45 Art Deco May 19, 2017 at 4:49 pm

“BO behaves like he’s not on any career track” puts it more concisely.

46 Jeff R May 19, 2017 at 12:02 pm


That was a fine, substantive reply. Pity it was preceded by such a mix of petulance, pedantry, and general douchebaggery on your part.

47 Art Deco May 19, 2017 at 12:09 pm

Pity it was preceded by such a mix of petulance, pedantry, and general douchebaggery on your part.

When you look in the mirror, just who do you see?

48 Jeff R May 19, 2017 at 1:49 pm

I didn’t call him stupid, I called him an empty suit. They’re not the same thing. He’s a reasonably intelligent guy, absolutely; but his record of personal accomplishments that don’t involve elections are pretty thin. And restraint is not an accomplishment. It’s a sign of good character, sure, but it doesn’t make you Thomas Edison.

49 VJV May 19, 2017 at 3:41 pm

“He’s a guy with some actual real world achievements under his belt. This used to be common for politicians, but that has changed markedly, and since Eisenhower what we get is mostly empty suits like Barack Obama and George W Bush.”

Leaving Sasse aside: Really? See if you can spot the difference in resumes for US President, going back to the start of the 20th century:

TR: Briefly VP, briefly Secretary of the Navy.
Taft: Secretary of War. Prior to that, lawyer and judge.
Wilson: Briefly state governor. Prior to that, academic and university president.
Harding: US Senator, state politician.
Coolidge: VP, state governor.
Hoover: Secretary of Commerce, government administrator, engineer/consultant.
FDR: State governor, Cabinet undersecretary, state politician.
Truman: Briefly VP, US Senator, judge.
Eisenhower: General, military officer.
JFK: US Senator, US representative.
LBJ: VP, US Senator, US representative.
Nixon: VP, US representative.
Ford: Briefly VP, US representative.
Carter: State governor, state politician.
Reagan: State governor, political activist, actor.
Bush I: VP, diplomat, US representative.
Clinton: State governor, state politician.
Bush II: State governor, businessman.
Obama: Briefly US Senator, state politician, academic.
Trump: Businessman, celebrity.

The only change I see is that governors become more common and cabinet secretaries become less common. But that’s not what I think you mean. “Real-world achievements” is basically code for “things which are not politics, the law and academia.” Personally I strongly disagree with this characterization – last time I checked legislatures and law firms operate in the real world, and I’ve met plenty of businessmen who are totally full of shit – but let’s look at the people who do have experience in these domains and see if they are or are not “empty suits.” It’s basically Bush II, Hoover, Eisenhower and Trump. If you want to be charitable you could include Bush I, although he had spent most of his career in politics or politics-adjacent fields such as diplomacy by the time he was elected President. But let’s be charitable, and include Bush I, and not include Trump because his term just started.

Per this graphic: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_rankings_of_presidents_of_the_United_States Hoover and Bush II are both markedly-below average, Bush I is average-ish, Eisenhower is markedly above-average. I don’t 100% agree with these rankings, but it’s a reasonable rough guide; one would assume that a non-empty-suit would be an effective President and this group is mixed, at best.

50 Anonymous May 19, 2017 at 4:52 pm

I wonder if the middle ranked Presidents are actually the best. On the theory that good kings are forgotten and villains are remembered.

51 Jeff R May 19, 2017 at 5:59 pm

Generals tend to become more famous, the bigger the bloodbaths they preside over. For heads of state, the same dynamic is in play.

52 TMC May 19, 2017 at 5:12 pm

“intelligence and frequent restraint of Barack Obama”

You can blame us. It was more like 100% restraint. How would we know he’s smart?

53 Mind The Gap May 19, 2017 at 5:52 pm

Eliminate all tax deductible donations, for all purposes, reduce the tax rate for revenue neutrality, assign umpty-ump accountants and regulators to real jobs. Done.

54 Art Deco May 19, 2017 at 7:55 pm

Why just for donations? Why not eliminate all deductions and exemptions and special credits as well as the multiplicity of rates in favor of a flat-rate conjoined to a general credit: $x for yourself and each dependent and $Y for each person in your household who is over 66 or adjudicated as disabled (with the value of x and y adjusted each year according to changes in the nominal value of personal income per capita). A large share would be due a rebate. You could cap the value of the rebate at z% of earned income for the bulk of taxpayers and then relax the cap for the old and disabled.

Of course, taxing the income received from every economic sector and every factor of production at the same marginal rate reduces opportunities for graft, so we’ll never see it.

55 Mind The Gap May 19, 2017 at 6:21 pm

I forgot the biggest argument for Bush as not an empty shirt. The Bushes did not fall for the Trump.

56 Jan May 19, 2017 at 7:19 pm

Is there any evidence Obama had something to do with that? Pretty sure the answer is no, but correct me if not. “Gut feeling” doesn’t count.

57 Art Deco May 19, 2017 at 7:56 pm

Is there any evidence Obama had something to do with that?

No, Douglas Shulman was just attending the White House Easter Egg Roll over and over and over.

58 Jan May 19, 2017 at 8:21 pm

Hahahhaha. A Bush appointee from the IRS visited the White House. We know because Obama actually put out records of who visited. That means Obama told him to audit right wing-sounding organizations. Despite the fact that neither Obama nor Shulman was mentioned in the IG report that apparently uncovered this “scandal” (after 115 days of Trump we may need to redefine the term). It’s literal proof. Rock solid!!

59 Steko May 19, 2017 at 9:26 pm

@realDonaldTrump on twitter demands Jeff R and other “Margarine Revolution posters” admit he is the empitiest suit.

60 Anonymous May 19, 2017 at 10:06 pm

@realDonaldTrump reminds us that Kim Jung Un is the smart cookie, and Comey is worse than an empty suit.

And don’t get me started on Mueller, who should be a loyal servant of the House of Kushner. What do we do to disloyal retainers?

(Riffs on today’s news, which is fire.)

61 Milwaukee Matt May 19, 2017 at 9:53 am

What role does he think existing wealth plays in parenting/child rearing outcomes?

It’s been said, time is money. So doesn’t it make sense people without money don’t get to dictate their time with their children? I’m referring to service industry and low pay economic segregation that keep parents with market mandated erratic/unpredictable/temp schedules out of the home and over the barrel for employers.

62 Jeff R May 19, 2017 at 9:57 am

Higher income people actually work more hours, I think, than low income people.

63 Gerber Baby May 19, 2017 at 10:20 am


64 Milwaukee Matt May 19, 2017 at 10:24 am

my suspicion about Sasse is that he would say it’s not so much about the amount or when you put in “family hours” but the purpose, intention, content of an honest built lifestyle/family culture

65 Jeff R May 19, 2017 at 10:53 am

I understand that; I just don’t think “my kid ended up retarded as a result of my erratic part time work schedule” is a very convincing line of reasoning.

66 Art Deco May 19, 2017 at 11:16 am

Partly that is due to a number of low income people who don’t work at all. But for those who do work, oftentimes the only work available to them is part time work,

About 18% of the working population is part-time. About 14% of the population works part-time because of domestic obligations, school, or they’re old and collecting Social Security. Another 2.5% are facing slack business conditions. About 1.5% cannot find full-time work that suits them.

67 David May 19, 2017 at 9:54 am

The relationship between his PhD and his job: how his training as a PhD affects his work as a public servant, and how to get more PhDs to run for elective office. I’d be interested in hearing his answers regarding a PhD in history specifically, and a doctoral degree in general.

68 Art Deco May 19, 2017 at 9:54 am

How ’bout: “Ye Gods! You had a good life in Nebraska. WTF do you wish to reside in the cesspool that is Congress?”

69 Jason May 19, 2017 at 9:54 am

Is adverse selection a first order concern in health insurance markets? If so what should (if anything) the government do about it?

70 Evans_KY May 19, 2017 at 9:56 am

How does the Republican Party intend to bridge the gap with women and younger voters in an ever shifting political landscape?

What policies would you propose to encourage the election of women in your caucus?

71 Gerber Baby May 19, 2017 at 10:22 am

Why do they need more votes from women and younger voters?

72 Evans_KY May 19, 2017 at 11:50 am

“V is for Vendetta” is an instructional example.


Party is irrelevant. All hands are needed on deck.

73 Gerber Baby May 19, 2017 at 12:39 pm

No clue what, if anything, you’re trying to say.

74 TMC May 19, 2017 at 5:18 pm

Women, some, get married and often vote R. Young voters, often, grow up and vote R.

75 Milwaukee Matt May 19, 2017 at 9:58 am

What does he think of Religion as a class good?

If evangelical Christianity is indistinguishable from upper middle class Instagram Positivity Culture does it lose its social cohesion effects? Are we confusing this kind of faith with the regular guardrails of risk management that the wealthy enjoy.

76 Student May 19, 2017 at 10:36 am

Your first question is a good one.

When Christianity becomes indistinguishable from positivity culture it looses more than cohesion… it looses its very purpose. The emphasis becomes self rather than others.

I am sure Sasse would have some thoughts on this. It seems he sees reaction to the removal of prayer from schools as the beginning of the religious right. I agree, but I also see it as the beginning of the end of authentic Protestant Christianity.

77 Art Deco May 19, 2017 at 10:50 am

To anyone remotely familiar with evangelicalism, referring to evangelicals as ‘pharisaical’ sounds just unreal.

The religious right has done more to harm Christianity than any secularist or anti-Christian could ever have.

There’s the world we live in, and there’s your imaginary world with all the right bogies.

78 Student May 19, 2017 at 10:53 am

Please… don’t even get me started on your distorted understanding of Catholicism.

79 Student May 19, 2017 at 11:00 am

“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,* take up his cross, and follow me.

For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

80 Art Deco May 19, 2017 at 11:00 am

My understanding is not distorted, your’s is.

81 Student May 19, 2017 at 11:03 am

How quickly we forget the teachings and parables… for example:

See the Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector

9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

82 Art Deco May 19, 2017 at 12:11 pm

You’re under the impression you’ve said something that isn’t non sequitur, I take it.

83 P Burgos May 19, 2017 at 10:43 am

Maybe Tyler could ask him what he thinks of moralistic therapeutic deism, and how much of the evangelical community is really even Christian.

84 Student May 19, 2017 at 10:51 am

Good point but that’s an aggressive way to ask a question. Not much good comes out of that phrasing.

But I do agree. Protestant Christianity has seems to morph into, just say I believe in Jesus and that’s the end. Start of the rock show, ask for treasures and riches and forget about all that other stuff.

85 dan1111 May 19, 2017 at 11:42 am

From a Wikipedia glance at what he has been involved with and what his book is about, I think he would probably agree with these critiques.

86 Student May 19, 2017 at 11:56 am

I think it’s likely he would as well… I would like to hear a question asked in this area because his positions seems as though it might be interesting.

87 Jameson Burt May 19, 2017 at 10:01 am

Would school vouchers for private schools hinder or aide the nation?

I think of the two primary supporters and would be users of such vouchers, the Catholic church and the Muslim community. I think of Northern Ireland with Protestants and Catholics going to separate schools, exponentially increasing strife. Yet, I think of Hong Kong, where childhood schools are mostly religious schools (Presbyterian, Catholic, Episcopal, Methodist, …), successfully teaching people like Mr. T. Cheung from a barber’s son living in a 400 square foot apartment with 5 sisters and 2 parents getting welfare, becoming a Vice President of Citigroup, and later a director of J.P. Morgan.

In the history of Sasse’ own state, county roads sometimes had two churches across from each other, Czechs going to one and Poles to the other. I imagine the same with school vouchers.

88 Art Deco May 19, 2017 at 10:47 am

I think of the two primary supporters and would be users of such vouchers, the Catholic church and the Muslim community.

No, evangelicals with some seriousness of purpose. Nominal Muslims account for about 1% of the population. Muslims who would go out of their way to avoid state schooling are a fraction of that. Catholics who show up for confession at least once a year are about 2% of the population.

Schooling is a fee-for-service activity which will emerge on the open market without state priming. Except in certain remote areas, you don’t need public agency as a delivery vehicle for primary and secondary schooling. The distribution of vouchers conjoined to regulatory legislation on school finance will provide adequate distribution of services across economic strata. All public schools should be re-incorporated as philanthropies under boards elected by stakeholders and financed with vouchers.

89 navarro May 21, 2017 at 4:08 pm

” All public schools should be re-incorporated as philanthropies under boards elected by stakeholders and financed with vouchers.”

where do you live and how are school boards set up that you would feel it necessary to suggest boards elected by stakeholders as if that were something new ? in texas, where i live, boards are elected directly by the communities in which the schools exist. with the the exception of very rare cases of districts taken over by the state for gross incompetence, malfeasance, and misfeasance, they have been so chosen for over a century.

90 BJ dubbS May 19, 2017 at 10:03 am

What was his role as chief of staff in the DHS legal office and how involved was he in creating the torture memos and does he think there is any contradiction between the “idealism” of the neocon foreign policy agenda and the widespread support among neocons such as himself for torture? And was it ridiculous for the neocons to object to Trumps support for torture when they themselves are supporters of torture and in fact he himself was involved in writing the legal memos justifying torture? Instead of calling himself Mr. Turnaround Guy, should he call himself Mr. Torture Guy?

91 BJ dubbS May 19, 2017 at 10:42 am

You’re right, neocon is probably not very useful. But read the transcript of his conversation with Kristol, Sasse is fully on board with unending war in Afghanistan and the Middle East, because universal values demand it. Even Kristol seemed a little bit less enthusiastic. But it’s not a synonym for Jew: McCain, Graham, Sasse, Jeb Bush, Ayotte, etc etc. There are plenty of non-Jewish neocons. Although if you watch Sasse sign the praises of Israel (brave, courageous, virile) to Kristol and at the same time denigrate Americans (lazy, unserious), you do wonder who Sasse thinks his audience is.

92 fuck Art Deco May 19, 2017 at 11:52 am

so you’re adding anti-semitism to your portfolio now? homophobia and racism wasn’t enough for you I see.

93 Art Deco May 19, 2017 at 12:12 pm

You need to sober up.

94 The Cuckmeister-General May 19, 2017 at 12:25 pm

You need to man up and stop being a cuckservative

95 fuck Art Deco May 19, 2017 at 1:43 pm

I’ll stop drinking when you come out of the closet

96 JCS May 19, 2017 at 10:13 am

What’s a straussian reading of Tyler linking to intelligence findings instead of Ben Sasse’s wikipedia page??

97 AlanG May 19, 2017 at 10:15 am

Three questions:
Given the large disaffection for organized religion in millennials, is Religion/God dead?

All Western Religions teach compassion. Given this, should access to healthcare for all US citizens be a right?

One of the great successes of the US is access to good public education. You and your wife are homeschooling your children. The President’s proposed budget calls for dramatic increases in funding of vouchers for private/religious schools and increased charter schools. Does this lead to more or less anti-intellectualism in our society as per the view of Richard Hofstadter?

98 P Burgos May 19, 2017 at 10:48 am

A better version of AlanG’s questions would be “Why is the Catholic Church wrong about the social welfare state?” At the very least, the teaching of the most populous and most influential Christian church in the West is that it is a moral imperative for nations to build robust social safety nets. Why is the Pope wrong about this?

99 Art Deco May 19, 2017 at 10:58 am

No, that is not the teaching. The U.S. Catholic Conference issues a large mass of position papers. They have no teaching office and their verbiage reflects the opinions of random bourgeois who do not wish to work in the commercial sector.

Bishops have teaching authority, but the status of teaching is not uniform. There is what you must believe, what you must obey, and that to which you must give due consideration. Modern Catholic Social Teaching is in category 3, by and large. There are abiding themes concerning the subordination of economic life from age to age. There are the social encyclicals. Neither are precisely prescriptive and it is difficult to operationalize the precepts of some of the social encyclicals because those precepts implicitly refer to social forms (e.g master-apprentice households) which are quite rare in our own time.

100 prior_test2 May 19, 2017 at 11:41 am

‘Neither are precisely prescriptive’

That whole Humanae Vvitae encyclical? Just ask Art Deco for a special dispensation, and you are all set to have sex without intending procreation. http://w2.vatican.va/content/paul-vi/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-vi_enc_25071968_humanae-vitae.html

And to keep that 1968 encyclical company, the Polish Pope has you covered with another encyclical – http://w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/apost_exhortations/documents/hf_jp-ii_exh_19811122_familiaris-consortio.html

It is amazing that after someone points out just how inadequate someone’s understanding of Catholicism is, we get to see it on full display.

101 Art Deco May 19, 2017 at 12:16 pm

That whole Humanae Vvitae encyclical? J

That’s not one of the social encyclicals. That’s a restatement of an antique moral teaching that’s a component of the ordinary magisterium.

Rerum Novarum, Qudragesimo Anno, Mater et Magistra, Populorum Progressio, and Sollicitudo Rei Socialis are the social encyclicals.

102 prior_test2 May 19, 2017 at 1:18 pm

‘That’s not one of the social encyclicals.’

I was actually going to predict you would try to wriggle out of this, much in the same way you tried to wriggle of Trump’s personal liabilities leading to his bankruptcy.

I also not decided to post the link to Caritas In Veritate, though since you seemed to miss that one, including several references to health care, maybe you can catch up – https://w2.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_ben-xvi_enc_20090629_caritas-in-veritate.html

103 Art Deco May 19, 2017 at 2:57 pm

I was actually going to predict you would try to wriggle out of this, much in the same way you tried to wriggle of Trump’s personal liabilities leading to his bankruptcy.

I wiggled out of nothing. Betwixt and between making a pompous bore of yourself, you might learn the distinction between the ‘social encyclicals’ which are the inspiration of modern Christian democracy and any other encyclical. There are five social encyclicals. You might also learn what is meant by ‘limited liability corporation’ and ‘equity capital’. You’re not there yet.

104 Student May 19, 2017 at 5:04 pm

Read rerum novarum. It talks about these issues in detail.

105 fuck Art Deco May 19, 2017 at 11:54 am

it was a mistake as well. Opus Dei style Catholicism does not teach compassion. Just the opposite.

106 Art Deco May 19, 2017 at 12:19 pm

Opus dei is a personal prelature. There is no such thing as ‘opus dei style’ Catholicism in doctrinal or moral teachings. Affiliation with Opus Dei incorporates disciplines, not esoteric teachings.

107 fuck Art Deco May 19, 2017 at 1:48 pm

“Please accept, Excellency, the expression of my deepest personal esteem and be assured of my prayers for all your family.” – Josemaria Escriva written to fascist dictator Francisco Franco

108 Art Deco May 19, 2017 at 3:02 pm

Franco was a professional soldier, not a purveyor of political ideologies. The FET was a merger of Carlists and Falangists to which the Alfonsine monarchists signed on, not a fascist organization.

That aside, it’s a courtesy remark.

The entire Church sided with Franco for a reason: the Spanish Republic was their mortal enemy. Fully one-third of the clergy in Republican territory were killed. The mortality rate among clergy and religious in Barcelona was 80%.

109 fuck Art Deco May 19, 2017 at 4:13 pm

of course you’re an apologist for fascists. OF COURSE YOU ARE. what next, care to defend the Jew purges of the Inquisition?

110 Mrs. Alex Tabarrok May 19, 2017 at 4:43 pm

The sock-puppets my husband employs seem to be getting more desperate and less creative.

111 Just stop it May 19, 2017 at 4:52 pm

Art, quit trying to fight fire with fire with your “Mrs.” posts. You are terrible at it. You’re also completely missing the truth, why would Cowen and Tabarrok pay people money to shitpost their own blog? Just ignore ’em.

112 Student May 19, 2017 at 5:05 pm

Now that’s just a dumb statement

113 Joseph Sands May 19, 2017 at 10:16 am

It appears that aging and declining rates of productivity growth are the biggest problems facing the country. Does government have any effective answers to these problems?

114 Techy May 19, 2017 at 10:18 am

I’m very curious how the leadership of a smaller state like Nebraska thinks about their economic future in a world where the dominant trends seem to be increased returns to scale (of cities and companies).

Does Nebraska’s leadership think that Omaha can or should grow to a million+ in size for their economy to not get left behind? If not, why not?

How important has the good example of Warren Buffet been to the civic leaders of Nebraska and the voting public who have (by and large) favored more reasonable economic policies than other parts of the country? How important are the examples of those we hold in high status in society when people place their votes?

115 Art Deco May 19, 2017 at 10:37 am

Population centers with a critical mass of people in Kansas and Nebraska are holding their own. The critical mass is about 15,000 people.

Greater Omaha is populous enough that it’s above the threshold where research universities and university medical centers are routinely present. That’s all you need.

Vermont prospers passably with one city with about 90,000 people in it. The largest employer in America is headquartered in Bentonville, Ark, in and around which are about 55,000 people. You don’t have the bourse, or the entertainment industry, or a forest of corporate headquarters, or a cesspool of BigLaw firms in provincial cities like Omaha or Louisville. You have anything an ordinary person might seek out.

116 Techy May 19, 2017 at 2:35 pm

I love Vermont, but economically it is a suburb of the the Boston Metropolitan area’s thriving Ed/Tech economy. Omaha is doing well and has done well for the last few decades but it is not near or part of any large metropolitan area. When I was there I found it reasonably nice, although unbelievably quiet after 6pm- even gas stations by the freeway close. If you accept any of the urbanist / new urbanist premises about knowledge industries clustering and thriving in larger, more stimulating metros then Vermont is fine as an Edenic exurb of one of the world’s great knowledge centers; Omaha is in a very different situation.
Bentonville is a company-town. Has done great while one company thrived (as company towns do) but faces the near-existential risk of total collapse if Wal-Mart contracts. Risk is a real cost. Ask Elkhart, IN.

117 Art Deco May 19, 2017 at 3:13 pm

I love Vermont, but economically it is a suburb of the the Boston Metropolitan area’s thriving Ed/Tech economy.

No it is not. The most generous definition of the Boston commuter belt does not extend into western Massachusetts or past southeastern New Hampshire, much less Vermont. Burlington is closer to Albany than it is to Worcester. The distance between Burlington and New York is about 40% longer than is the distance between Burlington and Boston – but greater New York has a population 6x greater Boston. Most of Maine is closer to Boston than is Burlington, but Maine has personal income levels 20% lower than Vermont’s.

118 Apso May 19, 2017 at 6:10 pm

I visited Vermont and they make lots of artisanal syrups and chocolate. Could not figure out what kept it going

119 Larry Siegel May 22, 2017 at 1:48 am

Retiree investment accounts (from NY and Boston)

120 John Saunders May 19, 2017 at 10:31 am

How about:
1. What can we do to boost the rate of economic growth?
2. What can we do to make our civilization more stable?, and
3. How should we best deal with environmental problems?

121 Paul Matzko May 19, 2017 at 10:35 am

Senator Sasse has described himself as a “Lutero-Calvinist” and his church background combines two of the largest evangelical/Reformed denominations in America, the Lutheran Church Missouri-Synod and the Presbyterian Church of America. He is also a committed anti-statist (see interview: https://world.wng.org/2016/09/ben_sasse_a_reformed_reformer). Yet neither Martin Luther nor John Calvin were anti-statist per se, nor were they particularly interested in the separation of church and state. So I’d be interested in asking how Sasse harmonizes his Enlightenment liberalism and his Reformation theology.

122 Art Deco May 19, 2017 at 10:39 am

Why do you think Calvinist moral teachings require a Medieval guild system?

123 thfmr May 19, 2017 at 6:22 pm

Also, as someone sharp enough to hold a Yale Ph.D., does it pain him to have to pretend to be a theist to please his constituency?

124 Art Deco May 19, 2017 at 7:46 pm

Does it pain avocational atheists to think and talk like adolescents?

125 thfmr May 19, 2017 at 10:00 pm

I’m sure your god is the true one, Art. Sorry to hurt your feelings.

126 Stuart May 19, 2017 at 10:40 am

It seems like modernizing and simplifying regulations is a bipartisan interest. The Regulatory Improvement Act (S. 708) has 3 GOP co-sponsors, 2 Dems and Angus King. It borrows from the non-partisan model used successfully by BRAC.

Cass Sunstein wrote a whole book on this issue (Simpler: The Future of Government) and the Obama administration supported it in executive actions.

So why can’t Congress make significant progress on this issue that seems to have plenty of bipartisan support? I’ve never seen a good answer on this.

127 The Anti-Gnostic May 19, 2017 at 10:43 am

Ask him about the Sailer Thesis, and whether Republicans have considered it as a strategy for growing new GOP voters.

128 Hoosier May 19, 2017 at 10:52 am

Is Nebraska the most obscure state?

Throw out a college football question maybe?

129 AlanG May 19, 2017 at 10:57 am

“Throw out a college football question maybe?”

Who was the better coach, Bob Devaney or Tom Osborne?

130 Don May 19, 2017 at 10:57 am

Sen. Sasse has a set of 60 essential books and one category relates to economics. What does Sasse consider the important lessons of those books?

131 Stephen May 19, 2017 at 10:57 am

What would he propose as a constitutional amendment? Are there any amendments he think should be removed?

What is the most underrated part of the American Government, and what is the most overrated?

132 Julia May 19, 2017 at 11:13 am

What is the appropriate role of the federal government in preserving the multistate Ogallala Aquifer and what effect will restriction—or its depletion—have on the scale and methods of farming in the Great Plains? What changes do you see coming to rural communities as a result of a) the dramatic economic shift currently underway, b) changes in irrigation practices, c) increasing interest in local sourcing, and d) the opioid epidemic?

133 Techy May 19, 2017 at 2:36 pm

+1 to first two questions.

134 Floccina May 19, 2017 at 11:15 am

In this wealthy world of 2017, why should we make our children’s lives as safe and enjoyable as possible?

135 phoenixwannabe May 19, 2017 at 11:30 am

What is causing perpetual adolescence? Moral decline? Ignorance of theory of government?

136 The Anti-Gnostic May 19, 2017 at 2:01 pm


137 Art Deco May 19, 2017 at 3:15 pm

Magazine writers who need to turn in copy and require a pseudo-phenomenon to write about (“growing problem”).

138 Ryan Shinkel May 19, 2017 at 11:45 am

Question 1: Americans are always ones to traverse frontiers, from western settlement to space. NASA had immeasurable indirect effects on the imaginations of innovators and generations of Americans. How much can our adventurism need the revamping of space travel and doubling of its budget?

Question 2: Many have chronicled the dropout in the workforce by prime age men. What kind of delayed adolescence does this consist of, or none at all? Is this the correlative to parental protection in the upper class?

Question 3: For Alexis de Tocqueville, Americans have to be mentally fenced in somewhere in order to be physically boundless elsewhere. Since the Puritans, religion set fences in faith and morals, but left politics and economy open season. Does Sen Sasse agree we need another great awakening, and how might this revival or lack thereof historically relate to American risk-taking — given his dissertation concerns American religious history?

Question 4: What are the alternatives for families who are not in the upper class to ensure their children are not glued to screens but experience the Rousseau education of face-to-face encounters and Oakeshotte on the spontaneous order of artful conversation?

139 Ryan Shinkel May 19, 2017 at 11:51 am

Question 5: What are the possibilities for federalist-minded Americans when crises in social breakdown (Putnam/Murray) might make more populists answers (new infrastructure building, more state universities) necessary but less small government?

Question 6: What do you recommend for adjuncts? Run for the Senate?

Question 7: How is the Senate going to revise the healthcare bill that makes it more middle class friendly and less about tax breaks to the rich, especially in open debates and not ‘pass it first, read it second’?

Last Question: How should Congress hold President Trump accountable, including the Senate’s more executive role, given the last two weeks of instability? 25th amendment okay, must be impeachment, or anything less?

140 rayward May 19, 2017 at 11:51 am

Will having two year olds retrieve daddy’s socks make America great again, will it put dynamism back into the economy? https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/15/books/review/vanishing-american-adult-ben-sasse.html? I understand why Cowen would be willing to devote an hour or so of his life to a culture warrior like Senator Sasse, but he is no less an ignoramus than President Trump.

141 Art Deco May 19, 2017 at 12:22 pm

but he is no less an ignoramus than President Trump.

What do you fancy either ignoramus has to learn from you?

142 Dave Porter May 19, 2017 at 11:52 am

In the 2007 movie “Lions for Lambs,” two college students proposed doing away with the Junior year of high school and replacing it with three options: (1) a Peace Corp like year abroad, (2) a US Ameri-Corps year in one of the 500 poorest zipcodes, or (3) a ROTC year apprenticeship in US or abroad. What does Senator Sasse think of their proposal.

For youtube of the movie scene see http://www.blueoregon.com/2008/04/engaging-the-wo/

143 Dimitrios Halikias May 19, 2017 at 11:54 am

Would the Congress be better off with more PhDs in it?

144 Saturos May 19, 2017 at 12:05 pm

How did the Republican Party go from promoting presidents like Reagan to presidents like Trump, and what could have been done about it?

145 The Other Jim May 19, 2017 at 12:46 pm

I can tell that you paid zero attention to the Historic 2016 US Presidential Election.

146 Art Deco May 19, 2017 at 3:59 pm

How did the Republican Party go from promoting presidents like Reagan to presidents like Trump, and what could have been done about it?

About 75% of the ballots in Republican primaries and caucuses when to (1) Donald Trump, (2) Ted Cruz, (3) a string of mavericks (Carson, Huckabee, Paul, Fiorina). The donor crew who so lavishly funded Jeb Bush in effect made a bonfire with their money. Perhaps, just perhaps, Republican voters are sick of Capitol Hill denizens pocketing their votes and donations and then selling them out. People like Addison Mitchell McConnell, Senate-Majority-Leader-for-Life want to feed clients represented by Tom Donohue and Haley Barbour and play footsie with each other. And that’s it.

147 Clayton May 19, 2017 at 12:06 pm

What does Ben Sasse make of the science surrounding the effects of parenting? For instance, Judith Rich Harris has shown that parenting styles or qualities have very little effect on overall outcomes, beyond contributing to the child’s genes and perhaps shaping the immediate peer environment. In fact, the research seems to show that the peer environment has a stronger influence on personality, character, and value than anything “taught” or learned in the home.

A related question, does Mr. Sasse rely on any scientific literature to support the claim that a child is given an advantage by being home-schooled?

148 Art Deco May 19, 2017 at 12:25 pm

Judith Rich Harris has shown

No she hasn’t, because she had no research programme. She published one article in APA journal 19 years ago and some derivative pieces. The article was a literature review.

149 Paul Fallavollita May 19, 2017 at 12:09 pm

Ask his staff to retrieve the 1921 Good Housekeeping article “Whose Country Is This?” written by Calvin Coolidge so that he can learn the true tradition from which our forebears came.

150 buddyglass May 19, 2017 at 12:10 pm

Caveat: I really like Ben Sasse, even though there’s probably considerable daylight between the two of us on certain issues. If he had run against Clinton I’d have voted for him. I did not vote for Trump. I would not have voted for Cruz.

1. Do you think we need to shrink the debt on a per-GDP basis? If so, would you accomplish this through spending less, collecting more revenue, or some combination of the two? If spending cuts are part of the solution, how, generally speaking, would you like to see these cuts be apportioned? Defense, SS, Medicare, other discretionary, etc.

2. Do you support comprehensive tax reform? If so, what general shape do you think it should take? Are you committed to ensuring that any reforms maintain the current level of progressivity, or would you accept a less progressive tax system, i.e. one that (relative to the status quo) represents a boon for the wealthy relative to the not-so-wealthy?

3. How would you deal with the “problem” or undocumented immigrants? Would you support making it easier/faster/cheaper for highly-skilled foreign nationals with STEM degrees to become U.S. citizens or LPRs? If not, why not?

4. Generally speaking, what sort of health care / health insurance scheme would you like to see the United States adopt? ACA? AHCA? Pre-ACA status quo? Something else entirely? Is there any foreign country you’d point to as a model the U.S. should emulate?

5. Drug war: good idea or bad idea? Would you support federal legalization of marijuana for recreational use? What about other drugs? Is Portugal’s experience with decriminalization instructive?

151 Jack May 19, 2017 at 12:19 pm

The decline of mainline Protestantism as the source of all contemporary American problems.

152 Mrs. Tyler Cowen May 19, 2017 at 12:21 pm

Yeah, well get to the back of the queue. I’m up front.

153 Michael Hendrix May 19, 2017 at 12:22 pm

1) Would a Ben Sasse-written constitution differ from our founder’s constitution?
2) How do you decide where to eat, and what is your judgment on DC’s food scene?
3) What are your daily habits and rhythms of life? And, as the theologian James KA Smith would say, how does it fit into your liturgical anthropology?
3.b) How did you write this book as a busy person, and would you go about it differently?
4) What is human flourishing in an age of robots? That is to say, is meaning in labor inextricably linked with meaning in a job?
5) You have a family, as the book makes clear, but you also have (and have had in previous roles) a staff of energetic, often young people working for you and with you. What is your hope for them in their time with you? How do you live that out daily? Perhaps to ensure they are not vanishing adults.
6) Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has been on the covers of National Review and GQ toying with the notion of being president. Would you support The Rock for president? As a fellow “gym rat,” what advice would you have for him wrestling in the ring of politics?

154 Art Deco May 19, 2017 at 12:23 pm

Your gold standard of sanity is just who? Hillary Clinton? Chuck Schumer?

155 dissenter May 19, 2017 at 1:54 pm

you assume I’m a Democrat? that’s more a comment on your own views than mine. Is it you who assumes Hillary Clinton is sane?

156 Art Deco May 19, 2017 at 3:17 pm

If your gold standard of sanity is Ron Paul, that rather is telling.

157 dissenter May 19, 2017 at 4:17 pm

yet another politician that I didn’t name but that you did. you’re not very creative.

158 Art Deco May 19, 2017 at 4:38 pm

You’re just scamming around. If Republican parliamentarians are ‘insane’, who is ‘sane’? Put up or shut up.

159 Edgar May 19, 2017 at 12:24 pm

It would be interesting to hear him talk about his time at Yale. How much does he think he owes his Yale Ph.D to William F. Buckley for publishing God and Man at Yale? Were his dissertation advisers, Jon Butler (PhD from U of Minnesota) and Harry Stout (PhD from Kent State), at Yale in reaction to Buckley? Would he have gotten the dissertation through if those two were not on the faculty? Does he see his experience as a compelling case for introducing intellectual diversity into higher education?

160 Edgar May 19, 2017 at 12:56 pm

After further rumination, ask him how much student debt he took on, how much student debt he would be willing to cosign for his own children, and whether he would encourage any of his children who were so inclined to pursue non-college routes such as apprenticeships or trade school.

161 Michael Hendrix May 19, 2017 at 12:26 pm

The formatting on my prior post as off, so here is an easier to read version:

1) Would a Ben Sasse-written constitution differ from our founder’s constitution?

2) How do you decide where to eat, and what is your judgment on DC’s food scene?

3) What are your daily habits and rhythms of life? And, as the theologian James KA Smith would say, how does it fit into your liturgical anthropology?

3.b) How did you write this book as a busy person, and would you go about it differently?

4) What is human flourishing in an age of robots? That is to say, is meaning in labor inextricably linked with meaning in a job?

5) You have a family, as the book makes clear, but you also have (and have had in previous roles) a staff of energetic, often young people working for you and with you. What is your hope for them in their time with you? How do you live that out daily? Perhaps to ensure they are not vanishing adults.

6) Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has been on the covers of National Review and GQ toying with the notion of being president. Would you support The Rock for president? As a fellow “gym rat,” what advice would you have for him wrestling in the ring of politics?

162 Jeff May 19, 2017 at 12:38 pm

Ask him about his Lutheranism and Middle West culture. In particular, whether or not his new book really makes any new insights or just repeats old maxims and advice. And of course, “If the Middle West is so great, how come all the smart kids end up moving to Boston and San Francisco?’

163 Art Deco May 19, 2017 at 4:02 pm

And of course, “If the Middle West is so great, how come all the smart kids end up moving to Boston and San Francisco?

For starters, he’d tell you that the notion that ‘all the smart kids’ are moving to Boston and San Francisco is tommyrot.

164 Max May 19, 2017 at 12:47 pm

Ask him what advantages and disadvantages being from Nebraska provides.

165 Some Other Tom (I Forget Which) May 19, 2017 at 12:48 pm

Haven’t had the chance to read the book yet, but what kind of social implications should we expect from the creation of this extended adolescence period where people have been turned into consumers? Should we expect that if we get good and meaningful jobs for these people that they’ll grow into “normal” adults, or should we expect some kinds of permanent changes in the American social landscape broader than the normal generational changes?

166 Some Other Tom (I Forget Which) May 19, 2017 at 3:07 pm

Ok, two other questions:

1. Nebraska football is a subject somebody else could really dive into, the way you did with Kasparov and chess. Simplest question: what’s the natural level of success for NU football, how can it reasonably be made higher than it is in a game where more great players come from the South, and isn’t hiring Mike Riley a sign NU wouldn’t make those changes?

2. Nobody running for the Presidency who’s been a member of the US Senate has defeated anybody who hadn’t also been a Senator since Garfield beat Cox in 1920. Should we think of this as a problem?

167 Larry Siegel May 24, 2017 at 2:26 am

Garfield died in 1881.

168 Art Deco May 19, 2017 at 4:13 pm

Haven’t had the chance to read the book yet, but what kind of social implications should we expect from the creation of this extended adolescence period where people have been turned into consumers?

The median age at 1st marriage has gone up about 4 years since 1956 and is not much different from what it was ca. 1895. The employment-to-population ratio for those between their 20th and 25th b-day is higher than the mean for the total population over the age of 15.

There are some serious problems with the young adult population, but these emerged between 1957 and 1980; they’ve gotten somewhat worse in the intervening years, but we’ve been living in social and cultural ruins for a long time now. As for ‘extending adolescence’, in the city in which I grew up in, about 15% of the youth cohort was enrolled in the local public high school in 1900. Eighty years later, nearly all youths were knocking about in school until age 16 and north of 70% until age 18. North of 20% were enrolling in baccalaureate granting institutions; now, north of 40% do. Put an end to the educational arms race between families.

169 P Burgos May 19, 2017 at 12:49 pm

What does Sasse think of dry counties? Marijuana legalization? What does he think of “sin” taxes that have dual purposes of improving health/finances/behavior and raising revenue? Would he support doubling or tripling taxes on alcoholic beverages (I believe the federal government has excise taxes on the production of alcoholic beverages)? I would also ask him what he thinks of the LDS church and Utah as a social model for US. They seem like the only group of Yankee WASPS to be able to hold onto the old values. Why does he think that Mormons are so much more adult than everyone else?

170 bellisaurius May 19, 2017 at 12:58 pm

Superman or Spiderman underoos?

171 Will May 19, 2017 at 1:02 pm

What is the role of the internet in educating his children, a la Age of the Infovore, considering its unsavory content?

172 El Diablo Pollo May 19, 2017 at 1:16 pm

Ask him if 9-4 is an acceptable record for the University of Nebraska Football team.

173 TR5749 May 19, 2017 at 1:29 pm

Assuming Trump is still president and runs for re-election, will he support a serious intra-party primary challenge to the incumbent? Would he himself consider running?

174 Eric S. May 19, 2017 at 1:40 pm

Ezra Klein’s Booker and Warren podcasts were massive groaners because they didn’t embrace the format (because they are politicians and simply aren’t programmed any other way) and Ezra, through no real fault of his own – let them prattle on and on. Thus “What should I ask” isn’t the right frame but rather “What’s the best way to interrupt a politician and avoid stump speeches without pissing them off?”

I’m surprised he agreed to do this and I’m surprised you agreed to do it in front of a crowd. I genuinely wish you good luck.

175 Art Deco May 19, 2017 at 4:19 pm

“What’s the best way to interrupt a politician and avoid stump speeches without pissing them off?”

Interview a retired politician or one fairly straight-up. Rick Santorum, perhaps.

176 Mark May 19, 2017 at 1:43 pm

As a historian, political scientist and senator, does he think the US Senate is performing its intended purpose? Specifically, is two votes for California, two votes for Florida and two votes for Montana still a wonderful idea?

177 msgkings May 19, 2017 at 2:01 pm

Considering Nebraska gets 2 votes as well, I bet you can guess his answer.

178 Art Deco May 19, 2017 at 4:22 pm

You’ll get a prefabricated response about what Mr. Madison would have wanted. Instead, ask him to comment on research into Congressional behavior which suggests that Representatives are concerned with the views of constituents but Senators are concerned with the views of donors. Or ask him why he thinks it sage to require a 3/5 majority to pass legislation in an already malapportioned chamber.

179 fallibilist May 19, 2017 at 1:55 pm

1. Ben Sasse went to some pretty good schools: Harvard, Yale, and…St. John’s College (the Great Books School). As an alum, what does he think of the “Great Books” approach? Is this sort of wisdom really just “belles lettres” nowadays; too impractical in a time of sky-high tuition and stagnant wages? What is alive and what is dead in the way we teach The Canon? (All of this acknowledges that we rarely teach the canon.) Also– here’s a favorite topic among Johnnies–who is in the current canon that deserves to get kicked out? (My vote is for Freud.)

2. Sasse is known as a great Constitutionalist. But the Constitution was made by men, not gods. What amendments would he add–or strike– to/from our current Constitution?

3. What is his opinion of E.D. Hirsch and in general the idea that there are certain things every American ought to know? Is this even possible with our combination of local control of schools (old) and extremely fractured media landscape (new)?

4. With extreme polarization and something approaching a non-violent War of All Citizens Against All Citizens, is there any hope for creating a culture of civility in the foreseeable future? How do we go about it?

180 Li Zhi May 19, 2017 at 2:06 pm

As a qualifier, I’ve read his CV and am unimpressed. I’ve little doubt he is a talented communicator, but I can’t see anything that clearly indicates he has any other competencies. The question which I would ask him, and perhaps you can phrase it in a less aggressive way, is why does he believe his “experience” is sufficient to be advising other parents?” As the father of actual adult children (4 of them), I find his assumption that he has anything but anecdotal opinion to offer the epitome of arrogance. As a follow up question, ask him how he reconciles his faith’s requirements for humility with his penning such a tract.

181 Li Zhi May 19, 2017 at 2:17 pm

Just to continue a bit, I read the condensed excerpt from his book in the WSJ and noted that his 3 children are pre-teen to perhaps early teen (iirc). Hardly the most challenging of ages. I saw nothing to indicate he has ANY expert knowledge in childhood education, and with his very limited experience, very little to offer. What is actually noteworthy about another Christian “How to Raise Your Children according to the Bible” books?

182 Art Deco May 19, 2017 at 4:24 pm

The question which I would ask him, and perhaps you can phrase it in a less aggressive way, is why does he believe his “experience” is sufficient to be advising other parents?”

And he’ll tell you that’s because there’s no better teacher and the educrat / mental-health-trade nexus hasn’t been covering itself with glory.

183 Colorado Dude May 19, 2017 at 2:37 pm

Why are Republican senators so unwilling to endure a filibuster by the Democrats? Aren’t the things they want to accomplish as important as the civil rights Democrats supported strongly enough to live through a filibuster decades ago? Not jobs-enabling tax reform? Not fiscally sound healthcare? Not cutting back on massive over-regulation?

184 beamish May 19, 2017 at 2:40 pm

What does he think about the modern interpretation of the Commerce Clause?

185 Rich Berger May 19, 2017 at 2:57 pm

Remind me again; why am I interviewing you?

186 SMK May 19, 2017 at 3:02 pm

How have changes in curriculum in primary, secondary, and undergraduate education affected the current generation of young people?

Has the public perception of business people — both execs at well established companies and company founders like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberger, etc. — affected how young people think about employment and work more generally?

Do young people trust institutions the way prior generations did? Do they believe that the state, commercial entities, universities, churches, and other institutions are trustworthy?

Everyone talks about what millennials don’t like, won’t do, can’t do, don’t believe. Can he explain what the millennials’ world view in a positive way? I don’t mean an endorsement or valentine to young people. I mean affirmative statements such as “young people today believe XYZ more than prior generations, and as a result….”

How might this guy segment millennials? They aren’t a homogeneous group. What segmentation will shed meaningful light on the current generation of young people? By geography? Parental education? Income? Gender?
Parental experience — e.g., divorce, job loss, great success, etc.?

What role does ubiquitous technology play in the launch into adulthood?

The baby-boomer hippies were reviled in the late 60s and early 70s, and then grew into the yuppies and reaganite conservatives of the 80s. What might we expect from the current generation of young people in, say, 10 or 15 years?

187 Edgar May 19, 2017 at 3:20 pm

Interestingly, his Senate website has histories of each of the committees to which he is assigned. Has he studied the histories of his three Armed Services subcommittee assignments, Airland, Cybersecurity, and Personnel? Which of theses subcommittees does he feel his background best prepared him for? What does he look for when hiring staffers?

188 Rob May 19, 2017 at 3:31 pm

Nebraska food
Peace Churches
The founding fathers
Annapolis, MD
Formal education
Informal education (MOOCs, autodidacts etc.)

189 msgkings May 19, 2017 at 3:49 pm

Um, the race relations thing is almost entirely about African-Americans, not immigrants.

190 Thorfinnsson May 19, 2017 at 4:14 pm

The offspring of recent African-origin immigrants often assimilate into the indigenous American black community and develop anti-white attitudes. A prominent example of this is former Attorney-General Eric Holder. For that matter President Obama himself is an example–his father was Kenyan and he grew up in Hawaii.

While the dominant race relations problem concerns native blacks, there are other issues. There’s a surprising amount of anger in elements of the Asian-American community. See here for instance: https://www.reddit.com/r/aznidentity/

Identity politics are also now (re)emerging in the white community itself in the form of the “alt right” and the election of Donald Trump.

191 Art Deco May 19, 2017 at 4:27 pm

Holder is a Caribbean mulatto, not a recent African immigrant. Stokely Carmichael’s family was West Indian. Then again, so was Colin Powell’s and Shirley Chisolm’s.

192 Thorfinnsson May 19, 2017 at 4:36 pm

I specified “African-origin” in order to avoid having that pointed out. I could’ve simply said BLACK, and perhaps I should have.

Certainly Holder is a mulatto (at best), and in America that makes him black. There’s no mulatto upper class in America as there is in the West Indies, even if in the past some Talented Tenth high yellas enforced a paper bag test at their private clubs.

Colin Powell is another barely-black of West Indian descent, and despite being a Republican voted for Obama twice. I wonder why…

193 msgkings May 19, 2017 at 4:59 pm

One reason is surely racists like you taking over the Republican party.

194 Anonymous May 19, 2017 at 5:59 pm

@ msgkings

195 Art Deco May 19, 2017 at 6:10 pm

Colin Powell is another barely-black

I think you’ve confused him with Lena Horne.

196 Art Deco May 19, 2017 at 6:12 pm

and despite being a Republican voted for Obama twice. I wonder why…

Jackie Kennedy’s stepfather, a prominent New York Republican, was asked why he contributed money to JFK’s campaign: “I want to live in harmony with Mrs. Auchincloss and all the other members of the family”.

197 TMC May 19, 2017 at 7:41 pm

The Republican party of today is less racist than either party of any previous time period.

198 H May 19, 2017 at 4:09 pm

Ask him how he reconciles humans’ nature and evolutionary history as big-brained apes with his view on Natural Rights? Or rather, maybe a better way to say that is, how does he get from Hobbes to Locke?

199 senior white house official May 19, 2017 at 4:13 pm

this is sort of current events, but not really.

i’ve heard sasse say some very reasonable things about trust in institutions, increasing partisanship, and so on. i think the polling shows a lot of regular americans agree with him.

what i would like to hear from him is whether he believes that historically there’s an asymmetric causality behind this. in other words, has the republican party and the ways it has changed since roughly 1994 done more than anything else to hurt institutions and elevate partisanship? or at least has it done more than the democrats have done?

i respect sasse a lot, but i’ve seen him duck the whole merrick garland thing, for instance, by pointing to reid’s earlier actions and also the broader problem of partisan bickering. well, sure. but garland is only one of a long string of examples of his party being stubborn, ruthless, and power-obsessed. maybe as a republican you’re ok with that — you have gorsuch, after all. but sasse sounds like the kind of republican who’s not ok with a win no matter the means.

so i’d like to hear what he thinks about the history of this asymmetric polarization. have republicans done more to create our country’s problems since 1994 than democrats? if so how does he plan to fix that in his party?

200 Gerber Baby May 19, 2017 at 5:01 pm


201 msgkings May 19, 2017 at 5:01 pm

Of course you can’t speak for the party as a whole, you alt rightists haven’t taken over the entire thing (yet).

202 Thorfinnsson May 19, 2017 at 5:08 pm

We’re working on it.

The McGovern coalition didn’t take over the Democratic Party overnight either.

203 Anon May 19, 2017 at 6:01 pm

Wonder why the Republicans didn’t have the guts to vote down Garland.

204 Art Deco May 19, 2017 at 6:13 pm

Why does a pro forma ballot take ‘guts’?

205 Art Deco May 19, 2017 at 4:16 pm

Hastert has been accused of molesting four high school students in the Chicago exurbs between 1966 and 1981. Why would Sasse have known anything about that?

206 Thorfinnsson May 19, 2017 at 4:25 pm

Do you really believe Hastert’s activities ended in 1981?

As a tutor in the Congressional Page program Ben Sasse was responsible for providing young boys to elected Representatives, such as Representative Dennis Hastert.

I’ll add that Ben Sasse looks like a creep: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CW8mcv9WAAAlG-X.jpg

Physiognomy is real.

207 Art Deco May 19, 2017 at 4:35 pm

Do you really believe Hastert’s activities ended in 1981?

I have no reason to believe they did not. He wasn’t working around adolescents anymore and three of the four accusations concerned one-offs and it’s not altogether clear what Hastert is alleged to have done. The one accusation that is clear is hearsay offered by a woman named Jolene Burdge, who clearly hates his guts.

I’ll add that Ben Sasse looks like a creep: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CW8mcv9WAAAlG-X.jpg

Physiognomy is real.

Maybe you better go easy on accusing others of being credulous.

208 justsomeguy May 19, 2017 at 4:18 pm

Bernie Sanders is an Independent that caucuses with the Democrats. Have you considered becoming an Independent that caucuses with the Republicans ?

209 Art Deco May 19, 2017 at 4:31 pm

From 1965 to 2015, Sanders was never a registered Democrat and never ran in a Democratic Party primary.

210 msgkings May 19, 2017 at 5:02 pm

Non sequitur much?

211 Jan May 19, 2017 at 7:21 pm

So, he’s an Independent who caucuses with the Democrats? Great, thanks.

212 Stephen May 19, 2017 at 6:16 pm

After what we saw with the economy in the Bush years, why do Republicans still believe in trickle-down economics?

213 Art Deco May 19, 2017 at 7:47 pm

Why do partisan Democrats mistake their memes and slogans for technical terminology?

214 prior_test2 May 20, 2017 at 3:13 am

Will Rogers is a meme? From 1932 – ‘This election was lost four and six years ago, not this year. They [Republicans] didn’t start thinking of the old common fellow till just as they started out on the election tour. The money was all appropriated for the top in the hopes that it would trickle down to the needy. Mr. Hoover was an engineer. He knew that water trickles down. Put it uphill and let it go and it will reach the driest little spot. But he didn’t know that money trickled up. Give it to the people at the bottom and the people at the top will have it before night, anyhow. But it will at least have passed through the poor fellows hands. They saved the big banks, but the little ones went up the flue.’

215 Larry Siegel May 24, 2017 at 2:54 am

Will Rogers was a Democrat and apparently believed that you “give” money to people “at the bottom.” He didn’t know that they earn it, and that if they have more skills and opportunities they will earn more.

Eighty years later, Democrats are still quoting a movie comedian and don’t know it.

216 Tom C May 19, 2017 at 7:08 pm

WRT the Electoral College, how does he assess the significance of Nebraska’s split-vote approach (rather than winner-take-all approach)?

217 Sai Chavali May 19, 2017 at 7:14 pm


Two questions on abortion in light of religious liberty, guns & sanity in polarised politics.

1. In light of the constitution supporting religious liberty (where atheism is also a form of religious ilberty), why should we stand against another person’s right to make choices on their child and their wellbeing? Why is one person’s religious beliefs foisted upon another? If we have abortion legal today, a Hindu (like my family), Christian or Muslim person may never choose abortion due to our religion. But why should somebody with different beliefs have to live according to my religious views?

2. How can one take no action in which we regularly hear about these school, college and everyday shootings taking place?

3. How do you convince your constituents when they are particularly passionate about their pet project that no action is actually better? Eg: When a person has lost his/her/their job to outsourcing, they’ll be angry for obvious reasons. How do you empathise with their tough situation while staying true to your principles?

218 TMC May 19, 2017 at 7:45 pm

1. So if my religion says I have to kill Hindus, you’re cool with that?

219 John Ora May 19, 2017 at 7:21 pm

He grew up in a small town in Nebraska and has returned to live/work there. His perspective on rural economies and the demise of small farming towns might be quite insightful.

220 Matt May 19, 2017 at 7:26 pm

Could you clear up the discrepancy between your books – are we staying in our jobs for longer or shorter periods of time? You seem to claim the former, he seems to claim the latter.

Also, Yuval Levin’s claims we are too nostalgic and are trying to bring back an age that cannot come back, yet his wish for us to decentralise seems like a similar mistake. Isn’t decentralization is a thing of the past? Isn’t the focal point of the federal government too strong and too useful?

221 Todd K May 19, 2017 at 7:36 pm

I’d be curious to what his opinions are regarding neighboring Kansas’ large budget cuts in education at both the K – 12 schools and universities.

222 Anonymous May 19, 2017 at 7:44 pm

Ask him about his experience driving for Uber before the election. Was he recognized? What did passengers say? What did he learn from the experience?

223 Ryan T May 19, 2017 at 8:54 pm

As much as possible, try to move away from his talking points. When scholars and artists deliver their core messages, it’s almost always interesting. When politicians deliver their core messages, regardless of whether their message is admirable or important, it’s almost always boring. Beyond that, I’d ask about Bruce’s Nebraska album, whether this guy can find Nebraska on a map, does he know the abbreviation for Nebraska if he was to send a letter there, and whether he has read your books. If you do talk politics, then I’d expect to know what he most admires about Obama, Trump, and other American leaders. I haven’t read his book, but the Wikipedia summary sounds like a rehash of the second part of “Man’s Search for Meaning.” He seems well educated; I’d be more interested in his academic career than his political ambitions. Hope this helps.

224 WB May 19, 2017 at 8:57 pm

I would ask him about congressional representation. Legislators face pressure from primary voters, general election voters, activists, and special interests, among others. These groups often have conflicting priorities and demands, making it difficult, if not impossible, for Congress members to serve everyone adequately. For example, because primary voters tend to be more ideologically extreme than general election voters, they often demand policies that a majority of voters oppose. So, whom do you represent and whom do you ignore? Or put another way, how do you balance the competing demands that are placed on you, so that you don’t alienate key groups and jeopardize your electoral support?

225 cfh May 19, 2017 at 10:00 pm

St John’s College. over or under -rated.

226 Bill May 19, 2017 at 10:27 pm

What personal views do you have that would be unpopular with the electorate, and why are you suppressing them?

What do you believe that you know is not true?

227 Bill May 19, 2017 at 10:32 pm

To do a question on the line of the question asked of Dukakas re a death penalty for a person who raped his wife:

If your daughter were pregnant and was told that she would die without an abortion, would you support a ban on abortion or tell her to go to another state?

If your son were caught in possession of cocaine would you argue for stiffer sentences for possession?

If religious institutions are free to engage in political activity and their congregational members were allowed to deduct contributions to the church as a charitable contribution, what is your position with respect to giving charitable deductions for contributions to non-religious institutions who engage in political activity.

228 Bill May 20, 2017 at 7:55 am

Ask him how his conservative views mesh with support for agricultural price supports and subsidies.

229 Daniel Armstrong May 19, 2017 at 10:34 pm

Ask him why he drives for Uber and what he has learned, if anything, from doing it.

230 Stephanie May 19, 2017 at 10:51 pm

In his public interviews (e.g. NPR), Ben Sasse talks at length about how he believes we need need to “toughen up’ American kids and that they need to “build and celebrate scar tissue”.

How does he reconcile this with Peter Temin’s new book that upward mobility requires not screwing up for at least 20 years?

More generally, does he acknowledge that the view of child rearing he is proposing is incredibly privileged? After all, his children’s father is a US senator.

231 anon May 20, 2017 at 12:27 am

Who is his favorite political thinker and what is that political thinker’s biggest mistake

232 anon May 20, 2017 at 12:36 am

does he know he needs to switch to an adult haircut within a year if he wants to run for president in 2024 without recent pictures of him with a teenager’s haircut (the mean and median and average number of years to classify a childish haircut as safely in the non-recent past is 7 years – this has been known since the days of Leah and Rachel).

233 Jr May 20, 2017 at 3:16 am

I know you don’t want to get into current day events so ask him a hypothetical question: “Let us suppose that a racist, misogynist, supremely narcissistic person with no knowledge of how to run a government gets elected to president with the help interference in the election from a hostile foreign power. Suppose that person also has expressed admiration for about every dictator or wannabe-dictator in the news and proceeds to play down the foreign interference in the election and sabotage the investigation into it. Suppose further that he takes lying to a new level, even for a politician, and continues to run a business in foreign countries, giving him a massive conflict of interest. Do you think a senator that can only issue a few mealy-mouthed statements of criticism is doing his job?”

234 Art Deco May 20, 2017 at 10:51 am

I’m sure he’ll waste his time reciting the fanciful talking points favored by the worst sort of partisan Democrat.

235 John Hamilton May 20, 2017 at 3:43 am

You’ve been working through Calvin, and Sasse has deeply read Calvin. Ask if Calvin is underrated or overrated. Also ask about Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Anselm… Why did he call Matthew the “earthiest gospel”? What did Chaucer teach him about theology? (For these questions, consult his tweets from Sep 13, 2016.)

236 Stephen May 20, 2017 at 6:47 pm

There are plenty of things he could name that the central government does that he thinks the state or local government should do primarily, but are there anythings that local governments currently do that the central government should instead because of the incentives the state or local government faces?

237 mikeInThe716 May 21, 2017 at 10:42 am

Ask Sasse about teaching kids to drive. Ideally, what % of their teaching / training should be done by:

1) Their Parents
2) Professional drivers / schools.
3) Disinterested friends / relatives who drive well.

And why those percentages.

238 Steve May 21, 2017 at 8:09 pm

If there was a proposal in front of Congress that would provide a serious benefit to the country as a whole, but could harm Nebraska, how would he weigh his dueling duties to both Nebraska and the United States.

For example if there was strong evidence that changing the United States to two mainland timezones would be much more economically efficient but risked enraging Nebraska farmers, how would he weight those opposing concerns?

239 Pete May 22, 2017 at 8:25 am

Did John Dewey make a net positive or net negative contribution to US education?

240 Tim Meyer May 23, 2017 at 11:28 am

1. How do you incentivise the “right” people into politics?

2. How would the addition of a moderate third party influence washington? How could campaign finance reform make this a reality?

3. Apply game theory to #2 from a micro/macro level. Ben, would you have a better shot at a presidential run in 2020 or 2024 as a republican, or something else?

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