that's it for us tonight, thank you for joining us, see you next time. john: batman won't save you so who are america's heroes? weirdly the media or politicians. >> if i could get your autograph here on my copy of the first warren bill. >> the perfect barack obama, he's a perfect specimen. >> drawing up my leg. >> really? >> that is an objective assessment. john: no, it's not. we'll show you the real heroes, most are not politicians, they're entrepreneurs. and parents like this mom who went to jail because she wanted to give her daughters a choice. >> holy batman, it's exciting. john: heroes of freedom. that's our show tonight.
[ applause ] . john: who are your heroes, and what makes for a hero? a harris poll asked americans that question, and the person who came in first was jesus christ. i understand that. but after jesus many people picked politicians. ronald reagan was second. barack obama third. president obama ranked higher right after he was elected then placed first ahead of jesus. are any of those people your heroes? [ cheers ] >> some for jesus, but not the politicians, but the list is politicians, george bush is on the list.
hillary clinton, fdr, elizabeth warren. why politicians? what is so heroic about what they do? when i look at them i see self-serving panderers who say anything to win. and once elected dole out favors and money to their cronies. but that's not how the hollywood left sees politicians. they see them as inspirational heroes. >> let the american people explode into this new millennium with the exhilaration of being true to the glory of this democracy. thank you. [ applause ] . john: the music swells. this idea that the right politician will lift all of us up, bring us together, save the country is just stupid. and worse, it's dangerous because it encourages people to turn to politicians for answers, and the way politicians do things, the way government does anything is through force. we don't need more force, we need less.
i finally came to understand that by listening to people who have thought about these things more thoroughly than i, people at the libertarian cato institute like david boaz, the author of the libertarian mind. also here to tell us how hollywood gets politics wrong is video producer john pepola, john used to work for mtv. why does hollywood want to make politicians heroes? >> there's a belief that politics is a mechanism for everyone to be represented, whereas private industry and individuals only represent their own interests. and that's an appealing appeal if you are trying to tell a story and get a broad audience that the hero represents all of us if we vote for them, but -- >> it's sort of logical, the businessman is out for himself, the politician is there to help all of us. >> if i don't like what the businessman is doing, i can walk out the door. if i don't like what the politician is doing, i guess i
go to greece? i don't know. [ laughter ] >> david? >> there's a lot of nationalism and tribalism. they're our leaders, they represent our country, and that's a big thing. plus politicians do dramatic important things, they win elections, they fight wars, they fight battles, they give speeches. all of these things are more exciting than what most scientists and businessmen do. >> the movie dave was based on the conceit if we got a nice, good person to be president, he'd solve all our problems. president dave brings in his own accountant who proceeds to wow the cabinet to show how they save another welfare program. >> that's another 47 million. this is good. we're doing really good. on our way. let me just add that to the tally here. 6$656 million. [ applause ] . >> the impression in stories like that is only a mean person
wouldn't do these things for the people. they're focusing there on the cuts but the point is there's a program, it will help people get jobs. any decent program, it will get them jobs. they're mean, now we see what a good politician would do. john: and the media is supposed to be objective about all this stuff. left-wing media is worse than hollywood in some cases. watch a few of them fawn over big government politicians. >> the feeling most people get when they hear a barack obama speech, i felt this going up my leg, i don't have that too often. >> the perfect barack obama, a perfect physical spesmen. >> senator warren congratulations on your first bill. if i could get your autograph on the first warren bill. >> you bet. >> this will be the framed. john: are you kidding me?
asking for an autograph? >> they're not my heroes. john: who are heroes to you? >> the people who benefitted humanity are not generally politicians. you might say the american revolutionaries did something good. john: george washington. >> george washington, james madison, people like that. most o american presidents are not people who have done something heroic. heroic people to me are people who save lives and made our lives better. there's a website can you find about the people who have saved the most lives in history, and you've never heard of these people. at the top, fritz hobber and carl bosh created synthetic fertilizer, estimated half the food in the world is based on their findings. 2 1/2 billion people are alive because of that. billions don't starve anymore. john: fertilizer is cheaper? >> 2.7 billion people are alive because of that. carl landsteiner and richard lewison who described blood
transfusions and there's a billion people whose lives may have been saved by them. john: edward jenner invented the smallpox vaccine. [ applause ] half a billion lives. >> a billion people might have died of smallpox if edward jenner hasn't discovered the vaccine. john: anybody heard of these people here? >> no. john: you cite businessman like sam walton, ted turner, boy, i don't think of them as heroes. walton started walmart, gets filthy rich. >> he absolutely started this business in order to make money. but what he did was bring necessary stuff to working class people at lower prices than they could get anywhere else, and that is a -- he is a much greater benefact offer humanity than barack obama or elizabeth warren or any of these others. [ applause ] >> and then there's a whole group of people, ted turner who created cnn.
brian land who created c-span. jeff bezos at amazon, jimmy whales at wikipedia. larry page and sergei bren at google. they brought knowledge to the world, transparency, we get to find out more or less what politicians are up to because of this. john: but some of this did it to make money. >> some didn't, jimmy whales created a charity. he may wish he didn't do that. sure they do it to make money, by the invisible hand as adam smith put. if you set out to make money, the only way to do it is to provide people with something they want. >> one of the things that's a challenge talking about media and filmmaking, the invisible hand is hard to film. john: that's a good point. back to hollywood, i'm struck many of the left wing movies work on me, their arguments are wrong, in the movie american president, i cheer when president shepard finally comes to his senses, agrees with
leftist girlfriend and trashes a conservative law. >> i'm throwing it out and writing a law that makes sense. you cannot address crime prevention without getting rid of assault weapons and handguns. i consider them a threat to national security and i will go door-to-door if i have to, but i'm going to convince americans that i'm right and i'm going to get the guns. john: he's going to get the guns [ booing ] . john: the audience thinks it's a stupid program, and so do i. watching the movies, he's going to get girl and it feels good, even to me. the magic of hollywood? >> movies are about narratives and intentions. john: intention is to help people to stop crime. >> and that's all that ends up matters in the moviemaking process, it almost works against liberty in the structural way, i think. john: all right, sometimes hollywood goes beyond praising
liberal politicians, they glamorize murderers like che guevara. >> before he knew where life would take him, che guevara and his friend alberto. the journey of their life. an adventure in search of south america, in such a freedom. >> che guevara was a mass murderer, he ordered individuals shot and masses of people shot. they don't do this for nazis, but somehow communism has a romantic idea that somehow it was for the people, against the bosses. a terrible thing. we're taking confederate flags off every place in america. out of walmart, off of amazon, which is fine, but we're still selling and wearing che guevara t-shirts. somebody said what if you had a t-shirt showing che guevara with a confederate flag. would you get away with that?
[ laughter ]. john: you're community is so anti-capitalist in the attitude, they're all looking to make money, ruthlessly competitive? >> in my experience, hollywood is the most randian capital environment i've been. in it's entirely transactional when you try to pitch your project, there's no moral judgment whatsoever. john: it's about the bottom line? >> entirely about the bottom line. some ways that experience for creative people working in the industry actually turns them against capitalism that much more. john: ashamed of themselves. >> ashamed of the system they feel like is benefitting a handful of people in their own industry along the society at large. but once in a blue moon they get it right. john: like the first "ghostbusters" movie, it makes efishes epa bill. >> excuse me, this is private property. shut this off. shut them all off.
i'm warning you, turning off the machines is extremely hazardous. >> you are facing federal prosecution for half a dozen environmental violations, either you shut off the beams or we shut them off for you. john: the bureaucrats force them to shut off the machines. >> it's the best libertarian movie, "ghostbusters." [ applause ] . >> after they somehow get kicked out of academia. dan aykroyd says you don't know what it's like in the -- it's amazing the movie was made, it's only in the 1980s that movie could have been made. john: a brief moment where they got it. and i want to close saying we're talking about heroes. david, the cato institute, the leading libertarian think tank, you are my heroes, have you taught me so much, but also you've won a bunch, helped win a bunch of battles. not yet won marijuana
legalization, gay marriage you've one, school choice, nevada just passed a full voucher plan. won a few places like that? >> health savings accounts almost got through congress and started working before obamacare came in. on the national id card, the work our scholars have done is delayed it for maybe a decade now. john: cato institute, heroes of freedom, thank you, john, david, on facebook and twitter, we asked you who you think are heroes of freedom?
. >> let's get mikey! >> yeah. >> he won't need it, he hates everything. >> he likes it! hey mikey! >> mikey did like what they said was life cereal, and that commercial was more of a hit than the cereal. my previous guests tonight argued that many of life's unheralded heroes are people who start businesses. i agree. they risk their own money. they work harder than most of us, and they're still likely to fail. most new businesses fail. and yet entrepreneurs keep trying. it's extra heroic to start a business if you are in jail. but michael cole did that. so why were you in jail, what does this have to do with mikey? >> mikey is myself, mikey is me. born and raised new yorker, michael cole, my mom called me mikey ever since i was born.
and there comes a time when you start to figure out what you want to do as you mature in life. as i was sitting down trying to figure out what it was. ice cream making came out of the blue through my aunt who passed away. john: first you went to jail for selling something else. >> selling marijuana for six months. it was okay. not okay. [ laughter ] >> not okay, but you have to learn from your mistakes. as you sit down understand and hey, disomething wrong, you have to fix yourself when you come out. it's about rehabilitation. here i am coming out, and i said i'm going to make a change for myself, not just for myself but the community. this product is positive reenforcement for the community. john: you have a family recipe for ice cream, you started selling it out of your house? >> yes, illegally! >> there's all the regulations that make that illegal. >> yes, i would make ice cream at my house on a cuisinart
table top machine, have a little kumbaya session, and selling ice cream out of my house. my mom would say get it out, i can't take it anymore. people would knock on the doors, ring the bell. i got a push cart and i would sell in the street. and the cops got whim i was selling without a license and they were strong arming me, and after a while, i was like hey, you know, i could take this to another level. john: now you got a shop? >> yes, sir. john: it's doing well. you have the weird flavors, cool runnings, ice, ice baby, pretty in pink. >> pop culture references. you need to go back to your childhood and have that moment when it's just a memory when you had fun. mikey likes it, the original commercial. i hope with all the names that we bring our flavors will give you guys all the same. [ applause ] >> and looking at the reviews
on yelp, 4 1/2 stars, which is higher than the local two baskin-robbins stores who got fewer stars. you're eating it, audience, is it thumbs-up? down? [ applause ] . john: and now you're hiring employees and training ex-cons. >> yes, sir. john: why? >> because it's about a second chance. everybody has a second or third chance, even a fourth chance sometime. when you give someone a chance they want to make a change, you got to put them on the line and give them a chance. fortunately sometimes it works out well, sometimes it doesn't. the ones that you keep, they are there to support yourself. john: thank you, mikey cole, one of america's many unsung heroes who jump hurtles to be an entrepreneur. next, we'll meet this woman who went to jail simply because she wanted her daughters to have the freedom to go to school with the rich girls.
. >> i wish i could go to that school, papa. >> well, i don't know, baby. it would be awful nice but they got rules. you got to go to the school where you live. john: yeah, that's the rule. if you attend public school, if you can't afford to escape the government's horrible school monopoly. movie was based on the book a tree grows in brooklyn. a family that was desperate to give their kids a better education, father suggests school hopping by using an address that wasn't theirs. >> why don't we borrow it, then
your address would be 98 hibbert avenue, starting right now. see? they got to transfer you from the old school. this ain't exactly according to the rules. >> it's wrong? >> by a jugful, it ain't wrong. john: it ain't wrong but kelley williams-bolar went to jail for it. she lives in akron, ohio, and daughters went to a school that rated second lowest in the state. kevin chavis is with a group that's trying to change rules to allow moms to say where their kids have a choice. you were sentenced to ten days in jail. >> it was difficult, when i was in the holding cell, i cried for 12 hours straight. it was just -- >> and the other prisoners, did they say you're in here for what? >> yes, they did. one lady she was like, what's the matter. why are you crying so?
and i explained to her, and she was like, really? she was like, that's nothing, you know, compared to what maybe what she had did. [ laughter ] >> and kevin, what happened to her is crazy, and it is happening, connecticut, kentucky, new york, missouri, parents have been arrested. >> yeah, john, it's crazy, it's shameful frankly. every state has compulsory attendance law, you must send your child to a school, yet they don't guarantee the quality of those schools. the experience kelley had is not dissimilar to other experiences around the country, particularly low income people of color are forced to go to schools who don't serve their kids. we've got 2500 dropout factories. schools where 20% of the schools are going to drop out, we know it, and the government is going to prosecute someone desperate to get their kid in a good school. john: why were you desperate?
>> i was desperate because i wanted equality and safety. john: and your father lives near a good school, so you said, let's tell them we live there. >> right. his school district was a good school district, and he want me to enroll them, and i did, i have two girls and i enrolled them there. john: and the tree grows in brooklyn story, the parents who broke the rules are never caught, the daughter graduates from a good school. but kelley was caught because the government school monopoly, we're starving for money, but they spend more money to hire private detectives who follow kids and parents around. >> the district hired a private investigator who shot this video of the kids waiting for a bus near grandfather's house along with their mother kelley williams-bolar. they followed her to her house in akron believing she lied to the district about where they lived. john: which did you do? >> i did lie. i wanted them at my father's
school district. it was a good school district and my father could watch them while i was attending the university. john: would you do it again? >> absolutely not. it is too costly. i lost my father behind that. john: he got investigated for that. they found some law breaking in his past. put him in jail. >> they sentenced him to a year in the penitentiary and never came home. john: he died in jail? >> yes. >> what is so crazy and sickening about this, they made her and her father an enemy of the state. they made them out to be bandits. in the same city of akron, ohio. they had 11 out of 25 homicides were unsolved, and yet the venom and the intensity they went after the family because they were trying to get a good education for their kids is something that is inexcusable. john: what happened to kelly is happening to more parents. the state of pennsylvania caught this father sending his daughter to the so-called wrong school.
they threatened him with seven years of jail. he signed a plea bargain that let him off with $11,000 fine and then he said this. >> no family should face seven years in jail, not even one day in jail by providing education to a child in a public school. >> i would think not. so was the prosecutor embarrassed? >> no. >> it was a great day for justice and great day for everybody who pays school taxes. [ booing ] . john: but kevin, what do you say? people pay school taxes at that school. he's protecting their money, he says. >> reminds me of dr. king during the civil rights movement. he said you have a moral and legal obligation to obey a just law and have a moral obligation to disobey an unjust law. [ applause ] >> how are your kids doing? >> doing well now, of course they needed counseling and what not after that.
john: you were kicked out of the good school. you sent her to private school, somebody sympathetic paid for it the first year. >> yes, my youngest, her freshman year in high school, i had an anonymous gentleman in a part of new york wanted to help. he paid for her freshman year, and sophomore year, he wasn't able to do her sophomore year, so i sent her back because i thought he was, but he wasn't. so i had to work, and i'm still paying it off. john: you're working from 6:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. doing customer service for cable companies. >> that's my second job. my first job i work at a high school with students with disabilities. john: parents push back against the state's monopoly. here's a protest in texas calling for school choice. >> school choice now! school choice now! >> kevin, these, these are the real heroes today.
>> it's really exciting. john: sound vilified by unions. >> they do. this is an example where the parents are leading the leaders. people like kelley, mr. and mrs. garcia, parents who go to the rallies want something better than the government schools are giving us. [ applause ] >> thank you, kevin. kelley, a brave thing you have fought through. next, some heroes who fought communists. >> mr. gorbachev, tear down this wall. this wall. [ cheers ] now? excuse me. again?
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the soviet union. the wall did come down and the soviet empire crumbled soon after. reagan's actions played a part, but lots of people took big risks to fight communism. larry reed heads the foundation for economic education. and you went to a bunch of countries to spread subversive literature? >> that's true. back in the 80s before the fault of berlin wall and the evil empire as president reagan termed it, i visited a number of the countries and made contact with people who were active in the underground, anti-communist resistance elements in places like poland. john: tell the blinking light story. >> okay. in 1986, the marshal law declared in december of 81 was still in effect. every night i stayed in a different home trying to stay ahead of the regime. every home belonged to somebody active in the resistance.
john: in any home, they were taking a big risk? >> yeah, they were required by law to report a visiting foreigner. none of them had done so. i was told a couple was very special who was going to host my visit. they had run underground radio for solidarity in the first six months of martial law. they were detected and arrested after six months of that activity. he was given four years in prison. she was given three. there i was in their apartment in november of 86. neither one had been out of prison very long, and i asked them about running an underground radio station. i said when you were doing that? how would you know if people were listening? after all it's illegal and they couldn't stay in any one spot doing it before they moved on. john: no nielsen ratings. >> that's right. they had to find out if people were tuning in. she said we wondered that ourselves, but one evening on the radio we said if you believe in freedom for poland,
the message of our radio station, please blink your lights and call your friends who think the same way, ask them to do the same. and she said we went to the window and for hours all of warsaw was blinking. [ applause ] '6. john: you eventually got arrested? >> i thought right up to the end of my visit, i had stayed ahead of the government the whole time. somehow they got word of my having been there. the first stop at passport control booth, the agent saw my name and got on the telephone. and three armed men came over and that started about a 2 1/2 hour process of being interrogated and strip searched and with all my materials taken and every time i tried to go back, my visa was denied. john: now, communism was
overthrown. you talk to people in america now, free market, capitalism, your way isn't so good, so unequal. >> well, inequality is a natural sort of thing. we're different in terms of the talent that we have, and the extent to which we're willing to work. the savings that we put aside, and the million other reasons. so try to make people equal economically is an illution and can only be done at the point of a gun, and then you never get there. you never achieve it. it's an illusion that brings destruction and bloodshed in any attempt to bring it about. john: and keeps almost everybody but the politicians poor? >> that's right. in all the places the politicians talk about we're going to make you equal and wealth is bad. they almost always live very well. john: you now run the foundation for economic education, which teaches these ideas to how many students? >> 15,000 during the course of the year on campuses, but when
. john: earlier, we asked those of who you follow me on facebook or twitter to tell us who your heroes of freedom are? andrew said thomas soul for expose are him to the wonders of capitalism. and soul does this with many books and articles and they are a wonderful introduction to the joys of freedom. robert wrote edward snowden who sacrificed his successful life for us. audience, what do you think? is snowden a hero?
[ applause ] . john: any reservation? >> some. john: thomas sowell? >> [ applause ] . john: let's hear more from my guests, school choice advocate, larry reed, kevin, david boaz of the cato institute. you gave some of your heroes earlier, anybody you left out? >> i'm sure i left a lot of people out. i think edward snowden has been a hero and the facebooker got to right. he sacrificed his life. he is still alive but has to live in russia. john: he's a traitor, i'm told, may have endangered american assets? >> he told americans what government was doing to them, and now having a debate about whether what he did was right and the entire debate is basedon knowing the information. >> he could have gone to congress instead of making it public? >> congress has had the
authority to find the information out for years. they haven't looked for it. haven't wanted to know. john: larry? >> alexander is one of the greatest heroes of the last century. he spent ten years in the gulag, the soviet prison system. and had the courage to smuggle out much of his -- many of his writings, and continued to his dying day, in later years, defending individual liberty, and i think he was a great hero. john: kevin? >> howard fuller. he was superintendent of schools in milwaukee in the early 90s, and because of him we have school choice. he took a stand as an african-american superintendent and said this government of schools that i'm running aren't working for kids. >> and school choice began in milwaukee but it didn't take off. why not? >> it didn't take off because the government endities, particularly the teachers' union are powerful enemies but the people are beginning to
respond because a bad product can't sustain itself overtime. john: all right, audience? you have questions for my guests? who's first. >> mr. reed, do you believe that communism and those in the repressive regimes why people like rand, rothbart and friedman? >> very good question. i think ultimately communism is such a nonviable system that it makes war on human nature on private property, the things that sustain life. at some point it would have disappeared. john: many say it was ronald reagan who arms buildup and they tried to compete, broke more quickly. wasn't that? >> i think reagan and margaret thatcher, john paul ii. all of those people deserve a little credit. but even they would say and did on many occasions that the lion's share of the credit ought to go to the people who were actually living under communism, resisting it at every turn.
they were heroes in the eyes of people like reagan. john: who's next? >> how do you go against the nature of what's popular in society and fight and go to another country. what motivated you to change the regime there. >> this may sound corny, it was a movie. john: yes, it does. >> in 1966 -- [ laughter ] >> well, i was 14 when my mother insisted on take my sister and me to pittsburgh near where we lived to see the sound of music. and so when the soviets later invaded czechoslovakia next door to austria where the movie took place, i took a keen interest. john: yes, sir? >> i'm a libertarian, i have read milton friedman, how come many of my generation and most americans look at politicians as gods but unfortunately frown at businessmen. >> it's not just your generation, that was true in my generation, too. one of the reasons is businessmen are all around us, and they're not doing very
exciting things to look at. politicians are making speeches. they're starting new programs. they're having grand openings, and they have this nationalist sense. they're our leader. it's like singing solidarity forever. one of the reasons people go to church is to sing hymns in conjunction with other people. nobody stays home on sunday and sings a hymn at home. that's a collective thing and people like that, and something of a problem for libertarians that we don't particularly have a collective experience to give us. politicians give us that. and they give the sense of movement and they talk about forward and bridge to the 21st century. john: and they talk and they talk. >> and they talk and, of course, hollywood likes people who talk well. they write characters that talk well. that politician is up there talking about how he cares about me and he's going to lead us into the future. where it's really steve jobs and larry page who are leading
us into the future, but they weren't looking to get on television. they were looking to make a better product. >> politicians, they came off better many times because we judge people more by what they say than by what they actually do. john: thank you, david, larry, kevin. now a few more responses from twitter here. tim suggested -- and bill suggested -- coming up, my heroes of freedom. that's next.
be able to get an education. she recovered and refused to hide. she kept speaking up. >> getting education is not only each person's right, but also responsibility. john: she's a hero of freedom. my personal heroes are economists and writers whose ideas became like a jungle gym for my brain. i was just another statist liberal reporter when i began to read hayek and von missus. i'm just about not that smart. i couldn't get through the book. i learned more from hayek and charles murray and ayn rand. rereading alice shrug made me realize rand understood the regulatory states way before others did. even before milton friedman, he's a hero of freedom.
not just for his economics but he bothered to deal with the morons in the media and explain things simply. here he is in his tv series free to choose showing how government's rules keep increasing. >> 1936 it took three volumes to record all these matters. in 1947 it took four, and then it grew and grew and grew. john: and now it has still more pages. each page has the power to kill good new thing. but it's hard for people to grasp that if you look at one rule at a time. that's why i imitate free to choose by doing these tv shows where i'm buried in today's rules. i said freedoms of hero for explaining hero and you, too are a hero, if you do the same, and you should try, because lots of people just don't get it. malala, the heroic pakistani girl who fought for girls'
right to get an education, she later then went to markist summer school and wrote i'm convinced socialism is the only answer, and i urge all comrades to take the struggle to its victorious conclusion. what? socialism is the answer? even smart people don't understand the importance of freedom. freedom isn't the natural state of mankind am it's a rare achievement. friedman said, that he also said there have to be people who step up to the plate, who believe in liberty and who are willing to fight for it. you are my hero. you are if you do. and that's our show. see you next week. [ applause ]
♪ >> social justice -- >> social justice -- >> social justice. john: social justice, something leftists talk about. >> social justice is code for good things no one needs to argue for, and no one dare be against. >> save the whales. >> gays in the military now! >> free nelson mandela. >> they freed him already. john: what's the enemy of social justice? >> capitalism is really what is the oppressive force. john: so what must people do? >> spread those resources. john: when that's tried, people have to wait in endless lines for their social justice. >> [inaudible] john:al justice