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Ben Stein Gives First Speech In University’s Distinguished Lecture Series (2009)

Article Source: The ECHO, (University of Central Arkansas), By Aprille Hanson, November 4, 2009


"The authors then attempt to plumb the psychological wellsprings that generate this anger: Is it infantile narcissism? Is it a desperately incomplete maturation process? Is it competition with patriarchal figures? The authors attempt to create a psychological road map that explores what the psychological roots of this national self-loathing might be. This is a unique approach, attempting to explain political beliefs in terms of psychological background, and the authors believe that it’s the only approach that works, since a realistic appraisal of America would not allow as much rage as we see in daily political discourse. Finally, the authors offer a plan for how to fight back." - Ben Stein / Amazon

"Can America Survive?: The Rage of the Left, the Truth, and What to Do About It." - Ben Stein

"Ben Stein, the famed actor, author and economist, spoke to students, faculty and community members on Oct. 30 about the importance of education in a changing political world. Stein’s appearance was part of UCA’s Distinguished Lecture Series.

Stein, who shot to fame after his memorable role as the monotone teacher in the movie 'Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,' began his lecture in a most unfamiliar way. The notably dry speaker began with several jokes, making the audience feel very at ease, saying that his wife, Alexandra Denman, is from Arkansas.

'You’re not going to have many speakers that know this area better than I do,' Stein said.

Stein has written several books, been a columnist for the Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, hosted the comedy show 'Win Ben Stein’s Money,' as well as many other accomplishments.

Overview "Win Ben Stein's Money": 10/26/1999 - TV.COM - Video Source: URL

Stein’s lecture, called 'Common Sense Takes a Holiday,' started by commenting on several past presidents and used his blunt style to say exactly what he felt in terms of their personalities and policies. Stein said though he did not like President Jimmy Carter, he did do some good for the economy.

'When we think of Jimmy Carter and the senile mess he’s become, remember what he did for the economy,' Stein said.

Stein also said President Ronald Reagan was 'as great a president as you can imagine' and President Bill Clinton was 'the most prudent president that’s ever been in the United States.'

Stein said President George W. Bush had a great personality, but his policies were flawed.

'I like Bush. I campaigned for him … but his tax cuts made no sense,' Stein said. 'To keep cutting them made no sense.'

Stein said the downfall of most political policies and also the recession that the United States is currently in is the fault of the politicians. 'Unfortunately, they did not read their history,' Stein said.

The first mistake Stein said that led to the recession worsening in the United States was the fall of Lehman Brothers Inc., in 2008. The filing for bankruptcy was the largest in United States history, totaling $600 billion in assets.

'Instead of bailing out Lehman Brothers, [the government]let them fail and did not bail them out,' Stein said.

He said Secretary of Treasury Tim Geithner was responsible for this. Stein said the government and Geithner realized he had made a large mistake. This made the government decide to begin 'bailing out the financial sector.'

Stein made several remarks on the recession and then began speaking about another hot button issue in the United States today: Global warming.

'We have had the hottest year … 11 years ago. Scientists are questioning if global warming is a real thing,' Stein said. 'I totally agree if it’s manmade, let’s stop it as soon as possible. But turning the economy upside down for something that may not even be real, I question.'

His statement on global warming was met with immediate applause from the audience. He later commented in the lecture to a question from an audience member and said, 'Global warming is a tool to beat up the oil industry, capitalism … it isn’t proved.'

One of the key points of Stein’s lecture focused on the lack of educated youth in America. He talked about how he was co-host on the VH1 2007 show 'America’s Most Smartest Model.' The goal of the show was to find the best-looking and smartest person. The filming took place in Los Angeles and was narrowed down to eight males and eight females. Stein said while off-camera, he asked them various questions that couldn’t be answered, ranging from who the U.S. fought against in World War II to figuring out how old he was without using a calculator.

Though the stories were humorous, they were troubling.

One question he asked the bunch is 'What is the main language in Australia,' to which they all replied 'Australian.' Another model was shocked to hear that the U.S. had fought Japan in a war. Stein said: "She said ‘We fought a war against Japan? Who won?’ I said, ‘Well you’re all eating Sushi so I guess they did.'”

Ben Stein on 'America's Most Smartest Model': Microsoft Business Conference, (MSBI), 2008 - YouTube - Video Source: URL

Stein said the Los Angeles area is terrible when it comes to education. He said he believes this is due to a lack of knowing English. 'In L.A., more than 50 percent [of students]do not speak English at home,' Stein said.

Stein said the lack of education and knowing English is the most prevalent problem in the U.S. that’s not being taken care of. 'This is a scary situation. I don’t see the politicians addressing this in fear of being not politically correct,' he said.

"Is Barbra Streisand a star? Is Bruce Springsteen a star? Is Sean Penn a star? Are any of the Hollywood players who endlessly complain about America (and make $20 million per picture) and say that America is a racist, imperialist country a star? Ben Stein doesn’t think so. He says that the men and women who wear the uniform of the United States of America and fight for our freedom while risking their lives for $1,500 a month are the real stars." - Ben Stein / Amazon

He spoke a lot on the topic of patriotism and importance of the United States soldiers and veterans. His 2007 book titled, 'The Real Stars: In Today’s America, Who Are the True Heroes?' deals with soldiers and giving them credit for our freedom. He told many stories about his late father-in-law and about the time he asked him why he served. His father-in-law replied 'So you and my daughter don’t have to.'

Stein said: 'That’s what makes this country great.' Stein said in many ways the soldiers fighting now and the veterans do not receive the praise they deserve.

'You read about ‘Jon & Kate Plus 8’ every day in the newspaper, but do we ever know the names of the eight Americans killed in a roadside bomb in Iraq?' he said. 'We don’t get [freedom]through baseball players, actors, musicians … we get it through the people who put up their lives and limbs.'

After he finished the bulk of his lecture, Stein received questions ranging from the issues he addressed such as global warming and also some he didn’t talk about like President Barack Obama’s proposed healthcare plan. 'I still don’t like the idea of government getting in the way of people and their doctors,' Stein said.

The last question Stein took was fitting. A student addressed a political topic, but also asked, 'Can you say ‘Bueller’?,' referring to his famous line from the movie. The auditorium laughed and as Stein finished up the first question he playfully said, 'And the answer to your second question … Bueller … Bueller.' The crowd was on its feet, laughing and gave Stein a standing ovation.

College students tend to label themselves as either very conservative or very liberal without even listening to the opposite side of an issue. Stein said, at a private book signing after the lecture, that the best thing college students can do is read.

'If I were a college student now, I’d want to read both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal and decide who to side with that way. To [decide] what’s real and what’s not,' Stein said.

Sophomore Ty Bittle, who was able to ask Stein a question, said he enjoyed the lecture. 'How often do you get the opportunity to ask Ben Stein a question? It’s so rare to hear an expert’s opinion,' Bittle said. 'He’s a very conservative economist, but it was very nice to hear his opinion.'

Freshman Matthew Jones said he was enlightened by the lecture. 'It was not what I expected. It opened my eyes to some things. He was brutally honest. He said what he meant and he meant what he said,' Jones said. 'Ben Stein’s a real nuggets of wisdom kind of guy … he opened my eyes to new things going on in the world stage with government policies. It gives you clarity of mind.'

Sophomore Jake Haynes said Stein’s bluntness was refreshing. 'I liked his blunt view on every issue that’s going on right now. It’s nice to hear stories and information from someone who’s so knowledgeable,' Haynes said. 'He almost inspires you to learn so we’re not part of the collapse [in education] he’s talking about.'

Stein said the one thing he wanted students to take away from his lecture was the value of freedom. 'The incredible value of individual freedom and how it exceeds any other value in society,' Stein said."


Article Source: The ECHO, (University of Central Arkansas), By Aprille Hanson, November 4, 2009



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