America and the Art of Possible with author and conservative thought leader Chris Buskirk

1 year ago

On this week’s First Right, Doug Truax speaks with serial entrepreneur, author, and publisher of American Greatness, Chris Buskirk. Chris visited our studio to discuss his latest book, America and the Art of the Possible: Restoring National Vitality in an Age of Decay, and share his thoughts on why there’s hope for national renewal.

Don’t miss this conservative conversation about America’s current state-of-affairs and what it will take to restore our country back to greatness.

Want daily news without the liberal slant? Subscribe to First Right here:

Visit our website:

Doug Truax: Hello, and welcome to the First Right podcast, a weekly conservative news show brought to you by Restoration of America. I'm your host, Doug Truax, founder and president of Restoration of America. Today we're excited to have a chance to connect with Chris Buskirk, the editor at American Greatness. Chris is a serial entrepreneur, author, and contributor to several conservative free thinking publications across the country. Welcome to the show, Chris. Thanks for coming On.

Chris Buskirk: Well, I appreciate you having me.

Doug Truax: So before we get into the book, great book. Yep. By the way, loved it. Just give our viewers a sense of, you know, your background, how you got to where you are today. It's, I know it's varied. There's a lot of cool stuff in here, and I, I definitely want them to hear it.

Chris Buskirk: I, I can't help, I gotta tell you this, I always, I get asked this question in the beginning Sure. Of interviews all the, all the time. And I always think the exact same joke goes through my mind, which is the joke from the movie airplane from the eighties. In the beginning, the earth cooled and then there were the dinosaurs. I, I'm not that old, but the,.

Doug Truax: Well, we're getting there!

Chris Buskirk: But we're getting there like every day a little older. That's right. That's right. I don't, look, I grew up in Arizona. I went away to college, came back, and then I spent about 20 years as an entrepreneur in finance related businesses, you know, founded, biult, sold a couple companies. And then about 7 to 8 years ago, 2015, I made a decision that it was, after having sold a company, I made a decision I was gonna get much more heavily involved in politics. Why? People would always ask me, they'd say like, like, we always thought you were like, not insane. Like, why are you doing this here to yourself?

Doug Truax: I get that sometimes.

Chris Buskirk: Yeah. Right. And my answer was, my answer to everybody was, it sounded slightly crazy, but also totally true. And people I think either got it or, or didn't, which is, you know, I've got a family, I've got kids, and I felt like I had a responsibility to try and make the country better and leave it better than I found it. And there's a lot of, a lot of work to be done. And I've was fortunate to be in a position where I could do that. And so I got, have got very involved in political stuff back in 2015. It's just kind of grown and grown and grown and sort of that entrepreneurial, like instinct has, you know, is it's part of just who I am and what I do. So it's followed me into doing a lot of political projects. The, the first thing I ever did in politics at any sort of meaningful scale was a web magazine called American Greatness, which has sort of gone from strength to strength and Oh yeah,

Doug Truax: We're gonna cover that today for sure. Yeah.

Chris Buskirk: Good. Well, I'm, I'm in, I'm in favor of American Greatness, the institution, the journalistic enterprise, but also the concept and trying to, what would be a good phrase for this? Make America great again. Yeah, right.

Doug Truax: How about it?

Chris Buskirk: But yeah, so then that as one, as it does, like one thing led to another and I just got more involved in trying to like, not just come up with something that was like a temporary solution, but like, it was just, again, it sort of that business instinct. Like how do you build institutions that will, can get stronger and more effective over time and try and build those sorts of things. Like my kinda one of my running analogies on this stuff is a lot, I, I feel like a lot of pop people who grew up in politics, work in politics. It's always like, oh, we're thirsty. I'm gonna grab a bucket, I'm gonna run up the mountain to where the spring is, I'm gonna bring a bucket down and I'm gonna do that every time we get thirsty. Right. And like, my instinct is like, that's a really dumb way to do it. Why don't we just build an aqueduct and bring the water down here. Exactly. So it's just flowing to us. Sure, sure. And that's like, that's sort of the mentality and bring to trying to come up with and build solutions. Yeah. Get better.

Doug Truax: Totally. In politics with the, with the on year off year concept, which, which definitely goes to this deal. Like, that's right. Wow. We're rebuilding again this year. It's like, well, didn't we just do this two years ago? It's like, well, we took a year off and now we're back at it again.

Chris Buskirk: Right, right. St the style, I say this to, to like political consultants and people and people like that all the time. Like, we gotta stop thinking about politics is like a pop a pop-up restaurant. It's like, you know, it's on a food truck. You know, you've gotta trying to build something that's always on there are not off years if you wanna win.

Doug Truax: That's right. That's right. Yeah. Couldn't agree more permanent assets Yeah. Is the way to do it.

Chris Buskirk: Correct.

Doug Truax: And, and you, I really love your background and I'm a business guy too, in coming into politics and having that concept around, well, if you are gonna build some permanent assets, then there's metrics, there's the way you normally track these things, there's donor accountability, there's all these things that kind of go into it, which is a lot of times, frankly, missing in the political world. Yeah. And so I think that guys like you are breath of fresh air to folks that are saying to themselves, why can't we keep this going? Because essentially the business community, you know, you do your thing quarter over quarter over quarter, but in politics, you're racing to a time. There's election. That's right. But if you kind of restart, you know, nine months out from the election every year, you're never gonna get there. So you gotta smooth it out in a, in a business sense.

Chris Buskirk: Yeah, no, that's right. It's gotta be like, Democrats are very good at this. By the way. As, as you know, like.

Doug Truax: Permanently organized!

Chris Buskirk: Permanently organized. That's, you know, I, there's one part of this discussion which kind of goes to the book a little bit is like, this is where I feel like people who are a right of center need to update their priors, so to speak. Like there is a, a belief and, and a desire that the United States is basically sort of this like, almost like this Jeffersonian Republic or Jeffersonian democracy or whatever, in which it's like broadly middle class. And it's like you have small merchants, artisans, farmers over here, and everybody's kind of independent. And the, the, the political implication of that is politics is kind of back here. It kind of takes care of itself. And we're gonna get together at like the town hall, like every so often and we're gonna debate things out based on the merits.
And somebody's gonna raise their hand and be like, okay, yeah. That that isn't it is that like, you know, there, look, there are more people in Phoenix where I live than there were in all 13 colonies at the time of the, of, of the founding. There's 330 million people in this country and it's a very, very different country than it was. It's some good, some bad, but then than it was 150 or 200 years ago. And we need to be thinking about things in, in that way. And one of the reasons I wrote the book is, you know, when you think about this sort of broadly middle class country in which you have these sort of independent, you have these people who are sort of independent because they're an artisan, they're a merchant, they're, you know, a business person, they're a farmer in the classical, you know, conception of it, that's also less true.
There are a lot less of these. They're a lot less, well the first of all, the middle class keeps getting smaller. It's been shrinking for 50 years. It gets poorer, it gets less secure, you know, both physically and economically, but also there's a lot less independence. You know, I think about as a, just by way of example, we saw this in Covid in a, in a big way, right? People were forced to do things that they would not otherwise do. Those people who were solidly in the middle class or upper, upper middle class because they didn't have any independence. Like they didn't run their, like, I don't, whatever, three stores that were, I don't know, like it's all car areas, just whatever the generic business is. But because they were, yes, they were middle class on an economic scale, but they didn't have independence cuz they were working for, for Johnson and Johnson or for Amazon or whatever.
And so the edict comes down, you've gotta do X, Y or, or z or you know, I think about the medical profession. My father-in-law's a recently retired surgeon, he had the classic sort of, you know, what you think of as like classic medical practice, small business. Yeah. He's independent. Yeah. He could do what he wanted to do. That's much, much less true in medicine now than, than it was I guess moved into.

Doug Truax: Absolutely.

Chris Buskirk: You know, it's moved into these big group practices. A lot of doctors work for hospital systems now, so those, they have less independence too. And I think for, for, for what the sort of country we want, I think requires more people to have more economic independence. Right. Because that, that's al that's really a predicate to political independence.

Doug Truax: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely true, then we're gonna, so let's get into the book. This is good book. Chris is a super smart guy. We're gonna start with some of these things. It's, it's a good segue into what the heck is wrong, right? Yeah. There's a lot of things and you know, I, I would commend anybody to read this because it, it's super helpful the way you laid it out using stats and all your economic background and everything and say, this is what you're feeling. You know, I think you used the term at the end kind of a national entropy Yeah. Where it's like, what, everything's getting wobbly, right? Yep. And so, but you do a great job through the chapters of, of narrowing down and saying, this is how this is failing, so to speak. And this is, you know, and getting to what we need to do. But let's, let's get into more specifically, what do you see? What are the problems?

Chris Buskirk: Yeah. So let me, let me say what I, the book focused on, as you say, I tried to be very concrete, in defining the problems where I could, where things could be measured. And I know sometimes people on our side, it makes 'em a little uncomfortable to talk about that. Just a little, not a lot, honestly. Because people want to say, and I addressed this earlier in the book, people wanna say it's a spiritual crisis. And I stipulate upfront I agree. Like I a hundred percent agree with that. But number one, that's not really a political problem that can be solved. Number two is, I just wanted to write a different book because there I wanted to address things that were, could be defined that could be really concretized and that were, I thought, susceptible to political solutions. I'm a hundred percent for the spiritual solution too, but this isn't that, this isn't that book.

Doug Truax: Yeah. We're on the same page there. Yeah, yeah, for sure.

Chris Buskirk: So what are, so my, what I was thinking through the book, in fact, it's funny, I, I sort of wrote almost like more than half of like quite a different book, which I wound up like tossing because I was like, you know, this is like, it's still like too com too much complaining really in the book. And that actually just became the first couple chapters when I condensed it down. I said, here, look, if we want to have a solution, we need to identify the problem in a very concrete, quantifiable way. And so what I wanted to focus on was, I thought the things that would define what we would think of as success, like what would, like, what's the country we want, like politics at its most basic route is about building the country you want to live in.
Okay? And part of that is, you know, what is the average person? What, what's their experience of life? And I thought, well, okay, so what would be, what would be the things that would, we'd all agree that we want, well people should be live longer, they should live, be healthier. They should have, they should have the ability to have a family and a stable one. If they want one, they should be able to raise children on a one single median income. In other, in other words, if people want to have both parents working, that's up to them. But economically it should be possible for, to raise a family on a single income. The United States had that basically from about the end of World War II until the late eighties and it became the kind of the default setting. Like this is like the American dream.
And it is because that's historically really unusual, right. Especially like in the modern era.

Doug Truax: You bet. You bet.

Chris Buskirk: And we lost it the last, the last year it was possible to raise a single family on a median, on a on or a family, on a single median income was like 1989 defined. And just middle class, just what I say is you can own a house, you can own a car, you can send your kids to school just like nothing extravagant, but just what we think of in our mind as the conception of like just middle America. Sure. And that hasn't been possible for a long time. And that kind of plays out in a lot of different ways. This is, you see it where family formation is down total fertility rate, which is one of the things I talk about in the book. Total fertility rate is down like the, and this is again how I would define success, like a, a fertility rate that at least keeps up with the population.
Like you, you may or may not be growing, but you shouldn't be shrinking. Like in fertility rate in this country is right now is about 1.7 for the replacement rate is 2.1. Sure. Roughly. Right.

Doug Truax: And that's a problem.

Chris Buskirk: That's a problem. Yeah. That's no, it's a problem. It's, it's, it's, it's a bigger problem. Like kind like if you look historically, and I talk about a little bit of this in the book, but is civilizations often go through periods of population growth and decline over over time. And they just sort of, you know, for various reasons. It, it, it fluxes we're definitely, we are in a period of organic decline, though it's sort of, it's stabilized and we grow a little bit because of, of net immigration. Sure. But the, the problem you have is you can't have a welfare state with a declining population. Like the math does not work. That's right. And so people wonder to themselves like, like why isn't there so much pressure for immigration? Well, I mean the people who are very pro like mass immigration are upfront about is like, we, we need more workers. Like we can't, we're not repopulating. They get, they get super, it's weird. They get super nervous when you talk about fertility and things like that. Like, I don't know why like having a family, having kids last time, my check should be pretty normal. Right, exactly. That's great. But yeah. Right. I mean, but that's, but that's one of the reasons that like, there's so much pressure for immigration, there's cultural reasons and all those sort and political reasons that people want mass immigration. But there is this fundamental reality that if we're, we just don't have that many workers because like median age in the United States has been growing since the seventies. It's like right now, like 38 years old. And as you get more people who are older who aren't working, and then you have also have this welfare system who's paying for it, right? Like this system we have right now is untenable except for the, you know, if we didn't have the dollar being the reserve currency, like we could not do what we're doing. Yeah. So, I dunno, those are some of the problems is that all of these metrics, and by the way, you know, there's other ones too, like crime ride has been rising, like violent crime ha has been on the increase. What are the weird, but in a way it's a good stat, but there's like a bad part of it too. Fewer people are, fewer people die from violent crime, like on a, on a per capita basis. But that's because of advances in wound care, like trauma care.

Doug Truax: Right, right. That's not what you think. Yeah.

Chris Buskirk: There's, there's like lots of stabbings and meetings and things like this. That's true. But like if you get to the hospital then, so look, we are advancing in trauma care, which is a good thing.

Doug Truax: There's a positive.

Chris Buskirk: Yeah. So I dunno, that's sort of like the overview is like, okay. And that's why thought like the, all the, these are all things that are definable. There's less social mobility also definable. You can see like if you were the child of like a parent in x like strata of society Yeah. Can you go up or down? It's much more, it, it is just much harder to go either up or down, Interestingly enough. And so that also is really, that's a, a stressor on, on the type of government we have. Like constitutional self-government is really hard to maintain. And when you have like a stratified society that's also stagnant in the sense of like lack of mobility, that gets to be a challenge for a lot, for a lot of reasons. People sort of in the middle and and below they sort of lose hope and say, well this is just, it's all rigged against me people at the top of society. And when they realize they can't, that it's really hard to move down, they're like, ah, that's because I have like access that other people don't have. And so then you start rent-seeking behavior and you just start to glomerate the, like the wealth and the power even more so to the top. So it accelerates.

Doug Truax: That's right. The problem.

Chris Buskirk: That's right. And all, all of this is from the way I think about this. It, it is, all of this is in the service of one big end, which is how do we, how are we able to perpetuate the sort of freedoms we have in this country based on constitutional self-government? And I think that you can't do that if you don't have a big self-sustaining middle middle class.

Doug Truax: Oh, absolutely. And you do a really nice job of pointing out the potential around the unraveling of this.

Chris Buskirk: Yeah.

Doug Truax: Back to what you're saying about a whole lot of people in the country who think they can't advance and then it's rigged against them. What's the alternative? Right. And so, you know, you get into the French Revolution and resentment and everything Yeah. That, you know, remont and, and then you're going to, okay, well where are we today? What do we need to do? And so we'll segue into some solutions here. I think you did a great job though too of, I hear like a lot of people say, well, the Roman Empire, you know, they, they take, but you do a nice job of saying, well, it wasn't quite that simple. Yeah. They went down, like you said, they, they came back, Augustus made some, you know, real good changes and we, you know, they brought it back from where they were, can be done here if you do the right things going forward. And, and this gets into, okay, well Chris, tell us what you think we should do. You know, you've already mentioned some of the, the health things and I mean, it's really fascinating stuff here. Again, I'd recommend anybody read the book, but let's talk about, you know, what, what can we do? What, what are some of the Projects we can.

Chris Buskirk: Yeah. The, so the book I told you that I, that I wrote and then basically tossed in the trashcan was the book of complaints.

Doug Truax: Right. Right. It's like, It like we've all got that run in the background mind all the time.

Chris Buskirk: Well, no, exactly. It's like we don't need another airing of grievances though. I, I tell you a I was talking to a friend who, like everybody who's watching this will definitely know who this person has written a few, a few very popular books for the Right. I, and I said this to him a couple weeks ago, he said, yeah, I don't wanna write this whole book of complaints. It just wasn't what I was Did. He goes, I don't know. It worked, it's been working for me. I haven't saw like a ton of those books. Yeah, right.

Doug Truax: Exactly. Well sometimes it's just people going, Hey, the guy gets me. Right? Yeah. He hears what I'm complaining about and stuff. And I think that there's definitely a place for that because we do need to vent in some ways. I think it is a, it's a cathartic thing when you read, it's like, oh, I, he gets what I'm, what I'm feeling. Yeah. But you gotta get get to the other side of like, hey, how Do we get out of this? Right.

Chris Buskirk: This goes back to like the, that sort of entrepreneurial mindset. Sure. It's like you see a problem and.

Doug Truax: Yeah. That's like really, it makes you itch Right.

Chris Buskirk: About like what's the solution? Right. Like it drives me crazy Exactly. To just complain about it. And so I, and so I I I thought the la the latter, I don't know what maybe third of the book is potential solutions and, and I'm quick to to point out like, none of these are a silver bowl. Like none of these are like aha. It's like kinda like those ads you see online, like one weird trick and you can save your country

Doug Truax: Pull in. Yeah.

Chris Buskirk: Yeah. But they're, but they're, I, what I, the way I think about it is that they're like, they're the things that where you plant some seeds and if they grow and they work, they point the way forward. Because the first thing is like, I had this sort of business mentor and he had an expression he always used, it wasn't original to him, but he said like, first rule of holes, stop digging. Yeah. Right, right. And so there's that, and then there's like, how do you, how do you get out? Yeah. And so, you know, some of the ideas that I talked about in there were really focused on decentralizing power and, and giving people power to, or more power over their own lives to build solutions. So one of the things I talked about in there was, it was what's sometimes called charter cities. Which like, I know some people like I roll at that because, but that is part of the problem. Right. What, let me say what a charter city is first. Sure. So a charter city would ex

Doug Truax: Fascinating concept.

Chris Buskirk: Yeah. So it would exist within obviously the physical United States, but it would exist basically under a different legal rubric. And under that rubric they would be given, like, it would be a de novo city. It's just like here's, I don't know, whatever, a thousand acres or 10,000 acres, whatever it takes, I guess it would be more like 10,000, not 1000, you know what I'm saying? A

Doug Truax: Time land, right. Yeah.

Chris Buskirk: Right. And they would basically be exempted from a lot of the existing rules still under the constitution, obviously. But basically they'd be giving a very broad charter to just experiment, build a new city, which is an audacious undertaking, which is by the way, one of my annoyances when people sort of eye roll this idea like, oh, what are you gonna do? Build a new city? Well, why not? Like we've built a ton of them in this country,.

Doug Truax: Tell read Alice Shrug.

Chris Buskirk: Yeah, right. Exactly.

Doug Truax: Get there somehow.

Chris Buskirk: I mean, but if you do that and you just allow the experimentation, I think a couple things happen. One is that the, the act of having to build something out of nothing is really unique. And that's why, and you, you know this from the book like this is, I think part of what kept America's dynamic is it was, is that it was a frontier country. And like innovation and dynamism always happen on frontiers. Like you, there's all these examples in history where frontiers are, where all these interesting things happen and solutions are formed. Why? Because they, if they you have to Yeah. If you don't, you fail and you die necessity.

Doug Truax: Right. Necessity's mother of invention famously. And it draws in people that like that.

Chris Buskirk: Correct. You know? That's correct. So you get, like, you get would get these sort of risk takers, innovators, you know, just serve of interesting people. They'd have a, they'd have a pretty big problem, which is, and the problem is you got a ton of land. Sure. What are you gonna do with it to make it work? And you know, but a couple years ago I was talking to some people about the, about something like this. They were like serious people looking at, well actually it's funny you mentioned Atlas shrug, like Ure Colorado is the place. Sure. That is, is supposed to be like gulch. They were actually looking like what would happen if we bought up like everything in Ure who had moved there. And one of the problems that you run into, if even if you were just doing like a thought experiment is well how do you, how does that sustain itself? Like how do, like how do people not just earn income, but like how do you just have the necessities right.
Of life? And so that's, these are hard problems, but you know, look around, there's towns and cities every place. People have solved these problems before. And so I think like charter cities where you give people latitude in order to do things, I think that is a place where you say, okay, we're just gonna agree to experiment. Right. And see what happens. Yeah. And you know, I guess my other retort to the people who kind of eye roll at this is like, there is actually an example of this in the United States. It's not, it's not a perfect example, but it it, it is an example. And that's Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico exists in a kind of a strange, like another world legally it's part of the United States. Obviously it's not a state, but they are, like for instance, they don't pay federal income tax. Like they, they, or I think they pay like a very low rate of federal income tax.
But they have, but they exist like in the United States for like citizenship purposes, they're obviously under the military protection of the United States. But there are a bunch of regulations and rules that if you are a state apply, but if you are Puerto Rico do not apply. Right. I've actually looked at Puerto Rico quite a bit and one of the things I have realized is that like there's a lot of things that could be happening in Puerto Rico that aren't like, there, there like more imagination needs to be shown. Sure. In Puerto Rico. And I know like banking people and crypto people have done some stuff down there, but I think there's actually a lot more Yeah. That could be done. So it's not something that's unprecedented. Right. Hong Kong in a way kind of played that role Sure. In, in Asia as being sort of a gateway between, between China, you know, the PRC and between basically the rest of the world and Hong Kong until it was taken over, it was a very dynamic Yeah. Place. So that's one of the, that's one of the areas. Another area that that's pretty like, it's kind of important to me is like, I call, I called it America 100. Like we should like state a goal of the median lifespan in the United States being becoming 100 Sure. Over a couple generations. Sure, sure. And not just that, but that people are living healthier. Yeah. Like you could this, we don't want something where we just just have like rows of people in beds to get hooked up to things.

Doug Truax: That's right. Well, and then they have an opportunity to have a second career, career

Chris Buskirk: All kinds of stuff if they're not, you know, if they're still healthy and making things happen. So this is a bit of an obsession Yeah. Of mine is that like the United States, our, the median lifespan in the United States has been declining for 12 years. It is presently around 74 and a half years old. And as I say, the trajectory is all wrong and people will would say, well, I don't know, maybe that doesn't sound good, but it's a blip. It's not a blip. I mean it's been happening for more than a decade. Also we're going the opposite direction of our peer countries. Like for instance, in Western Europe, I mean take France as an example. They, in the same time period, life's immediate life expectancy in France has been increasing. It's now of 84 point something. Yeah. So basically about 10 years longer than the United States. And they're like this going like this and we're going like that. Right. That's bad, bad. When you look at the other metrics of not just lifespan but health getting worse in the United States, getting better in a place like for instance, France, which drives Americans crazy. What do you mean French? Come on.

Doug Truax: That's Right. Well that's how they live. Yeah.

Chris Buskirk: Well Seriously what they eat.

Doug Truax: Right. And what the, the drugs they take and all that stuff.

Chris Buskirk: So, so by super provocative hot take of this, which is, I don't know if it's true or not, but I like it because it's got, it's got like a, it's just cuz it's a provocation a little bit, is that about 35% of French people are daily smokers. Okay. And that's, it's something like 12 or 13% sure in the United States. The, the French lifespan is higher, but also their incidence of heart disease, diabetes, all kinds of inflammatory disease is about, you know, 12 to 15% lower than in the United States. And is it because of the smoking? Right. Is like, is is there actually like a prom smoking roof here? I think there, I think there actually it, this part I'm serious, but I think there, I I think there is a little bit, and it's not the smoking so much, it's the nicotine, which I think because of the obesity rate in France is quite a bit lower. The United States. And so what I think it actually is, is that there's a link between nicotine and eating and obesity and it's actually the lower incidence of obesity versus the United States.

Doug Truax: You're smoking and not eating. Well and I also think that this French thing, there's that book called French Don't Diet. Have you seen this? The same con? Well a little bit of like well how does that happen? Ton of it is natural food. I mean we have a real problem in this country with all the processed food and where we've kind of gone over the, the decades of like, oh, just eat that. It's fine. No, the pyramid,

Chris Buskirk: We're making another podcast just on that.

Doug Truax: Yeah. Right. Yeah. The pyramid. That's all wrong now we, we've got sold that bill of goods and I think that it's really catching up with people in the inflammation. And you even make the point too in your book, it's really funny, sad, but you know, there's all these medications now to fix these things that are mostly fixable if you care careful what you eat, but the side effects.

Chris Buskirk: Right Oh my gosh!

Doug Truax: But the effects, like, okay, so this is going to fix me a little bit, but then I got all this other stuff to worry about too, too. It's like we're living in this Yeah. Alternate reality Now about.

Chris Buskirk: Well it's, it's totally, it's totally insane. I'm just, I've gotta do like the, the shadow, like the seed oils in the in in food are like insanely bad for you. Like poly anda and fats are just bad for you. Which will drive like, I don't know if Anthony fauci insane to hear anybody say that there'll probably be a swat team here in a few minutes, but like, like they are an inflammatory agent. And inflammation causes all of these bad health. That's outcomes, right. That we're talking about diabetes and heart disease and so forth. Arthritis. Yeah. Yeah. That we see a lot of and when you are eating natural naturally produced foods and you re and you have the like for instance, mono and saturated fats that you would see like in, you know, in grassroot, grass fed beef or whatever. Yeah. Those are actually good for you. That's right. You need those things. That's right. There's, there's this show, you may have seen it. Do you know the show alone to Like a reality? Yeah,

Doug Truax: Yeah. I saw, I watched the one first came out.

Chris Buskirk: Oh, you did? Oh

Doug Truax: My gosh. Yeah. Like I'm obsessed with the show. Yeah,

Chris Buskirk: Yeah. Right. So what is the one thing that everybody realizes and they say it in like every episode, the competitors, for people who don't know like alone is they, you take a person who is alone and they stick 'em out in the wilderness and there's like 10 of 'em and whoever can survive longest with like a pocket knife and you know, whatever. Sure, sure. Yeah. They win a flint. Yeah. Flint. They win like half million dollars. Yeah. They always say the same thing, which is, I am not, I gotta get enough fat in my diet, I gotta get more fat in my diet, I gotta get more fat in my diet. That's right. Or, and that, but they, some of 'em then like by midway through the seasons are always like, I gotta get more fat in my diet, I'm gonna die. Yeah. Right. Yeah. And

Doug Truax: The fat, well the guy who won first, he was like super overweight. I think I

Chris Buskirk: Was gonna make heavy. I was gonna make up on one of the No, because it's so true because with the facts that they're reading are like, they, they would be getting are animal fats, right. Which are good for you and necessary for your body. The, there is a funny strategy that you're alluding to. Some people go on the show and what they do is they try and they bulk up and try and get really obese before they're like, I don't have to do anything. Wait. Yeah. No, no. I think one person, I think one guy actually won doing That. Right?

Doug Truax: Yeah. Yeah. And then so I think he spurred a whole movement in that show. But that's a Yeah, that's, that's, that's right. I mean it's just like the foods that we eat, it's like we have gotten, so some of this is just, you know, big country and Yeah. Goes back to all, you know, the original point that you were bringing up about the lack of economic growth that we're experiencing. Then it, then you have all these other factors coming that basically shrinking your income, which then shrinks your ability to go by necessities.

Chris Buskirk: Anything else? Yeah.

Doug Truax: So then you do buy the stuff that's more processed. I mean, it's a terrible cycle that we're in and we just have to get back to the economic growth.

Chris Buskirk: I mean that's what economic growth thing I, and I just wanna make this point is, is because it's actually did a lot of it in the book, but, you know, look the what, what, what economists call total factor productivity. It, which is ba it's just doing more with less. Yeah. Like you think about, you know, the change between plowing a field with like a donkey and a, and a hand plow versus doing it with like a, a combustion engine and a tractor. Like the one guy can do, you know, 10 x or you know, orders of magnitude more than one guy could before. Or you think about the change when, when we electrified the country, you know, before there was no electricity. Now you have all this access to power and all kinds of other things become possible and one person can do a lot more than they could. That's what drives that productivity growth is what drives rising living standards. Yep. When productivity growth stagnates, then everything becomes, becomes zero sum. That's right. And that's the situation we're in now. Productivity growth has basically flatlined or it's been very slowly growing since about the early seventies we'd been on, I say we, but like, you know, basically western civilization had been on like a 200, 250 year up curve from the beginning of the industrial revolution until the early seventies. And then when, then it just dramatically Yeah. Slowed down like it did. Most of the productivity growth in the past 50 years has been like an information technology and that's been real. But even that, a lot of the juice has been squeezed out of that ar at that arch ca you know, the caveat I guess as we'll see what AI can do for good or ill. And maybe that is a huge catalyst for productivity growth. Oh. Going forward. The point is, is that we need to innovate more on basic science and technology. In order to increase productivity, build more because that is the driver.

Doug Truax: That's right.

Chris Buskirk: For rising living Standards. Totally, totally gotta build. What's that? You've gotta build stuff, you gotta have to build things and you've gotta be good at doing

Doug Truax: It. That's right. That's right. Yeah. You make the point too. Last thing before we go the financialization of everything. Yeah. And, and your friend Peter Thiel, you know what, something I make sure I get this right. If your only job is to make a small piece of paper that says you owe me money on it, it's probably not a good sign. Right. I'm like, I'm thinking, man, a lot of people in this country, you know? Right. Because this whole, you know, it's like this mindset now around this financialization, which then steers everything up to Wall Street and it creates this growing gap and we have got to have a different society going forward, different society going forward.

Chris Buskirk: I heard Peter say that years ago when he says, like he says in New York, it's like, it's like all these towers full of people whose only job is to write out little pieces of paper I owe use that they give to other people that say, you owe me money.

Doug Truax: It's crazy!

Chris Buskirk: That's the financial industry. But I read that I can't now every time I'm thinking about the New York or Wall Street or whatever, that's all I think about, about I know. Same here. It makes me Look at things Differenty. Yeah. It's just massive mal investment investment of that's right. Of, of, of, of human capital. Yeah.

Doug Truax: Yeah. Absolutely. Well, lots of problems. Good solutions out there. Great book. Really appreciate what you did here. Again, a good summary, a a good fact-based data proven summary of the, of the things that are wrong and then some good solutions for it. So congratulations on the book and I really appreciate you coming on, Chris.

Chris Buskirk: Thank you. Appreciate it.

Doug Truax: Thanks.

First Right. A new kind of new summary without the liberal slant every morning in your inbox, always free subscribe by texting first right to 3 0 1 61. That's FIRSTRIGHT. All caps one word to 3 0 1 61.

Loading 4 comments...