How do we fix the American political system?

Harvey C. Mansfield, William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of Government, studies and teaches political philosophy. He has written on Edmund Burke and the nature of political parties, on Machiavelli and the invention of indirect government, in defense of a defensible liberalism and in favor of a Constitutional American political science. He has also written on the discovery and development of the theory of executive power, and has translated three books of Machiavelli’s and (with the aid of his wife) Tocqueville's Democracy in America. His book on manliness has just been published. He was Chairman of the Government Department from 1973-1977, has held Guggenheim and NEH Fellowships, and has been a Fellow at the National Humanities Center. He won the Joseph R. Levenson award for his teaching at Harvard, received the Sidney Hook Memorial award from the National Association of Scholars, and in 2004 accepted a National Humanities Medal from the President.  He has hardly left Harvard since his first arrival in 1949, and has been on the faculty since 1962.

  • Transcript


Question: What's a practice we should stop in the common interest?

Harvey Mansfield: We should stop being so darn politically correct.  There are … this is especially the fault of the universities where I’ve spent my life.  And it doesn’t affect American society so much as the universities.  The universities are very important because that’s where our most educated people learn their principles.  We need to recover the obvious fact that there are two parties – at least – in this country, and two respectable points of view which should be represented in our conversations and debates?

Recorded on: 6/13/07