The $100 Billion Question

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: If you had a $100 billion to give away, how would you spend it?

Harvey Mansfield: If I had a hundred billion dollars to give away, I would first remember that we live in a democracy. So I would look for the things that democracy overlooks. And those are mainly, I would say, the higher things. Not so much health, which everybody is concerned with and which the government pays lots of money for. But the . . . our high culture. I would take as an example Andrew Carnegie’s making libraries available to small towns in America. That, I think, was a very well thought contribution. Something similar to that to . . . to . . . And the arts, music and of course the intellect, but not necessarily the universities, politically correct as they are.

Recorded on: 6/13/07