Ken Adelman
Vice-President, Movers and Shakespeares
01:47

What forces have shaped humanity most?

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Adelman hopes that we have moved beyond social engineering.

Ken Adelman

Ken Adelman is currently vice-president of Movers and Shakespeares, which conducts executive training through leadership lessons from Shakespeare. Ambassador Adelman began teaching Shakespeare in 1977 at Georgetown University, and later with honors students at George Washington University.

During the Reagan Administration, Ken Adelman was an Ambassador to the United Nations and then Director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, accompanying President Reagan on his superpower summits with Mikhail Gorbachev.

Adelman was a philosophy major at Grinnell College and then attended Georgetown University, where he received a Masters in Foreign Service Studies and Doctorate in Political Theory.

He is the author of five books -- including co-author of Shakespeare in Charge -- and hundreds of articles, was for 20 years national editor of Washingtonian magazine, and for six years a member of the Defense Policy Board. 

While living in Africa from 1972 to 1975, Adelman translated for Mohammed Ali during “The Rumble in the Jungle” heavyweight championship fight in Zaire, and participated in the Zaire River Expedition, venturing down the Congo River on the 100th Anniversary of Stanley’s exploration.

Transcript

Ken Adelman: Well I think that, you know, there is a phase in human life that I hope is getting over with, where leaders wanted to do the social engineering. Where the idea of Communism . . . not the original idea of Communism , but the idea of Lenonism and Stallinism was the state should control what you are like. The state was more important than the people and should form what the people are. And that has been a devastating whole approach. It was the basis of Nazism. It’s the basis of Communism. It’s the basis of Islamic Fundamentalism. And it’s the opposite basis as our founding founder . . . and not just our fathers, but going back to Aristotle. And human beings have these attributes, and we should allow the flowering of the human being. And the state is there to serve us. We’re not there to serve the state. And that’s a very big deal. And it’s a very big fundamental difference . . . where their first words in the Constitution – “We the People of the United States . . .” Now these other philosophies, it’s “We the state”, or, “The state does.” And then the people . . . they form the people. They make the people. But that’s a very debilitating philosophy. So that’s generally what’s been the most important political fight in the last century.

Recorded on: 7/2/07

 


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