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Stephen Carter is the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law at Yale Law School. He has taught at Yale since 1982. Carter is known for his legal and social policy[…]

How can I stop evil?

Question: What is your question?

Stephen Carter: I’m going to cheat a little bit and give you two questions we should be asking ourselves. First and most important question: “How ought we to live?” as opposed to what we tend to ask: “How are we to force other people to live?” So I think the first thing all of us can ask ourselves is, “How should we live?” How do we inspire our neighbors? If we care about global warming, let’s not put as our first question, “Therefore what should we regulate?” “Therefore what should we do and try to inspire this by our example.” That seems to be the first and most important question: “How ought we to live?” And then second, “How can I myself, by trying to be less certain of myself, promote public dialogue by opening my mind to the possibility that I may be wrong?” If we would each ask ourselves those two questions – how would I live, and how am I to stop acting like those who disagree with me are evil – if we could just do those two things, I think we could advance dialogue in America and in the west generally, and perhaps in the world enormously.

Recorded on: 7/25/07