What forces have shaped humanity most?
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.
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
Adelman hopes that we have moved beyond social engineering.
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Infographics show the classes and anxieties in the supposedly classless U.S. economy.
For those of us who follow politics, we’re used to commentators referring to the President’s low approval rating as a surprise given the U.S.'s “booming” economy. This seeming disconnect, however, should really prompt us to reconsider the measurements by which we assess the health of an economy. With a robust U.S. stock market and GDP and low unemployment figures, it’s easy to see why some think all is well. But looking at real U.S. wages, which have remained stagnant—and have, thus, in effect gone down given rising costs from inflation—a very different picture emerges. For the 1%, the economy is booming. For the rest of us, it’s hard to even know where we stand. A recent study by Porch (a home-improvement company) of blue-collar vs. white-collar workers shows how traditional categories are becoming less distinct—the study references "new-collar" workers, who require technical certifications but not college degrees. And a set of recent infographics from CreditLoan capturing the thoughts of America’s middle class as defined by the Pew Research Center shows how confused we are.
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