Transcript: Listening to Dissenting Voices | Nov 16, 2017

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a gray suit, a gray gingham shirt, and a gray striped tie.

A caption reads "Listening to dissenting voices."

The caption changes to "Twitter: @spaikin, @theagenda."

Steve says CONVENTIONAL WISDOM
IS SURELY CONVENTIONAL BUT IT IS
OFTEN NOT WISE. LAWYER AND
AUTHOR WILLIAM KAPLAN ARGUES WE
ALL NEED TO LISTEN MORE OFTEN
TO THOSE UNCONVENTIONAL VOICES
WHICH MAY OFFER A LOT MORE
WISDOM THAN EXPECTED. HE LAYS
OUT THE CASE IN HIS NEW BOOK,
"WHY DISSENT MATTERS: BECAUSE
SOME PEOPLE SEE THINGS THE REST
OF US MISS." AND BILL KAPLAN
JOINS US NOW HERE IN THE STUDIO.
NICE TO HAVE YOU HERE.

A picture of the book appears on screen. A shadowy silhouette of a dancer on top of a bull illustrates the cover.

The caption changes to "Listening to dissenting voices. The tenth man."

William says THANK YOU.

William is in his sixties, balding and clean-shaven. He wears glasses, a blue suit, pale blue shirt and patterned burgundy tie.

Steve says I WANT TO START WITH
ONE OF THE BEST EXAMPLES IN THE
BOOK OF WHY WE NEED TO LISTEN TO
DISSENTING VOICES AND FOR THAT
I'M GOING TO TAKE YOU BACK MORE
THAN 40 YEARS.
ISRAEL IS AT WAR.
AND SIX YEARS EARLIER, THEY HAD
WON A SIX-DAY WAR, SHOCKINGLY,
TRIUMPHANT BATTLE, AND JUST SIX
YEARS LATER, THEY ALMOST LOST
THEIR ENTIRE COUNTRY.
TELL THE STORY OF WHY.

The caption changes to "William Kaplan. Author of ‘Why Dissent Matters’."

William says SO WHAT HAPPENED WAS, OF
COURSE, WE ALL KNOW THE STORY OF
THE SIX-DAY WAR.
ISRAEL WAS ATTACKED BY ITS
ENEMIES.
THEY TOOK OVER THE GOLAN
HEIGHTS.
THEY TOOK OVER THE SINAI.
AND THEY WERE ABSOLUTELY
CONFIDENT IN THEIR MILITARY
SUPERIORITY.
AND THEY DEVELOPED SOMETHING
CALLED THE CONCEPT OF ARAB
INTENTIONS.
AND BASICALLY WHAT THE CONCEPT
WAS WAS A GUIDING PRINCIPLE THAT
INFORMED THE ISRAELI SECURITY
AND MILITARY ESTABLISHMENT THAT
EGYPT WOULDN'T GO TO WAR UNLESS
SYRIA WENT TO WAR AND SYRIA
WOULDN'T GO TO WAR UNLESS EGYPT
WENT TO WAR AND THEY WERE
ABSOLUTELY CONVINCED OF THIS.
FAST-FORWARD TO OCTOBER 1973.
THERE HAD BEEN ALL SORTS OF
FALSE ALARMS, BELIEF THAT THERE
MAY BE AN ATTACK, AND ARMS...
THE SYRIANS ARE AMASSING ARMS
ALONG THE GOLAN, THE EGYPTIANS
ARE AMASSING ARMS AND MEN ALONG
THE SUEZ CANAL, BUT THE ISRAELIS
HELD TO THE CONCEPT OF ARAB
INTENTIONS, THAT THERE WASN'T
GOING TO BE A WAR.
EVEN WHEN ADVISORS
EVEN WHEN MILITARY SUPPLIES
BEGAN TO COME IN, THEY HELD TO
THE CONCEPT.
THEY JUST WOULDN'T BELIEVE THAT
IT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN.
AND THEY HAD SOME LOWER LEVEL
INTELLIGENCE PEOPLE WHO WARNED
THEM THAT THIS IS ABOUT TO
HAPPEN.
MOSHE DIAN SAID IT WAS ENOUGH TO
GIVE YOU A HEART ATTACK.
HUGE MISCALCULATION.
ARMAMENTS, ARTILLERY, AND THEY
JUST DIDN'T BELIEVE IT WAS GOING
TO HAPPEN.
A COUPLE OF DISSENTING VOICES
SAID TAKE A LOOK.
SEE WHAT'S HAPPENING ON THE
OTHER SIDE OF THE SUEZ CANAL.
THEY WOULDN'T BELIEVE IT.
THE ATTACK BEGAN.
THEY ALMOST LOST THE COUNTRY.
ALMOST 3,000 CASUALTIES.
IT WAS A NATIONAL TRAGEDY.
SO WHAT THE ISRAELIS DID IN THE
AFTERMATH OF THIS IS THEY
CREATED SOMETHING CALLED THE
TENTH MAN.
AND THE JOB OF THE TENTH MAN, IT
COULD BE A TENTH WOMAN, A TENTH
PERSON, IS WHEN EVERYONE ELSE
SAYS BLACK, THE JOB OF THAT
PERSON IS TO SAY WHITE.
TO ENSURE THAT A DISSENTING
POINT OF VIEW IS TAKEN INTO
ACCOUNT IN SECURITY AND MILITARY
DECISION-MAKING.

Steve says SO THEY HAVE
INSTITUTIONALIZED DISSENT,
WHERE, AT THE CABINET TABLE, IN
MILITARY CIRCLES, WHEREVER?

William says WHEREVER.
THAT WAS THE IDEA.
THAT WAS THE IDEA THAT FIRST
INTERESTED ME IN THIS BOOK.
I THOUGHT WHAT A GREAT IDEA.
I KNOW FROM MY OWN PROFESSIONAL
EXPERIENCE AND JUST LIFE
GENERALLY AS WE ALL DO, THAT
SOMETIMES THE BEST IDEAS COME
FROM THE MOST UNEXPECTED
SOURCES.
WHAT YOU WANT TO DO IS YOU WANT
TO MAKE SURE YOU'RE LISTENING TO
PEOPLE AND AT LEAST CONSIDERING
WHAT THEY HAVE TO SAY.

Steve says WHY ARE WE GENERALLY
SO RESISTANT TO THE NOTION THAT
THE BEST IDEAS CAN SOMETIMES
COME FROM THAT ONE PERSON IN THE
CORNER WHO IS SAYING COUNTER TO
WHAT EVERYBODY ELSE IS SAYING?

William says BECAUSE THE BELIEFS WE HAVE
HAVE INCREDIBLE ENDURANCE AND
IT'S VERY HARD TO GIVE UP ON OUR
BELIEFS.
ONE OF THE EXAMPLES I GIVE IN
THE BOOK, OF COURSE, IS EQUAL
MARRIAGE.
IF YOU HAD ASKED PROGRESSIVE
PEOPLE SAY 40 OR 50 YEARS AGO
WOULD THERE BE EQUAL MARRIAGE IN
CANADA, THEY WOULD HAVE LOOKED
AT YOU AS IF YOU HAD TWO HEADS.
AND IN JUST A GENERATION, WHAT
HAS BECOME YES, IT'S NOT MAYBE
ANYMORE.
WIDELY ACCEPTED.
SOME OF OUR MOST STRONGLY HELD
BELIEFS JUST AREN'T SO.

Steve says I SAW YOU GIVE A
SPEECH ABOUT THIS RECENTLY AT
THE MUNK SCHOOL AND YOU
CONFESSED ON THAT OCCASION YOU
HAD THREE, IN PARTICULAR,
DISSIDENTS WHO WERE SORT OF TOP
OF YOUR FAVOURITE LIST.
I WANT TO GO THROUGH THEM.
THEY'RE ALL DECEASED, THEY'RE
NOT AROUND ANYMORE, BUT THEY
LEFT VERY BIG FOOTPRINTS.
LET'S GO THROUGH THE LIST.
FRANCES KELSEY, WHO WAS SHE?

The caption changes to "Listening to dissenting voices. Saving lives."

William says THE BOOK IS FILLED WITH GREAT
DISSENTERS AND STORIES ABOUT
DISSENTERS.
THE FIRST IS FRANCES KELSEY, THE
AMERICAN IS RACHEL CARSON, AND
THE THIRD IS ISABEL LEBOURDAIS.
FRANCES KELSEY WAS A CANADIAN MD
AND ACADEMIC PhD IN
PHARMACOLOGY WHO ENDED UP AT THE
FDA, THE FEDERAL DRUG
ADMINISTRATION IN WASHINGTON IN
THE EARLY 1960s AND HER JOB
WAS TO APPROVE OR NOT APPROVE
NEW DRUG APPLICATIONS.

A picture of Frances Kelsey appears on screen.

William says AT THE TIME A DRUG IN THE UNITED
STATES HAD BEEN APPROVED IN 50
COUNTRIES AROUND THE WORLD AND
ITS AMERICAN MANUFACTURER
BELIEVED IT WOULD BE RUBBER
STAMPED IN THE UNITED STATES AS
WELL AND THEY WANTED THAT
MARKET.
SO THEY SUBMITTED THE
APPLICATION AND FRANCES KELSEY
LOOKED AT IT, AND SHE WAS A
PERSON WITH TREMENDOUS
EXPERIENCE IN PHARMACOLOGY AND
AS AN MD AND SHE THOUGHT THE
APPLICATION WAS NO GOOD.
EVEN AFTER INTENSE PRESSURE, SHE
KEPT SAYING NO.
SHE SAID NO WITHIN THE
ADMINISTRATION ITSELF WHERE
THERE'S ALWAYS PRESSURE TO
APPROVE NEW DRUGS AND SHE KEPT
SAYING NO TO A BAD DRUG
APPLICATION.

Steve says HOW COME?

William says BECAUSE THE SCIENCE WAS NO
GOOD.
SHE WAS A WOMAN OF UNUSUAL
FORTITUDE, DETERMINATION, AND
WAS NOT GOING TO APPROVE A
SEDATIVE WHEN THERE WASN'T A
NEED FOR THE SEDATIVE BECAUSE
THERE WERE LOTS OF OTHER
SEDATIVES AND THE SCIENCE WAS NO
GOOD.
SHE KEPT ON ASKING SCIENTIFIC
QUESTIONS ABOUT THE APPLICATION
AND EVENTUALLY THAT DRUG WAS
INJURING BABIES ALL OVER THE
WORLD, 10,000 TO 15,000 BABIES.
BECAUSE OF HER, ONLY 17 IN THE
UNITED STATES.

Steve says THIS IS GOING BACK
50 YEARS, A LITTLE MORE?

William says EARLY 1960s.

Steve says EARLY 1960s.
BECAUSE SHE WAS THE DISSIDENT
WHO SAID NO, A LOT OF...

William says PEOPLE WERE SAVED.

Steve says PEOPLE WERE SAVED.

William says UNCOMMON CHARACTER.
UNCOMMON DETERMINATION.
UNCOMMON RESILIENCE.
BUT IN HER QUIET CANADIAN WAY,
SHE KEPT ON SAYING NO, NO, NO.

Steve says NUMBER TWO ON YOUR
LIST, RACHEL CARSON.

A picture of Rachel Carson appears on screen.

William says RACHEL CARSON WAS A SCIENTIST
AND NATURE LOVER WHO WAS BELOVED
BY AMERICANS BECAUSE SHE
INTRODUCED THEM TO THE WONDERS
OF THE SEA.
SHE BEGAN TO BECOME INCREASINGLY
CONCERNED IN THE 1950s ABOUT
PESTICIDES AND SHE WAS CONCERNED
THAT PESTICIDES WERE ENTERING
THE FOOD CHAIN, THEY WERE
DESTROYING... THEY WERE BECOMING
BIOMAGNIFIED WITHIN ANIMALS AND
HAD THE POTENTIAL TO DESTROY
LIFE ON THE PLANET.

The caption changes to "Listening to dissenting voices. Saving the planet."

William says SHE BEGAN BY PUTTING ALL THE
PIECES TOGETHER.
SHE WROTE A BOOK CALLED "SILENT
SPRING."
THIS WAS AN IMMEDIATE PUBLISHING
SENSATION.
THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED
STATES WAS BEHIND IT.
SOON EVERYBODY CAME TO BE BEHIND
IT.
SHE FACED AN ENORMOUS ONSLAUGHT
FROM THE PESTICIDES COMPANY.
ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT
ECONOMIC INTERESTS IN THE UNITED
STATES THAT WAGED AN ALL-OUT
ATTACK ON HER AND HER IDEAS.
ONE OF THE THINGS I SAY IN THIS
BOOK IS WHEN PEOPLE START
ATTACKING A PERSON BECAUSE OF
THEIR IDEAS, THAT'S WHEN WE HAVE
TO START PAYING ATTENTION.
THERE'S NOTHING MORE CERTAIN
THAT IF AN IDEA IS BEING
ATTACKED IT'S WORTH LISTENING
TO.

The caption changes to "William Kaplan. @dissentmatters."

The caption changes to "Connect with us: @theagenda, TVO.org, Facebook, YouTube, Periscope and Instagram."

Steve says IS IT AN
EXAGGERATION TO SAY SHE CREATED
THE ENVIRONMENTAL MOVEMENT?

William says THERE WAS AN ENTIRE
ENVIRONMENTAL MOVEMENT BEFORE
RACHEL CARSON AND THERE WOULD
HAVE BEEN ONE WITHOUT HER.
SHE WAS THE RIGHT PERSON AT THE
RIGHT TIME IN THE RIGHT PLACE.
THINK OCCUPY WALL STREET, WHICH
IS ANOTHER PROTEST MOVEMENT I
DISCUSS IN THE BOOK.
OCCUPY WALL STREET, AT LEAST IN
ZUCCOTTI PARK IN NEW YORK CITY,
WAS A CARNIVAL THAT ACCOMPLISHED
NOTHING.
BUT THE OCCUPY WALL STREET
MOVEMENT, WHICH SPREAD TO 80
COUNTRIES AND A THOUSAND
DIFFERENT OCCUPATIONS ACROSS THE
PLANET, IT CHANGED THE GLOBAL
CONVERSATION ABOUT INCOME
INEQUALITY.
THERE'S ALWAYS BEEN INCOME
INEQUALITY AND WE'VE ALWAYS
KNOWN THAT IT EXISTS.
BUT FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER,
PEOPLE ARE AWARE OF IT AND
THEY'RE AWARE OF IT IN THE SAME
WAY THAT RACHEL CARSON
IDENTIFIED THAT PESTICIDES WERE
THREATENING LIFE ON THE PLANET.
INCOME INEQUALITY IS THREATENING
PEACE AND SECURITY ON THE
PLANET.
DID YOU KNOW, FOR INSTANCE...
YOU PROBABLY KNOW THIS
ALREADY... BUT DID YOU KNOW THAT
TWO FAMILIES IN CANADA HAVE THE
COMBINED WEALTH OF THE
12 MILLION CANADIANS AT THE
BOTTOM OF THE ECONOMIC RING?
DID YOU KNOW 40 MILLION
AMERICANS NEED FOOD STAMPS TO
SURVIVE?
ALMOST A MILLION CANADIANS GO TO
FOOD BANKS EVERY WEEK IN ORDER
TO PUT FOOD ON THE TABLE FOR
THEIR FAMILIES?
INCOME INEQUALITY IS PROBABLY
THE MOST SERIOUS PROBLEM WE FACE
IN OUR SOCIETY AND IT'S GETTING
MORE AND MORE OUT OF HAND.
DID OCCUPY WALL STREET CHANGE
IT?
NO.
WE'VE BEEN WARNED.
WHETHER WE DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT
IN THE SAME WE WHETHER WE DID
ANYTHING ABOUT THE WARNING THAT
RACHEL CARSON GAVE US IS ANOTHER
MATTER BUT WE'VE BEEN WARNED.

Steve says NUMBER 3, ISABELLE
LEBOURDAIS.

The caption changes to "Listening to dissenting voices. Saving Stephen Truscott."

William says SHE IS ANOTHER ONE OF MY
FAVOURITE DISSENTERS.
MY THREE FAVOURITE COME FROM THE
1960s AND ALL THE STORIES IN
THE BOOK ARE HISTORICAL.
THEY RESONATE WITH PEOPLE AND WE
KNOW WHAT HAPPENED.
THEY'RE GOOD STORIES TO DEAL
WITH.
SHE WAS A CANADIAN JOURNALIST
WHO READ IN THE PAPER ONE DAY
THAT A 14-YEAR-OLD BOY NAMED
STEPHEN TRUSCOTT HAD BEEN
SENTENCED TO HANG BECAUSE OF THE
MURDER OF A CLASSMATE.

A picture of Isabelle with Stephen appears on screen.

William says SHE THOUGHT WHAT KIND OF A
SOCIETY WOULD SENTENCE A
14-YEAR-OLD TO DEATH?
THE OTHER QUESTION IS WHAT KIND
OF SOCIETY WOULD SENTENCE
ANYBODY TO DEATH?
WE'VE ABOLISHED CAPITAL
PUNISHMENT IN THIS COUNTRY.
SHE BEGAN TO LOOK INTO IT.
THE MORE SHE LOOKED INTO IT, THE
MORE SHE REALIZED THE TRIAL HE
RECEIVED WAS A FARCE, IT WAS A
KANGAROO COURT.
SHE WROTE A BOOK "THE TRIAL OF
STEPHEN TRUSCOTT" THAT TOOK
EVERYONE ON, IT TOOK THE JUDGES
ON, THE POLICE ON, THE CROWN
ATTORNEY ON, IT TOOK THE ENTIRE
LEGAL ESTABLISHMENT ON.
AND DON'T FORGET IN THE EARLY
1960s, YOU KNOW THIS AS WELL
AS ANYONE, YOU'VE WRITTEN A
BIOGRAPHY OF BILL DAVIS, YOU'VE
WRITTEN A BIOGRAPHY OF JOHN
ROBARTS, WE KNOW WHAT ONTARIO
WAS LIKE THEN.
WE TRUSTED OUR POLICE AND JUDGES
AND WE TRUSTED THE CROWN
ATTORNEYS TO DO THE RIGHT THING
AND THE FAIR THING.
ISABEL LEBOURDAIS PROVED THAT
OUR TRUST WAS COMPLETELY
MISPLACED BECAUSE SHE HELD THEM
ALL TO ACCOUNT IN JUST A
WITHERING EXPOSE OF THE
INADEQUACIES OF THE JUSTICE
SYSTEM.
FIRST NATIONS AND IMMIGRANTS AND
OTHER PEOPLE ALREADY HAD A GOOD
SENSE OF THE PROBLEMS WITH THE
JUSTICE SYSTEM.
BUT FROM COMPLACENT MIDDLE CLASS
CANADIANS, THIS WAS A
REVELATION.
AND SHE PROVED... SHE DIDN'T
PROVE THAT STEPHEN TRUSCOTT WAS
INNOCENT. NO ONE CAN EVER PROVE
THAT BUT SHE PROVED THAT HE HAD
NOT RECEIVED A FAIR TRIAL AND
THERE WAS REASONABLE DOUBT.
IT WAS A BREATHTAKING,
PATH BREAKING BOOK.

Steve says WHAT GOT HER SPIDEY
SENSES TINGLING THAT JUSTICE
HAD NOT PREVAILED?

William says IT'S WHAT HAPPENS SO MANY
TIMES. SOMEBODY JUST GETS A
SENSE THAT SOMETHING'S WRONG
AND THEY BEGIN TO LOOK INTO IT
AND THE MORE THEY LOOK INTO IT,
THE MORE THEY REALIZE THEY HAVE
TO SAY SOMETHING. I GUESS THAT
COMES BACK TO THE FIRST POINT
YOU RAISED WAS THE TENTH MAN.
SO THEY INSTITUTIONALIZED
DISSENT BY HAVING A TENTH MAN.
BUT THE PROBLEM WITH
INSTITUTIONALIZING DISSENT,
WHETHER IT'S THE TENTH MAN,
THE TENTH PERSON OR A DEVIL'S
ADVOCATE OR WHATEVER, YOU WORRY
THAT THAT PERSON IS JUST PLAYING
A ROLE. THERE'S JOEY OR HUEY IN
THE CORNER AND THEIR JOB IS TO
DISSENT. SO YOU LISTEN TO THEIR
DISSENT, YOU PAT THEM ON THE
BACK AND YOU SEND THEM OUT.
AND THAT MAY BE USEFUL BUT THE
MOST IMPORTANT DISSENT IS THE
DISSENT FROM PEOPLE WHO
ACTUALLY BELIEVE WHAT THEY'RE
SAYING. AND THOSE ARE THE PEOPLE
WE HAVE TO LISTEN TO THE MOST.

Steve says HERE IS AN EXCERPT
FROM YOUR BOOK ON THAT POINT:

A slate reads "Dissenters are important. Dissent is noisy, messy, inconvenient, costly, often misplaced, sometimes laughable, usually badly timed, and almost always time-consuming. Many dissenters are self-interested and misanthropic. Some of them are just crazy. William Kaplan, ‘Why Dissent Matters’ (2017)."

Steve says WELL, BILL, THIS
GETS AT THE OBVIOUS POINT: HOW
DO YOU TELL THE DIFFERENCE
BETWEEN THE GENUINE DISSENTERS
AND THOSE WHO ARE NUTS?

The caption changes to "Listening to dissenting voices. The qualities of dissenters."

Williams says THAT'S A VERY GOOD QUESTION.
AND OF COURSE WE CAN'T.
WE CAN'T.
BECAUSE SO MANY OF THE
DISSENTERS... I HAD THE
PRIVILEGE OF BEING ABLE TO
CHOOSE DISSENTERS FROM HISTORY
WHERE THERE'S A HAPPY ENDING TO
THE STORY.
THEY'RE ALL RIGHT.
THERE'S ALL SORTS OF DISSENTERS
WHO SAY ALL SORTS OF THINGS AND
THEY'RE COMPLETELY WRONG.
I THINK I MAKE THE LARGER POINT.
THERE'S NO IDEA I'M AFRAID OF.
THERE'S NO IDEA YOU'RE AFRAID
OF.
I'VE WATCHED YOUR SHOW.
YOU HAVE PEOPLE ON YOUR SHOW
WITH DIFFERENT IDEAS.
YOU TAKE THEM ON, YOU CHALLENGE
THEM.
THE POINT IS NOT TO SHUT DOWN
IDEAS BUT TO LISTEN TO IDEAS AND
THEN DECIDE.
THAT'S THE ONLY THING I'M ASKING
FOR IN THIS BOOK, IS THAT WE
HAVE A LOT OF SERIOUS PROBLEMS
IN OUR SOCIETY, LIKE REALLY
SERIOUS PROBLEMS.
THE FUTURE OF THE PLANET IS IN
PERIL.
GLOBAL WARMING IS TRUE.
SO WE NEED TO LISTEN TO PEOPLE
AND WE NEED TO FIND SOLUTIONS TO
THE PROBLEMS WE HAVE IN OUR
SOCIETY.

Steve says LET ME PUSH THIS
BACK AT YOU.
IN THE CASE OF GLOBAL WARMING OR
CLIMATE CHANGE, WHATEVER YOU
WANT TO CALL IT, THE DISSENTING
VOICES TODAY ARE THOSE WHO SAY
IT DOESN'T EXIST.
DO WE NEED TO LISTEN TO THEM?

William says ABSOLUTELY.
I SAY WE LISTEN TO CLIMATE
CHANGE SKEPTICS THE SAME WAY WE
LISTEN TO PEOPLE WHO ARE WARNING
US ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING.
PERSONALLY, I SEE THE VALUE IN
DOING SOMETHING ABOUT GLOBAL
WARMING BECAUSE THE OCEANS DO
APPEAR TO BE RISING.
PARENTHETICALLY, RACHEL CARSON
FIRST OBSERVED RISING OCEANS 50
YEARS AGO.
WE CAN AGREE OR DISAGREE ABOUT
IT.
THERE'S ALL SORTS OF OTHER
MOVEMENTS.
WE CAN AGREE OR DISAGREE WITH.
YOU CAN HAVE THE ANTI-VAXERS IN
HERE, FOR INSTANCE.
YOU CAN HAVE PEOPLE WHO BELIEVE
IN THE SCIENCE OF VACCINATIONS.
WE CAN DISCUSS THESE THINGS.
THESE THINGS WITH INFORM US.
THERE'S A BIG DIFFERENCE BETWEEN
LISTENING TO PEOPLE WE DISAGREE
WITH AND PEOPLE WHO ARE ENGAGING
IN HATE SPEECH, FOR INSTANCE.
PEOPLE ENGAGING IN HATE SPEECH,
WHO ARE KICKING PEOPLE WHILE
THEY'RE DOWN, HURTING OTHER
PEOPLE, THOSE AREN'T DISSENTING
VOICES.
THOSE AREN'T, QUOTE, UNQUOTE, AS
PRESIDENT TRUMP WOULD SAY, "GOOD
PEOPLE."
THOSE ARE PEOPLE TRYING TO
DESTROY SOCIETY.
IT IS A PRODUCTIVE FORCE BECAUSE
IT WANTS TO BUILD OUR
INSTITUTIONS.
THERE IS NO SINGLE IDEA YOU'RE
AFRAID OF.

Steve says CAN I ASK YOU
WHETHER THERE IS... IS THERE A
SINGULAR QUALITY THAT ALL OF
YOUR DISSENTERS HAVE THAT ALLOWS
THEM, IN THE FACE OF THREATS, IN
THE FACE OF HAVING PEOPLE COME
UP TO THEM SAYING, IF YOU DO
THIS, YOUR CAREER IS OVER, HOW
DO THEY LAUGH IN THE FACE OF ALL
OF THAT?

William says THIS IS SOMETHING I'VE
THOUGHT A LOT ABOUT BECAUSE IT
ULTIMATELY COMES DOWN, AS FAR AS
I'M CONCERNED, TO CHARACTER.
AND WHAT MAKES CHARACTER IN SOME
PEOPLE AND OTHER PEOPLE DON'T
HAVE IT?
WHY DO SOME PEOPLE RUN TO THE
FIRE AND OTHER PEOPLE RUN AWAY
FROM THE FIRE?
I DON'T KNOW THE ANSWER TO THOSE
QUESTIONS, BUT I KNOW THERE ARE
PEOPLE.
I GIVE THE EXAMPLE AT THE END OF
THE BOOK OF A GUY NAMED ROD
RIDENHOUR.
HE WAS AN AMERICAN WHO FOUND OUT
ABOUT THE MY LAI MASSACRE.
HE TOLD PEOPLE ABOUT IT UNTIL
THERE WAS AN INQUIRY INTO IT.

Steve says AND WENT TO JAIL FOR
THAT.

William says BRIEFLY BEFORE HE WAS
PARDONED BY PRESIDENT NIXON.
DO YOU REMEMBER TANKMAN FROM
TIANANMEN SQUARE?
HE WAS OPPOSED TO THE MILITARY
REGIME.

A picture shows a man holding two white flags standing in front of a tank.

William says THERE ARE PEOPLE WE CAN POINT
TO.
TAKE DOCTOR MARTIN LUTHER KING.
HE PAID WITH HIS LIFE BECAUSE OF
HIS DISSENT AGAINST RACIAL
INJUSTICE IN THE UNITED STATES.
TAKE NELSON MANDELA, FATHER OF A
NATION BECAUSE HE RENOUNCED
VIOLENCE AND WELCOMED EVERYBODY
IN IN A SPIRIT OF
RECONCILIATION?
THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO HAVE THIS
TREMENDOUS CHARACTER WHO JUST
WANT TO DO WHAT'S RIGHT.

Steve says DOES THAT EXPLAIN WHY
THERE ARE NOT MORE DISSENTERS IN
SOCIETY BECAUSE THERE AREN'T
MANY OF US WHO HAVE THAT KIND
OF EXTRAORDINARY CHARACTER.

William says WE DON'T ALL HAVE THE
OPPORTUNITY BUT WE ALL DO HAVE
THE OPPORTUNITY TO DO THE RIGHT
THING. ONE OF THE EXAMPLES I
GIVE ARE THE SPACE SHUTTLE
STORIES. THERE WAS A CHALLENGER
AND THERE WAS A COLUMBIA...
BOTH SPACE SHUTTLE DISASTERS
THAT COULD HAVE BEEN PREVENTED
IF PEOPLE HAD SPOKEN UP AND
TAKEN ACTION. AND THEN CONTRAST
THAT WITH APOLLO 13. IT WAS
DAMAGED ON ITS WAY TO THE MOON.
WHAT DID NASA DO? THEY SAID
FAILURE WAS NOT AN OPTION.
GENE KRANZ GOT IN FRONT OF
MISSION CONTROL AND SAID THERE'S
NO BAD IDEA, THERE ARE ONLY GOOD
IDEAS. WE ARE NOT GOING TO STOP
WORKING UNTIL WE BRING THAT
SPACECRAFT SAFELY HOME. SO WHAT
I SAY IN THIS BOOK, WE'VE GOT
ALL OF THESE SERIOUS PROBLEMS SO
WHAT WE NEED TO DO IS WE HAVE TO
GET THE MOST DIVERSE GROUP OF
PEOPLE AROUND AND ASK THEM WHAT
TO DO AND HOW TO FIGURE OUT
SOLUTIONS.

Steve says IN YOUR CAREER IN
THE LAW OR IN MEDIATION OR
ARBITRATION, YOU'VE NO DOUBT HAD
TO DEAL WITH VARIOUS
GOVERNMENTS, BOTH PROVINCIAL AND
FEDERAL.
IS THERE ONE IN YOUR LIFETIME
THAT YOU FEEL WAS PARTICULARLY
BAD WHEN IT CAME TO LISTENING TO
DISSENTING VOICES?

William says I DON'T KNOW.
IT'S PRETTY HARD TO CRITICIZE
GOVERNMENTS BECAUSE THEY'RE
MAKING DECISIONS IN IT REAL
TIME, OF COURSE.
BUT I'D GO AFTER THE STEPHEN
HARPER GOVERNMENT IN MY BOOK.

Steve says HOW COME?

William says I GO AFTER THE STEPHEN HARPER
GOVERNMENT BECAUSE THEY ATTACKED
REASON, THEY ATTACKED SCIENCE,
THEY HAD A PHONEY WAR ON CRIME.
THEY DID ALL OF THESE THINGS
BECAUSE THEY WANTED TO ACHIEVE
THEIR POLITICAL OBJECTIVES IN
FAST AND DIRTY REAL TIME.
WE CAN GIVE ALL SORTS OF
EXAMPLES.
AND I MAKE THE CASE IN THE BOOK.
THIS SOUNDS INCREDIBLY IMMODEST,
AND I'M SORRY FOR SAYING THIS,
BUT THIS IS A GOVERNMENT WHO
COULD CARE LESS ABOUT EVIDENCE.
FOR EXAMPLE, MANDATORY
SENTENCING.
WE KNOW THEY DON'T WORK.
BUT INSTEAD OF FIGURING OUT A
SOLUTION TO THE SENTENCING
PROBLEM THAT WORKED, THEY JUST
INCREASED THE SENTENCING FOR A
WHOLE BUNCH OF CRIMES AND TOOK
AWAY THE DISCRETION OF JUDGES TO
TAILOR THE SENTENCE TO FIT THE
CRIME.
DO YOU KNOW THAT... THIS IS HOW
CRAZY IT WAS: WE HAD STOCKWELL
DAY SAY AT ONE POINT THERE WAS
AN ALARMING INCREASE IN
UNREPORTED CRIMES.
WE HAD THE PRIME MINISTER'S
CHIEF OF STAFF SAYING WE LOVE IT
WHEN THE PROFESSORS CRITICIZE US
BECAUSE IT JUST MEANS THAT OUR
BASE FEELS THAT WE'RE ON THE
RIGHT PATH.
THEY DID ALL SORTS OF THINGS.
THEY DEPRIVED THE RESEARCH
INSTITUTES AND THINK-TANKS OF
MONEY, THEY CLOSED ENVIRONMENTAL
RESEARCH CENTRES, THEY PUT MORE
MONEY INTO APPLIED RESEARCH,
AWAY FROM BASIC RESEARCH.
THEY DID A WHOLE BUNCH OF
THINGS.
THE CENSUS, OF COURSE, IS A
PERFECT EXAMPLE.
SINCE THE DOMESDAY BOOK IN 1086,
GOVERNMENTS HAVE NEEDED TO KNOW
WHAT PEOPLE ARE OUT THERE AND
WHAT THEY'RE UP TO FOR POLICY.

Steve says THEY CANCELLED IT.

William says THE LONG-FORM CENSUS THAT
EVERY FOUR YEARS I THINK WENT TO
20 percent OF THE POPULATION OF WHICH
THERE HAD BEEN ALMOST NO
COMPLAINTS. I MEAN, THIS WAS A
GOVERNMENT THAT COULD CARE LESS
ABOUT EVIDENCE AND PUBLIC
POLICYMAKING AND WAS JUST
ABSOLUTELY DETERMINED TO
ACHIEVE ITS POLITICAL GOALS.

Steve says YOU KNOW,
GOVERNMENTS PRIZE LOYALTY.
AND THE NOTION OF THE LOYAL
OPPOSITION, YOU KNOW, IT EXISTS
IN FACT, BUT WHETHER IT EXISTS
IN SPIRIT IS AN OPEN QUESTION.
DO YOU THINK GOVERNMENTS TODAY
NEED TO UNDERSTAND THE NOTION OF
THE LOYAL OPPOSITION?

William says ABSOLUTELY.
AND I THINK THE OPPOSITION HAS
TO DO THEIR JOB BY OPPOSING WHAT
THE GOVERNMENT IS UP TO.
BUT IN A PRINCIPLED WAY, IN A
FAIR-MINDED WAY, IN A WAY THAT
LOOKS TO THE EVIDENCE.
THE TRUTH IS WE'RE ALL COMMITTED
TO THE RESOLUTION OF THE
IMPORTANT PUBLIC POLICY PROBLEMS
WE FACE IN SOCIETY.
I THINK THERE HAS TO BE A
CONSENSUS THAT WE HAVE TO LISTEN
TO EVERYBODY IN ORDER TO COME UP
WITH SOLUTIONS.
THAT'S THE ARGUMENT I MAKE IN
THE BOOK.

Steve says LET ME PICK UP ON
THE SUBTITLE.
YOU SAY SOME PEOPLE SEE THINGS
THE REST OF US MISS.
HOW DO WE CHANGE THINGS IN
SOCIETY TO THE POINT WHERE THE
REST OF US ARE NOT GOING TO MISS
THEM, WE'LL SEE THESE THINGS
TOO?

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William says THAT'S A DIFFICULT QUESTION.
WE SEE THIS A BIT IN SOCIAL
MEDIA, OF WHICH I'M NO EXPERT.
BUT MANY PEOPLE TEND TO FOLLOW
WEB SITES THAT SORT OF ARE
CONSISTENT WITH THEIR OWN POINTS
OF VIEW.
WHEN I BECAME ACTIVE IN SOCIAL
MEDIA IN ORDER TO PROMOTE MY
BOOK, I DECIDED TO FOLLOW ALL
SORTS OF WEB SITES THAT WERE
COMPLETELY CONTRARY TO HOW I
THOUGHT.
I FOUND THEM ILLUMINATING TO GET
DIFFERENCE POINTS OF VIEW FROM
DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES.
IT GOES BACK TO WHAT I SAID
BEFORE.
THERE'S NO IDEA I'M AFRAID OF.

Steve says GET OUT OF THE
BUBBLE.

William says GET OUT OF THE BUBBLE.
IT'S CALLED THE ECHO CHAMBER.
THERE'S OPTIMISM BIAS, THERE'S
CONFIRMATION BIAS, THERE'S HOW
WE FRAME ISSUES... I DISCUSS ALL
OF THESE THINGS AND THEY
ACTUALLY PREVENT US FROM GETTING
TO THE TRUTH.
SO WE HAVE TO BE AWARE OF THEM.
THAT'S NOT GOING TO BE ENOUGH.
WE CAN'T JUST LISTEN TO GUYS WHO
LOOK LIKE US, WE HAVE TO LISTEN
TO OTHER PEOPLE AS WELL.

Steve says LET'S FINISH UP ON
THIS.
ARE YOU ONE?

William says AM I A DISSENTER?

Steve says NO.

William says I'M A GUY WHO HAS WRITTEN A
BOOK ABOUT DISSENTERS.

Steve says YOU DON'T THINK OF
YOURSELF AS ONE?

William says NO.
I'M A GUY WHO LOOKED AT THIS,
REALIZED HOW IMPORTANT IT IS TO
LISTEN TO DISSENTING VOICES AND
MAKE THE CASE.

Steve says I'M GOING BACK ON
YOU ON THIS.
YOU HAVE A SUIT AND TIE, YOU'RE
A LAWYER, MAKE A DECENT INCOME,
AND ONE OF YOUR CONCERNS IS
INCOME INEQUALITY.
THAT IS NOT NECESSARILY SHARED
BY MOST OF THE PEOPLE WHO
REPRESENT YOUR CLASS AND INCOME.
SO YOU ARE A BIT OF A DISSENTER.

William says I THINK INCOME INEQUALITY, NO
MATTER WHERE YOU ARE IN SOCIETY,
THREATENS PEACE ON THE PLANET.
WE'VE DONE SOME GOOD THINGS IN
ONTARIO, FOR INSTANCE.
THEY'VE REDUCED TUITION FOR A
HUGE SWATH OF PEOPLE TO GO TO
UNIVERSITY IN POSTSECONDARY
EDUCATION, WHICH PERSONALLY I
THINK IS ONE OF THE BIGGEST
ACCESS POINTS TO SOCIAL MOBILITY
THAT ANY OF US HAVE, WHICH IS
THE EDUCATION SYSTEM.
WE NEED TO DO A LOT MORE.
YOU KNOW, THE PROBLEM, OF
COURSE, WITH INCOME INEQUALITY
IS CAPITALISM, FOR ALL ITS
IMMORTALITY, HUMAN EXPERIENCE
TEACHES US IT'S THE BEST SYSTEM
WE HAVE.
AS IT BECOMES MORE EXTREME AND
PEOPLE LOSE FAITH IN IT, WE HAVE
MORE PROBLEMS IN OUR SOCIETY.
IF YOU DON'T MIND, LET ME ADD
SOMETHING TO THAT.
LOOK AT THE HUGE SOCIAL CHANGES
TAKING PLACE IN THE WESTERN
WORLD NOW.
THERE ARE GOING TO BE MILLIONS
OF PEOPLE UNEMPLOYED AND
UNEMPLOYABLE.
FOR INSTANCE, WE'RE GOING TO
LOSE ALL THE DRIVERS.
WE'RE GOING TO LOSE ALL THE
RETAIL CLERKS.
WE'RE GOING TO LOSE MILLIONS AND
MILLIONS OF JOBS BECAUSE OF
AUTOMATION AND ARTIFICIAL
INTELLIGENCE.
AND THAT'S NOT HAPPENING IN 20
YEARS OR 30 YEARS OR 40 YEARS.
THAT'S HAPPENING NEXT WEEK, NEXT
MONTH, NEXT YEAR.
AND IT'S UNSTOPPABLE.
THERE ARE SOME PEOPLE THAT
PROBABLY COME ON YOUR SHOW AND
SAY THE ANSWER IS A BASIC INCOME
FOR EVERYBODY.
BUT OF COURSE THERE HAS TO BE
PEOPLE WORKING TO PROVIDE THE
BASIC INCOME.
WE HAVE THESE HUGE SOCIAL
PROBLEMS THAT THEY'RE NOT JUST
BEYOND THE HORIZON, THEY'RE ON
THE HORIZON AND WE'RE
APPROACHING THEM QUICKLY.
IF WE DON'T FIGURE OUT A
SOLUTION TO THESE PROBLEMS, THEN
OUR WHOLE SOCIETY AND WAY OF
LIFE WILL BE JEOPARDIZED.

Steve says THE NAME OF THE BOOK
IS: "WHY DISSENT MATTERS:
BECAUSE SOME PEOPLE SEE THINGS
THE REST OF US MISS." WE ARE
GLAD NOT TO HAVE MISSED WILLIAM
KAPLAN IN OUR STUDIO TODAY.
BILL, THANKS SO MUCH FOR COMING
IN.

William says THANK YOU.

The caption changes to "Listening to dissenting voices. Producer: Steve Paikin. @spaikin."

Watch: Listening to Dissenting Voices