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Encore: Ben Stein Profiled
Aired June 23, 2008 - 19:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BEN STEIN, FILMMAKER: Tonight, from Yale valedictorian, presidential speech writer to game show host, Ben Stein has done it all. Starting out as an attorney with his electric personality, he`s worked for Presidents Nixon and Ford and has appeared in numerous commercials, TV shows and movies.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEIN: Bueller? Bueller?
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STEIN: Now he`s got one of his own, "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed." It`s an incredible new documentary that blows the lid off education`s obsession with Darwinism. He joins me for the full hour. Wait a minute, that`s me. Why am I reading this? Isn`t this Glenn`s job? Hello, Beck. Beck? Anyone? Anyone?
BECK: Joining me now, actor, writer, lawyer, economist, author, documentary filmmaker of the brand new hit "Expelled, No Intelligence Allowed," the one and only Ben Stein.
STEIN: Honored to be here.
BECK: You can`t really hold down a job. I mean, pick a career.
STEIN: No, I can`t hold down a job and I have a lot of bills, a really lot of bills.
BECK: Out of all of those things what`s your favorite?
STEIN: My favorite thing is being on TV with you.
BECK: Oh, yeah.
STEIN: No, my favorite thing is being on TV and also speaking to groups. I love meeting people. I`m a born politician. I think someday later in life if I live long enough, I`ll run for office. I love, love, love meeting people.
BECK: Ben was on air with me, on radio earlier this week and I said, you know what, I think you and Joe Lieberman should run.
STEIN: Dynamic, explosive.
BECK: I know, I know you`re making fun of me.
STEIN: In our own low-key way we`re explosive. Low-key explosive.
BECK: You`re here because you`re fascinating. We`re going to talk about a little bit of everything. You`re one of the smartest people that I ...
STEIN: No, no, no, no.
BECK: Yes you are. Come on, valedictorian at Yale Law.
STEIN: I was elected valedictorian. I didn`t get the highest grades. I was elected. I got pretty good grades.
BECK: What do you mean you were elected?
STEIN: The students voted on who was to be valedictorian. I was the most popular, so i was elected.
BECK: What kind of stupid system was that?
STEIN: That`s the way it was. Power to the people. Right on, power to the people.
BECK: You`ve got a new movie out. If I may ...
STEIN: "Expelled, No Intelligence Allowed."
BECK: This is from the "New York Times" ...
STEIN: Oh, you`re not going to ...
BECK: "`Expelled` is an unprincipled propaganda piece that insults believers and nonbelievers alike." I would make t-shirts that said that.
STEIN: I don`t think this woman has met a believer probably in the last 20 years because all the believers I know loved it. Church groups went all over the country. They were yelling and screaming and standing applauding and visiting each other and coming back for the next show. I don`t really know what she was talking about.
BECK: Listen to me. If you are -- turn the TV -- if about 55 minutes, turn the TV off, go and see this movie. I saw it last weekend and it`s absolutely fantastic. I want to play a clip and have you talk about it. This is one is first. This is one of the most depressing things I think I`ve ever seen. This is a professor who is all into evolution and Darwin. And he`s trying to explain, I think, in a happy way ...
BECK: Right? What it means to believe in evolution. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Start by giving up an active deity, then it gives up the hope that there`s any life after death. When you give those two up, the rest of it follows fairly easily. You give up the hope that there`s an immanent morality. And, finally, there`s no human free will. If you believe in evolution, you can`t hope for there being any free will. There`s no hope whatsoever of their being any deep meaning in human life. We live, we die and we`re gone.
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STEIN: And that`s it. He added, and that`s it. I know. He actually turns out to be a very, very nice guy named Dr. Will Provine (ph). He`s a very nice guy, he really is.
BECK: I`m sure he is, but that`s his happy message.
STEIN: Well, now, later on in the movie, he gives a happier message in which he says, I don`t care if you believe in intelligent design, creationism, Darwinism. I just want you to have thought through the issues carefully. And that`s all we want in the movie.
BECK: Can I tell you something? I just brought my daughter to several universities. One of them was Columbia University.
STEIN: Oh, I went there.
BECK: The other one was Princeton. Columbia just -- if anybody from admissions is listening, I loved it. Most arrogant place I`ve ever seen.
STEIN: That`s all Ivy League universities.
BECK: Princeton, because of Professor Robert George, is starting to balance both sides. They`ve got Peter ...
STEIN: God bless them.
BECK: Peter Singer.
STEIN: He`s not -- he`s sort of extreme.
BECK: What, if you just think you can abort your two-year-old child ...
STEIN: To harvest the organs.
BECK: Yeah. If you think that`s extreme. What Princeton is trying to do is balance people like that. I have no problem with him spewing that kind of nonsense as long as somebody equally as intelligent and well-spoken is on the other side saying, uh, that sounds like a bad idea.
STEIN: Well, if you`re finding Princeton, God bless old Nassau -- that`s their nickname. But I don`t think that`s happening in too many other schools.
BECK: You don`t ever lose in trivia games.
STEIN: No. Old Nausea, they call it.
BECK: Let me give you another piece from the movie. Well, since we`re on arrogance and they say that people who believe in intelligent design are crazy ...
STEIN: Yes, and stupid and knuckle-dragging cro-magnons.
BECK: The insults just never stop.
STEIN: Yes, they never stop.
BECK: But then listen to what they think is reasonable. This is one of the leading scholars ...
STEIN: Archpriest of atheistic Darwinism.
BECK: OK. Talking about who might have designed the human cell.
STEIN: Arch ...
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RICHARD DAWKINS, SCIENTIST: If you look at the details of our chemistry, molecular biology, you might find a signature of some sort of designer.
STEIN: Wait a second. Richard Dawkins thought intelligent design might be a legitimate pursuit?
DAWKINS: And that designer could well be a higher intelligence from elsewhere in the universe.
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BECK: Did you ...
STEIN: Yeah, he said that. And I think he later said on his blog that he was just trying to be polite to me because I was so stupid. He was taking pity on me.
BECK: He did not.
STEIN: Yes, he did. He said, I just thought Ben Stein, whom I had never heard of was just honestly stupid and I was just sort of taking pity on him.
BECK: You`ve got to be kidding me.
BECK: So he was talking down to the dummy and saying maybe it was a space alien.
STEIN: Yes. That`s what he said.
Do you buy that at all?
STEIN: No. Of course not. They have no explanation of where life came from. We have an explanation as possibility that there`s an intelligent designer. My belief is his name is God. He has always been, always will be. He created life. He created the heavens and the earth. And I don`t know whether he created them in 6 billion years or 60 billion years or how many years but he created them and that`s how it works. And that makes as much sense to me as it happened by accident.
BECK: Or a space alien, who created the space alien?
STEIN: Yeah. It`s a little far-fetched but he will trust that as a possible explanation to take pity on stupid Ben Stein but he will not posit the possibility of a God.
BECK: Here`s what`s frightening, Ben. Here we are sitting in a society, in a world that`s going to universal health care, universal health care that you can`t afford. They`re already rationing it over in London, in England.
STEIN: And in Canada.
BECK: And in Canada. They`re now taking people today in the Supreme Court in Canada because they can`t get health care.
BECK: It`s exactly what happened in Germany. And what happened in Germany, when you couple it with this kind of thinking that you see in the movie, bad things happen.
STEIN: Yeah, it`s interesting. I wrote about this already, that if you -- what`s going to happen, if you marry up eugenics and limited access to universal health care, it`s going to be you just go die, you just go off and die. Already in Germany I`m told people are given this little pill when they get old and sick and they take the pill and go to sleep and don`t wake up.
STEIN: Yes, yes, that`s happening a lot in Germany.
BECK: What`s the name of the pill? That`s being prescribed by doctors?
STEIN: Apparently it`s a super powerful barbiturate. And people take it and that`s it for them.
BECK: You say we`re never going to forget -- what the ...
STEIN: The problem with that of course is what if you`re just in a bad mood for a couple of hours and you take it and then you`re gone for good. You can`t change your mind.
BECK: I don`t know if that`s the -- I mean ...
STEIN: That`s one of the problems.
BECK: That`s one of the problems. The other problem, I see it, doctors are prescribing -- are killing people in Germany.
STEIN: Well, again you might say. Again. Yeah, again. We showed this -- we documented in the movie that they`ve been doing this for a while.
BECK: You know what, let me go to this because you went to the Hatimar (ph) Clinic which is a death clinic where the German doctors, took two of them, had to sign a form say, yeah, we`ve got to kill this person. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEIN: So this was a Darwinian concept?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
STEIN: And also a Malthusian concept? Very much Mathusian.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who is he?
STEIN: Thomas Malthus who said there was a shortage of resources. English philosopher.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But the Nazis, they relied on Darwin.
STEIN: Do you think to yourself the sane ones were the ones having their brains remove, the insane one was Dr. Gorgas (ph) and all the other people ...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I don`t think that because I think those people who killed here, they were very sane, because they had their purposes.
STEIN: If you met Dr. Gorgas today, what would you say to him?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t know. I don`t think that it`s my role to tell him something.
BECK: You know ...
STEIN: It`s incredible.
BECK: May I ask you a question? Because you`re Jewish. I watched this and I thought I could feel the pain in you.
STEIN: It was terrible. It was just ...
BECK: It had to have been.
STEIN: It was horrible. And right up the hill from where I had that interview there is a cemetery where they buried the ashes of Jewish children, half-Jewish children who were killed because they had one Jewish parent who had already been sent to a death camp, one Aryan parent who had been sent off to war or to forced labor, so that child was just a needless drain, they were never going to allow that child to live. So they just gave that child an overdose of drugs, killed him or her, burned them to an ash and put the ashes in that cemetery. And by the way, they have to have guards up all the time because neo-Nazis deface the graves.
BECK: So the point of the movie -- and this is why you need to see it. The point of the movie is we`ve got to have a conversation -- and I tell you, Ben, when I saw the movie, I walked away saying there`s a big portion of America -- and it`s coming from these universities -- that I don`t even recognize anymore.
STEIN: I don`t recognize them either. They don`t have any idea of the sacredness of human life. It all starts with the sacredness of human life and we work backwards and forward from there. But if you don`t start with the sacredness of human life, you`re not getting anywhere.
BECK: More with Ben Stein in just a minute.
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STEIN: Anyone? Something d-o-o economics. Voodoo economics.
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BECK: Your dad was the guy that coined voodoo economics.
STEIN: I think he actually -- he coined -- I know he coined supply side. I`m not positive he coined "voodoo." That might have come up from Bush 41. I think it did. My father definitely invented supply side. Not a fan ...
BECK: That`s amazing.
STEIN: I know. He`s a very original guy. He also thought up Stein`s law, which is if a thing cannot go on forever, it will stop.
BECK: So you grew up at a -- you grew up in Washington, DC.
STEIN: Yeah, in Silver Spring, Maryland, a wonderful leafy suburb. And I went to high school at Montgomery Blair with Goldie Hawn, Connie Chung and Carl Bernstein and junior high school at Montgomery Hills with Sylvester Stallone.
BECK: So you`re the wealthiest one percent everyone talks about. The elitist.
STEIN: Certainly one percent. But you`re the top 0.01 percent. So you`re the real elitist.
BECK: I don`t know what you`re reading. But your dad was economic adviser for ...
STEIN: Mr. Nixon and Mr. Ford and also he was in a general way for Mr. Reagan but not in any specific way.
BECK: Do you remember the first time you were at the White House?
STEIN: Oh, very well. Very, very well.
BECK: When you were little or ...
STEIN: Well, no, I was already, I think, a law student, as a matter of fact. And I -- we went on a Saturday for a worship service with a guy who was a very nice guy who was a minister from Indianapolis. And then shortly thereafter, I started work as a speech writer. I was quite wrung. I was only 28.
BECK: And you were writing speeches for Mr. Nixon for what?
STEIN: About economics mostly and law. I wrote the first comprehensive energy policy speech that anyone had ever written. I wrote the first ...
BECK: Give me the best line from that speech. See if you remember this classic ...
STEIN: The best line was just a title, project independence in which we said we`d make ourselves independent of foreign energy sources outside the North American continent by 1983. Didn`t quite work out that way.
BECK: You know what, I think we actually -- didn`t we -- I think we actually played that sound bite.
STEIN: It didn`t quite work.
STEIN: And when I saw Mr. Bush 43 give his speech recently about energy independence, it had every element I had written about 30 years, 35 years earlier, plus a few were missing. He didn`t even have as many as we had then. It`s never going to work. That`s the way the world is now. We`re all energy interdependent and we are going to be for a long, long time.
BECK: But we can be. Can`t we be?
STEIN: We can be. Sure, sure.
BECK: So why don`t we do it?
STEIN: No, we are energy interdependent. We could be energy independent, but it would take a mammoth national effort. I don`t think we have the willpower to do it. Because look, if we try to disturb the giant masses of earth surrounding all the coal and make coal into oil, I wouldn`t mind. It doesn`t bother me, Glenn.
BECK: Drill through the head of reindeer. Sorry, kids. Santa`s reindeer, you hold them down and I`ll put the drill bit through their head to get the oil.
STEIN: I don`t know if I`ll do that. But we do need the oil very, very badly. I agree entirely. We have enough coal to turn into oil to last virtually indefinitely. We have enough nucular, as Mr. Bush says to last virtually indefinitely. I think we should do it. I love the environment but I love the idea of being independent much more.
BECK: Look, I love the environment as well, but $10 a gallon for gasoline.
STEIN: Oh, it`s going to be more than that.
BECK: Santa`s -- What does it take? What does gas have to be before you hold Santa`s reindeer down to the ground?
STEIN: I will never do. Never do it. Never do it. Holding Santa`s reindeer down to the ground and drilling a hole in the head? I`m not doing it.
BECK: Maybe not Santa. Maybe it`s an extra one, an old one, a useless one.
STEIN: An old one that`s depressed ...
BECK: An old one that doesn`t do as much for Santa anymore.
STEIN: All right, that I`ll do. Seriously, we could -- Germany made itself virtually energy independent during World War II while it was being bombed 24 hours a day. We are not being bombed except very rarely and horribly occasionally, but we can do it. We just don`t have the willpower to do it.
BECK: Do you realize that Germany stayed afloat with coal-to-oil exactly the same ...
STEIN: While being bombed.
BECK: And you know what, our military is making coal-to-oil right now because they want to be energy independent for the military to be able to have all of it be able to make right here in the United States of America.
STEIN: I think it`s a good idea.
BECK: It`s a great idea. Yet we won`t do it for the general public?
STEIN: I keep thinking if we lose in Iraq, God forbid, if Iran takes over and dominates the Middle East we`re going to be in real trouble. What if Russia stops selling energy to Western Europe? I think Russia at present has more domination over Western Europe than Stalin ever did.
BECK: Reagan said don`t build the pipeline. They built it. And he we area.
STEIN: And now they`re totally addicted.
BECK: Anyway, total non-sequitur here. Odds that you are Deep Throat, that`s the rumor.
STEIN: No, no, no, that -- first of all, I love Nixon. I would never do anything against him. I loved him like a father. Second I never knew anything very secret. When all that Watergate stuff was happening I was a hippie, pot smoking hippie in the woods of Santa Cruz, California. I wasn`t even ...
BECK: That was a rumor you were Deep Throat.
STEIN: I know. It was in "Time" magazine but it`s not even remotely close. The guy who claims he was Deep Throat has already admitted it.
BECK: Let`s say you in a porno movie. Have you ever made a porno movie?
STEIN: No, I`ve never made a porno ...
BECK: I thought maybe that`s where the rumor came from.
STEIN: I`ve never made a porno movie.
BECK: You and Joe Lieberman, an exciting ticket and then Ben Stein`s porno movie.
STEIN: Ben Stein and Ann Coulter in a porno movie.
BECK: Ladies, wouldn`t that be great?
STEIN: Well, no, I`m afraid not. It was a good try.
BECK: Back in a second with more of Ben Stein.
STEIN: That`s very funny.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEIN: Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Um, he`s sick. My best friend`s sister`s boyfriend`s brother`s brother heard from this guy who knows this kid who is going with a girl who saw Ferris pass out at 31 Flavors last night. I guess it`s pretty serious.
STEIN: Thank you, Simone.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No problem whatsoever. Frye, frye, frye?
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BECK: How did you go from either acting in "Deep Throat" or being Deep Throat ...
STEIN: I wasn`t Deep Throat. I was not remotely Deep Throat. I would not do anything against Nixon for anything.
BECK: Isn`t that what Deep Throat would say?
STEIN: I`m not Deep Throat.
BECK: OK. How did you go from there to that?
STEIN: I left the White House, got a column at the "Wall Street Journal" about entertainment. They sent me to Hollywood a lot. I loved the lifestyle out there. Norman Lear who I interviewed a number of times ...
BECK: I`m sorry. I just don`t see you in the ...
STEIN: Yeah, I`m a Hollywood guy.
BECK: Really, you go to all the parties?
BECK: You clubbing it ...
STEIN: No, no, no. I`m a Hollywood guy in the sense I like the weather, I like the freeways, I like the fact that you can swim. I have a very nice pool at my house and I swim every day that I`m home morning and night, no matter how cold it is -- it`s not cold in my pool, I assure you of that. I love that and I love the fact that you can do anything you want and people don`t have much expectation you`ll behave normally.
But I love Washington, DC the most.
Anyway, so "The Wall Street Journal" sent me to Hollywood. Norman Lear, who I had met a number of times, offered me a consultancy, $600 a week. I thought I was rich. So I did that.
BECK: Norman Lear likes you?
STEIN: Yes, he and I are great pals.
BECK: He hates me.
STEIN: Oh, what a shock. If you have met him ...
BECK: Oh, I have met him.
STEIN: You would like him if you met him. I`m scratching my back. He would love you if he met you.
BECK: I`ve met him.
STEIN: Well, what did he say when you met him?
STEIN: Well, I can introduce you ...
BECK: I didn`t ask. I was just ...
STEIN: If you two want to come -- if you want come out to Hollywood, sometime when you`re there for a speech, I will arrange for you and Norman and me to have dinner and we`ll have a nice time and you`ll wind up loving each other. I started writing screenplays, I sold the first one I wrote. I sold dozens after that, a couple of them got made. Then one day a producers asked me if I`d be in a movie. That was "Ferris Bueller." And the next thing I knew, I was a star.
BECK: Right. One minute. I found out that you actually wrote -- you were a, you wrote screenplays.
BECK: You wrote "Amerika" with a "K."
STEIN: I wrote the story line. I wrote the storyline, I did not write the script. I wrote the storyline of "Amerika" with a "K" and the story line for a very good movie called "A Murder in Mississippi" about Goodman, Chaney and Schwerner. A script which I didn`t get credit by some rip-off for a movie called "The Boost" which was based on my book about Quaalude addiction. It was great, great stuff.
BECK: What is your expertise in Quaalude addiction?
STEIN: I took them not to the point of addicted but they were the best sleeping pill ever made. And I wrote and helped think up ...
BECK: Wait. Can you get a shot of this table? Tell me that this guy -- does this guy at this table -- can you get up here -- this guy who has all of this stuff over here -- you can`t really see it. He`s been drinking this off the air. He comes with his own tea and I think he has crumpets in his pocket.
STEIN: Plus Zantac. Zantac.
BECK: OK, all right. Back in just a second. We`ll talk about the economy. He`s going to get all hepped up, and then we`ll talk about the economy.
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STEIN: It makes you want to vomit that we have people in Iraq and Afghanistan laying down their lives for a just, lawful, compassionate America, and here at home, the looters are running wild. That just makes me sick, and I think there should be a stop to it.
It disappoints me very much that Mr. Bush, whom I like very much, is not taking major steps to reform the bankruptcy process so that people cannot put a company into bankruptcy, destroy the lives of the employees, and then walk off with hundreds of millions of dollars in stock.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BECK: Back with Ben Stein, author, comedian, documentary filmmaker of "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed."
It is in movie theaters now, and I`m telling you, America, if you`re a God- fearing person, if you`re somebody who wants your kids to go to college, please go see "Expelled." Look it up. It`s in theaters this week.
I want to ask you a little bit about -- let`s start with the food crisis.
Tell me about it.
STEIN: Well, two factors. The worst one, the inexcusable one, was the ethanol mandates in which Congress just out of nowhere required that a very large amount of cropland be used to produce ethanol -- corn for ethanol.
Corn for ethanol is a great idea in theory. It doesn`t produce as much energy as it costs to make it.
STEIN: So, it`s a net energy loser. It`s using up a lot of crops that could be feeding animals and people.
BECK: It`s going to have more. I think it`s like -- what is it, 24...
STEIN: They`re doubling it.
STEIN: They`re either doubling it or tripling it.
BECK: I think it`s 25 percent this year. It`s 50 next year.
STEIN: And not only is it causing a food crisis, which is terrible, and real people are really starving, but also it is causing environmental havoc because lots and lots of jungle and virgin forests are being knocked down to grow corn.
STEIN: And yet people will not allow drilling in some remote spot in Alaska for oil.
BECK: Through Santa`s reindeer`s head.
STEIN: No, not going through Santa`s reindeer`s head.
BECK: Here`s the thing. You talk about it in your movie "Expelled." It`s the same thing with Islamic extremism, global warming, ethanol.
STEIN: Yes, you`re not allowed to tell the truth.
BECK: You can`t...
STEIN: You`re not allowed.
BECK: You can`t.
STEIN: No, but ethanol I think -- you`re getting to a place where you can tell the truth, because everyone now realizes there is just no point to doing it. We would have done a lot better drilling, drilling, drilling, converting coal into oil.
It`s turning into a real worldwide disaster. And, you know, people in the U.S. pay more for their food. People in Haiti die. People in (INAUDIBLE) die.
BECK: Yes. Here`s the amazing thing. Everybody says -- all these liberals are running around saying, oh, our foreign policy is making people hate us. When we starve the world to death over an invisible gas, how much are they going to hate us then?
STEIN: Yes. Do you know how much all the greenhouse gases in the upper atmosphere is caused by manmade activities? Less than 2 percent.
STEIN: So, and the addition and the saving by using ethanol is inconsequential, if any. It`s just -- it was a bad, bad, bad idea.
But hugely beloved in the agricultural states. And more power to them. We all want to make money, but hugely beloved in the agricultural states but a disaster worldwide.
The second big crisis is not manmade. It`s the drought in Australia, which has greatly cut back on rice production.
BECK: And African stem rust.
STEIN: Well, I didn`t realize that was a big factor. I thought -- well, now I stand corrected.
BECK: OK, Mr. Columbia and Yale.
STEIN: I stand corrected.
BECK: The falling dollar, oil...
STEIN: There`s no end in sight. No end in sight for the falling dollar.
BECK: That`s not good.
STEIN: No, it is not good at all.
BECK: Every 1 percent that the dollar falls, oil goes up $4 a barrel.
STEIN: I don`t think it`s quite that much.
BECK: Yes, that`s according to OPEC today. IT came out -- or this week it came out.
STEIN: Well, that doesn`t seem possible, because $4 a barrel is a lot more than 1 percent of the price of oil per barrel. I could see it going up, say, $2 a barrel, but $4 seems far-fetched.
BECK: That`s crazy. Really, that`s the number from OPEC. I mean, you`re probably right.
STEIN: But wait. No matter how much it goes up, the incredibly high gas and gasoline and diesel prices are the flip side of the falling dollar. The falling dollar is caused by our enormous trade deficits and our enormous federal budget deficit. We have got to get federal spending under control, and we`ve got to get some handle on the foreign trade deficit. Otherwise it`s just a bottomless pit.
BECK: But there`s nobody going to do it.
STEIN: No, there`s nobody going to do it.
BECK: I mean, John McCain is a nightmare. And you`ve got -- you`ve got Hillary, a double nightmare. And Obama is...
BECK: Oh, my gosh.
STEIN: Yes, it`s a big problem. There`s no constituency for responsible budgetary policy anymore, none at all in Washington.
When they did the stimulus package, that was really a joke. And I have to say that I think that congressman from Texas who was running for president -- what was the guy? I`m blanking on his name. A very smart guy.
BECK: No, not Richardson.
STEIN: Ron Paul. He made such a brilliant comment. He said, we`re going to borrow $160 billion from China, use the money to buy toys in China, and then owe China $160 billion, and that will be our stimulus package.
BECK: Yes. Well now we`re -- it gets even better. We`re borrowing money from China, paying the interest, and then giving it to the American people, spending $40 million to send out notices that you`re getting a check, then giving that money to OPEC.
STEIN: Yes. Well, OPEC, or to China for toys or electronics or something.
No, it doesn`t work. It`s not a good idea. And it`s a trivial amount of total purchasing power. It doesn`t really matter much.
BECK: You know, here`s the amazing thing, Ben, is I think we`re -- we are a nation that is -- we`re on a suicide path.
STEIN: We`re on a suicide path. But I`m hoping that at some point it will change. And anyway, it`s a very slow suicide. It will be a problem really for your grandchildren, not for you.
BECK: You know what? I have to tell you -- here`s the arrogance. We said in the 1940s everybody has to buy our products.
BECK: Because we make the best. We have all the steel. We have everything. Then we got sloppy and Japan took over, and we lost our steel and our factories.
BECK: Then we said, in our arrogance, the world needs us because we have all the spending. Well, we`ve racked up debt. And at the same time -- I mean, I don`t know if you`ve been into a store lately and had an experience of some of the Americans that we`re pumping out that won`t do any work.
STEIN: Oh, I wrote a column about that for Yahoo! online. The amazing thing, I went into a store recently, a Barnes & Noble, and bought a big pile of books. I said, please send this to my house.
We don`t know how to send anything out. The clerks who were students at George Washington University, which was a very good university, did not know how to ship out products from Barnes & Noble. That`s pathetic. They literally did not know how to send out a package of books from Barnes & Noble.
BECK: Did they talk to a manager?
STEIN: The manager came over and she didn`t know how to do it either. She was very attractive, but she didn`t know how to do it either.
BECK: You`re a player, aren`t you?
STEIN: Well, playah (ph).
BECK: Well. I know...
STEIN: Yes, she was very attractive. I wasn`t playing with her. I was just trying to get the books sent out. But then if you go to some places, they can do it, bang, bang, bang.
BECK: Do you think that there`s a group of people that don`t really care? You know, it`s the cakes and circuses. They`re just...
STEIN: Whatever -- bread and circuses.
BECK: Yes, bread and circuses.
STEIN: Bread and circenses (ph). That`s Latin.
BECK: Don`t talk down to me.
So, you know, they`re just feed me, feed me, feed me.
BECK: And then there`s the other side that I feel is a growing number of Americans who have done their part, they`ve worked hard. They bust their butt. They`re just trying to feed their family, keep their family safe. They`re becoming more and more disenfranchised.
STEIN: I agree. They have no one to speak for them.
Look, Wall Street has everybody to speak up for them and all they do basically is loot. Not all they do, but a large part of what they do is loot.
All the big industries have lobbyists. Agriculture has lobbyists. Poor people have lobbyists. The ordinary guy basically has nobody speaking up for him, guy or gal.
BECK: So then what happens?
STEIN: Those people get more and more disenfranchised, more and more alienated, disillusioned. And then eventually they get angry and they demand substantial change. And that`s when we really have problems.
BECK: I guess we`re there without really standing up. I keep saying to all the people in Washington, every politician I talk to, do you hear the American people? Because they`re saying to you in a polite fashion...
BECK: ... right now without the pitchforks and the torches.
BECK: And if you don`t -- it`s the Declaration of Independence. Stop injuring us.
STEIN: Yes. Stand up for America. Stand up for not indenturing our children to China and to Saudi Arabia. Stand up for protecting us from terrorism. Stand up for paying the military decently. Stand up for paying policeman and teachers decently.
And don`t just make apologies for people who are screwing up this society.
BECK: Is there anybody out there that you think gets it?
STEIN: Not on the political scene, not at all. Nobody. None. Not at all.
BECK: So then what happens?
STEIN: I mean, I will vote for McCain because I`m Republican. I will vote for McCain.
BECK: Are you a conservative or are you a Republican?
STEIN: I`m a conservative and a Republican. Look, who else could I vote for, Glenn? You`re not running. Do you want to run? I`ll vote for you.
STEIN: I`ll vote for you.
BECK: No, would you?
STEIN: Of course I would.
BECK: No, that would be fantastic.
BECK: That`s very funny. Do you know how horrible that would be?
STEIN: I would like to see a real conservative in there. But there`s nobody running.
BECK: Do you know any? Do you know any that you say, boy, this guy should run?
STEIN: My friend, Phil DeMuth, who is a very brilliant guy, who`s my book co-author and a very smart conservative. He should run.
BECK: OK. Everybody...
STEIN: Phil DeMuth.
BECK: Phil DeMuth.
STEIN: DeMuth, right.
BECK: In `08. Rock on.
STEIN: OK. All right. Mockery, mockery, mockery, mockery.
BECK: And you know nothing of that.
STEIN: No, I don`t know anything of that.
BECK: All right. We`ll be back.
A conversation about a conservative in Hollywood. Ben Stein`s take on Hollywood when we come back.
BECK: Back with Ben Stein, documentary filmmaker of "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed."
You used to write a column about celebrities.
STEIN: Right, online.
BECK: And then you were kind of disillusioned. What a surprise.
STEIN: Well, I was writing for E! Online, which is a great, great, great online service. And it was about life at Morton`s, which is a super powerful star restaurant. It actually closed just recently.
But I got disillusioned because the real stars, I realized, are not at Morton`s, they`re not in Malibu, they`re not in Beverly Hills. They`re wearing battle-dress over body armor in Ramadi, Kirkuk, Mosul. They`re going on patrol outside to Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. They`re flying around in helicopters in remote valleys in Afghanistan.
They`re getting shot at, they`re having their legs blown off by Iranian- supplied equipment. And then they`re being incredibly brave about it at Walter Reed.
BECK: You were just at Walter Reed.
STEIN: I was just at Walter Reed very recently. And the people there are the bravest people on earth. I met a young man from the 10th Mountain Division. He had his legs blown off by an explosively-formed projectile.
I said, "What did it feel like?" He said, "I said to my buddy who was in the Humvee with me, `Forbes (ph), I don`t have any legs.`" And I said, "Well, what did you think?" And he said, "It`s like when you`ve got the last beer out of the refrigerator and you`ve already drunk it and you thought you had another one there and you`re out of beer and you`ve drunk your last beer."
"I thought, I don`t have any legs, I`ve drunk my last beer where my legs are concerned." And it was unbelievably poetic. And this guy was sitting there in his bed without any legs and making jokes, as poetic as Bob Dylan, and he`s sitting there at Walter Reed with his family beside him.
And that`s a hero. That`s a superstar.
BECK: As poetic as Bob Dylan, yet without all the angst and...
STEIN: This guy...
BECK: Anger and...
STEIN: I look at the anger of the people in New York and the media world. If you crossed them even a little bit, they would just as soon cut your head off.
STEIN: These guys have modesty, self-deprecating. They`re humorous, have common sense. They`re just incredibly kind, wonderful people.
We are so blessed to have them in our service. There are no words to describe it. And their families take on the most incredible burdens all for us, who are just sitting on our butts back home. We are blessed beyond words to have these people in our service.
BECK: And there you go living the Hollywood lifestyle.
STEIN: I live it, but I tell you what, with every stroke of my pool -- in my pool, I thank God for these men and women and their families. And I`m happy to pay my taxes. And you know what? I think I`ve been to Walter Reed more than any other celebrity. They tell me when I go there nobody else goes more than me.
BECK: Well, I have to tell you, you are a -- you are a genuine guy. You know, we`ve gotten to know each other.
STEIN: A genuine nut.
BECK: No, I mean, you are. You are a genuine guy. You genuinely care about America and care about them an awful lot.
STEIN: I care a lot.
BECK: But I...
STEIN: This country is fabulous! Glenn, this country -- do I care? How could you not care about America?
Look, I`m a Jew. My parents were just the scum of the earth back in Eastern Europe. People could kill us or spit on us or torture us to death with impunity. In America, I`m a human being with dignity and have the rights under law and can do anything I want.
BECK: What happened to us, Ben? How can we have people like Jeremiah Wright coming out and saying the things that he does and just this hatred of...
STEIN: Because he doesn`t understand. He doesn`t understand.
BECK: But it`s not him alone.
STEIN: There are lots of people like that, but they`ve got to be educated. I mean, you know, Martin Luther King Jr. said we have to love other people not because they`re likable, but because they`re all children of God. And we have to love them because God made them in his image.
And the same is true with Reverend Wright. I disagree with much of what he says, but he`s a child of God made in his image. And we`ve got to try to educate him and correct his thinking. It can be done.
BECK: How many children do you have?
STEIN: One, a college student.
STEIN: Yes. Very, very, very good looking guy, has the best looking girlfriend on the planet.
BECK: Again. This is disturbing.
STEIN: Well, I mean, I notice these things. I notice these things.
BECK: How many dogs do you have?
STEIN: We have three dogs and six cats and a fish.
BECK: OK. Here`s the thing. If you`re a listener to the radio program, you know that I have a homeland security rule. I think if you have more than three cats, not married -- so, in other words, you can marry and you can have three cats.
So, in other words, if you have two cats and she had two cats, you could marry. But you can`t have four. You`ve got to choose one, "Sophie`s Choice," and get rid of one cat.
STEIN: No, but we...
BECK: You have six, I`d put a cruiser out in front of your house because you`re one of the crazy cat people.
STEIN: Well, we have a pretty big house. I`m sure nowhere near as big as yours. And the cats are treated well. They don`t go outside. They don`t bother anybody else.
BECK: That`s even creepier. You`re one of the people -- I`m telling you, America, some day you`re going to read Ben Stein died alone with 80 cats, that the neighbors are complaining about the feces in the house. That`s what`s going to happen.
STEIN: I just hope it`s not for a long time.
BECK: I mean, doesn`t it -- I mean, it says something about somebody, doesn`t it?
STEIN: I don`t like the alone part too much. But we love animals, and those animals would have been killed if we hadn`t taken them in. And they`re all incredibly cute and playful and we love them.
Dogs and cats are our best friends, Glenn.
BECK: Whatever, Ben. Whatever. But, again -- again with the Hollywood lifestyle, you`re off and on again with marriage, you...
STEIN: No, I`ve been married only to the same woman ever in my whole life.
BECK: Twice. You divorced her and then married her again.
STEIN: But I`ve only been married to her. She`s the only woman I`ve been married to. And the only other woman I`ve ever been married to is my dog.
BECK: You don`t have to really tell me the gory details, but...
STEIN: She`s a saint.
BECK: ... what`s with the divorce and then -- did you one day go...
STEIN: We were both young. We didn`t really understand how to get along with other people. We were both incredibly selfish.
And after I had been separated for a while, living a very, very lively, romantic lifestyle, I realized that there was nobody one out there like Alex (ph). Now, there are many other wonderful women, but there`s only one Alex (ph). There is only one Alex (ph) who would give me her dog when I was living in Malibu and she was spending most of the time in Beverly Hills. And my dog died.
She gave me her dog. Who else would do that?
BECK: You could take my dog.
STEIN: Oh, I could take your dog?
BECK: I`m just saying.
STEIN: No, you wouldn`t give me your dog.
BECK: No. Actually, if I had a cat, you could take the cat.
STEIN: No you wouldn`t.
BECK: And then I would call homeland security on you because then you`d have seven cats.
Really, come on, there is one point where you have too many cats, don`t you think?
STEIN: Why? We love cats.
BECK: Because it`s too weird. You have got too many cats living with you.
STEIN: Well, that`s just a restatement of the question, with all due respect.
BECK: I think that`s everything you need to know about a person. I have six cats. OK, thanks.
STEIN: Well, my wife and I and our son and the housekeeper have six cats. So that`s really only one and a half cats per person.
BECK: How many houses do you have?
STEIN: A lot.
BECK: How much you pulling down a year?
STEIN: Nowhere near as much as you. Not even...
BECK: No, come on. That`s not an answer to the question.
STEIN: It`s not even in the same universe.
BECK: That`s just deflecting to me.
STEIN: It`s not even in the same universe as you. It`s a very modest -- it`s a very modest...
BECK: How much you pulling down a year?
STEIN: It`s a very modest wage.
BECK: He has to feed six cats. Can you imagine what the salary is?
STEIN: It`s a very modest wage. It`s a very modest wage.
BECK: All right. We`re going to play "Win Glenn Beck`s Money" in a second.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEIN: Hello. I`m Ben Stein. And today I`m going to make history.
I`m putting up $5,000 that says I know more than you. So if you`re smart enough, fast enough, and if you`ve got the guts, you can win Ben Stein`s money!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BECK: Hello. I`m Glenn Beck. I`m wagering squat.
STEIN: Oh, squat. That`s very brave of you, isn`t it?
BECK: Squat. Oh, look who is Mr. Nervous, needs a little Maalox.
I saw "Quiz Show." I know how it works.
Do you always...
STEIN: And we did not get the answers in advance.
BECK: Do you always walk around with the Maalox?
STEIN: Always. You never know. I`m never, never sure what`s going to happen there in my stomach.
BECK: Top number of a fraction is called?
STEIN: The numerator.
BECK: What`s short for binary digit?
STEIN: Bid. B-I-D.
BECK: It says bit, but I`m going to give it to him because I bet he knows.
What Texan ended up with one delegate after spending $12 million of his own money running for president in 1980?
STEIN: The guy who started the -- I don`t know, the guy who started -- Perot. Perot.
BECK: No, Sori (ph).
What current branch of the U.S. military had a corps of only 50 soldiers when World War I broke out? Think, man!
STEIN: Air force.
BECK: Yes. How many times a year do you celebrate your anniversary?
BECK: No. You`ve got two. You married her again, did you not?
STEIN: Oh, I thought you meant the generic "you."
STEIN: Oh, two. Yes. Yes.
BECK: Do you celebrate both times?
BECK: Do you have to buy both gifts?
STEIN: I buy my wife a lot of gifts.
BECK: Yes. Do you still have to pay her alimony?
STEIN: No, I don`t have to pay her alimony.
BECK: Least popular month for U.S. weddings?
STEIN: I`ll guess November.
BECK: Oh, sorry, January.
Who has been "Saturday Night Live`s" most frequent guest?
STEIN: Bill Clinton.
BECK: Ooh, sorry again.
STEIN: Who was it?
BECK: It was Steve Martin.
STEIN: Oh, he`s very good.
BECK: Flattest U.S. state?
BECK: You`re not even trying now.
STEIN: No, I am. I think it is Delaware.
STEIN: What is it?
BECK: It`s Florida.
STEIN: Oh, I don`t believe that.
BECK: It`s true. It says it on the yellow card.
STEIN: Oh, OK. Well, then that`s true.
BECK: What is more likely to put Jimmy Kimmel to sleep, his narcolepsy or you?
STEIN: No, his narcolepsy by far. He loves me. I love him.
BECK: Before I went gray what color was my hair?
STEIN: I`m going to guess kind of a sandy brown.
BECK: Yes, you`re exactly right. It`s kind of weird, though, isn`t it?
BECK: It looks fake. Does it look like a toupee?
STEIN: No, it looks very real. It looks very real.
BECK: Well, we`re out of time.
STEIN: Oh, no!
BECK: Sorry. I know.
STEIN: How much did I win?
BECK: You won squat.
STEIN: Oh, well, thank you.
BECK: Ben Stein, thank you sir.
STEIN: God bless you. God bless you. God bless you.
BECK: Great movie, go see it, please. It`s "Expelled."
From New York, good night.