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Radio interview
Alan Keyes on KLGO Weekend Magazine
March 12, 2006

GEORGE WOOLEY, HOST: You're listening to the Weekend Magazine. Our guest host today is Kristin Jones from the Texas Alliance for life.

KRISTIN JONES, GUEST-HOST: Thank you for tuning in to the Weekend Magazine both here in Austin on 99.3 FM and on the internet at KLGO.net. We want to say hello. Feel free to call in.

And we are pleased to present to you our first special guest of the hour, Ambassador Alan Keyes. He's a seasoned statesman and genuine conservative. Very well-educated leader and incredible orator and spokesperson. Pro-life champion, dedicated family man, and on and on. We could just go on. I know everyone who's listening to the show today thinks he's just as amazing as you and I do, George, so we're very honored that he's on our show.

WOOLEY: Gush on, gush on.

JONES: [laughs]

WOOLEY: Welcome, Ambassador Keyes.

ALAN KEYES: Hi. How are you?

WOOLEY: Very good. We are very honored to have you on our airwaves today, and would love to know what's happening in your world. What direction are you taking our country now?

KEYES: Well, I think I'm just trying to make a contribution to dealing with what I think is a genuine crisis in our country now that's been building for quite some time, but I think is coming to a head, in terms of the moral foundations of the society, the fight to defend traditional institutions--including the institution of marriage--and to promote a return to respect for the basic principles of our liberty, starting, of course, with the one that sees our rights coming from the hand of God.

These are things that have been very important to me throughout my public and political life, because I think they're important to the future of our country and our children, and we've got to fight for them, otherwise I think we're going to lose the way of life that really has been built in this country with a lot of both faith and sacrifice on the part of people in previous generations.

JONES: I agree. Now, what are some of the things that you're focusing in on, as far as America's moral crisis? What are some of the things you talk about?

KEYES: Well, I think right now I've been involved in an effort, working with people like Phyllis Schlafly and Rick Scarborough and others, to try to organize people around the grassroots, get folks to recognize the need to return to a commitment to our basic principles, especially in their moral dimension.

We put together something which you can look at, actually, by going to ValuesVoter.org. It's called a Declaration for American Renewal, and it includes both a statement of principles and a listing of efforts that are right now going on in Congress to deal with some of the things that need to be addressed--beginning, first and foremost, with the abuses that have been taking place in our judicial system, where I think we have seen the emergence of the judiciary, particularly at the federal level but also at other levels, as the main instrument through which a small minority of people are assaulting the moral institutions and principles of the country and destroying them. And they are also creating an environment of intimidation, so that people of faith have to feel as if they are going to be hauled into court, even hauled off to jail, if they simply bear witness to truths that are declared in the scriptures, and to moral principles that have been the basis of our character in America really since the country was founded.

So, we're in a critical situation, and I think this effort to wake people up to what is happening, particularly the abuses in the judiciary, has been taking up a lot of my time and attention.

JONES: I noticed that you were very active on the Terri Schiavo case, and that was, I think, an instance of the courts running amok and the governor saying, "I'm not going to do anything about it." What's your take on that?

KEYES: I think that's true. I was very both chagrined at what the courts were doing and disappointed that Governor Jeb Bush didn't take his stand on the Florida Constitution and using the prerogatives he has under that constitution to protect the rights of Terri Schiavo.

That was a case, as I often tell people, where, if you look at the Florida Constitution, the unalienable right to life is explicitly mentioned and guaranteed in the Florida Constitution to every citizen. And they used the term, taken from the American Declaration, "unalienable"--which means that it cannot be surrendered or transferred to someone else. Right?

Well, this was a case in Florida where the judge took it upon himself to transfer Terri Schiavo's right to life to her husband. On the face of it, that is a violation of the constitutional right guaranteed under the Florida state constitution.

And of course Governor Jeb Bush takes an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States (and the state of the Florida), as do all the public officials throughout the country, who take that oath to preserve the self-government and the constitutional system through which the people of this country govern themselves. And instead of standing up to that judge and basically following his oath and dealing with his responsibility, he did what unfortunately legislators and executives have been doing for the last several decades. They've abdicated; they've let the courts run amok--letting them take on prerogatives that now basically make them the dictators of our society.

Look at what happened in Massachusetts. The legislature and the people there look at marriage and say, "This is what it should be," the court intervenes to dictate the law, and regardless of what the representatives of the people decide, to demand that their will be done.

That's not liberty; that's not constitutional government. That's dictatorship.

And that, sadly, is what we now have in this country.

JONES: I agree. And it seems like people are, in a lot of ways, OK with that. They're like, "You know, the courts decided, and the courts know what they're doing, so who am I to say anything against what a judge is going say?"

KEYES: Well, see, I think that that is partly a reflection--and I often try to point this out to my audiences--it's a reflection of what I would think of as the good character of America. I mean, one of the hardest things to get people to do, sometimes, is to accept the idea of the rule of law. Right?

JONES: Uh-huh.

KEYES: So that, instead of following their passions or their selfish interests and going to war every time they have a disagreement because that's how they feel, they will instead accept to live under rules and procedures and to follow those procedures, even when they cut against the grain; even when they go against your interests.

Over the course of the history of this country, the American people have, I think, shown themselves to be and to become more and more a law-abiding people--a people who basically think, "That's the law. I don't like it, but I gotta go along with it."

And I think that's being exploited. Our respect for law is being exploited now in such a way as to destroy our sovereignty as a people. Because, in point of fact, the ultimate sanction for law in America comes from the will of the people--and that we have to understand.

It was what I think our Founders understood to be a way of making sure that the sovereignty of God would be respected in the polity, so that when God is sovereign in the people's heart, they can make His law sovereign in the county. Do you understand what I'm saying?

JONES: Yes.

KEYES: And that is supposed to be the way things work, except now we no longer respect the idea that the constitutional system is based on respect for that responsibility of the people at large.

And people are acting as if, "Well, no. The law is made by these judges on the bench." It was actually explicitly said, when the country was founded, that the judiciary has no lawmaking power; that does not fall within their province. They are to make their decisions according to laws and constitutions that have been put together through representative processes where the people get to choose their representatives and to pass judgment on what they do.

Instead of following that road, we are now accepting the style of despotism where a few individuals get their hands on authority and then dictate to all the rest, regardless of how the people feel. And that of course is the abrogation of constitutional self-government.

And that's where we are--but I think it's partly because people have good hearts and good consciences in this country. They want to do the right thing. But this is a case where we need to be returning to the right understanding of what that is, and not give away the right of self-government in the name of law--because, at the end of the day, law does not remain just if it does not respect the role that the people as a whole are supposed to play in making the laws and ensuring representative government.

JONES: That's very true. So that website that you told us about is ValuesVoter.org?

KEYES: ValuesVoter.org.

JONES: Great.

KEYES: And I would really encourage people to visit. The idea there, by the way, is not just to read and so forth, but really to get people to make a commitment to sign on--because we're hoping that we will get hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of folks through the internet, to sign on to these principles, basically reasserting the godly principles of America's founding and declaring that these are the principles that govern our consciences as voters, and we would want our representatives to represent that heart and conscience.

And I think that that's the kind of demonstration of wide national support and feeling that can then become the basis for really putting pressure on representatives in the legislatures and Congress to fulfill their obligation.

JONES: If you're just joining us, this is Dr. Alan Keyes with us here on KLGO.

I'm very interested in what's going on in our colleges and universities, and I was wondering if you could speak to maybe our ivy league schools, when someone wants, as a conservative Christian, wants to go get a law degree at Harvard, what would you say to that person?

KEYES: Well, I face this, actually, in my own life as a father, because my son ended up going to Harvard undergraduate, and I had mixed feelings about that--and we spoke about that at length, because even though I graduated from there, the ivy league schools now are pretty much hotbeds of corruption, I believe.

And I use that word "corruption" not in the money sense but in the moral sense: promoting things that are corrupting of conscience and habit and behavior; either taking a stand of indifference to moral values when it comes to sexual conduct, or even promoting things. At some of the ivy league schools now, and I think there was just something, was it at Yale or one of these places--had a big festival about promiscuous sexuality and all of this kind of thing, where they celebrate this kind of lifestyle and are really promoting an environment where people going there are made to feel that if they're not engaging in certain kinds of activities they're "homophobic" or there's something wrong with them. Do you understand what I'm saying?

JONES: Right.

KEYES: This is a far cry even from allowing in the [unintelligible] of control, allowing things to go on. No. There's a promotion of this kind of attitude and immorality in the name of liberation and freedom and all these other things, plus a general environment of godlessness, where, yeah, everybody has the right to believe what they want, but the sotto voce assumption is that only weak intellect and immature people and childish people are actually people of faith who accept those "superstitions" and "myths" that religion represents.

This is the kind of environment that I think now dominates intellectually, along with an almost religious respect for the claims of modern science, where the scientific rubric is the only thing to be respected--even though, when it comes to moral things, the scientists and all the philosophers who have thought about science admit that science cannot address moral issues. Right?

JONES: Sure.

KEYES: And that therefore it cannot be set up as some kind of a standard whereby we displace the moral principles that have guided human conscience. Yet, that is what's going on on our campuses, and that is now supplemented by the fact that you've got the left-wing faculties instead of trying to teach people to think, they're indoctrinating people, and if you don't agree with their dogma, then they punish you with grades and things like this that would keep you from advancing.

So they are really using the campuses as venues of indoctrination, instead of trying to produce people who can think, and who can therefore for themselves come to conclusions because they are respecting the sound principles of human rationality.

That's no longer, apparently, the standard on a lot of campuses, and I find when I go there that approaching the issues in that way, a lot of the students feel grateful to you. "Oh, gosh, finally. Somebody who's not just browbeating us into trying to think a certain way, but who's actually respecting our capacity to think things through and asking that we make use of it." That's what should be going on, but I think it's not in a lot of cases now.

So, all of that would have to be dealt with, and if somebody's going into that environment, I would suggest that they want to make sure that they are wearing the armor, as it were, that's necessary to deal with it, and go in with a commitment to really be somebody who's going to stand up and bear witness to a higher standard of truth, particularly when it comes to the moral elements of society and culture. I think that that's something that has to be thought through, and it has to be approached, if possible, in that frame of mind.

JONES: So, did your son end up going to Harvard?

KEYES: Yes, he did. He ended up going to Harvard and surviving. [laughs]

JONES: He survived. Did he get the brow-beating that you speak of?

KEYES: Of course. I think that that was evident, and he got involved a little bit--did some writing and things like that. But I think that overall it's inevitable now on these campuses that this is what people are going to face.

I would say, though, that in reaction against the dogmatism of the left-wing faculty, you have seen the emergence of a vibrant movement among students that is organizing and inviting other kinds of viewpoints and speakers to campus, and trying to take stands that reflect their consciences.

But at the end of the day, I think when you're facing the kind of situation we have now, some folks would do better to go to college in an environment that is committed to Christian principles and approaches, and if they want to get a sounder grounding in that, go in that environment--but at the end of the day, we shouldn't shy away from the challenge that is represented by these campuses, because, after all, it's the challenge we face in the world at large.

JONES: I agree. If you can get out of Harvard a conservative, you're going to be an amazing person. [laughs]

KEYES: [laughs]

WOOLEY: Dr. Keyes, this is George Wooley, and we're honored to have you on the Weekend Magazine. I became aware of who you were in the 2000 campaign for president, and you were just a breath a fresh air. I think it's unfortunate in our country that people like yourself are too few, a voice of reason in the madness and the compromise . . .

JONES: Articulate voice of reason.

WOOLEY: Absolutely. I'm just such a big fan of yours. As a matter of fact, you just said "end of the day." You use that phrase all the time in your speeches, and I hear that all the time now from TV commentators. "End of the day." I never used to hear that before you entered the national spotlight . . .

JONES: I think it's English.

WOOLEY: Well, anyway, I wish the country and the TV commentators adopted more of your mannerisms and your thoughts, especially. Your TV show was good. I felt like there was some kind of hampering of your willingness to discuss broader issues. I think they kept you focused on one issue through the half-hour program. Is that no longer aired?

KEYES: Ah, no. I parted company or parted ways with MSNBC quite some time ago, and I think part of the problem for them was that under the contractual terms of that relationship, I controlled the content of the program, and I think after a certain point, they didn't want to put up with that, because, I think it's obvious even from the directions they've gone in since then that basically they want the window-dressing of conservatives. They don't want the substance.

And I think that that's part of the problem now--but it's not, by the way, just because of malicious individuals or anything. I think we're dealing with something that, especially when it comes to our politics, is a reflection of a more intrinsic problem: the problem that arises when you have started to interpret politics and public life as if it's all just a matter of the competition of selfish interests for power. Right?

JONES: Uh-huh.

KEYES: And that understanding of our public and political life and affairs is one that I think has been prejudiced against people of principle, prejudiced against truth; prejudiced against the understanding that would help to preserve self-government as something that reflects fundamental principles of justice that in the end are in accord with the will of God and the way that He made the universe when He put it together.

That understanding of the world is what the country was founded on, that God exists, that there are laws that reflect His will and nature, that those laws command respect for human liberty and dignity and worth and rights, and that systems of government should be framed in such a way as to respect those fundamental rights.

That's all of a piece, and it has been abandoned in favor of an understanding of politics that's about power and the competition of selfish interests, and that essentially looks at the human condition and says, "Look, it's just a jungle out there, and whoever succeeds has proven their point, and that's all we care about."

And I think that's reflected, as well, in this debate between evolution and creation, in terms of whether we can even talk about the possibility that the universe isn't just an accident, where everything happens by chance, and instead must accept the dogma that human affairs and human nature is essentially the result of a cosmic accident that reflects ultimately just the fact that the stronger and the superior will dominate.

Do you realize where that takes you? That takes you back to an understanding of human affairs that says that "justice is the good of the stronger," and whoever has the sword and the power will therefore get to make the rules, and you don't have to respect anything that comes in the way of the rights of the weak and the claims that can be made by those who are not so well-endowed.

The whole premise of justice that the country was founded on is discarded when you adopt that view--and yet, I think it's pervasive in the social sciences, in the media, in the entertainment industry, everywhere. They've adopted this kind of godless understanding of what the human community is all about, so that in the end, if you think it through, there is no human community. There's just a competition of selfish passions governed, at the end of day, by whoever happens to win the game. And this is a terrible world to live in.

WOOLEY: How can that happen, Ambassador Keyes, in a country where the majority of the citizens in America claim to be Christians? How can we have this phenomena occurring? And in the abortion holocaust for the last 30 years--how is that possible in a Christian country?

KEYES: A number of reasons, including the fact that, I think, Christians, step number one, took a lot of things for granted; reached a position in America that was so comfortable, so lacking in any kind of elements of persecution and so forth and so on, that I think people just started to take it for granted, to go about their business and so forth. And even people of faith and good heart kind of thought, "Well, we just keep our religion in the pews and in the church, and the rest will take care of itself," and they didn't worry about it. And that of course is not true.

As a result of that indifference and that lack of involvement, we've not only gone through a period of increasing indifference to basic beliefs and principles, we have now entered a period of hostility, where other forces are, through the course, and now through an effort even to change the laws, starting to put things on the books that will be overtly hostile to Christian beliefs and moral conscience, and that will lead to an era of persecution.

Things are being put on the table, for instance, in California, where they would actually make it unlawful for anybody in politics to say a word against homosexual marriage and things of this kind. Steps have been taken in court--one lady got prosecuted because she referred to the "natural family." And so forth.

We're seeing the law turned against these beliefs, so that we're entering an environment of hostility. Now, hopefully, that would arouse a reaction--right?--from people who have been taking things for granted because they realize, "Oh, gosh, the world is changing. I've got to get moving."

But we're out of practice, a lot of folks. See, I find that people, for instance, in dealing with a lot of these issues--the courts, the law--they don't even recognize and understand the godly heritage of this country. They don't think through the consequences of the truth that our civic documents, including the Declaration of Independence--the fundamental statement of principle for our whole system--acknowledged the existence of God.

And in an issue like abortion, for instance--that document, the Constitution, was written by people who didn't take this dog-eat-dog, everybody-for-himself mentality; who recognized that one generation has a responsibility to the next. That's why in the preamble they said that we are to "secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity"--meaning, future generations.

How could Roe vs. Wade have ever been decided the way it was if Blackman and the justices had bothered the read those words in the preamble?

We have lost touch with our heritage, and, therefore, a lot of folks don't feel emboldened to stand up and make the case and make the arguments and stand firm to insist that we do have the right in politics and under the law to act together to vindicate these basic moral principles and approaches.

That's what I've been working on for some years. I'm trying to get people of faith back to the point where they will boldly stand forward to reassert their proper role in our public and political life--because, in the absence of that, things will only continue to get worse.

JONES: That's what I really appreciate about you, is that you point out what's going on, what should be going on, and what we can do about it. So you basically empower people and educate them to do something about what's going on, and your call to action is always at the end of your speech and throughout the speeches that you give.

And I really appreciate you giving us the website, ValuesVoter.org, and encouraging people to go sign the Declaration for American Renewal and figure out what we can do in our communities, and how we need to be standing up for what is right, because it's true, the more we sit back, the more we lose.

KEYES: And I think it's important to emphasize that, particularly for believers, for people of Christian heart, we can't approach all of this in a fashion that says that our standard wears this label or that label. I am a conservative. I have been a lifelong Republican. But I know first and foremost that I am a child of God, a follower of Jesus Christ, someone who has to bear witness to those truths, and that I have to think and vote and act in those terms so that we essentially represent in politics a standard.

And that was the attitude that was taken by the Founders of character. George Washington talked about the fact that when you stand up in public life, you should represent a standard to which good people can repair and rally around--and without that standard, all is lost.

Well, I think that that's what people of Christian conscience ought to represent in politics. They shouldn't let themselves be reduced to just another special interest, looking to get more money, looking to get more power, looking to get their "place at the table," as people always say.

I think that's a wrong approach. We should be trying to stand for those things that will be good on the whole--and that means pleasing to God, Who, in His understanding and knowledge and infinite wisdom, takes account of the whole. And since we serve Him, we must respect His requirement.

That's what we should represent, and that's a true basis for community and for service to the common good, which I think public life ought to be about and citizenship ought to be about.

WOOLEY: Ambassador Keyes, do you have time to take a phone call from one of our listeners?

KEYES: Sure.

WOOLEY: All right. Let's try that. Go ahead, caller.

CALLER: Hi there. Is Alan Keyes still on?

JONES: Yes.

CALLER: Hello there. Is Alan Keyes still with you?

WOOLEY: Yes, he's still on the air.

CALLER: I just have a question. I've just resonated with so much of what he has to say, and I really appreciate your being able to get him online. And I'm just thinking about some of the allies that we've had maybe kicking some liberal and some socialist people out of government, but I'm thinking of people like Neil Boortz who actively insult the Christians and he made these horrible comments about Bush being hooked to life support with Terri Schiavo, and then we have people like, you know, well, the "buck-stops-here" O'Reilly who's just kind of a godless common sense doctrine, where he rejects, you know, the far-est out socialist things and Democratic things, but he also, if you push him too far into the direction of having values or, you know, taking a stand for a moral reason, he's very skittish then. I just wonder if, you know . . .

JONES: So, what you're saying is he's a good libertarian.

KEYES: Hello?

WOOLEY: OK, Dr. Keyes. Were you able to hear that?

KEYES: No, I wasn't.

WOOLEY: OK, well, I don't really know what his point was, other than we do have a lot of lukewarmness out there amongst so-called conservative voices. Neil Boortz was mentioned and Bill O'Reilly--and they don't speak for a lot of people, in my opinion, and we do need to stand up and be vocal, as you've done in the political arena and certainly in the entertainment arena, but everywhere--around the water cooler. I would guess that would be your attitude: everywhere.

KEYES: Everywhere, because, in a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, it is amongst the people that ultimately the direction of the country is decided. So, it is the question of what's happening in the families and in the workplaces and in the churches and in the schools and in the things that people in their everyday life do and represent.

I think that's exploited by bad forces, because they're constantly appealing to people because, "Well, you want a better job. You want money. You want sexual freedom. You want pleasure. You want fulfillment. You want satisfaction. Do things this way, and you'll get it." They're always appealing to people at that level, right, of everyday selfish interest.

Well, I think we need to appeal to people at the level of everyday personal responsibility, where we recognize that witness that we are supposed to bear is a witness that starts right where we live, right in the areas that can be most difficult, where you're dealing with your children and so forth and so on. And I think that that's terribly important to understand.

I also think we have to realize that these days, a lot of folks who are out there competing for the conservative label are doing so because they know that that's a route to power. Right?

JONES: I agree. Yeah.

KEYES: And that they would be able to rally some support.

But we should look at some of the key issues. For me, I will acknowledge it. If somebody comes to me to want an endorsement or support, the first question I will ask them is where they stand on the life issue. And then I will not just listen to their answer, I'll look at the record to see what they've been doing.

Because everybody has two prerogatives. They can tell you what you want to hear at the moment to get your vote, and that's all well and good, because that's a route to power. So what they're doing and saying once they stand up to run, it's too late. If you haven't walked the walk prior to that time, I'm not sure I'll believe you, to be quite honest, when you tell me for the sake of a vote that you are pro-life, and so forth. I'll want to see the evidence. I'll want to see whether you had anything to say about it when it cost you something, since you are now saying it because it'll get you something. Do you understand what I'm saying? Because a lot of people will do that.

But you look at some of the names that were mentioned, like a Bill O'Reilly, and people will say, "That's a conservative. But he's not pro-life."

JONES: Right.

KEYES: And if he's not pro-life, he doesn't understand the principle that I believe ought to be at the heart of the conservative approach to politics, because the principle of conservatism, in my opinion, is constitutional self-government, preserving that in America. And the principle of self-government is self-discipline or responsibility, and you can't really rely on that if you are not answering to--that's what responsibility means--answering to a standard higher than your own will that reflects the truth the country was founded on, that the ultimate authority is God's authority, not our authority.

All of that hangs together. And if you're willing to take a stand on the life issue that utterly abrogates our respect for the fact that we are created equal, not born equal, not equal by our choice, and that therefore that child in the womb is entitled to our respect in the same degree that any of us are, in terms of that basic right to life--if you've gone wrong there, then I would suggest that there's something wrong with the starting point of your reasoning, when it comes to a lot of issues, and I will look askance at that and wonder whether that could come out at a right place.

So, as people are wearing the conservative label--as Arnold Schwarzenegger wanted to do--and then they're taking stands that on these basic moral issues go all in the wrong direction, I don't believe them.

WOOLEY: Amen.

One last question, Dr. Keyes, before we let you go. Ambassador Keyes, any chances that you'll run in the 2008 race, politically?

KEYES: Well, I have learned, over the course of time, not to pretend that I have any knowledge of what the future's going to hold, since I found myself running in Illinois of all places in the last election.

JONES: [laughs]

KEYES: Well, I say that, "of all places," because I'm from Maryland.

JONES: Right, right.

KEYES: They needed my help--

JONES: Yep.

KEYES: --And so I decided to basically hold the standard up in what people said was a hopeless situation. It was important to go.

I think that's what you have to do. You have to respond to the promptings that come through prayer and through an effort, really, to try to walk the walk God wants you to walk. And sometimes it's hard. Sometimes there's nothing in it for you, except that you're taking that stand, and that's what you've got to do.

I think in 2008 there's going to be a real fight in the Republican Party between the pro-abortion and pro-life forces, the forces of principle and the forces of political materialism--and I am going to try to do whatever I can to try to assure that the forces of conscience and principle win, and that we're going to get a ticket that is going to reflect the moral heart that is needed to restore this country to real constitutional self-government.

JONES: Thank you. Thank you so much.

KEYES: Whatever that involves, I will prayerfully consider it and do, I think, what I can do to help out--and I don't know where it will lead.

WOOLEY: We appreciate what you've done thus far, Ambassador Keyes. And we will be praying for your continued success and involvement in our country's culture. And God bless you. Thank you so much for appearing on the program today.

KEYES: Well, God bless you, and thank you for having me. Keep spreading the word.

JONES: Thank you.

KEYES: You're welcome.

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