FIRING LINE: MORTIMER ADLER ON THE CONSTITUTION {PART 2 OF 2} (TV)

Summary

Continued from T:61222. Part two of two. One in this talk/interview series hosted by William F. Buckley, Jr. In this episode, Buckley welcomes Mortimer Adler, who is introduced by Buckley as "the foremost teacher in America, and probably the foremost philosopher as well." Adler also serves as the chairman of the board and managing editor of the Encyclopedia Britannica series and has authored the book "We Hold These Truths." He is appearing, viewers learn, to discuss the ideas and ideals of the United States Constitution. Buckley re-introduces Adler and then asks him to explain his reservations about the country's calling a new Constitutional convention to discuss how the issues covered in that document have changed over the years. Adler explains that he sees three reasons against the convention. First of all, he suggests, too much attention is given to single-issue politics today. Second, while the group that convened in the eighteenth century met in complete secrecy, a similar meeting today would be tainted by pundits and media.

Finally, he argues, back in the 1700s, politicians were interested in the common good of mankind; no one was mired in the narrowness of state interests. Buckley says he finds Adler's reasoning interesting, and he asks him to offer his opinions on some further amendments that could be proposed. Adler then discusses the potential benefits of a one-term, six-year presidency. He also discusses the advantages that might be found in having a president elected by the popular majority rather than the electoral college, and he proposes that a new office called the Public Prosecutor be created to police the abuses of all of the branches of government. Finally, Adler expresses his belief that the major government positions should be split up among several people. For example, he says, "I've always said we should have a front-parlor president who speaks very well, the way Reagan does. And we should have a back-parlor president who thinks better than Reagan does." Buckley halts Adler in mock-horror. "Hey!" he shouts. "No hit and run against my hero!" When John Taggart is asked to debate Adler's proposals and ideas, he declares himself speechless. "I'm a bit shocked," he confesses. "Here I thought I was coming to a hotbed of conservative thought, but seldom have I heard so many radical ideas."

(Network affiliation varies; this program was also syndicated from 1966 to 1971 and from 1975 to 1977.)

Cataloging of this program was made possible by Mr. and Mrs. Theodore R. Stanley.

Details

  • NETWORK: PBS
  • DATE: April 24, 1987 Friday
  • RUNNING TIME: 0:58:12
  • COLOR/B&W: Color
  • CATALOG ID: T:61223
  • GENRE: Talk/Interviews
  • SUBJECT HEADING: U S - Politics and Government
  • SERIES RUN: PBS - TV series, 1971-1999
  • COMMERCIALS:

CREDITS

  • Warren Steibel … Producer, Director
  • George Kahookele … Associate Producer, Direction (Misc.), Assistant Director
  • Muriel Oxenberg Murphy … Associate Producer
  • Dorothy McCartney … Researcher
  • William F. Buckley, Jr. … Host
  • Mortimer Adler … Guest
  • John Taggart … Guest
  • Ronald Reagan
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