Ilya Shapiro is a legal scholar, an essayist, and an author who holds degrees from Princeton, The London School of Economics, and The University of Chicago. During our conversation, Ilya talks about his family's life in the Soviet Union, his journey to North America as a child, and his desire to become an American citizen.
Ilya also talks about the foundational liberties of American civilization, freedom of speech, classical liberalism, the role and importance of disagreement in a free society, and his being hired as the Executive Director of The Georgetown Center for the Constitution in early 2022. In January 2022, following a tweet about his views on a Supreme Court vacancy, Ilya was placed on leave and, in public, has been heckled and shouted down.
We talk about that tweet in some detail. This conversation is an attempt to provide some nuance to the controversy surrounding Ilya, and to provide a sense of humanity to a man who - whether or not one agrees with his political views - has apologized.
(03:30) Life in Soviet Union and his family's move to the West
(09:34) Jewish background and thoughts on Russian-Ukrainian war
(14:53) Life under an authoritarian Soviet rule
(17:32) A desire to become an American
(20:55) Evolving beliefs and Ilya’s desire to become an American citizen
(24:07) Classical liberalism
(27:48) Ilya's historical heroes
(29:10) What about classical liberalists resonates with Ilya?
(33:36) American ideals and contributing to American intellectual life
(38:57) A Russian-Jewish immigrant in Mississippi
(42:44) The Cato Institute
(46:44) Transitioning to Executive Director of The Georgetown Center for the Constitution
(50:23) Questioning President Joe Biden's intentions for the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy
(01:00:57) His controversial tweet and an intention to oppose discrimination
(01:02:01) Cultivating grace and respecting disagreements
(01:05:16) Being shouted down at U.C. Hastings
(01:11:18) Allegations made against Ilya by the students of U.C. Hastings
(01:13:27) American free speech in 2022
(01:17:25) Thoughts about the students who shouted him down
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