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Ben Stein Last Essay

 

Ben Stein’s Last Column…
August 9, 2004
Email of The Week

How Can Someone Who Lives in Insane Luxury Be a Star in Today’s World?

As I begin to write this, I “slug” it, as we writers say, which means I
put a heading on top of the document to identify it. This heading is
“FINAL,” and it gives me a shiver to write it. I have been doing this
column for so long that I cannot even recall when I started. I loved
writing this column so much for so long I came to believe it would never
end. It worked well for a long time, but gradually, my changing as a
person and the world’s change have overtaken it.

On a small scale, Morton’s [famous restaurant which was often frequented
by Hollywood stars], while better than ever, no longer attracts as many
stars as it used to. It still brings in the rich people in droves and
definitely some stars. I saw Samuel L. Jackson there a few days ago, and
we had a nice visit, and right before that, I saw and had a splendid
talk with Warren Beatty in an elevator, in which we agreed that Splendor
in the Grass was a super movie. But Morton’s is not the star galaxy it
once was, though it probably will be again.

Beyond that, a bigger change has happened. I no longer think Hollywood
stars are terribly important. They are uniformly pleasant, friendly
people, and they treat me better than I deserve to be treated. But a man
or woman who makes a huge wage for memorizing lines and reciting them in
front of a camera is no longer my idea of a shining star we should all
look up to.

How can a man or woman who makes an eight-figure wage and lives in
insane luxury really be a star in today’s world, if by a “star” we mean
someone bright and powerful and attractive as a role model? Real stars
are not riding around in the backs of limousines or in Porsches or
getting trained in yoga or Pilates and eating only raw fruit while they
have Vietnamese girls do their nails. They can be interesting, nice
people, but they are not heroes to me any longer.

A real star is the soldier of the 4th Infantry Division who poked his
head into a hole on a farm near Tikrit, Iraq. He could have been met by
a bomb or a hail of AK-47 bullets. Instead, he faced an abject Saddam
Hussein and the gratitude of all of the decent people of the world. A
real star is the U.S. soldier who was sent to disarm a bomb next to a
road north of Baghdad. He approached it, and the bomb went off and
killed him.. A real star, the kind who haunts my memory night and day,
is the U.S. soldier in Baghdad who saw a little girl playing with a
piece of unexploded ordnance on a street near where he was guarding a
station. He pushed her aside and threw himself on it just as it
exploded. He left a family desolate in California and a little girl
alive in Baghdad.

The stars who deserve media attention are not the ones who have lavish
weddings on TV but the ones who patrol the streets of Mosul even after
two of their buddies were murdered and their bodies battered and
stripped for the sin of trying to protect Iraqis from terrorists. We put
couples with incomes of $100 million a year on the covers of our
magazines.

The noncoms and officers who barely scrape by on military pay but stand
on guard in Afghanistan and Iraq and on ships and in submarines and near
the Arctic Circle are anonymous as they live and die.

I am no longer comfortable being a part of the system that has such poor
values, and I do not want to perpetuate those values by pretending that
who is eating at Morton’s is a big subject. There are plenty of other
stars in the American firmament….the policemen and women who go off on
patrol in South Central and have no idea if they will return alive. The
orderlies and paramedics who bring in people who have been in terrible
accidents and prepare them for surgery, the teachers and nurses who
throw their whole spirits into caring for autistic children, the kind
men and women who work in hospices and in cancer wards. Think of each
and every fireman who was running up the stairs at the World Trade
Center as the towers began to collapse.

Now you have my idea of a real hero. We are not responsible for the
operation of the universe, and what happens to us is not terribly
important.

God is real, not a fiction, and when we turn over our lives to Him, he
takes far better care of us than we could ever do for ourselves. In a
word, we make ourselves sane when we fire ourselves as the directors of
the movie of our lives and turn the power over to Him.

I came to realize that life lived to help others is the only one that
matters. This is my highest and best use as a human. I can put it
another way. Years ago, I realized I could never be as great an actor as
Olivier or as good a comic as Steve Martin–or Martin Mull or Fred
Willard–or as good an economist as Samuelson or Friedman, or as good a
writer as Fitzgerald. Or even remotely close to any of them. But I could
be a devoted father to my son, husband to my wife and, above all, a good
son to the parents who had done so much for me. This came to be my main
task in life. I did it moderately well with my son, pretty well with my
wife and well indeed with my parents (with my sister’s help). I cared
for and paid attention to them in their declining years. I stayed with
my father as he got sick, went into extremis, into a coma, and then
entered immortality with my sister and me reading him the Psalms.

This was the only point at which my life touched the lives of the
soldiers in Iraq or the firefighters in New York. I came to realize that
life lived to help others is the only one that matters and that it is my
duty, in return for the lavish life God has devolved upon me, to help
others He has placed in my path. This is my highest and best use as a
human.

Ben Stein

Stein speaking at a gala in honor of the TAPS in Washington, D.C., 2008

BornBenjamin Jeremy Stein
(1944-11-25) November 25, 1944 (age 73)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
ResidenceBeverly Hills, California, U.S.
Malibu, California, U.S.
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Sandpoint, Idaho, U.S.
Alma materColumbia University(BA)
Yale Law School(JD)
OccupationAuthor, commentator, lawyer, teacher, actor, voice actor, game show host, comedian, screenwriter, speechwriter, filmmaker, consultant, composer
Years active1970–present (writer and lawyer)
1986–2009 (Actor)
Net worth US$20 million
TelevisionWin Ben Stein's Money
Spouse(s)Alexandra Denman (1968–1974; 1977–present)
Children1
Parent(s)Herbert Stein
Mildred (née Fishman) Stein
Websitehttp://www.benstein.com

Benjamin Jeremy Stein (born November 25, 1944) is an American writer, lawyer, actor, and commentator on political and economic issues. A graduate of Columbia University, Stein began his career in law, graduating as valedictorian from Yale Law School. He attained early success as a speechwriter for U.S. presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. Later, he entered the entertainment field and became an actor, comedian, and Emmy Award-winning game show host. He is most well-known on screen as the economics teacher in Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986) and as Dr. Arthur Neuman in The Mask (1994) and Son of the Mask (2005).

Stein is also a filmmaker. He co-wrote and starred in the 2008 documentary Expelled, which portrays intelligent designcreationism as a scientifically valid alternative to Darwinianevolution and alleges a scientific conspiracy against those promoting intelligent design in laboratories and classrooms. Stein said that his aim was to expose "people out there who want to keep science in a little box where it can’t possibly touch God."[1]

Stein has frequently written commentaries on economic, political, and social issues, along with financial advice to individual investors. He is the son of economist and writer Herbert Stein, who worked at the White House under President Nixon. His sister, Rachel, is also a writer. While as a character actor he is well known for his droning, monotonous delivery, in real life he is a public speaker on a wide range of economic and social issues. In comedy, he is known for his deadpan delivery.[2]

Early life[edit]

Stein was born in Washington, D.C., the son of Mildred (née Fishman), a homemaker, and Herbert Stein, a writer, economist, and presidential adviser.[3] He is Jewish and grew up in the Woodside Forest neighborhood of Silver Spring, Maryland. Stein graduated from Montgomery Blair High School in 1962 along with classmate journalist Carl Bernstein (class of 1960); actress Goldie Hawn (class of 1963) was one year behind. Actor Sylvester Stallone was a schoolmate at Montgomery Hills Junior High School.[4] He went on to major in economics at Columbia University's Columbia College, where he was a member of Alpha Delta Phi and the Philolexian Society. After graduating with honors from Columbia in 1966, Stein went to Yale Law School, graduating as valedictorian in June 1970.

Career[edit]

Legal and academic career[edit]

He was first a poverty lawyer in New Haven, Connecticut, and Washington, D.C. before becoming a trial lawyer for the Federal Trade Commission.[5]

Stein's first teaching stint was as an adjunct professor, teaching about the political and social content of mass culture at American University in Washington, D.C. He subsequently taught classes at University of California, Santa Cruz on political and civil rights under the United States Constitution. At Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA, Stein taught libel law and United States securities law and its ethical aspects. He was a professor of law at Pepperdine University Law School, from about 1990 to 1997.[6]

Stein was the commencement speaker for the Liberty University 2009 graduation on Saturday, May 9, at Williams Stadium.[7] At this ceremony, the University awarded him an honorary degree. According to the school, Stein "delivered a message about creationism, patriotism, and value for humanity to graduates and their families."[8]

Writing career[edit]

Stein writes frequently on a variety of topics, including politics, investing, and economics. He writes a regular column in the conservative magazines The American Spectator and Newsmax. He has also written for numerous publications including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, New York Magazine, Penthouse, Los Angeles Magazine, and Barron's Magazine, where his discussion of the Michael MilkenDrexel Burnham Lambertjunk bond situation, as well as the ethical dimensions of management buyouts, attracted heavy US national attention in the 1980s and 1990s.[citation needed] He wrote a regular biweekly column for Yahoo! Finance online, with his last article dated August 7, 2009.[9] His bestselling books (with investment advisor Phil DeMuth) include Yes, You Can Retire Comfortably, Can America Survive?, and Yes, You Can Time the Market. In 2009, he published a collection of essays, The Real Stars.

Stein was fired from his position as a Sunday Business columnist at The New York Times in August 2009, due to a policy prohibiting writers from performing product endorsements or advertising. Stein had recently become an advertising spokesman for credit information company Freescore.com, and according to a Times statement, had assumed there would be no conflict provided that he did not discuss credit scoring in general or FreeScore.com itself in his column. However, the publication felt that it would be inappropriate for him to write for them while he was involved in advertising, and terminated his contract.[10] Writing in The Spectator, Stein states his belief that the real reasons for his firing were budget cuts at the Times, his criticism of President Obama, and pressure from those critical of Expelled, who "bamboozled some of the high pooh-bahs at the Times into thinking there was a conflict of interest".[11]

Stein is currently an in-house journalist at Newsmax Magazine, a magazine by the conservative media group Newsmax Media.

Political career[edit]

Stein began his political career as a speechwriter and lawyer for President Richard Nixon, and later for President Gerald Ford. On May 3, 1976, Time magazine speculated on the possibility of Stein having actually been Deep Throat. Stein responded over the years by not only denying he was Deep Throat, but by going further and accusing journalist Bob Woodward of falsifying the famous secret source. In the May 14–21, 1998 edition of the Philadelphia City Paper, Stein is quoted saying, "Oh, I don't think there was a Deep Throat. That was a fake. I think there were several different sources and some they just made up."[12] After Mark Felt's identity as Deep Throat was revealed, Stein stated that Richard Nixon would have prevented the rise to power of the Khmer Rouge if he had not been forced to resign. For his actions leading to that resignation, Stein said:

If there is such a thing as karma, if there is such a thing as justice in this life or the next, Mark Felt has bought himself the worst future of any man on this earth. And Bob Woodward is right behind him, with Ben Bradlee bringing up the rear. Out of their smug arrogance and contempt, they hatched the worst nightmare imaginable: genocide.[13]

In 2005, Stein said in the American Spectator:

Can anyone even remember now what Nixon did that was so terrible? He ended the war in Vietnam, brought home the POWs, ended the war in the Mideast, opened relations with China, started the first nuclear weapons reduction treaty, saved Eretz Israel's life, started the Environmental Protection Administration. Does anyone remember what he did that was bad?

Oh, now I remember. He lied. He was a politician who lied. How remarkable. He lied to protect his subordinates who were covering up a ridiculous burglary that no one to this date has any clue about its purpose. He lied so he could stay in office and keep his agenda of peace going. That was his crime. He was a peacemaker and he wanted to make a world where there was a generation of peace. And he succeeded.

That is his legacy. He was a peacemaker. He was a lying, conniving, covering up peacemaker. He was not a lying, conniving drug addict like JFK, a lying, conniving war starter like LBJ, a lying, conniving seducer like Clinton—a lying, conniving peacemaker.[14]

On June 24, 2008, Stein received the Freedom of Expression Award at the Entertainment Merchants Association's Home Entertainment Awards for "his outspoken economic and political beliefs."[15]

Career in the media[edit]

Stein became a Hollywood consultant before he moved into acting. His film career was launched by his performance as the monotonous economics teacher in the 1986 movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off. In one scene, he gives an unscripted economics lecture, relying on his own experience in economics. The topics covered in his lecture are the Smoot-Hawley Tariff of 1930 and the then-current debate over supply-side economics.

Stein played similarly bland and unemotional characters. He had a recurring role in the TV series The Wonder Years and played himself in Dave.

He also appeared in several television advertisements, most notably for the product "Clear Eyes" throughout the 1990s and 2000s ("The difference is clear ... Clear Eyes." "Clear Eyes, wow!"). Many advertisements spoof movies of the day, such as one where Stein is a painter (a play on The Da Vinci Code). Before this, he appeared for Godfather's Pizza in 1987 and as a bland science teacher in 1990 for Sprinkled Chips Ahoy! cookies. In 2013, Stein began appearing in advertisements for small business accounting service firm 1800Accountant.

In 1997, Stein was given his own game show by Comedy Central, titled Win Ben Stein's Money, along with co-host Jimmy Kimmel (replaced by Nancy Pimental and later by Sal Iacono). True to its name, the money that contestants won on the show was subtracted from the $5,000 pay that Stein earned per episode (in addition to his salary). The show won five Daytime Emmy Awards before ending its run in 2003.

In 1999, during the height of Win Ben Stein's Money's popularity, Comedy Central gave Stein another show, a talk show with celebrity guests entitled Turn Ben Stein On. One of the mainstays of the show was Stein's dog, Puppy Wuppy, who had free run of the set. In 2001, Stein appeared on a celebrity episode of The Weakest Link entitled "TV Hosts Edition" alongside other television hosts where he got voted off in round 6.

Other movies and television shows in which Stein has appeared include Charles in Charge; Seinfeld; Full House; Casper; Casper: A Spirited Beginning; Casper Meets Wendy; The Mask and its sequel, Son of the Mask as well as the television show, The Mask: Animated Series; Earthworm Jim; Star Search; MacGyver; Tales from the Crypt; Richie Rich; Game Show Moments Gone Bananas; Cavuto on Business; The O'Reilly Factor; CBS News Sunday Morning; Planes, Trains and Automobiles; Family Guy; the Michael Berger-hosted version of Match Game; The Fairly OddParents; Duckman; Married... with Children; The Emperor's New School; My Girl 2; Ghostbusters II; and the intelligent design documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.[16]

In addition, Stein's voice roles include The Pixies, magical creatures on the animated seriesThe Fairly OddParents; Mr. Purutu on the animated series The Emperor's New School; Professor Wisenstein in Bruno the Kid; the birthday party clown, Mr. Giggles, on The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius; a bingo caller on Rugrats; and Pip on Animaniacs. Futterman in Freakazoid. Stein also voiced a psychiatrist, again named after himself, in the USA TV series Duckman; he once appeared in the sitcom Married... with Children as a receptionist in the animal afterlife. He also made a cameo appearance in the comic book Young Justice, as Ali Ben Styn. Another cameo appearance was as Rabbi Goldberg in the Family Guy episodes "When You Wish Upon a Weinstein" and "Family Goy". Stein also voiced the character Sam Schmaltz in the 1996 computer adventure game Toonstruck.

In addition, Stein has written for the television industry, including outlines for the TV movie Murder in Mississippi and for the lengthy ABC miniseries Amerika. He has also contributed to the creation of the well-liked TV comedy Fernwood 2 Night.

Stein hosted a show on VH1 called America's Most Smartest Model. The show aimed to find the smartest among fourteen models through a series of challenges.[17]

On May 14, 2006, during an appearance on the Fox News program Your World with Neil Cavuto, Stein called for a tax increase of 3.5% for wealthy Americans, to be earmarked for soldiers and military initiatives. Stein wrote an editorial for The New York Times critical of those who would rather make money in the world of finance than fight terrorism.[18]

On December 28, 2009, Stein appeared on CNN's Larry King Live with Ron Paul to discuss the attempted bombing of an American plane on Christmas Day 2009. Stein said that Paul's stance that the United States were "occupiers" in Iraq and Afghanistan "is the same anti-Semitic argument we've heard over and over again."[19] The comment started a shouting match between the two men and prompted anger from Paul supporters and those who believe Stein went too far in calling Paul's argument anti-Semitic.[20] Stein issued an apology on December 30, 2009.[21]

Political and economics commentary has appeared on CNBC's The Kudlow Report and CNN.[22]

Voice and Audiobooks[edit]

On December 9, 2016, Stein partnered with mindfulness and meditation app, Calm to read a Sleep Story.[23][24] In this recording, Stein read the first chapter of The Wealth of Nations, by Adam Smith. Sleep Stories, launched by Calm in December 2016, are bedtime stories for adults.[25][26]

Financial and economic commentary[edit]

In the period preceding the late-2000s recession, Stein made frequent and vehement claims that the economy was not in recession, and that the issues in the housing market would not affect the broader economy. On March 18, 2007, in a column for CBS News' online version of CBS News Sunday Morning, Stein famously proclaimed in the beginning of the subprime mortgage crisis that the foreclosure problem would "blow over and the people who buy now, in due time, will be glad they did," the economy was "still very strong," and the "smart money" was "now trying to buy—not sell—as much distressed merchandise" in mortgages as possible.[27]

In an August 12, 2007 column in The New York Times, titled "Chicken Little's Brethren, on the Trading Floor", Stein, while acknowledging "I don't know where the bottom is on subprime. I don't know how bad the problems are at Bear (Bear Stearns)" claimed that "subprime losses are wildly out of all proportion to the likely damage to the economy from the subprime problems," and "(t)his economy is extremely strong. Profits are superb. The world economy is exploding with growth. To be sure, terrible problems lurk in the future: a slow-motion dollar crisis, huge Medicare deficits and energy shortages. But for now, the sell-off seems extreme, not to say nutty. Some smart, brave people will make a fortune buying in these days, and then we'll all wonder what the scare was about."[28]

On August 18, 2007, on Fox News Channel's Cavuto on Business, Stein appeared with other financial experts dismissing worries of a coming credit crunch.[29] Thirteen months later, in the Global Financial Crisis of September 2008, global stock markets crashed, Lehman Brothers went bankrupt, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were taken over by the US government, AIG was bailed out by the Federal Reserve, Merrill Lynch was sold to Bank of America Corporation, and Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs confirmed that they would become traditional bank holding companies.

In a Yahoo! Finance article written on October 17, 2008, Stein explained that his understanding of the debt obligations based on real estate loans was less than the "staggeringly large" amount of obligations that were created through trade in derivatives of those, and so why it wasn't as similar to collapse of junk bond empire in early 1990s as he'd thought it would be: "Where I missed the boat was not realizing how large were the CDS [credit default swaps] based on the junk mortgage bonds."[30]

Business commentator Henry Blodget wrote a piece for Business Insider in January 2008 entitled "Ben Stein is an Idiot," stating that Stein's criticism of those with bearish views and positions on the market was either "delusional," or a deliberate and "shrewd" attempt to create false controversy and drive up web traffic.[31]

Personal life[edit]

Stein is married to entertainment lawyer Alexandra Denman, who is from Arkansas.[32][33] They were married in 1968, but later divorced in 1974. Eventually, they got back together, and in 1977, they were married again. They have one son, Tom, born in 1987. Stein lives with Denman in Beverly Hills and Malibu, California.[34][35] He also has a summer home in Sandpoint, Idaho.[36] Stein also owns an apartment in the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C., which he inherited from his parents.[37]

Political views and advocacy[edit]

Abortion[edit]

Stein is an opponent of the legalization of abortion and was given a Pro-Life Award in 2003 by the National Right to Life Educational Trust Fund.[38]

Larry Craig scandal[edit]

In 2007, Stein chastised the police and the GOP leadership for their response to the Larry Craig scandal. Stein said that Craig's sexuality should not be an issue: "A party that believes in individual rights should be rallying to his defense, not making him walk the plank."[39]

Tax code[edit]

Stein has criticized the United States Internal Revenue Code for being too lenient on the wealthy. He has repeated the observation made by Warren Buffett, one of the richest individuals in the world (who pays mostly capital gains tax), that Buffett pays a lower overall tax rate than his secretaries (who pay income taxes and payroll taxes). Stein has advocated increasing taxation on the wealthy.[40] Stein objected to Obama's proposal in 2010 to not extend tax cuts for the highest earning taxpayers in the midst of the recession, saying that

There is no known economic theory under which raising my taxes in the midst of a severe recession will help the economy recover. It isn't part of any well known monetarist or Keynesian theory. So if it does no good to raise our taxes, I assume we are being punished. But for what? I don't own slaves. I employ a lot of people full- and part-time and they are all happy with their pay. When charity calls, I almost always write out a check...Maybe when the economy recovers, raising my taxes makes sense, but for now, it's just punishment.[41]

In 2012, Stein stated that due to the tremendous amount of national debt, he agreed with Obama's proposal to increase taxes on the wealthy and that ultimately everyone's taxes should be raised to avoid defaulting on the debt.[42]

Dominique Strauss-Kahn[edit]

When the head of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, was arrested for sexual assault and attempted rape in 2011, Stein published a controversial editorial[43] in The American Spectator in which he closely scrutinized Strauss-Kahn's accuser and cited Strauss-Kahn's education, wealth, and position as reasons to believe he was unlikely to have committed the crime.

In life, events tend to follow patterns. People who commit crimes tend to be criminals, for example. Can anyone tell me any economists who have been convicted of violent sex crimes?[44]

Stein's editorial was widely criticized.[45][46][47][48] Jon Stewart dedicated an entire segment on The Daily Show to his response.[49]

Ferguson shooting[edit]

In response to the death of Michael Brown, Stein made the following comment:

The idea of calling this poor young man unarmed when he was 6'4", 300 pounds, full of muscles, apparently, according to what I read in The New York Times, on marijuana. To call him unarmed is like calling Sonny Liston unarmed or Cassius Clay unarmed. He wasn't unarmed. He was armed with his incredibly strong, scary self.[50]

Evolution[edit]

See also: Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed

Stein has denounced the prevailing scientific theory of evolution, that is "Darwinism", declaring it to be "a painful, bloody chapter in the history of ideologies", "the most compelling argument yet for Imperialism", and the inspiration for the Holocaust.[51][52] Stein does not say belief in evolution alone leads to genocide, but that scientific materialism is a necessary component.[53] He co-wrote and stars in Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, a film that aims to persuade viewers that evolution was instrumental to the rise of the eugenics movement, Nazi Germany, and the Holocaust, and portrays advocates of intelligent design as victims of intellectual discrimination by the scientific community, which has rejected intelligent design as creationistpseudoscience.[54][55][56] In the trailer for the film, Stein said that his aim was to expose "people out there who want to keep science in a little box where it can’t possibly touch God."[1]

Many critics point out that Stein selectively used and edited quotes by Charles Darwin to make his case in Expelled, also noting that scenes shot at Pepperdine University, in which Stein gives a speech to an auditorium full of students, in fact used a large number of extras, hired to respond favorably to Stein's speech, to fill the room.[57] The media response to the film has been largely unfavorable. It received an 11% meta-score from Rotten Tomatoes. Multiple reviews, including those of USA Today and Scientific American, have described the film as propaganda.[54][55][56]

In a Trinity Broadcasting Network interview with Paul Crouch, Jr. regarding the movie, Stein made the following statement about science and religion:[58]

Stein: When we just saw that man, I think it was Mr. Myers, talking about how great scientists were, I was thinking to myself the last time any of my relatives saw scientists telling them what to do they were telling them to go to the showers to get gassed ... that was horrifying beyond words, and that's where science—in my opinion, this is just an opinion—that's where science leads you.

Crouch: That's right.
Stein: ... Love of God and compassion and empathy leads you to a very glorious place, and science leads you to killing people.

The Anti-Defamation League issued a statement condemning the film's misuse of the Holocaust and its imagery, "Using the Holocaust in order to tarnish those who promote the theory of evolution is outrageous and trivializes the complex factors that led to the mass extermination of European Jewry".[59]

At the University of Vermont, Stein was invited to receive an honorary degree and be the commencement speaker for the graduating class of 2009. The university president Dan Fogel received complaints about Stein's planned appearance, due to Stein's views on evolution. Stein declined his commencement invitation.[60]

At the private, Christian Liberty University 2009 graduation Stein was awarded an honorary degree and, according to the university, "spoke extensively about his work on Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed".[8]

Foreign policy[edit]

Stein is a staunch supporter of Israel. On Larry King Live in 2009, in a heated exchange with then-Congressman Ron Paul, he has referred to Paul as anti-semitic for referring to the U.S. as "occupiers."[61]

Political endorsements[edit]

Stein endorsed John McCain for US president in 2008, calling him an "impressive guy".[62] That year, he also stated that he would vote for Ralph Nader for President.[63] In January 2012, Stein appeared in political advertisements sponsored by Associated Industries of Florida supporting legislation that would create three resort casinos in South Florida.[64] He claimed in late 2014 that President Barack Obama was the most racist president in American history, saying Obama "made everything about race".[65]

In 2016, Stein reprised the famous attendance scene from Ferris Bueller in a campaign ad[66] for U.S. Senator from Iowa Chuck Grassley; Stein intoned the last name of Grassley's opponent (Patty Judge), to silence, while facts about her missed votes and absences from state board meetings were listed. Stein then calls out "Grassley," which gets a response; Stein mutters, "He's always here."[67]

Stein initially supported Donald Trump in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, but retracted his support in October 2016, writing, "But it's time for Donald Trump to go back to Trump Tower. Time for Mike Pence to move to the top of the ticket."[68] However, Ben Stein went on to vote for Donald Trump.[69]

Bibliography[edit]

Stein's book titles to date (7 fiction, 21 nonfiction) include:

Filmography[edit]

References[edit]

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