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Former Senator Bennett Speaks on Power and Politics

Photo credit: Andrew Whitmer

Photo credit: Andrew Whitmer

Former Senator Robert F. Bennett addressed political science students and alumni at BYU’s annual G. Durham Lecture, honoring the late Homer Durham, an American academic administrator and general authority for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the in the 1970’s. This year’s Durham lecture focused on reviewing Homer Durham’s personal search on political power, the nature of man and its relation to power, as well as applying those ideas to the 21st century.

Bennett discussed what Durham thought were the two most important questions in politics: 1) what is the nature of man? and 2) what is the nature of the state?

By analyzing different political figures throughout history such as Hitler and Marx, Bennett discussed how one’s definition of the nature of man affects that individual’s definition of state.

Bennett applied Durham’s studies of state power versus federal power by discussing the amendments in the Constitution made after the Civil War. He also made reference to Joseph Smith, who experienced the strength of Missouri state power over federal power and how that balance has changed.
In conclusion, Bennett discussed the LDS church’s definition of man and therefore the state, adding to the conversation about Mormonism today.

Bennett, currently serves as chairman of The Bennett Group. He serves as a senior policy adviser at Arent Fox, Senior Fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center, a member of the Board of Trustees of the German Marshall Fund, Honorary US President of the Transatlantic Policy Network and Resident Scholar at the University of Utah’s Hinckley Institute of Politics, where he lectures part time. His newspaper column on politics appears weekly in the Deseret News.

Watch the entire lecture here: