How to Fail at Almost Everything with Scott Adams
September 14th, 2017, 01:33 PM
Recorded on July 12, 2017
The Dilbert comic strip artist and political philosopher Scott Adams sits down with Peter Robinson to discuss his book How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big. He discusses with Peter his theory of “talent stacking,” the idea that rather than being an expert in one particular skill (i.e., Tiger Woods and golf), one can become successful by stacking a variety of complementary nonexpert skills. Adams demonstrates how talent stacking has been beneficial in his life because he has stacked comic artist skills with his MBA and experience in corporate environments to create a wildly successful comic strip that resulted in spin-off books, a television series, a video game, and merchandise. His business skills gave him the tools to create a business satire comic strip and the skill set to manage the business that evolved from that strip.
Adams also discusses how he uses his Dilbert blog to discuss his political philosophies and observations about the Trump administration. He wrote blogposts about the 2016 election and predicted that Donald Trump would win based on President Trump’s talent stack as a media mogul and businessman who had spent significant time in the public eye so was immune to scandals and thick-skinned enough to handle what the media and other politicians would throw at him. Adams argues that President Trump is one of the best branders, influencers, and persuaders he has ever seen, in that the president uses persuasive techniques in debates and on social media as a way to get people to do what he wants. Adams contends that President Trump’s persuasive techniques will help solve the problem of North Korea because he has already set up China to get involved by intimating that it tried and failed. Adams believes this will cause China to get involved to save face.
Scott Adams and Peter Robinson finish by chatting about Adams’s views on the story arc of life. Adams
says that he believes he started intentionally selfish so that by the end of his life he can give away all of his wealth, knowledge, and wisdom, a process he says he has already begun. They also briefly discuss his new book, Win Bigly, about the persuasive strategies of Donald Trump.
Scott Adams is releasing his new book, Win Bigly, in October 2017. (Playing time: 43:32)
The Speech That Defined a Presidency
August 22nd, 2017, 01:33 PM
Recorded on July 23, 2017
Thirty years after Ronald Reagan’s famous denouncement of the Berlin Wall, Peter Robinson reflects on writing the Brandenburg Gate speech and why it was so important to include the now memorable words, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” Pat Sajak, host of Wheel of Fortune, turns the tables on Uncommon Knowledge’s host, Peter Robinson, sitting him down in the interview chair to discuss that famous speech and his journey to becoming Ronald Reagan’s speechwriter.
Peter Robinson's journey to becoming Ronald Reagan's speechwriter began in Oxford as he was trying his hand at becoming a novelist. After a year of writing a book Peter wasn't thrilled with, William H. Buckley advised him to try to become a speechwriter in Washington, DC. Peter left Oxford and. after a series of interviews, was given the task of speechwriting for then vice president George H. W. Bush and eventually became a speechwriter for President Ronald Reagan.
Five years after Peter Robinson became President Reagan's speechwriter it was Peter's turn to write one of the president's important speeches of the year to be delivered in Berlin during the height of the Cold War. To get the speech right, Peter spent a day and half in West Berlin researching the points of view of diplomats and politicians, all of whom all made it seem as though the Berlin Wall was something people hardly noticed any more. This view turned out to not be shared by the citizens of West Berlin, as Peter discovered later that evening when he sat down to dinner with citizens of West Berlin, where the dinner host said if Mr. Gorbachev is serious about perestroika he'd get rid of this wall. Peter’s dinner hosts went on to talk about how much they missed their families whom they hadn’t seen in decades because, though they lived just a mile away, the wall stood between them. That statement and the sentiments of the people of West Berlin struck Peter; after a series of drafts he came up with the now well-known line, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" That line, however, almost didn’t make it into the final draft of the speech as various advisers counseled against it and tried to persuade Peter and President Reagan to remove it. In the end, though, President Reagan insisted, and the line was kept in and remains to this day one of his most famous statements. (Playing time: 50:39)
Ayaan Hirsi Ali on the West, Dawa, and Islam
August 8th, 2017, 01:33 PM
Recorded on July 12, 2017
Ayaan Hirsi Ali joins Peter Robinson to discuss her new book, The Challenge of Dawa: Political Islam as Ideology and Movement and How to Contain It, and her views on the challenges facing Western civilization in regards to political Islam. She argues that Islam needs to be separated into two different parts, one part of religion and the other part, political philosophy. She concedes that many aspects of the religious part of Islam are peaceful but argues that the political side is much more concerning due to its focus on Dawa, which means “to plead or to call non-Muslims to Islam.” This call to convert people to Islam is what she argues was a driving force behind the spread of Islam throughout history.
Hirsi Ali argues that American political philosophy and classical liberalism are young philosophies in comparison to the fourteen centuries of Islamic political doctrine and that its age and layered-ness are often underestimated by Western minds who are more familiar with younger political philosophies. She discusses the critiques of the philosopher Karl Popper of communism and fascism and how they relate directly to the ideologies of Islam. She argues that the language of appeasement often used toward radical Islamic terrorism is too gentle and that discussions of how to deal with Islam need to be considerably franker.
Earlier this year Ayaan Hirsi Ali was called before Congress to testify on her book The Challenge of Dawa. She discusses her testimony and that although she was invited by a Democrat senator to speak “about the ideology of radical Islam,” the Democrats present didn’t ask her a single question because they were likely uncomfortable with what she had to say about Islam. She argues that just as Western civilizations have defeated dangerous ideologies in the past, she is optimistic that Western civilization will succeed against political Islam for, as she says, “[Jihadis] can’t destroy us without permission.” She says if we take the fight to the “battlefield of ideas” we can defeat radical Islamic ideologies with Western beliefs.
About the Guest
Ayaan Hirsi Ali was born in Mogadishu, Somalia, in 1969. As a young child she was subjected to female genital mutilation; as she grew up she embraced Islam and strove to live as a devout Muslim. But she began to question aspects of her faith. One day, while listening to a sermon on the many ways women should be obedient to their husbands, she couldn't resist asking, "Must our husbands obey us too?"
In 1992 Hirsi Ali fled to the Netherlands to escape a forced marriage. There she was given asylum and in time citizenship. She quickly learned Dutch and was able to study at the University of Leiden, earning her MA in political science. Working as a translator for Somali immigrants, she saw firsthand the inconsistencies between liberal Western society and tribal Muslim cultures.
From 2003 to 2006 Hirsi Ali served as an elected member of the Dutch parliament. While in parliament, she focused on furthering the integration of non-Western immigrants into Dutch society and on defending the rights of Muslim women.
In 2004 Hirsi Ali gained international attention following the murder of Theo van Gogh. Van Gogh had directed her short film Submission, a film about the oppression of women under Islam. The assassin, a radical Muslim, left a death threat for her pinned to Van Gogh's chest.
In 2006 Hirsi Ali had to resign from parliament when the then Dutch minister for immigration decided to revoke her citizenship, arguing that Ayaan had mislead the authorities at the time of her asylum application. The Dutch courts, however, confirmed that Hirsi Ali was indeed a legitimate Dutch citizen, leading to the fall of the government. Disillusioned with the Netherlands, she subsequently moved to the United States.
In 2007 Hirsi Ali founded the AHA Foundation to protect and defend the rights of women in the United States from harmful traditional practices. Today the foundation is the leading organization working to end violence that shames, hurts, or kills thousands of women and girls in the United States each year and puts millions more at risk.
Hirsi Ali is a fellow with the Future of Diplomacy Project at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School, a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, DC, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Hirsi Ali is currently researching the relationship between the West and Islam. She must live with round-the-clock security, as her willingness to speak out and her abandonment of the Muslim faith have made her a target for violence by Islamic extremists.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali was named one of Time magazine's "100 Most Influential People" of 2005, one of the Glamour Heroes of 2005, and Reader's Digest's European of the Year for 2005. She is the best-selling author of Infidel (2007) and Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now (2015). (Playing time: 42:24)
How to Be a Conservative
July 19th, 2017, 01:33 PM
Recorded on February 27, 2017
In the latest episode from Uncommon Knowledge, Sir Roger Scruton, a formally trained political philosopher, talks about his life and the events he’s witnessed that led him to conservatism. He first embraced conservatism after witnessing the leftist student protests in France in May 1968. During the ensuing riots in Paris, more than three hundred people were injured. Scruton walked away from this event with a change in worldview and a strong leaning toward conservatism. Visits to communist- controlled Poland and Czechoslovakia in 1979 cemented his preference for conservatism and his distaste for the fraud of communism and socialism, initiating a desire to do something about it. From thereon he dedicated himself to helping organize underground seminars for the young people oppressed behind the iron curtain.
Sir Roger examines a brief history of conservatism in the twentieth century of England in regard to Margaret Thatcher and Winston Churchill. Although he appreciates what Margaret Thatcher stood for, he argues that she had many conservative ideals but never used the conservative framework to organize her overall political strategy. Instead she organized around market economics, which was not always effective in the social, cultural, and legal areas. Peter Robinson argues that Winston Churchill did a much better job of organizing around conservative ideals but eventually lost an election because he didn’t have the vocabulary or the focus on free markets. They discuss the tenuous relationship between free markets and conservative ideals that have not mixed well together in British politics.
Robinson and Sir Roger discuss the 2016 political upset of Brexit in the United Kingdom and how the political analysts failed to predict the vote outcome, much like what happened in November 2016 in the United States. They deliberate how the issues around immigration from Eastern Europe to the United Kingdom contributed to Brexit, in addition to general dissatisfaction with the European Union. Thus, in the cases of both the United Kingdom and the United States, the media and intellectuals ignored the will of the “indigenous working classes” who made their voices known through their votes.
About the Guest: Sir Roger Scruton
Sir Roger Scruton is an English writer and philosopher who has published more than fifty books in philosophy, aesthetics, and politics. His book discussed in this episode was How to Be a Conservative; it was published in 2014. He is a fellow of the British Academy and a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He teaches in both England and America and is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, Washington. DC. He is currently teaching an MA in philosophy course for the University of Buckingham. Sir Scruton was knighted in 2016 by Queen Elizabeth II for his “services to philosophy, teaching and public education.” (Playing time: 44:46)
Making Congress and America Work Again
June 28th, 2017, 01:33 PM
Recorded on June 10, 2017
Senator Rob Portman sits down with Hoover Institution fellow Peter Robinson to talk about the threats and problems related to Russia's meddling in democratic elections in the United States and around the world. Portman then discusses the complex process of health care reform, noting that the process has been difficult because health care is a complex issue that needs to be handled correctly. In the conversation about health care reform, Portman says that the number-one cause of death in Ohio is opioid overdose and that Medicaid plays an important role in getting addicts the help they need so they don’t end up in jail or in the emergency room. Along with health care, the Senate will take up tax reform; Portman believes this is the most important reform that the Congress and the president can make to help the economy grow. Portman also touches on wages and jobs and helping those who are struggling to make ends meet. Finally, Portman reflects on the fraying of the American fabric and what can get us back to the concepts, values, ideas, and ideals that made the United States one of the most successful and longest-running democracies and a beacon of hope for the world. (Playing time: 40:44)
The Budget Crisis in the Land of Lincoln
June 23rd, 2017, 01:33 PM
Recorded on June 10, 2017
The forty-second governor of Illinois, Bruce Rauner, joins Peter Robinson on Uncommon Knowledge to discuss Illinois’s budget crisis. With the end of the fiscal year deadline (June 30) looming ever closer Governor Rauner and House majority Democrats will have to come to an agreement to get the budget passed and prevent Illinois’s bond rating from being downgraded to junk, causing Illinois to lose investment-grade status. Peter Robinson and Governor Rauner discuss this financial crisis and Rauner’s goals for the budget. He insists that no budget will be passed unless it is a balanced budget that includes, but is not limited to, term limits, consolidating the government, and pension reform.
Governor Rauner talks about why he chose to enter politics after a successful business career and how he plans on fixing the state that is his home. He details out how Illinois has historically dealt with thirty-five years of deficits and how it ended up in the current financial mess. He also discusses the difficult opposition he's facing with a Democrat-controlled state legislature. The GOP governor and the Democrat-controlled legislature have reached an impasse several times during his tenure as governor, as he refuses to pass a budget that will increase the deficit further than in 2015 and 2016.
Background on the Illinois Budget Crisis: Illinois has been operating without a budget for two years now, as the state legislature has been unable to pass a budget up that will not increase the deficit and also satisfy the requirements of Governor Rauner. The Illinois legislature has managed to keep the state running through temporary stopgap measures, but as the state’s debts continue to rise to more than $150 billion, stopgap measures and the lack of budget will no longer be able to keep the state running. Illinois has been plagued with financial issues during the last several years, even being unable to provide lottery winners with their winnings. The state has been running a deficit for thirty-five years now. If a new budget isn’t passed by July 1, the start of the new fiscal year, the Illinois bond rating will be downgraded even more than it already has, and Illinois stands to lose millions of dollars in federal funding. To pass a new budget, the plan will have to be passed by a three-fifths majority vote in the Illinois House. As it stands, if Illinois’s bond rating is downgraded, Illinois will be the first state since 1970 to lose investment-grade status. (Playing time: 30:14)
The Vanishing American Adult
June 12th, 2017, 01:33 PM
Recorded on June 2, 2017
Senator Benjamin Sasse joins Peter Robinson to discuss his book The Vanishing American Adult and the growing crisis in America of prolonged adolescence. Senator Sasse argues that children are growing up, entering adolescence, and becoming stuck in the transitional stage to adulthood as they fail to become financially independent from their parents. He argues that because this generation of children is growing up during a time of relative peace and prosperity, it has allowed millennials to grow up without the issues of previous generations that were raised in war time. In this era of consumption and material surplus, he argues that adolescents are leading age-segregated lives and not developing a work ethic and that both their parents have an obligation to teach their children to grow up. Furthermore, he stresses the importance of intergenerational learning by allowing children to be raised around their grandparents and other adults to help them learn that the trivial trials of youth don’t matter in the long run.
Senator Sasse believes that there are certain virtues that American children have to learn to become productive and happy adults. Part of that is by teaching children the distinction between production and consumption and how to find happiness and self-worth through jobs that make one feel like a necessary part of the company/society. This, he argues, will help raise peoples’ self-worth and lead them to happiness and fulfillment in their everyday.
Senator Sasse finishes by stressing the importance of building children’s identities as readers to help foster the growth of ideas and active learning over the passive activities of sitting in front of screens. He notes that sedentary life is not fulfilling and that by encouraging people to participate in production over consumption will lead to more fulfilling lives. He ends on the optimistic note, that while our youth may still need guidance, overall America’s best days still lie ahead. (Playing time: 38:10)
Area 45: The Art of Presidential Wordsmithery Featuring Peter Robinson
June 6th, 2017, 01:33 PM
Today, we’re introducing Area 45, a new political podcast from the team behind Uncommon Knowledge, The Classicist, and the Libertarian. Host Bill Whalen interviews Uncommon Knowledge’s host, Peter Robinson about presidential communication in this age of shock tweets and nonstop news cycles. Presidents are defined by rhetorical moments: Reagan and Kennedy at the Berlin Wall; George W. Bush rallying the nation after the 9/11 attacks. And Donald Trump? So far his presidency hasn’t been one of major addresses. Hoover fellow Peter Robinson, author of Reagan’s famous speech at the Brandenberg Gate, discusses the art of presidential wordsmithery in this age of social media and nonstop news cycles. New episodes of Area 45 are released each week. Subscribe now on iTunes, SoundCloud, or via RSS on your favorite podcast platform. (Playing time: 55:32)
Sowing the Seeds of Growth
May 24th, 2017, 01:33 PM
Recorded on May 11, 2017
John Michael “Mick” Mulvaney, director of the Office of Budget and Management, sits down with Peter Robinson to discuss the complex process of budget reform by having to blend President Trump's budget proposal with the realities of dealing with Congress. Mulvaney explains the need for bipartisanship in budget negotiations within the Senate to get the budget passed, which means getting at least eight Democrats to vote for the proposed budget (to get to the magic number of sixty votes) and keeping Trump's promises to his base.
Mulvaney talks about the unique opportunity for the Republicans to reform the federal budget five months ahead of schedule as a result of the Obama administration’s inability to get a twelve-month budget passed. Furthermore Republicans have been able to invoke old laws that allow them to undo many policies enacted in the late days of the previous administration. That loophole allowed them to confirm several appointments and to pass the proposed budget without the requisite sixty votes but with fifty votes. But the Republicans need sixty votes in the Senate to pass the appropriations bill. The Democrats wanted a shutdown, but the Republicans were able to move money around to satisfy the Democrats and get the votes necessary to pass the appropriations bill and avoid a shutdown. For example, there was/is no money for new bricks and mortar construction of the “Wall,” but Republicans moved money around and funded their priorities for border security via a virtual wall with money already available for technology and surveillance.
Mulvaney notes that the budgeting/appropriations system is set up so the House and Senate pass twelve appropriations bills every year. Those are the spending bills, which are the end process of the budget. The budget is the start of the process, authorizations go in the middle, and appropriations go on the end, which is how money gets out to be spent. Mulvaney was in Congress for six years, in which time Congress should have approved seventy-two appropriations bills but only approved three. Mulvaney says that the system is broken because of the sixty-vote rule to approve appropriations bills in the Senate. Therefore instead of small manageable appropriation bills that Congress could negotiate and pass, Congress ends up with large unwieldy bills that no one knows what is in them and thus punts with a resolution to continue with what done earlier.
Mulvaney says that the system is not even close to what the Founding Fathers created and/or what is needed for a manageable and functioning government and society.
Mulvaney describes his vision for the future of the American economy, noting that the way to reduce the deficit isn't necessarily cutting spending or raising taxes but creating room in the American economy for growth. He argues that the lack of new businesses and jobs, because of regulations and taxes, has prevented the ideal three percent growth necessary to eliminate the deficit and grow the economy. He also argues that regulatory reform can have twice the impact on economic growth that tax policy can.
Mulvaney ends the interview saying that he loves his job and loves going to work. The eighty-plus-hour workweeks go by in the blink of an eye because the work is engaging and invigorating and because he feels he has a golden opportunity to change things for the better and get the United States, especially the economy, on a better trajectory. Mulvaney said that he is working at the highest levels on complicated but wonderful ideas, ideals, and issues with the leader of the free world and that President Trump is a great boss. (Playing time: 38:21)
May 17th, 2017, 01:33 PM
Released May 18, 1996
In the 1996 first ever episode of Uncommon Knowledge, Peter Robinson discusses the origins of Uncommon Knowledge before invited guests former US attorney general Edwin Meese III and former San Jose police chief Joseph McNamara. They have a spirited debate about the war on drugs and the best way to handle the drug problem in the United States. According to Peter Robinson, “Ed Meese wants to win the war on drugs; Joe McNamara wants to end it.” Twenty-one years later, we look back as Meese and McNamara debate the merits of marijuana legalization and make predictions about where the United States would be in ten years (2006). Although their predictions were not entirely accurate, their insights into the legalization debate and the war on drugs remain helpful today. They answer questions about how they believe that legalizing marijuana will increase crime and addiction rates, how to beef up educational and prevention programs, and the effect of middle-class drug use in the United States. (Playing time: 26:32)
Carly Fiorina on the Future of the United States
May 11th, 2017, 01:33 PM
Recorded on March 16, 2017
Although many people have heard of Carly Fiorina, former presidential candidate and first woman to lead a Fortune 20 company as CEO of Hewlett-Packard, few have had the chance to sit down and speak with her. In this special live taping of Uncommon Knowledge, at the National Review Institute’s Idea Summit, with guest host Michael Franc, director of Hoover’s Washington, DC, Programs, Fiorina discusses the 2016 presidential election, her personal path to conservatism, and her beliefs about the future for US and global politics. She opens up about the often-brutal criticisms she received during the election, her choice to become conservative, the loss of her stepdaughter to drug addiction, and the ways in which she believes conservatives are fighting to help people help themselves by giving them the tools and resources necessary to change their own path. Fiorina goes on to analyze the current state of the union, the disenfranchised Americans she’s met, and the solutions she believes in for the future of the United States.
Special Guest Host: Michael Franc is the Hoover Institution’s director of DC programs, where he oversees research and outreach initiatives to promote ideas and scholarship in our nation’s capital. He holds a dual appointment as a research fellow. Mike Franc is a longtime veteran of Washington, DC, policy making. Before joining Hoover, Franc served as policy director and counsel for House majority leader Kevin McCarthy. He also served as the vice president of government relations for the Heritage Foundation from 1997 to 2013. During that time, he managed all the think tank’s outreach with Capitol Hill and the Executive Branch. He also completed a tour of duty as communications director for former House majority leader Dick Armey (R-TX) and worked for the US Department of Education and the Office of National Drug Control Policy. He has been quoted widely in the print and broadcast media and was a regular contributor to the National Review Online and other publications. Franc has a BA from Yale University and a JD from Georgetown University. (Playing time: 40:04)
How JetBlue Does It
April 24th, 2017, 01:33 PM
Recorded on February 14, 2017
CEO Robin Hayes and Hoover Institution board member Joel Peterson talk to Peter Robinson about how JetBlue has remained successful, despite all the regulations, competition, and pitfalls of running an airline.
Peterson and Hayes argue that consolidation and the limited number of airlines in the United States have allowed for sustainable operating margins. JetBlue continues to have double-digit operating margins and great customer loyalty by focusing on safety, culture, and delighting customers. JetBlue has been voted best airline for customer satisfaction by JD Power for twelve years in a row.
Hayes and Peterson support the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) managing the safety aspect of regulations, but they prefer that another independent entity run the operations aspect of the airline industry. Although the Airline Deregulation Act in 1978 deregulated the airline industry, the airlines are still one of the most regulated industries in the United States, with more than 13,000 pages of FAA regulations. Additionally, 21 percent of the cost of the air ticket goes to the government via taxes. Legacy airlines, like United, American, and Delta, will charge high fares until a new airline comes in; then the legacy airlines will lower their fares to try to drive out the new airline/entrant. You need a low-cost structure to compete, which JetBlue has; JetBlue has not had to go into debt to fund its airplanes.
They discuss how JetBlue has become synonymous with innovation and its decision to bring JetBlue’s investment arm to the Silicon Valley to further integrate disruptive technology into their airline. JetBlue, which wants to use technology to improve customer relations and track equipment, has invested in FLYR to study how the pricing method can be disruptive and thus improve ticketing.
JetBlue’s keys to success and longevity are a great culture, innovation, great products, and maintaining cost advantages. JetBlue seeks to create a culture in which all employees are empowered to improve customers’ experiences, from the time they check-in to the time they pick up their bags. (Playing time: 40:54)
The Challenges of Reforming Health Care in a Partisan Era
April 11th, 2017, 01:33 PM
Recorded on March 22, 2017
In a lively debate Avik Roy and John Podhoretz discuss health care coverage and whether the American Health Care Act (AHCA), created to replace Obamacare/Affordable Care Act (ACA), will solve our health care problems. They both agree that if we could begin again we would never design a health care system like ours, but, since we cannot start over, how can we make things better.
They debate whether universal health care coverage is a good idea, how to provide health care coverage to the most needy, and allow the wealthy and more capable citizens to choose and pay for their own coverage. Roy thinks the system the Affordable Care Act put in place caters too much to the wealthy and that the AHCA will just exacerbate health care inequality.
Podhoretz and Roy’s debate ranges from health care to race, inequality, history, and the election of 2016. They note that the Republicans and Democrats are split/disagree on many issues and ideas. Trump voters watch different TV shows and movies, read different newspapers, and have different cultural experiences than the Clinton supporters; therefore the two parties see the world through very different lenses. They examine the changes in the Republican and Democratic Parties over time, including their involvement in the Civil Rights movement and the rise of identity politics and racism.
The interview ends with a question on fatherhood and how it shapes both Podhoretz's and Roy's thinking as journalists and public intellectuals. Podhoretz does not want to foist his feelings and views on his children but notes that the media no longer make it possible for children to keep their innocence. Roy dreads sending his children to public schools and discusses some of the problems facing parents and children today. Roy says that parents can choose the environment in which they will raise their children and that there is no need to turn their children over to popular culture.
The Historical Benefits of Trade
March 27th, 2017, 01:33 PM
Recorded on December 2, 2016
Professor Douglas Irwin defends the benefits of free trade and explains why protectionism, high tariffs, and currency wars could cause economic problems. Irwin explains the misconceptions around trade surpluses and deficits and the historical consequences and benefits of trade. He talks about an absolute versus comparative advantage with trade and why and how a trade deficit with China still benefits the United States. Irwin refers to Adam Smith’s view of trade in explaining the absolute advantage of trade. Smith argued for unregulated foreign trade, reasoning that if one country can produce a good, for example, steel, at lower costs than another country, and if a different country can produce another good, for example, an iPhone, at lower costs, then it is beneficial to both parties/countries to exchange those goods. This has become known as the absolute advantage argument for both international and domestic trade.
Irwin notes that trade still benefits the United States enormously and that striking back at other countries by imposing new barriers to trade and/or ripping up existing agreements would be self-destructive. Finally, Irwin talks about problems within the American economy, how too many people are not working, which cannot be blamed entirely on the trade deficits. Some reasons people cannot find jobs are mechanization, efficiency, productivity, technology, and skills. Irwin discusses a few options for helping people with limited education and few skills survive, including paying a basic wage, improving our educational system, and reducing regulations so the costs of hiring an employee are not as steep.
Senator Tom Cotton, Immigration Reform, and the RAISE Act
February 27th, 2017, 01:33 PM
Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas joins Peter Robinson to discuss the Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act, an immigration reformation bill he is cosponsoring. He notes that American workers have been getting a raw deal since the immigration laws were changed in 1965. The American workers’ wages have not gone up but income inequality has. Senator Cotton thinks this is largely due to flooding the labor market with millions of low-skilled, low-wage workers. In rethinking our immigration policies we need to look at whether our laws are serving the American people.
Understanding Donald Trump
January 9th, 2017, 01:33 PM
Robert Costa, an American journalist who writes for the Washington Post, joins Peter Robinson to discuss his insights into president-elect Donald Trump after covering him for the past several years. Costa discusses Trump's mentality on running for president in 2011 compared with 2013, when he made a more serious effort. Costa explains how Trump, an Ivy League billionaire, is able to connect with blue-collar voters in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan based on his experience on The Apprentice. Costa analyzes the workings of Trump's inner circle, including Jared Kushner, Reince Priebus, and Steve Bannon, and Trump's cabinet picks. Finally, Peter Robinson and Robert Costa discuss change between the presidency and the fourth estate with Trump’s election.
The Promise of Party in a Polarized Age
December 2nd, 2016, 01:33 PM
Professor Russell Muirhead argues that to do anything in politics you need a party but just because a party currently rules does not mean it will be successful and continue to rule. He posits that parties need to remember and nurture achievements that they were responsible for creating in the past, so the party can protect and extend those achievements into the future and thus continue to rule. The ultimate goal in elections is to create a constitutional majority and keep that majority for more than one election cycle. Unfortunately, each party has pursued an agenda that is more extreme than what the people want, so the people vote in the opposite party.
The Constitution makes no provision for political parties, but Muirhead argues that parties connect average citizens with their elected officials. People feel like someone cares and is fighting for them in their state government and in DC. He further examines the development of political parties from the founding of this country through the era of bipartisanship in the twentieth century. He believes that polarization of American politics today is not necessarily negative if parties work to advance the good of society.
Muirhead defends the Electoral College, stating that it answers the fundamental question of who should rule, which is the constitutional majority. The Electoral College is a constitutional majority because it represents an enduring and geographically dispersed population that is larger in space and more enduring in time and thus a more thoughtful, right, and just majority. He argues that the game being played today is Trump versus Madison and that we don’t know which will win. Madison represents the best in us; Trump represents authenticity. The voters hope that President Trump will translate their hopes and grievances into good government.
Peter Robinson and Russell Muirhead end the interview by briefly discussing the global project that depends on the success of the United States, with Muirhead arguing that there is no global project without the United States. The fight for justice requires people/citizens who are tough, resilient, and ready to fight the world’s fight for good; that type of character is what we need to model at colleges and universities today.
Donald Trump and Conservative Intellectuals
November 30th, 2016, 01:33 PM
Matthew Continetti and Andrew Ferguson discuss Donald Trump’s nomination and what it means for conservatives in America. They argue that they are encouraged by whom Trump is nominating to different cabinet positions and the Supreme Court but that Trump’s unpredictability and lack of core values are a concern. They discuss the role the media will play with the Trump administration and their relationship with the president-elect.
Kellyanne Conway discusses the presidential election of 2016
November 30th, 2016, 01:33 PM
Kellyanne Conway discusses her life working on a New Jersey blueberry farm as an adolescent in the summers and being brought up by her mother, grandmother, and two unmarried aunts. She reflects on how she became conservative through the values her family placed in her and the inspiring reelection campaign of Ronald Reagan in 1984. Brought in by Donald Trump in August, Conway talks about how she told Trump that he was losing but there was a pathway to victory, which she helped the campaign realize and bring about Donald Trump's victory. Finally, Conway discusses how she is able to balance being a wife and mother with running a presidential campaign and what the future holds for her.
J.D. Vance On His New Book Hillbilly Elegy
November 14th, 2016, 01:33 PM
Recorded on October 27, 2016
J.D. Vance chronicles his life and the history and issues of hillbillies in America. Vance, a former marine and Yale Law School graduate, writes about growing up in a poor Rust Belt town and how his family never fully escapes the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma in their lives. Vance paints a broad, passionate, and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans.
Kori Schake on Civil-Military Relations
November 10th, 2016, 01:33 PM
Recorded on September 21, 2016
Although Americans have great respect for the military, most civilians have lost touch with it. This means that US citizens are not attuned to what the military needs because so few American volunteer to serve; this lack of understanding reduces not only battlefield effectiveness but the military's role in American life. Schake talks about the effect of high levels of public support for the military combined with low levels of trust in elected political leaders. She also reflects on whether American society is becoming so divorced from the requirements for success on the battlefield that not only do we fail to comprehend the enormous responsibilities of our military but we also would be unwilling to endure a military constituted to protect us.
America’s Will to Lead
October 20th, 2016, 01:33 PM
Former prime minister of Denmark, Anders Rasmussen, on America's indispensable role as the global leader.
The State of the 2016 Presidential Election, the Role of the Media, and Obama’s Legacy
October 7th, 2016, 01:33 PM
Fred Barnes and Stephen Hayes discuss the media's role in the 2016 presidential election and how the media’s role have changed and become much more biased in this election. They discuss what history will say about Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and how history has treated past US presidents. In addition, Barnes and Hayes discuss Obama’s legacy including Obamacare, the Iran nuclear deal, Guantanamo, and the lack of economic growth. Part of Obama’s legacy includes the rise of Trump and Clinton. Their rise is also caused by government policies, the poor economy, lack of faith in our government, and the shift to the left that this country has taken. Barnes summed up Obama’s presidency saying Obama presided over America’s retreat both internationally and domestically.
Victor Davis Hanson on grand strategy, immigration, and the 2016 presidential election
September 22nd, 2016, 01:33 PM
Recorded on September 22, 2016
Hoover Institution fellow Victor Davis Hanson discusses Russia, China, and the danger of American withdrawal from the world stage. In addition, Hanson talks about immigration and assimilation in the United States throughout time. Hanson notes that, when immigrants assimilate and embrace the United States, then immigration works and strengthens us, but that when immigrants seek to separate themselves and reject US values and culture, then immigration becomes detrimental. Hanson ends the interview talking about the 2016 presidential candidates and election.
What's wrong with the American economy?
September 8th, 2016, 01:33 PM
The American economy’s biggest problem is growth. To achieve growth, Hoover Institution fellow John Cochrane argues, America needs to simplify the tax code and deregulate the economy. He discusses how government agencies must conduct serious, transparent, and retrospective cost-benefit analyses, get rid of special interests, and remove disincentives if they want businesses to flourish. Cochrane notes that the US economy needs more innovation, deep tax reform, and better regulations to unleash growth. When business owners can depend on good policy and not pay for play, they will start and invest in their companies and the economy will expand.
Cochrane discusses the future of American economic growth and how he believes it can be fixed. Cochrane encourages us to have more faith in democracy because if the right policies are put in place the economy will quickly improve and everyone will be better off.
According to Cochrane, "America needs better policy and governance under the rule of law." He also discusses the benefits of lowering and even ending corporate taxes to reduce price inflation and outsourcing jobs overseas. Cochrane points out that the ability to bring people together to get good bills through is what a great politician like Lincoln did; it is hoped that the next president will do this.
Robinson and Cochrane further debate technological innovation, the role of robots in the economy, and whether Americans need to be concerned about robots taking over our jobs.
Wealth, Poverty, and Politics
September 8th, 2016, 01:33 PM
Hoover Institution fellow Thomas Sowell discusses inequality and how it is part of the human condition. Sowell notes that political and ideological struggles have led to a dangerous confusion about income inequality in America. We cannot properly understand inequality if we focus on the distribution of wealth and ignore wealth production factors such as geography, demography, and culture. What is important is not inequality but human capital; once human capital is unleashed it creates an enormous amount of wealth for people of all classes. In addition there needs to be a sense of humility and gratitude for the generations that have gone before us for the prosperity we have today.
Is the Constitution Out of Date?
August 15th, 2016, 01:33 PM
Hoover Institution fellows Terry Moe and Peter Robinson have a lively discussion on whether the Constitution is outdated and thus incapable of dealing with societal and structural problems facing government today. For example, immigration has been broken for decades, yet Congress has been incapable of passing new laws to keep up with the reality of the needs in the twenty-first century. So we have an immigration policy that does not make sense and laws that are not being enforced. To solve this, Moe would shift power in the direction of the president so the president could make a proposal for fast-track legislation: Congress would then vote up or down, thus expediting immigration reform. This shifts legislative power to the president so he or she can participate in passing laws that make sense for a functioning and productive society.
A Conversation with Stanford President John Hennessy
July 14th, 2016, 01:33 PM
John Hennessy discusses his tenure as president of Stanford University and how he helped make it into an elite school: encouraging technological innovation on campus, working on ideas that push humankind forward and maintain academic excellence, and having one of the best athletic programs in the country. Hennessy notes that one key to Stanford’s success is building quality infrastructure around interdisciplinary themes in a cross-disciplinary space, making it possible to fire up smart people and challenge them with colleagues from varied backgrounds to develop innovative ideas and solutions to some of the world’s most complex problems.
James Buckley discusses his life and values on Uncommon Knowledge
July 13th, 2016, 01:33 PM
James Buckley discusses his life and upbringing as well as the genesis of Firing Line and the success of his brother Bill. James describes Bill as a fresh spirit who wanted to meet all types of people and listen to different viewpoints. Bill loved a good debate.
James notes that his parents were literate and that education and speaking well were important. They trained their children to work hard, be genteel, and listen to the other side.
James notes that we make progress in society, such as during the Reagan years, if someone can demonstrate the causes and effects of socialist-type policies so that people are more apt to understand, embrace, and thrive in the free market.
James ends by saying that although we may become pessimistic about the American experiment, hope is always around the corner because virtue and good sense reside in the people.
The Texas Plan with Governor Greg Abbott
May 2nd, 2016, 01:33 PM
Each branch of the federal government has strayed from its original purpose and no candidate for president will be able to fix the underlying issues that plague it. Governor Abbott makes his case for proposing a Convention of States to make amendments to restore constitutional order.
A Plan to Defeat ISIS
March 25th, 2016, 01:33 PM
General Jack Keane briefly describes the history and rise of ISIS and its aim in the Middle East. Keane then discusses the concrete steps America should take to defeat ISIS, including partnerships with Sunni tribes and a more comprehensive air war.
Good Profit Part II
March 18th, 2016, 01:33 PM
In Part II of our interview with Charles Koch, he covers politics and the role of corporations in our society. Koch, making the case to end corporate welfare, tells us what he admires about Bernie Sanders and why he is less sanguine about President George W. Bush. He also believes technology can be used to promote free market ideals over democratic socialism, especially for the younger generation.
Good Profit Part I
March 18th, 2016, 01:33 PM
Charles Koch discusses his journey, from engaging in manual labor as a youth to attending MIT and working as a consultant. Having learned the principles of classical liberalism through his education and work, he now applies those principles to building and managing Koch Industries. He attributes much of his success to creating value for others and operating with integrity.
Restoring the Constitution
February 22nd, 2016, 01:33 PM
From members of Congress more concerned about reelection than debating the real problems to a president espousing post-constitutional ideas, Americans need a renewed understanding of the Constitution. Senator Sasse discusses the issues plaguing Congress and how the current president ignores the Constitution when it suits him. However serious the challenges that America is facing, Senator Sasse believes it is not too late to restore the Constitution and thus Congress.
Karl Rove on the election of 1896
February 22nd, 2016, 01:33 PM
Karl Rove discusses the amazing life and election of William McKinley. From his time as a soldier in the Civil War to his campaign in 1896, Karl Rove makes the case that McKinley was not only an effective campaigner for president but also someone who brought the nation together during a divisive time.
January 25th, 2016, 01:33 PM
Recorded on January 25, 2016
Hoover Institution fellow Michael McFaul and John O'Sullivan discuss the many problems Europe is facing including an aggressive Russia, Brexit, NATO and the asylum crisis in Germany. McFaul and O'Sullivan give their analysis of these problems and what it means for the future of Europe.
A Conversation with Former Secretary of State George Shultz
January 25th, 2016, 01:33 PM
Secretary Shultz talks about his time in the Reagan White House, from negotiations with Andrey Gromyko to the meetings between Reagan and Gorbachev in Reykjavik. It’s a fascinating recount of the Reagan years through Shultz’s eyes, ending with what he believes are important characteristics for any future president and leader to have.
The Secretary of State, the Instructor, and the Piano
December 15th, 2015, 01:33 PM
Recorded on July 9, 2015
The piano has been an important part of life for Condoleezza Rice and George Barth, her teacher. Although not as popular in today's culture, for them classical music is challenging but worth the effort to understand the piano's importance and beauty. As secretary of state, Rice would play the piano as a way of remembering where she came from and a way to refocus. In short, she said playing the piano made her a better secretary of state.
Niall Ferguson on Kissinger the Idealist
October 7th, 2015, 01:33 PM
Recorded on October 7, 2015 - Niall Ferguson discusses the first half of Henry Kissinger's life, beginning with his being a young boy in Germany to becoming an intellectual celebrity at Harvard and finally an adviser to both Nelson Rockefeller and John Kennedy, leading Kissinger to becoming a national security adviser to Richard Nixon in 1968.
Stalin in Power
October 6th, 2015, 01:33 PM
Recorded on July 29, 2015 - As part 2 begins, Lenin is dead and Stalin is trying to consolidate power. Although various people were vying for the position, Stalin had already effectively taken over Lenin’s job. Lenin’s last will and testament says bad things about all his successors, with Trotsky coming out the best, yet does nothing to dislodge Stalin from power. Stalin continues, through hard work and cunning, to gather power but also because people believed that he stood for the principles of the revolution.
Stalin’s Rise to Power
October 6th, 2015, 01:33 PM
Recorded on July 29, 2015 - Part 1: Stalin was born in a small town in Georgia in which he was educated to become a priest. After succeeding in school and becoming a devout follower of the faith, Stalin left the priesthood and became a communist revolutionary. World War I and the revolutions of 1917 set the stage for Stalin and the Communists to take power in Russia.
Wealth, Poverty, and Politics
September 18th, 2015, 01:33 PM
Hoover Institution fellow Thomas Sowell discusses poverty around the world and in the United States. Poverty in America, he says, compared to the rest of the world, is not severe. Many poor people in poverty in the United States have one or two cars, central heating, and cell phones. The real problem for the poor is the destruction of the family, which Sowell argues dramatically increased once welfare policies were introduced in the 1960s.
September 4th, 2015, 01:33 PM
John Yoo, former deputy assistant attorney general for President George Bush and now a professor at the University of California at Berkeley, and Hugh Hewitt, former Reagan administration official and now a talk radio host, discuss the Constitution and current events in America. Topics range from Obamacare to the Middle East, the future of the United States, and how the Constitution applies to today’s problems.
Charles Hill and General James Mattis on the Iran Deal, Democracy, and Freedom
July 29th, 2015, 01:33 PM
Recorded on July 16, 2015 - Hoover fellows Charles Hill and James Mattis discuss the Iran deal and the state of the world on Uncommon Knowledge with Hoover fellow Peter Robinson. In their view the United States has handed over its leading role to Iran and provided a dowry along with it. Iran will become the leading power in the region as the United States pulls back; as the sanctions are lifted Iran will start making a lot of money. No matter what Congress does at this point, the sanctions are gone. Furthermore, the president will veto anything Congress comes up with to move the deal forward. This de facto treaty circumvents the Constitution.
If we want better deals and a stronger presence in the international community, then the United States needs to compromise, and listen to one another other, and encourage other points of view, especially from the three branches of government. If the United States pulls back from the international community, we will need to relearn the lessons we learned after World War I. But if we engage more with the world and use solid strategies to protect and encourage democracy and freedom at home and abroad, then our military interventions will be fewer. The United States and the world will be in a better position to handle problems such as ISIS.
Senator John Hoeven lights up the conversation on energy
June 5th, 2015, 01:33 PM
Senator John Hoeven discusses the Keystone pipeline, energy policy, the Middle East, and politics, noting that our country moves forward with investments that make our energy secure and environmentally sound. Horizontal drilling and fracking, for example, reduce the environmental impact of producing oil and gas, thus lowering greenhouse gas emissions. We can be energy secure by producing more energy; to do that we need the right mix of pipelines, rails, roads, and technology to move energy around the country as safely as possible. Energy is a foundational industry; when we have low-cost dependable energy then industry is stronger and we are more secure as a country.
Arkansas Senator Thomas Cotton on events in Iraq, negotiations with Iran, and life in the US Senate
April 3rd, 2015, 01:33 PM
In this episode of Uncommon Knowledge, Peter sits down with Senator Tom Cotton, a Republican from Arkansas, to examine the many issues facing the nation today. Cotton graduated from Harvard Law School in 2001 and then served with the US Army in Iraq. In 2013 Cotton was elected to the House of Representatives; he was sworn in as a member of the US Senate in January 2015. (Playing time: 39:12)
Uncommon Knowledge with Jim Hake, General Jim Mattis, and Spirit of America
March 13th, 2015, 01:33 PM
In this episode, the host of Uncommon Knowledge speaks with Jim Hake, founder of Spirit of America, a nonprofit organization created to save lives and support the missions of US soldiers abroad. Hake’s goal was to go beyond what the government could do, with the motive of seeing America succeed. Begun in 2003, the idea gained enormous support, including from General Jim Mattis, commander of some of the first missions in Iraq. Today, Spirit of America is working around the world, sending our troops material needs, from sewing machines to Frisbees, wherever there is a need.
Uncommon Knowledge with General Jim Mattis
March 6th, 2015, 01:33 PM
In this episode, Uncommon Knowledge is honored to have retired four-star General James Mattis. General Mattis retired from the Marine Corps as a full general in 2013, where he served as the eleventh commander of the United States Central Command. He also served as the commander for NATO supreme allied transformation, and as commander of the United States Joint Forces Command. Mattis is now an Annenberg Distinguished Visiting Fellow fellow at the Hoover Institution. (Playing time: 40:56)
Uncommon Knowledge with Dartmouth professors Jennifer Lind and William Wohlforth
February 26th, 2015, 01:33 PM
In this episode of Uncommon Knowledge Dartmouth professors of government Jennifer Lind and William Wohlforth join Peter for an in-depth conversation about foreign policy and national security strategies in an ever-changing environment. Jennifer Lind is an associate professor of government; her most recent book is Sorry States: Apologies in International Politics. William Wohlforth is the Daniel Webster Professor of Government; his most recent book is World Out of Balance: International Relations and the Challenge of American Primacy. (Playing time: 41:53)
Author P.J. O'Rourke reflects on life in the sixties to today with nostalgia and humor
February 4th, 2015, 01:33 PM
In this episode of Uncommon Knowledge, Peter sits down with one of America’s favorite political satirists, P. J. O’Rourke, to discuss his best-selling books and the political philosophies that inspired them. O’Rourke describes how he came to hold his political ideals on liberty and individual responsibility and goes on to analyze how his generation, the baby boomers, has shaped today’s policies. O’Rourke is the author of more than sixteen books, including Parliament of Whores, listed on the New York Times’s best-seller list and, most recently, The Baby Boom. His articles can be found in the American Spectator, Vanity Fair, House and Garden, the New Republic, the New York Times Book Review, Rolling Stone, the Weekly Standard, and more.
Richard Epstein's Gold Mind Enriches Us with His Ideas on Inequality, Taxes, Politics, and Health Care
January 30th, 2015, 01:33 PM
In this episode of Uncommon Knowledge, Richard A. Epstein, the Peter and Kirsten Bedford Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, discusses inequality, taxes, globalization, free markets, politics, health care, and gay marriage. Epstein states that the central theme of his book The Classical Liberal Constitution is to develop sufficiently stable government structures and individual rights to raise everybody simultaneously when the government has to regulate or tax. The prevailing politics is ÒI win, you lose,Ó and the Supreme Court has done nothing to slow this trend. Epstein notes that a shrinking economic pie is always a losing proposition. He refers to the famous quote concerning his philosophy, ÒMay justice reign even if the heavens fall.Ó Epstein also discusses other Supreme Court decisions, including the constitutionality of gay marriage.
Thomas Sowell Brings the World into Focus through an Economics Lens
December 19th, 2014, 01:33 PM
In this episode of Uncommon Knowledge, Peter Robinson interviews Hoover fellow and author Thomas Sowell, on his 5th edition of Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy. In this interview, Sowell brings the world into clearer focus through a basic understanding of the fundamental economic principles and how they explain our lives. Sowell draws on lively examples from around the world and from centuries of history. (Playing time: 49:50)
Uncommon Knowledge with David Kelley on creativity, innovation, and design
November 12th, 2014, 01:33 PM
In this episode of Uncommon Knowledge, Peter sits down with David Kelley, author of Creative Confidence, professor of Stanford’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, and founder of IDEO, one of the world’s most prestigious design firms. Kelley offers a profound perspective on everyone’s innate ability to be creative and the need to encourage the use of creativity in every aspect of today’s society. “The United States is particularly well suited for being innovative,” says Kelley; “when we grew up everyone knew who invented the cotton gin and who invented the telephone, they were our heroes. This will continue to drive us to innovation.”
Peter Thiel on markets, technology, and education
October 24th, 2014, 01:33 PM
In this episode of Uncommon Knowledge, guest Peter Thiel, one of Silicon Valley’s leading investors and thinkers, discusses his new book Zero to One. In it Thiel explains his theories on markets, monopolies, and the lack new technology. Born in Germany, raised in California, Thiel is a US-ranked chess master and cofounder of PayPal and Palantir.
Uncommon Knowledge with Liam Fox
October 10th, 2014, 01:33 PM
In this episode of Uncommon Knowledge, Peter sits down with Liam Fox, member of Parliament and former secretary of state for defense, who also remains on every journalist’s short list of those most likely to one day become leader of the Conservative or Tory Party. Fox discusses many themes in his new book, Rising Tides, as well as current issues regarding the purpose of NATO, Scotland’s move for independence, and the conflicts in the Middle East.
Uncommon Knowledge with Hoover fellows Rick Hanushek and Paul Peterson
September 9th, 2014, 01:33 PM
In this episode of Uncommon Knowledge, Peter interviews Hoover senior fellows and members of Hoover's Task Force on KÐ12 Education Paul Peterson and Rick Hanushek on education in the United States compared to the rest of the world. The authors of Endangering Prosperity: A Global View of American Schools, Peterson and Hanushek explain that the United States, in the latest international test, is now in thirty-second place, with only 32 percent of students scoring as proficient in math. Currently, Shanghai is at the top of the list of countries, with 75 percent of its students proficient in math. Nevertheless, Peterson and Hanushek offer an optimistic perspective on what could be done to improve AmericaÕs education system. Watch the full episode here: http://www.hoover.org/research/uncommon-knowledge-hoover-fellows-rick-hanushek-and-paul-peterson
Kevin McCarthy on California and the Nation
August 20th, 2014, 01:33 PM
In this Uncommon Knowledge interview, Peter sits down with House majority leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield, CA) to discuss what the majority leader does and what it takes to be one. McCarthy also gives his opinion on the future of California, actions taken on the border, and what changes the next congressional election might bring. McCarthy began his own business at age nineteen, eventually went on to work in the California State Assembly, and was elected to Congress in 2006, and on June 19, 2014, he was elected to replace outgoing Majority Leader Eric Cantor. (Playing time: 43:30)
Part II: Steve Wynn discusses his life as an entrepreneur
July 25th, 2014, 01:33 PM
Steve Wynn, founder of Wynn Resorts, in the second part of his interview, discusses further his life as an entrepreneur, what he does to motivate his employees, and how he creates experiences that keep customers returning. Wynn also expresses his views on Obamacare, America’s fiscal policy, and the future of his business. “I take sides only on the issues that pertain to the health of my workforce,” explains Wynn. He has resorts in Las Vegas, Macau, China, and hopes to soon begin building another in Massachusetts.
Part I: Wynn Resorts owner Steve Wynn on the Las Vegas hotel and casino business
July 17th, 2014, 01:33 PM
Part I: Steve Wynn discusses his life, his dad’s death, being broke, and how he got into hotel and casino business. Wynn came to Las Vegas for a vacation, met Frank Sinatra, and fell in love with the city. Wynn’s banker said, Steve, this town needs young people. If you stay here you’ll end up owning the place. Wynn stayed and enjoys running a successful hotel and casino business.
Peter Robinson remembers Fouad Ajami
June 27th, 2014, 01:33 PM
In this special episode of Uncommon Knowledge, host Peter Robinson remembers Fouad Ajami, a Hoover senior fellow and renowned Middle East scholar, with excerpts from past interviews on Uncommon Knowledge covering US-Afghani relations, politics in Iran, and the need for reform in Islam. (Playing time: 7:27)
Senator Rob Portman on Republicans and Politics
June 17th, 2014, 01:33 PM
In this Uncommon Knowledge interview, Hoover fellow Peter Robinson speaks with Senator Rob Portman of Ohio. Portman discusses the state of US politics and the Republican Party, touching on various important issues, beginning with the shortcoming of the Affordable Health Care act, the right to health care, and the possibility of alternatives. He continues on to discuss the importance of a balanced budget, despite the continuously increased spending initiated by President George Bush, and the need to curb government spending. his leads to a conversation on what it means to be a modern politician, particularly from a swing state like Ohio, and reflections on Romney’s failed bid for election in 2012. The interview ends with a dialogue on what the Republican Party has to offer the future of America and younger Americans’ disillusionment with politics.
Michael McFaul on Vladimir Putin and Russia
May 19th, 2014, 01:33 PM
Hoover fellow Peter Robinson speaks with former US ambassador to Russia, Hoover senior fellow, and Stanford political science professor Michael McFaul. McFaul discusses Russian president Vladimir Putin’s complex and evolving rhetoric and strategic objectives, emphasizing recent developments in the US-Russia relationship, Putin and former US Russian president Dmitry Medvedev, and Ukraine’s strategic importance to Russia.
Yuval Levin on The Great Debate
April 25th, 2014, 01:33 PM
Hoover fellow Peter Robinson speaks with political analyst, author, and journalist Yuval Levin. Levin is the founding editor of National Affairs, a quarterly journal of essays on the economy, society, culture, and political thought. He is also the author of Tyranny of Reason, Imagining the Future, and, most recently, The Great Debate: Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, and the Birth of Right and Left. In this episode, Levin discusses The Great Debate and the philosophies of Edmund Burke and Thomas Paine that continue to guide public policy today. (Playing time: 36:41)
Robert Thomson, News Corp CEO
March 27th, 2014, 01:33 PM
Rumor has it that newspapers will inevitably disappear, but according to Uncommon Knowledge’s interview with Robert Thomson, chief executive officer of News Corp, that doesn’t need to happen. Thomson discusses how newspapers have always created a community and how that can be done better now than ever before. Thomson became CEO in January 2013; before that he was editor in chief at Dow Jones & Company and managing editor of the Wall Street Journal. News Corp, often called the New News after it recently separated from Twenty-First-Century Fox, is a network of leading companies in diversified media, news, education, and information services.
Mike Lee on Politics and Conservatism
March 14th, 2014, 01:33 PM
Utah Republican senator Mike Lee joins Peter to discuss the positive reforms he has put forth since being elected in 2010. The senator's legislation caused the New York Times to refer to him as the "one-stop shop for provocative reform ideas." Senator Lee explains his policies to restructure the tax code, change transportation funding, and how to move immigration forward. Senator Lee, before becoming a senator, clerked for Supreme Court justice Samuel Alito, served as an assistant US attorney in Salt Lake City, and practiced law with large firms in both Salt Lake City and Washington, DC. (Playing time: 44:18)
David Berlinski on Science, Philosophy, and Society
February 14th, 2014, 01:33 PM
This week on Uncommon Knowledge, David Berlinski, a mathematician, philosopher, and biologist, discusses the current state of the scientific community, the theories of Darwinism, and the science behind global warming. Peter Robinson gets a sneak peek at his new book, The Best of Times, on the history and perplexities of the twentieth century. Berlinski is also author of The Devil’s Delusion, The Deniable Darwin, and The King of Infinite Space: Euclid and His Elements.
Max Boot on guerilla warfare
January 22nd, 2014, 01:33 PM
This week on Uncommon Knowledge, military historian Max Boot discusses current events in Syria, Iran, and his recent book Invisible Armies: An Epic History of Guerrilla Warfare from Ancient Times to Present. Boot explains how guerrilla warfare has been, and still is, the most common form of conflict even today, as seen in Syria and Afghanistan. Since conventional tactics do not work for unconventional armies, Boot offers lessons to be learned and applied to today's battles. Boot further argues that now it is more important than ever to understand the history and operation of insurgent forces. (Playing time: 32:58)
Peter Robinson remembers Christopher Hitchens
December 26th, 2013, 01:33 PM
In this special episode of Uncommon Knowledge, host Peter Robinson remembers Christopher Hitchens, a British American author, journalist, and personal friend, through a series of excerpts from past interviews on Uncommon Knowledge. These excerpts cover discussions of Marxism, the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights Movement and the Great Society, Iraq and the Middle East, the war on terrorism, and the history of the American Left. (Playing time: 11:19)
George Gilder on knowledge
December 6th, 2013, 01:33 PM
Author George Gilder discusses his conception of knowledge, power, and the economy, as described in his latest book, Knowledge and Power: The Information Theory of Capitalism and How it is Revolutionizing our World. He argues that a low entropy, or predictable and stable, carrier is required for the emergence of knowledge – whether it be a fiber optic cable and communication, or a social system governed by the rule of law and economic innovation. Such a social system is not spontaneous, but rather developed through sacrifice and a religious order.
David Mamet on conservatism
November 21st, 2013, 01:33 PM
This week on Uncommon Knowledge, playwright David Mamet discusses his book The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture and his conversion to conservatism. Mamet explains how, by studying Jewish and Christian texts such as the Talmud and the Bible, he came to approach arguments from a new perspective that aligned itself with conservative politics. Throughout the interview, Mamet discusses his newly found conservative position on several issues, including social justice and civil rights, the decline of the family and the sexual revolution, affirmative action and race, and domestic politics and foreign policy. (Playing time: 35:34)
Archbishop Gomez on immigration
November 8th, 2013, 01:33 PM
This week on Uncommon Knowledge, Archbishop Gomez of Los Angeles discusses Catholicism, Mexico-US relations, and immigration, which, as a prominent issue in the United States, provokes a wide variety of opinions as to how it can best be addressed. Gomez argues, both in the course of the interview and in his book Immigration and the Next America, that those who come to the United States from Mexico are honest people looking for work. He points out that this pattern is consistent with the role of immigration in the historical relationship between the United States and Mexico and that, historically, immigrants do not supplant the existing culture but integrate within a generation. (Playing time: 29:17)
Joel Klein on using technology to transform education
October 12th, 2013, 01:33 PM
This week on Uncommon Knowledge, Joel Klein, Amplify CEO and former chancellor of the New York City department of education, discusses technology, school choice, and the challenges facing the US educational system. The gap between the haves and the have-nots is growing, with huge implications for the United States; the way to reduce the gap and create knowledgeable, skilled, problem solvers is through education. For the past two hundred years we have had the model of one teacher and thirty plus children, but that model is not working for many students. With less than one-third of students ready for college, Amplify is reimagining the way teachers teach and students learn to build a better Kó12 educational system and thus a better society.
Peter Thiel and Andy Kessler on the state of technology and innovation
September 20th, 2013, 01:33 PM
This week on Uncommon Knowledge, host Peter Robinson mediates a discussion between PayPal founder and Stanford Professor Peter Thiel and Velocity Capital Management founder and journalist Andy Kessler on the state of technology and innovation in the United States over the past four decades. Thiel argues that, outside of computers, there has been very little innovation in the past forty years, and the rate of technological change has significantly decreased when compared to the first half of the 20th century. In contrast, Kessler asserts that innovation comes in waves, and we are on the verge of another burst of technological breakthroughs. Industries covered include education, medicine and biotechnology, as well as robots and high tech. (Playing time: 45:20)
Amity Shlaes on Coolidge’s life, ideas, and success in bringing about low taxes and small government
August 23rd, 2013, 01:33 PM
Amity Shlaes sheds light on the life of Calvin Coolidge, the thirtieth president of the United States. The harsh conditions of Coolidge’s childhood shaped his political ideas and led to his deep understanding of life and helping people succeed, especially in business. Believing in small government and low taxes, he thought government needed to get out of the way so individuals and businesses could prosper. His supply-side economics were a resounding success, with an unemployment rate of 5 percent or even 3 percent, as the economy grew and the government shrank. (Playing time: 48:14)
Victor Davis Hanson on the type of men who become savior generals
August 6th, 2013, 01:33 PM
Victor Davis Hanson discusses his book The Savior Generals: How Five Great Commanders Saved Wars That Were Lost—From Ancient Greece to Iraq. Hanson notes that savior generals are eccentrics, iconoclasts, and visionaries who see things others do not. (Playing time: 42:46)
Author Tom Wolfe discusses his latest novel, Back to Blood
July 23rd, 2013, 01:33 PM
Tom Wolfe discusses the ideas and inspirations for Back to Blood, a story of decadence and the new America. In the book, Wolfe paints a story of a decaying culture enduring constant uncertainty. Heroes are spurned and abused, and values are dissolving; yet the message seems to be to stick with the good values. (Playing time: 47:32)
Crisis Management: Kissinger, McNamara, and Rice
July 4th, 2013, 01:33 PM
This week Uncommon Knowledge, brings us interview excerpts from two former secretaries of state and Hoover fellows Henry Kissinger and Condoleezza Rice, and former secretary of defense Robert McNamara. All three have influenced American foreign policy through the years and through different crises, and all three believe that the United States possesses a particular responsibility in the world. (Playing time: 25:47)
Senator Rand Paul discusses his ideas on governing.
June 14th, 2013, 01:33 PM
Senator Rand Paul discusses his political ideas, ideals, and philosophies, noting that "we're all born with an instinct towards individualism." He gives his insights into dealing with immigration, unemployment, foreign policy, national security, taxes, personal responsibility, and many other issues. (Playing time: 39:24)
Joseph Epstein and Andrew Ferguson discuss the state of liberal arts education
May 30th, 2013, 01:33 PM
Joseph Epstein and Andrew Ferguson discuss where liberal arts came from and what has happened to them. Liberal arts, they say, emerged from an ancient stream of thought, learning, and belief about what is important in life, yet liberal arts degrees are not held in high regard today. (Playing time: 30:57)
May 16th, 2013, 01:33 PM
Thomas Sowell discusses is newest book, Intellectuals and Race, which argues that the impact of intellectuals' ideas and crusades on the larger society, both past and present, is the ultimate concern. (Playing time: 38:27)
May 1st, 2013, 01:33 PM
Former Florida governor Jeb Bush offers his outlook on immigration into the United States and discusses the policies he believes would improve the issue. (Playing time: 47:16)
April 18th, 2013, 01:33 PM
John O'Sullivan discusses the unique and memorable career of the late Margaret Thatcher, former prime minister of the United Kingdom. (Playing time: 44:12)
John B. Taylor
April 10th, 2013, 01:33 PM
World-renowned economist and Hoover senior fellow John B. Taylor discusses the US economy: how we got here and what policies we should adopt going forward. (Playing time: 34:33)
March 27th, 2013, 01:33 PM
Wisconsin governor Scott Walker discusses a wide range of issues facing his state, the nation, and the future of the GOP. (Playing time: 32:53)
March 14th, 2013, 01:33 PM
US senator Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) discusses his first two months in office and his vision for the Republican Party. (Playing time: 36:13)
March 8th, 2013, 01:33 PM
Rupert Murdoch discusses a wide range of topics including the future of journalism and the "new" News Corporation. (Playing time: 39:07)
February 4th, 2013, 01:33 PM
Senator James Buckley discusses the transformation of the federal government and the challenges we face after the 2012 election. (Playing time: 28:30)
Bernard Lewis and Norman Podhoretz
January 21st, 2013, 01:33 PM
Islam historian Bernard Lewis and Commentary editor Norman Podhoretz discuss the history and future of the Middle East. (Playing time: 56:54)
Rob Long and John Yoo
January 8th, 2013, 01:33 PM
Legal scholar John Yoo and Hollywood writer Rob Long strongly disagree about the future of the Republican Party. (Playing time: 41:33)
Mona Charen and Midge Decter
December 17th, 2012, 01:33 PM
Authors Midge Decter and Mona Charen discuss Romney’s gender gap, the impact of feminism on America, and what women really care about. (Playing time: 42:08)
Jonah Goldberg and John O’Sullivan
December 3rd, 2012, 01:33 PM
AEI scholar and National Review Online founding editor Jonah Goldberg and National Review’s Editor At Large John O’Sullivan on the election and the GOP’s future. (Playing time: 45:10)
Rob Long and Harry Shearer
November 19th, 2012, 01:33 PM
Hollywood Odd Couple Rob Long and Harry Shearer discuss their unusual friendship, politics, and show business. (Playing time: 54:50)
Justice Antonin Scalia
October 29th, 2012, 01:33 PM
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia visits Uncommon Knowledge for a wide ranging interview including the living constitution, Roe v. Wade, Congress’ relationship to the court, and to discuss his new book Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts. (Playing time: 48:47)
Bill Kristol and Shelby Steele
October 15th, 2012, 01:33 PM
Hoover fellow Shelby Steele and the Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol discuss the economy, politics, and the presidential race. (Playing time: 51:39)
October 1st, 2012, 01:33 PM
George Gilder, author of Wealth and Poverty, the book that became a best seller during the first year of the Reagan years and a guide to the Reagan administration itself, is now--just in time perhaps for the Romney years--available in a new edition. (Playing time: 41:23)
September 3rd, 2012, 01:33 PM
Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak discusses his modest upbringing in Chicago, joining Armed Forces Radio in Vietnam, and working in small markets before finally landing in Hollywood. (Playing time: 48:53)
August 13th, 2012, 01:33 PM
The Chairman of Chief Oil and Gas Trevor Rees-Jones discusses fracking -- what it is and why it is crucial to the country’s future, the challenge of discovering and distributing cheap energy, and why our gas prices will (and should) go up in the future (Playing time: 1:02:53)
Charles Hill, Fouad Ajami
July 30th, 2012, 01:33 PM
Hoover fellows Charles Hill and Fouad Ajami discuss the strength and, yes, the democratic tradition of Middle Eastern states. (Playing time: 1:08:41)
George W. Bush
July 16th, 2012, 01:33 PM
President George W. Bush discusses postpresidential life and his work at the Bush Institute. (Playing time: 1:03:21)
July 2nd, 2012, 01:33 PM
Texas governor Rick Perry discusses the Texas success story, the perils and pitfalls of running for president, and what the rest of the country can learn from Texas. (Playing time: 45:28)
June 18th, 2012, 01:33 PM
Radio host, columnist, conductor, and best-selling author Dennis Prager discusses his new book, Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph. (Playing time: 48:14)
Jim Manzi with bonus material from Jonah Goldberg
June 11th, 2012, 01:33 PM
Science and technology expert Jim Manzi argues that controlled experimentation should be conducted and credible data collected before the government enacts major social and economic policies and explains why this has yet to happen. (Playing time: 43:06)
Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy
June 4th, 2012, 01:33 PM
Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy discuss their new book The Presidents' Club: Inside the World's Most Exclusive Fraternity. (Playing time: 57:04)
May 21st, 2012, 01:33 PM
Author and television host John Stossel discusses his new book No, They Can’t: Why Government Fails - But Individuals Succeed. (Playing time: 45:18)
May 7th, 2012, 01:33 PM
On the occasion of the publication of a new edition of his book Intellectuals and Society, Thomas Sowell returns to Uncommon Knowledge for a wide-ranging interview. (Playing time: 52:37)
Pat Buchanan on Suicide of a Superpower
April 23rd, 2012, 01:33 PM
Author and commentator Pat Buchanan discusses the disintegration of the United States as a superpower and a united nation. (Playing time: 1:00:41)
Charles Murray on Coming Apart
April 9th, 2012, 01:33 PM
Longtime American Enterprise Institute fellow Charles Murray discusses his controversial new book, Coming Apart, about what American was, is, and will become. He also reveals his personal score on his now famous “bubble quiz.” Take the quiz here http://www.scribd.com/doc/77349055/Coming-Apart-by-Charles-Murray-Quiz (Playing time: 47:35)
Uncommon Knowledge Special Audio Edition: Senator Rick Santorum
March 30th, 2012, 01:33 PM
Rick Santorum on why he's still in the race, the rights of the unborn, the Santorum tax plan, how Santorum plans to expand his appeal, the core differences between himself and Mitt Romney, and a up-to-the-minute state of the primary race from the candidate himself. (Playing time: 18:22)
March 26th, 2012, 01:33 PM
This week on Uncommon Knowledge with Peter Robinson, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell discusses why the glacial pace of deliberations and decisions in the Senate is a feature, not a bug. "Once it was clear the president was going to try to turn us into a Western European country as rapidly as he could, about the only strategy you have left when your opposition has a forty-seat majority in the House. . . . We knew we couldn't stop the agenda. But we thought we had a chance of creating a national debate about whether all of this excess was appropriate. And the key to having a debate, frankly and candidly, was to deny the president, if possible, the opportunity to have any of these things be considered bipartisan." (Playing time: 37:42)
Decision 2012: Above the fray with Michael Barone
March 14th, 2012, 01:33 PM
This week, on Uncommon Knowledge, Michael Barone, American Enterprise Institute fellow, author, and senior political correspondent for the Washington Examiner, explains where the Republicans are headed, how Obama operates, and what’s at stake in the 2012 election. (Playing time: 52:46)
February 29th, 2012, 01:33 PM
Condoleezza Rice, senior fellow on public policy at the Hoover Institution and a professor of political science at Stanford University, discusses the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, her days as George Bush's national security adviser and secretary of state, and the current state of the world, including Israel, Iran, and China. “The real question is how internally the United States deals with our own difficulties so that we are strong enough and confident enough and optimistic enough to continue to lead.” (Playing time: 1:09:44)
Uncommon Knowledge special edition: Newt Gingrich
February 15th, 2012, 01:33 PM
The 58th Speaker of the House and 2012 GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich makes the case for his candidacy, explains why he's not a Washington insider, and describes his vision for his first term: gaining energy independence, ending the war on religion, balancing the budget, and repealing and replacing ObamaCare and why he is temperamentally suited for the highest office. (Playing time: 33:10)
Church and state, Newtzilla, social media, and the second favorite flavor
February 8th, 2012, 01:33 PM
This week on Uncommon Knowledge columnist, scholar, and social media maven Jonah Goldberg discusses, with Hoover research fellow Peter Robinson, the unconstrained vision of the left, the problem with Romney, the reality of diversity, why vanilla is every one’s second favorite flavor, and offers some wise but unpalatable advice to conservative voters. “I do not think they hate Romney that much... Vanilla is everyone’s second favorite flavor. And so they do not hate him, but they do not love him. And they really want to love someone. They want to be in love with a candidate. And they have these sorts of tawdry affairs with everybody else, other than Romney this entire primary season.” (Playing time: 53:10)
Obamacare and the Supreme Court with Richard Epstein and John Yoo
January 25th, 2012, 01:33 PM
Richard Epstein, the Peter and Kirsten Bedford Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and the Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Law, New York University Law School, and John Yoo, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley law school, examine the merits of various constitutional arguments for the Supreme Court’s striking down Obamacare. (Playing time: 1:00:39)
The Storm of War
January 11th, 2012, 01:33 PM
This week on Uncommon Knowledge historian Andrew Roberts discusses, with Hoover research fellow Peter Robinson, his book The Storm of War: A New History of the Second World War. In the book, Roberts investigates what led up to the war, the historical factors responsible for Hitler's rise to power, Hitler's shortcomings as a military leader, Nazi Germany's defeat, and Allied contributions to the victory. (Playing time: 38:15)
Government, Economic Growth, and Speculative Investing with Peter Thiel
December 28th, 2011, 01:33 PM
In this Uncommon Knowledge interview from November 24, 2008, Thiel argues that a book published in France in 1968, Le Defi Americain (The American Challenge), has a lot to say to us in 2008, including why the United States has failed to rise to the heights predicted by its author, J. J. Servan-Schreiber. In explaining what’s wrong with the US economy, Thiel points out that, although we have benefited from growth that is both extensive (e.g., free trade) and intensive (e.g., technology), we have not featured enough of each. He asserts that the credit crisis of 2008 had nothing to do with the failings of the free market but rather is a by-product of government entanglement, nurtured by the motors of economic growth, working less well than expected. (Playing time: 38:56)
Journalism with Gerard Baker & Andrew Ferguson
November 28th, 2011, 01:33 PM
Gerard Baker is deputy editor-in-chief of The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones. From 2002 to 2004 he was the Chief U.S. Commentator and an Associate Editor for the Financial Times. A speechwriter for Pres. George H. W. Bush, Andrew Ferguson is a senior editor at The Weekly Standard. His most recent book is Crazy U: One Dad's Crash Course at Getting His Kids into College. (Playing time: Duration not specified)
The Constitution with Paul Rahe
November 14th, 2011, 01:33 PM
Paul Rahe holds the Charles O. Lee and Louise K. Lee Chair in Western Heritage at Hillsdale College. He is the author most recently of Soft Despotism, Democracy's Drift. (Playing time: Duration not specified)
Political Culture with Thomas Sowell
October 31st, 2011, 01:33 PM
Thomas Sowell has studied and taught economics, intellectual history, and social policy at institutions that include Cornell, UCLA, and Amherst. Now a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Sowell has published more than a dozen books. His most recent book is The Thomas Sowell Reader. (Playing time: Duration not specified)
Larry Arnn and Our Founding Documents
October 17th, 2011, 01:33 PM
Larry Arnn earned his graduate and doctorate in Government from the Claremont Graduate School. Dr. Arnn is the founder and former president of the Claremont Institute. He is the current president at Hillsdale College. (Playing time: Duration not specified)
Paul Ryan on Health Care
October 3rd, 2011, 01:33 PM
Paul Ryan, a native of Janesville, Wisconsin, is the chairman of the House Budget Committee and representative of the 1st congressional district of Wisconsin since 1999. (Playing time: Duration not specified)
Science & Religion with David Berlinski
September 6th, 2011, 01:33 PM
Dr. David Berlinski is the author of 1,2,3: Absolutely Elementary Mathematics and The Devil's Delusion: Atheism and Its Scientific Pretensions. (Playing time: Duration not specified)
Charles Moore on Margaret Thatcher
August 8th, 2011, 01:33 PM
Charles Moore is a former editor at The Daily Telegraph, Sunday Telegraph, and Spectator Magazine. He is the authorized biographer of Margaret Thatcher. (Playing time: Duration not specified)