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Uncommon Knowledge Podcast by Peter Robinson

Uncommon Knowledge Podcast

by Peter Robinson

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Uncommon Knowledge is a production of the Hoover Institution, a public-policy research center devoted to the advanced study of politics, economics, and political economy — both domestic and foreign — as well as international affairs. Topics on Uncommon Knowledge range from the legalization of drugs to affirmative action to war to taxes to censorship on the Internet. Uncommon Knowledge is hosted by Hoover fellow Peter M. Robinson.


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Senator Tom Cotton, Immigration Reform, and the RAISE Act


Mon, Feb 27, 2017


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.

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America’s Will to Lead


Thu, Oct 20, 2016


Former prime minister of Denmark, Anders Rasmussen, on America's indispensable role as the global leader.

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The Promise of Party in a Polarized Age


Fri, Dec 2, 2016


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.

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What's wrong with the American economy?


Thu, Sep 8, 2016


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.

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Understanding Donald Trump


Mon, Jan 9, 2017


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.

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Donald Trump and Conservative Intellectuals


Wed, Nov 30, 2016


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.

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Kellyanne Conway discusses the presidential election of 2016


Wed, Nov 30, 2016


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.

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J.D. Vance On His New Book Hillbilly Elegy


Mon, Nov 14, 2016


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.

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Kori Schake on Civil-Military Relations


Thu, Nov 10, 2016


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.

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Victor Davis Hanson on grand strategy, immigration, and the 2016 presidential election


Thu, Sep 22, 2016


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.

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The State of the 2016 Presidential Election, the Role of the Media, and Obama’s Legacy


Fri, Oct 7, 2016


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.

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Wealth, Poverty, and Politics


Thu, Sep 8, 2016


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.

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Is the Constitution Out of Date?


Mon, Aug 15, 2016


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.

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James Buckley discusses his life and values on Uncommon Knowledge


Wed, Jul 13, 2016


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.

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A Plan to Defeat ISIS


Fri, Mar 25, 2016


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.

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A Conversation with Stanford President John Hennessy


Thu, Jul 14, 2016


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.

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European Disunion


Mon, Jan 25, 2016


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.

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The Texas Plan with Governor Greg Abbott


Mon, May 2, 2016


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.

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Good Profit Part II


Fri, Mar 18, 2016


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.

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Good Profit Part I


Fri, Mar 18, 2016


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.

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Karl Rove on the election of 1896


Mon, Feb 22, 2016


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.

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Restoring the Constitution


Mon, Feb 22, 2016


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.

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A Conversation with Former Secretary of State George Shultz


Mon, Jan 25, 2016


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.

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The Secretary of State, the Instructor, and the Piano


Tue, Dec 15, 2015


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.

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Wealth, Poverty, and Politics


Fri, Sep 18, 2015


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.

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Niall Ferguson on Kissinger the Idealist


Wed, Oct 7, 2015


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.

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Stalin in Power


Tue, Oct 6, 2015


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.

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Stalin’s Rise to Power


Tue, Oct 6, 2015


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.

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The Constitution


Fri, Sep 4, 2015


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.

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Charles Hill and General James Mattis on the Iran Deal, Democracy, and Freedom


Wed, Jul 29, 2015


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.

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Richard Epstein's Gold Mind Enriches Us with His Ideas on Inequality, Taxes, Politics, and Health Care


Fri, Jan 30, 2015


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 ?I win, you lose,? 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, ?May justice reign even if the heavens fall.? Epstein also discusses other Supreme Court decisions, including the constitutionality of gay marriage.

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Senator John Hoeven lights up the conversation on energy


Fri, Jun 5, 2015


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.

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Arkansas Senator Thomas Cotton on events in Iraq, negotiations with Iran, and life in the US Senate


Fri, Apr 3, 2015


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)

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Uncommon Knowledge with Jim Hake, General Jim Mattis, and Spirit of America


Fri, Mar 13, 2015


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.

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Uncommon Knowledge with General Jim Mattis


Fri, Mar 6, 2015


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)

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Uncommon Knowledge with Dartmouth professors Jennifer Lind and William Wohlforth


Thu, Feb 26, 2015


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)

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Author P.J. O'Rourke reflects on life in the sixties to today with nostalgia and humor


Wed, Feb 4, 2015


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.

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Thomas Sowell Brings the World into Focus through an Economics Lens


Fri, Dec 19, 2014


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)

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Uncommon Knowledge with David Kelley on creativity, innovation, and design


Wed, Nov 12, 2014


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.”

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Peter Thiel on markets, technology, and education


Fri, Oct 24, 2014


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.

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Uncommon Knowledge with Liam Fox


Fri, Oct 10, 2014


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.

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Uncommon Knowledge with Hoover fellows Rick Hanushek and Paul Peterson


Tue, Sep 9, 2014


In this episode of Uncommon Knowledge, Peter interviews Hoover senior fellows and members of Hoover's Task Force on K?12 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 America?s education system. Watch the full episode here: http://www.hoover.org/research/uncommon-knowledge-hoover-fellows-rick-hanushek-and-paul-peterson

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Kevin McCarthy on California and the Nation


Wed, Aug 20, 2014


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)

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Part II: Steve Wynn discusses his life as an entrepreneur


Fri, Jul 25, 2014


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.

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Part I: Wynn Resorts owner Steve Wynn on the Las Vegas hotel and casino business


Thu, Jul 17, 2014


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.

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Peter Robinson remembers Fouad Ajami


Fri, Jun 27, 2014


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)

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Senator Rob Portman on Republicans and Politics


Tue, Jun 17, 2014


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.

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Michael McFaul on Vladimir Putin and Russia


Mon, May 19, 2014


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.

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Yuval Levin on The Great Debate


Fri, Apr 25, 2014


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)

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Robert Thomson, News Corp CEO


Thu, Mar 27, 2014


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.

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Mike Lee on Politics and Conservatism


Fri, Mar 14, 2014


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)

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David Berlinski on Science, Philosophy, and Society


Fri, Feb 14, 2014


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.

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Max Boot on guerilla warfare


Wed, Jan 22, 2014


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)

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Peter Robinson remembers Christopher Hitchens


Thu, Dec 26, 2013


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)

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George Gilder on knowledge


Fri, Dec 6, 2013


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.

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David Mamet on conservatism


Thu, Nov 21, 2013


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)

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Archbishop Gomez on immigration


Fri, Nov 8, 2013


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)

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Joel Klein on using technology to transform education


Sat, Oct 12, 2013


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 K?12 educational system and thus a better society.

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Peter Thiel and Andy Kessler on the state of technology and innovation


Fri, Sep 20, 2013


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)

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Amity Shlaes on Coolidge’s life, ideas, and success in bringing about low taxes and small government


Fri, Aug 23, 2013


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)

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Victor Davis Hanson on the type of men who become savior generals


Tue, Aug 6, 2013


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)

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Author Tom Wolfe discusses his latest novel, Back to Blood


Tue, Jul 23, 2013


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)

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Crisis Management: Kissinger, McNamara, and Rice


Thu, Jul 4, 2013


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)

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Senator Rand Paul discusses his ideas on governing.


Fri, Jun 14, 2013


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)

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Joseph Epstein and Andrew Ferguson discuss the state of liberal arts education


Thu, May 30, 2013


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)

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Thomas Sowell


Thu, May 16, 2013


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)

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Jeb Bush


Wed, May 1, 2013


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)

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John O'Sullivan


Thu, Apr 18, 2013


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)

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John B. Taylor


Wed, Apr 10, 2013


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)

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Scott Walker


Wed, Mar 27, 2013


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)

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Ted Cruz


Thu, Mar 14, 2013


US senator Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) discusses his first two months in office and his vision for the Republican Party. (Playing time: 36:13)

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Rupert Murdoch


Fri, Mar 08, 2013


Rupert Murdoch discusses a wide range of topics including the future of journalism and the "new" News Corporation. (Playing time: 39:07)

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James Buckley


Mon, Feb 04, 2013


Senator James Buckley discusses the transformation of the federal government and the challenges we face after the 2012 election. (Playing time: 28:30)

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Bernard Lewis and Norman Podhoretz


Mon, Jan 21, 2013


Islam historian Bernard Lewis and Commentary editor Norman Podhoretz discuss the history and future of the Middle East. (Playing time: 56:54)

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Rob Long and John Yoo


Tue, Jan 08, 2013


Legal scholar John Yoo and Hollywood writer Rob Long strongly disagree about the future of the Republican Party. (Playing time: 41:33)

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Mona Charen and Midge Decter


Mon, Dec 17, 2012


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)

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Jonah Goldberg and John O’Sullivan


Mon, Dec 03, 2012


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)

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Rob Long and Harry Shearer


Mon, Nov 19, 2012


Hollywood Odd Couple Rob Long and Harry Shearer discuss their unusual friendship, politics, and show business. (Playing time: 54:50)

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Justice Antonin Scalia


Mon, Oct 29, 2012


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)

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Bill Kristol and Shelby Steele


Mon, Oct 15, 2012


Hoover fellow Shelby Steele and the Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol discuss the economy, politics, and the presidential race. (Playing time: 51:39)

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George Gilder


Mon, Oct 01, 2012


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)

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Pat Sajak


Mon, Sep 03, 2012


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)

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Trevor Rees-Jones


Mon, Aug 13, 2012


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)

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Charles Hill, Fouad Ajami


Mon, Jul 30, 2012


Hoover fellows Charles Hill and Fouad Ajami discuss the strength and, yes, the democratic tradition of Middle Eastern states. (Playing time: 1:08:41)

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George W. Bush


Mon, Jul 16, 2012


President George W. Bush discusses postpresidential life and his work at the Bush Institute. (Playing time: 1:03:21)

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Rick Perry


Mon, Jul 02, 2012


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)

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Dennis Prager


Mon, Jun 18, 2012


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)

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Jim Manzi with bonus material from Jonah Goldberg


Mon, Jun 11, 2012


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)

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Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy


Mon, Jun 04, 2012


Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy discuss their new book The Presidents' Club: Inside the World's Most Exclusive Fraternity. (Playing time: 57:04)

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John Stossel


Mon, May 21, 2012


Author and television host John Stossel discusses his new book No, They Can’t: Why Government Fails - But Individuals Succeed. (Playing time: 45:18)

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Thomas Sowell


Mon, May 07, 2012


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)

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Pat Buchanan on Suicide of a Superpower


Mon, Apr 23, 2012


Author and commentator Pat Buchanan discusses the disintegration of the United States as a superpower and a united nation. (Playing time: 1:00:41)

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Charles Murray on Coming Apart


Mon, Apr 09, 2012


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)

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Uncommon Knowledge Special Audio Edition: Senator Rick Santorum


Fri, Mar 30, 2012


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)

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Mitch McConnell


Mon, Mar 26, 2012


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)

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Decision 2012: Above the fray with Michael Barone


Wed, Mar 14, 2012


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)

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Condoleezza Rice


Wed, Feb 29, 2012


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)

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Uncommon Knowledge special edition: Newt Gingrich


Wed, Feb 15, 2012


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)

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Church and state, Newtzilla, social media, and the second favorite flavor


Wed, Feb 08, 2012


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)

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Obamacare and the Supreme Court with Richard Epstein and John Yoo


Wed, Jan 25, 2012


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)

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The Storm of War


Wed, Jan 11, 2012


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)

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Government, Economic Growth, and Speculative Investing with Peter Thiel


Wed, Dec 28, 2011


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)

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James Delingpole: Great Britain, the Green Movement, and the End of the World


Wed, Dec 14, 2011


This week on Uncommon Knowledge columnist James Delingpole discusses, with Hoover research fellow Peter Robinson, the European Union, the Green movement, and socialized medicine. (Playing time: 47:41)

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Journalism with Gerard Baker & Andrew Ferguson


Mon, Nov 28, 2011


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)

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The Constitution with Paul Rahe


Mon, Nov 14, 2011


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)

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Political Culture with Thomas Sowell


Mon, Oct 31, 2011


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)

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Larry Arnn and Our Founding Documents


Mon, Oct 17, 2011


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)

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Paul Ryan on Health Care


Mon, Oct 03, 2011


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)

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Science & Religion with David Berlinski


Tue, Sep 06, 2011


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)

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Political Quotients with Tim Groseclose


Mon, Aug 22, 2011


Summary not specified (Playing time: Duration not specified)

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Charles Moore on Margaret Thatcher


Mon, Aug 08, 2011


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)

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