Uncommon Knowledge — audio edition-logo

Uncommon Knowledge — audio edition

Talk >

More Information


United States




Shelby Steele On “How America's Past Sins Have Polarized Our Country”

Recorded on January 25, 2018 Shelby Steele, a Hoover Institution senior fellow and author of Shame: How America’s Past Sins Have Polarized Our Country , joins Peter Robinson to discuss race relations in the United States. Steele tells stories about growing up in segregated Chicago and the fights he and his family went through to end segregation in their neighborhood schools. He draws upon his own experiences facing racism while growing up in order to inform his opinions on current events....


Niall Ferguson’s The Square and the Tower

Recorded on November 9, 2017 With social networks like Facebook and Twitter in abundance, the effects of networks on society in the twenty-first century are inarguable. However, Niall Ferguson, author of The Square and the Tower, argues that networks are not a new phenomenon and have been impacting human culture from the beginning of history. Niall Ferguson and Peter Robinson discuss networks and hierarchies throughout history in this episode of Uncommon Knowledge. Ferguson breaks down...


Enduring Vietnam with James Wright

Recorded April 11, 2017 Historian James Wright, author of Enduring Vietnam: An America Generation and Its War, joins Peter Robinson on Uncommon Knowledge to discuss the challenges and successes of the Vietnam War. They discuss why the Vietnam War mattered, how the United States entered the war, the changing feelings of Americans at the time of the war, and much more. Wright expands on how the Vietnam War fit into the greater strategy of the United States in the Cold War and why the United...


Part 2: The Second World Wars with Victor Davis Hanson

Recorded on October 23, 2017 Could the Axis powers have won? What are the counterfactuals for World War II? Find out in part two of this episode as military historian, editor of Strategika, and Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow Victor Davis Hanson joins Peter Robinson to discuss his latest book, The Second World Wars. Victor Davis Hanson explains the counterfactuals of World War II, the “what-ifs” that easily could have changed the outcome of the war. If Hitler had not attacked...


Part I The Second World Wars with Victor Davis Hanson

Recorded on October 23, 2017 How were the Axis powers able to instigate the most lethal conflict in human history? Find out in part one of this episode as military historian, editor of Strategika, and Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow, Victor Davis Hanson, joins Peter Robinson to discuss his latest book, The Second World Wars. Victor Davis Hanson explains how World War II initially began in 1939 as a multitude of isolated border blitzkriegs that Germany continued to win. In 1941,...

The High Cost of Good Intentions Featuring John Cogan

Recorded on October 24, 2017 How old are entitlement programs in the United States? Entitlement programs are as old as the Republic, according to John Cogan, former deputy director of the US Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and a Hoover Institution senior fellow. Cogan joins Peter Robinson to discuss his latest book, The High Cost of Good Intentions,on the necessity for entitlement reform in the United States. Currently there are a bevy of entitlement programs in the United States,...


Genocides: A World History featuring Norman Naimark

Recorded on February 14, 2017 Norman Naimark, senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and an expert on Eastern Europe and genocides throughout history, brings his considerable expertise to Uncommon Knowledge to discuss the history of genocides from ancient to modern times. Peter Robinson sits down with Naimark to discuss his latest book, Genocide: A World History. Naimark argues that genocides occur throughout history, from biblical to modern times across the world. He considers genocides...


How to Fail at Almost Everything with Scott Adams

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...


The Speech That Defined a Presidency

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....


Ayaan Hirsi Ali on the West, Dawa, and Islam

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...


How to Be a Conservative

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...


Making Congress and America Work Again

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...


The Budget Crisis in the Land of Lincoln

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...


The Vanishing American Adult

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...


Sowing the Seeds of Growth

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...


Drug Decriminalization

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...


Carly Fiorina on the Future of the United States

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...


How JetBlue Does It

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,...


The Challenges of Reforming Health Care in a Partisan Era

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...


The Historical Benefits of Trade

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...


See More