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Uncommon Knowledge

100 EpisodesProduced by Hoover InstitutionWebsite

For more than two decades the Hoover Institution has been producing Uncommon Knowledge with Peter Robinson, a series hosted by Hoover fellow Peter Robinson as an outlet for political leaders, scholars, journalists, and today’s big thinkers to share their views with the world.

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Jimmy Lai and the Fight for Freedom in Hong Kong

October 23rd, 2019


Recorded on October 20, 2019

In this special edition of Uncommon Knowledge with Peter Robinson recorded in front of a live audience at the Hoover Institution, Peter interviews Jimmy Lai, the entrepreneur and leader in …

The Death of Europe, with Douglas Murray

October 7th, 2019


Recorded on June 3, 2019

In this episode of Uncommon Knowledge, Peter Robinson is joined by author and columnist Douglas Murray to discuss his new …

Peter Thiel on “The Straussian Moment”

September 23rd, 2019


Recorded on September 5, 2019.

Peter Robinson opens the show by asking Thiel’s views on his own essay “The Straussian Moment.” Thiel responds by saying that people today believe in the power of the will but no longer …

Jim Mattis on Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead

September 3rd, 2019


Recorded on August 21, 2019

Peter Robinson opens the show by asking General Jim Mattis, former secretary of defense, to explain the word “chaos” from the title of his new book, Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead. …

Why Here, Why Now? Why Did United States Enjoy Dramatic Improvements in Living During the Last Century?

August 26th, 2019


Recorded on April 18, 2019

Peter Robinson opens the session by discussing the major improvements that happened over the last one hundred years in the United States, between 1919 and 2019. For example, the GDP per person …

David Kennedy, Andrew Roberts, and Stephen Kotkin Discuss the Big Three of the 20th Century: Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin

August 5th, 2019


Recorded on July 18, 2019

What did Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin want at the beginning of the Second World War? Peter Robinson starts the …

Mathematical Challenges To Darwin’s Theory Of Evolution, With David Berlinski, Stephen Meyer, And David Gelernter

July 22nd, 2019


Recorded on June 6, 2019 in Italy.

Based on new evidence and knowledge that functioning proteins are extremely rare, should Darwin’s theory of …

Uncommon Knowledge with David Berlinski on “The Deniable Darwin”

July 8th, 2019


David Berlinski is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture, a contributing editor at Inference: International …

David Davenport on How Public Policy Became War

June 24th, 2019


Recorded: Recorded on May 15, 2019

David Davenport, Hoover fellow and coauthor of How Public Policy Became War, analyzes how presidents have too …

Empowering Students through School Choice, with Betsy DeVos

June 3rd, 2019


Recorded on May 15, 2019.

What’s wrong with public education in the United States? Betsy DeVos, US secretary of education, analyzes the role of …

Thomas Sowell on the Origins of Economic Disparities

May 17th, 2019


Recorded on April 1, 2019

Is discrimination the reason behind economic inequality in the United States? Thomas Sowell dismisses that     question with a newly revised edition of his book Discrimination and Disparities. …

Victor Davis Hanson on “The Case For Trump”

May 6th, 2019


Recorded on April 1, 2019.

How did blue-collar voters connect with a millionaire from Queens in the 2016 election? Martin and Illie Anderson Senior …

Heather Mac Donald on How the Delusion of Diversity Destroys Our Common Humanity and Open-Minded Curiosity

April 22nd, 2019


Recorded on February 25, 2019.

Is the dedication to diversity undermining American culture? In her book The Diversity Delusion, Heather Mac Donald …

Getting Work Done in Congress, with Josh Hawley and Michael Waltz

April 8th, 2019


Recorded on March 5, 2019.

Freshman members of Congress senator Josh Hawley and representative Michael Waltz talk about their recent experiences …

Jason Riley On “False Black Power?”

March 18th, 2019


Recorded on February 21, 2019.

What is “false black power?” According to Jason Riley, author of False Black Power?, it is political clout, whereas …

Cost-Effective Approaches to Save the Environment, with Bjorn Lomborg

March 11th, 2019


Recorded on February 11, 2019.

How much will it cost to slow climate change? Bjorn Lomborg, president of the Copenhagen Consensus Center, performs cost-benefit analysis on the Green New Deal and the UN’s Climate Report, …

Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II: The Partnership that Changed the World

February 19th, 2019


Recorded on September 26, 2018.

Did President Reagan and Pope John Paul II have a secret alliance or simply an aligned foreign policy strategy that …

Are There Limits on Emergency Powers? With John Yoo and Richard Epstein

January 25th, 2019


Recorded on January 17, 2019.

Can a sitting president be indicted? What emergency powers does President Trump have to build a border wall and stop the government shutdown? Richard Epstein and John Yoo sit down with …

Winston Churchill: Walking with Destiny

January 15th, 2019


Recorded on December 7, 2018

How did Winston Churchill defend the British Empire throughout his life? Andrew Roberts, the Roger and Martha Mertz Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution, brings keen insights into the …

A President and a Gentleman

December 18th, 2018


Recorded on December 5, 2018.

As the country mourns the passing of President George H. W. Bush, C Boyden Gray and Haley Barbour join Peter Robinson to discuss fond memories of his leadership, friendship, humility, and …

Remembering President George H. W. Bush with Chase Untermeyer and Andrew Ferguson

December 17th, 2018


Recorded on December 5, 2018

On November 30, 2018, forty-first president George H. W. Bush passed away. Andrew Ferguson and Peter Robinson both served as speechwriters for Bush during his tenure in the White House as …

Thomas Sowell on the Myths of Economic Inequality

December 3rd, 2018


Recorded on November 15, 2018

Thomas Sowell discusses economic inequality, racial inequality, and the myths that have continued to falsely describe the system of poverty among different racial and economic classes. He …

A New Afghanistan with H.R. McMaster and Janan Mosazai

November 14th, 2018


Recorded on October 23, 2018

Former National Security Advisor H.R, McMaster and former Afghan Ambassador to China Janan Mosazai analyze the state of …

John O’Sullivan: Brexit’s Past and Future Paths

October 29th, 2018


Recorded on September 26, 2018.

As the Brexit deadline of March 2019 draws near, John O’Sullivan discusses the status of Brexit today and the history …

How the World Recovered: The 2008 Financial Crisis Ten Years Later

October 17th, 2018


Recorded on September 28, 2018

Ten years ago, the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression hit the United States and spread to other countries, including the United Kingdom. Here to discuss what happened then …

George Gilder: Forget Cloud Computing, Blockchain is the Future

September 24th, 2018


Recorded on August 28, 2018

Is blockchain the technology of the future? George Gilder, author of Life After Google, argues that bitcoin and …

Judging Brett Kavanaugh and the Supreme Court with John Yoo

September 5th, 2018


Recorded on August 28th, 2018. 

Is Brett Kavanaugh ready for the Supreme Court? John Yoo, Yale Law alumnus and Hoover Institution visiting fellow, breaks down Kavanaugh’s law career in the U.S. Court of Appeals. Yoo …

Russia, China, and the Future of Democracy

August 20th, 2018


Recorded on June 22, 2018

In a special edition of Uncommon Knowledge at the Copenhagen Democracy Summit, Peter Robinson interviews former presidents …

Uncommon Knowledge in Copenhagen: Revitalizing Democracies Around the World

July 26th, 2018


Recorded on June 22nd, 2018

At the Copenhagen Democracy Summit, Peter Robinson moderated a panel discussion featuring prominent politicians from some …

How to Get the Best from Brexit with Daniel Hannan

July 12th, 2018


Recorded on June 22, 2018

Will the United Kingdom really follow through on Brexit? British politician Daniel Hannan believes that Brexit is happening …

Joseph Stalin: Waiting For Hitler

June 25th, 2018


Did you miss part one? Listen to part one of the episode here.

Recorded on January 25, 2018.

“If you're interested in power, [if] you're interested …

Why Does Joseph Stalin Matter?

June 7th, 2018


Recorded on January 25, 2018

“Joseph Stalin, Soviet dictator, creator of great power, and destroyer of tens of millions of lives …” Thus begins this episode of Uncommon Knowledge, which dives into the biography of …

Defending the Nation With Secretary of Defense James Mattis

May 14th, 2018


Recorded on Friday, May 11, 2018 in Washington DC.

In his first televised interview in almost a year, Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis sits down with Peter Robinson to discuss a wide range of issues facing the …

Discrimination and Disparities with Thomas Sowell

May 2nd, 2018


Recorded March 14, 2018

Rich or poor, most people agree that wealth disparities exist. Thomas Sowell discusses the origins and impacts of those wealth disparities in his new book, Discrimination and Disparities in this …

George F. Will is the umpire on politics and baseball

April 19th, 2018


Recorded on March 29, 2018 Washington Post columnist and author, George F. Will, sits down with Peter Robinson in Austin, Texas to chat about the …

To Change the Church With Ross Douthat

April 4th, 2018


Recorded on February 27, 2018 What do Catholics think of Pope Francis’s changes to the Catholic Church? Ross Douthat explores that question in his …

Senator Portman on Why the New Tax Bill Helps the Middle Class

March 30th, 2018


Recorded on February 25, 2018 “On Election Day in 2016, Donald Trump carried Ohio by eight percentage points. Our guest today carried the state by twenty-one. Senator of Ohio Rob Portman joins Peter Robinson at a …

Fear No Evil With Natan Sharansky

March 14th, 2018


Natan Sharansky sits down with Peter Robinson to discuss Soviet communism and its impact on his personal life. He discusses his book Fear No Evil: …

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

February 8th, 2018


Recorded on January 25, 2018 Shelby Steele, a Hoover Institution senior fellow and author of Shame: How America’s Past Sins Have Polarized Our …

Niall Ferguson’s The Square and the Tower

January 25th, 2018


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 …

Enduring Vietnam with James Wright

December 21st, 2017


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 …

Part 2: The Second World Wars with Victor Davis Hanson

December 13th, 2017


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 …

Part I The Second World Wars with Victor Davis Hanson

November 28th, 2017


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 …

The High Cost of Good Intentions Featuring John Cogan

November 16th, 2017


Recorded on October 24, 2017 How old are entitlement programs in the United States? Entitlement programs are as old as the Republic, according to …

Genocides: A World History featuring Norman Naimark

October 11th, 2017


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 …

How to Fail at Almost Everything with Scott Adams

September 15th, 2017


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 …

The Speech That Defined a Presidency

August 23rd, 2017


Recorded on July 23, 2017 Thirty years after Ronald Reagan’s famous denouncement of the Berlin Wall, Peter Robinson reflects on writing the …

Ayaan Hirsi Ali on the West, Dawa, and Islam

August 8th, 2017


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 …

How to Be a Conservative

July 19th, 2017


Recorded on February 27, 2017 In the latest episode from Uncommon Knowledge, Sir Roger Scruton, a formally trained political philosopher, talks about …

Making Congress and America Work Again

June 28th, 2017


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 …

The Budget Crisis in the Land of Lincoln

June 24th, 2017


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 …

The Vanishing American Adult

June 13th, 2017


Recorded on June 2, 2017 Senator Benjamin Sasse joins Peter Robinson to discuss his book The Vanishing American Adult and the growing crisis in …

Area 45: The Art of Presidential Wordsmithery Featuring Peter Robinson

June 7th, 2017


Today, we’re introducing Area 45, a new political podcast from the team behind Uncommon Knowledge, The Classicist, and the Libertarian. Host Bill …

Sowing the Seeds of Growth

May 25th, 2017


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 …

Drug Decriminalization

May 18th, 2017


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 …

Carly Fiorina on the Future of the United States

May 11th, 2017


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 …

How JetBlue Does It

April 25th, 2017


Recorded on February 14, 2017 CEO Robin Hayes and Hoover Institution board member Joel Peterson talk to Peter Robinson about how JetBlue has remained …

The Challenges of Reforming Health Care in a Partisan Era

April 11th, 2017


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 …

The Historical Benefits of Trade

March 28th, 2017


Recorded on December 2, 2016 Professor Douglas Irwin defends the benefits of free trade and explains why protectionism, high tariffs, and currency …

Senator Tom Cotton, Immigration Reform, and the RAISE Act

February 28th, 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 …

Understanding Donald Trump

January 9th, 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 …

The Promise of Party in a Polarized Age

December 2nd, 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 …

Donald Trump and Conservative Intellectuals

December 1st, 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 …

Kellyanne Conway discusses the presidential election of 2016

December 1st, 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, …

J.D. Vance On His New Book Hillbilly Elegy

November 15th, 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 …

Kori Schake on Civil-Military Relations

November 11th, 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 …

America’s Will to Lead

October 21st, 2016


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 8th, 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 …

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

September 23rd, 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 …

What's wrong with the American economy?

September 9th, 2016


The American economy’s biggest problem is growth. To achieve growth, Hoover Institution fellow John Cochrane argues, America needs to simplify the …

Wealth, Poverty, and Politics

September 9th, 2016


Hoover Institution fellow Thomas Sowell discusses inequality and how it is part of the human condition. Sowell notes that political and ideological …

Is the Constitution Out of Date?

August 15th, 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 …

A Conversation with Stanford President John Hennessy

July 14th, 2016


John Hennessy discusses his tenure as president of Stanford University and how he helped make it into an elite school: encouraging technological …

James Buckley discusses his life and values on Uncommon Knowledge

July 14th, 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 …

The Texas Plan with Governor Greg Abbott

May 3rd, 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 …

A Plan to Defeat ISIS

March 26th, 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 …

Good Profit Part II

March 19th, 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 …

Good Profit Part I

March 19th, 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 …

Restoring the Constitution

February 23rd, 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 …

Karl Rove on the election of 1896

February 22nd, 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 …

European Disunion

January 26th, 2016


Recorded on January 25, 2016 Hoover Institution fellow Michael McFaul and John O'Sullivan discuss the many problems Europe is facing including an …

A Conversation with Former Secretary of State George Shultz

January 26th, 2016


Secretary Shultz talks about his time in the Reagan White House, from negotiations with Andrey Gromyko to the meetings between Reagan and Gorbachev …

The Secretary of State, the Instructor, and the Piano

December 16th, 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 …

Niall Ferguson on Kissinger the Idealist

October 8th, 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 …

Stalin in Power

October 7th, 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 …

Stalin’s Rise to Power

October 7th, 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 …

Wealth, Poverty, and Politics

September 19th, 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 …

The Constitution

September 5th, 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 …

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

July 30th, 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 …

Senator John Hoeven lights up the conversation on energy

June 6th, 2015


Senator John Hoeven discusses the Keystone pipeline, energy policy, the Middle East, and politics, noting that our country moves forward with …

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

April 3rd, 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 …

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

March 13th, 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 …

Uncommon Knowledge with General Jim Mattis

March 6th, 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 …

Uncommon Knowledge with Dartmouth professors Jennifer Lind and William Wohlforth

February 26th, 2015


In this episode of Uncommon Knowledge Dartmouth professors of government Jennifer Lind and William Wohlforth join Peter for an in-depth conversation …

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

February 4th, 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 …

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

January 30th, 2015


In this episode of Uncommon Knowledge, Richard A. Epstein, the Peter and Kirsten Bedford Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, discusses …

Thomas Sowell Brings the World into Focus through an Economics Lens

December 19th, 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 …

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

November 12th, 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 …

Peter Thiel on markets, technology, and education

October 24th, 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. …

Uncommon Knowledge with Liam Fox

October 10th, 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 …

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