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

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

April 8, 2019

Recorded on March 5, 2019.

Freshman members of Congress senator Josh Hawley and representative Michael Waltz talk about their recent experiences working in Congress and their desire to push for less politics and more accomplishments that will help strengthen the United States. The two congressmen discuss why they chose to dedicate their lives to serving the American people and how they are asking tough questions and bringing fresh ideas to jump-start a stagnant government.

Hawley and Waltz discuss their goals for their first terms in Congress and how they want to streamline the federal budget, fight for the working people, and serve their constituents by honoring the ideas and ideals in the US Constitution. Peter Robinson leads their discussion of addressing and resolving problems with special interest groups, an inefficient polarized Congress, President Trump’s national-emergency declaration regarding the border wall, and his goal to pull the troops out of Syria and Afghanistan.

Jason Riley On “False Black Power?”

Jason Riley On “False Black Power?”

March 18, 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 true black power is human capital and culture. Riley and Peter Robinson dive into the arguments in Riley’s new book, the history of African Americans in the United States, and welfare inequality in black communities. 

Riley discusses the Moynihan report of 1965, which documented the rise of black families headed by single women in inner cities and how this report was something black sociologists had already been writing about for several years. He argues that there was clearly a breakdown of the nuclear family and that this is a result of the “Great Society” welfare programs of the 1960s rather than the legacy of slavery or Jim Crow laws.

In the 1960s, Riley posits that the black activist community’s shift towards political engagement was misguided. He argues that the idea of black political clout leading to black economic advancement was misplaced. Other impoverished communities (i.e. Irish, Jewish, and Italian immigrant communities) at various times in American history focused on economic advancement first before trying to achieve political clout, and they were successful. Instead, the black community focused first on electing black politicians, which ended up doing very little for the economic advancement of the community as politicians typically put their own interests first, above their communities’. Riley points out that the economic data shows that black communities became more impoverished under black leadership.

Riley proposes a solution of advocating for more school-choice vouchers, which allow black parents to take better control of their children’s futures and place them in the best schools for them. He also argues for reducing social safety nets, making them a more temporary form of welfare rather than the multigenerational welfare system currently in place.

Other resources

https://www.amazon.com/Please-Stop-Helping-Us-Liberals/dp/1594038414/ref=pd_bxgy_14_2/147-2230119-8429907 Please Stop Helping Us, by Jason Riley

https://www.hoover.org/research/discrimination-and-disparities-thomas-sowell - Discrimination and Disparities, with Thomas Sowell

https://californiaglobe.com/fr/stanford-hoover-institution-economist-targets-socialism-fears-we-may-not-make-it/ Stanford Hoover Institution economist targets socialism, fears ‘we may not make it’

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUvQxcVYQlY - Sowell: Politicians using race as their ticket to whatever racket they're running

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

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

March 11, 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, analyzes the economic impact of climate change in the next century, and proposes economically feasible alternative plans to reduce climate change.

Is climate change the rapidly impending apocalypse it seems? Bjorn Lomborg discusses climate change as depicted in doomsday films like The Day after Tomorrow and breaks down why it will not be an instantaneous apocalypse as often portrayed. He talks about the economic impact climate change will have on the global GDP in the next one hundred years if not solved and the impact on the global GDP if money is spent towards resolving it. He details the reasons Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal is not feasible in the ten-year timeline she has proposed and why, even if it were feasible, it would be prohibitively expensive. He discusses the reality of reducing the amount of energy used in developing countries and how it’s unlikely that those countries will be willing to give up on things like electricity now that they have it.

Lomborg suggests that the best way to resolve climate change is to put money now towards research and development for new, cleaner sources of energy that are cheaper than coal and natural gas, because countries will be much more likely to adopt a new energy resource if it is the cheapest option. Finding cheaper energy solutions will have a positive impact on global GDP, and people will be much more willing to adopt it. He also suggests implementing a modest carbon tax, which would have a great long-term impact on reducing climate change.

Related Resources

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

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

February 19, 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 helped to end the Cold War? Former attorney general to President Reagan, Edwin Meese III, answers these questions and more in this episode of Uncommon Knowledge.

Edwin Meese III discusses Reagan’s unique background and suitability for handling the Cold War as president because of his experience with communism attempting to infiltrate Hollywood’s unions while he was an actor. He understood Stalinism’s propaganda spread and had already spent several years defeating communism in Hollywood, long before it was asked of him as President.

Religion in particular was an anathema to Stalinism and President Reagan’s personal protestant faith and his mutual admiration and respect for Pope John Paul II enabled the two world leaders to form a cooperative geopolitical relationship. According to Meese, President Reagan and Pope John Paul II had similar goals in ending the oppressive influence of the Soviet regime in Eastern Europe, Poland in particular as it was Pope John Paull II’s native country. The two leaders were able to coordinate their efforts to put increasing political, economic, and information pressure on the Soviet Union and General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev, which in the end helped bring about the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Meese stresses the importance of understanding history for younger generations, particularly the history of the Cold War and the oppressive influence of communism during that time. It was important to end the oppressive regime’s hold behind the Iron Curtain and free the captive nations.

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

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

January 25, 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 Peter Robinson to answer these legal questions and more regarding the constitutional powers of the presidency, the state of the Supreme Court, the Mueller investigation, and the legality (or lack thereof) of indicting a sitting president.

As the country continues to deal with a partial government shutdown, Epstein and Yoo address the shutdown, the likelihood of its coming to a timely end, and what kind of bipartisan compromise could end it. Yoo suggests that one potential outcome would be that Democrats require the legalized status of DREAMers in exchange for border-wall funding. Epstein argues that President Trump will have to cave if services like TSA screening begin to shut down from lack of funding. They both agree that the longer the shutdown goes on, the more likely citizens are to get increasingly frustrated with both parties, regardless of the moral stances the party leaders are taking.

For what and when can a president declare a national emergency? Epstein and Yoo dive into the history of national emergencies and presidential emergency powers. They discuss which presidents have declared national emergencies in the past and for what reasons, who has the standing to stop a national emergency, and the fact that no court has ever reversed a national emergency. (In 1952, during the Korean War, President Truman issued Executive Order 10340, which ordered US steel mills to operate despite a nationwide strike because Truman wanted to keep materiel flowing to the front. The court concluded that seizing the mills was a legislative act that could only be authorized by Congress.)

Epstein and Yoo discuss William Barr, President Trump’s newly appointed attorney general, and his congressional-hearing questions about the Mueller investigation. They discuss Barr’s legal background, his personal relationship with Mueller, and the likelihood that he would fire Mueller if asked to. Yoo argues that the best course of action for the Mueller investigation is to allow Mueller to clear Trump of any wrongdoing, which would put a stop to any Democrats’ arguments to the contrary.

 

Related Resources: 

Winston Churchill: Walking with Destiny

Winston Churchill: Walking with Destiny

January 15, 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 life of Winston Churchill with the book Churchill: Walking with Destiny.

Roberts was given exclusive access to extensive new material: transcripts of war cabinet meetings, diaries, letters, and unpublished memoirs from Churchill's contemporaries. The royal family permitted Roberts to read the detailed notes taken by King George VI in his diary after his weekly meetings with Churchill during World War II. 

Roberts analyzes the life and policies of Winston Churchill and how he worked to save the British Empire and the world, with the help of the Allies, from the evils of Nazism. The Allied victory in WWII was in large part because of Churchill’s brilliant strategy as well as his conviction to never give in and to defend the British Empire at all costs.

Roberts talks about Churchill’s personality as an intensely passionate man who was known to burst into tears in the middle of Parliament. Roberts notes that Churchill’s long military career made him indispensable and the ideal wartime prime minister.

In addition to having saved the British Empire from Nazism, Churchill has much to teach us about the challenges leaders face today—and the fundamental values of courage, tenacity, leadership, and moral conviction.

Roberts said the key thing to remember about Winston Churchill is that he never gave in. This sentiment was expressed by Churchill himself in 1941 at Harrow School, where he said, “[S]urely from this period of ten months this is the lesson: never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense.”

A President and a Gentleman

A President and a Gentleman

December 18, 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 legacy. They discuss the 41st President’s involvement in the Clean Air Act, the reputational teeter totter the public had with him and Reagan, and his foreign policy decisions.

They talk about Kuwait and the first Persian Gulf war and speculate that if President Bush had decided to go after Saddam Hussein then the Iraq War in the 2000s could have been avoided. They argue that President Bush took foreign policy in a good direction for the United States in the wake of the Cold War. They go into detailed analysis about President Bush, the issues he faced, and how he worked for peaceful negotiations, and was grace under fire.

President George H. W. Bush was a gentleman of a past generation, says Robinson. They discuss whether or not being a gentleman is still something to aspire to in politics and in the office of the president.

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

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

December 17, 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 both the vice president and president. Chase Untermeyer served as the ambassador to Qatar under the forty-first president. The three men gather to remember the man they knew and the legacy he left behind.

Untermeyer, Ferguson, and Robinson reminisce about their experiences with George H. W. Bush. Robinson relates a fond memory he has of meeting with Bush, who was vice president at the time, to discuss Robinson’s career as a speechwriter or as a law student. They discuss Bush’s amazing military career as a pilot in WWII. Bush postponed his university studies at Yale after the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and enlisted at age eighteen. By the age of twenty, Bush had flown fifty-eight combat missions and had been shot down once. After the war Bush finished his education and went on to become an expert in foreign policy as ambassador to the United Nations and then as director of Central Intelligence. Bush was president during the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and oversaw the nonviolent transition period from the Cold War to peacetime. They remember the former president’s graciousness, kindness, humility, and desire to help others (and not hold grudges), and they discuss how those qualities translated into his life and political career.

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Thomas Sowell on the Myths of Economic Inequality

Thomas Sowell on the Myths of Economic Inequality

December 3, 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 explains the economic theories behind these pervasive myths and proposes fact-based solutions for seemingly intractable situations.

Sowell discusses his early life as a high school dropout and his first full-time job as a Western Union messenger delivering telegrams. He admits to flirting with Marxism in his early twenties as he first tried to grapple with the housing inequality he saw across the neighborhoods of New York City. Marxism, he says, was the only explanation he could find at the time. He went on to serve in the Marine Corps before continuing his education in economics at Harvard and earning a master’s at Columbia and a PhD at the University of Chicago.

Sowell’s first job after his receiving his PhD in economics was working for the Department of Labor, and he says it was there that he realized Marxism was not the answer. He argues that the government has its own institutional interests in inequality that cannot be explained through Marxism. He began to be discouraged by Marxism and the government in general and began searching for better economic ideas and solutions (the free market).

Robinson and Sowell discuss Sowell’s written works, his ideas of racial and economic inequality, the state of the United States today, and much more.

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

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

November 14, 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 affairs in Afghanistan today. They discuss the role that terrorist groups Al Qaeda and the Taliban have had in the formation of the country, the United States’ military action in the country, and where Afghanistan is headed.