May 18, 2020
Recorded on May 6, 2020
A true Renaissance man, Matt Ridley is a British journalist, a member of the House of Lords, a businessman, and the author of many publications, including The Rational Optimist, his very influential book about the innate human tendency to trade goods and services, which he argues is the source of all human prosperity. Ridley’s new book, How Innovation Works, chronicles the history of innovation and argues that we need to change the way we think about innovation, to see it as an incremental, bottom-up, fortuitous process that happens to society as a direct result of the human habit of exchange, rather than as an orderly, top-down process developing according to a plan. Ridley also discusses the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the world’s economies, the real story of Thomas Edison and why he was one of the greatest innovators in human history, why China may not be the threat it appears to be (at least not technologically), and some predictions as to what the world may look like in 2050
May 11, 2020
Recorded on May 8, 2020
Dr. Jay Bhattacharaya from Stanford Medicine makes his third appearance on Uncommon Knowledge in eight weeks, this time to discuss a new COVID-19 survey of Major League Baseball employees he co-authored. The survey tested more than 5,600 employees across all 26 Major League Baseball clubs across the country. The results are yet another data set showing how COVID-19 spreads across geographical and economic lines. Dr. Bhattacharya also discusses the very real health risks associated with a prolonged lockdown and answers some of the questions raised by his last survey of Santa Clara County.
May 8, 2020
Recorded February 25, 2020
Yuval Levin is director of Social, Cultural, and Constitutional Studies at the American Enterprise Institute and the author of A Time to Build: From Family and Community to Congress and the Campus, How Recommitting to Our Institutions Can Revive the America Dream. The book and this conversation lay out the importance of institutions—from the military to churches, from families to schools—as these institutions provide the forms and structures we need to be free. Levin also explains why political correctness is rampant in the culture, why America’s elites have created a closed-off aristocracy in order to transmit privilege generationally, and why it is vitally important that we as a society recommit to rebuilding and maintaining the institutions that provided the foundation for American society for 200 years. Programming note: this interview was recorded before the COVID-19 crisis reached the United States, so it is not mentioned.
May 1, 2020
Recorded on April 28, 2020
In this special plague-time episode of Uncommon Knowledge with Peter Robinson, two of the nation’s most brilliant and accomplished humorists have a good time—and say some serious things. P. J. O’Rourke and Andrew Ferguson on COVID-19, their wasted youth, Trump versus Biden, the state of journalism, and why they’d both bet on the United States over China any old day.