Uncommon Knowledge
5 Questions For Stephen Kotkin

5 Questions For Stephen Kotkin

February 4, 2022

Stephen Kotkin is a professor of history at Princeton and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. He is the author of nine works of history, including the first two volumes of his planned three-volume history of Russian power and Joseph Stalin, Paradoxes of Power, 1878–1928 and Waiting for Hitler, 1929–1941. The premise of this show is simple: Peter Robinson poses five questions to Dr. Kotkin: what Xi Jinping, the president of China believes; what Vladimir Putin believes; whether nuclear weapons are a deterrent in the 21st century; the chances of another American renewal; and Kotkin’s rational basis for loving the United States. It’s a fascinating conversation that delves deep into one of the country’s brightest minds.

Recorded on January 14, 2022

Judging The Justices: Epstein And Yoo On The New Originalist Supreme Court

Judging The Justices: Epstein And Yoo On The New Originalist Supreme Court

January 26, 2022

In what has now become an annual tradition on Uncommon Knowledge with Peter Robinson, law professors John Yoo and Richard Epstein join the show to opine on a newly minted Supreme Court. For the first time in decades, today’s court is dominated by a majority of originalist justices—justices who believe the Constitution means today just what the document meant when it was ratified more than 200 years ago. The professors discuss and analyze Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization (the case that may overturn Roe v. Wade), the court’s ruling on mask mandates, voting rights legislation, and other cases to watch. The professors also reminisce about the time the current president of the United States waved a book authored by a then unknown law professor on national television during Clarence Thomas’s confirmation hearing. As usual, our yearly show with professors Epstein and Yoo is the closest you can get to law school without having to take the LSATs.

Recorded on January 20, 2022

The Last King of America: Andrew Roberts on King George III

The Last King of America: Andrew Roberts on King George III

January 11, 2022

In his long and distinguished career, British historian Andrew Roberts has produced world-class biographies of Winston Churchill, and Napoleonseveral histories of World War II and the men who led the countries who fought that war, and other great conflicts in world history. Roberts’s new book is The Last King of America: The Misunderstood Reign of George III, a biography of the monarch who led England during the American Revolution and who has been made into something of a caricature by Americans, most recently by his portrayal in the musical Hamilton as a preening, stuck-up (but funny) king of England. In this interview and in his book, Roberts goes to great lengths to deconstruct that distortion and, in the process, give us an extremely nuanced and detailed portrait of the man who created the conditions for America’s independence. Roberts also explains in great detail the dynamics between the British parliament and the nascent American government, including a fascinating account of the writing of and subsequent British reaction to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

Recorded on December 3, 2021

It Could Have Been Worse: Kim Strassel and Ross Douthat Review 2021

It Could Have Been Worse: Kim Strassel and Ross Douthat Review 2021

December 16, 2021

It’s the last show of the year for Uncommon Knowledge with Peter Robinson, and as is our tradition (for the last two years, anyhow), we’ve invited two of our favorite journalists —Ross Douthat of the New York Times and Kim Strassel of the Wall Street Journal— to look back, discuss, and analyze the year that was. We delve, discuss, and predict politics, the law, COVID, the future of Roe v. Wade, and much more.

Recorded on December 13, 2021

Make Ticker Tape Parades Great Again: A Conversation With Peter Thiel

Make Ticker Tape Parades Great Again: A Conversation With Peter Thiel

December 14, 2021

Peter Thiel is a Silicon Valley founder and investor, and quite a successful one at that: he co-founded PayPal, was an early investor in Facebook, and started and serves as the chair of Palantir. Lately, Thiel has become more active in politics. He supported President Trump in the 2016 election and has been a force in several House and Senate races in the 2020 cycle.

In this wide-ranging conversation, Thiel discusses his politics, his campaign, and the scourge of totalitarian conformism in the United States and abroad; the problem with “following the science”; where President Biden deserved blame and where he does now; and why cryptocurrency may just save the world.

Recorded on December 7, 2021

Glenn Loury’s Journey From Chicago’s South Side to The Ivy League And Beyond

Glenn Loury’s Journey From Chicago’s South Side to The Ivy League And Beyond

November 23, 2021

Professor Glenn Loury is in social sciences and economics at Brown University and a distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution. Prior to that, he became a tenured professor of economics at Harvard at the age of 33. How he got from there to here is an inspiring and fascinating story of hard work and accomplishment that is explored in great detail in this interview. Professor Loury also explains the crucial role his parents and his extended family played in his education and his opinions. Now, in his 70’s Loury has become a leading spokesman on the right, often speaking out against woke culture prevalent on many campuses and other institutions. He also explains his radical (for an academic institution, at least) reading list and syllabus for the courses he teaches at Brown and how an undergraduate student/teaching assistant inspired Professor Loury to create a course intended to liberate his students from the “groupthink” that is far too prevalent at most universities.

Recorded on October 28th, 2021 at Fox News, NYC

Boardwalk Empire: Chris Christie’s Unfinished Political Journey

Boardwalk Empire: Chris Christie’s Unfinished Political Journey

November 11, 2021

Former New Jersey governor Chris Christie began his political career as a teenager watching Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford joust for control of the Republican Party at the 1976 GOP convention. From there, he soon entered the University of Delaware and then received his JD degree from the Seton Hall University School of Law. He served as US attorney for New Jersey from 2002 to 2008 and as governor of New Jersey from 2010 to 2018. Gov. Christie ran for president briefly in 2018. The governor guides us through all of those—often embattled—chapters of his life in the course of this interview, including giving us his view of the Bridgegate scandal, and what it was like to be on the debate stage with Donald Trump in the 2016 Republican primary race. But it’s not all politics: we also cover the governor’s views on China, COVID policy, and domestic economic policy. Finally, while he doesn’t make any announcement about his future plans, Christie does describe why he might be the best choice to run—and win—in the 2024 presidential election.

Recorded at Fox News in NYC on October 28, 2021

Victor Davis Hanson Diagnoses The Dying Citizen

Victor Davis Hanson Diagnoses The Dying Citizen

November 3, 2021

Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution. His new book is The Dying Citizen: How Progressive Elites, Tribalism, and Globalization Are Destroying the Idea of America. As is typical whenever Dr. Hanson joins us, this interview covers a wide spectrum of topics and references, including the Acts of the Apostles, immigration, Jim Crow laws, primary tribal identities, the suburban everyman, the shrinking middle class, and JFK’s “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech. It’s a bracing conversation with a scholar who has an incredible breadth of interests and knowledge.

Recorded on October 23, 2021

What Happened: Dr. Jay Bhattacharya On 19 Months Of COVID

What Happened: Dr. Jay Bhattacharya On 19 Months Of COVID

October 21, 2021

From the very beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, Dr. Jay Bhattacharya has been on the front lines of analyzing, studying, and even personally fighting the pandemic. In this wide-ranging interview, Dr. Bhattacharya takes us through how it started, how it spread throughout the world, the efficacy of lockdowns, the development and distribution of the vaccines, and the rise of the Delta variant. He delves into what we got right, what we got wrong, and what we got really wrong. Finally, Dr. Bhattacharya looks to the future and how we will learn to live with COVID rather than trying to extinguish it, and how we might be prepared to deal with another inevitable pandemic that we know will arrive at some point.

Recorded on October 13, 2021

A Lost War: A Conversation with Victor Davis Hanson and H. R. McMaster on Afghanistan’s Past, Present, and Future

A Lost War: A Conversation with Victor Davis Hanson and H. R. McMaster on Afghanistan’s Past, Present, and Future

September 20, 2021
iGeneral H. R. McMaster and military historian Victor Davis Hanson are both senior fellows at the Hoover Institution. In this frank, no-holds-barred conversation, they discuss the United States’ mission in Afghanistan: how it began, how it was conducted, and its ignominious end. McMaster and Hanson debate what worked and what failed, how social issues in the United States may have influenced our mission in Afghanistan and our decision to leave, and whether or not the United States should have continued to maintain a presence instead of leaving in a matter of weeks, abandoning thousands of Afghans loyal to the US mission there (as well as an unknown number of US citizens) after 20 years of military operations in the country.

Recorded on September 17, 2021

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