Past episodes
About Uncommon Knowledge

For more than a decade 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. Guests have included a host of famous figures, including Paul Ryan, Henry Kissinger, Antonin Scalia, Rupert Murdoch, Newt Gingrich, and Christopher Hitchens, along with Hoover fellows such as Condoleezza Rice and George Shultz.

Uncommon Knowledge takes fascinating, accomplished guests, then sits them down with me to talk about the issues of the day,” says Robinson, an author and former speechwriter for President Reagan. “Unhurried, civil, thoughtful, and informed conversation– that’s what we produce. And there isn’t all that much of it around these days.”

The show started life as a television series in 1997 and is now distributed exclusively on the web over a growing network of the largest political websites and channels. To stay tuned for the latest updates on and episodes related to Uncommon Knowledge, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Uncommon Knowledge by date

April 6, 2001 | Recorded on April 6, 2001

The World at (Trade) War: The Use of Economic Sanctions

Richard Becker; David Cortright; and Michael Nacht discuss trade and the use of economic sanctions.
April 5, 2001 | Recorded on April 5, 2001

Death and Taxes: The Estate Tax

Thomas J. Campbell and Richard Lyman discuss estate taxes.
March 20, 2001 | Recorded on March 20, 2001

Exorcizing the Vote: Voting Reform

David W. Brady and Pamela S. Karlan discuss voting reform.
March 6, 2001 | Recorded on March 6, 2001

Disharmony of the Spheres: Science and Religion

Brother Guy Consolmagno and Timothy Ferris discuss science and religion.
March 5, 2001 | Recorded on March 5, 2001

Emission Impossible: Implementing the Kyoto Protocol

Tom Athanasiou, William Burns, and John Weyant discuss the Kyoto Protocol
December 21, 2000 | Recorded on December 13, 2000


Former Hoover fellow and Nobel laureate Milton Friedman.

America has spent three decades and hundreds of billions of dollars fighting a national war on drugs. Has the war on drugs been an effective way of dealing with America's drug problem or does it cause more harm than good? How should we weigh the moral and utilitarian arguments for and against the war on drugs; in other words, do we need to intensify the war on drugs or is it time to declare a cease fire?

December 13, 2000 | Recorded on December 13, 2000

BYE BYE BILINGUAL: Bilingual Education

Does bilingual education, teaching non-English speaking students academic subjects in their native language while they learn English, help students or hold them back? Should we use the English immersion method instead? Are the recent bans on bilingual education in California and Arizona a mistake or the beginnings of a national trend?

December 13, 2000 | Recorded on December 13, 2000

POWER TO THE PEOPLE: Electricity Deregulation

In 1996, California began the process of deregulating its electric utilities, a process closely watched nationwide, as twenty-five other states also move toward deregulation. The results thus far in California: A power crisis—electricity shortages, rolling blackouts, utilities on the verge of bankruptcy, and rising rates for customers. Was utility deregulation just poorly managed in California or are the electric utilities fundamentally different than industries that have benefitted from deregulation, such as airlines and telephone? Will the California power crisis bring the national movement toward energy deregulation to a halt or not?

December 13, 2000 | Recorded on December 13, 2000

TAKING THE INITIATIVE: The Initiative Process

Is the ballot initiative good or bad for American democracy? Today citizens in twenty-four states have the right to petition their fellow citizens in the law. Initiatives that are approved by voters become law, bypassing the normal legislative process. What are the benefits of this sort of direct democracy? And what are the dangers?