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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 with guest James E. Piereson

May 19, 2008 | Recorded on April 3, 2008

The Rise and Fall of Liberalism

James Piereson is the director of Manhattan Institute’s Center for the American University and president of the William E. Simon Foundation.

In Camelot and the Cultural Revolution, James Piereson asserts that, “as the 1960’s began, liberalism was … the single most creative and vital force in American politics” and that the Kennedy assassination caused a split within this movement between its more traditional supporters and cultural activists that still exists today. Peter Robinson explores with Piereson how and why this happened -- how “a confident, practical, forward-looking philosophy with a heritage of accomplishment was thus turned into a doctrine of pessimism and self-blame, with a decidedly dark view of American society.” (29:56) Video transcript