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 with guest Thomas Sowell

May 17, 2013 | Recorded on April 23, 2013

Thomas Sowell discusses his newest book, Intellectuals and Race

Thomas Sowell discusses Intellectuals and Society on Uncommon Knowledge.

This week on Uncommon Knowledge, Hoover fellow and author Thomas Sowell discusses his newest book, Intellectuals and Race, which argues that the impact of intellectuals' ideas and crusades on the larger society, both past and present, is the ultimate concern. (38:27)
“The intellectuals have told them [African Americans] that the world is unjust, that other people are keeping them down, that the fact that they don't have what other people have, is somebody else's fault.”

September 17, 2012 | Recorded on September 12, 2012

Thomas Sowell discusses his essay “‘Trickle Down Theory’ and ‘Tax Cuts for the Rich.’”

Thomas Sowell discusses Intellectuals and Society on Uncommon Knowledge.

This week on Uncommon Knowledge, Hoover fellow and author Thomas Sowell discusses his essay “‘Trickle Down Theory’ and ‘Tax Cuts for the Rich.’” (39:52)
“Now anyone who studied history knows that for the first 150 years of this country the federal government did not intervene when the economy turned down. And all that time the downturns all corrected themselves; one of the most classic examples was under Warren G. Harding when, during his first year in office, he found the unemployment rate at 11.7 percent. He did absolutely nothing; he did not spend more government money, he cut back on spending. The Federal Reserve had the interest rates up at 6 or 7 percent, not down at 1 percent, where they are now. The next year unemployment was at 6.7 percent; the year after that it was 2.4 percent. So the economy has recuperative powers. I mean employers have an incentive to hire people. Workers have an incentive to get jobs. Lenders have incentives to lend.”

May 9, 2012 | Recorded on March 15, 2012

Thomas Sowell on the second edition of Intellectuals and Society

Thomas Sowell discusses Intellectuals and Society on Uncommon Knowledge.

On the occasion of the publication of a new edition of his book Intellectuals and Society, Thomas Sowell returns to Uncommon Knowledge for a wide-ranging interview. (52:37)
“It gives them a much bigger role in the world. I mean if you believe in free markets, what about all these people who want to have social justice. People just go out there; they make whatever deals they can with each other, work things out and then go on their way. Here is all this unused brilliance standing on the sideline watching with impotent rage.”

October 31, 2011 | Recorded on October 18, 2011

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell discusses Intellectuals and Society on Uncommon Knowledge.

In this wide-ranging interview marking the publication of his new book, The Thomas Sowell Reader, Thomas Sowell, the Rose and Milton Friedman Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the Hoover Institution, discusses, with Hoover research fellow Peter Robinson, his life, Barack Obama, class warfare, Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, and the influence of Milton Friedman. (46:52)

May 19, 2011 | Recorded on April 19, 2011

Thomas Sowell—Economic Facts and Fallacies

Thomas Sowell discusses Intellectuals and Society on Uncommon Knowledge.

Thomas Sowell has studied and taught economics, intellectual history, and social policy at institutions that include Cornell University, UCLA, and Amherst College. Now a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Sowell has published more than a dozen books, the latest of which is a revised and expanded second edition of Economic Facts and Fallacies.

January 3, 2011 | Recorded on December 14, 2010

Thomas Sowell – Basic Economics

Thomas Sowell discusses Intellectuals and Society on Uncommon Knowledge.

Thomas Sowell has studied and taught economics, intellectual history, and social policy at institutions that include Cornell University, UCLA, and Amherst College. Now a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Sowell has published more than a dozen books, the latest of which is a revised and updated edition of his classic volume, Basic Economics.

August 16, 2010 | Recorded on August 6, 2010

Thomas Sowell – Dismantling America

Thomas Sowell discusses Intellectuals and Society on Uncommon Knowledge.

Thomas Sowell has studied and taught economics, intellectual history, and social policy at institutions that include Cornell University, UCLA, and Amherst College. Now a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Sowell has published more than a dozen books, the latest of which is Dismantling America.

January 5, 2010 | Recorded on December 11, 2009

Thomas Sowell discusses his new book Intellectuals and Society

Thomas Sowell discusses Intellectuals and Society on Uncommon Knowledge.

Thomas Sowell introduces his new book Intellectuals and Society and expounds on what he calls “the fatal misstep of intellectuals” — the assumption that superior ability within a particular realm can be generalized as superior wisdom or morality overall.

July 6, 2009 | Recorded on June 29, 2009

Housing with Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell discusses Intellectuals and Society on Uncommon Knowledge.

Thomas Sowell analyzes the recent housing boom and bust, beginning with the underlying economic causes that artificially inflated housing costs in certain markets.

October 27, 2008 | Recorded on October 21, 2008

Thomas Sowell and a Conflict of Visions

Hoover senior fellow Thomas Sowell

Sowell describes the critical differences between interests and visions. Interests, he says, are articulated by people who know what their interests are and what they want to do about them. Visions, however, are the implicit assumptions by which people operate. In politics, visions are either “constrained” or “unconstrained.” A closer look at the statements of both McCain and Obama reveals which “vision” motivates their policy positions, particularly as they pertain to the war, the law, and economics. (37:38) Video transcript