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 topic: Growth of Government

August 23, 2013 | Recorded on May 21, 2013

Amity Shlaes on Coolidge’s life, ideas, and success in bringing about low taxes and small government

Hoover fellow Peter Robinson (left) and author Amity Shlaes discuss her book Coo

This week on Uncommon Knowledge, Amity Shlaes sheds light on the life of Calvin Coolidge, the thirtieth president of the United States. The harsh conditions of Coolidge’s childhood shaped his political ideas and led to his deep understanding of life and helping people succeed, especially in business. Believing in small government and low taxes, he thought government needed to get out of the way so individuals and businesses could prosper. His supply-side economics were a resounding success, with an unemployment rate of 5 percent or even 3 percent, as the economy grew and the government shrank.

March 27, 2013 | Recorded on February 24, 2013

Wisconsin governor Scott Walker

Scott Walker the Governor of Wisconsin

This week on Uncommon Knowledge, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker discusses a wide range of issues facing his state, the nation, and the future of the GOP. (32:53)
“What we've tried to do is take a step back and instead of getting engrossed in the nuances and acronyms here in our nation's capital is instead try to focus on what does this mean to real people? What does this mean to our state? What does this mean to us long term? My goal is to move people from government dependence . . . and find a way to transition them into the private sector.”

March 14, 2013 | Recorded on March 4, 2013

US senator Ted Cruz discusses his first two months in office and his vision for the Republican Party

Hoover fellow Peter Robinson interviews US senator Ted Cruz.

This week on Uncommon Knowledge, US senator Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) discusses his first two months in office and his vision for the Republican Party. (36:13)
“I think the biggest divide is not even a divide between Republicans and Democrats; it's a divide between the people. And [between] the entrenched elites in Washington that are growing their own power. And I think there is an incredible desire to get back to commonsense conservative principles.”

December 5, 2012 | Recorded on November 13, 2012

Jonah Goldberg and John O’Sullivan on Uncommon Knowledge

From left: Hoover fellow Peter Robinson, John O’Sullivan, and Jonah Goldberg dis

This week on Uncommon Knowledge, AEI scholar and National Review Online founding editor Jonah Goldberg and National Review’s editor-at-large John O’Sullivan on the election and the GOP’s future. (45:10)

October 17, 2012 | Recorded on October 9, 2012

Uncommon Knowledge with Hoover fellow Shelby Steele and the Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol

Hoover fellows Peter Robinson (left) and Shelby Steele

This week on Uncommon Knowledge, Hoover fellow Shelby Steele and the Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol discuss the elections.
Mitt Romney: "I believe that if America does not lead, others will—others who do not share our interests and values—and the world will grow darker."

August 27, 2012 | Recorded on September 27, 2011

Vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan presents some of his ideas for fixing government in his September 2011 interview on Uncommon Knowledge

Congressman Paul Ryan

In a wide-ranging 2011 interview, US member of Congress and Republican vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan of Wisconsin discusses the need to repeal and replace President Obama’s health care law, his ideas for fixing Medicare and Medicaid, and new concepts to reduce the debt and fix the federal budget.

August 15, 2012 | Recorded on June 11, 2012

Uncommon Knowledge with Trevor Rees-Jones

Trevor Rees-Jones

This week on Uncommon Knowledge, the Chairman of Chief Oil and Gas Trevor Rees-Jones discusses fracking—what it is and why it is crucial to the country's future, the challenge of discovering and distributing cheap energy, and why our gas prices will (and should) go up in the future. (1:02:53)

July 18, 2012 | Recorded on June 25, 2012

George W. Bush

George W. Bush

This week on Uncommon Knowledge President George W. Bush discusses postpresidential life and his work at the Bush Institute. (1:03:21)
“I believe we are a blessed nation; that is, therefore, we have a sense of responsibility to the extent we can to help others. In this case there was a pandemic destroying an entire generation of people. And I didn’t see how I could be president of a powerful, the most powerful, and the richest nation and not lend our support to saving lives. It would have been unconscionable not to act. So I thought it was in our moral interest to act. I also knew it was in our national security interest to act.”

June 20, 2012 | Recorded on May 29, 2012

Dennis Prager

Dennis Prager

This week on Uncommon Knowledge radio host, columnist, conductor, and best-selling author Dennis Prager discusses his new book, Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph. (48:14)
“Evil is normal. American is abnormal. That’s my view. We have created something here that is unique and remarkable.”

April 25, 2012 | Recorded on February 29, 2012

Pat Buchanan on Suicide of a Superpower

Pat Buchanan on Suicide of a Superpower

This week on Uncommon Knowledge, author and commentator Pat Buchanan discusses the disintegration of the United States as a superpower and a united nation.
“Why are you bringing in each year one million people to work in the United States when we have twenty-three million people who are unemployed or underemployed. What are you doing to your own people, black, white, Asian, whatever, by bringing in new workers when you have this enormous unemployment problem. It does not make sense.” (1:00:41)