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: Values and Social Policy

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."

October 3, 2012 | Recorded on September 12, 2012

Uncommon Knowledge with George Gilder

George Gilder

This week on Uncommon Knowledge, George Gilder, author of Wealth and Poverty, the book that became a best seller during the first year of the Reagan years and a guide to the Reagan administration itself, is now—just in time perhaps for the Romney years—available in a new edition. Gilder describes how Reagan’s near trillion-dollar bulge in defense spending transformed the global balance of power in favor of capitalism.

September 5, 2012 | Recorded on July 17, 2012

Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak discusses his upbringing, career, Hollywood, and politics

Pat Sajak on Uncommon Knowledge

This week on Uncommon Knowledge, Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak discusses his modest upbringing in Chicago, joining Armed Forces Radio in Vietnam, working in small markets before finally landing in Hollywood, and politics.
“What is changing I think is, other than the money, which can help a campaign, people are tuning out celebrity endorsements. Everyone has an opinion, especially now in this Internet age where everyone is blogging. You do not have to be a celebrity to talk to the world.” (48:53)

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.

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.”

July 4, 2012 | Recorded on June 13, 2012

Rick Perry

Rick Perry

This week on Uncommon Knowledge Texas governor Rick Perry discusses the Texas success story, the perils and pitfalls of running for president, and what the rest of the country can learn from Texas. (45:28)
“You keep the taxes as low as you can on those job creators. You have a regulatory climate that is fair and predictable and a legal system that does not allow for oversuing. And then you try to get out of the way and let the private sector do what the private sector does best.”

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.”

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)

April 11, 2012 | Recorded on February 29, 2012

Charles Murray on Coming Apart

Charles Murray on Coming Apart

This week, on Uncommon Knowledge, longtime American Enterprise Institute fellow Charles Murray discusses his controversial new book, Coming Apart, about what America was, is, and will become. He also reveals his personal score on his now famous “bubble quiz.” Take the quiz here.
“If you were a guy [in 1963] and you were in your 30s and 40s, you either were working or you were looking for work, or you had better have a really good excuse like being completely, totally, physically incapacitated. If you were not working and not looking for work at that age group, you were a bum. Your parents would tell you that. Your siblings would tell you that. Your wife, if you had one would be appalled at it. That was all very simple then.” (47:35)

January 25, 2012 | Recorded on January 19, 2012

Obamacare and the Supreme Court with Richard Epstein and John Yoo

The law with Epstein and Yoo

Richard Epstein, the Peter and Kirsten Bedford Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and the Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Law, New York University Law School, and John Yoo, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley law school, examine the merits of various constitutional arguments for the Supreme Court’s striking down Obamacare.