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: Culture

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)

May 23, 2012 | Recorded on April 22, 2012

John Stossel

John Stossel

This week on Uncommon Knowledge author and television host John Stossel discusses his new book No, They Can’t: Why Government Fails—but Individuals Succeed. (45:18)
“Market competition is cruel. There are winners and losers. But that is better than the alternative where there are only losers.”

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)

November 28, 2011 | Recorded on November 11, 2011

The conservative newsroom

Gerard Baker and Andrew Ferguson on Uncommon Knowledge

Gerard Baker is deputy editor-in-chief of the Wall Street Journal and Andrew Ferguson is a senior editor at the Weekly Standard. His most recent book is Crazy U: One Dad’s Crash Course at Getting His Kids into College. They discuss, with Hoover research fellow Peter Robinson, journalism: its creative impulses, profit margins, and the monochromatic newsroom.

September 6, 2011 | Recorded on August 25, 2011

David Berlinski—Atheism and its Scientific Pretensions

David Berlinski

David Berlinski is the author of a number of books, including the recent volumes One, Two, Three: Absolutely Elementary Mathematics and The Devil’s Delusion: Atheism and Its Scientific Pretensions.

June 13, 2011 | Recorded on June 13, 2011

Andrew Breitbart — Media War

Andrew Breitbart

A publisher, columnist, and blogger, Andrew Breitbart is the founder of the Breitbart network of investigative news websites including Breitbart.com, Breitbart.tv, Big Government, Big Hollywood, Big Journalism, and Big Peace. Breitbart’s new book is Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me while I Save the World!

February 14, 2011 | Recorded on February 9, 2011

William Voegeli—The American Welfare State

William Voegeli

A visiting scholar at the Henry Salvatori Center at Claremont McKenna College, William Voegeli is a senior editor of the Claremont Review of Books and the author of Never Enough: America’s Limitless Welfare State.

January 31, 2011 | Recorded on January 5, 2011

Stanley Kurtz—Radical-In-Chief

aObama the radical with Stanley Kurtz

An author, journalist, and social anthropologist (PhD Harvard), Stanley Kurtz is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, and a contributing editor to National Review Online. His latest book is Radical-in-Chief: Barack Obama and the Untold Story of American Socialism.