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: Human Capital

June 14, 2013 | Recorded on June 4, 2013

Senator Rand Paul discusses individualism, freedom, and national security on Uncommon Knowledge

Senator Rand Paul

This week on Uncommon Knowledge, Senator Rand Paul discusses his political ideas, ideals, and philosophies, noting that “we’re all born with an instinct towards individualism.” He gives his insights into dealing with immigration, unemployment, foreign policy, national security, taxes, personal responsibility, and many other issues. Senator Paul’s unique perspective and solutions could be a starting point for getting the United States back on track. (39:23)

February 6, 2013 | Recorded on November 12, 2012

James Buckley discusses the challenges we face after the 2012 election

Hoover fellow Peter Robinson and author and former Senator James Buckley discuss

This week on Uncommon Knowledge, author and former Senator James Buckley discusses the transformation of the federal government and the challenges we face after the 2012 election. (28:30)
“It is going to be an extraordinary challenge for [future generations] but there are certain realities that are going to be faced. If the debt goes off on the trajectory it is currently on, in terms of devastating, destroying the economic basis of the country my grandchildren are going to face problems that I never dreamed of and you never dreamed of. Nevertheless insofar as they pay any attention of any advice I might give them it would be you have responsibilities not only to yourself and your family but to the public.”

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 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.”

December 14, 2011 | Recorded on November 11, 2011

James Delingpole: Great Britain, the Green Movement, and the End of the World

James Delingpole

This week on Uncommon Knowledge columnist James Delingpole discusses, with Hoover research fellow Peter Robinson, the European Union, the Green movement, and socialized medicine. (47:41)

September 19, 2011 | Recorded on February 10, 1999

TAKE IT TO THE LIMITS: Milton Friedman on Libertarianism

Former Hoover fellow and Nobel laureate Milton Friedman.

In this Uncommon Knowledge classic from February 10, 1999, Milton Friedman, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economic Science in 1976 and a senior research fellow at the Hoover Institution from 1977 to 2006, discusses, with Hoover research fellow Peter Robinson, what defines a libertarian and how Friedman balances the libertarians' desire for a small, less intrusive government with environmental, public safety, food and drug administration, and other issues.

June 27, 2011 | Recorded on June 23, 2011

Michael Spence — The Future of Economic Growth

Economic growth with Nobel laureate Michael Spence

A fellow at the Hoover Institution and a professor of economics at New York University Stern School of Business, Michael Spence won the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 2001. His latest book is The Next Convergence: The Future of Economic Growth in a Multi-Speed World.

October 29, 2010 | Recorded on October 17, 2010

Daniel Hannan—A Letter of Warning to America

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A journalist and author, Daniel Hannan has been a British member of the European Parliament since 1999. He first came to wide notice in the United States when he made a speech on the floor of the European Parliament addressing the then-prime minister of Great Britain, Gordon Brown, about his disastrous economic policies. Hannan’s latest book is A New Road to Serfdom: A Letter of Warning to America.
July 28, 2004 | Recorded on July 28, 2004

WHAT, U.S. WORRY? Is the United States Losing Its Competitive Edge?

In the last decade and a half, India and China have both engaged in extensive economic reforms, in effect bringing their joint population of some 2.3 billion into the worldwide system of capitalism and free trade. Those 2.3 billion people, many of whom are extremely well educated, are by and large willing to work harder and for less pay than are Americans. Are India and China's expanding and modernizing economies threatening America's long global dominance of science, technology, and industry? If so, what should we do about it? Peter Robinson speaks with Craig Barrett, Stephen Moore, and Peter A. Thiel.

March 26, 2004 | Recorded on March 26, 2004

TRADING PLACES: Is Outsourcing Good for America?

Does outsourcing—whether it means the transfer of customer service and high-tech jobs to India or of manufacturing jobs to China—benefit the American economy or harm it? And if American workers are being harmed by outsourcing, what should be done about it? Do we need legislation to prevent corporations from sending jobs overseas? Or should we focus our attention on creating new opportunities for the American labor force through education and job training?