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THE BEST DEFENSE: Preventive War

with Victor Davis Hanson, Anne-Marie Slaughter, Stephen Stedmanvia Uncommon Knowledge
Thursday, May 26, 2005

In 2002, the Bush administration published a new National Security Strategy, which argued that, in the twenty-first century, it was necessary for the United States not merely to defend itself but to use military force to prevent threats such as terrorist attacks and weapons of mass destruction. Is preventive force just? Is it effective? And what can the biggest example of this doctrine in action, the war in Iraq, tell us about the future of preventive force? Peter Robinson speaks with Victor Davis Hanson, Anne-Marie Slaughter, and Stephen Stedman.

LOVE AND MARRIAGE: Marriage in Modern America

with Jennifer Roback Morse, Stephanie Coontzvia Uncommon Knowledge
Monday, April 18, 2005

Most people would agree that families and the institution of marriage are not what they were fifty years ago. Many couples are cohabiting without marriage, and many children are being raised in single-parent homes or other nontraditional family arrangements. Is the traditional model of marriage and family superior to these other arrangements, as some would argue? If so, why have marriage and family relationships changed so much over the past half-century? And what should the government do, if anything, to strengthen families and the institution of marriage? Peter Robinson speaks with Jennifer Roback Morse and Stephanie Coontz.

PAY IT FORWARD: Social Security Reform

with John F. Cogan, Alan Auerbachvia Uncommon Knowledge
Friday, April 15, 2005

In making Social Security reform a top priority of his second term, President George W. Bush has emphasized two points: first, that, without changes, our Social Security system will be bankrupt by 2042 and, second, that a key element of reform must be creating private accounts to allow workers to invest a portion of their payroll taxes in stocks and bonds. Is the president right on both counts? Peter Robinson speaks with John Cogan and Alan Auerbach.

SPEAK NO EVIL: Freedom of Speech on Campus

with David Horowitz, Graham Larkinvia Uncommon Knowledge
Friday, April 15, 2005

According to recent polls, instructors at American universities are overwhelmingly liberal: 72 percent of faculty members describe themselves as liberal, whereas only 15 percent call themselves conservative. Some critics charge that this ideological imbalance has created a code of political correctness that inhibits freedom of inquiry and expression in our universities. Is this true? And if so, what should be done, or can be done, about it? Peter Robinson speaks with David Horowitz and Graham Larkin.

ALEXANDER THE GREAT: Alexander Hamilton

with Ron Chernowvia Uncommon Knowledge
Friday, April 15, 2005

Alexander Hamilton, the first secretary of the treasury, may today be better known for his death in a duel with Aaron Burr, than for the role he played as a founder of the nascent United States. His vision of a federal, mercantile nation was in opposition to Thomas Jefferson's vision of an agrarian society. Who won this battle of ideas and why? Just what is the enduring legacy of Alexander Hamilton? Peter Robinson speaks with Ron Chernow.

HITCH-COCKED: A Conversation with Christopher Hitchens

via Uncommon Knowledge
Friday, March 25, 2005

Journalist Christopher Hitchens discusses neoconservatives and the left, his break with The Nation magazine over his support of the war in Iraq, and his tour of the three members of the "axis of evil."

INALIENABLE RITES? Gay Marriage in the Courts

with Terry Thompson, Tobias Wolffvia Uncommon Knowledge
Friday, March 25, 2005

On March 14, 2005, a California Superior Court judge ruled that the state's ban on same-sex marriage violated the state constitution. Although the decision is certain to be appealed up to the California Supreme Court, California may now be on the road to joining Massachusetts in legalizing gay marriage. Did the Superior Court judge decide correctly? Just how compelling are the constitutional arguments for and against gay marriage? Peter Robinson speaks with Terry Thompson and Tobias Wolff.


with David Davenport, Alan Morrisonvia Uncommon Knowledge
Friday, February 25, 2005

During the 2004 presidential campaign, one principal plank of George W. Bush's domestic platform was reforming tort law, which includes class action lawsuits, asbestos liability, and medical malpractice liability. President Bush believes that tort law as it now stands permits trial lawyers to take advantage of good companies, driving up the costs of doing business for everyone. Others believe that existing tort law allows consumers to protect themselves against bad companies. Which is it? And should President Bush be given the tort reforms he wants? Peter Robinson speaks with David Davenport and Alan Morrison.

THE BOTTOMLESS WELL: Are We Running out of Energy?

with Peter W. Huber, Jonathan Koomeyvia Uncommon Knowledge
Friday, February 11, 2005

Many petroleum experts predict that world oil production will peak by the end of the decade. Will the United States soon be entering a period of worsening energy shortages and soaring energy costs? And, if so, what should the government to do about it? Or will the ever-improving technological efficiencies of the free market provide access to virtually endless sources of new energy? Peter Robinson speaks with Peter Huber and Jonathan Koomey.

GIVE ME CIVIL LIBERTIES OR GIVE ME...SAFETY? Should the Patriot Act Be Renewed?

with Jenny Martinez, John Yoovia Uncommon Knowledge
Friday, February 11, 2005

In late 2001, in response to the terrorist attacks of 9/11, the Bush administration proposed the USA Patriot Act, which gave law enforcement agencies expanded surveillance and intelligence-gathering powers. Congress overwhelmingly approved the Patriot Act on the condition that most provisions of the act would expire in 2005. President Bush now wants all provisions of the act extended. Should they be? Or are the provisions dangerous and unnecessary infringements on our civil liberties? Peter Robinson speaks with Jenny Martinez and John Yoo.


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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