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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.

TORT AND RETORT: Tort Reform

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.

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.

THE FRENCH KISS-OFF: The History of French and American Relations

with John Miller, Robert Paxton Mellonvia Uncommon Knowledge
Friday, February 11, 2005

Is France America's oldest friend or its oldest enemy? Americans are taught that the United States owes its very independence to France—that if the French hadn't helped us during the Revolutionary War, we would still be part of the British Empire. Was this assistance the beginning of a long and close friendship between France and America or an anomaly in an otherwise contentious relationship? Peter Robinson speaks with John Miller and Robert Paxton Mellon.

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.

LAND OF LINCOLN: Abraham Lincoln and American History

with Andrew Fergusonvia Uncommon Knowledge
Tuesday, February 1, 2005

Henry Ford once said that "history is more or less bunk. We want to live in the present and the only history that is worth a tinker's dam is the history we make today." Do Americans care about history or not? Journalist Andrew Ferguson discusses America's relationship with its own history using the continuing fascination with Abraham Lincoln as a case study.

A HEALTHY DEBATE: Health Care Reform

with John F. Cogan, Alain Enthovenvia Uncommon Knowledge
Tuesday, February 1, 2005

The United States leads the developed world in spending on health care, at nearly 15 percent of our GDP. But based on measures such as life expectancy at birth, Americans receive a lower level of care than do the citizens of many countries that spend less. What's wrong with health care in America? And how should we fix it? Peter Robinson speaks with John F. Cogan and Alain Enthoven.

MAKING THE GRADE: The No Child Left Behind Act

with John E. Chubb, Martin Carnoyvia Uncommon Knowledge
Friday, January 14, 2005

In 2001, President Bush signed into law the No Child Left Behind Act, a bipartisan effort to mandate national education standards and increase federal funding of education. At the time, critics on both sides of the political spectrum were troubled by the expansion of federal power over education that the act represented and by the education standards the act mandated. Now, nearly half a decade later, has No Child Left Behind been a success? If not, how should it be reformed? Peter Robinson speaks with John E. Chubb and Martin Carnoy.

MONKEY BUSINESS: Evolution and Intelligent Design

with Massimo Pigliucci, Jonathan Wellsvia Uncommon Knowledge
Friday, January 14, 2005

In October 2004, the school board in the small town of Dover, Pennsylvania, ordered its high school biology teachers to preface classes on evolution with the statement: "Darwin's Theory is a theory not a fact. Gaps in the theory exist for which there is no evidence." As an alternative to evolution, the school board suggested "intelligent design," a theory holding that life on earth could not have developed at random. Are there gaps in the theory of evolution that undermine its credibility? What should we make of "intelligent design"? And just what should we be teaching our children about the development of life on earth? Peter Robinson speaks with Massimo Pigliucci and Jonathan Wells.

THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE: Should We Abolish the Electoral College?

with Jack Rakove, Tara Rossvia Uncommon Knowledge
Monday, December 13, 2004

As required by the Constitution, the president of the United States is elected not by the national popular vote but by the vote of the Electoral College. In the Electoral College, each state receives as many votes as it has members of Congress. Because every state has two senators and is guaranteed at least one House member, votes of small states count more heavily than votes of large states. Has the Electoral College served the nation well? Or should it be abolished and replaced by a system in which every vote counts the same? Peter Robinson speaks with Jack Rakove and Tara Ross

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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