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RICH MAN, POOR MAN: Income Inequality

with Bruce Bartlett, Peter Orszagvia Uncommon Knowledge
Wednesday, July 18, 2001

How much does the gap between rich and poor matter? In 1979, for every dollar the poorest fifth of the American population earned, the richest fifth earned nine. By 1997, that gap had increased to fifteen to one. Is this growing income inequality a serious problem? Is the size of the gap between rich and poor less important than the poor's absolute level of income? In other words, should we focus on reducing the income gap or on fighting poverty?

THE GRAND OLD, OLD PARTY: The Future of the Republican Party

with Newt Gingrich, Nelson W. Polsbyvia Uncommon Knowledge
Wednesday, July 18, 2001

The presidential election of 2000 highlighted the significant demographic divisions between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. The strength of the Republicans lies in the South and in the middle of the country. But the voters that carried those regions for George W. Bush, mostly white and Protestant, are shrinking as a proportion of the overall United States population. Are these demographic changes a serious problem for the Republicans? If so, what can they do to bring groups that have traditionally been Democratic—Hispanics, blacks, and Catholics, for example—into the Republican Party?

WILSON'S GHOST: Robert S. McNamara

with Robert S. McNamaravia Uncommon Knowledge
Wednesday, June 20, 2001

More than eighty years ago, President Woodrow Wilson presided over the U.S. entry into the First World War, promising that it would be "the war to end all war." Wilson promoted "peace without victory" and the creation of a League of Nations with the power to enforce the peace thereafter. At that time, Wilson's vision was dismissed by European and American leaders alike as naive idealism. Today, however, Robert S. McNamara, former U.S. secretary of defense, believes that Wilson's vision is essential to reducing the risk of conflict and war in the twenty-first century.

POP GOES THE CULTURE: Pop Culture

with Michael Medved, John Podhoretzvia Uncommon Knowledge
Wednesday, June 20, 2001

Every year it seems that popular culture goes a little bit further—bigger explosions, more action, more violence, more sex... Is pop culture harmless or should we be concerned about the values presented in pop culture and the effects those presentations have on society? For instance, what is the connection between depictions of violence in films and on television and the incidence of violence in real life? If pop culture is having a negative impact on our society, what should we do about it?

WAGING MODERN WAR

with Wesley K. Clarkvia Uncommon Knowledge
Wednesday, June 20, 2001

General Wesley K. Clark served as supreme allied commander of NATO from 1997 to 2000 and directed the allied war effort in Kosovo in 1999. What lessons has General Clark drawn from the war over Kosovo? How should the use of force be applied in an era of competing demands from the public, domestic political leaders, and international allies? Did this war prove that the United States can rely on technology to apply force without casualties, or did it prove that ground troops, now as ever, are critical to achieving military objectives?

DARWIN'S GHOST: Sociobiology and Human Behavior

with Paul Ehrlich, Jeffrey Schloss, Lionel Tigervia Uncommon Knowledge
Friday, June 1, 2001

What can evolutionary science tell us about human behavior? During the past thirty years, biologists, anthropologists, and psychologists have begun applying Darwinian concepts, such as natural selection and survival of the fittest, to the study of behavior. Are social characteristics, such as aggression, love, and courtship, determined by our evolutionary past and encoded into our genes like physical attributes, such as walking upright or hair color? Are we slaves to our DNA, or does genetic determinism fail to explain fully what it means to be human?

IT'S THE BIOLOGY, STUPID: The Policy Implications of Sociobiology

with Paul Ehrlich, Jeffrey Schloss, Lionel Tigervia Uncommon Knowledge
Friday, June 1, 2001

Behavioral scientists have begun to argue that the findings of evolutionary science should have legal, political, and moral consequences. If behaviors such as procreation, aggression, or homosexuality are determined more by our biology than by our free will, then it is foolish, these scientists argue, to ignore that evidence. Does evolutionary science have any place in public policy? How useful is the knowledge of our biological evolution in determining the values of our legal, social, and political system?

HOT, HOT, HOT: The Future of Nuclear Power

with Dan Hirsch, A. David Rossin, Fred Wehlingvia Uncommon Knowledge
Friday, June 1, 2001

Is nuclear power making a comeback? More than twenty years after the accident at Three Mile Island and fifteen years after the reactor explosion at Chernobyl, the image of nuclear power seems to be changing once again. President Bush has included nuclear energy as part of his national energy plan. The nuclear industry has begun to promote nuclear energy as the clean energy alternative. And a recent poll showed that almost 60 percent of Californians favor nuclear power. So just how safe is nuclear power today? Does it make economic sense to start building new nuclear plants? And what do we do with the radioactive waste?

DONKEY KONG: The Future of the Democratic Party

with David M. Kennedy, Susan F. Raskyvia Uncommon Knowledge
Monday, May 21, 2001

In 1936, Franklin Delano Roosevelt won reelection to a second term in one of the biggest landslides in American history. The outcome was a clear mandate in support of FDR's New Deal—an agenda of large-scale social and economic programs administered by the federal government. Sixty years later, in 1996, William Jefferson Clinton also won reelection to a second term, after declaring earlier that year that "the era of big government was over." How did the Democratic Party get from FDR to Bill Clinton? Now that the Democrats are out of the White House, will they continue the move to the center that Clinton initiated, or will they try to reinvigorate the traditional liberal base of the Democratic Party? Does that traditional base still exist?

YOU SAY YOU WANT A REPARATION: Reparations for Slavery

with Alfred Brophy, John McWhortervia Uncommon Knowledge
Monday, May 21, 2001

In recent years, a movement has been calling for the United States government to pay reparations for slavery in America. What does the federal government owe the descendants of slaves in this country? Should such reparations be viewed as a gesture of recognition for past wrongs or as an attempt to actually correct those past wrongs? Would payment of reparations erase the lingering economic problems in the African American community or would they do more harm than good? And if reparations are a good idea, who should receive them, all African Americans or just those descended from slaves?

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For more than two decades 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.”

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