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LOST FOR WORDS: Politics and the English Language

with Andrew Fergusonvia Uncommon Knowledge
Thursday, November 16, 2000

In 1946, George Orwell wrote a famous essay deploring the decline in the level of modern political discourse. Many would argue that in the following fifty years, the problem has only gotten worse. But why is this the case? Our politicians all have teams of professional speech writers and pollsters, working with focus group data and the latest research to figure out just what the public wants to hear. So why doesn't it work? Why does the political discourse of our modern politicians pale against those of our forefathers?

SI, CHANGE: Mexico Transforming

with Stephen Haber, Denise Dresservia Uncommon Knowledge
Wednesday, October 25, 2000

In 2000, Vicente Fox became the first opposition candidate ever to win the Mexican presidency. His election was preceded by a decade and a half of economic and political reforms in Mexico. How significant are these changes? What are the prospects for resolving some of Mexico's enduring problems, including political corruption, entrenched poverty and a state-controlled economy? What challenges will Fox have to overcome to bring Mexico into a new era of prosperity and freedom?

SMOKE GETS IN YOUR EYES: The EPA and Cost-Benefit Analysis

with Bill Curtiss, M. Reed Hopper, James Strockvia Uncommon Knowledge
Wednesday, October 25, 2000

Almost everyone agrees on the importance of keeping our air and water pollution-free. But how much are we willing to pay and for what measure of protection? The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been criticized for setting clean air standards without regard for the costs of meeting those standards. Critics of this approach argue that failing to weigh costs and benefits could threaten economic growth, which has its own implications for public health. How should the EPA set its standards? Can cost-benefit analysis lead to standards that are both efficient and effective?

UP IN ARMS OVER THE SECOND AMENDMENT: The Meaning of the Second Amendment

with Jack Rakove, Eugene Volokhvia Uncommon Knowledge
Tuesday, October 3, 2000

Does the Second Amendment to the Constitution confer an individual right to bear arms or not? Why is there so much disagreement about the meaning of this Amendment? What does the historical evidence tell us about the intentions of the framers of the Constitution in writing this amendment? To what extent does our interpretation of the Second Amendment effect efforts at gun control today?

ELEPHANTS ON PARADE: Conservatism in Modern America

with David M. Kennedy, Sam Tanenhausvia Uncommon Knowledge
Tuesday, October 3, 2000

For the last half of the twentieth century, the conservative movement in the United States was defined by two prominent doctrines: first, containment of the Soviet Union, and second, an effort to roll back the expansion of the federal government that began with the New Deal. With the first adversary out of existence, and the second in retreat, what does American conservatism stand for today? We look back to the roots of the conservative movement, its guiding principles and its leading proponents, including William F. Buckley, Barry Goldwater, and Ronald Reagan. We look to the future of American conservatism: Will it remain a unified movement or will internal tensions break it apart?

THE THIN BLUE LINE: United Nations Peacekeeping Missions

with Abraham D. Sofaer, Stephen Stedmanvia Uncommon Knowledge
Wednesday, September 27, 2000

Are peacekeeping missions undertaken by the United Nations a good idea? Is there a difference between peacekeeping and peacemaking? What sort of conflicts should the UN become involved in and which should it avoid? What are the alternatives to UN peacekeeping missions? Why have the number of UN missions increased so dramatically since the beginning of the 1990s?

SEE JOHNNY CLICK: Computers in Education

with Charles Garvin, William L. Rukeyser, Alan Warhaftigvia Uncommon Knowledge
Wednesday, September 27, 2000

Will computers revolutionize education or not? President Clinton called for connecting every classroom in America to the Internet. School districts across the country are spending billions of dollars on computers for the classroom. Will all of this effort pay off or is it misguided? Just how should computers be used in the classroom? Is it possible that computers can actually harm the educational process?

DON’T STOP THINKING ABOUT TOMORROW: The Clinton Legacy

with Hendrik Hertzbergvia Uncommon Knowledge
Monday, August 21, 2000

What will be the legacy of William Jefferson Clinton? Will the Lewinski scandal and the impeachment define his presidency, or will people set those events aside and concentrate on his political achievements or lack thereof? How serious was Clinton’s misconduct in office? Was his domestic economic and political agenda a success or a failure? And how should we rate the foreign policy record of the Clinton administration?

A CRACK IN THE ICE: The Legacy of the Reykjavik Summit

with George P. Shultz, Hendrik Hertzbergvia Uncommon Knowledge
Monday, August 21, 2000

In 1986, Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev met in Reykjavik, Iceland, to discuss nuclear arms control. The American and Russian leaders negotiated boldly, pushing each other far past the limits of previous arms control agreements. Reagan and Gorbachev were soon close to an agreement to eliminate all nuclear weapons. The stopping point: Gorbachev insisted that America's Strategic Defensive Initiative, or "Star Wars" be scrapped. Reagan refused, and no agreements were reached. What is the legacy of the Reykjavik Summit? Was it a failure, a historic opportunity squandered? Or was it the beginning of the end of the Cold War?

THE BATTLE FOR BRITAIN: Britain and the European Union

with Robert Conquest, Tony Baldryvia Uncommon Knowledge
Monday, August 21, 2000

Should Britain continue on the path towards political and economic integration within the European Union? Many in Britain are skeptical of the benefits of political unification with continental Europe. What does Britain stand to gain or lose by ceding sovereignty to the European Union? Would Britain’s interests be better served by strengthening its special relationship with the United States?

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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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