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TURN OUT THE LIGHTS, THE PARTY’S OVER: Why Socialism Didn’t Happen in the United States

with Seymour Martin Lipset, Martin Carnoyvia Uncommon Knowledge
Thursday, August 17, 2000

Why did socialism fail to become a major force in American society? Every major first world country has been governed by a socialist or social democratic party at some point in the past century...except the United States. Does socialism’s failure in the United States stem from strategic mistakes made by socialist leaders? Or has socialism always been fundamentally incompatible with American culture?

HOW GREEDY IS MY VALLEY? Techno-libertarians in Silicon Valley

with Paulina Borsook, John McCaskey, T.J. Rodgersvia Uncommon Knowledge
Thursday, August 17, 2000

Why are so many in Silicon Valley, from the cubicles to the boardrooms, likely to be libertarians, or technolibertarians, as some have called them? What do these technolibertarians believe about the role of government and entrepreneurship? How will they use the massive wealth that’s been created in Silicon Valley during the past several decades? Are they promoting the public welfare or shirking responsibility by not participating in the political process?

COLOMBIAN (WHITE) POWDER KEG: U.S. Aid to Colombia

with Paul Boeker, Mathea Falco, Doug Osevia Uncommon Knowledge
Thursday, August 17, 2000

It is estimated that Colombia produces 90 percent of the cocaine and 65 percent of the heroin consumed in the United States. In July of 2000, with bipartisan support, President Clinton signed a $1.3 billion aid package for Colombia to help that country with its war on drugs. The package includes providing the Colombian Army with military helicopters and U.S. military advisors. Will the aid package succeed in stemming the flow of drugs from Colombia, or will it entangle the United States in Colombia's bloody civil war? Will American soldiers lose their lives fighting the drug war in Colombia? Is this a necessary escalation of our own war on drugs or a bad idea?

WHOSE GENES? Patenting the Human Genome

with John Barton, Hugh Rienhoff, Seth Shulmanvia Uncommon Knowledge
Thursday, July 13, 2000

Over the past several years, biotechnology companies, in a race to find possible new drugs, have deluged the U.S. Patent Office with tens of thousands of requests for patents on pieces of human DNA. Are gene patents being granted inappropriately, before gene functions are fully understood? Are gene patents encouraging or hindering the progress of medicine and the development of new drugs? Some critics have a broader objection to gene patents, arguing that it is inappropriate to give a company the exclusive right to genetic material that is inside us all. Are gene patents, as they suggest, patents on life?

PATENT ON THE FRITZ: Patenting the Internet Economy

with Margaret Jane Radin, Seth Shulman, David Weitzvia Uncommon Knowledge
Thursday, July 13, 2000

Is our patent system failing the new information economy? Critics say that the way that patents are being granted on computer software and on Internet business methods threatens to impede technology and commerce rather than encourage it. Can industry resolve intellectual property problems on its own? Should we overhaul the patent system or just the U.S. Patent Office?

CORPORATE U: Corporate Funding Of Academic Research

with Mildred Cho, Donald Dahlsten, Chris Scottvia Uncommon Knowledge
Wednesday, June 28, 2000

Spurred in part by a Congressional Act which allowed universities to patent the results of federally-funded research, corporate contributions to academic research programs grew from $850 million in 1985 to over $4 billion by the early 1990s. In return corporations receive licenses to the patents generated by that research. Do these new academic-corporate relationships threaten the traditional functions of our universities to educate and to serve the public good? Or does corporate funding serve the public good by bringing the fruits of research to the public sooner and more efficiently?

MAKING THE GRADE: Charter Schools

with Don Shalvey, Lauren Dutton, Luis Huertavia Uncommon Knowledge
Wednesday, June 28, 2000

Charter schools are public schools that are allowed to operate outside of the normal education bureaucracy. Do charter schools work? We examine this growing movement and look at the evidence: do charter schools out-perform normal public schools? If so, why? Who goes to charter schools? And what happens when for-profit companies run charter schools?

PEEPING COMS: Internet Privacy

with Glee Harrah Cady, Karen Coyle, Deborah Piercevia Uncommon Knowledge
Wednesday, June 28, 2000

Congress is considering legislation that establishes a legal right to Internet privacy. Many feel, however, that the issue is already settled and that it is impossible to guarantee privacy on the net. How is our privacy compromised when we surf the web? How is the Internet industry responding to demands for privacy? Can individuals protect their own privacy online or is government regulation needed?

TERMS OF ENDOWMENT: Government Funding and the Arts

with John Kreidler, Alonzo King, John Podhoretzvia Uncommon Knowledge
Thursday, May 25, 2000

In 1965, Congress established the National Endowment for the Arts, declaring that it was "necessary and appropriate" for the government to fund the arts. We examine the question of whether the NEA really is "necessary and appropriate." What are the consequences of the government awarding money to individual artists? What role does the NEA play in arts education? In short, has the NEA been a success or not?

DON'T IT MAKE MY BROWN EYES BLUE: Ethics of Human Genetic Engineering

with Raymond Dennehy, Hank Greely, Michael J. Wernervia Uncommon Knowledge
Saturday, April 29, 2000

We are in the midst of a revolution in medicine: human genetic engineering. Like earlier revolutions in health care, such as surgery with anesthesia or the use of antibiotics, genetic engineering has the potential to greatly advance the health and wellbeing of mankind. Yet unlike earlier innovations, human genetic engineering raises serious ethical questions. It may be one thing for an adult to undergo gene therapy to cure a disease, but what about modifying human embryos to prevent that disease? And if embryos can be altered to improve health, what about to improve intelligence or to select physical characteristics such as hair or eye color?

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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.”

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