These truths to be self-evident, that all men are created as a member of Congress, I get to have a lot of really interesting people and the experts on what they're talking about. This is the podcast for insights into the issues. China, bioterrorism, Medicare for all in depth discussions, breaking it down into simple terms. We hold, we hold. We hold these truths. We hold these truths with Dan Crenshaw, our. Welcome back, everybody, and a real pleasure to have with us today a very special guest, a little different than what we normally have.
One of my peers across the pond, Viscount Ridley from the House of Lords, otherwise known as Lord Ridley, otherwise known as Matt. So, Matt, thank you so much for being on the show. Well, thank you for having me on. May I call you Don? Yes, yes, you may, actually. Can you call me Lord? I would prefer that I call, you know, I'll call you whatever you like, Congressman Lord sounds so much cooler.
My Lord, the the I was before we were recording, I mentioned this is I don't know if I'm going to catch a lot of crap for this, but my wife makes me do it. We watch Bridgton or we've just begun watching Bridgton. And I heard the word Viscount and I was like, wait a second.
I saw that on my schedule. That word like, what the heck is it? So explain to me what what a viscounts is. Well, if I can is a sort of middle ranking lord said that most loads of barons, some of them are old dukes and things, and in between Earl and Barondess, by now, that means it's one of the old hereditary titles rather than one of the new life power appointed members of the House, which is what most people are.
And I inherited the right to stand for a slot in the House of Lords, not the right to sit there automatically. And that's a kind of compromise that was reached 20 years ago. In theory, we're going to reform the House of Lords. So it's representative. Then it'll have more power like the Senate Commons doesn't like that. So it keeps putting up reform. So at the moment, we're stuck there as a sort of little bit of a constitutional left over.
So, OK, now we're going to talk about probably made that to complicated. No. And I want to I have a couple follow up questions on it. I just want to explain to the audience how I'm going to run this one. So we're going to talk about some really interesting ideas and writing that you've done in the past on innovation, on what's been going on with covid-19, on regulation. You have an interesting TED talk that went pretty viral called When Ideas Have Sex.
OK, it's it's and it's not as crude as the title would suggest. It's a really interesting way of looking at it. You were elected the House of Lords on in February of 2012. But you see, this is what's confusing. See, in my bio here, it says you were elected to the House of Lords, but you say it's a little bit more complicated than that. You have a B.A. and doctorate in philosophy from Oxford. You worked for The Economist for nine years.
You've won the highest prize in 2011, the Julian Simon Award in 2012, Free Enterprise Award from the Institute of Economic Affairs in 2014. And you're married to a Houstonian. So all good things, right? You're the author of many, many, many books. I won't get into all of them, but feel free to to talk about any of them as we get going. But before we get all to the sort of topics that I've prepared, I really I'm just genuinely curious how the heck it works across the pond.
So House of Lords, House of Commons, why doesn't the follow up question I want to ask on that. So you have a bicameral legislature the way we do, right? Sort of, yeah. OK. And the House of Commons doesn't want you guys to reform yourselves in the House of Lords to be a representative body. Well, yeah, you see, the House of Lords is mainly appointed and in a very, very small number of cases, sort of semi elected like me and the House of Commons is elected and is.
Each district has the same number of voters and all that, very much like the House of Representatives. So the real power resides in the House of Commons and has done for well over 100 years. And indeed, the House of Commons can override the House of Lords. It can it can reject suggestions to amend bills, and it frequently does. We can object to the objections. And then we get into what's called ping pong. And the the bills go backwards and forwards, but it can pull rank and engage a particular constitutional mechanism that overrides us.
It takes time for them to do so. So they do not do so. But we are very aware of the fact that we're not an elected chamber and therefore we shouldn't really be going against the will of the elected government. We reckon that to that to tidy up, scrutinise and improve legislation, to make suggestions rather than to be partisan and try and stop things. We broke away from that tradition in the last few years and became very much more politically active in opposing Brexit, which most of the Lords wanted to oppose.
And that made the sense a much more political body. And as a result, the current government I was pro-Brexit, by the way, my colleagues were not, but the current government under Boris Johnson basically would is quite happy to override us whenever he wants. He doesn't really respect us quite to the same degree that previous prime ministers have done. And he's probably right to we shouldn't have been so political in the last few years. That's interesting.
I mean, it's and I can see some parallels to how it's sort of supposed to work in the U.S. I mean, the Senate's supposed to be a much more deliberative body of six year term. So the the passions of the electorate are not so extreme in the Senate as they are in the House, where, you know, where we are elected every two years and you know the whims and passions of the people manifest in the house in a very visceral way.
Whereas in the Senate, it's not supposed to be that way. That seems like sort of the intention behind your model as well. Yeah, well, it's very evolutionary, I mean, we're descended from the barons who rebelled against King John at Magna Carta, you know, so it's sort of gradually ceded power to the Commons and to democracy over the centuries. But you're right, we're appointed or elected for life. So it's very much a question that we're supposed to take the long view and not to worry about winning the next election.
And that has its advantages. Sometimes it has disadvantages. At other times, it's the British constitution is in a state of continual flux. As you know, we don't have a written constitution, so we can't go back and look at what we're supposed to do. We sort of figure it out as we go along and we we develop new conventions and, you know, it's sort of gradually changing all the time. The government has to get its bill through both houses.
The government ministers are chosen mostly from the Commons, but each department of the government will have one minister in the Lords to answer for the government as well. And the leader of the Lords is a member of the cabinet. Natalie Evans, interesting.
Walk away gets separation of powers. Sorry I interrupted you. I don't know what. We'll keep going. Please finish that thought. But my question was simple as just walk me through real quick how a law gets passed, because you said it's it's confusing to me. The House of Lords really has any say over it. Right, well, a little bit, because the government introduces a bill into usually the House of Commons, sometimes the House of Lords, it then passes that House and gets sent to the other house and is then debated and amended and passed.
It then goes back to whichever House originated the bill. And I think you call it reconciliation, don't you, in the Senate and the House, try to agree on a similar version of a bill? We go through a similar process, but the House of Commons nearly always wins if it wants to. OK, so the real power lies in the House of Commons, the democratically elected chamber, and unlike the US, the government is in. The parliament, you know, the prime minister is a member of parliament.
That's the big difference. Of course, no separation of powers like you have.
Right. And is there there's no veto power then or is there from the prime minister? No, there is no veto power. The only person who has a veto and it's entirely theoretical is the queen. I mean, she has to give royal assent to a bill once it's been been through both houses now. It's unimaginable that she would say no, it would cause a constitutional crisis of significant proportions if she were to do that. That hasn't happened probably for a couple of centuries at least.
It's it's interesting because it seems to me like the UK is held together by hundreds and hundreds and thousands of years of tradition where we're like because it's just unimaginable to me that you don't have a constitution. I don't I think our country would be torn apart without it. It's I mean, it's on the brink every time anyway as people try to reinterpret it. But we're younger, so you need it. Well, you did a brilliant job 250 years ago, some extraordinary people sat down and wrote what they wanted based on what had been happening in Britain, which wasn't entirely satisfactory.
But it had it had become a sort of democracy. And based on what they knew about ancient Rome in ancient Greece, they sat down and wrote how a constitution should work. And it's held up remarkably well. It does have one flaw, which is the sort of lack of flexibility to move with the times you have to every now and then amend the Constitution. And that's a big deal, whereas we can just sort of gently evolve and shift the way we do things.
But, you know, if a real tyrant got into power, we clearly don't have any any constitution to stop it. We we are. We do we do not have a Supreme Court and it does increasingly interfere in politics and lost. Two years ago, it struck down a parliamentary move by the prime minister, Boris Johnson, saying he wasn't allowed to dissolve parliament. Sorry to prorogue parliament. It's slightly different to send it on holiday for a month or two.
And that was an unpardonable intrusion in parliamentary affairs by the judiciary. Many of us thought so. You know, we're rubbing up against the sort of problems that constitutions give you, whether it's written or not. Yeah, I think that's healthy.
I mean, you know, the Americans tend to be a little bit more wild, a little bit more passionate. So it's hard to imagine us without a constitution just just because of our disposition, frankly. And. Yeah, yeah, I know what you mean.
Well, in the world, you know, the the passions of majorities can be scary things. I mean, this is what our what our founders talked about quite a bit and then their studies of histories. And it's the last thing we want. I tell people that one of the biggest differences between Republicans and Democrats is the Republican adherence to a republic and the Democrat adherence to a pure mob democracy. And and I and I see all of the changes they want to make are usually would usually end up in a place where 51 percent of the majority can tell the other 49 percent what to do.
And I find that to be a terrible idea, especially in a large country like we have right now.
And the phrase that somebody used for the British constitution is that it's effectively an elected dictatorship. You know, once you're in power and you've got a majority in the House of Commons, you can, in theory, do anything. There's nobody really to stop you. The queen's not going to stop you. That's just not going to stop you. They're going to make a huge fuss. And then and the media is going to try and stop you. But if you do something unreasonable, but in theory, you have a lot more power than a US president has.
Prime minister does the British thing. But, you know, we've thrown our Constitution into turmoil in recent years, too, by suddenly starting to use referendums. And we had this referendum on whether to leave the European Union. It went 52 48 for leaving the majority of those commons. And the vast majority in the House of Lords didn't want to do that. So they fought a rearguard action for about four years trying to water down the promise to find a way of walking away from it.
Eventually, Boris Johnson became prime minister, called parliament's bluff, went into the country, had an election based around the question, do you want to get Brexit done or not? And he won a huge majority. So we now have completed Brexit and we are an independent country once again, which I think is great news because I think the European Union was becoming a very centralised, bureaucratic and sluggish empire that was preventing innovation and enterprise and all the things that we need to to to grow the economy and the prosperity of our people.
So forgive me for not knowing what I assume then that you're you're you identify as the Conservative Party.
And, yes, I'm I'm in the Conservative Party. Yes. And which is the governing. And so because you said earlier, we in the House of Lords were largely against Brexit, but you sound like you're pro Brexit.
That's right. I'm pro Brexit, but the majority of my colleagues were against it.
Right. So would you say that in hindsight you are correct? Did you think do you think it's going well? Well, we've got a very good example today of how well it's going.
We've done more than my podcast that the what you're talking about that to this wouldn't have happened if you were still part of the EU.
I wouldn't even talk to you guys. That's right. You know, who was it? Was it Henry Kissinger who said, you know, when I want to call Europe, who do I call? So just today, there's been a big row about vaccination. We've done more vaccinations in Britain than the rest of the EU put together. And that's because we set out to sign contracts to purchase vaccines from Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna, others pretty fast and pretty efficiently.
And we by chance, not by chance, by good judgment, we picked the right firms to to do deals with the European Union, spent months saying, oh, we're going to get a better deal because there's twenty seven of us and we're going to drive a hard bargain and we're going to make sure that every country gets its fair share. So we're definitely going to include a French company, Sanofi, the vaccine doesn't work and so on. And they've ended up getting very few vaccinations.
And so the president of the European Commission yesterday tore a strip off the pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca and said, how come you are now promising us fewer vaccinations? And they said, well, because you're at the back of the queue, you were too late in signing up. And we've had production problems in some of the factories and said, well, that's not good enough. You've got to give it to us because we're Europe, we're more important. And if you don't, we'll tell Pfizer not to export any vaccines from its factory in Belgium to Britain to punish them for having a better vaccine made in the UK.
This is outrageous behavior. This is mercantilist protectionism of the most ridiculous kind. And it reminds us very forcibly of why we voted to leave. We wanted to be able to take decisions quicker to take them without regard to. Involving 27 other countries in the decision, thereby slowing it down and to do it without so much crony corporate lobbying, because that's what the European Union has become, you know, people think it's a it's an agglomeration of nations. It's not.
It's a nascent country run from the center where everything must be the same in all parts of the continent. And we're an island. We do more trade with the rest of the world than other European countries. We eventually realized this wasn't good for us. We wanted we wanted to strike out on our own. It's a fantastic and exciting moment for Britain, but only if it seizes the opportunities that comes with that. And I'm optimistic as well. I was excited to see Brexit happen.
I think it's maybe I think it I think it will develop more opportunities between the U.S. and the U.K., I hope.
Do you see other countries in Europe also leaving the U.K. or leaving the EU? Not in the short term, there's a lot of dissatisfaction, there's huge divisions now between the Eastern European countries and the Western European countries, between the southern south and the north. The French and the Germans. A falling out now and somebody pointed out this is because we're no longer locked in the same room with them when we were in the same room and they could unite by hating us European politics.
So I think I do see more countries leaving eventually, but I think not not in the next few years or it's much harder to to, you know, if you're Poland or something with a net recipient. We were a net net donor to the European Union. We gave them 200 million pounds a week. Yeah. Just to net, you know, to support other countries. Net recipient would find it harder to leave.
Well, I mean, this is a good Segway. Your point about Brexit is a good Segway into much of your writing about innovation and some of the problems with lack of innovation and that things don't happen fast enough, that there's too much of a bureaucracy. So so so I mean, talk talk to me about that. Talk to me about the three principles that you lay out, which I certainly like, lower taxes, lower electricity prices and faster decisions.
So, yeah, well, I think we've got to learn something from this pandemic, and one of the things we've got to learn is the importance of innovation. You know, if we'd done more innovation in vaccines, we wouldn't be in this mess that we're in today if we'd done more innovation and diagnostic devices, et cetera. Innovation is the fuel that creates our prosperity. There's no question about that. It's responsible for the first being so much richer than our ancestors.
And so you're more likely to survive diseases and so on. So what does innovation come from? It comes basically from the freedom to experiment to do trial and error. It depends heavily on affordable energy. Energy is a really important part of the whole way a modern economy works and kind of thermodynamic terms, because what you're doing is you're taking a sort of chaotic world and you're making useful things out of it. And that requires energy. You want fair and low taxes because that's what encourages entrepreneurs to go out and find things.
You can't tell people what to discover from the start. You you have to let people discover them, discover it. And so there's a very poor track record of governments knowing where it needs to go because nobody foresaw the extraordinary changes in information technology in the second half of the 20th century. Everybody is expecting huge changes in transport. We were going to have, you know, routine space travel and supersonic airliners and personal jet packs. None of that happened.
Instead, we got mobile phones, the Internet and social media, which nobody saw coming. So I think it's it's vital to be in a position of liberating people to do trial and error, to produce unexpected results through innovation. That's where that's the best source of enterprise, really.
How do you compare the UK in the US and in that arena? You know, because what they've developed the question a little bit more, because we have debates here about regulatory burdens all the time. It's pretty obvious that Republicans want to slash regulations. The Democrats generally don't. They think if one regulation is good for the environment and 10 must be better, that's that's generally the thought process. I disagree with this thought process for the reasons that you just laid out and the the kind of unintended, unintended and hard to define and quantify consequences that I think you intuitively know exist, but are so difficult to describe that you end up losing that political battle.
That's a real that's the hardship that we face as conservatives. But we've got to get over it and just try harder. And the debate that happens here between the left and the right is, you know, the socialists say, well, look, we don't really mean like Soviet Union socialism, we mean Scandinavian socialism. And then the conservatives come back and we say, well, OK, fine, like, let's actually measure their regulatory burdens. And and it turns out that they have a pretty good free market system and maybe less regulations.
And a lot of people really think.
And so so I mean, that's that's that's right. I mean, for example, on school choice, Sweden's been a pioneer of very much more liberal approach liberal with a small L sorry than than the US has. So it's a myth to think of Scandinavia as being pure socialism. It went through one spell when it was pretty socialist. And it's where you got Attarian, but actually it's quite libertarian. The UK is is it the sort of libertarian end of the European spectrum?
On the whole, we tend to believe enterprise. We've got more start ups than the rest of Europe put together. We've got a much more sort of vibrant economy. We've got all the financial services in London and so on. But we are still a pretty socialist bureaucratic economy compared with a lot of what the US does not everywhere. But just to give you two examples of things we've been unable to do in the way of enterprise in the UK that you do in the US, one is genetically modified crops and the other is fracking.
Basically, the European Union has banned genetically modified crops. It never quite banned, but it's made it so difficult to get approval that nobody does it. And so as a result, we're way more dependent on pesticides than we need to be. We're stuck in an older form of farming. We can't now grow enough legumes for ourselves that we import soybeans from Latin America and so on. So I think that's a huge value, environmental failure as well as economic failure.
Likewise, fracking, we basically wouldn't let it happen. We overregulated it and there's tons of other. As for the U.K., but it's not it's not going to happen in the short term, but I can give you at least one example where the opposite is true, where we've liberalized and the U.S. hasn't. And it's quite a small example, if you like. It's vaping, electronic cigarettes, the UK, the world leader in adopting vaping. And it was a deliberate decision by David Cameron in 2010 to to stand back and say, I know this technology might actually reduce smoking if we allow it to develop and not in the black market, but openly and make it a product safety regulation, but not other kinds of regulation.
And as a result, we rapidly converted a huge chunk of our population from smoking to vaping that has brought down lung cancer death rates. And we've had none of the health problems associated with vaping that you've had in the US. Why do you have them? Why did 80 people die a couple of years ago? Because of that teen vaping problem? Basically because you were too prohibitionist in the U.S. You treated it like alcohol in 1920. You said let's ban it altogether.
And all that did was drive it underground to make sure that when it did reach young people, it was in an unsafe form. So that's quite a nice little example of where there aren't that many areas where American can learn from Britain. But there are one or two.
Yeah, excuse me. It's on the entire honestly the vaping issue as a whole. It's not something I've ever dove into, but the principles you're outlining are are basically the same, whether it's about fracking or it's about vaping, which is as scary as it is and it can't be.
And it's easy to scare people. It's easy to scare people about the risks associated with some kind of innovation. You know, with fracking, like if we do fracking in Britain, then we know we're an island and climate change and then we'll just be soaked. We'll just be overwhelmed by the ocean. I mean, I assume these kind of arguments happen. So just because I'm well aware of the climate debate and how hysterical it can be and frankly, how antiscience it can be.
And so I agree. I mean, in the UK that like, how do you do you guys just import all your energy? How generally speaking, how do you power the United Kingdom? Well, we we were in an oil exporter for a long time, you'll know this because you'll know about Aberdeen and the oil industry in the North Sea. Yeah, but we're now a net net importer of energy. We have some nuclear. We have a lot of gas.
A lot of that comes from the North Sea. Most of it at the moment comes from Norway rather than from UK waters. We still burn some coal, obviously, to make steel and so on. And most of that comes from Russia. We've got tons of coal under the ground in the UK, but we won't mind it because we want to be good climate citizens. And as a result, we get it from Russia with a higher carbon footprint.
And we're rewarding Mr Putin, which ain't a great plan in my view. We are. We say we're the Saudi Arabia of wind energy. What we mean by that is we're filling the North Sea with wind turbines, offshore wind turbines, and these are going to be huge and they're covering large chunks of the sea and they're producing a lot of electricity on windy days and none at all on a day like yesterday when there was no wind, which is a real problem, because then coal fired power stations have to be fired up again or the gas has to be turned back on their very uneconomic if they can't produce every day.
Nuclear doesn't like it because it's too because of the intermittency of wind. So I think it's a huge mistake. But somehow the wind industry has managed to persuade the government that its costs are falling dramatically, that it can cope with the intermittency, the unreliability. I think it's I think we're going to be in real trouble. So, you know, we have some of the highest electricity prices for industry, not for consumers, but for industry in Europe.
And that means that we've exported an awful lot of our industry, know a lot of steel, aluminium, refining and so on, has left the U.K. shores, whereas in the U.S., because of fracking, you brought down the price of gas dramatically in the US and there was a huge amount of reassuring of jobs. You know all about that in Texas.
Yeah, and it's all at risk now. So, I mean, it sounds like it's interesting. There's so many parallels. We have the same, I would say the same paradox where we want to feel clean. And so we end up especially our northeastern neighbors in New York and Boston, such a times they'll end up importing a lot of Russian natural gas. And I tell people all the time, I'm like, the EPA has studied this on a lifecycle basis of a production unit of natural gas from Russia versus the U.S. It's 42 percent higher carbon emissions in Russia.
So if you destroyed the fossil fuel industry in the United States, it doesn't make demand globally go away. It just means that demand gets met by Saudi Arabia, Russia, Venezuela, Iran. And last time I checked, they don't even have an EPA. So, you know, it's it's in fear.
I mean, the the ahead. Yeah, the conditions under which it's produced and then let's not forget that a lot of the renewable energy industry depends on mining, you need to mine, obviously iron ore to make the steel for it, but also rare earths to make the magnets takes about 150 tons of coal to make a wind turbine. People forget that. So I'm not completely convinced that the word renewable means anything, actually, you know, because they don't have very long lifetime these wind turbines.
They lost 25 years or so, but they've they've got themselves huge subsidies. There's been a lot of that subsidies on lobbying politicians, but it's worked. Yeah, yeah.
We have the exact same same issues and the intermittency in the lack of baseload power is what concerns me. Just, you know, this is this is a subject that I'm constantly on. I just got on the Energy and Commerce Committee, so I'm very happy about that. And it's something we'll we'll debate quite often. And, you know, the my our current president, President Biden, newly elected, one of his first actions was to cancel the Keystone pipeline, which are very liberal with a capital L.
Neighbors and Canada even. They don't like it. Right, because even they understand, I think, some of the principles that were that we're talking about here, it's not like we're it's not like we are climate deniers. It's none of that. It's just that there's there's a smarter there's smarter solutions at play. Right. And there's there's there's ways to innovate, innovate our way out of the problem. I noticed Elon Musk the other day said that he would award one hundred million dollars to the best carbon capture technology, that that would come across his desk.
And I was like, that's interesting, Elon. I think you copied me because I passed a bill last year.
Would that would basically on pilot programs now. Now my bill is half is what he's promising, because I had 50 million dollars authorized in grant money for pilot pilot programs for carbon capture technology. But the point is, great minds think alike.
And, you know, I think I think that's the right track. And we've got an amazing thing right here in Houston because I've been trying to push.
I was going to see Boris Johnson's advisors to try and persuade them of a similar plan instead of a pilot project. I thought the way to do it was to say to the two industries that import fossil fuels or produce them. Next year, you're going to have to put a quarter of one percent of what you imported back on the ground in terms of CO2 storage, carbon capture. We don't care how you do it. We don't care where you get it from.
You could buy it off a brewery if you want, if it's cheaper. But you've got to put that much carbon on the ground the year after that, a little bit more year after that, a little bit more. That way you develop a market and you start the discovery process to see what is the cheapest way of doing it. I've got a nasty feeling if we just fund pilot projects, we'll get sort of pet university projects funded that won't really tell you very much about how to get the price down.
Well, that actually speaks to another bill that I passed, which is carbon utilization. So another, we authorize basically a carbon utilization hub research center, Department of Energy, that that really tries to answer that question. First of all, let's let's deregulate carbon and not call it a let's not call it a pollutant. Let's call it a commodity, because you don't even just need to put it underground. You can actually use it for stuff it's used for, you know, drilling.
It's used to make cement. It's actually a commodity. And we need to start treating it as such because there's actually a lot of interesting things we can do with it and there can be a market created by that. So I fully agree.
I think that that that's dead, right? Yeah, I think I'm right. Generally, most of the time, if I if I had to, I had to guess. One of the things I liked about your TED talk, I thought it was interesting. I brought it up before and people are wondering, like, OK, what are you going to talk about that? Because when ideas have sex, that was that's that's quite the title. But it's about innovation and it's it's about the evolution of information exchange, I think is what I got from from the TED talk.
Maybe that's the best way to describe it. You had a you know, you put a like an obsidian axe head that's like a million years old next to a computer mouse. And one of the differences you noted was that the axe head was made by one person for self sustainability because otherwise known as poverty, which I love to like. Note that I think that's very interesting. And then the computer mouse, which is like already the one you showed on the screen, was is already obsolete, that like we inevitably look at that thing and you're like, what is that?
Get that out of my face, you know, because it's still got like the scrolling thing. I mean, come on. And it's probably as a cord attached to it.
To be fair, it was wireless, which was new at the time. Yeah, that was yeah. That was the sexiest thing we could think of. But but like what I loved about it as well. I liked a lot of things about the talk. But but you noted, look, this mouse was made by maybe millions of people, maybe actually millions of people, because it's not just that somebody put the plastic pieces and and and computer chips together, but also where were those things built?
Who drilled for the oil? Who who what what steel company made the drills to deliver to the oil company? I mean, there's it's a pretty unimaginable supply chain and it gets to this point where nobody knows how to make anything. And I and I have to wonder if this is is this is this Adam Smith's invisible hand, really, that we're that we're envisioning right here? That I get that right? Is it Adam Smith talked about the invisible hand or very much said, yeah, OK, I was sometimes.
The division of labor, you know, the the I think the great theme of human history is that we've become more and more specialized in what we produce as individuals so that we can become more and more diversified in what we consume. So compared with a self-sufficient peasant who only consumed what he produced, I have a very, very boring job. I do one thing. I write books or whatever it might be. And but I have a very much more interesting life because I watch films and drink wine and do all sorts of things that I don't know how to produce for myself, because what we're essentially doing is working for each other.
That's the beauty of a market system, is that you all work for each other. You so you've each got millions of people working for you, which is how you in the old days you were you were rich because you had lots of people working for you. It's true today. We've all got lots of people working for us. It's just that so we're working for them, too. It's a system of exchange. And I think that's the secret to understanding how the world works.
And it also explains innovation, because innovation always happens when technology meet and mate and produce baby technologies. I don't know if I mentioned it in that talk, but my favorite example is I think of the pill camera, which you swallow and it takes a picture of our insides for the doctor to look at. And I don't think it's been a very successful technology, but it's an interesting idea. It came about after a conversation over a garden fence between a gastroenterologist and a guided missile designer.
That's that's an interesting pair.
And so and, you know, in getting to that point, we kind of breezed over this before. But the lower taxes, lower electricity prices, faster decisions, how are these things related? And I guess how are we doing along these three lines? How are you guys doing in the U.K.?
How do you think we're doing in the U.S. along along these three principles towards towards innovation to get I'm a little worried, actually, in my new book, which is called How Innovation Works, and I really drill down into innovation, I end up being a little bit pessimistic and that's unusual for me. I wrote a book called The Rational Optimist. I'm on the whole, I'm incredibly optimistic about the prospects for humanity. But I end up being a little bit pessimistic because I think if you look at what's been happening in the last 20, 30, 40 years, yes, there's been a lot of digital innovation.
You know, there's a new social media site every 10 minutes and all that kind of stuff, new video games, whatever. But actually in the real world of atoms, as Peter Thiel has said, you know, things that actually change our lives. This is a period of rather slow innovation. And if you look at what's happening with things like the turnover of firms, startups, the age of entrepreneurs, et cetera, in the US, it's not going in the right direction.
It's going in the wrong direction. It's becoming a more slow moving economy with less innovation. The same is true in spades with Europe. And we have been part of Europe until recently. And part of the point of Brexit is to escape that and start to become a bit more like Singapore and Hong Kong again and get back an enterprise mode. But I don't think we're we're as exercised about the problems we should be. And if I could pick up on that point about fast decision making by government, this is incredibly important.
Imagine, you know, it takes 30, 40 months to get approval for a new medical device from the FDA in the US of the AMA in Europe or the MHRA in the UK and. During that time, if you're an entrepreneur, you're earning nothing. So actually, if you invented a video game instead, which is permission list, you don't need anybody's permission to launch a new video game, you could be off to the races and earning money within a few days.
And so there has probably been a diversion of entrepreneurial energy away from quite useful devices into video games, which are defined, but they're not as useful as medical diagnostic devices. Now, the pandemic has reminded us of that because, you know, frankly, a lot of, you know, point of cap, portable, fast reacting DNA diagnostic devices would have been very useful and we probably could have invented them five years ago and haven't. I had an interesting conversation a few weeks ago with the head of infectious diseases at the Gates Foundation, and he made the point that as a result of the pandemic, the FDA and the EMA are now very quick to engage and set up a program for approving a new diagnostic device or a vaccine or whatever it might be.
And we mustn't go back to them being as slow as they were before. So I hope the pandemic is a wakeup call to the US, the UK and Europe to become more innovative, agile and entrepreneurial. I can talk, if you like, about how China fits into this pattern in a minute, but I'll stop there on that point.
Well, yeah, because actually my mind went to China because one thing they do do well is decide they want something and just do it. Now, that can also argue that you make mistakes in the longer term. But but how are they doing with respect to innovation or do they just steal it all from us? Because that kind of seems to be the case. It was in my district here, actually, that we shut down their consulate because it was stealing intellectual property from the Texas Medical Center.
I bet I would not be surprised. Well, they did steal. They did copy a lot. So did Japan when it was getting rich. So did America when it was getting rich. You know, you sent spies over to northern England to figure out. I don't remember that. I don't remember things like that. I know you personally.
America invented everything. Stop it. So a young a young country does have to catch up. That's true. And China for a long time was catching up. It's not catching up now. It's ahead of us on a lot of things. You know, if you look at how they use the consumer society works, how money works in China, et cetera. There are streets ahead of both the U.S. and Europe on a lot of this stuff. And they're in there right at the forefront of innovation.
There's no question about it. Now, how does that fit with the fact that there are autocratic, repressive regime with no freedom? I keep saying innovation comes from freedom. Well, that doesn't seem to be the case in China. Actually, I think it does fit quite well because I think what happened was in the 1980s, Deng Xiaoping reformed the system tremendously and he tried a little bit of political freedom, but not for long. And he then cracked down.
And there is no political freedom in China, but there is a lot of economic freedom. If you're an entrepreneur and you want to start a business to make a new device, you face very few of the bureaucratic obstacles and delays that a Western entrepreneur faces. You know, things about like whether to survey whether there are bats in the area before you build your building or something like that. You know, all the stuff, that sort of slow stuff down.
So actually. China has been very free economically, but not free politically. Yeah, I think that has changed under Xi Jinping. I think Xi Jinping is a genuine economic autocrat in the mold of the Ming Emperors of the sixteen hundreds. And he is not going to allow people to do what they want as entrepreneurs. He's going to tell them what to invest next, what business to set up, etc. It's already doing this. And I think that's a huge mistake.
And like the emperor's, it will lead to the stagnation of China and then someone else will have to pick up the pieces and start being the entrepreneurial engine of the world again. You guys are going to do it. Should we do it? Indians, I don't know.
Well, yeah. And well, hopefully it's us and you you know, I cheer for everybody's success. But what you just said a little bit for us. A little bit. A little bit the but but the point you just made speaks to something else you've written about, which is, you know, confusing innovation with invention. And you actually would disagree that it's even government's job to incentivize like, you know, that's usually a commonly held belief, like the of government should incentivize a certain a certain thing.
But maybe that's true sometimes if it's true or not true. Other times, I think it somewhat depends. I definitely don't like the idea of government mandating something or deliberately subsidizing, which I guess would also be an incentive. But just so, so speak through that. And you're saying it's the right way to do it?
I don't think I don't think it's quite my view that the government should never incentivize because government should obviously, you know, do things to encourage entrepreneurial activity. And there are lots of ways of incentivizing which don't involve pouring public money into projects and so on. But I do think that government shouldn't believe that it can pick winners in technology and decide how innovation is going to happen, because it will. As somebody once said, government is very bad at picking winners, but losers are very good at picking governments as great clubs.
In other words, you know, unsuccessful technologies sort of soon get in on the act. There's a beautiful American example of this from a long time ago, December 1983, a guy called Samuel Langley, it was head of the Smithsonian Institution, astronomer, very well-connected, very brilliant man, got an enormous government grant to build the first powered airplane. And he built it in secret, consulted almost nobody, he was so clever, he needed to consult anybody, and then he launched it in front of a crowd on the Potomac in December 1983, and it crashed straight into the water.
The pilot had taken the precaution wearing a life jacket because he knew it was going to happen and he jumped out. And it was a humiliating moment for him and for the U.S. government 10 days later on an island off North Carolina to humble bicycle mechanics from Ohio, Orville and Wilbur Wright, who had no degree even between them. The sister had a degree, but they did get an airplane into the air for the first time. And they had done everything right that Langley had done wrong.
They had done a huge amount of trial and error. They'd been using gliders and kites for years and wind tunnels and all sorts of things. They'd been consulting people all over the world. They picked the brains of a particularly clever Australian, Laurence Hargrave, who had some really good ideas about how to design aeroplanes. And so they hadn't tried to. Get it all right at once, they depend a lot on experiment, and for me, that's a very nice parable of how innovation works well or doesn't work well.
And it's a mistake to think that you can sort of you can you can plan it in advance, you can design it and you can subsidize it into existence necessarily, given the government takes 40 percent of our money office. I'm very glad that some of that finds its way back into innovation because otherwise it'll be wasted. So, you know, I'm all for supporting aspects of the innovation system, but I think it's got to be very much in a let anything happen sort of way.
I mean, if you just go back to the point about the difference between invention and innovation, if you think about the Internet. It's almost meaningless to think of it being invented. There is no individual or no moment when you can say someone invented the Internet. It was innovated by all of us, by lots of us using it and suggesting changes and introducing small incremental changes, etc. It's a sort of bottom up phenomenon, a bit like the way we change the English language.
You know, we we change that amongst ourselves over the decades. But nobody is in charge. There's no chief executive, the president of the English language or the Internet, thank goodness.
Yeah, I mean, I and I think that that is helpful to unpack the difference in what you mean by innovation versus invention. I suppose something could be invented, but even the things that are, I guess, supposedly invented in that work did require quite a bit of innovation. And that process, as you describe it, prior to actually working.
Yeah, there's a lot of perspiration goes into turning an inspiration into something useful. That's another way of putting it.
That's that's paraphrasing Thomas Edison and shifting shifting gears slightly. Like, I lost my train of thought, but the shifting gears slightly, I wanted to ask you about more philosophical terms, the difference between America and the UK and especially how conservatives think. I mean, one of the I find it very useful in politics to to go back to first principles, to go back to political philosophy, to help people understand, OK, how did I even land on this on these ideas about regulation or taxes?
And we know the nature of freedom and the nature of rights. I mean, how did I even land there before you start accusing me of of just wanting to hand out cash to my, you know, corporate friends or something or whatever the the left wing accusation is? And you know that there's good reason behind it. And so when I'm off as an American conservative, we obviously derive a lot of our philosophy from from English conservatives or or English enlightenment thinkers who who informed quite a bit of our founding documents and I think inform modern conservatism to a large extent.
And so I'm just curious how you think about that and how you think of the differences between the UK and the US, because, I mean, for instance, in the UK, you have the NIH and we we can't even imagine that over here.
It's it's it's one of our biggest fights, actually is is regarding the government takeover of health care. But but even the but the Conservative Party doesn't seem to be against NIH in any way. Or do you just or maybe would have been if that debate was even still happening or, you know, how do you think about some of these things?
Yeah. And NHS is what I always think of when I own NIH, the NHS. Yeah, yeah, exactly. Then but I know what you mean. Yeah. No, we have this huge, somewhat inefficient socialized medicine bureaucracy and it is as close as you can get to a national religion. Everybody thinks it's wonderful. Everybody thinks that without it, poor people would not get health care. I don't think that's true. I think the government I'm all for the government purchasing health care on behalf of people who can't afford it particularly.
But I'm not the government providing it through a monopoly. I think it suffers from all the disadvantages of a large monopoly. I can say that to you because I'm not elected. But if I was an MP, I was a member of the House of Commons and I said that it would probably not help me get re-elected. It's not important as a sort of theme running through politics. I may even get into trouble for having said as much as I have to see things, but I'll defend that position.
You know, as I say, I'm all for health care being free at the point of delivery. I just just don't think the right way to provide it is to have one monopoly provider because it has all the disadvantages of a monopoly. So how did you know? What's the difference? The conservatives in the US and the UK, I think we all have gone through similar phases and traditions. You know, I mean, there was this weird switch at the end of the 19th century when the idea of free trade and freedom was a liberal left idea and then it suddenly turned around.
Marxism turned around and said, actually, no, the left is now going to be in favour of government and the right is going to be in favour of liberating poor people from government. And that's that was a weird sort of 180 degree switch. And then in the more latterly, you've seen the sort of rise of and there's always been the the small C, conservative C, let's leave things as it are, let's not change anything. We really don't want to allow gay marriage or whatever it might be, you know, all those kinds of things.
And I really don't see myself as that kind of conservative. But, you know, as Ronald Reagan said, brilliantly did and Margaret Thatcher, you can make a coalition between those guys and the free market people and make and get a majority. And, of course, standing up to the Soviet Union and things was part of that coalition, too. And they succeeded in that respect. But now you've got the populist theme coming into conservatism. You've seen it very much with Donald Trump.
We've had it over with Nigel Farage. It was one of the agitators for the Brexit referendum. And to some extent, what happened with Brexit was that we discovered what we left behind, working class manufacturing industry. People in the north of England thought, just as with the Donald Trump revolution in twenty sixteen, you found out what people in the Midwest really thought. And it wasn't what people on the on the coasts and quite where that populist street goes, I don't know.
I mean, the the I'm an almost religious free trader. I think the world would be better with no trade barriers at all except on certain products. But and I think I see the world moving away from free trade partly because of protectionism, but partly because of right wing objections to free trade as well.
Yeah, I'll respond to some of that. And that's certainly if there's if there's one thing Trump changed about the Republican Party, it's that it's a skepticism of trade. I don't think it's all that damaging. I think it's a healthy debate, frankly, for the simple reason that, you know, listen, I grew up educated in this sort of libertarian stance on on trade just because of the economics, one on one arguments of of, listen, if somebody can make it more efficiently than you can, then you should trade with them, OK?
And then we all get richer in the aggregate, we all get richer because the price of goods goes down in the aggregate. But there are entire towns that are completely destroyed. So even though, like my tomatoes are two percent cheaper, there's a 100 percent job loss over there, it's kind of like the argument for the minimum wage. But this is why I tell people all the time, yeah, sure, you might get like a three percent increase in this person's wage, but there's a 100 percent decrease in this person's wage.
So, you know, think about the costs here. And it's a bit easier to say, look, there should be pure free trade between American states because we're all under a similar regulatory framework when it comes to labor and environment regulation. I mean, similar you know, some states outcompete one another, but that's a very healthy competition, frankly. It's why Texas is like killing it. And all these other states have an exodus.
Yeah, that's why everybody's moving from the Bay Area to Austin.
Right. And and hopefully they understand why they move. But that's a different story of politics. But the but I guess what I'm getting at is because you mentioned this before, it's the outsourcing of manufacturing to make yourself feel good about the you know, your damage to the environment. We do that in America, too. I think over the over the years, where where are we in place, you know, let's say well intentioned, maybe even the right kind of environmental and labor regulations on our industries.
But of course, then those industries just have to leave the China and then we have. And then and then and then the environment that I would call them pseudo environmentalists. And I have a reason for using that term because I don't think they're really helping the environment and all of this because you're just exporting those carbon emissions somewhere else. And in fact, you're probably increasing overall carbon emissions, frankly, because there's so much more over there. But you're still consuming the same.
And so it would just be better if we loosened up regulations here because they would still be better than many manufacturing it in China.
And so that, you know, this gets to a it's like if we're going to put a carbon tax, this is why I'm so against a carbon tax. I don't know how you feel about it in the US primarily because, look, it just hurts us. It just hurts us. It's not global, which means that polluters who are really doing the polluting can still do it. So if you're really going to put a carbon tax, it should really look like a tariff really on Chinese goods.
Dead right. And one of the arguments we keep making to ourselves over here to justify the fact that even our Conservative Party is now completely bought up or bought into the decarbonization agenda, one of the arguments we make for that is that we're setting an example for the world that the world will take note of what Britain is doing and say, oh, my goodness, that's a good idea. We'll follow suit that China will be shamed into giving up on coal because we've given up on coal or something like that.
Now, I think this is that's the silliest thing I've ever heard.
When you think about it, I mean, we have one per cent of the world's population. We did run an empire, but that was a very, very long time ago. And nobody says, oh, my God, let's let's learn from what Britain is doing. They're going to take their own decisions based on their own calculations. So the idea that one should somehow set a lesson for the rest of the world really does frustrate me. And I I made this point in a couple of speeches in parliament.
Didn't go down well, as you can imagine now.
Well, I mean, the pseudo environmentalism has become a religion in and of itself. And look, I consider myself a rational environmentalist. That's that's how I would look at it. I don't deny that there's some kind of climate change happening and that that perhaps we could mitigate the effects of it if we innovated our way out of it. If I always thought if only we could mind some kind of rock and then smash it really hard and it would create energy for 25 years, I don't know.
And we could call it something like uranium or plutonium. And if only we had something like that that have carbon free emissions.
That's a brilliant way of putting it. Yeah, like you, I mean, I'm I'm a passionate birdwatcher. I love fishing. You know, I really care about the environment. And, you know, and I'm furious about the overfishing of the oceans, about the effect of invasive species on on on ecosystems and things like that, that for me, that's what environmental sum should be about instead of this. Tremendous obsession with a relatively slow rise in the temperature, but is not really that is mostly happening at night, mostly in winter, mostly in cold places, is not really affecting the lives of the most needy people.
But our policies to combat it are affecting their lives, you know, not denying them the cheap energy they need to to lift themselves out of poverty, etc.. So I feel like you. I think it's happening. I think climate change is real. It's not it's not that. It's a question of just how how high up the priority list it should be. And I had hoped that the pandemic would remind us that we've got bigger problems in this world and we have been neglecting them.
And I think it's true. I think, you know, I don't think we've paid enough attention to the risk of pandemics in recent years. We now realize that. But instead of the world saying, OK, let's just be a bit more balanced here, the world is saying right now we've we've learned how to shut down our economies. Let's do that for the sake of the climate, too.
Yeah, well, we definitely had less carbon emissions this past year and we still don't, by the way, still even with that, I think we did not meet what would what would be the goal of the Paris climate accords, which is kind of so I hope people will now understand the costs associated with this nonsense. You know, the thing about the thing about the climate change debate is, look, I'm not a climate denier at all, but I also don't believe that the world is ending in 12 years.
And so what the left often does is they create a false premise which justifies extreme action. And I think they do this on a variety of topics. It's not just not just the climate, but but this is this is how they persuade the masses. It's some look, it's at any cost is worth it.
And they did this during the the the covid-19 pandemic. With respect to the lockdown's, you know, I'm I'm very much against Lockdown's. And I think I've been proven right over the course of the past eight, nine months because we have all the data now and we can we can compare outbreaks versus lockdown policy and and find that there's really not a great correlation with California. Right. Florida, Texas versus California. And we hear we compare Sweden with Britain, you know, I mean, people say, well, look, come on, you know, 100000 people have not died in the U.K. You can't seriously suggest that you we should not have done it.
But we did lock down and we still killed 100000 people. I'm not I'm not convinced. Actually, I'm I'm rather humble about this. I don't know whether or not that was a good idea or not. I don't know what would have worked. I think the whole of humanity is being humiliated by this, but it has shown us that we don't have the tools we need. The people, the countries that lock down haven't come out of it. Well, the countries that didn't knock down come out of it particularly well either.
So it's the important thing is, is is to is not to claim that you definitely know the answer.
Well, is part of the answer is simply acknowledging that there's only so much that we can do as human beings to control Mother Nature and control a global pandemic. I mean, is it is it again, we have this bias towards action and we have this bias towards this belief that government can truly solve every problem. But sometimes you just have to live with Mother Nature and live with problems we just haven't been doing. This is the first time that we've even thought that we've even considered as a human race that we could actually control a global pandemic.
This is the first time and it didn't go well. I mean, and so I'm just wondering if we're ever going if we're going to learn that, because, like, I maybe I'm not as humble about this. I firmly believe that lockdown's cost far more than the benefits supposedly derived from them. And I think I have a lot of data to prove that. My biggest concern is that we're not learning that. So the next time this happens, are we just going to impose enormous costs on people?
And by the way, that the area under the curve, no matter how flat it is, it's the same that that's and that's the death count. It's the same mathematically. It's the same that there is some benefit. Obviously, it's not overwhelming your hospitals. But, you know, one of the benefits of having private health care systems here in the US is we have an overabundance of beds and ICU beds and just per cat on a per capita basis compared because I've done these numbers compared to the UK, compared to other countries, we have more ventilators per capita, et cetera.
So, you know, it just our policymakers, though, look on this bias towards action and action at all costs, I think cost us an enormous amount of of of blood and treasure, if you will. Something must be done. It's the sort of most dangerous phrase in. In politics, you know, just because something is wrong means you've got to do something, but if you're doing the wrong thing, that's a huge mistake. I do agree with that.
And I think I think we're in we're in a horrible position of understanding this virus incredibly well. You know, the genomic knowledge, the the detailed knowledge of its structure and exactly what's going on is incredible. The ability to test for it is remarkable. But the ability to do anything about it, to stop it turns out to be way behind that. And we we know we can't do anything about it. And if it was 1918, we wouldn't have tried because we wouldn't be able to test for it.
In the U.K., we've got an enormous amount of genomic sequencing going on rather than anywhere in the world. We're kind of obsessed with it. And as a result, we keep finding these new variants.
Stop doing that. You're really driving the rest of the world crazy. That's exactly what's driving everybody nuts, you know, and it turns out like, well, the vaccine still works for them. It's fine. It's not really that different. But yeah, I mean, but but the headlines are just, you know, it's it's it's like it's a whole new virus.
So if you guys could just hold off on that for a little bit, it's not helpful to the general psyche of the human race. The funniest meme I've seen so far is that, hey, guys, if you actually pronounce out like really dictates the words 20, 21, it sounds like twenty twenty one, like it claimed victory over us and it kind of did.
And it'll be interesting to see what you know, because that's actually a conversation.
I wonder if you guys are having I'm not so sure that we know the answers. We do keep hearing.
Look, this is why we should have prepared more for pandemics because of stuff like this. But it's not clear to me what preparing for pandemics really looks like. Still, you might be good at preparing for the last pandemic like we've got we've got all the tests now. We've got the vaccine so great. We're really good for this covid-19 pandemic if it ever happens again. It is not clear to me that we that we actually know the answer is to be prepared for the next one.
Well, that's very interesting, you should say that, because just today I was reading an article written by three very senior virologists, one in the U.S., one in Australia, one in the U.K. in twenty eighteen. They'd written this in twenty eighteen. And they said, you know what, this global verolme project whereby people go go into bat caves all over China and catch bats and take blood samples from them and then take the viruses back to the labs.
I'm not convinced we're not convinced that that's going to achieve anything. We're not convinced that it'll help us head off the next pandemic. The evidence suggests it won't. And indeed, it does carry risks because we're bringing these viruses into laboratories. And the main laboratory that we were bringing them into just happens to be in Wukan. Now, these guys don't all these these three authors all think that it's a natural spillover. They're not they don't think it came from the lab.
But you can't help. Agreeing with the point that it it didn't help to go and catch bats and whatever it is, the claim was that this was going to prevent the next pandemic. It was a very explicit claim. They were going to come up with a universal SARS vaccine. They were going to be able to predict which areas to monitor for pandemics, et cetera. Well, they didn't predict will happen. There's there's there's some real reckoning to be done about that.
I don't think the scientific establishment is not facing up. To. It's responsibility to get to the bottom of this story, I think. Yeah, and policymakers still think in terms of lockdowns and that's pretty much as creative as they can get. You know, we've kind of meddled with contact tracing for a while.
But I you know, I kind of long said that. Yeah. I mean, I long said this would never work. I mean, even even 100 cases a day in a large city like Houston is probably too much for even a large group of people to contact trace. And I mean, it's just a nightmare, really.
And like, what are you going to do about are you going to close down? Like, what authority do you have to close down a business? Because, you know, an infected person went through it. You know, this gets this gets into the basic rights. I mean, there's just so many questions that remain unanswered unless you're in a completely totalitarian state. And there's this mythology out there that that places like South Korea and Taiwan engaged in this really well constructed contact tracing.
It's just not really true, as it turns out, just on a mass scale. It's just not true. And so, you know, we've just gone through all these things and I'm just wondering what the heck. I guess we just have more PPE and, you know, in storage. I mean, that would be a I guess, a good first step. But other than that, it is not clear to me that anybody's come up with a like, wow, if we had just done this, we'd be better off.
You know, that's that's a pretty big deal.
Let me yeah. Let me tell you what I think will head off the next pandemic. And that is the work we've done on vaccines. I think the development of these messenger RNA vaccines like Moderna did and biosynthetic in Germany, Bizer, that is a really exciting new technology. But it's the technology that is going to be readily adaptable to producing very fast, responsive treatments and vaccines for pandemics when they occur. And probably also the cancer, by the way, it's going to be a multiple sclerosis.
I think out of out of this pandemic will come that new biotechnology, which is going to make an enormous difference. And the woman who pioneered this for decades, Katelin Karaka, who's a US based person of Hungarian origin, had a real struggle. You know, she got demoted. She lost a grant. Nobody believed in it. She just kept going. And eventually she sold the main problem she was up against and it started to work. And this is incredible how fast it could could be.
So the Moderna vaccine was designed three days after the sequence was sequenced in China in early January last year. And, you know, once you designed one of these RNA vaccines, the next one actually looks very similar chemically. It's exactly the same. It's got a strand of RNA inside of an oily bubble. The only difference is the sequence, the information in the RNA. So the chances are the safety data is going to be very similar. Yeah.
So this could be at last, universal vaccines, vaccines. We can roll off production lines and put into people very fast. And that, I think, will change the world and make us a lot safer.
That's a great point. It's great optimistic point to to end on on the theme of innovation I was going to add. Multiple sclerosis is also a promising outcome from from the from from that particular vaccine as well. I just read a story about that.
So I see it just as it is as a lot of really amazing potential outcomes. I just hope that. And again, the other perhaps thing to be optimistic about is, is an FDA that can approve things faster. I mean, I, I, you know, just living in Houston, Texas Medical Center, there's a lot of innovation that happens here, a lot of startups. And it is very frustrating for me to watch them continue to not have FDA approval for things that really should just not be a problem at all, whether it's stem cell therapy or or, you know, a friend of ours has something called in to a topic and it can give a a a what's the thing called when you put a needle into the spine?
How am I forgetting what this is called?
Yeah. Oh, yeah. Spinal Tap, epidural, federal, you know, like basically hit the target a hundred percent of the time with this little machine as opposed to a doctor screwing it up four times. You know, just simple things like why isn't this approved? Why isn't this just in the market already? Obviously it should be. You know, hopefully hopefully that's the outcome of this. Instead, so far we've gotten even one of the predictions I made earlier in the year was, you know what, at least college students, after going through something like this, will will stop talking about micro aggressions and cancel culture.
Man, I was wrong.
I was like I was I was so wrong in that prediction.
We have gotten worse. And she's, you know, I think examining the psychology of that might be a topic for another time. But let's let's leave on that up. A mystic note, Lord Riddley, really appreciate you being on. Otherwise known as Matt, I love you guys. His titles, you can't help. But those are fascinating discussion and I really appreciate it. Would have loved to have you back. I'm sure we could talk about a million different things and compare notes across the pond.
So I really appreciate it.
Well. Congressman Crenshaw, thank you. Dan, thank you very much indeed. And when we're all allowed to travel again, I will buy you a drink in the House of Lords.
All right. I'll take you up on that. Very excited about that. I haven't been back to London since like 2004, so it's definitely time for a trip I have. Very good to have you on. Thank you so much, sir. Thank you. And great to meet you. A real pleasure.