Transcribe your podcast

The following is a conversation with Saagar and Geddie, he is a DC based political correspondent, host of The Rising Crystal Ball and host of the realignment podcast with Marshall Kozloff. He has interviewed Donald Trump four times and has interviewed a lot of major political figures and human beings who wield power. He loves policy and loves history, which makes him a great person to sail through the sometimes stormy waters of political discourse. He showed up to this conversation with a gift of the second volume of Ian Kershaw's biography of Hitler, a two volume set that is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, most definitive studies of Hitler.


Nothing ruins my hard faster on a first meeting or first date that a great book about the darkest aspects of human nature and human history. I think I started seeing that as a joke, but actually there's probably a lot of truth to it. I love it when we skip the small talk and go straight to the in-depth conversation about the best and worst of human nature. Quick mention of our sponsors, Jordan Harbingers show grandma grammar assistant it sleeps of killing bed and magic spoon low carb cereal.


Click the sponsored links to get a discount to support this podcast. As a side note, let me say there, for better or for worse, I would like to avoid the trap of surface political bickering of the day. I do find politics fascinating, but not the talking points produced by the industrial engagement complex of red versus blue division. Instead, I'm fascinated by human beings who seek power and how power changes them. I don't have a political affiliation, and my ideas, at least I hope so, are defined more by curiosity and learning in the face of uncertainty and less by the echo chambers who tell me what I'm supposed to think.


I'm constantly evolving, learning and doing my best to do so without ego and with empathy. Please be patient with me as far as I'm aware. I do not have any derangement syndrome, nor do I get a medical prescription of blue, red, white or black pills. If I see something, I say it because I'm genuinely thinking and struggling with the ideas. I have no agenda. Just a bit of a hope to add more love to the world.


If you enjoy this thing, subscribe on YouTube, review and have podcast, follow on Spotify supporter and patron or connect with me on Twitter, Allex Friedemann, as usual, I'll do a few minutes of ads now and no ads in the middle. I'm trying to have more fun with these.


Yes, I know I'm not exactly the epitome of fun, so hopefully if you're stuck in a prison cell listening to these ads, they're at least interesting. But I do give you time stamps. You can skip. If you do skip, please still check out the sponsors, click the links, buy all their stuff. It really is the best way to support this podcast. This episode is sponsored by the Jordan Harbinger Show. Go to Jordan Harbage, Dotcom's Leks.


Subscribe to it. Listen, you won't regret it. He's a great interviewer and I especially like his feedback. Friday's episodes were his combination of fearlessness and thoughtfulness, especially on display touching topics of sex, corruption, mental disorder, hate, love and everything in between. Speaking of the controversial topics, I am a little bit feeling the burden of three our conversations in the sense that I'm trying to articulate difficult ideas, some of which have not thoroughly thought through, some of which are simply just devil's advocate and almost just like tossing up ideas to see how they feel and the kind of exit my mind and exit my mouth.


But the result is it can generate some kind of ridiculous rants, I think. Or if you take it out of context or even in context, it can generate things that just are patently untrue. And I struggle with this because it's very difficult for me to go back and then correct myself, unless it's an obvious, huge error.


That could be small errors that does where me. But I don't think I'm able to shirk away from that. So I have to pay the cost of making mistakes and to the best of my ability, apologize and correct myself and so on and keep moving forward. But not pretend like just because are three or four hours of conversation, I get a free pass to say anything I want. I do try to speak with care, with rigor, even about controversial topics.


Again, not afraid to bring anything up, but want to carry the responsibility of my words. Anyway, go to Jordan Jr dotcom slash legs so he knows I sent you. That's Jordan Harbinger dot com slash Lex. This show is sponsored by Gramley, a writing assistant to the check spelling, grammar, sentence structure and readability. Gramley Premium, the version you pay for and the version I desperately hope you sign up for, offers a bunch of extra features.


My favorite is the Clarity Check, which helps detect rambling chaos like this very conversation here that many of us can descend into. I think all the different tools that Gramley provides, challenge you're writing in exactly the right way should be challenged. All of us have different styles. But for me, at the end of the day, I think simplicity is beautiful. I really try to strive for simplicity. I'm working on a couple of research papers and even they're even in technical writing.


I feel that there is a responsibility to be articulate and simple. Big, complicated technical words should only be used when they are the most effective way to convey a specific concept that any simpler word would result in an oversimplification that will alter the meaning. But I find the challenge of sort of asking myself, how can I say this?


Simply that a lot of people could understand is a really useful challenge for even the more complicated ideas. So that's true for like regular writing, as true for like tweeting and writing emails, but it's also true for technical writing. And perhaps if I actually have anything interesting to say in a book form, one day I'll be able to express in book form.


Anyway, Gramling is available basically on any platform and major sites and apps like Gmail and Twitter and so on, get 20 percent of grumbly premium by signing up a slash WACs. That's 20 percent off a Lack's. This episode is also sponsored by Asleep in its pod prone mattress. It controls temperature with a nap, is packed with sensors and can cool down to as low as 55 degrees on each side of the bed. Separately, it can also heat up to some ridiculous amount.


But I'm definitely one of the people that likes it cold when I sleep and there's science to it.


Listen to my chat with your human mind about sleep. Or actually just listen to Andrew's podcast, which is quite incredible. I recommend it highly called the Human Lab podcast. But anyway, there's science for called being good for sleep. And that's definitely something anecdotally I could confirm. I've been really enjoying the the cold bad surface with a warm blanket, both for power naps and just like a full night's sleep. It's haven't they have a pod cover. So you can just add that to your mattress without having to buy theirs.


But their mattress is pretty nice. I got to say, I can track a bunch of metrics like heart rate variability, but cooling alone is worth the money. Go to AC dotcom slash likes to get special savings. That's eight sleep dotcom slash Lex. This episode is also sponsored by Magic Spoon, low carb, keto friendly cereal. It has zero sugar, eleven grams of protein and only three grams of carbs. They have a new limited edition flavor this month.


Cookies and cream and maple waffle. My favorite flavor is cocoa, as I don't seem to shut up about, but these sound pretty good, so I'll try them out. It's kind of exciting to see the innovation is delivered by magic spoon in cereal form.


It's kind of tragic to think about my diet in high school when I was wrestling to think that I was eating cereal with all that sugar and then coupling that with like starving myself to make weight going down to I think I started 112 the one nineteen one twenty five, then I think up to one forty five.


But I just remember not understanding diet. I think there were two problems.


So one problem is the communication and understanding of basic nutrition science was just not maybe at least in my circles was not effectively communicated. And at the same time the nutrition side of the food side of things was not catching up to what is healthy. So I think Magic Pudding is actually a nice combination of these two fields catching up to what's actually good for society. So one in nutrition science has been a lot of exciting developments and two, on the food science, like the engineering, the foods that are able to deliver on the nutrition science.


That's really exciting. And magic spoon, obviously, with like low carb cereal is an implementation of that. So it allows me to be healthy while still experiencing that like joy of childhood, which cereal represents while I'm supposedly an adult.


Anyway, Magic Spoon has a 100 percent happiness guarantee, so if you don't like it, they refund it.


One hundred happiness guarantee. I think if something even does the Yassky, Sartre and Comeaux get behind. So go to magic spoon dotcom legs and use code legs that check out, say, five bucks off your order this month.


That's magic spoon PUNDAK Slash Flex and use code laks. And now here's my conversation with Saagar and Jedi. There's no better gifts in this world than a book about Hitler, so thank you so much. I've gotten the gift when I was you. Yes. And the watch from Joe Rogan and this almost pizza. So tell me what this particular book on Hitler is. This is volume two.


Yes. So this is Ian Kershaw. He wrote the famous two volume on Hitler. I'm a big book nerd and I spend a lot of time reading biographies in particular.


So this one, if you need a one volume rise and fall the Third Reich. Right.


I think you talked about that, William Safire, because that's like Hitler's rise, Nazi Germany, the war, etc.. But I like bios because it's the good biography story of the times. Right. And so this one, the first volume, it does exactly that, which is that it doesn't just tell the story of Hitler, it's the context of poor, you know, this kid in Austria and he's got all these dreams. But then actually pretty courageous in terms of World War One.




Gets pinned a medal on by the Kaiser and then what it's like to have to lose World War One and actually, like, lose this the stain and then the rise within everybody knows that story, the beer hall putsch and all of that. This one I like and a reason I like Kershaw's obviously number one, it's English, which is actually hard. Right? Like in order to write that story, who can do both the primary source material and then translate it for people like us?


But he tells the dynamic story of Hitler so well in the second volume, just like the level of detail and you talked about this like what was it like inside that room inside with Chamberlain? Like, what was it like in terms of who was this, like magnetic madman who did convince the smartest people in the world at the time? And, you know, up until like 1940, the Soviet gamble like was it took tremendous risks, but highly calculated thinking.


No, no, no, no.


I'm not going to pay for this one. I'm not going to pay for this one and put himself in a remarkable ability not just to put himself in the minds of the German people, but in terms of his adversaries, like with when he was across from Mussolini. He's like, how exactly did Mussolini, the guy, create fascism becomes like second fiddle to Hitler? I think it's an amazing bio. And yeah, like Ian Kershaw, along with Richard Evans, two of my favorite authors on the Third Reich.


No question.


Do you think he was born this way, the charisma, whatever that is, or was it something he developed strategically? That's like the question you apply to some of the great leaders. Was he just a madman who had the instinct to be able to control people, one in the room together with them? Or is this like a work that I think he worked at it?


And but but also there is an innate quality. I'm forgetting his name, his lifelong, lifelong Rudolph, the one who flew to Berlin in nineteen forty names anyway.


So he he helped Hitler write mine and he was like slavishly devoted to him in prison. This is nineteen twenty five or something like that.


And so you read that and you're like wow, how does he get this like crank wacko to basically believe he's like the second coming.


Help him write this book. I mean literally they lived together in the prison cell and they wake up every day. And as he was composing Mein Kampf and because of the beer hall putsch and all that, had this, like, absolute ability to gather people around him. I think his greatest skill was is used to very good politician, truly. I mean, if you look at his ability in order to read coalitional politics and then convince exactly the right people in order to follow him, I think I heard you ask this once and I've thought about it a lot, which is like who could have stopped Hitler in Germany?


Right. It's always like the ever present question, of course, like the whole baby Hitler thing. Really the answer is Hindenburg, like Hindenburg was the person who could have stopped and had the immense standing within the German public.


The only real like war hero definitely was personally skeptical of fascism and Nazism and didn't and didn't like him.


And he knew he was full of shit. He was like, yeah, I think this guy is dangerous. I think this guy could do a lot of damage to the republic, but he acted basically to Hitler at the time. And I think that he was man of the main people who could have done something about it.


And also he was able to convince the generals and military. I mean, that was that was very interesting. And to convince Chamberlain and the other political leaders, there's something I often think about because we just reading books about these people.


I think about with Jeffrey Epstein, for example, like evil people, not evil, but people have done evil things. Let's not go to the Dan colony.


What is evil?


People that do evil things, I wonder what they're like in a room, because I know quite a lot of intelligent people that were did not see did not see the evil in Jeffrey Epstein and spend time with them and not we're not bothered by, in the same sense, Hitler.


It seems like he was able to get just even on it before he had power because people get intoxicated by power and so on. They want to be close to power. Even before he had power, he was able to convince people.


And it's unclear, like, is there something that's more than words, it's like the way you I mean, people talk tell stories about like this piercing look and whatever, all that kind of stuff. I wonder if that if that's somehow part of it like that has to be the base for of any of these charismatic leaders. You have to be able to, in a room alone, be able to convince anybody of anything.


So I can tell you from my personal experience, one of the best educated lessons I got was when I got to meet Trump. So I interviewed Trump four different times as a journalist, spent like two and a half hours with him in the Oval Office, not alone, but like me and one person and like the press secretary. And that was it. So I actually got to observe him. And as a guy who reads these types of books. Right.


And, you know, you think of Trump, obviously most people, what they see on television, you know, in articles and more, but being able to observe it like one on one, I was closer to him than, you know, than I am right now from you.


That was one of the most educational experiences I got, because it's like you just said, the look, the leaning forward, the way he talks here, the way he is a master at taking the question and answering exactly which party wants.


And then if you try and follow up, he's like, excuse me, you know, like he knows. And then whenever you're taught, it's not that he's annoyed about getting interrupted. If he realizes he's been meandering and then you interrupt him, all good. But if he's driving home a point which he now has to make sure appears in your transcript or whatever, it's it's like it really was fascinating for me to look at.


And what was also crazy with Trump is I realized how much he was living in the moment. So like when I went to the Oval, you know, I've read all these biographies and like, I walk in and I'm like, holy shit. You're like, I'm in the Oval Office where you interviewed him in the Oval Office, in the Oval.


Every time I was in the Oval Office. I'm scared shitless.


Sorry, I wasn't scared. I was just look, it's the Oval Office, right? I mean, I'm this nerd who's like this kid when I'm so I will admit this year, like, I print it out on my dad's label maker when I was like seven and I wrote like the Oval Office on my bedroom.


So I was like, you know, a huge nerd, like obviously egomaniacal even from seven.


But so like for this, I mean, was huge, right?


I'm like this 25 year old kid and like, I walk in there and I see the couch, right.


And I'm like, oh, man. Like Kissinger, like, you know, I'm like, that's where like Kissinger, Nixon got on their knees and you see over by the door and you're like, are the scuff marks still there from when Eisenhower used to play golf?


You know, this is all running through with Trump. None of us there. None of it. Right. So I guess in the moment, even the desk, I put my phone on the desk to record and I'm like, this is the fucking ask why I shouldn't put my phone on this thing.


And and I'm like, H.M.S. Resolute, you know, all international even for him. He doesn't think about any of it. It was like amazing to me.


Like he had this portrait of Andrew Jackson right next to his to the I think from on the fireplace, like right here on the right. And the most revealing question was when I was like, Mr. President, what are people going to remember you for one hundred years? And he was like he he had he was like, I don't know, like veterans choice.


He, like, has a list in front of him of like his accomplishments, which is stature, by the way. Yeah, well, I mean, that's what I wanted to know. And he's like veterans choice. And I remember looking at him being like, it's not going to be veterans, you know, like I really I'm like, I'm looking at you.


Donald Trump, the harbinger of something new. Yeah. We still don't know what the hell it is. And so I realized with these guys and their charisma and more is that they don't think about themselves the way that we think about them. And that was actually important to understand because a lot of people like Trump is playing all this chess.


I'm like, I assure you, he's not like he's truly one time I was interviewing him and he had like a certificate that he had to sign or something on his desk. He's like it was like a child, almost like you got distracted by the he's like, oh, what's this? You know, it's like picking up. And I was like, wow, like this this is the guy like this is what he is.


Well, I wonder if there was a different person because you were recording then. So I offline.


And I can tell you. Well here's the thing though, because that's another part of it. Because that two hours. Mm. I would say like half that was not on the record.


So like whenever he's off the record he changes completely. Right.


I don't want to like go into too much of it or whatever, but like he, I mean he is so mindful of when that camera's on and when the mic is hot in terms of language that he uses what he's willing to admit, what he's willing to talk about, how he's willing to even appear in front of his staff. I think the most revealing thing Trump ever did was there was this press conference like right after he lost the right after the midterm elections in twenty eighteen.


And one of the journalists was like, Mr. President, thank you for doing this press conference. And he looks at me. He goes, it's called earned media. It's. Worth billions, see, just like had so much disdain for him, because he's like, I'm not doing this for you. I'm doing this for me. So he's really aware of the narrative story. I mean, that the people have talked about that all comes from the tabloid media of the from New York and so on.


He's a master of that. But I've also heard stories of just in private, he's a really I don't want to over use the word charismatic, but just like he is a really interesting, almost like friendly, like a good person.


Like that's what I heard.


I've heard actually surprisingly same thing about Hillary Clinton and I can't tell you, but like, the the way they present themselves is perhaps very different than they are as human beings.


One on one. That that's something.


Maybe that's just the Gaskill thing, maybe maybe the way they present themselves in public is actually their. I mean, almost their real self, and they're just really good in private, one on one, to go into this mode of just being really intimate in some kind of human way.


I think that's part of it, because I notice that with Trump, you know, he's like it's almost like a tour guide. It was very it's it's crazy, right? Because you're like you're in the Oval. I mean, it's his office and he's like he's like, do you guys want anything? You want a Diet Coke?


Diet Coke? Like, you know, I'm apologetic. Yeah. It's just like he's like, you guys want a Diet Coke, right?


And you're sitting there and you're like the way he he's able to like like the last time I interviewed him, he he wanted to do it outside because he like he's studied himself from all angles and he knows exactly how he looks on a camera and with the lighting. And so we were supposed to interview him on camera in the Oval Office, which is actually rare. Like you don't usually get that. And they ended up moving it outside at the last minute.


And he came out and he's like, I picked this spot for he's a great lady.


I was like, you are your own, like lighting director and the president is great. It is so funny.


But it's like you said, he's he's very charismatic and friendly. I mean, he wouldn't I mean, look, this is what I mean in terms of the dynamism of these people that gets lost.


And I think even he knows that, like, I don't think he would want that side of him that they see seen those off the record moments and more in order to come out because he's very keen about how exactly he presents to the public.


It's like, you know, even his presidential portrait, everybody usually smiles and he refused to smile. He was like, I want to look like Winston Churchill, you know, like even he knew that.


Do you think he believes that he what what he kind of implies that he is one of the greatest presidents in American history. Like, people kind of laugh at this. But there's quite I mean, there's quite a lot of people, first of all, that make the argument that he's the greatest president in history. Like I've heard this argument being made. And I mean, I don't know what the first of all, I don't care. Like, you can't make an argument that anyone is the greatest.


That's just that's the I I come from a school of, like, being humble and modest and so on. It's a given.


Michael, you can't have a conversation.


OK, so I like that he's humble enough to say, like Abraham Lincoln or whatever, like he says maybe like maybe remember that maybe maybe like you think he actually believes that or is that's something he understands will create news and also, perhaps more importantly, piss off a large number of people. Is he almost like a musician, masterfully playing the emotions of the public or does he? Or or and does he believe when he looks in the mirror, I'm one of the greatest men in history combination of all three?


I do think he believes it. And for the reason why is only, you know, so much about U.S. history. I really mean that, like and that's what I meant whenever I was in there and I realized he was just living in the moment.


I don't think he knew all that much about why. I mean, this is why he was elected in many ways. Right. So I'm not I'm not saying this is in orbit. Like, I'm not making a judgment with on this.


I'm just saying I do think in his mind, he does think he was one of the best presidents in American history, largely because and I encountered this a lot of people work for him, which is that they didn't really know all that much kind of about what came before and all that.


And it's not necessarily to hold it against them, because for in many ways is what they were elected to do or elected to be.


In many ways, it's an interesting question whether knowing history, being a student of history is productive or counterproductive.


I tend to assume I really respect people who are deeply like well-read in history, like presidents that are almost like nerd history nerds. I admire that. But maybe that gets in the way. Well, it's well, governance. I don't know. It's not it's not you know, I'm just sort of playing devil's advocate to my own beliefs. But it's possible that focusing on the moment and the issues and letting history it's like first principles, thinking, forget the lessons of the past and just focus on common sense reasoning through the problems of today.


Yeah, it's really hard question in terms of the modern era. I mean, Obama was a student of history, like he used to have presidential biographers and people over.


And I mean famously, like Robert Caro, one of my favorite presidential biographers, he was invited to have dinner with Obama.


And Obama would like pepper some of his every. It was interesting cause he'd try and justify some of the things he didn't do by being like, well, if you look at what they had to do and what I have to deal with, mine's much harder.


So in that way, I was a little pissed off because I'd be like, no, that actually like you're comparing apples to oranges and all that.


But if you look at Roosevelt, Teddy Roosevelt in particular, this was, I mean, a voracious reader, not of just American history, all history.


He was just such a badass, incredible book, the only the only president who willed himself to greatness. That's like the amazing thing about him. He wasn't tested by a crisis. Right. Like it wasn't he didn't have a civil war, didn't have World War Two. He didn't have to found the country literally or like, you know, didn't have to stave off that or he didn't buy, you know, the Louisiana Purchase. Like all. He literally came into a pretty, you know, static country.


And he could have just governed, you know, with I mean, he was the person who came before him was assassinated. He easily could have coasted, but he literally willed the country into something more. And that is that's always why I focused a lot on him, too, because I'm like that in many ways. I wouldn't say it's easy to be great during crisis. I mean, like, look at Trump. Right. Well, but there it can bring out the best within you.


But it's a it's a whole other level to bring out the best within yourself just for the sake of doing it. That's I think is really interesting.


Speeches were amazing. I'm also a sucker for great speeches because I tend to see the role of the president as in part like inspirer in chief sort of to be able to me, that's what great leaders do, like CEOs of companies and so on, establish a vision, a clear vision, and like they hit that hard. But the way you establish the vision isn't just like. Not to dig at Joe Biden, but like like sleep boring statements, you have to sell those statements and you have to you have to do it in a way where everybody's paying attention.


Everybody's excited. Yes. And that was definitely one of them. Obama's that I think at least early on, I don't know, was incredible at that. It does feel that the modern political landscape makes it more difficult to be inspirational in a sense, because everything becomes bickering and division.


I do want to ask you, please, about Trump the senior now a successful podcast or I've talked to Joe about Trump, Joe Rogan and Joe's not interested in talking to Trump.


Just fascinating. I try to dig into, like, why.


Yeah. What would you interview Trump, unlike realignment, for example. And do you think it's possible to do a two, three hour conversation with him where you will get at something like human or you get something like we were talking about the facade he puts forward. Do you think you could get past that? No, I don't.


I look, I was a White House correspondent. I observe I observe this man very closely. I interviewed him. I think if that mic is hot, he knows what he's doing. He just he's he's done this too long walks. He just knows.


What do you think he's a different human now after the election. Do you think that you.


No, I don't. I think he's been the same person since nineteen seventy six. I really do like basically nineteen seventy six.


I studied Trump a lot and I think he's basically been the core of who he is and elements of that ever since he built that sent, you know, the ice rink in Central Park and got that media attention. That was it. Yeah.


He's a fascinating study. I still I feel there's a hope in me that there would be a podcast like like a jaw dropping, like a long form podcast where something could be, you know, and you're actually a really good person to do that, where you can have a real conversation that looks back at the election and reveal something honest.


But perhaps he's thinking about running again. And and so maybe he'll never let down that guard. Yes.


But like, you know, I just love it when. There's this switch in people where you start, start looking back at your life and wanting to tell stories like, you know, trying to extract wisdom and realizing you're in this new phase of life where the battles have all been fought and all year this old like former warrior. And now you can tell the stories of that time. And it seems like Trump is still at it, like the young warrior he is.


He's not in the mode of telling stories. You know what I got from Rogan?


He's the only president who didn't age while in office. It's true, right? Because and this is what I mean, because he lives in the moment, like the job actually aged Obama.


I mean I mean Bush. Same thing. Even Clinton.


Clinton was like fat and he looked miserable by like 20 H.W. like I mean, Reagan famous actually. Yeah. Pretty much everybody I think about.


Yeah. Including John F. Kennedy, who got much sicker while in office. The job like weighs on you and makes you physically ill.


Try it was is the only person who just was he made an effort to have gotten stronger and he was one of the most diverse like the climate that so many people attacking him, so much hatred, so much love and hatred. And it was just he was I mean, as whatever it was, it was quite masterful and a fascinating study.


If we if we stick on Hitler for just a minute, what lessons do you take from that time? Do you think it's a unique moment in human history that World War Two, I mean, both Stalin and Hitler, you know, is it something that's just an outlier in all of human history in terms of the atrocities or is there are lessons to be learned?


You mentioned mentioned offline that you're not just a student of the entirety of the history, but you also are fascinated by just different, like policies and stuff like what's the immigration policy?


What's the policy on science and the Third Reich in power?


Let me plug it by Richard. Richard Evans, I think is what it was, because that actually will tell you, like, what was it like to live under the Nazi regime without the war?


Yeah, yeah. That's a hard question in terms of the lessons that we can learn, because there's a lot and it's actually been over, it's been over indexed almost every everything comes back to Hitler in a conversation.


So I kind of think of it within Mao, Stalin and Hitler as.


I don't want to say payments for, but like. The end point payment for the sins and the problems of the monarchical system that evolved within Europe, basically like fourteen hundred and more, I basically think that fourteen hundred, the wars between the state wars mean France, England, the balance of power, eventually World War One and then serfdom within Russia, the Russian Revolution that birthed Stalin, same thing the Kaiser and Imperial Germany and this like incredibly crazy system of balance of power and World War One.


And then same thing within China in terms of the warring states and then the disintegration, the European how this is how they think of it, you know, which is like the century of humiliation. And they had to have something like this. I think of it. I try to think of it within the context of that.


I don't want to think of I don't want to sound like an inevitable list, but I think of it as I like to think about systems, especially here in D.C. So I got into politics, which is that you have to understand systems of power and the incentives within systems and the disincentives, the downside risk of what you're purpose of what you're creating, because it that is what leads and creates the behavior within that system.


I was just talking to my girlfriend about this yesterday. It's kind of funny. Like I read these I'm obsessed with these books by Robert Caro, the biographies of Lyndon Johnson. He's written like five thousand pages so far and it's still not done.


OK, so like these are these are like books I base my life on.


And these are Washington and the story of the Post New Deal era and forward.


Not much has changed like the Senate is the still the Senate. So many of the same problems with the Senate are still there in some cases. No, not not anymore.


But for a while, some of the people who were there with Johnson are still one of them is the president of the United States. Just a joke?


And you think about also same with the media relationship, right? Like there's this media really. They may have come and gone like the people who were in the media and who were cozy with the administration officials.


I mean, they just recreated themselves. It's like it's like an ecosystem which doesn't change. And the that's why I'm like, oh, it's not that was a specific time. That's just DC. Like that is DC because of the way the system is architected.


It's pretty much been that way since like nineteen eighty eight whenever like, you know, Teddy Roosevelt was dining with these journalists and he would yell at them and then he would go over to the society house and like in many ways that's now instead of going to Henry Adams, his house, like the people are congregating in Kalorama, which is the richest neighborhood here at somebody else's house.


Like it's the same thing. So you have to think about the system and then the incentives within that system about what the outcomes that they're producing. If you actually want to think about how can I change this from the outside, that's also why it's very difficult to change, because the system is designed in order to produce actually pretty specific outcomes that can only be change in extraordinary times.


Yeah, it's sometimes hard to predict what kind of outcomes will result from the incentive, the system that you create. Right, right. In the case, because especially when it's novel kind of situations, Trump lets you create a pretty null situation. And a lot of the things that we've seen in the 20th century were very novel systems where people were very optimistic about the outcomes. Right. And then it turned out to not have the results that they predicted.


AI in terms of like things being unchanged for the past hundred years and so on. Can you like Wikipedia style or maybe like in musical form? Like, I'm only a bill described to me.


I still sing that, too. I had some I'm just a bill.


I don't know what the rest of the song is, but let's let's leave that to people's imagination. How how does this whole thing work? How does the US political system work? The three branches is how do you think about the system we have now? If you want to try to describe if aliens showed up and asked you like they didn't have time. So this is an elevator thing else, should we destroy you? And as you plead to avoid destruction, how would you describe how this thing works?


I would say we come together and we pick the people who make our laws. Then we pick the guy who executes those laws and they together pick the people who determine whether they or the president is breaking the law. At the most basic level. That's how I would describe it.


So the so that's the people who make the laws are Congress the executive is is charged with. Executing the laws as passed by Congress, the system of the branches of government and the Supreme Court is picked by the president, confirmed by the Senate, which then decides whether you or other people are breaking the law in terms of interpretation of that law. That's basically it.


Oh, and they they decide whether those laws are in. They fall within the they fall within the restrictions and the want of the founders, as expressed by the Constitution of the United States, which is a set of principles that we came together in 1787.


I want to make sure I get this right, 1787 and decided that we were going to live the rest of our lives barring a revolution and more. And we've made it two hundred and something years in order on under that system.


So there's a balance of power. That's because we have multiple branches.


There's a tension and a balance to it as designed by those original documents, which is the most dysfunctional of the branches, which is your favorite in terms of talking about systems and like what's the greatest of concern and what is the greatest source of benefit?


Well, in your view, the presidency of the presidency is my favorite to study, obviously, because it is the one where there's most subject to variable change in terms of the personality involved because of so much power imbued within the executive, the Senate is actually pretty much the same.


One of the things I love about reading about the histories of the Senate is you're like, oh yeah, there were always like assholes in the Senate who were doing their thing and and filibustering constantly based upon this or that. And then the person the personalities involved with the Senate haven't mattered as much since, like pre civil war. Right. Like pre civil war. You had like Henry Clay and then Daniel Webster and John C. Calhoun, who even in their own way, they represented like larger constituencies, and they crafted these compromises up until the outbreak of the Civil War, etc.




But like post since then, you don't think about like the Titans within the Senate. Most of that is because a lot of the stuff that they had power over has transferred over to the executive. So I'm most interested in really in like power, like where it lies. It's actually pretty, you know, throughout American history, much more easily with Congress now. It's obviously just so imbued within the executive that understanding executive power is, I think, the thing I'm probably most interested in here.


Do you think at this point the amount of power that the president has is corrupting to the to their ability to lead? Well, you know, power corrupts absolute. Power corrupts absolutely. Are we is there too much power in the presidency? There definitely is.


And part of the problem and I one of the things I try to make come across to people is if you're the president, unless you have a hyper intentional view of how something must be different in government, your view doesn't matter.


So, for example, like if you were Trump, let's say Trump even and even then with a pretty intentional view, he was like, I'm going to end the war in Afghanistan and Iraq. Right. And he came in and he gets these generals and he's like, I want to end the war in Afghanistan and Iraq. Oh. And I want to withdraw these troops from Syria. And they're like, OK, we'll give you give us like six months.


He's like, OK. And this is the thing about Trump, he doesn't realize that it's bullshit. So they're like he's like six months. Right? So then six months comes and he's like he's like so and then he'll announce and he was like, and we're getting out of Syria. It's great.


And then just freak out like, whoa, whoa, we don't have a plan for this.


But you guys told me six months he's like now, you know, six months in order to figure this thing out. And by that time now your midterms. So now what are you going to run for reelection so more? What I mean by that is if you don't have a hyper intentional view about how to change foreign policy, if you don't have a hyper intentional view about how the Department of Commerce should do its job, they are just going to go on autopilot.


So there's this is part of the problem.


When you asked me about the presidency, it's not the presidency itself like the president himself, which has become too powerful. It's that we have less Democratic checks on the people and the systems that are on autopilot. And I would say that basically, since two thousand and eight, we have voted every single time to disrupt that system, except in the case of twenty twenty with Joe Biden. And there are a lot of different reasons around why that happened.


And in every single one of those cases, Obama and Trump, they all failed in order to in order to radically disrupt that. And that just shows you how Titanic the task is. And I'm using my language precisely because I don't want to be like deep state and all. But like, obviously, this deep state, deep state, I guess, has contributed to the. But see, what you're saying is the true power currently lies with the autopilot in a deep state.


Well, but it's not. This is the thing, too, I want to make clear, because I think people think conspiratorially that they're all coming together to intentionally do something. No, no. They are doing what they know, believe they are right and don't have real democratic checks within that. And so now they have entire generations of cultures within each of these bureaucracies where they say this is the way that we do things around here.


And that's the problem, which is that we have a culture of within many of these agencies and more. I think the best example for this would be during the Ukraine gate with Trump and all that with the impeachment want.


And I'm not talking about the politics here, but the most revealing thing that happened was when the whistleblower guy, Alexander Wenman, was like, here you have the president departing from the policy of the United States.


And it was like, well, let me educate you, Lieutenant Colonel. The president of the United States makes American foreign policy.


But it was a very revealing comment because he and all the people with a national security bureaucracy do think that they're like this is the policy of the United States. It's we have to do this. That's where things get screwy.


Well, this is for me personally, but also from an engineering perspective I just talked to Jim Keller is just this is the kind of bullshit that we all hate in when you're trying to innovate in design new products.


Right. So that's that's what first principles thinking requires is like we don't give a shit what was done before. The point is, what is the best way to do it? And it seems like the current government, government in general, probably bureaucracies in general, are just really good at being lazy about never having those conversations. And just it becomes this momentum thing that nobody has the difficult conversations. It's become a game within a certain set of constraints and it never kind of do revolutionary task.


But you did say that the presidency is power, but you're saying that more power than the others and that power has to be coupled with focused intentionality. Like you have to keep hammering the thing.


If you want it done, it has to be done.


I mean, and you got to you got to this is the other part, too, which is that it's not just that you have to get it done.


You have to pick the hundred people who you can trust to pick 10 people each to actually do what you want.


One of the most revealing quotes is from a guy named Tommy Corcoran. He was the top aide to FDR. This I'm getting from the caribou's to and he said, what is a government? It's not just one guy or even 10 guys. Hell, it's a thousand guys. And what FDR did is he massively picked the right people to execute his will through the federal agencies. Johnson was the same way he played these people like a fiddle. He knew exactly who to pick.


He knew the system and more part of the reason that outsiders who don't have a lot of experience in Washington almost always fail, is they don't know who to pick or they pick people who say one thing to their face. And then when it comes time to carry out the president's policy in terms of the government, they just don't do it. And the president's to think about this. I think Rahm Emanuel said this. He was like, by the time it gets to the president's desk, nobody else can solve it.


It's not easy. It's not like a yes or no question. It's every single thing that hits the president's desk is incredibly hard to do. And Obama actually even said and this was a very revealing quote about how the how he thinks about the presidency, which is he's like, look, the presidency is like one of those supertankers.


You know, he's like, I can come in and I can take it two degrees left and two degrees right in one hundred years, two degrees left. That's a whole different trajectory. Yeah, same thing on the right. And he's like that ultimately is really all you can do. I quibble and disagree with that in terms of how he could have changed things at twenty eight. But there's a lot of truth to that statement. OK, that's really fast.


You make me realize that actually both Obama and Trump are probably playing victim here to the system. You're making me think that maybe you can correct me that because I'm thinking like Elon Musk, whose major success, despite everything is is hiring the right people. Exactly. And like creating those thousands, that structure four a thousand people. So maybe a president has power and that if there were exceptionally good at hiring the right people, personnel is policy, man.


That's that's what it comes down to.


But wouldn't be able to steer the ship way more than two degrees if you hire the right people. So, like, it's almost like Obama was not good at hiring the right people. Well. All the Clinton people, that's what happened when Trump hired all the Bush people, and then we sit back and say, oh, the president can't, but that means you're just suck at hiring, correct?


Yeah. I mean, look, I know it's funny. I'm giving you simultaneously the nationalist case against Trump and the progressive case against Obama. Yes.


The progressive people are like, why the fuck are you hiring all these Clinton people in order to run the government and just recreate like, why are you hiring Larry Summers, who is one of the people who worked at all these banks and didn't believe the bailouts are going to be big enough and then to come in in the worst economic crisis in modern American history. That was 2008. And Summers actively lobbied against larger bailouts, which had huge implications for working class people and pretty much hollowed out America since.


OK, from Trump, same thing. You're like, I'm going to drain the swamp.


And by doing that, I'm going to hire Goldman Sachs as Gary Cohn and Steve Diminution and all these other absolute Bush clowns in order to run my White House.


Well, yeah, no shit. The only thing that you accomplished in your four years in office is passing a massive tax cut for the rich and for corporations. I wonder how that happened.


What role does money play in all of this? Is money huge influence in politics, super PACs, all that kind of stuff? Or is this is this more just kind of a narrative that we play with? Because from the outsider's perspective, it seems to have that seems to be one of the fundamental problems with modern politics.


So I was just having this conversation, Marshall, and I'm Marshall focused on my course on the realignment.


And it's funny because if you do enough research, we actually live in the least corrupt age in American campaign finance, as in it's never been more transparent. It's never been more up to the FEC and all of that. If you go back and read, not even 50 years ago, we're talking about Lyndon B. Johnson handing people like literally as he came up in his youth, paying people for votes, like the boss of the you know, the person who, like, had all the Mexican votes, like the person who ran.


And he was like giving out briefcases. This is like within people's lifetimes who are alive in America.


So that doesn't happen anymore. But I don't like to blame everything on money, although I do think money is obviously a huge part of the problem. I actually look at it in terms of distribution, which is that how is money distributed within arthuis within our society?


Because I firmly believe that politics is going to get complicated. But I think politics is mostly downstream from culture and culture. Obviously, I'm using economics because there's obviously a huge interplay there. But like in terms of the equitable or lack of equitable distribution of money within our politics, what we're really pissed off about is we're like our politics only seems to work for the people who have money. I think that's largely true. I think that the reason why things worked differently in the past is because our economy was structured in different ways.


And there's a reason that our politics today are very analogous to the last Gilded Age, because we had very similar levels, levels of economic distribution and cultural problems to at the same time, I don't want to erase that because I actually think that's what's driving all of our politics right now.


So that's interesting. So was one. So in that sense, representative government is done a pretty good job of representing. It is the state of culture and the people and so on. Yeah. Can I ask you in terms of, you know, the deep state and conspiracy theories there's a lot of talk about. So, again, from an outsider's perspective, if I were just looking at Twitter, it seems that at least 90 percent of people in government are pedophiles and ninety nine point ninety five percent, I'm not sure that number is.


If I were to just look at Twitter honestly or YouTube, I would think most of the world is a pedophile. I would almost feel like. Right.


And if you don't fully believe that you're a pedophile. Yeah, yeah.


I would start to wonder, like, wait. Like, I kind of feel like I'm either communist or pedophile or both, I guess. Yeah. That's going to be clipped out.


Thank you. Internet.


I look forward to your emails, but is there any kind of shadow conspiracy theories that give you pause or so the flip side, the response to a lot of conspiracy theories. It's like, no, the reason this happened is because it's a combination of just incompetence. So where do you land on some of these conspiracy theories?


I think most conspiracy theories are wrong. Some are true, and those are spectacularly true. And if that makes sense, yeah, I don't know which ones. I don't know which one. That's the problem, I think. Well, I mean, look, man, I listen to your podcast.


I think I was a huge nonbeliever in UFO.


And now I've probably never believe more in you have like I I believe in UFOs. I'm very comfortable being like, not only do I believe in UFOs, I think we're probably being visited by an alien civilization. Like and if you ask me out three years ago, I would be like, you're out of your fucking mind.


Like, what are you talking about? Well, listen to David Faber. It's all I have to say. That's it. I have the sense that the government has information that hasn't revealed, but it's not like they're I don't think they're holding there's like a green guy.


Exactly, because they just they have seen things they don't know what to do with. So it's like they're confused.


They they're afraid of revealing that. They don't know.


That's what I think it is revealing the. Exactly. I don't know. And then they're in the process. There's a lot of fears tied up in that first looking incompetent in the public eye. Nobody wants to be looked that way. And the other is like in revealing it, even though they don't know, maybe China will figure it out.


Exactly. So we don't want China to figure it out first. And so that all those kinds of things result in basically secrecy, then that damages the trust in institutions. And one of the most fascinating aspects, like one of the most fascinating mysteries of humankind of is their life, intelligent life out there in the universe. So that's one of them. But there's other ones, like for me, when I first came across, actually, Alex Jones was nine eleven.


Yeah, I remember, like, because I was I was in Chicago, I was thinking like, oh shit. Are they going to hit Chicago, too? That's what everybody was thinking. Yeah. Everybody everybody was thinking like, what does this mean? Let's get what scale. What I mean, trying to interpret it. And I remember like looking for information that's like what what happened. What and I remember not being satisfied with the quality of reporting and figuring out like rigourous like here's exactly what happened.


And so people like Alex Jones stepped up and others that said, like, there's some shady shit going on and it sure as hell look like there's shady shit going on. Yes. So like and I still stand behind the fact that it seems like there's not there's not enough like it wasn't good job of being honest and transparent and all those kinds of things because it would implicate the Saudis.


Let's be honest. That's that's my conspiracy theories. I'm like, yeah, I think they covered up a lot of stuff because they wanted to cover up for the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.


Like I mean, that is that was a conspiracy theory not that long ago. I think it's true. I think it's 100 percent true. Yeah.


So those conspiracy theories are interesting. I mean, there's other ones for me personally that touched the institution. That means a lot to me is I MIT and you know, Jeffrey Epstein, I want to hear a lot more.


I want to hear about this. I talk about I've seen a lot. So I'm like, oh, you do? And he I was going to say in terms of conspiracy theory, that one changed my outlook because I was like I was like, whoa.


Like, you have this dude who convinced some of the most successful people on Earth that he was like some money manager.


And it looks like it was totally fake, like Leon Black.


I mean, this is one of the richest men on Wall Street, nine billion dollar net worth.


Why is he given him over one hundred million dollars? Mean twenty. Fifteen to nineteen. Yeah. What's going on here?


Lack's Wexner. Samie So yeah, I want to hear because you know, people who met him and the only person I know met him was Eric Weinstein I've heard is right. Oh boy.


So I listen I'm still and Eric is fascinating and like Eric is full on saying that he was a Mossad or whatever.


Yeah. There's something, something much, much bigger.


And there's whatever his name, Robert Maxwell, all the all those stories like you could dig deeper and deeper, that Jeffrey is just like the tip of the iceberg. I just think he's an exceptionally charismatic listen, this isn't speaking from confidence or like deep understanding of the situation, but from my speaking with people, he's just seems like. At least from the side of his influence and interaction with researchers, he just seems like somebody that was exceptionally charismatic. And.


Actually took interest, he was unable to speak about interesting scientific things, but he took interest in them so he knew how to stroke the egos of a lot of powerful people, like, well, like in in different kinds of ways, I suppose.


I don't know about this because I don't have like, if a really OK, this is this is weird to say, but I have an ability, OK, I think women are beautiful.


I like women, but like if I like a supermodel came to me or something like like I'm able to reason, it seems like some people are not able to think clearly when there's like an attractive woman in the room.


And I think that was one of the tools used to manipulate people. Interesting. I don't know. Listen, I think the pedophile thing, right, I don't know how many people are complete sex addicts, but it seems like like looking out into the world, like there's a will.


Like the me too movement have revealed that there's a lot of, like, weird, you know, like creepy people out there. I don't know. But I think it was just one of the many tools that he used to.


Convince people and manipulate people, but not in some like evil way, but more just really good at the art of conversation and just winning people over the side and then by building through that process, building a network of other really powerful people and not explicitly but implicitly having done shady shit with powerful people, like building up a kind of implied power of like like we did some shady shit together.


So we're not like, you're going to help me out on this extra thing I need right now.


And that builds and builds and builds to where you're able to actually control, like have quite a lot of power without explicitly having, like, a strategy meeting. And I think a single person or. Yeah, I think a single person can do that, can start that ball rolling and over time it becomes a group thing like I don't know if Jim Maxwell was involved or others and or, yeah, over time, that becomes almost like a really powerful organization that wasn't that's not a front for something much deeper and bigger.


But it's almost like maybe it's because I love Sally Atomism in a system that starts out as a simple thing with simple rules can create incredible complexity. Yes. So I just think that we're now looking in retrospect, it looks like an incredibly complex system that's operating. But like that's just because, you know, there could be a lot of other Jeffersonians in my perspective that the simple thing just was successful early on and builds and builds and builds and builds.


And then there's creepy shit that, like a lot of aspects of the system, helped it get bigger and bigger and more powerful and so on. So the final result is, I mean, listen, I have a pretty optimistic I have a tendency to good in people. And so it's been heartbreaking to me in general just to see, you know, people I look up to not have the level of integrity I thought they would or like the strength of character, all those kinds of things.


And it seems like you should be able to to see the bullshit that is Jeffrey Epstein, like when you meet them.


Right. We're not talking about like Eric Weinstein like one or two or three or five interactions, but like this people that had like like years of relationship with them.


And I don't know, I I'm not sure.


Even after he was convicted, after he convicted, that guy always gets. Yeah, there's there's stories.


I mean, I don't need to sort of I honestly believe.


OK, here's the open question I have I don't know how many creepy sexual people there are out there, like I don't know if there like like the people I know, the faculty and so on.


I don't know if they have, like, a kink that I'm just not aware of that was being leveraged.


Because to me it seems like if if people aren't if not everybody is a pedophile, then it's just the art of conversation that is just like the art of just like manipulating people by making them feel good about, like, the exciting stuff they're doing. Listman academics that people talk about money. I don't think academics care about money as much as people think what they care about is like somebody they want to be. It's the same thing that Instagram models posting their blood pictures is they want to be loved.


They want attention on the professors.


Yeah, they they and if the money is another way to show attention, it's my work matters. And he for some, he did that for some of the weirdest, most brilliant people.


I don't want to sort of drop names, but everybody knows them. It's like people that are the most interesting academics is the one he cared about. Like people are thinking about the most difficult questions of in all of science and all of engineering. So those people are we're kind of outcasts in academia a little bit because they're doing the weird shit. They're the weirdos. And he cared about the weirdos and he gave them money. And that, you know, that's I don't know if there's something more nefarious than that.


I, I hope not. But maybe I'm surprised. And in fact, half the population of the world is pedophiles.


No, I think it's what you were talking about, which is that it's the it's the implication after the initial right. Like you do some shady things together.


You do something that you want out of the public eye and you're a public person.


And look, we probably even experiences to a limited extent revealing, you know, like I don't want to I don't know, I almost lost my temper, you know, one time whenever a car hit me and I'm like, I can't freak out in public anymore that, you know, like, what if somebody takes a photo or something?


Yeah. And so I think that there is an extent to that time's a billion literally when you have a billion dollars or more and you take that all together and you stack it up on itself.


I saw a story about like Bill Clinton, like Bill Clinton was with Epstein or with Glenn Maxwell in a private air terminal or something. And she had one of their like sex. You know, one of those girls who was underage had her dressed up in a literal, like, pilot uniform and she was underage in order to, you know, and she was being disguised for being older. And she was a misuse. Right. Because that was one of the guises which they got in order to sexually trafficked these women.


And she was like, Bill was like complaining about his neck. And she's like, give Bill Clinton a massage. Right. So now there's a photo of an underage girl giving a massage to the former president of the United States.


I don't think he knew. Right. But like, that looks bad. And so this is kind of what we're getting at, which is that you're setting it all up and creating those preconditions or like Prince Andrew. Do I think Prince Andrew knew that Virginia Geffray was underage?


I don't know.


Probably knew she was pretty young, which I think is, you know, scary enough where you're a fucking prince.


You probably know better, but I don't think he knew she was under age or maybe did. And if he did, and he's even more of a piece of shit than I thought.


But and we when we when we look at these things, the stuff I'm more interested in is like what you were talking about. I'm like Bill Gates.


How do you get the richest man in the world in your house, like under what Gates is like?


He was talking about financing and all this money. You don't have access to money or bankers like you're the richest man in the world. You can call Goldman Sachs anytime you want on a hotline. Like, why do you need.


That's where that's where I start again, to get more conspiratorial because I'm like, Bill, dude, you can you have the gold credit.


Like you don't need Epstein to create some complicated financing structure or Leon Black, like what is twenty, fifteen, twenty.


I mean, this is very recent stuff or and this is the part that really got me as I read the depart, I think it's called the Department of Financial Service report are on Deutsche Bank with Epstein News.


A criminal they solicited his business, explicitly knew that his business meant access to other high net worth individuals, consistently doled money out from his account for hush payments to women in Europe and prostitution rings. They knew all of this within the bank. It was elevated multiple times. He was the other one. One of Epstein's associates was like, hey, how much money can we take out before we hit the automatic sensor? Before you have to tell the IRS?


And that question by by their own standards is to. Hoster result in a notification to the feds, and they never did it, and he was withdrawn like two million dollars of cash in five years for tips to ATM.


Like, OK, Mike, something's going on here.


You see, there's a lot of things that make you think that there's a bigger thing at play than just the man that there is some. It does look like a large organization is using this front. Again, I don't know, I truly don't know and I'm not willing to use the certainty, which I think a lot of people online are, to say, like it once. One hundred.


The search is always the problem, because that's probably why I hesitate to touch conspiracy theories, is because I'm allergic to certain forms in politics, any kind of discourse. And people are so sure in both directions. Actually, it's kind of hilarious. Either they're sure that the conspiracy theory, particularly whatever the conspiracy theories, is false. Like they almost dismiss it like like they they don't even want to talk about. It's like the people like the way they dismiss that the earth is flat.


Yes. Most scientists are like they don't even want to like. Here, what the what the flat earth is saying, they don't have a zero patience for it, which is like that maybe in that case, yeah, it's deserved. But everything else you really have empathy, like consider the you like. This is weird to say, but I feel like you have to consider that the earth may be flat for like one minute. Like you have to be empathetic, you have to be open minded.


I don't see a lot of that. There are cultural tastemakers and more. And that's that really is what concerns me the most, because it's just another manifestation of all of our problems is that we have this completely bifurcating economy, bifurcating culture literally in terms of we have the middle of the country and then we have the coasts. And in terms of the population, it's almost 50/50.


And with, you know, increasing megacities and urban culture like urban monoculture of L.A., New York and Chicago and D.C. and Boston and Austin, relative to how an entire other group of Americans live their lives or even the people within them who aren't rich and upwardly mobile, how they live their lives is just completely separating.


And all of our language and communication in mass media and more is to the top and then everybody else is forgotten.


Do you think when you go when you dig to the core, there is a big there's a big gap between left and right, is there is that division that that's perceived currently real or most people center left and center right.


It's so interesting because that's such a loaded term, center left. What does that mean like to you? I think the way you're thinking of it is I'm not like a well, even this, like I'm not a radical socialist, but I'm I'm marginally left on cultural issues and economic issues. This is how we've traditionally understood things.


And then when when in popular discourse, like center right. Like what does it mean to be center right? Like I am marginally right on social conservative social issues and marginally right on economic issues.


But that's just not polt. Like if you look at survey data, for example, like stimulus checks, people who are against stimulus checks are conservative, right? Well, 80 percent of the population is for a stimulus check. So that means a sizable number of Republicans are for stimulus checks. Same thing happens on like a wealth tax. The same thing happens on OK. Florida voted for Trump three point one percent more than Barack Obama, two thousand eight.


The same day passes a fifteen dollar minimum wage at sixty seven percent. So what's going on? So that's why. What is going on?


Well, that's my career. But but it seems like. So that's a fascinating conversation is different than the policies.


Well, it's different than reality. That's where I would say, which is that the way we have to understand American politics today, it didn't always used to be this way is it's almost entirely along basic.


I would say the main divider is because even when you talk about class, this misses it in terms of socioeconomics.


It's around culture, which is that it's basically if you went to a four year degree granting institution, you are part of one culture. If you didn't, you're part of another. I don't want to erase the 20 percent or whatever of people who do go to a college degree, who are Republicans or vice versa, et cetera. But I'm saying on average, in terms of the median wage that you feel were basically bifurcating along those lines and because people get upset, be like, oh, well, you know, there are rich people who vote for Trump.


And I'm like, yeah, but, you know, you know, they are they're like plumbers or something.


Like they're people who make one hundred thousand dollars a year. But they didn't go to a four year college degree and they might live who are in a place which is not an urban metro area. And then at the same time, you have like a Vox writer who makes like thirty grand, but they have a lot more cultural power than like the plumber. So you have to think about where exactly that line is. And I think in general that's the way that we're trending.


So that's why when I say like, what's going on, are we divided? Yeah. Like but it's not left and right. I mean, like and that's why I hate these labels.


So it's more like it's more just red and blue teams. There are arbitrary teams. Yeah. So how arbitrary are these teams I guess is another completely arbitrary.


So you kind of imply that there's I don't know if you're sort of in post analyzing the patterns because it seems like there's a network effects of like you just pick the team red or blue and it might have to do with college. You might have to do all those things. But like, it seems like it's more about.


Just the people around you, correct, so less than whether you went to college or not, I mean, it's almost like seems like it's almost like we're like network effects, a hard there's certain strong patterns you're identifying. But I don't know. It's sad to think that it might be just teams that have nothing to do with what you actually believe.


Well, it is.


I look I mean, I don't want to believe that, but the data points me to this, which especially 20, 20, I'm one of the people chief among them.


I will own up to it here. I was totally wrong about why Trump was elected in 2016. I believed and based a lot of my public commentary beliefs on this. Trump was elected because of a rejection of Hillary Clinton neoliberalism on the back of a pro worker message, which was anti-immigration. I was its pillar, but alongside of it was a rejection of free trade with China and generally of the political correctness and globalism which has been come in through the union party.


And same thing here with the military industrial complex and endless war. He rejected all of that.


What's wrong with that prediction? That's wrong, man. And the reason I know this is that it sounds right.


I wish you well. I honestly wish it was true. But here's the truth. Trump actually governed largely as a neo liberal Republican who was meaner online and who departed from Orthodoxy in some very important ways. Don't get me wrong, I will always support the trade war with China. I will always support not expanding the wars in Afghanistan and in Iraq. I will support him moving the Overton Window on a million different things and revealing once and for all that GOP voters don't care about economic orthodoxy necessarily.


But here's what they do care about.


Trump got more votes in 2020, did it in twenty sixteen, despite not delivering largely, largely for all the Trump people out there on that agenda.


He wasn't more pro union, but he won more union votes. He wasn't necessarily more pro worker, but he actually won more votes in Ohio than he did in twenty sixteen and he won more Hispanic votes than despite being all the immigration rhetoric, etc.. Here's why. That's why the culture, which is that the culture war is so hot that negative partizanship is at such high levels. All of the vote is geared upon what the other guy might do in office.


And there's a poll actually that came out by Echelon Insights. Kristol and I were talking about it on Rising. The number one concern among Democratic voters is Trump voters, number one concern, not issues like Trump voters. And number two is white supremacy. And so like which is basically code for Trump voters and is the same for the other side.


Also on the right, number one concern is illegal immigration. And no, I think three or four, whatever is antifa, which is code for the right, is a policy.


Well, well, yeah. It's funny, I saw Ben Shapiro talking about this, but the reason why I would functionally say it's the same is because the I mean, you can believe whether or not I think you're actually largely true, but like a lot of GOP voters feel like a lot of illegal immigration is code for like people who are coming in who are going to be legalized and are going to go vote Democrat like I can. I can just explain it from their point of view.


So, like, what does that actually mean? Each other like each other, which is that the number one concern is the other person. So negative partizanship has never been higher. And I think people who had my thesis in terms of why Trump was elected in 2016, you have to grapple with this like how did he win 10 million more votes?


He came forty four thousand votes away from winning the presidency across three states like I don't none of our popular discourse reflects that very stark reality.


And I think so much of it is people really hate liberals, like they just really hate them.


And I was driving through rural Nevada before the election and I was like literally in the middle of nowhere.


And there was this massive sign this guy had out in front of his house and just said, Trump, colon, fuck your feelings. And I was like, that's it. That is why people voted for Trump.


And I don't want to denigrate it because they truly feel they have no cultural power in America except to raise the middle finger to the elite class by pressing the button for Trump. I get that. That's actually a totally rational way to vote.


It's not the way I vote, but like, you know, that's not my place to say. So this is interesting. If you could just psychoanalyze again, probably naive about this, but I'm really bothered by the hatred of liberals.


It's this amorphous. Monster that's mocked, it's like the Shapiro liberal tears, and I'm also really bothered by now, probably more of my colleagues and friends.


The hatred of Trump. Yeah, the Trump and and white supremacists. So apparently so there's 70 million white supremacist. Seventy five million. So there's millions of white supremacists. And apparently, whatever liberal is, I mean, you know, literally liberal has become equivalent to white supremacist in the power of negativity it arouses. I don't even know what those I mean, honestly, I just don't think they've become Suares essentially.


Is that I mean, how do we get out of this? Because that. That's why I don't even say anything about politics online, because it's like, really, you can't you. Here's what happens.


Anything you say that's like thoughtful, like, hmm.


I wonder the immigration something.


So I wonder, like why, you know, we have these many we allow these many immigrants in or some version of the like thinking through these difficult policies and so on. The immediately tried to find like a single word in something to say that can put you in a bin of liberal or white supremacists and hammer you to death by saying you're one of the two and then everybody just piles on happily that we finally nailed this was the premises or liberal. And that is this some kind of weird, like feature of online communication that we've just stumbled upon?


Is there a way or is it possible to argue that this is like a feature, not a bug like this is a good thing?


Yeah, well, look, I just think it's a reflection of who we are. People like to blame social media. I think we're just incredibly divided right now. I think we've been divided like this for the last 20 years. And I think that the reason I focus almost ninety nine percent of my public commentary on economics is because you asked an important question at the top. How do we fix this? What did I say about the stimulus? Tax stimulus checks have 80 percent approval rating.


So that's the type of thing. If I was Joe Biden and I wanted to actually heal this country, that's a very first thing I would have done when I came into office. Same thing on when you look at anything that's going to increase wages. I said on the show, I was like, look, I think Joe Biden will have an 80 percent approval rating if he does two things. If he gives every American a two thousand dollar stimulus check and gives everybody wants a vaccine, a vaccine, that's it is pretty simple because here's the thing.


I really like Greg Abbott that much. We have like very different politics. I'm from Texas, but my parents got vaccinated really quickly. That means something to me. I'm like, listen, I don't really care about a lot of the other stuff. He got my family vaccinated like that. Well, I will forever remember that. And that's how we will remember the checks. This is a part of the reason why Trump almost won the election and why if the Republicans had been smart enough to give him a 20.


Another round of checks, one hundred percent would have won, which is that people were like, look, I don't really like Trump, but I got to check with his name on it. And that meant something to me and my family. I'm not saying for all the libertarians out there, they should go and like, endlessly spend money and buy votes. What I am saying is lean into the majoritarianism positions without adding your culture war bullshit on top of it.


So, for example, what's the number one concern? The AOC says after the first round of tax cut out, all the checks didn't go to illegal immigrants.


I'm like, are you out of your fucking mind?


Like, this is the most popular policy America has probably done in 50 years, you know, since like Medicare and your you concerning it, you're ruining it.




And then on the right is the same thing, which is that they'll be like these checks are going to like, you know, low level, blah, blah, you know, people who are lazy and don't work.


I'm like, oh, they're like you're just playing a caricature of what you are like if you lean into those issues and you've got to do a clean.


This is this is what everybody hates about D.C., which is that Biden right now is doing the fourteen hundred dollar checks, but he's looping it in with his covid relief bill and all that. That's his prerogative. That's the Democrats derogative. They won the election. That's fine. But I'll tell you what I would have done if I was him, I would have come in and I would have said there's five United States senators who are on the record, Republicans who say they'll vote for a two thousand dollar check.


And I would put that on the floor of the United States Senate on my first or so, the first day possible. And I would have passed it and it would have forced those Republican senators to live up to that vote for this bill, come to the Oval Office for signing so that the very first thing of my presidency was to say, I'm giving you all this relief check this night. Long national nightmare is over. Take this money, do with it what you need.


We've all suffered together, I think about Biden is he has a portrait of FDR and is in the Oval, which kind of bothers me because he thinks of himself as an FDR like figure. But this is you have to understand, the majesty of FDR. We're talking about a person who passed a piece of legislation five days after he became president and he passed 15 transformative pieces of legislation in the first 100 days. We're on day like thirty four, thirty five and nothing has passed.


The reconciliation bill will eventually become law, but it will become law with no Republican votes.


And again, that's fine if but it's not fulfilling that legacy in the urgency of the action a. The mandate, which I believe that history has handed it, handed it to Trump and he fucked it up, right? He totally screwed it up. He could have remade America and made us into the greatest country ever coming out on the other side of this, he decided not to do that. I think Biden was again handed that like a scepter, almost.


It's like all you have to do, all America wants is for you to raise it up high. But he's keeping it within the realm of traditional politics. I think it's a huge mistake.


Why? So this is everything's perfect. Sounds like it's like it's like, again, if the aliens showed up, it's like the obvious thing to do is like, what's the popular thing? Like 80 percent of Americans support this. Like do that clean. Also do it like with like Grace, were you able to bring people together, not like in the political way, but like obvious, like obvious common sense way, like just people, the Republicans and Democrats bring them together a policy and like bull just hammer without the dirt, without the mess, whatever.


Tried to compromise. Just yell with have a good Twitter account.


Like loud, very clear. We're going to give a two thousand dollar stimulus check. Anyone who wants the vaccine gets a vaccine at scale. What make America let's make America great again by manufacturing like we are manufacturing most of the world's vaccine because we're bad motherfuckers. Yeah.


And without maybe with more eloquence than that and and just do that. Why haven't we seen that for many for several presidencies. Because of coalitional politics. And they owe something to somebody else. For example, Biden has got a lot of the Democratic constituency has to satisfy within this bill. So there's are going to be a lot of shit that goes in there, state and local aid also.


Again, I'm not even saying this is bad, but he's like his theory is and this isn't wrong is like we're going to take the really popular stuff and use it as cover for the more downwardly, less popular. And so the Dems could face the accusation. The people who are on this side, this is their push back to me.


They're like, why would we give away the most popular thing in the bill? And then we would never be able to pass state and local aid. Right. Why would we do that?


And the Republicans do the same thing, right? Like Mitch McConnell, because he's a fucking idiot, decided to say we're going to pay for these two thousand dollar stimulus checks with like Section 230 repeal. It was like it's obviously dead, right? Like it's not going to happen together. That's largely why I believe Trump lost the election and why those races down in Georgia went the way that they did. Obviously, Trump had something to do with it.


But the reason why is they have long standing things that they've wanted to get done. And in the words of Rahm Emanuel, never let a good crisis go to waste and try and get as much as you possibly can done within a single bill. My counter would be this. Things have worked this way for too long, which is that the reconciliation bill is almost certainly going to be the only large signature legislative accomplishment of the Biden presidency.


That's just how American politics works. Maybe he gets one more, maybe one. He gets a second reconciliation bill. Then you're running for midterms.


It's over. I believe that by trying to change the paradigm of our politics, leaning into exactly what I'm talking here, you could possibly transcend that to a new one. And I'm not naive. I think people respond to political pressures. In a way that we found this out was David Perdue, who is just a total corporate, you know, dollar for Dollar General CEO guy. He was against the original twelve hundred dollar stimulus checks. But then Trump came out, who's the single most popular figure in the Republican Party?


He's a guy I to also checks and all of a sudden Purdue running in Georgia. It's like, yeah, I'm with President Trump. I want a two thousand dollar stimulus check. That was if you're an astute observer of politics to say you can see there that you can force people to do the right thing because it's the popular thing. And then if it's clean, if you don't give them any other excuse, they have to do it. So this is what we've been, GasNet, into our culture war framework of politics.


And the reason it feels so broken and awful is because it is. But there is a way out. It's just that nobody wants to be. It's a game of chicken. Right, because maybe it is true. Maybe we would never be able to get your other Democratic priorities or Republican priorities. But I think that the country understands that this is fucking terrible and would be willing to support somebody who does it differently. There's just a lot of disincentives to not stay without it.


There's a lot of incentives to not stray from the traditional path. Yeah.


Is it also possible that the A students are not participating like we drove all of the the superstars away from politics?


So like you just heard this argument before.


I mean, everything you're saying. Sort of. Rings true, like this is the obvious thing to do as a student of history, you can always tell, like if you look at great people in history, this is what great leaders in history, this what they did. It's like, uh, clean, bold action, sometimes facing crises.


But we're facing a crisis. We're in a crisis.


So why don't we, uh, why don't we see those leaders step up? That's I mean, you say that's kind of like it makes sense. There's a lot of different interests to play. You don't want to risk too many things, so on and so forth. But that's what like that sounds like the C students. I don't think it's that.


I think it's that the pipeline of politician creation is just totally broken from beginning to end.


So it's not that a students don't want to be politicians. It's basically the way that our current primary system is constructed is what is the greatest threat to you as a member of Congress? It's not losing your reelection. It's losing your primary. Right. So that means especially in a safe district, you're most concerned about being hit if you're a Republican from the right and if you're a Democrat from the left for not being a good enough one. That's actually what stops people from heterodox people, in particular from winning primaries, because the people who vote in our primaries are the party faithful.


That's how you get the production, the production. It's important to understand the production pipeline, which is that. All right. I'm from Texas, so that's what I know best.


So it's like if you think in Texas, if you're more heterodox, like state legislature or something, whose real works with the left on this and does that, you're going to get your ass beat in a Republican primary because they're going to be that he worked with the left to do this.


Bobbo, take it out of context and you're screwed. And then that means you never ascend up the next level of the ladder and then so on and so forth all the way. But I do think Trump changed everything.


This is why I have some hope, which is that he showed me that all the people I listened to were totally wrong about politics. And that's the most valuable lesson you could ever change me, which was I was like, wait, I don't have to listen to these people.


I don't know anything, actually, you know.


Yeah, that's powerful, man. Like, he did it successfully, Paul.


This guy, even if he didn't do anything with it, it doesn't matter. He showed that it's possible. Exactly. And that that means that means a lot.


That mean you're absolutely right. There's young people right now. They kind of look turn around and like, huh, you're like, wait, I don't have to comb my hair a certain way.


Yeah. And go to law school and be an asshole who everybody knows is an asshole. Yeah. And then get elected to state legislature. I mean, look who's the number one person in the New York or New York City primary right now, Andrew Young. He's polling higher than everybody else in the race.


I look, maybe the polls are totally fucked and maybe he'll lose because of rank choice voting and all that. But I consider Andrew I mean, I know him a little bit and, you know, followed his candidacy from the very beginning. I consider him an inspiration. He's the new generation of politics. Like if I see who's going to be president twenty years from now, it's going to be I'm not saying it's going to hinder Yang. I think it me somebody like Andrew Yang outside the political system who talks in a totally different way.


Right. Just a completely one of my favorite things that he said on the debate stage. He's like, look at us. We're all wearing makeup.


It's you know, he like it like that, that he brought that and he's ready like.


Yeah, why are they're all wearing me?


He probably arguably hasn't gone far enough. Almost. Yes, but he showed that as possible. And then you see other like AOSIS is a good example. Somebody else, in my opinion, is doing the same kind of thing, but going too far in like well I don't know, she's doing the Trump thing, but on the other side. So I don't know what's too far into normative judgment of it. Yeah. I will tell you the future of politics.


Appreciate the art of it, right? No, I do.


Look, I don't mind. I'm not a big fan, but she's a genius, media genius. Once in a generation talent, the way that she uses social media, Instagram and everybody on the right is like trying to copy her, like Matt Gates, like I want to be the conservative, OK?


I'm like, it's just not going to happen. Like it. You just don't have it. Like what she has. It's like it's electric. And Trump had that like I've been to a Trump rally, like to cover as journalists as nothing like it. And and Yang Yang is similar. It's the same way where you're like there is something going on here which is just like I've been doing Obama rally up into a Clinton rally. I've been to several normal and that's fine.


You know, with Trump and with Yang, it was. It's another world.


Yeah, it's another world. Yeah. Yes. There's a there's probably thousands of people as human beings, just like doing a slow clap.


Yes, I know, I know Yangyang forever, OK, but yeah, I mean, my worst fear, I prefer a yin and yang kind of free improvizational idea exchange all that versus AOC, who I think no matter what she stands for, is a drama machine, creates drama just like Trump does. I would say my worst fear would be in twenty, twenty four years old enough it would be AOC versus Trump. I don't think she's old enough.


I think you have to be. She's 30, so she's five more years so probably not.


Yeah. OK, but that kind of. Yeah that that's or Trump Jr..


Well AOK probably wouldn't win a Democratic primary. So I mean, look, Joe Biden is, you know, so that's pretty much show that that's exactly what you're saying. Yes. Process Groomes you over time it's you see the same thing in academia, actually, which is very interesting. Is the process of getting tenure? There's this it's like you're being taught.


Without explicitly being taught, yes, to behave in the way that everybody's behaved before, I've heard this is funny, I've had a few conversations that were deeply disappointing, which which are which involved statements like this is what's good for your career.


Yes. This kind of conversation, almost like mentor to mentee conversation or it's you know, it's like there's a grooming process in the same way. I guess you're saying the primary process does the same kind of thing.


So, I mean, that's what people have talked about with Andrew Young, was it was his being suppressed by a bunch of different forces, the mainstream media, not just the democratic, just that whole process, didn't like the the honesty that he was showing right now.


But here's my question to you. People got to look, Jordan Peterson is one of the most famous people in America, right? Like you have a massive podcast. You're more famous than half the 99 percent of the people at MIT.


So, like, from that perspective, everything has changed. And somewhere out there, there is a student who's taking notice. And I've noticed that with my own career, everybody thought I was crazy for doing the show with Crystal Hill. They thought I was nuts. They're like, what are you doing?


You're a White House correspondent. You've got a job forever. The other job offer I had was being a White House correspondent and people thought I was nuts for not just sticking there and, you know, aging out within Washington, pining for appearances on Fox News and CNN and MSNBC.


But I hated it. I just hated doing it. And I did not want to be a company man, like a Washington man who's one of those guys who, like, brags to his friends about how many times he's been on Fox or whatever, mostly because I just have a rebellious streak and I hate being at the subject of other people.


I created something new which a lot of people watch to get their news. And I notice that younger people who are almost all my audience, they don't really look up to any of the people on traditional.


Right. They don't they don't go and they're not coming up and being like, how do I be like Jim Acosta?


You know, they're like they're like, hey, how did you do what you do? And the way you did it is by bucking the system. So I think that we are at a total split point. And look, there will always be a path for people because, like, I don't want people to over learn this lesson. I have people who are like, I'm not going to go to college.


And I'm like, well, just wait. Yeah.


Like, I like just starting, but I like stuff just like just hold on a second. But there will always be a path for the institutional there that will always be there for you. But now there's something else. Now there's another game in town and that's more appealing to millions and millions and millions and millions of people who feel unserved by the corporate media, CNN and these people possibly who feel unserved in the you know, the faculty like if you are an up and comer who wants to teach as many young people as possible, I think you should be on YouTube.




Look at the Khan Academy that got created a huge business. So I just think we can be cynical and, like, upset about what that system is.


But we should slap hope, like I have a lot of hope for what can be in the future.


Yeah, there's there's a guy people should check us out my stories a little bit different because I basically stepped aside for with the dream of being an entrepreneur earlier in the pipeline, then like a like a legitimate like senior faculty. There's an example somebody people should check. Andrew Huberman from Stanford was a neuroscientist who's as world class as it gets in terms of like tenured faculty, just a really world class researcher. And now he's doing YouTube. I see him on Instagram.


Yeah. And he's so he switched. So he not just does Instagram. He now has a podcast.


And he's doing he's changing the nature of like I believe that Andrew might be the future of Stanford. And for a lot it's funny. Like he's basically Joe Rogan is an inspiration to Andrew and and to me as well. And those ripple effects. And Andrew is an inspiration, probably just like you're saying to these young, like twenty five year olds who are soon to become faculty. If we're just talking about academia. And the same is probably happening with with government is funny enough.


Trump probably is inspiring a huge number of people who are saying, wait a minute, I don't want to play by the rules. Exactly. And I have to I can think outside the box here. And you're right. And the institutions we're seeing are just probably lagging behind. So the optimistic view is the future is going to be full of exciting new ideas. So Andrew Young is just kind of the beginning of this tip of the iceberg.


And I hope that iceberg doesn't it's not this influencer. One of the things that really bothers me. Yeah, I've gotten a chance. Should be careful here. I don't want to.


I love everybody, but. You know, these people who talk about, like, you know, how to make your first million or how to succeed and and they're so I mean, yeah, that makes me a little bit cynical. About I'm worried that the people that win the game of politics will be ones that want to win the game of politics.


And like we mentioned, they'll see it's I hope they optimize for the 80 percent populous state. Right. Like they optimize for that bad ass thing. The history will remember you as the great man or woman that did this thing versus how do I maximize engagement today and keep growing those numbers? The influencers are so I'm so allergic to this man. They keep saying how many followers they have on the different accounts, and it's like, I don't think they understand, maybe I don't understand.


I don't really care. I think it has destructive psychological effects. One like thinking about the number, like getting excited, your number went from a hundred to one hundred and one and being like and today went out to 105. Whoa, that's a big jump. That may be like thinking this way. Like, I wonder what I did. I'll do that again in this way. One, it's it creates anxiety, almost psychological effects. Whatever the the more important thing is, it prevents you from truly thinking.


Boldly, in the long arc of history, in creatively thinking outside the box, doing huge actions and I actually up my optimism is in the sense that that kind of action will beat out all the influencers.


Well, I don't know. Let's for my cynicism comes in.


So there's a guy, Madison Cawthorn, the youngest member of Congress, and he, I don't wanna say got caught, but there was like an email where he was like, my staff is only oriented around coms. Like he was basically saying, you got basically guys like my staff is only centered on communications and that's the right play if you do want to get the benefits of our current electoral, political and engagement system, which is that what's the best way to be known within the right as a as a right wing politician?


It's to be a culture warrior. Go on Ben Shapiro's podcast. Be one of the people on Fox News, go on Sean Hannity show, go on talk show and all of that, because you become a mini celebrity within that world. Left unsaid is that that world is increasingly shrinking portion of the American population. And they barely they can't even win a popular vote election, let alone barely win and eke out an Electoral College victory in 2016.


Well, but the incentives are all aligned within that. And it's the same thing really on the left. But you're right, which is that ultimately, look, this is this is why geniuses are geniuses, because they buck the short term incentives. They focus on the long term. They bet big and they usually fail. But then when they get big things, they succeed spectacularly.




The people I know who have done this the best are like a lot of the crypto folks that I've spoken to, like some of the stuff they say. I'm like, I don't know if that's going to happen.


But look, they're like billionaires, right? And, you know, like so they were right.


So it's the way I've heard it expressed is you can be wrong a lot, but when you're right, you get right big. And I mean, I've seen this being on muscaria.


I mean, he took spectacular risk, like spectacular risk and just double down, double down, double down, double down, double down. And you can kind of tell to him, I mean, you know better than I do. But like from my observation, I don't think the money matters as right. I just like when I see him, I'm like, oh, it's nobody works as hard as you do and builds the way that you build.


If it's just about the money, it's just it just doesn't happen. Like nobody wills Space X into existence just for the money.


Like it's not worth it, frankly. Right. Like he probably destroyed years of his life and like mental sanity, money or attention or fame, none of that.


Yeah, that's not the primary.


Well, that's what's so appealing to me, to me in particular about him, just like and how he built like I read a biography of him and just like the way that he constructed his life and like is able to hyper focus in meeting after meeting and drill down and also hire all the right people who execute each one of his tasks discreetly to his perfection is amazing. Like that's actually the mark of a good leader. But I mean, if you think about his career, the reason he's a renegade is because probably he was told to, like, put it in an index fund or whatever, like whenever he made his like twenty nine million and from PayPal, I don't know how much he made and then just go along that one, he's like, no.


So he succeeds spectacularly.


So you have to have somebody who's willing to come in and buck that system. So for four for now, I think our politics are generally frozen. I think that that model is going to be most generally appealing to the mean person. But somebody will come along and we'll change everything. Yeah, I'm just surprised it's not more of them.


Yeah. On that topic, it's now twenty. What is it. Twenty one. Yes. Let's, let's make some predictions.


You can be wrong about good. What major political people are you thinking. We'll run in twenty twenty four including Trump Junior or Senior or Ivanka.


I don't know any Trump Trump. And who do you think wins.


I think Joe Biden will run again in twenty, twenty four and I think he will run against someone with the last name Trump. I do not know whether that is Trump or Trump Jr, but I think one of those people will probably be the GOP nominee in twenty twenty four. Who is it.


Some prominent political figure. It was it Romney, somebody like that said that Trump will win the primary if he runs again. Of course, that's not even a question.


Trump is the single most popular figure in the Republican Party by orders of magnitude. I mean, probably more honestly. There was a actually, I can tell you, because I saw the data, which is that pre January 6th, it was like fifty four percent of Republicans wanted him to run again. Then it went down eight points after January six, two days later, and then after an. And went right back up to 54 percent, so the exact same number is in February opposed impeachment vote as it was after November.


Now look again, surveys, bullshit, et cetera. But like, that's all the data we have that's I could point to. If Trump runs, he will be the nominee and he will be he will be the twenty, twenty four nominee. I just don't know if he wants to do it.


It really depends. Like, do you think he wins after the Trump vaccine heals all of us? Do you think Trump wins?


It depends on how popular culture functions over the next four years. And I can tell you that they are because I don't think Biden has that much to do with it, because, again, Trump is not a manifestation of an affirmative policy action. It is a defensive bulwark wall against cultural liberalism at its best. So it's like this is why it doesn't matter what Biden does, if there are more riots, if there is a more sense of persecution among people who are more lean towards conservative or like, hey, I don't know about that, that's crazy, then he very well could win.


Let's OK, let's say Joe Biden doesn't run and they put up like Kamala Harris.


I think I think he would beat her. And I don't think there's a question that Trump would be Kamala Harris in twenty twenty four.


And you don't think anybody else. I don't know how the process works. You don't think anybody else on the Democratic side can take the well, how could you run against the sitting vice president?


You know, it's like if Joe Biden Joe Biden has a 98 percent approval rating in the Democratic Party. If he says she is my ER, I think enough people will listen to him in a competitive primary or noncompetitive primary. And then there's all these things about how primary systems themselves are rigged. The DNC could make it known that they'll blacklist anybody who does try and primary. Kamala Harris. And look, I mean, progressives aren't necessarily all that popular among actual Democrats.


Like we found that out during the election. There's an entire constituency which loves Joe Biden and Joe Biden level politics. And so if he tells them to vote for Comilla, I think I think she would probably get it. But again, there's a lot of game theory obviously happening.


But see, I think you're talking about everything you're saying is correct about mediocre candidates. It feels like if there is somebody with a really strong I don't want to use this term incorrectly, but populist somebody that speaks to the 80 percent that is able to provide bold, eloquently described solutions that are popular, I think that breaks through all of this nonsense.


How how do they break through the primary system? Because the problem is the primary system is not populism. It's primary. So it's like but you don't think they can tweet their way to.


Well, you have to be willing to win a GOP primary. You basically have to be at whoever wins. The GOP primary, in my opinion, will be the person most hated by the left. One of the people things that people forget is, you know, who came in second to Trump, Ted Cruz.


And the reason why is because Ted Cruz was the second most hated guy by liberals in America, a second to Trump. They have nothing in policy in common.


But don't you think this kind of brilliantly described system of hate being the the the main mechanism of our electoral choices, don't you think that just has to do with mediocre candidates like it?


Like it's basically the field of candidates, including Trump, including everybody was just like didn't make anyone feel great. Right. It's like, really, this is what we have to choose from.


Maybe a Mark Cuban or like Mark Cuban is a Democrat or. It would have to be somebody like that, somebody who because here's the thing about Trump, it's not just that it was Trump. He was so fucking famous. Like people don't really he was so famous. Like I even when I first met Trump, I met a couple of other presidents. But when I met Trump, even, I felt like kind of starstruck because I was like, oh, this is the guy from The Apprentice.


Yeah, this is the dude like brothers, because I'm like my dad and I used to sit and watch The Apprentice when I was in high school.


And then one of the guys was from College Station where I grew up and were like, oh my God, like the guys on The Apprentice.


Like it was a phenomenon. There's like that level.


It's kind of like when I met Joe Rogan, I'm like, holy shit, that's that's I don't feel that way when I meet Mitt Romney or Tom Cotton or Josh how I met all of them.


But there's a lot of celebrities, right. Do you think there's some celebrities we're not even thinking about that could step in the have to be.


So I was about to say I think the Rock could do it, but does he want to do it? I mean, it's terrible. Like, it's a terrible gig. It's very hard to do. I don't know if the rock necessarily has like the formed policy agenda, because then here's the other problem. What if we set ourselves up for a system where, like, these people keep winning, but like with Trump, they have no idea how to run a government?


It's actually really hard. Right. And you have to have the knowhow and the trust to find the right people. This is this is where the genius element comes in, is you have to understand that front and you have to understand how to execute discrete tasks like this is the FDR. This is why it's so hard, like FDR, Lincoln, TR they were who they were and they live in history and their name rings like for reason. And yeah, I mean one of the most depressing lessons I got from twenty twenty is at almost it seems like in my opinion that we over learned the lesson of our success and not of our failures.


For example, like we have this narrative in our head that we always have the right person at the right time during crisis. And in some cases it was true. We didn't deserve Lincoln, we didn't deserve FDR. We didn't deserve we didn't deserve a lot of presidents at times of crisis. But then you're like, OK, George W. Bush, 9/11. That was terrible reconstruction. Andrew Johnson. Awful, right? Like we had several periods in our history where the crisis was there.


They they were called and they did not show up. And I really it hadn't happened in my lifetime except for 9/11. And even then you could kind of see that is an opportunity for somebody like Obama to come in and fix it. But then he didn't do it and then Trump didn't do it.


And you realize I feel like our politics are most analogous to like the nineteen tens, like all in terms of the Gilded Age, in terms of that, remember those that long period of presidents between between like Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt, we were like, wait, like who was president like or even even tr was like an exception where you live like Calvin Coolidge, you like silent cows. So we're living through Grover Cleveland.


That's kind of how if I think of us within history, I feel like we're in one of those times. We're just waiting.


It feels really important to us right now, like this is the most important moment in history. But it might be could just be a blip.


Right. Twenty thirty year blip.


Like when you think about who was president between eighteen nineteen nineteen before, I mean yeah. Between like eighteen eighty eight and nineteen ten.


Like nobody really thinks about that period of America but like that was an entire lifetime for people. Right. Like what did they, how did they feel about the country that they were as hilarious.


That's how I kind of think about where we are. Funny to think. I mean, I don't want to minimize it, but like we haven't really gone through a World War two style crises. So, like, say that there is a crisis in like several decades of that level. Right. Existential risks to a large portion of the world. Then what will be remembered as World War Two, maybe a little bit about Vietnam and then whatever that crisis is and this whole period that we see is dramatic, even coronavirus 9/11, even 9/11 inside, because you can look at how many people died and all those kinds of things, all the drama, the war on terror and all those kinds of things.


Maybe Obama will be remembered for being the first African-American president. But then, like, that's yeah, that's fascinating to think about. And even Trump will be like, oh, OK, cool, that guy.


Yeah. Maybe he'll be remembered as the first. Celebrity, I mean, Reagan was already a governor, right? Yes, so like the first a political celebrity that was. So maybe if there's more celebrities in the future, they'll say that Trump was the first person to pave the way for celebrities to man. Yeah. And yeah, I still I still hold that this area will probably be remembered.


The you know, people say I talk about Elon way too much, but but the reality is like there's not many people that are doing the kind of things he's doing is why I talk about is I think this era is not necessarily Elon and SpaceX, but this will be remembered by the new the like of the space exploration of the commercial of companies getting into space exploration of space travel and perhaps.


Perhaps like artificial intelligence around social media, all those kinds of things, this might be remembered for that, but all the political bickering, all of that nonsense that we might be very well forgotten.


One way to think about it is that the Internet is so young. Yeah, I think about. Right. So Jeff Jarvis, he's a media scholar. I respect he's not the only person to say this, but many others have, which is that, look, this is kind of like the printing press.


There was a whole 30 years war because of the printing press. It took a long time for it to sort out. I think that's where we're at with the Internet. Like at a certain level, it disrupts everything. And that's a good thing. It can be very tumultuous. I never felt like I was living through history until coronavirus, like, you know, like until we were all locked down. I was like, I'm living through history like this.


This is very overused cliche in D.C. where every calm staffer wants you to think that what their boss just did is history. And I've always been like, this isn't history. This is I'm like, stupid fucking bell, you know, whatever.


But like, that was the first time I was like, this is history like this right here.


Well, I was hoping tragedy aside this. I wish the primaries happened during coronavirus so that we. All right. Because like then we can see the so. OK, here's a bunch of people facing crises. It's an opportunity for leaders to step up. Like I still believe the optimistic view is the game theory of like influencers will always be defeated by actual great leaders. So like maybe the great leaders are rare, but I think they're sufficiently out there that they will step up, especially in moments of crisis.


And coronaviruses is obviously a crisis where like. You know, mass manufacture of tests, all all kinds of infrastructure building they could have done in 20, 20, there's so many possibilities for just like bold action and said none of that. Even just forget actually do any action. Advocating for thing like this, we need we need to do this and none of that, like the speeches that Biden made, I don't even remember a single speech that Biden made because there's zero bold I mean, their strategy was to be quiet and let Donald Trump polarize the electorate, polarized electorate, and hope that resulted in them winning because of the high unemployment numbers and all those kinds of things, as opposed to like let's go big, let's go with a big speech.


You know that, huh? Yeah, it's the lost, lost opportunities in some sense. So we talked a bunch about politics. But one of the other interesting things is that you're involved with is or involved with defining the future of journalism. I suppose you can think of podcasts is the kind of journalism, but also just writing in general, just whatever the hell the future of this thing looks like is up to be defined by people like you. So what do you think is broken about journalism and what do you think is the future of journalism?


I think the future of journalism looks much more like what we you and I are doing here right now. And journalism is going to be downstream from a culture that can be a good and a bad thing depending on how you look at it.


We are going to look at our media. Our media is going to look much more like it did pre mass media. And the way that I mean that is that back in the eighteen in the eighteen hundreds in particular, especially after the invention of the Telegraph when information itself was known. So, for example, like you and I don't need to let's say you and I are competing journalists, you and I are no longer competing, quote unquote, to tell the public X event happened.


All journalism today is largely explaining why did X happen? And part of the problem with that is that that means that it's all up for partizan interpretation. Now, you can say that that's a bad thing.


I think it's a great thing because the highest level of literacy and news viewership in America was during the time of yellow journalism was during the time of partizan journalism. Not a surprise. People like to read the news from people that they agree with. You could say that's bad echo chambers, et cetera. That's the downside of it.


The upside is more people are more educated, more people are interested in the news. So I think the proliferation of mass media, I mean, sorry, of this format of long form gnashing of of not just long form to do what I do.


I do updates on Instagram, which are five minutes are you can still like Instagram, almost even Twitter, of course, Twitter. Twitter is where I get my news from. I don't read the paper. I have literally Twitter is my news aggregator.


It's called My Wire, where I find out about hard events like the president has departed the White House.


But not only that, I don't know about you, but I also looked at Twitter to the exact thing you're saying, which is the response to the news, like the thoughtful sounds ridiculous, but you can be pretty thoughtful in a single tweet.


If you if you follow the right people, you can get that. And so that is the future of media, which is that the future of media is it will be a much smaller amount or much larger amounts of people which are famous to smaller groups.


So Walter Cronkite's never going to happen again, at least not in probably within our lifetimes where everybody in America know who's this guy is that that age is over. I think that's a good thing because now people are going to get the news from the people that they trust. Yes, some of it will be opinionated.


I'm in my my program. I'm Christiania.


Like we are this she's coming from this like view. I'm coming from this view. That's our bias when we talk about information and we're going to talk about the information that we think is important. And it has garnered a large audience. I think that's very much where the future is going to be.


And the reason why I think that's a good thing is because people will be engaged more within it rather than the current system where news is highly concentrated, highly consolidated, has groupthink, has the same elite production pipeline problem of everybody knows journalists all come from the same socioeconomic background and they all party together here in DC or in New York or in L.A. or wherever. And they're part of the same monoculture and that affects what they that affects what they report. This will cause a total dispersion of all of that.


The the a the battle of our age is going to be the guild versus the Non Guild. So like what we see right now with The New York Times and Clubhouse, this is a very, very, very, very, very intentional thing that is happening, which is that the Times talking about unfettered conversations that's happening on clubhouse for people who aren't aware. This is important because they need to be the Federer's of conversation. They need to be the inter agent.


That's where they get their power. They get their power from convincing Facebook that they are the ones who can fact check stuff. They are the ones who can tell you whether something is right or wrong. That battle over unimpeded conversation and the explosion of a format that you and I are doing really well in, and then this more consolidated one which holds cultural power and elite power and more importantly, money right over you and I. That's the battle that we're all going to.


Do you think unfettered conversations have a chance to win this battle?


Yes, I do. In the long run. In the long run, the Internet is simply too powerful. But here's the mistake everybody makes. The New York Times will never lose. It will just become one of us. See? Do you think so? They already are.


They are the largest daily the daily look at the daily. Not even that. Think about it. Not in podcasting. The Times is not a mass media product.


It is a subscription product for upper middle class, largely white liberals who live the same circumstances across the United States and in Europe. There's nothing wrong with that. But here's the thing. You can't be the paper of record when you're actually the paper of upper middle class white America. Your job is to report on the news from that angle and deliver them the product that they want. There's nothing wrong with that. Their stock price is higher than ever. They're making ten times more money than they did ten years ago.


But it comes at the cost of not having a mass application audience. So like when people I think people in our space are always like The New York Times is going to be destroyed now, it's actually even better they will just become one of us.


They already are their subscription platform.


Well, yes, in terms of the actual mechanism. But, you know, New York Times is still and I don't think I'm speaking about a particular sector. I think it as a brand. It is it does have the level of credibility assigned to it still. You know, there's politicization of it totally. But there's a credibility like it has much more credibility than forgive me, then I think you and I have. No, you're right.


In terms of your podcast, people are not going to be like they're going to cite The New York Times as what you said in the podcast or for an opinion that I wonder in the sense of battles, whether unfettered conversations with the Joe Rogan, whether your podcast can become the have the same level of legitimacy or the flip side, New York Times loses legitimacy to be at the same level of in terms of how we talk about it.


It's going along. It's a long battle. It's going to take a long time. And I'm saying this is where I think the end state is going. And look at what the Times is doing. They're leaning into podcasting for a reason, but not just podcasting as in NPR level. Like, here's what's happening. Michael Barbaro is a fucking celebrity, right? The guy who does the daily. Yeah, that guy's famous among these people because they're like, oh, my God, I love Michael.


Like, I love the way he does it.


Again, that's fine. More people are listening to the news. I think that's a good thing. Yeah. And then who else do they hire? Ezra Klein from Vox, Kara Swisher, also from Vox, who does Pivot, which is an amazing podcast.


Or John Causton. Same thing. It's personalities who are becoming bundled together within this brand.


Right. He's OK. Maybe I'm just a hater because I love podcasting from the beginning. I love Green Day before the repo man, but I'm bothered by it. Like, why doesn't Kara Swisher? She's done successfully, I think. Oh, no, she was always a part of some kind of institution, I'm not sure.


But she started her own thing. I think it would. Right. Yeah. The record. I don't know if that's her own thing. Yeah. So she she was very successful there. Why the hell did she join The New York Times with the new podcast? Why is Michael Barbaro not do his own thing.


Because he gets paid and because he has he wants the elite cachet that you just referenced within his social circle in New York, which is that I think the biggest mistake that some of the venture people make is if we gave everybody the tools that those people are all going to leave to, like, go back and go independent within their social circle, sacrificing some money from being independent is worth it. To be a part of The New York Times.


That's sad to me because it propagates old thinking like, you know, it propagates old institutions. And you could say The New York Times is going to evolve quickly and so on. But I would love it if there was a mechanism for reestablishing, like building New New York Times, this in terms of public legitimacy. And I suppose that's wishful thinking because. It takes time to build trust in institutions and it takes time to build new institutions. My main thing I would say is public legitimacy as a concept is not going to be there in mass media anymore because of the Balkanization of audiences.


I mean, think about it, right? Like this is like Lesin, you know, the classic stuff around a thousand true fans or no sorry, like a hundred true fans.


Even now, like you can make a living on the Internet just talking to 100 hundred people if as long as they're all high frequency traders, some of the highest people pay people on substory. They don't have that many subs. It's just that are Wall Street guys right? So people pay a lot of money again. That's great.


So what you will have is an increasing Balkanization of the Internet of audiences isn't of Nicias. People will become increasingly famous within us. You will become astoundingly famous. I'm sure you've noticed your fan base. I certainly have. With mine, like 99 percent of people have no idea who I am.


But when somebody you meet, they're like, oh, my God, I watch your show every day.


Right? The only thing I watch for news. Right. Like instead of casually famous, if that makes sense, is like, oh, yeah, it's like Alec Baldwin, you know. Yeah. Oh, shit, that's horrible. But you're not like, oh shit, I love you. Alec Baldwin. It's this is a Ben Smith of the New York Times actually wrote this column. He's like the future is everybody will be famous, but only to a small group of people.


And I think that is true. But again, I don't decry it. I think it's great because I think that the more that that happens, the more engaged people will be. And it empowers different voices to be able to come in. And then possibly, I wouldn't say destroy, but compete against. I mean, look at Joe. Joe is more powerful than CNN and MSNBC and Fox all put together. That gives me like, immense inspiration, like he created the space for me to succeed.


And I told him that when I met him, I was like, dude, like I listen to his podcast when I was like young and like I remember like when I got to meet him and all that. And I told him this on this part. I was like, I didn't know people were millions were willing to listen to a guy, talk about chimps for three straight hours, including me.


I didn't know be all of those people. Yeah, me too. I learned something about myself for the show. Yeah.


And so by creating that space, I'll be like, wait, there's a hunger here. Like he showed us all the way and none of us will ever again be as famous as Rogen because he was the first. And that's fine because he created the umbrella ecosystem for us all to thrive. That is where I see like a great amount of hope within that story and the good things he supports the ecosystem he's such a is so, so generous.


One of the things he paved the way for me is to just show that you can just be honest, publicly honest. Yes. And not jealous of other people's success, but instead to be supportive and and all those kinds of things, just like loving towards others. He's been I mean, to the comics community. I think there are a bunch of before that, I think there were all a bunch of competitive haters.


They always each other. Yeah. And now he's like, just injected love. Yeah. You know, they're like they're still like many are still resistant, but they're like they can't help it because he's such a huge voice. He forces them to be like loving towards each other.


And the same I tried to one of the reasons I wanted to start this podcast was to try to I wanted to be like a do with Joe Rogan did. But for the scientific community, like my little circle, the scientific community of like like let's support each other.


Yeah, well, like Avi Loeb, I would have no idea who he was if it wasn't for you.


I mean, I assume you put him touch with Joe.


He went to Joe show, had him on my show like millions of people would have no idea who he was if it wasn't just, by the way, in terms of deep state and government, Ivailo has to do with aliens. You better believe Joe do.


The last thing I sent to him was the American Airlines audio. Did you see that? The pilots who are.


Oh, my God, this is amazing. So like I said, this American Airlines flight crew was over New Mexico, this of five or six days ago.


And they the guy comes and goes, hey, do you have any targets up here?


A large cylindrical object just flew over me.


Oh, so this so this happens. Yes. Then a guy like a radio catcher records this and posted online. American Airlines confirms that this is authentic audio and they go all further questions should be referred to the FBI. So then, OK, American Airlines just confirm is a legitimate transmission FBI. Then the FAA comes out and says, we were tracking no objects in the vicinity of this plane at the time of the transmission. So the only plausible explanation that online sleuths have been able to say is maybe he saw a Learjet which was, you know, using like open source data FAA.


Ruled that out. So what was it he saw a large cylindrical object while he was mid-flight, American Airlines.


But you can go online, listen to the audio yourself. This is a hundred percent no shit transmission confirmed by American Airlines of a commercial pilot over New Mexico seeing a, quote, unquote, large cylindrical object in the air.


Like I said when I first heard talking, I've never believed I've never believed more in UFO and aliens.


Yeah, this is awesome. Yeah. I just wish both American Airlines, FBI and government would be more transparent, like there would be voices and sounds ridiculous, but the kind of transparency they see, maybe not Joe Rogan, he's he's like overly transparent is just a comic really, but just the I don't know, like a podcast from the FBI, just like being honest.


I get excited, confused.


I'm sure that they're being overly cautious about their release information. I'm sure there's a lot of information that would inspire the public that inspire trust in institutions that will not damage national security, like, it seems to me obvious. And the reason they're not sharing it is because the momentum of bureaucracy, of caution and so on.


But there's probably so much information that the government has the way I almost I wouldn't say it confirmed it's real, but Trumpton didn't declassify it like, you know, that if there was ever a president that actually wanted to get to the bottom of it, it was him.


Yeah. I mean, he didn't declassify man. And people begged him to. I know for a fact because I pushed to try and make this happen, that some people did speak to him about it. And he was like, no, I'm not going to do it. So he might be afraid.


That's what I mean, though. They were probably all telling me, sir, you can't do this. You know, all this. And I get that. And there's this legislation written and covid that like they have six months to release that real what does a bunch of bullshit shit?


I think it's both. There's so many different levels of classification that people need to understand. I mean, look, I read John Podesta. He was the chief of staff to Bill Clinton. He's a big UFO guy. He he tried like him. And Clinton tried to get some of this information and they could not get any of it. And we're talking about the president and the White House chief of staff.


Well, there's a whole bureaucracy, both just like you're saying, with intent. You have to be like that has to be your focus, because there's a whole bureaucracy built around secrecy for probably for good reason. So to get through to the information, there's a whole paperwork process, all that kind of stuff. You can't just walk in and get the unless again, with the intention that becomes your thing, like let's revolutionize this thing and then you get only so many things.


It's it's sad that the bureaucracy has gotten so bulky. But I think the hopeful messages from earlier in our conversation, it seems like. A single person can't fix it, but if you hire the right team. It feels like you can can't fix everything. I don't want to I don't want to give people unrealistic expectations. You can fix a lot, especially in crisis. You can remake America. And the reason I know that is because it's already happened twice.


FDR in modern history, FDR and JFK, FDR and JFK assassination, LBJ to hyper competent men who understood government, who understood personnel and coincidentally were friends.


I love this. I don't think actually people understand this. FDR met Johnson three days after he won the election to Congress special election. He was only twenty nine years old. And he left that meeting and call somebody and said, this young man is going to be president of United States someday.


Like even then, like what was within him to understand and to recognize that.


And sometimes Johnson is a young member of Congress would come and have breakfast with FDR, like just to the great political minds of the 20th century, just sitting there talking like I would give anything to know what was happening.


I hope they were real with each other. And that was like a genuine human connection, right. That I that Johnson wasn't a genuine guy.


So I knew you'd need to read those thousands of pages. I've been way too focused on Hitler.


I was going to say one of my goals in coming to this is this is like I got to get Lex into two things because I know he'll love it. I know he'll love LBJ if he has.


That takes the time to read the bills. One hundred percent. He's the most of all the president.


I didn't say you love him, but you love the books about him because the books are a story of America, the story of politics, the story of power. This is the guy who wrote The Power Broker.


These books are up there with Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon. In terms of how power works, study of power. Exactly that. No. And that's why Caro wrote the books. And that's why the books are not really about LBJ. They're about power in Washington and about the consolidation of power post New Deal, the consolidation. Then they using the levers of power like Johnson knew in order to change the House of Representatives, the Senate of the United States and ultimately the presidency of the United States, which ended in failure and disaster with Vietnam.


Don't get me wrong. But he's overlooked for so many of the incredible things that he did with civil right. Nobody else could have done it. No. No one else could have gotten it done. And the second thing is, we've got to get you in World War One. We've got to get you more into World War One, because I think that's a rabbit hole, which I know you're Dan Carlin fan.


So Blueprint for Armageddon guaranteed. But but there's fewer evil people there.


Yes, but. Well, but that's what actually there's a banality of that evil of the Kaiser and of the Austria Hungarians and of see, I like World War One more because it was unresolved.


It's one of those periods I was talking to you about, about like sometimes you're called and you fail. Like, that's what happened. I mean, fifty million people were killed in the most horrific way, like people literally drowned in the mud, like like an entire generation. At one stat I love is that, you know, Britain didn't need a draft till 1916.


Like they went to years of throwing people into barbed wire voluntarily. And because people love their country and they love the king and they thought they were going against the Kaiser, it's just like that conflict to me. I just can't read enough about it. Also, just like birth's Russian Revolution, you know. Yeah.


I mean, Hitler. You can't talk about World War Two without World War One, right?


Right. And I'm obsessed with the conflict. I've read way too many books about it for this reason is it's unresolved. And like the roots of so much of even our current problems are happened in Visi. Right. Like Vietnam is because of the Treaty of Versailles. In many ways, the Middle Eastern problems and the division of the states there, the Treaty of Versailles, in terms of the penalties against Germany, but also the fallout from those wars on the French and the German population are the French and the British populations and their reluctance for war in nineteen thirty nine or nineteen thirty eight when when Neville Chamberlain goes right.


Like that's one of the things people don't understand is the actual appetite of the British public. At the time they didn't want to go to war.


Only Churchill, he was the only one in the you know, in the gathering storm. Right. Like being like, hey, this is really bad and all of that. And then even the United States, our streak of isolationism, which swept I mean, things were because of that conflict.


We were convinced as a country that we wanted nothing to do with Europe and its problems.


And in many ways, that contributed to the proliferation of Hitler. And more so like I'm obsessed with World War One for this reason, which is that it's just like the root. It's like the culmination of the monarchies, then the fall and then just all the shit spills out.


So from there for like one hundred years. So World War One is like the most important shifts in human history. I would say two is like a consequence of that. Yeah, it's so I have a degree in security studies from Georgetown, and one of the thing is that we would focus a lot on that is like war and but also like the complexity around war. And it's funny, we never spent that much time on World War Two because there's actually quite of a clean war.


It's a very atypical war, as in the war object, which we learned from World War One, is we must inflict suffering on the German people and invade the borders of Germany and destroy Hitler like the center of gravity is the Nazi regime and Hitler. So it had a very basic begin and end began liberate France, invade Germany, destroy Hitler, reoccupy, rebuild World War One. What are you fighting for? Like, are you I mean, nobody even knew even the German general staff, they were like even in 1917, they're like the war was worth it because now we have Luxembourg.


I'm like really killed two million of your citizens for fucking Luxembourg and like half of Belgium, which is now like a pond and same thing. The French are like, well, the French more. So they're defending their borders. But like, what are the British fighting for? Why did hundreds of thousands of British people die in order to preserve the balance of power in Europe and prevent the Kaiser from having a port on the English Channel? Like, really?


That's why, because that's more what wars are as they become these like atypical. So they become these protracted conflicts with a necessary diplomatic resolution. It's not clean. It's very dirty. It usually leads in the outbreak of another war and another war and another war in a slow burn of ethnic conflict, which bubbles up.


So that's why I look at that one, even because it's it's more typical of warfare and how it works.


Exactly. It's it's kind of interesting. You're making me realize that World War Two is one of the rare wars where you can make a strong case for it's a fight of good versus just war theory, obviously, like they literally slaughtering Jews, like, you know, we have to kill them.


And there's one person doing it and there's one person at the core. There's it's yeah, that's fascinating. And it's short and there's a clear aggression. It's interesting that Dan Carlin has been avoiding Hitler as well. Yeah. Probably for this reason, probably for this reason. Yeah, I mean, but it's complicated, too, because there's a pressure that guy has his demons.


So this is the the I don't know if you feel this pressure.


But as a creative, he feels the pressure of being maybe not necessarily correct.


But may be correct in the sense that his understanding he gets to the bottom of of why something happened, of what really happened, did get to the bottom of it before he can say something publicly about it and he is tortured by that burden.


I know, you know, he takes so much shit from historical community for no reason. I think he's the greatest popularizer, quote unquote, of history. And I wish more people in history understood it that way. He was an inspiration to me. I mean, I do some video sometimes on my Instagram now where I'll like I'll do like a book tour. I'll be like, here's my bookshelf of these presidents. And like, here's where I learn from this book and this book and this and that was very much like a a skill I learned from him of being like as you know, as a historian writes, you know, look, I just love the way he talks.


He's like in the mud.


And, you know, that quote.


I mean, look, he he inspires me, man.


Yeah. He really does. To, like, learn more.


And I've read I bought a lot of books because of Dan Carlin, you know, because of this guy, because of that guy in terms of, you know, another thing he does, which nobody else and I'm probably guilty of this he focuses on the actual people involved, like he would tell the story of actual British soldiers in World War One.


And I probably and maybe you're guilty of this, too. We overfocus on what was happening in the German general staff, what's happening in the British general staff. And he doesn't make that mistake. That's what he tells real history. Yeah. And gives it a feeling. The result is that there's a feeling you get the feeling of what it was like to be this.


You know, you're becoming quickly becoming more and more popular. Speaking about political issues in part. Do you feel. A burden like almost like the the prison of your prior convictions of having to being popular, a certain kind of audience and thereby unable to really think outside the box. I had I've really struggled with this.


I came up in right wing media. I came up a much more doctrinaire conservative in my professional life.


I wasn't always conservative. We can get to that later if you want. And I did feel an immense pressure after after the election. By people to say they wanted me to say the election was stolen and I knew I had a sizable part of my audience, well, here's the benefit. Most people know me from rising, which is with Krystal and me. That is inherently a left right program. So it's a large audience. So I felt comfortable and I knew that I could still be fine in terms of my numbers, whatever, because a lot many people knew me who were on the left.


And if, you know, my listeners abandoned me, so be it.


I was had the luxury of able to take that choice, but I still felt an immense amount of pressure to say the election was stolen, to give credence to a lot of the stuff that Trump was doing, to downplay January 6th, to downplay many of the Republican senators or justify many of the Republican senators, some of whom I know who objected to the Electoral College certification and who stoked some of the flames that have eaten the Republican base.


And I just wouldn't do it. And that was hard, man, like I feel more politically homeless right now than I ever have, but I have realized in the last couple of months it's the best thing that ever happened to me.


It's freedom. It's true freedom. I now say I say exactly what I think. And it's not that I wasn't doing that before. It's maybe I would avoid certain topics or like I would think about things more from a team perspective of like, am I making sure that it's it's I'm not saying I didn't fight it.


I still I criticized the right plenty and plenty before the election and more it's more just like I no longer feel as if I even have the illusion of a stake within the game. I'm like I only look at myself as an outside observer and I will only call it as I see it truly. And I was aspiring to that before, but I had to have, in a way, Trump stop the steel thing. It like took my shackles off 100 percent because I was like, now this is bullshit.


And I'm going to say it's bullshit and I think it's bad and I think it's bad for the Republican Party. And if people in the Republican Party don't agree with me on that, that's fine. I'm just not going to be necessarily associated with you anymore.


This is probably one of the first political liberal politics related conversations we've had. I mean, unless you count Michael Mallis, who he was great.


He's the funny guy. He's not so much political as he is, like burning down man.


He leans too far in anarchy for me. Yeah. I think he's there's a place for that. It's almost well, first of all, he's he's working on a new book, which I really appreciate. He's working on like a big book for a while, which is White Pill is also working on this like short little thing, which is like anarchist handbook or something like that. Yeah, it's like energy for idiots or something like that, which I think is really.


Yeah. Well I mean, being an idiot.


Right. And being curious about anarchism is useful. So I like those kinds of books.


That's Russian heritage man. Yeah. Anarchist one on one.


Yeah I, I find those kinds of things useful. Thought experiment because that's why and it's frustrating to me when people talk about communism, socialism or even capitalism or they can't enjoy the thought experiment of like why did communism fail and maybe ask the question of like are there is it possible to make communism succeed or are there good ideas in communism? Like I enjoy the thought experiment, like just the discourse of it, like the reasoning and like devil's advocate, all that people have seem to not have patience for that.


They're like commies and bad read.


I was obsessed with the question and still am. I will never be I will never quench my thirst for Russian history. I love that period of 1890 to nineteen twenty five.


It's just like it's so fucking crazy, like the autocracy embodied in Czar Alexander. And then you get this like weird Faile son Nicholas, who is kind of a good guy but also terrible, and also Russian autocracy itself is terrible. And then I just became obsessed with the question of like, why did the Bolshevik Revolution succeed? Because, like, people in Russia didn't necessarily want Bolshevism. People suffered a lot under Bolshevism and it led to Stalinism. How did Vladimir Lenin do it?


Right. Like and I became obsessed with that question. And it's still I find it so interesting, which is that series of accidents of history, incredible boldness by Lenin, incredible realpolitik, smart, unpopular decisions made by Trotsky and Stalin.


And just like the arrogance of the czars and of the of the Russian like autocracy and just but at the same time, there's all these, like, cultural implications of this, right. In terms of like how it became hollowed out post Catherine the Great and all that. I was obsessed with ATAC because Russia was an actual autocracy and like actually I don't like it was there. Like they didn't even remove serfdom to like the civil war in America. Like, that's crazy, like, you know, and nobody really talks about it.


And I just yeah. I was like, was Bolshevism a natural reaction to the excesses of Zasa? There is a convenient explanation where that is true. But there were also a series of decisions made by Lenin and Stalin to kill many of the. People in the center left and marginalized them to and also not to associate with the more quote unquote, like like amenable communists in order to make sure that they're pure strain of Bolshevism was the only thing. And the reason I like that is because it comes back to a point I made earlier.


It's all about intentionality, which is that you actually can will something into existence even if people don't want it.


That was the craziest thing. Nobody wanted this, but it's still ruled for half a century. Well, more actually.


I mean, almost seven years to think that there could have been a history of the Soviet Union that was dramatically different than Leninism, Stalinism. That was completely different, like almost would be the American story. Yeah, easily. I mean, there's a world where and I don't have all the characters there's like Kerensky and then there was like whoever Glennon's number, Stalin's chief rival. And even I mean, look, even a Soviet Union led by Trotsky, that's a whole other world.


Right? Like literally a whole other world.


And yeah, it's just I don't know. I find it so interesting. I will never not be fascinated by Russia. I always will. It's funny that I get to talk to you because it's like I read this book. I forget what it's called it.


One, I think it won a Pulitzer Prize and it was like the story of I tried to understand Russia post Crimea because I, I came up among people who are much more like neo conservative and they're like, fuck Russia bad by.


And I was like, OK, like, what are these people think?


And we have this narrative of like the fall of the Soviet Union. And then I read this book from the perspective of Russians who lived through the fall and they're like this. I was like, this is terrible.


Like actually the introduction of capitalism was awful and all like the rise of all these crazy oligarchs.


That's why Putin was came to power to like restore restore order to the oligarchy.


And he still talks to this day. Do you guys I mean, that's the threat of like do you want to return to the 90s? Right. Do you want to return to Yeltsin?


Yeah. And like but the thing is, in the West, we have this like our own propaganda of like, no, Yeltsin was great. That was the golden age, what could have been with Russia. And I was like, well, what do actual Russians think?


And so that, yeah, I will always be fascinated by it. And then just like to understand the idea of feeling encircled by NATO and all of that, you have to understand like Russian defense theory all the way up. Going back to the czars has always been defense in depth in terms of having Estonia, Lithuania and more is like protection of the heartland. I'm not justifying this. So NATO shills like please don't come after me, but I look Estonian Estonians like NATO.


They want to be in NATO. So I don't want to minimize that. I'm more just saying, like, I understand him and Russia much better having done that. And we are very incapable in America. I think this is probably because my parents are immigrants. I've traveled a lot of putting yourself in the mind of people who aren't Western and haven't lived a history, especially our lives of America's fucking awesome. We're the number one country in the world.


Yeah, I'm like, we're literally better than you like in many ways. And they they can't empathize with people who have suffered so much.


Yeah. And I just yeah. It's just so interesting to me.


What about if we could talk for just a brief moment about the human of Putin and power.


You are clearly fascinated by power. Do you think power changed Putin? Do you think power changes leaders? If you look at the great leaders in history, whether it's LBJ, FDR. Do you think power really changes people?


Like is there a truth to that kind of old proverb he reveals? I think that's what it is. It reveals. So Putin was a much more deft politician, much more amenable to the West. If you think back to 2001 and more right when he came because he was still at that time, his biggest problem was intra Russian politics. Right. Like it was all consolidating power within the oligarchy. Once he did that by around like 2007, there's that famous time when he spoke out against the West at the Munich Security Conference.


I forget what it was.


And that's when everybody in the audience was like, whoa. And he was talking about like NATO encirclement. And like, we will not be beaten back by the West very shortly afterwards, like the Georgia invasion happens. And that was like a big wake up call, like we will not be pushed around anymore.


He said before publicly, like the worst thing that ever happened was the fall or what did he say was like the fall of the Soviet Union was a tragedy, right? Yeah, of course.


People in the West like what I'm like. I get it like they were a superpower.


Now their population is declining.


Think it's like a petro state. It sucks. Like, I understand. I understand.


Like how somebody could feel about that.


I think it revealed his character, which is that he I think he thinks of himself probably as he always has since 2001, as like this benevolent almost as a benevolent dictator. He's like without me, the whole system would collapse. I'm the only guy who's keeping these people. I'm the only guy keeping all these people in check. Most Russians probably do support Putin because they feel like they support some form of functional government and is like a check against that which is along, you know, has a long history within Russia, too.


So I don't know if it changed him. I think it just revealed him because it's not like he I mean, he has a you know, Navalny has put that a billion dollar palace and all that.


I don't know. Sometimes I feel like Putin does that for show. He doesn't seem like somebody who indulges in all that stuff. Or maybe we just don't see it. Like, I don't know. Well, I don't yeah.


I it's very difficult for me to have been hanging out, thanks to a lot of I've gotten to learn a lot about the Navalny folks, and it's been very educational. Made me ask a lot of important questions about what, you know, question a lot of my assumptions about what I do and don't know. But I'll just say that I do believe there's a lot of the Navalny folks say that Putin is incompetent and this is a bad executive is bad, basically run the government.


But to me, why do Russians not think that?


Well, they probably the press, right? Yeah, they would say that there is a strong either control or pressure on the press. But I think there is a legitimate support and love of Putin in Russia that is not grounded in just the misinformation and propaganda. There's there's legitimacy there. Mostly, I tried to remain apolitical and actually genuinely remain apolitical. I am legitimately not interested in the politics of Russia of today. I feel I have some responsibility and I'll take that responsibility on as I need to.


But my fascination as it is perhaps with you in part is in the historical figure of Putin. I know he's currently president, but I'm almost looking like as if I was a kid in thirty years from now, reading about him, studying the human being. The the games of power that are played that got them to gain power, to maintain power. What that says about his human nature, the the nature of the bureaucracy that's around him, the nature of Russia, the people, all those kinds of things, as opposed to the politics and the manipulation and the corruption and the control of the media that results in misinformation.


You know, those those are the bickering of the day, just like you're saying. What will actually be remembered about this moment in history? Totally. He's a transformational figure in Russian history, really, like the bridge between the fall of Soviet Union and the chaos of Yeltsin.


That will be how he is remembered. The only question is what comes next and what he will come next. That's why I'm always fat. I'm like, he's getting up. How old are you? Sixty something.


Yeah, 60. So he would be I think you'd be 80. So with with the change of the Constitution, he can now be president. Until six to twenty thirty four, I think it is so he would be like 80 something and he would be in power for over 30 years, which is longer than Stalin. So but he's still he still seems to be seems fit. And I think he's going to be around for a long time.


But this is a fascinating question that you ask, which is like, what does he want?


I don't know. Yeah, that's the question. I don't. And this is where I think given all of his behavior and more, I don't know if it's about money. I don't know if it's about enriching himself. Obviously, he did to the tune of billions and billions and billions of dollars.


But I think he probably he's as close to like an actual Russian nationalist, like at the top who really does believe in Russia as its rightful superpower. Everything he does seems to stem from that opposition to NATO in terms of Syria, like wanting to play a large role in affairs, deeply distrustful and yet coveting of the European powers. Like I could describe every czar, you know, in those same language, like every czar falls into the exact same category.


Yeah. I mean, it makes you wonder. Well, looking at some of the biggest leaders in human history to ask the question of what was the motivation, what was the motivation for even just the revolutionaries like Lenin and Trotsky and Stalin? What was the motivation? Because it sure as hell seems like the motivation was, at least in part, the driven by the idea. By ideas, not self interest of like power for Lenin, it was I think he was a true believer and an actual narcissist who thought he was the only one who could do it.


Stalin, I do think, just wanted power and realized, well, I don't know. Look, he wrote very passionately when he was young and he was he really believed in communism in the beginning.


He did. I always I'm always fascinated by the like around 19, 20, what happened right. Post revolution, you crushed the whites. Now it's all about consolidation. That's where the games really began. And I'm like, I don't think that was about communism.


Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Maybe it became a useful propaganda tool, but it still seemed like he believed in it, whether it was, of course, the question. I mean, this is the problem with conspiracy theories for me. And this is legitimate criticism towards me about conspiracy theories, which is, you know, just because you're not like this doesn't mean others aren't like this.


Like, I can't believe that somebody be, like, deeply Two-Faced met them.


You're welcome to Washington.


But, like, I think that I would be able to detect. Like no good. Well, my question is it I mean, what's this difference does to face like there's different levels of to face? Like what I mean is to be killing people and it's like House of Cards. Right. And and still present a front.


Like you're like you're not killing people. I don't know. And I guess it's possible, but I just don't see that at scale. Like, there's a lot of people like that and I don't have trouble imagining. Um, some you know, that's such a compelling narrative that people like to say like people. That's the conspiratorial mindset.


I think that skepticism was really powerful and important to have because it's true, a lot of powerful people abuse their power. But saying that about I feel like people. Over assume that I see that with use of steroids, often in sports, people simply make that claim about like everybody who's successful. And I want to be very I don't know something about me, wants to be cautious because. Now, I want to give people a chance being purely cynical and helpful, people say this is always a mistake to do this, but at the same time, being naively optimistic about everything is also kind of part of this scheme of people going to fuck you over.


And more importantly, that doesn't bother me. More importantly, you're not going to be able to reason about how to create systems that are going to be robust, to corruption, to malevolent, but like parties.


So in order to create yet a healthy balance of both, I suppose, especially if you want to actually engineer things that that don't work in this world that has evil in it. Right.


Kimberly, there's a book on Hitler and we've mentioned a lot of books throughout this conversation.


I wonder and this makes me really curious to explore. A lot of depth, the kind of books that you're interested in, I think you mentioned your show that you you provide recommendations. Yes, I do. In the form of spoken word.


Can you be on what we've already recommended mention books, whether it is historical nonfiction or whether it's more like philosophical or even fiction that had a big impact on your life? Is there a few the convention? Sure. I already talked about the Johnson books. I'll leave that alone.


Robert Caro, he's still alive. Thank God he's finishing the last book. I hope he makes it so that those Johnson books second book. Can I ask you a question about those books? Yes. What the hell do you fit into so many pages? Everything, man.


Let me tell you this. So I'll just give you an anecdote, because I love these books. The Beginning.


The first book is about Lyndon Johnson. Yes. His life to when he gets elected to Congress. The book begins with a history of Texas and its weather patterns and then of his great great grandfather moving to Texas, because then the story of that, about a hundred or so pages in, you get to Lyndon Johnson.


Yes, that's a that's how you do it, which is you get a Tolstoy style.


It's like this is the thing.


It's not a biography. It's a story of the Times. That's a great biography. So another one. This isn't part of my list. So don't that is Granth Record.


Ron Chernow. Ron Chernow's grant is a thousand pages and the reason I tell everybody to read it is it's not just the story of Grant. It is the story of pre civil war, America, the Mexican-American War, the Civil War and reconstruction. All told, in the life of one person who was involved in all three, most people knew anything about the Mexican-American War.


It's fascinating. Most people don't know anything about reconstruction now, more so because people are talking. It's a hot topic now. I've been reading about it for years.


That is another thing people need to learn a lot more about. In terms of non history books.


The book that probably had the most impact on me, which is also a historical nonfiction, is I am obsessed with Antarctic exploration. And it all began with a book called Shackleton's Incredible Journey, which is the collection of diaries of everybody who was on Shackleton Journey. For those who don't know, Shackleton was the last explorer of the heroic age of Antarctic exploration. He led a ship called the Endurance, which froze in the ice off the coast of Antarctica in 1914.


And they didn't have radios over the last exploration last one without the age of radio. And he happens to freeze in the ice and then the ship collapses after a year frozen in the ice. And this man leads his entire crew from that ship onto the ice with a team of dogs, survives out on the ice for another year with three little lifeboats and is able to get all of his men, every single one of them, alive to an island hundreds of miles away called Elephant Island.


And when they got there, he had to leave everybody behind except for six people and him and two other guys. I'm forgetting their names navigated by the stars eight hundred miles through the Drake Passage with seas of hundreds of feet to Prince, I think it's called Prince George's Island. And then when they got to Prince George's Island, they landed on the wrong side and they had to hike from one side to the other to go and meet the whalers. And every single one of those things was supposed to be impossible.


Nobody was ever nobody was ever supposed to hike that island. It wasn't done again until like the nineteen eighties with professional equipment. He did it after two years of starvation. Nobody was ever supposed to make it from Elephant Island to Prince, the guy they had to hold him steady, his legs so that he could chart the stars. And if they missed this island, they're into open sea, they're dead.


And then before that, how do you survive for a year on the ice, on seals?


And before that, he kept his crew from depression frozen one year in the ice. It's just an amazing story. And it made me obsessed with Antarctic exploration. So I've read like 15 books on the hell. Is it about the human spirit?


That's that's that's the thing about Antarctica is it brings it out of you. You know, for example, I read another one recently called Mawson's Will Douglas Mawson. He's an Australian. He was on the one of the first shackled Frost Robert Frost expeditions. He leads an expedition down to the south. Him and a partner, they're leading explorations. Nineteen eighty eight, something like that. They're going around Antarctica. With dog teams and one of the what happens is they keep going over these snow bridges where there's a crevice, but it's covered in snow and so that one of the lead driver, the dogs go over and they plummet and that sled takes with it.


So the guy survives, but that sled takes all their food, half the dogs, their stove, the camping tent, the tent specifically designed for the snow, everything. And they're hundreds of miles away from base camp. He and this guy have to make it back there in time before the ship comes to come get them on an agreed upon date. And he makes it. But the guy he was with, he dies. And it's a crazy story.


They they have first of all, they have to eat the dogs. The really creepy part of Antarctic exploration is everyone ends up eating dogs at different points. Yeah. And part of the theory, which is so crazy is that the guy he was with was dying because they were eating dog liver and dog liver has a lot of vitamin E, which if you eat too much of it, can give you like a poisoning. And so Mossen, by trying to help his friend, was giving him more.


Of all the things that kills, you know, is dog liver. So his friend ends up dying, have a horrific heart attack. All of that Mossen crawls back hundreds of miles away, makes it back to base camp hours after the ship leaves and two guys or a couple of guys stay behind for him. And he basically has to recuperate for like six months before he can even walk again. But it's like you're saying about the human spirit. It's like Antarctica brings that out of people.


Or Amundsen, the guy who made it to the South Pole, Robert Amundsen. Oh, my God.


Like this guy trained his whole life in the ice from Norway to make it to the South Pole.


And he beat Robert Frost, the British guy with all this money and all these.


I could go on forever. I'm so obsessed with it. Well, first of all, I'm going to yeah. I'm going to take this part of the project. Yeah. Set it to music when I listen to it, because I've been whining and bitching about running 40 miles of goggins this next weekend. And this is going to be so easy. I'm just going to listen to this over and over my head. You're going to be like was obsessed with Shackleton.


He talks about what he uses. I was going to ask about the use as an example of that is as an example of what Mars colonization would be like.


His right to know that Antarctica is as close to you can simulate that the Antarctic is as close to what you could simulate, what it would get that that Nat Geo series on Mars, I'm not sure if you watched. It is incredible. Elon is actually in it. And it kind of and it's like they get there, everything goes wrong. Somebody dies like it's horrible. They can't find any water. It's not working.


So what is it? Is it like simulating the experience? Would it be like a..


So it's like a docu series where the fictionalized part is the like astronauts on Mars, but then they're interviewing people like Elon Musk and others who are the ones who, like, paved the way to get to Mars. This is a really interesting concept. I think it's on Netflix.


And yeah, I agree with him one hundred percent, which is that the first guys to make like, for example, Robert Frost, who went to Australia, to Antarctica, the British explorer who was beaten to the South Pole three weeks by Robert Amundsen, he died on the way back. And the reason why is because he wasn't well prepared. He was arrogant. He didn't have the proper amounts of supplies. His team had terrible morale. Antarctica was a brutal place.


If you fuck up one time, you die and it's like you and this is what you read a lot about, which is the reason why such heroic characters like Shackleton Shine is a lot of people died like there were some people who got frozen in the eye. I mean, man, this again also came to the North exploration. So I read a lot about like the exploration of the North Pole and same thing. These unextraordinary men take people out into the ice and get frozen out there for years and shit goes so bad they end up eating each other.


They all die. There's a famous one. I'm forgetting his name, the British Franklin expedition, where they went searching for them for like twenty years. And they eventually came across a group of Inuit who were like, oh, yeah, we saw some weird white men here like 15 years ago. And they find their bones and there's like SA Marks, which show that they were eating each other a little.


History remembers the ones who didn't eat each other. Yeah, we were.


Well, yeah, we remember the ones who made it, but there are and that would be the story of Mars. That will be the story of Mars. So but nevertheless, that's the interesting thing about Antarctica. Nevertheless, something about human nature drives us to explore that.


And that seems to be like, you know, a lot of people have this. Kind of to me, frustrating conversations like, well, earth is great, man, why do we need to colonize Mars? You just don't get it. I don't know. I mean, I don't know. It's the same people that say, like, why are you running? Like, why are you running a marathon?


What are you running from, man? Yeah, I don't know. It's pushing the limits of the of the human mind of the of what's possible.


Mallory because it's there. Yeah, it's simple. And and somehow actually the result of that, if you want to be pragmatic about it, there's something about pushing that limit that has side effects that you don't expect that will create a better world back home for the people, not necessarily on Earth, but like just in general, it raises the quality of life for everybody, even though the initial endeavor doesn't make any sense. The very fact of pushing the limits of what's possible then has side effects of benefiting everybody.


And it's difficult to predict ahead of time what those benefits will be, say, with colonizing Mars. It's unclear what the benefits will be for Earth or in general.


Well, we're struggling to get from the moon.


What did we get from Apollo? Right.


Technically, and there are a lot of socialists at the time making this argument, all this money going, you know what?


We went to the fucking moon in 1969. That was amazing. The greatest feat in human history, period. What did we learn from it? We learned and we learned about interstellar or interplanetary travel. We learned that we could do something off of a device less powerful than the computer in my pocket. Yeah, like the the amount of potential locked within my pocket and your pocket. I mean, this is if you were to define my politics in one way, it's greatness like national quest for national greatness.


There is no greatness without fulfilling the ultimate calling of the human spirit, which is more it's not enough. And why should it be it wasn't enough. You know, our ancestors could have been content to sit. Well, actually, many of them were were content to sit and say these berries will be here for a long time. And they got eaten and they died.


And it's the ones who got out and went to the next place and the next place and went across the Siberian land bridge and went across more. And it just did extraordinary things. The craziest ones. We are their offspring and we fail them if we don't go into space. That's how I would put it. He should run for president, just space man, I love you're doing difficult things and pushing exploring the world and all of its forms. I hope that kind of spirit permeates politics to that same kind of can.


Can I? Well, it can, and I hope so. I don't know if you want to stay on it, but I think those book number one or two shit. Yeah, they're all right there.


Well, this one is this actually is a corollary to that, which is sapience. And I know that's a very normal normy answer. Yeah. One of the best selling books. I think there's a reason for that. You've all known Harari. OK, OK, look. Yes, he didn't do any new research. I got that. All he did was aggregate. I'm sure he's very controversial in the scientific community. But guess what? He wrote a great book.


It's a very easy to read general explanation of the rise of human history, and it helps challenge a lot of preconceptions. Are we special? Are we an accident or are we more like a parasite? Are we not what? Is there a destiny to all of us? I don't know. You know, if anything, it's like what I just described, which is more move move out the evolution of money. Like, I know he gets a lot of hate, but I think that he writes it so clearly and well that for your average person to be able to read that you will come away with a more clear understanding of the human race than before.


And I think that that's why it's worth it.


I agree with 100 percent. I am ashamed to I usually don't bring up sapience because it's like, yeah, it's like everybody's uncle is read it.


But that's a good thing.


Yeah, it is one of the I think he'll be remembered as one of the great books of this particular era. Yeah. Because it's so clearly it's like the selfish gene with Dawkins. I mean it just aggregates so many ideas together and puts language to it. That's makes it very useful to talk about. So it is one of the great books.


One hundred percent. Another one is definitely born to run for the same reason by Christopher McDougall, which is that I'm just going to listen to this whole podcast next week.


You got to go.


You should, because it you are inheriting our most basic skill, which is running and reimagining human history or reimagining like what we were as opposed to what we are, is very useful because it helps you understand how to tap into primal aspects of your brain, which just drive you. And the reason I love McDougall's writing is because I love anybody who writes like this. Malcolm Gladwell. Who else? Michael Lewis. People who find characters to tell a bigger story.


Michael Lewis finds characters to tells the story of the financial crisis. Malcolm Gladwell writes, finds characters to tell us the story of learning new skills and outliers. And whatever his latest book is, I forget what it's called.


And but McDougall tells the vignettes and a tiny story of a single person in the history of running and how it's baked into your DNA. And I think there was just something very useful to that for me, for being like, I don't need to go to the gym or like I'm not saying you should still go to the gym. I'll be clear. I'm saying, like, in order to fulfill, like, who you are, you can actually tap into something that's the most basic.


I don't know.


I'm sure you listen to the David Cho episode with Joe Rogan or is Animal.


Yeah, with the baboon when he goes and there's something to that. There's something to that which is like they are living the way that we were supposed to not.


So I don't want to put it normative judgment in their living the way that we used to.


This is very funny somehow to our true nature. There's a guy I follow on Instagram.


I've come from Paul Saladino, Carnivore M.D..


Yeah, he just went over there to the Hadza to live with them. And I was watching his stuff just like I was like, man, there's there's something in you that wants to go. Like, I'm like, I want to do that. Yeah. I want to be very good at it, but like I want to.


Yeah. I'm so glad that somebody who thinks deeply about politics is so fascinated with exploration and with the very basic nature like human nature, nature of our existence. I love that there's something you and still you're stuck in DC for now.


For now.


Speaking of which, the. You are from Texas. Yes. What do you make of the future of Texas? Politically, culturally, economically? I am in part moving. Well, I'm moving to Austin Grass, but I'm also doing the Eric Wilstein advice, which is like, dude, you're not married.


You have kids everywhere. There's no such thing as moving.


What what do you move in?


You're like you're like like your three suits and some shirts and underwear. What exactly is the move entail? So I have no. So I'm basically, you know, it's very just to remain mobile, but there's a promise, there's a hope to Austin outside of I mean, my outside outsider, just like friendships. I have no it's a very different culture that Josh Rogin is creating. I'm most interested in what the next Silicon Valley will be, what the next hub of technological innovation.


And there's a promise, maybe a dream for Austin being that next place that very possible doesn't have the baggage of some of the political things, maybe some of the sort of things that hold back the beauty of that makes capitalism and makes innovation so powerful, which is like a meritocracy, which is excellence. Diversity is exceptionally important, but not that it should not be the only priority. It has to be something that it coexists with, like insatiable drive towards excellence.


And it seems like Texas is a nice place, like having a Austin, which is like a kind of this weird.


I hope it stays weird, man. I love weird. People know about that, but we can get sick.


But it's there's this hope is it remains this weird place of brilliant innovation amidst a state that's like more conservative, like there's a nice balance of everything. What are your thoughts about the future of Texas?


I think it's so fascinating to me because I never thought I would want to move back. But now I'm beginning to be convinced so that I'm with this.


I am I'm being honest. And many Texas will hate me for this. Texas was not a place that was kind to me, quote unquote. And this is because of my. Own parent, like I was raised in College Station, Texas, which is a town of 50000. It's a university town. It exists only for the university. So it was a very I did not get the full Texas experience is purely speaking from a college station experience.


But growing up, first first generation or I forget what it is, but I'm the first American. I was born and raised in College Station. My parents are from India.


Being raised in a town where the dominant culture was predominantly like white evangelical Christian was hard, like it was just difficult. And I think of it in the beginning, I would say like ages like zero to like eight. It was like cultural ignorance, as in like they just don't know how to interact with you.


And there was a level of always there was like the evangelical kind of antipathy towards, like, you being not Christian. You know, my parents are Hindu, like, that's how I was raised. And so, like, there was that.


But 9/11 was very difficult. Like 9/11 happened when I was in third or fourth grade. And that changed everything, man. Like, I mean, our temple had to, like, print out T-shirts. And I'm not saying this is a sob story. To be clear. I'm still actually largely for my adult life identified on the political right. So don't take this as some like, you know, race manifesto. I'm just telling it like this is what happened, which is that.


Like we had it was just hard to be proud, frankly, and to have some of the fallout from 9/11 and during Iraq, and the reason I am political is because I realized in myself I have a strong, rebellious nature against systems and structures of power. And the first people I ever rebelled against were all the people telling me to shut up and not question the Iraq war. So the reason I am in politics is because I hated George W. Bush with a passion and I hated the war.


And I was so against my entire background is largely national security for this reason, which is I was obsessed with the idea of like, how do we get people who are not going to get us into these quagmire situations in positions of power?


That's how I became fascinated by power in the first place, was all a question of how do this happen?


Like how did this catastrophe happen? I realize it's not as bad as like previous conflicts, but this one was mine and to see how it changed our domestic politics forever. And so that was my rebellion. But it's funny because I identified as a left on the left when I was growing up up until I was 18, I had also a funny two year stint. This is where everything kind of changed for me when I was 16. Actually, I moved to Qatar, to Doha, Qatar, as my dad was a dean or associate dean of Texas A&M University at Doha.


So my last two years of high school were at this. I went from a small town in Texas and I love my parents because they could recognize that I had within me that I was not a small town kid. So they took me out of this country every chance they got. I traveled everywhere and constantly let me go.


And so I was I went from school and college station to like this ritzy private school, American school. Best thing that ever happened to me because, first of all, got me out of College Station. Second, at that time, I had this annoying streak of I wouldn't call it being anti America. But you don't appreciate America. Let me tell everybody out there listening.


Leave for a while. You will miss it so much. Yes. You do not know what it is like to not have freedom of speech until you don't have it. And I was going to I was going to high school with these guys and the Qatari royal family.


And all I wanted to do was speak out how they were pieces of shit for the way that they treated Indian citizens in the country who are basically used a slave labor. And I could not say one word because I knew I would be deported and I knew my dad would lose his job and my mom would lose her job and we would be forced out of the country.


You don't know what it's like to live like that or to be in a society where, like, you know, you have like a high school girlfriend or something and you can't even touch in public or you're lectured for public decency. Like, I listen, I've lived under Gulf Monarchy now and I have that turn me into the most pro-American ever, like I came back.


So I like Murka like that. And that's I still am frightened because of that experience. Living abroad like that will do it to you live in a non democracy. You have even in Europe, I would say you guys aren't living as free as we are here. It's awesome to see of it.


You're ultimately another human being than the one who left Texas. Yeah. So, I mean, have you actually considered moving to Texas and broadly just outside of your own story, what do you think is the future of Texas? Was the future of Austin? Yes.


There's so much transformation seemingly happening now related to Silicon Valley, California, part to me, which is that since I left, it's changed dramatically, which is that it used to be like this conservative state where the main money to be made was oil. And everybody knew that Petro. It was a petro state, Houston, all of that.


Austin was always weird, but it was more of a music town and a university town. It was not a tech town. But in the ten years or so since I left, I have begun to realize I'm like all the Texas I grew up in is over.


It is not a deep red state in any sense, in any sense of the term. The number one U-Haul route in the country pre pandemic already was San Francisco to Austin.


OK, so like you have this massive influx of people from California and New York and the state, the composition of it is changed dramatically.


The entire composition and the altarock are. Yeah, so the entire composition, it's become way more urban. So from when I when I grew up, Texas are much more rural state. Its politics were much more static. It looked much more like Rick Perry, like that he was a very accurate representation of who we were.


Now, I don't think that that's the case. Texas is now a dynamic economy, not just one hundred percent reliant on. Oil, because of it's kind of like. I would call it like regulatory arbitrage relative to California and New York offers a large incentive to people who are more, I wouldn't say culturally liberal, but they're not necessarily like culturally conservative, like the people who I grew up with.


That's changed the whole state's politics. Betacam two points away from beating Ted Cruz. Now, I'm not saying the state's going to go blue. I think the Republican Party will just change and we'll have to readjust.


But the reorganization of Texas has made it, I'll put it in this way much more much, much more attractive to me than the place that I grew up and my perspective.


Well, first of all, I love some of the the cowboy things that Texas stands for.


More practically from my perspective, the injection of the tech innovation. Right. That's moving to Texas has made it very exciting to me. It seems like outside of all that, maybe you can speak to the weird in Austin. It seems like I know that Joe Rogan is a rich sort of almost like mainstream at this point. Right. But he's also attracting a lot of weirdos. And so zylon and a lot of those weirdos and my friends, and they're like like my animals.


Like those weirdos.


And it's like I have a hope for Austin that all kinds of different flavors of weirdos will get injected. It's possible.


You know, I actually think the most significant thing that happened were Tesla moving.


They're the reason why is I love Joe, obviously, but like, he can only attract X amount of people.


You won't actually employs thousands of people and then you will also Oracle Oracle's decision to move to Austin is just as important because those two men, Larry, was Ellison, right? Yeah, Ellison and Elon, they actually employ tens of thousands of people collectively that can change the nature of the city. So you combine that with Joe bringing this entire new entertainment complex with the bodies of people who will appreciate that entertainment complex.


Spend money on the entertainment. Exactly. You just remade the entire city.


Yeah. And that's that's why I'm fascinated. Obviously, there's network effects, which is now that all those people are down there. I mean, if I were Elon Musk, I would donate a shit ton of money to the University of Texas and I would turn it into my Stanford for Silicon Valley. Let's introduce some competition and let UT Austin hire the best software developers, engineers, professors and more and turn Texas into a true, like Austin revolving door hub, where people come to Austin to get an internship at Tesla and then become an executive there and then create their own company in their own garage in Austin, which is the next Facebook, Twitter.


That's how it happens. This is why I'm much more skeptical of Miami. There's a whole, like, tech Miami crew. I'm like, yeah, like there's no university for an organic look. I think Miami is awesome. I just like I don't know if the same building blocks are there. And also, no multibillion dollar companies which employ thousands of people are coming there. That's the ingredient. It's not just Joe Rogan. It's not just even Elon Musk.


If he still operated in California, it's all the people he employs. I think that is where I think Texas is going to dramatically change within the next ten years. Alternative to our base already become a more urbanized state that's moved away from oil and gas in terms of like its emphasis, not necessarily in terms of real economics. And ten years from now, I don't think it will be necessarily the name prop like of the of the town.


The only question to me is how that manifests politically because. It's very possible, though, because a lot of these workers themselves are California culturally liberal, you could see you, Gavin Newsom type person getting elected governor of Texas or like the mayor of Austin.


I mean, look, mayor is already a Democrat, right? Like I mean, Joe asone problems with Austin. It's funny. I remember him leaving L.A. and I'm like, well, you've been awesome.


I like it. You know, it's not everything it's cracked up to be, you know, necessarily.


But no matter what, you know, a new place allows the possibility for new ideas, even if they're somehow left leaning and all those kinds of things. I do think the only two things missing from Austin and Texas are two dudes in a suit that sometimes have a podcast, a bunch of nonsense in the mix. So let's let's bring the best game to Texas. I hope you do make it Texas at some point. Thanks so much for talking to.


Thanks for listening to this conversation with Saagar and Getti and thank you to our sponsors, Jordan Harbage, a show family grammar assistant, asleep self cooling bed and magic spoon, low carb cereal. Click the sponsored links to get a discount and to support this podcast. And now they may leave you some words for Martin Luther King Jr. about the idea that what is just and what is legal and not always the same thing. He said, never forget that what Hitler did in Germany was legal.


Thank you for listening and hope to see you next time.