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20/20 has been a year of surprises, impeachment, riots, plague, murder, hornets, and perhaps most shocking of all, a progressive is joining. Verdict on Michael Knowles. This is verdict with Ted Cruz. Welcome back to Verdict with Ted Cruz. Such a pleasure to be here, as always with the senator and our progressive guest. I actually I don't know that that term totally encapsulates our guest, Eric Weinstein, mathematician, managing director of Teil Capital, founder of the Intellectual Dark Web.
And the title that you suggested to me, Imposter Guilty. Thank you very much for being with us. Michael, great pleasure to be here. And thank you, Senator, for inviting me. Thank you for joining us. So so you suggested imposters. That leads to the natural question, impostor. What? Just about everything. I mean, I think that part of the problem is, is that credentialism has. Given us a culture of silos and therefore, because everyone's terrified of violating the Dunning Kruger Principle, effectively, we don't have people roaming around the cabin or with all access passes.
So so assume theoretically that that that there's one listener out there who may be a lawyer and an elected member of the Senate who doesn't know what the Dunning Kruger Principle is.
The idea that people in general, when they're not very talented, tend to overestimate their competence in various fields.
Explain why I didn't know what it was. Well, it'll show up in the comments of the YouTube.
Right. Right. So how does Dunning Kruger compare to the Peter Principle? Well, I think that the Peter Principle has to do with systems of selective pressures so that in a previous world where corporate ladders and the like actually function, which many of our younger viewers won't know anything about because the corporate ladder hasn't worked for a great deal of time, people would advance by merit to the point at which they would find that they were first incompetent and then they would stop there.
And effectively, you would go one step beyond where your competency lot. I think that the Peter Principle really doesn't function because what you right now have is an insane situation whereby people like myself, who got fifty five years old, 54, technically have never even started our careers because of the holding pattern that we find having to do with tremendous number of people in the silent and boomer generations. And given that we are holding holding the important chairs and at least in, for example, in academics, when we get rid of things like mandatory retirement, you have a very interesting situation whereby lots of talented people never had the chance to come up.
And so in terms of progressivism, one of the things that's really important to understand is that in many ways the market is not actually functioning to promote talent and that there's a great deal of skepticism about whether meritocracy can continue to be a part of the American story. And then what we're finding is that in the absence of a functioning meritocracy, Maoism is becoming incredibly important, is being embraced by one of our two major parties. And I think Maoism is very distinct from progressive and such.
I definitely want to get it get there. But I actually want to pause on something you said, because it's it's interesting. So you've had extraordinary academic Creary APHC in math. No, I haven't had an extraordinary academic career.
You have an extraordinary credential and you've managed generals are quite acceptable and you're now managing partner Teil capital in. In at least most external worlds, that would be Asia. Yes. So you said you had not yet started your career. I'm fascinated. What, that you're descended from mathematicians and I puter program. I can both both my parents are mathematicians, right. My mother was a mathematician from Rice. If if I'm not mistaken, class of fifty six from Rice.
My dad class is 61 from Texas and I personally came to computer programmers at really the dawn of the computer age. So and until I was about fifteen, I thought the path I was going to go was electrical engineering and computer science.
So it is interesting is making money and getting to advise one of the world's most brilliant venture capitalists and investors is I really still think of myself as an AK admission. And I happened to find myself in the business world. Like many people who come from academics and found that the university system was absolutely unworkable, as we're currently seeing. And so effectively, I'm always interested in getting back to mathematics, physics and economics, finance risk at a theoretical level, and there simply really isn't a career path.
Is your assumption of teaching, of research, of writing when you view a fully float formed and blossomed academic life? Well, what would it take? Well, the great danger is that I love teaching and it's important not to teach because research is far more important, far more frustrating. And because we've housed both teaching and research in our universities, people are very confused. I frequently compare it to the biathlon. I remember as a child when I learned that there was an Olympic sport that combines cross-country skiing and shooting.
I thought it was about the dumbest and funniest thing ever. And in part, we are very confused about the research university because we keep thinking that universities are principally about teaching. But I don't think that that's the most interesting aspect. I think if you look at, for example, Rockefeller University, which has no undergraduates use University of California, San Francisco Fine Biomedical University, no undergraduates. The Institute for Advanced Study doesn't even have graduate students. It's very important that we learn that previous generations put our research and our teaching in the same place, and the teaching is what's getting us into tremendous trouble.
So I have to admit, I always thought the biathlon was an Olympic sport designed for James Bond. Well, it seems like that. But if you think about the winter war in Finland versus the Soviet Union, the reason that tiny Finland was able to hold off the giant bear was, is that they particularly excelled at skiing and shooting. Not only that, they did have the good idea that you probably should wear white. If you're going to be against snow and ice so that the enemy finds it harder to see.
Well, I got to say, there's not a great historical pedigree behind people fighting wars in and around Russia in the wintertime. So. So that's that's all very impressive. Yes, that is. Well, I'd like to pick up on this point of the academy. Yeah. Yes. Large. As a matter of fact, because. Because you have not fit in very well in the academy. And this is very odd to me. You have a degree which is a damn fine point.
Michael and I today did a book podcast on all this Huxley's Brave New World and not fitting in. I have to say, particularly after discussing that this afternoon. Yeah. Not fitting in may be about as highest compliment as one can give in this frame to an individual in this brave new world who dares think for himself. So what is it? What what went wrong in in the universe? The universities are the system which has the. The biggest problem with egos, now, people don't understand what an ego is.
So you see the US had an exceptional run of it between 1945 and about 1971 through 73, where we had broadly distributed very stable, technologically led growth. And this high level of growth caused us to predicate our institutions on an expectation of growth. Now, that expectation mysteriously changed around 1971 through seventy three. And this is the important singularity that we went through that many people don't even know existed. In fact, there is now a Web site, which I'm very relieved to be able to point to, which is called WTS happened in 1971.
So I recommend that to all of your your your your viewers and listeners. I should be really disappointed since I was born in December of 1970.
Yes. Yes. You know, correlation is not causation. That's one of the few things I learned in college. I can hang our hat on that. So what happened was that all of our institutions and I think this is one of the most important stories that very few people know, all of our institutions have an expectation of growth, that you have so many years that you spend as an associate before you become the partner in a law firm or in a medical practice or you're an associate professor before you're given tenure.
Now, what happened was that those growth expectations couldn't be met in the same way that a plane has a stall speed. And so when all of these institutions stalled out at once because there was an implicit expectation of growth in the university systems, one professor might hope to leave between 20 and 30 students who would also hope to become professors. Now, that had to do with the fact that the university system was expanding from approximately educating eight percent of the population to post-secondary level to overfit to around 50 percent.
That was possible for a brief period of time to actually use the contributions of apprentice labor. And what happened was, is that the universities had the most aggressive stall speed or ego. So if they didn't move fast enough, they became pathological before other institutions became pathological. Now, the problem that we're having that very few people understand is a universal. Failure of institutions to be able to provide for the people who buy into the idea of contributing in and getting something out.
That could be a pension. That could be an expectation of permanent employment and being a shareholder inside of such an institution. What happened was that the universities were the first to need emergency assistance and they effectively got that during the Reagan era, sorry to tell you the bad news. It was a conservative area where the National Science Foundation, the National Academy of Sciences, had to team up in order to effectively rescue the universities if they weren't going to put in more money.
And so what we came up with was a brilliant idea. We would lie about American scientists and engineers. We would say that they were lousy and that they weren't interested in contributing to this very demanding profession. And by the way, we have a universe, a universe filled with the best and the brightest in four countries in Asia. And we should just bring them over in large numbers, because what we'd always done is we had a labor force that was based on apprentice labor.
So the students are actually the workers. But by calling them students, you don't have to pay them rent. You don't allow them to unionize. Yeah. And then by doing this on foreign visas, you talk about educating the world, but you don't actually admit that what's going on is that you're coming up with people who are willing to accept visas as payment because there are no professorships for most people to take over. Now, you consider yourself a man of the left.
Yes, it is interesting at The View you're laying out of of immigration, posing a threat to American jobs because that, at least in today's political world, is a view most associated, not exclusively that most associated with the right and in fact, associated with Trump to some extent. Well, unfortunately, what this really is, is it's closer to Agatha Christie's murder on the Orient Express. You had The Wall Street Journal proposing a constitutional amendment. There shall be open borders.
You have people on the you know, the Sierra Club used to oppose immigration. Maybe Cesar Chavez, you're not typically associated with the right would have been an opponent of immigration, which has nothing to do. Well, it has nothing. What would you have to understand is that the idealism of every era is usually the cover story of a theft. I want to I want to pause there for a moment say that again, because that strikes me as an important point.
The idealism and the sloganeering of every era is typically the fig leaf that is put over the greed of one party goring the ox of another. So what would be an example? Well, for example, in the 80s, you'll remember that competitiveness was a was a rallying cry and competitiveness was about trying to get American unions to give up hard won advances for the national good. So it was a patriotism that was associated with understanding. We're going have to tighten our belts.
We're gonna have to get into fighting shape. And that was going to be painful. But we're all going to be better off on the other side. So after Petko was destroyed, again, problem of the Reagan time, what you then had was the next phase, which was we are the world and the we are the world. Globalization narrative was about breaking the bonds that tie our fellow ourselves to our fellow Americans. So the idea is, if we could just get rid of the rights of hillbillies and Appalachians, of blacks, of various people inside of the US, what we could then do is relocate all of these factories and in various opportunities overseas now get access to other labor.
And then when Bill Clinton and Dick Morris figured out that the Republicans had this great thing going, they wanted to get in on the act. So they got really aggressive about it. And then we have things like NAFTA. And one of the really interesting things that you have recently is people like economist Brad DeLong, who is one of the architects of NAFTA, admitting, you know, tearing off the mask and saying, you do realize that what we were optimizing was a social social wealth, welfare function that was intrinsically social Darwinism because it actually benefited you by the cube of your wealth.
And then his point was, I don't understand why we're getting so much hate. Look at all the good we did for peasants in Mexico, which is a little bit of a weird thing to say when you trick American voters into voting something and then after the fact, you say, sure, it made have may have made some of you worse off in Ohio and Michigan, but look at all the good good for the other country, that entire region.
So let me ask your view. Assume for the sake of argument that the objective is to benefit Americans in the United States. Right. And if at jobs to Beckert benefit their economic welfare to make their lives better. In your view, what would be the optimal immigration and or trade regime that would maximize the economic condition for America?
Stop. First of all, it's a great question. I have to show that I'm not there's nothing xenophobic about this. So I've written a paper called Migration for the benefit of all peer reviewed economic paper about how you can open a border ethically by using Kosti in immigration. That is, most Americans most valuable possession is actually asymmetric access to their labor market. And we don't realize that that is actually the source of our wealth. Now that again. You, if you wouldn't mind, put that in layman's terms.
Sure. You have the right to your own labor market, given that your your country maintains a right to conscript you, to tax you. Yes. Part of the social contract is that you get a share in your country's wealth through having it right. Now, the interesting part about it is if we can just get your rights declared red tape or an impediment to the free market, then I can take your right without having to pay you anything for it.
Now, this is, in fact, a violation of free market economics. So let me ask what it what does it mean to have a right to a mark? I understand something called labor certification. So when you get Labor's when you have labor certification, you have to go through a certain amount of. So a high tech worker to come in. There has to be a certification that there's not they are not able to fill that need. Yes.
And in fact, yeah, we should not make labor certification easy because part of what forces us to renew is putting our businesses under pressure. So what? One of the things that I find very interesting and certain I'm going to say something pro right after I've been. Yes.
Because I just for it for those who are struggling to keep catch up as I am. You've just come out and criticize the Reagan era. You you've built up your left wing Butterfield. He is he's criticized the Reagan era for too much big government. Right. Which I'm actually perfectly fine with that criticism. And then, Eric, you've gone back and attacked the left for or at least I suppose we'd call it the modern left for its open borders or right or advocation advocacy of high, high skilled immigration.
He didn't advocate for high skilled immigration. It lied. Effectively, what you did is you got the National Science Foundation and the National Academy of Sciences to stab American scientists in the back on behalf of scientific employers. And so all of the sloppy talk about best and brightest. So if Tim Cook were sitting here, Tim Cook would argue that they need access to to Chinese and Indian engineers and computers. I never sit here.
Set up and let's imagine the hypothetical.
Tell me why you would have to chain him to a radiator or you would have to. That's why we only have those schools. This podcast. Part of our Hollywood setup. But it's very important. And one of the reasons why people won't invite me to talk about. I mean, there is essentially no. No one at my level that I know of who's openly against high skilled immigration is the worst part of our immigration. Yes.
This has struck me as a position. You can't say you can say it on things like podcasts, which is why you have a successful podcast. Why people. Let's listen to this show turn. Let's Segway. This is fascinating, but I don't want to miss a major portion of this topic, which is you and I told you we'd get back to this. You made reference to the modern left to some or even many becoming Maoist. Yes. And for the listeners, I think I know what you mean.
But tell us what you mean by.
Well, you have a very weird coupling on on the on the technical left. So with Dick Morris and Bill Clinton effectively becoming a second Republican Party. You then had a problem with. Which is how do I replace organized labor labor as a voting bloc. And my wife, Pembleton, is great insight here was she's an economist with the Institute for New Economic Thinking, a Soros funded institute. Now we've got the left wing bonafied days again. All right.
I'm very oriented. Her point was that you need something cheaper than labor because labor makes economic demand. So there's always a search for who's willing to accept the least. And the thing that you can actually get voters with are people who are willing to accept very little has been identity politics. So the idea is that identity politics is the is the electoral substitute for organized labor that was lost after Bill Clinton and Dick Morris decided that you had to have two Republican parties in order to not have more than 12 years of continuous one party rule.
When one sees memos going around the Internet, for instance, from mega corporations, that that actually show executives that some major corporations have relied on identity politics to divide up labor in the hopes that they wouldn't union.
So in identity politics. But by that you mean my characteristics, whether it is that I am a male, whether it is that I am Cuban-American or Irish or Italian, or whether it is that I am straight or or whatever other categories we can slice ourselves into demographically.
It is thinking of ourselves in those Padget pigeonholes. And then I suppose you mean also perceiving by virtue of those characteristics that you are victimized and need to meet protection, need need deeds, something to prevent that victimization from others?
Is that, is that what you mean? Or tell me what you mean. It's well, it's exactly right.
I mean, what you have is a situation. I think that this in some sense ties back to probably the 2010 midterm elections, where I think that Barack Obama, who had not been interested in identity politics, particularly wanted more unity, saw an opening I think was coming from the observation of the Colorado Senate election, if I'm not mistaken. And shortly thereafter, you had a dear colleague letter that went out from the Obama administration warning universities to be on their best behavior with.
Respect to safety issues, because I think feminist issues were part of what made Colorado the bright spot for the Democrats in a Republican election. And so effectively, what you did is you started a search for a very aggressive Dimmock demographic for which for a period of time, people were satisfied with simply being recognized and being the thrill of reflection. And by the way, you know, the Maoists have lots of points that are correct. It's not that they're wrong about every vote.
So for those not experts on Chinese history and political theory. Well, what is a Maoist and in a sentence or two? Well, what I'm really interested in is the experience of the Red Guard, where we know there's a point where you have to get rid of the intel. The intelligentsia, in order to have a blank slate for a new world. So effectively, what you do is you go after the professors, the doctors, the professionals, and you you have to have some way of clearing.
You know, if you're going to if you're going to build something very often, you have to raise whatever trees and houses are previously there. Now, you also have. Personal experience. Both yourself as an academic. But your brother was also an academic and and paid a real price from. The victimization culture, I think. Would you care to just share what happened, your brother, and what your thoughts? It's important because most many Democrats have never heard of my brother, whereas almost all Republicans have heard of my brother.
Yes. And this has to do with the fact that the democratic allied media mysteriously no longer reports news that his counter narrative, which is something I associate with sort of the right wing media as well. So I've you know, I've gone on Fox and said that foxes, I, I consider in large measure a propaganda machine, but the left has learned that they need to do the same thing. And so effectively, they didn't cover the fact that there was a Maoist insurrection at Evergreen State College, which is under the same governor who allowed the Capital Hill exclusion zone where the police were shoved out and almost immediately people died.
Surprise, surprise. Right. So, you know, the Pacific Northwest is experimenting with an extremely dangerous cocktail of this neo or cultural Maoism, effectively with government support. Now. I have to say that the right behaved much more sensibly because the left has abandoned what we'd previously associated as a progressive and liberal values with free speech. Going back to the 60s and the 50s, and I've called this reversal from right to left, left Carthy ism. So the problem of left Carthy ism, again, you know, I don't have any particular allegiance to one party or the other because they're both useless to me.
What I see is just a completely unworkable leadership class that has strayed from traditional American values. And whether you're progressive or conservative libertarian, the main thing right now is to get back to smart as opposed to stoop. So you've drawn this distinction here. And I think it's one that we see a lot on college campuses and in our politics and in our media, which is between Maoism or Marxism. Hard radical left and what we would have once called liberalism, let liberal not left in.
People like Dave Rubin and others have talked about this. You would call yourself, I suppose, a liberal or a progressive in the old sense. Barry Weiss, who's written about the intellectual dark web, which you founded and talks about these things very Weiser's just left The New York Times because they are too hard left for her. And she's an old sitting on the hard left. They're not they're nuts. Well, those are synonymous and stupid and crazy.
Shouldn't be a part of a political spectrum. That should be a mental condition. So I'll tell it. Tell a story. When I was a first year law student at Harvard, my criminal law professor was Alan Dershowitz, and he remains a good friend. And I remember a couple of things he said in the criminal law class. One of the things he said and you were talking about. People overestimating their capabilities. I remember him saying one thing that is true, even at Harvard Law School, is that 50 percent of the class is in the bottom half.
And that that that made an impression. But he also made a point. He said, listen, by any measure, I, Alan Dershowitz and in the most liberal one percent of the American public on almost any policy issue, my views are on the left and that he made the point then, which became even more true in later years. He said on this faculty, I'm considered in some ways a conservative reactionary because I believe in free speech. I believe in disagreement.
I don't believe in silencing my critics or was I believe this was would have been 90. Ninety two or ninety three side. I forget if I took criminal on spring or fall or fall, but it was either fall of ninety two or spring of 93. Things changed a lot between. I arrived at Harvard in the mid 1980s. And when was Borck? Eighty seven. So I remember Alan Dershowitz talking about Bork. And Bork is one of the most confusing aspects of a domestic dispute between the two parties where effectively the Democrats viewed it as, I can't believe you would betray us by putting Bork forward.
The Republicans said, I can't believe you would betray us by deciding that you were going to scuttle this nomination. Judge Bork, for those who don't remember, back in 1987, was this conservative judge is nominated by Ronald Reagan and Teddy Kennedy leads the charge against him. It was a character assassination. It was considered the beginning of this really brutal confirmation process that now seems to happen every time we think he has the distinction of having been verbalised, which verbalised, I will confess is a term I think I've coined out on anyone else who's used it and that his name has become a verb to this day to be Borked.
Yeah. Is to go through the experience, Clarence Thomas experience that Brett Cavenagh experience, which is a confirmation hearing that is brutal, actually. Tony Lake Lake. Bill Clinton was nominated or Bill Clinton. He wrote a letter withdrawing his nomination and with apologies to Hobbs's Leviathan said that said the confirmation process is nasty and brutal without being short. And Andrew and Anna and Bork ushered in a whole new era of nasty Persia. But this is the problem with a blood feud where if you can't agree with the there are two stories about what happened around Bork.
And let me just say some self-critical on the left to amuse you, because I'm going to go back to bashing the right. OK, well, I'll enjoy this while it lasts. All right. There is a prospective on the left which had to do with the Warren Court in the 60s, which is we can afford not to be the dominant force politically as long as we have our own power base. And the power base might be in the media and it might be in the universities and might be in the court.
So very often what you find in my circles is we can't have Trump again. Why? Because of the court, the court, the court, the court. Always fascinating. And what that is. Is that because that's what the right says to that? What I hear from the left is rarely as much of a focus on the courts. I think that's just that's just the interesting insight because, you know, our echo chambers are sometimes different. This is what causes people to say don't experiment with third party candidacy.
Don't experiment with populism. We can never afford to actually deal with our own values because the primary issue is making sure that they don't get nine out of bank serve. The Supreme Court justices legislating on all sorts of things that are sacred to the left. So the left, the thinking left's traditional perspective, flawed as it may be, is we can afford to have democracy as long as we have very strong power bases, maybe in Hollywood, maybe in the press, maybe in the universities, maybe in the court.
We can afford to lose the presidency and the Congress regulate. Now, that concept of a second balance of power, a Mexican standoff with apologies to our neighbors, to the south or I personally, I just think it's a great concept. So I would be thrilled if I were Mexican. That has not been understood. And what effectively the the left believed until the Reagan revolution was we have an idea that the court should be this kind of upper class, very cerebral thing that is a counter to our populist instincts.
And of course, Bork wasn't necessarily anti intellectual. Is viewed as an intellectual on the right. But it was viewed as a violation of a tacit understanding which the right didn't necessarily understood the right to understand. And as a result, there are two different origin stories of the nastiness that will go on forever until we get family counseling. So the reason I'm bringing this up on your show is, is that there's a question, can we go back and say, look, when we're going to keep walking everybody all the time.
So do I have to, for the record, put a caveat that only one side does. Does the Borking. So Ruth Bader Ginsburg was confirmed by, I think, 98 to nothing. Steve Breyer, if you look at at where the nasty personal attacks are coming from, I suspect the counterargument you'll give is Merrick Garland. Merrick Garland. You see that, Shulem intact. But but he was never personally attacked. And what the Senate said with regard to the Scalia vacancy that occurred in February of a presidential year is no Senate had filled a vacancy that occurred in a presidential year in 80 years.
And regardless of whom the president nominated, we were going to let the election decide. I get you likely disagree with that. But it was not a personal attack on Judge Garland, who hadn't been nominated. There was no Michael Abenaki or Judge Garland. I am furious. Or for Breyer, for Soulfire, for a candidate. I am sure he. That the nominee.
Yeah. OK, so it's not that I'm sitting here. The reason I'm bringing this up is because more of us need to understand our history because our grandparents did not correctly tell us what what our country is like. The idea that the Warren Court, for example, is a sacred thing from the left. Which, in fact, probably overreached a fair amount. And then some of that had to be rolled back. OK, so now you have this problem that the intellectual progressive's of that era had tasted something that they thought was William O.
Douglas. This is the greatest thing that could happen. Too much got advance. They got used to something. We then have this contentious history. Honestly, to be blunt about it, I'm much more worried about the American project than I'm worried about the Democratic or the Republican or the conservative or the right. And so the key thing is it's important that we go back and look, if you will agree that maybe the Merrick Garland thing wasn't terrific. I'll agree that just that just for the record, I am not willing to agree on everything he said.
So I am willing to say we can all agree to disagree, but but I can dig in here and then we can screw up the interview. It's up to you.
I could see that you believe that in a heartfelt and genuine. This is the problem of the game theory. I'm sort of more adventurous if you guys do want to play ball and I'm willing to I'm willing to dig into it, but I don't want.
So I did. I do think there's some other points that that are fruitful that are not going to result in it. As you as as you suggested, a Mexican standoff.
The differential application, for example, with Judge Kavanaugh and Joe Biden of rules around the emerging me to weapon. Nice. Nicely showcases the point that you guys should be making. But what I'm going to say is just just a word to the wise, to my friends on the right. If you choose not to actually see the point of the left and you allow the left to say, hey, maybe we didn't do something that was so terrific, and then you take your victory lap, kiss your future appointments, sailing through based on legal merit.
Goodbye. See you soon as you think. You really think that this national divide. You know, the family counselling that we need. It comes down to this moment in the 80s with the with the courts specifically. So in another. No, no, no. OK. It comes down to the fact that we lost growth. So it goes back further. It goes back further. The crazies in creepy's that are roaming the American stage at the mall.
Yeah. Were present in every era. The Ku Klux Klan was present. The anarchists were present. The key issue is that when you're dealing with pathogens, if you have a functioning immune system, you don't know about the pathogens. If you want to know who understands the pathogens in the system, it's the immunocompromised. When we lost growth, we became immunocompromised. And all the creepy crawlies are coming out from every particular place. They're coming out from the right.
They're coming in from the left. And there's one move that can save the republic, in my opinion, which is that the the core left and the core right who haven't become insane. You have to realize that they have more interest in each other than they do in their own wings. Right. And so the idea is, if you think we have a word in Yiddish called the starker starkers, the muscle, if the left sees an TIFA is its muscle.
Right. And the idea is that the right sees the proud boy as a patriot. Prayer some far right group.
By the way, no one on the right sees the proud boys. They're bigoted idiots. And it it's just admit it. And Teef is a bunch of lunatics. But here. But here's here's a difference. Just in the political world and I get that you're coming from the academic and and world for that matter. World. Yeah. But I am more than happy. I charge. I know I've never met a proud boy. I think they're bigoted morons.
My colleagues, if you had a Democratic senator sitting here, none of them will condemn a.. So I'll condemn those guys. Those are not my guy. Well, they don't have a side or you have a guy who's never going to run for the Senate to them. And teeth of gray. Wonderful. And we are great. Well, it's not against anyone who is bigoted or about what we're trying to do here is we're trying to model what an American conversation is supposed to be as opposed to a partisan conversation.
Right. But that is is we continually check in with each other and say, you know, we did some wrong stuff, but we did it because we thought we were reacting to you. And then you walk things back, cut. The problem is, you know, in control theory, when you have positive feedback, when the idea is, yes, you know, I do something because you did it, but you thought that I did. Then the idea is you can just kiss your future goodbye.
Well, you know, on this point, because I think we would certainly agree, every conservative I know would agree that we care more about our country than we do about any particular partisan victory at any particular moment. And yet we are at this moment. And actually, Michael, I'm going to now push back on you and I agree. Now, look, that there may be every conservative. Maybe, maybe not. But they're certainly Republicans are interested in us, you know.
And so so so there is partisanship and and misbehavior on both sides. And miss prioritization of where we should be thinking of things. However, there is this difference right now where the mainstream left led by these radical and loony activists. But now this is spread to the mainstream. They seem to be disrespecting the country itself. They will protest the flag, the symbol of the country unsinkable.
Before we get to this, I don't I don't want to miss what we touched on, what happened to your brother, but we can tell the story. And so for those who are listening or watching me, helpful to tell me what Heather was an anti-racist who left an Ivy League education at the University of Pennsylvania because he stood up for black women be exploited by a Jewish white fraternity. Yeah. And he was, you know, was got death threats.
Got the Golden Gazelle Award for the National Organization of Women. Became a professor at Evergreen State University or Evergreen State College as a biologist. Only to find out that effectively the problem with racism was black racism against whites. And there was an extremely hard line sort of cultural Marxist perspective where anti racists in name were actually racist. They defined it so that racism was impossible. Right. And therefore, you had this counter narrative to the, let's say, the New York Times narrative driven journalism, which said that these black students were, in fact, besieged by racism.
And so my brother is a staunch anti-racist, was being attacked by it, by racists who were calling themselves anti-racist. The whole thing was incredibly confusing. And only one journalist effectively at The New York Times got in early on that and her name was Barry Weiss, who resigned today. And I've been talking to Barry about this for some time. So I don't know, Barry. Tell me a bit. I read her letter today. I thought it was extraordinary.
So I'm interested in it. Tell me a little bit about her and what are your thoughts at at at at what happened at The New York Times and what she said? The New York Times is going through. Let's create a new word. Ever greening the ever greening of an institution is the point at which the people that the Times probably hired thinking, oh, well, we have an aging readership. We're a legacy media organization. Let's get some hip kids to get more clicks and more younger viewers.
And the idea is that all those kids were supposed to become somewhat more liberal and moderate as they acquired significant others children and mortgages. And that didn't happen. And in fact, what happened was, is that they began to take over the very institution that was hoping to exploit them effectively. And for clarification, when you say they hired young campus radicals in the hope and expectation they would become somewhat more liberal. Help listeners understand on what access, what more liberal means.
Because those those term sometimes. Have had varying meaning, very good. But there's a huge problem that we need to get to, which is that the reason that we can't get out of our national nightmare at the moment is, is that the center has to make a move that it refuses to do. And the center or the core, maybe that would be a better way of saying it has to admit that it became kleptocratic. And so the corruption of the core left and the core right means that there's nowhere to turn from the extreme.
So whenever you say no to the extremes, the thing is, oh, are you telling me that we're going to be back? The core left and the core right and their extraction. So if you think about the United States as a family business. Yeah, the family business was since sensational between 1945 in the early 70s, built up a tremendous amount of wealth. But then you have a very rich family with a sputtering family business. The first wave of concern probably through the middle of the Reagan administration was how do we restart growth so that we can get back to being ourselves?
Yeah, all of these supply side gimmicks and the offshoring and the downsizing and the financialization and all of these things were not good enough to actually deal with the underlying problem because it didn't have a diagnosis as to what actually happened back then. What it was good enough to do was to keep some slices of the pie growing at the expense of others. So the idea is that instead of seeing each other as a source of camaraderie or military support or innovation, we started viewing each other as a source of protein.
And then we started the process of American self cannibalisation. OK, well, that's part of what we did with NAFTA. That's part of what we did with our immigration policies. That's the whole globalization stuff really amounts to. So the idea is that right now what you have is you have certain sectors that grow by cannibalizing other sectors. And as a result, if we call that growth, we can fudge our national statistics. Who are the winners and who are the losers?
Who are the cannibals and whose dinner? Well, it depends. What car did you arrive to this meeting? That would be the question. Please don't answer that. But the idea is, is that most of us know whether we're winners or losers. You know, weirdly, if you're flying first class, you're probably a loser because the real winners are in a completely different airport or terminal all together. Right. Right. And so the idea is we have an invisible winner class that doesn't necessarily even want to act like the winner class.
Some of those people, by the way, are winners because they contributed and that was the traditional way. Others are winners because they figured out how to cannibalize somebody else. And so we have this very weird thing, which is that we have so much cannibalization that we've given up on merit because we now see merit as an excuse. And this is actually a fair point of the Maoists who don't see a fair world. So there was an implicit sort of morality and market mechanism.
Now, as a person on the left, I'm a huge fan of markets. Why? Because there's nothing more progressive. The word progressive gains progress. Markets are what? Lift people up. Yeah. Now, when those markets become dominated by rent seeking and political economy and capture, can't tell our listeners what rent seeking means. Well, rent seeking is an economist's insult. It means that your source of wealth is non-productive. So it's a technical term.
We can get into what a rent is at an economic level, but just sumed the word rent is being used in a way that is different than you. You may. It's analogous to certain other forms of rent. But the key point is it's the debasing of market morality. There's a Judeo-Christian sort of aspect to the idea of a of a functioning meritocracy in which we are rewarded in part not on the whole, but in part based on our contribution.
The market doesn't work perfectly, even if you are an honest free market economist has to recognize that market failure is a part of every market.
So can you give people maybe an example, love on the one side? Productive meritocracy, someone creating a better mousetrap that increases productivity, that benefits others vs. rent seeking and cannibalisation. As an example, you could give the two. Well, there's an origin story of a particular, particularly successful business that I believe began, which I won't mention by recognizing that the Intuit had special rights to sell the loss to sell tax write offs from failing businesses. So when you notice that some group was given some write for some purpose and you say.
Here's something I can exploit. You know, arbitrage. You can arbitrage something, and it's probably not the intended intended use, but the idea or for example, if I can if I can, successfully portrayed this man's right to access his own labor market in a an asymmetric way, and I can successfully portray him as a leech on society, then the idea is that I can say I'm going to take your most valuable possession uncompensated. I feel like a true victim because people do this to me all the time when they call me a leech on society.
Well, if we're doing this. You're your. Yes, I do want an L.A. Dodgers stadium, of course, is built on three towns that were Hispanic, that were collectively known as Chavez Ravine. And the idea is that what we simply did and it was, I believe, Republican led. If I'm not mistaken, is that we actually took away private property by getting those towns condemned by condemning those towns. We were able through this mechanism to remove a bunch of people so that we could pave over the place and put a giant stadium.
But by the way, I'm. And perhaps a hopeless optimist in that multiple things that I've heard you say. Are leading me to believe that that deep down, you are much more conservative libertarian than you realize, and perhaps that we'll see what that journey lies. But I will say that particular example. One major battle between left and right today, particularly the legal world and Supreme Court world, which is world I came from before, politics concerns property rights.
And then there's a well-known case. I don't know if you're familiar with Kilo vs. City of New London. I don't know. So it concerned New London, Connecticut, a woman whose family home had been in her family for 100 years. She was an older woman. And New London, Connecticut, condemned her home. And the reason they condemned her home is because Pfizer wanted to build a parking lot. And the City Council of New London, Connecticut.
They wanted Pfizer to be happy, so they condemned her home to give it to Pfizer, to give it to a private corporation for their benefit. And the case went all the way to Supreme Court. And the Constitution provides that that that private property cannot be taken without just compensation. But it also provides that it has to be for a public use. And the question and Kilo was, is condemning private property to give it to a private corporation, not for a freeway, not for a bridge, not for something that is for the public, but for a private benefit of a corporation.
Is that consistent with the Constitution? The Supreme Court unfortunately ruled five four against the owner of the home. Thank you for saying the word, unfortunately. I mean.
Oh, it's it's it's a tragic decision. That's a horrific decision. I decried it at the time, and I was actually solicitor general of Texas. And I was at a conference of the other SGA when it came down. And the other S GS were celebrating this as a victory for government power. I remember looking at them saying, just because you can wear a jack boot doesn't mean you shouldn't write. What a terrible trampling on on private rights. And and that.
And you will find, I think, many. On the right and certainly on the libertarian right, Bill, passionately and in in what you and I are both, I suppose, Erick, I think your analogy is so apt, this this idea of devouring the other person. You know, when we love someone, we will the good of the other. And then when we lust after them, we just want to devour them. Right. There's this there's this difference here.
And I totally see your points on this happening in the United States over the past several decades. However, implicit in wanting to come back together, have this family therapy, you know, love, love one another again, love our fellow countrymen again. We have to sort of willed the good of the country, don't we? Do you have this fear that there has been a mainstreaming of of not just not liking the other side, but actually not liking the country itself?
The American proj.
Are you familiar with. With a fellow. Yeah, we were just talking about it today, as a matter of fact, it features prominently in Brave New World as it so happens here. Just got a problem is Giago.
Iago Derange is the protagonist, I guess, Othello against his beloved Desdemona. And the idea is that by putting certain ideas into the head of Othello, Othello will actually carry out the murder of Desdemona and figure out too late who is in fact caused him to destroy that which he loves. Now, right at the moment, we have a problem with the Jagow media. Now there's the Jagow media that is taking place within Fox News. We have the second term we've coined, both of which the ever graining in the yogurt Jagow, meaning media, both where this is big.
But we're going to be headlining. Sorry, I just had to. I like that. Every day a sitting senator asks me from an opposite perspective to come and it would be rude not to continue. I'm sorry for that. Be at the Jagow media is found both on the left and on the right. Everybody's got a narrative. When the news is narrative aligned, they report the news. When the nerit, when the news is counternarrative, they either don't touch it at all.
Yeah. Or they lie or they spin. There's another concept called Russell conjugation, for example. Russell conjugation. Bertrand Russell. Yeah. A Brit of some of some note who went on to the BBC and he said something which I think is fascinating. He noticed that the word synonym does not cover certain cases very well. For example, Fink vs. Whistleblower. Technically, they're both synonyms that a content level. Right. The emotional instruction is to hate the fink and to praise the whistleblower, even though the same person.
Now, Frank Luntz designed as a friend. I know. I know. I went to college with Frank. Frank Luntz did not know the term, but he effectively reinvented and weaponized Russell conjugation. So the idea is that we are all against illegal aliens and we are for undocumented workers. Right. We oppose the death tax, but we support the estate tax. And the fact is, language is weaponized in politics and modern discourse. Well, exactly.
And so what we're where we are right now is we are in a situation in which our media derange us every day. And by the way, media is going to include tech to hate each other. Yeah. So tech has become and we talk about this all the time. We talk about Section two 30 in the Communications Decency Act. Tech has become a sort of publisher, a participant in the media. Tech is tech is the new media.
And in this situation with greater power than The New York Times ever had. Amen, brother. And so the problem that we're having is that what works as both business and politics is to get Othello to murder Desdemona on a daily basis. And that is what we play out as our heads are filled. You don't understand why we can't talk to our loved ones, why Thanksgiving dinners don't work. We're a little bit confused as to why. Not only is George Washington face down from his podium with 16, 19 scrawled on it.
And when somebody publishes, call them the 16 19 riots, the de facto head of The New York Times, Nicole Hunter. Jones says it would be an honor if from right to left because otherwise I with girls across the country, six, 16, 19, projected at the same data that accrue illicitly reveal the same thing is true with us, with Lib Tardes. I don't know what a lib tarde is, do you? I assume the pejorative for someone on the left, although.
It's not my use. I haven't used it myself. My point is that what we have is that we have a poisoned national dialogue in which wherever you consume your media. You are getting a constant set of emotional instructions. That is the concept at Russell conjugation. And because we don't practice critical feeling, we know about critical thinking. Yep. But we don't know that most of our feelings are not our feelings, but feelings that we have inherited daily programme.
And as a result, you know, for example, I know that you're evil and you're the devil. And I'm not supposed to be here, but here I am. Well, that's that's a fact. Let out more. Oh, yeah. I've always wanted to make a deal with the devil. The devil never returns. The issue is better. Fiddle of gold against your soul. Way. Did you see the second one with Mark O'Connor, the greatest fiddle player?
Another test for the next episode of the situation that we're in is that we have to realize that we are being deranged and therefore we can't even mount a response to the covert epidemic. That was a layup. You just have a Manhattan project. You say, who are the smart people across virology? Epidemiology, mathematics, economists. Who are the geopolitical theorists? You immediately expedite security clearances. You test them all. You get transport. You put them in a dorm with tons of whiteboards, lots of coffee, and you say, and I can see your family for two months.
Get it done. Became and do that well, because so many so many of those public health officials were writing politicized letters in defensive leftist protests to the tune of twelve hundred at a time. Not just we also had a problem with our surgeon general who decided that masks weren't a good idea or or Dr. Foushee or the head of the CDC. And why? Because we have a problem that we lie about public health. Many people who go into public health believe in the public good for the public to engage in beneficial behaviors, that you're solving a massive prisoner's dilemma.
Of course, it would be better if everybody else took a vaccine and you didn't have to. There's any risk with the vaccine as an example of a typical coordination problem. So one of the problems that we have is, is that we told obvious lies. Now, the lie the most important one is, is that the academic literature had told us to stock supplies in ICU beds and make sure that we were ready for surges because surges or situations in which you don't have a what would be called a Pusan process of random arrivals that determine your needs.
A correlated events. Or if you have rioting in a city, you're going to need much more policing suddenly. Yeah, we were completely unprepared because we were unprepared. We decided that what we would do is to lie to the American people and we would tell them things that made no sense. So either we might lie to them from the Democratic side about the idea. Inconsistencies were massive and head jerking and every American noticed them at one point or another.
The idea is that Nancy Pelosi should resign. Donald Trump should resign. Anthony Foushee should resign. Head of the CDC should resign. Resign. We should not be talking to the WHL. We need to get the lying sons of bitches out of the chairs in which they have the ability to lie. For some reason, the American public, which degrades our faith in government and data, in science and in reason. No, quite honestly, it's much more important that we have faith that not all of our expert class is psychopathic.
Not all of them are on the take that it isn't a war of the very rich. And they're experts against, you know, as expert witnesses, if you will, against the rest of us pretending to be objective, but actually carrying out the orders of somebody else. So we have a serious situation in which our entire leadership class of both parties know fencer is unworkable. And the inability. I was tweeting about this quite openly, which is we are lying.
What we are saying about masks not working is because we're covering for our own failure to heed our own literature. We were built believing the first guys instead of. It's a very easy speech that you give. You say, you know, ladies and gentlemen, we have to level with the American public. We are unprepared and we can find fault. And perhaps we should do so after the national emergency. But right now, we need to pull together in order to make sure that our first responders, our medical personnel, people who are on the frontlines are protected.
We don't have an inadequate supply of personal protective equipment of ICU beds. The real reason that we need to flatten the curve is because we're trying to avoid what we might call the deaths of discretion where we have a triage situation. We saw that in Italy tragically. Well, okay. But the point is, we have a limbo bar in the limbo bar was too low and that's why we were flattening the curve. The limbo bar was supposed to be higher.
I believe actually George W. Bush did better with this than this. Then got drawn down under Obama, not replaced under Trump. And so whatever was going on with the P.P. stuff, it was a failure of government that we then foisted onto the shoulders of the American people. And they also had an enormous failure, failure with testing, particularly early on rolling it out. Well, we were completely incompetent. We'd outsource so much of our supply chain to China and not realizing we have a geo political rival because that's sick.
Yeah. Cast catastrophic, tragic mistake. We've got to change it. If I can sort of take it to a wrap up point. And see if they're going to do for and be OK. Let's see if there is any cause for optimism. How do we get from Othello to Midsummer Night's Dream? Well, key issue is, is that we have to start talking about our own failures. And in part, what I hope you've heard is, is that I'm willing to call out the left, the right and the libertarian like the libertarian problem is that it doesn't work to pretend that we're all atomistic.
We see that with respect to contagion and masks and the like. Sure. Right. So Arnold Kling has this beautiful description. He says that you have three groups, progressives, conservatives and libertarians. Libertarians are animated principally by hating coercion. Aggressives are animated principally by hating oppression. And conservatives are principally animated by needless loss of hard won traditions and gains over past generations. Well, the answer is, is that any sensible person should want to make sure that they're optimizing among the three and not to become part of a simplistic situation whereby they so hate coercion or so hate oppression that they lose sight of the entire picture and therefore lose the plot of the American project.
So what I've tried to do here is to try to say I've just begun this exploration. So sorry, we have to cut it short. Is that. There are a couple of moves that are necessary. One, we have to agree that we have an unworkable leadership class. The five final candidates for president, the United States, were all born in the 1940s. We've never before Donald Trump had a president first. And I'll be honest, I preferred the final candidates in the last cycle.
We had some good ones there. Let let let me say that Tennessee. I Erick doesn't have a comment on this. I'm not going to say actually on that. I'm making a comment. I don't if we had a situation.
Quite honestly, if I'm if I'm on a shirt, I have to be honest. That's one of the things that I liked best, was when you became animated because of the bizarre behavior of our current president. And I know that for political reasons, you have moved closer to him. But one of the great dangers of Donald Trump and he's got certain benefits, which is that he's the first person to figure out how to come up the system by not playing the game.
And we almost had that on the Democratic side with Bernie Sanders in a certain sense. We have a situation whereby Donald Trump was, you know, the old song about I know an old lady who swallowed a fly. So I made a parody of it, which was, I know a young country that voted to trump Clinton to bump. We voted to Trump. We have now gone down a path where Donald Trump is a disaster with respect to the oral Torah of the United States.
We have the written Torah, which is the Constitution. But in Judaism, you also have the culture around it. And this man is so bizarre, so strange that he is destroying the relationship that many of us have with the country because he's actually a genius. He's an unbelievable strategist, those tweets. They are not haphazard. They are not brain farts. They are very carefully designed. He knows exactly what he's doing, I believe. And in part, we have now created a culture whereby we are weaponized in these very exotic techniques.
Instead of doing what we're supposed to be doing, which is being productive, trying to ensure freedom, making sure that we're taking care of the countries that rely on us for their protection, trying to be more decent. Morse more circumspect. And I think it's absolutely imperative, for example, that we start to examine things. I remember just racing to get to this. We stumbled over this Jeffrey Epstein situation. And I have not heard our Jagow media ask the question, is Jeffrey Epstein attached to the best of our knowledge at the State Department, the CIA, the FBI, the NSA or any intelligence service?
And is there a reason that you're refusing to ask this question to the point that you can get no comment onto the record? Right. So for what it's worth, I emphatically agree with you. Well, then, very apt. Epstein did at least all of the evidence and testimony to date is grotesque. It is offensive, and maybe it is a travesty of justice that that he died in a cell through whatever causes led to that. And and I think there is an imperative that everyone involved, everyone complicit, be held accountable.
And I think the question you're raising isn't why one, though, needs a New York Times or The Washington Post or Fox News. Ask the question, was this person attached to intelligence to the point where we can either get an emphatic. Of course, we would never do that or. No comment. You know, if we can get either one of these in for what it's worth in D.C., my sense is most people assume he was attached to Intel.
Well, I don't know of any any evidence to that effect. But at the end, it is a quote and all the crazy needs to be ass. Now, I'm called a crazy person or a conspiracy theorist for saying, why aren't we talking more about the woman Institute of Virology? Why aren't we? Tom, we've had a whole podcast on that. Why are you suddenly on about Jeffrey Epstein? Why are we not calling for a return to the Church and Pike committees of the 1970s to give us closure so that if we did nothing wrong, we can know that we did nothing wrong?
And the abuses of intelligence and law enforcement, I think, are a profoundly consequential point. But but let me say this. Just just. At a time of intense division, at a time of tribalism, and you're right, atomized information, atomized news sources, partisan propaganda, news sources, social media, where we unfriend those who disagree and only listen to those who agree and have a constantly reinforcing echo system. I remain optimistic for our country and I think what I hope what what has just just occurred in this podcast, which is having a reasonable, civil, productive conversation with those with whom we disagree, at least on some issues, is is at the heart of the American experiment.
Who we should be is a democracy. And I hope is the path to emerge from tragedy in in2 instead. The the. What I consider to be the hero's journey of of our nation state and America's journey towards a more perfect union and a more justice side. So thank you for coming. You said beforehand into the lion's den. I hope the lions have at least been cuddly. I don't know if that would be the case. Been hospitable and and your ideas have been fascinating.
And it's it's been it's been a great pleasure, sir. Thank you for inviting me. It was very well said, Senator. Of course. Eric, thank you so much for being here. This point you've hit on about, one practical thing we could do to come back together is each of us, where appropriate, admit a failure or to speaks to a key virtue, which is humility, unfortunately, probably lacking at the moment in the country, but the beginning of wisdom and very likely at least a glimmer of hope for the future of the country.
Thank you both. I'm Michael Knowles. This is verdict with Ted Cruz.