“Eric Weinstein, host of “The Portal” podcast and managing director at Thiel Capital, returns to The Realignment to discuss the state of the U.S. after the riot at the U.S. Capitol.”
Saagar Enjeti: Dr. Eric Weinstein, welcome back to The Realignment—
Eric Weinstein: Careful with the “doctor”, I don’t want to be confused with somebody preparing to do surgery.
Saagar Enjeti: That’s true. But that’s also a pun, Eric. My parents are both PhD “doctors” themselves, so ever since the whole scandal on Jill Biden, I’ve been calling them both “doctor.” So, I just think that it’s an honorific that we should try.
Eric Weinstein: Actually—
Saagar Enjeti: To give everybody—
Eric Weinstein: I’ll be entirely honest, I really don’t think MDs should be called “doctor.” If anyone should be called “doctor”, it should be PhDs. But I figure we should let it slide.
Saagar Enjeti: See, we’ve already got such good content. Eric, we wanted to bring you back to the show because you’ve been putting out some really just, I think, profound thoughts about where we are at the state of the country. I think you recently tweeted you’re having trouble sleeping as a result of the capital riots and so much of what we saw, and I just want to give you the opportunity to just give us your thoughts and break down this terrible week in America, and how you think that we can get out of this? What can we do?
Eric Weinstein: Well, I want to even go—I think it is a terrible week. But I don’t think it’s a terrible week for the same reasons that everyone else seems to think it’s a terrible week. One of the things that’s going on is that we have a very strange selective memory. And the selective memory doesn’t remember the fact that we’ve had bombings in the Capitol Building, we’ve had, I think a Jewish suicide bomber in the Capitol building in previous times.
Marshall Kosloff: Puerto Rican occupiers, yeah, it goes deeper than that.
EW: Right. So, the fact is that the optics of this week are absolutely horrendous. We had a police—law enforcement officer beaten to death with a fire extinguisher, which, you know, I don’t, I really don’t even have words for that. But I also think that, in part, we’re not really capable of having the discussion about what really happened. What—maybe we could—let’s start with the Viking. Right? We had a Viking taking pictures, playing around, I don’t know, in the Senate or the House. And I think that this really gets to the heart of what’s going on, which is that we are LARPing our way into armageddon. And the seriousness of this, you know, all of the talk of civil war and all this kind of stuff, is weirdly not getting our opportunity to find the off-ramp.
In large measure, what we’ve got is two teams of Live Action Role-Players, or, so-called LARPers. And they’re engaging in something that I was worried about in I think 2013, and I wrote an article for the Edge Annual Question. And they asked, “What is the scientific theory that everyone should have in their cognitive toolkit?” And I had several ideas, I was going to write about regulated expression in genetics. And I said to my wife, you know, the thing I really want to write about is Kayfabe, and that is the system of lies and deceptions found inside of professional wrestling. Now of course, that’s not going to be seen as an academic theory. But professional wrestling and the intelligence community are the two places that understand nested levels of deception better than any other two groups. And they’re lightyears ahead of psychology departments.
So, part of what’s going on is that we’ve got two national LARPing complexes that are engaged in what I would call Kayfabe. So we have Vikings, people are posing, stealing the lectern, I don’t know, from the House of Representatives, thinking that they’re at some kind of a rave or a party, maybe it’s Burning Man for politics, not clear. That situation can go completely insane and become real in a way that I don’t think people appreciate. So I often pose the question, “Which is more real, mixed martial arts or professional wrestling?” And I would say professional wrestling by a longshot. If you look at the list of deaths associated with professional wrestling, it doesn’t get more real than that. I don’t think UFC has had its first fatality yet.
And, in essence, what we have is we have a mock national conversation, one around “Stop the Steal” which has rejected the United States justice system, which has refused to give Donald Trump much comfort. And the idea that you’re going to save America from its own justice system is pretty interesting, by going around the will of the courts. So I think what we have here is a national meaning crisis, where there are people who have very little future, and there are people who still have a future. And the people who still have a future are selling LARPing to two teams, you know, one of which is Wokistan, and the other of which is Magastan. And so we now have a war, mostly on the internet, mostly through Kayfabe, of Magastan versus Wokistan, which have to be two of the, you know, most intellectually crippled theories you could have, not because they don’t contain seeds of truth, but because they fill in what is missing with total nonsense. And I think that what’s going on, I—did you guys take a look at the video of the woman being shot in the capital?
SE: Yes, we did.
EW: How closely did you study it?
SE: I think I saw it [from] three or four different angles. But I mean, I saw this woman literally leap towards a gun. And I just couldn’t stop thinking, I’m like, ‘What really compels somebody to do that?’ I mean, it’s pure and genuine belief.
EW: Well, and that’s exactly it. This is like the Boxer Rebellion in China, where you had people who were convinced that they had supernatural powers, or you know, you get kids, you know, on some powerful drug and you turn them into child warriors, and you make them wear dresses, and you tell them that the dress will make them invincible, or, you know, I forget what general, you know, butt-naked or whatever it was in Africa—there are sort of supernatural beliefs about what’s going on. One of the angles on the woman being killed shows the gun emerge first, pointed at the window that they’re trying to break through.
EW: And you clearly hear on the audio, “He’s got a gun! Gun!” Right? So that’s clear warning. You see that the finger that is to pull the trigger is properly not on the trigger. It’s not inside the trigger guard. It’s along the barrel of the pistol. It comes inside the trigger guard, and then it goes back out. This is not somebody who is looking to discharge a weapon. This is somebody looking to not discharge a weapon. And the idea that this woman was climbing up on this, right into a gun, is bolstered by the idea that right behind her is—immediately after she’s shot, you see all sorts of law enforcement officers armed to the effing teeth, who are clearly behind her, who are not stopping this thing: we are not going to have an accurate discussion. What we’re going to have is a political football. And the political football is going to be used by anyone and everyone who has a partisan axe to grind, in an attempt to divide the country into these warring factions. And we can’t get at these two insane memetic complexes, because the center is actually sponsoring the lunatics. So figure that the center of the left and the right, the establishment, is busy looting the United States government, stealing as much silver as it can, cutting the paintings out of the frames, and they’re distracting the people with no future, as the people who still have a stake in the game and can hollow us out, keep amping us up.
And I posted something on social media—if you recall, Donald Trump was encouraging people to rough up the protesters and beat them up, back in 20—the 2016 election, and one guy who was 78 threw an elbow into the eye of an African American and sort of sucker punched him with an elbow. And, I went looking for those two guys, thinking I should get them on my podcast. And I—I found that they’d reconciled, and they hugged in a courtroom, and they’d put this behind them. And in four years, the video had fewer than 20,000 views, and fewer than I think 20 likes. And I posted this, and immediately, just posting it, caused a 50% increase in the viewership over four years in a single day. We are being kept from coming together, we are being kept from getting rid of these people, and right now, the most important thing is that, by any—and with apologies to Malcolm X—by any legal means necessary, we have got to remove our current leadership. Period. The end. There is no more.
MK: So a question that comes to mind because it came up a couple of times during your statement there, LARPing. There’s a portion of the audience which isn’t online. If you’re not on Twitter, this won’t make as much sense for you. So can you just describe the phenomenon of LARPing? What is it, and how does it manifest itself on the Wokistani side or the Magastani side if you will?
EW: Well, okay, sure. If you ever go to—let’s say if you go to Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, many of the most nerdy and kind of spectrummy kids are engaged—and by the way, I say that with zero disrespect, I’m proud to be part of that group—engage in sort of live action versions of Dungeons and Dragons, and they’ve got foam swords and maces and all sorts of things, and there are, you know, very clear rules. And you get to play in a fantasy medieval war situation, let’s say. Now, in some sense it’s like the Stanford Prison Experiment of Zimbardo, where you tell people you’re guards, you’re prisoners, and sure enough, theater becomes real. There’s a limited ability to suspend the distance between our characters and ourselves. Our characters are, in some sense, real. And what’s interesting is that live action role-playing can become immersive, you can forget that you’re in a game. And in Kayfabe, which is the sort of professional wrestling system of deceptions, you break things into “work” or “shoot.” A “work” is a scripted activity taking place—by the way, Kayfabe is carnival speak for “fake”—and so a “work” would be if, you know, we agreed to have a fight on this podcast to drive your ratings through the roof. Right? Coming up in 10 minutes. And—
MK: And I have some words for you, Dr.
EW: Marshall, I’ve had about enough of your back-talking!
SE: Let’s not call out CNN too hard here, Eric.
EW: So, then a “shoot” would be the spontaneous occurrence of reality in a scripted event. And then tertiary deception occurs, where you think you have a work where everyone’s in on it. By the way, if you don’t understand the professional wrestling is fake, you’re called a “mark.” If you understand that it’s fake, you’re called a “smart mark” or a “smark”, and one of the reasons I love this stuff is that I can’t get the language that the espionage community uses to talk about deception. You know, like “false flags” and stuff like that, I mean, they’re very advanced, but professional wrestling by now is known to all. So the smarks understand that it’s all fake. But then you can have a situation where the fourth wall appears to break, and the people who are in on the idea that it’s a deception are suddenly freaked out to find out that it’s spilled over into reality, but that spill over into reality can in fact be encased by another fourth wall. And that would be called a “worked shoot.”
So what’s going on right now is that we don’t have language for the levels of theater, deception, fantasy, and we’re struggling. So what we do is we keep finding meaning. And if you’ll notice very carefully, what we’re doing this week is that we’re finding meaning, you know. “These are the darkest days of America. We thought it could never happen here, but in shocking footage released from Capitol Hill, we see the destruction of everything good about this country,” blah, blah, blah. That kind of mock seriousness is preposterous. I mean, this has been visible for the entire time that we’ve been engaged in this, and nobody cares about the fact that we are a thermonuclear nation trifling with the very dangerous business of degrading the customs of the United States, which are used to evade the need for putting restrictions into law. Our culture has allowed us to be free. And right now what you’re seeing is the degradation of our culture, which will necessitate rules. Right?
The old magic of America is that it’s a country in which you have no desire to burn the flag you have every right to burn. And when you lose that culture, you’re going to see a call to restrict free action. So, the magic of the United States is not its constitution. I’ve compared that to the Written Torah of the United States. But the Written Torah is complemented in a duality by the Oral Torah. And the Written Torah doesn’t really work on its own. You need the Oral Torah and the culture to animate the document—the document can’t do anything. What we’re now seeing is a complete degradation. The great attack of Donald Trump was on the Oral Torah and culture of the United States. And a lot of people who found that very restrictive, it’s like, why can’t I tell Pollock jokes? When was the last time anybody told a Pollock joke? I grew up and there were books of Pollock jokes. We don’t do that anymore. And that kind of behavior is something that we can do, we just choose not to. So we’re talking now about the degradation of our culture, where Donald Trump has pioneered the idea that if everyone has thrown out the first baseball—every president has thrown out the first baseball of the season, he realizes that there’s a huge win to be gotten by not going along with tradition. Every time there’s a tradition or a custom, you can always just decide that you’re going to disobey it to show how independent, you know, the fact—let’s imagine it had been going on for 200 years, which it has.
EW: Cool, “I’m the first person in 200 years to think for myself,” and that’s what Donald Trump has been doing. He’s been degrading the Oral Torah of the United States, which was holding things together so we didn’t need rules. And the people who didn’t like the Oral Torah, and wanted to be completely free to be, you know, their horrible selves, were super enthusiastic about the idea that Donald Trump was finally “freeing” us. And guess what’s going to happen next, you’re going to see a move to shut down speech on the internet, you’re going to have the major tech platforms refusing to host, you’re going to have financial harassment, you’re—I’m already, you know, I’ve been making the joke for years, that should republicans be allowed to use the streets?
That’s not a joke, I start seeing calls that Republicans shouldn’t be able to buy groceries. So I think that the problem is, I think this is a grave week, as Marshall says I’ve been up, you know, I really am on no sleep. But I don’t think it’s serious for the same reasons. I think that the problem is that this LARPing can become reality, it can convert to reality, it’s a rehearsal for something. And effectively, it’s like, if you’re waving a gun around with no intention of firing, and it suddenly goes off, you’ve just transitioned into a different world. And you see this all the time. And right now, what people are doing is they’re dancing on the eaves of a building, you know, and somebody’s gonna fall sooner or later, and the whole thing is going to convert in seconds.
MK: How does the leadership class distinguish between the LARPing and the actual danger moments, because—I think we’ve mentioned this—I’m from Portland, Oregon, and you see the example of this in the treatment of Antifa. Back in July, back in June, Mayor Ted Wheeler, the leadership class of the city say that it doesn’t exist, it’s not real. Anything that has happened, anything that does exist is basically referred to as LARPing. Come November, predictably, as soon as Donald Trump is no longer in the presidency, the mayor of Portland gives a very strong, very aggressive statement about Antifa not following the law, all these sorts of things. So that’s the center left to left-wing version, the right-wing version is—
EW: No, sorry, that isn’t the center-left to left wing version. That’s something that never—Ted Wheeler is an abomination unlike anything that we’ve ever seen on the center-left. I don’t know what that is.
MK: My point is that I—here’s what I mean by that, I suspect that most mayors of most Democratic cities would have operated in the sense that Ted Wheeler operated. What I want to do is bring this back to what happened last week—if you went to most Republicans, Republicans who have now turned very aggressively against what happened at the Capitol, they would probably say there’s protesters, it basically doesn’t matter, there’s gonna be some MAGA people, there’s gonna be a couple of groupers, whatever, it doesn’t really matter. Now, it matters. So from my perspective, on both sides of the aisle, you see a leadership class, it doesn’t seem able to navigate the LARP to real world danger scenario. How, from your perspective, should they think about that?
EW: I don’t think we have a leadership class. And Marshall, I don’t mean to say that I can’t understand your question. I mean to say that we should reject your question, and I don’t—the frame is the problem. I don’t—let me make a more provocative statement and then attempt to back it up, because the provocative statement is gonna obviously sound insane. I don’t think the United States government really exists at the moment. I don’t think that there is a leadership class. I think what happens is that, you know, just the way you have an army during peacetime, which develops certain habits, you get peacetime generals, people play war games. It’s not really an army. And then you have a live action situation, and the thing has to convert into a fighting force.
I think we don’t have a government. And I don’t think we’ve had a government for a long time. I think in some sense, the last time the United States clearly existed may have been 1945, and then it has been degrading in various fashions from there. So, that was a pretty functional thing we put together during World War II. And, you know, we were able to do the space program and, you know, the 1950s were an era of incredible scientific progress, unfortunately also incredible military progress, both us and the Iron Curtain, behind the Iron Curtain. But I don’t think that you understand how little the government actually exists now. And when Donald Trump got elected, I went to visit a colleague at the old Eisenhower office building off the West Wing, and as I was walking the halls, I noticed how many offices were empty—that seemed to have very important plaques on their doors. There was no Trump intellectual movement that you could staff the government with.
And I think this goes back to something that Saagar and Krystal said beautifully on Joe Rogan right at the beginning, I recommend everybody at the beginning of that episode, that there are these two teams that get rotated in and out of government, and either you go into the think tanks, or you go into the office buildings, in government office buildings. Trump did not have an intellectual movement to put in. And so as a result, you know, it’s sort of the dream of the anti-tax movement, that you want a government so small, you can strangle it in a bathtub. And I think that in part, he wasn’t able to staff because Donald Trump really was the only thing behind Trumpism. It was a completely idiosyncratic, drunken boxing movement, where Donald Trump understands a few things very well better than anyone else, and many things much worse than anyone else, or it’s just a horrible human being. But he’s at his best when he’s sticking it. To the left, the institutional organized left, which again, isn’t really left at all, based on its hypocrisy, he’s very effective at that. He’s the only—if you include military and administrative appointments, I don’t think we have had another president with zero government experience. And that’s an incredible achievement. And many people said, we’re never going to get another shot. Let’s get on this train, even though we can see the danger even though we despise him. Because the main thing is to stop the insiders from selling us out to China, from selling us out to Davos. The major business, post the fall of the Berlin Wall, has been selling out those Americans too weak to defend themselves in order to get wealth by globalization, let’s say, or financialization, or anything like that.
So we’ve been in a suicidal spiral, clearly, since Bill Clinton, and arguably before that. In such a situation, I don’t think we have a leadership class. And I think that the people who are sitting in those seats are children, and they’re children who are, in general—at the national level, many of them are born in the 1940s. I mean, somebody pointed out that, well, one way of saying it is Dianne Feinstein was conceived in the Hoover administration. Most of these people were conceived in like, you know, the Truman administration. This is not a way to lead a technologically advanced society into the 21st century. These people can’t code. They’ve never used a pipette. They basically—they don’t know what the Teller-Ulam design is. They don’t—they’re not technically capable people. They’re professional peacetime kleptocrats. And the extent to which Ted Wheeler and Mayor Jenny destroyed confidence in the willingness to enforce the law created this thing that I got really attacked on social media for, which is that we created the “Never Trump” Trump voter—people who hate Donald Trump with a passion, who voted for him in desperation to stop Mayor Ted Wheeler and Mayor Jenny and their obvious attempt to allow a criminal element into the city for the purposes of provocation, allowing, in particular in Portland, attacking the federal courthouse with—you guys remember the Shaggy song, It Wasn’t Me?
EW: That was the strategy: What Antifa? Yeah, there’s no Antifa! It doesn’t exist! And you know, Jerry Nadler was asked about this directly and I posted this clip where you know, you see the courthouse being firebombed, and the claim is that the group doing the firebomb doesn’t even exist! It’s a myth. And, okay, this is why for example black Americans believe in chemtrails, because the Tuskegee medical experiment lets them know hey, we’d do anything. We’re so crazy, given what we’ve already done to you, you have no reason to believe that chemtrails aren’t real. It’s what we would call Bayesian priors. You’re tutoring people’s Bayesian priors that you’re completely full of shit, you have absolutely no integrity, you’re willing to engage in madness—and keep in mind that the one thing we know about LARPing is that the body count in Portland is so low because this is an agreed upon theatrical battle.
MK: Quick thing Eric, I have to ask you this. I’m not asking you this in the woke sense, so let me finish a thought here. I’m from Oregon, as I said before, so I only mostly know white people. So everyone I knew growing up who believed in chemtrails was white. So I get your point about why black people—why do white people believe in chemtrails?
EW: Oh, that’s a little bit different. The Pacific Northwest, because of its history of labor activism and communism, in part shares a lot of the history of black America. So, one of the reasons that people see me as conspiratorial is because I come from a progressive family. And so when the government has spied on your family, when it’s—you know, we locked Paul Robeson in the country by taking his passport, we locked Charlie Chaplin out of the country so that he left, and we wouldn’t let him back in to go to his house. Once you’ve been the target of the United States government, you realize that the mainstream belief of “Oh that’s all science fiction and you go to too many movies” is complete nonsense. So I would say everybody who shares the history of just being lied to and having their history completely denied—remember, the Weather Underground was a response to the assassination of Fred Hampton at the hands of the Cook County Sheriff’s Department, as directed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for the crime of introducing the Rainbow Coalition to decrease black fighting between gangs to create a political movement. We are that crazy. And because we are that crazy, everyone who is plugged into the Howard Zinn version of our history is not quite so sure that all elections are free and fair. You know, if you take Operation Ajax in Iran, we clearly know how to turn over a government.
MK: That was the overthrow of the Shah, right?
SE: Yeah. Mosaddegh, Mosaddegh.
MK: So yeah. Too many, too many operations, it’s hard to keep track.
EW: There’s also Operation Condor in Chile. The issue is, if you don’t know your history, maybe all this sounds like conspiracy theory. If you do know your history, you know what we’re capable of, and there’s no question that we’re capable of throwing an election. And then now the problem is okay, he said that. It’s a little bit like saying, I don’t believe vaccines are 100% safe. Now, that’s clearly true. Vaccines are not 100% safe. However, there’s an expectation that nobody will speak reality if you’re part of—you know, if you’re like me and you have advanced degrees in something, you’re supposed to deny reality the way everybody denies reality. We’re now at the point where the public, so many members of the public have caught on to the fact that the national official narrative is total nonsense, and they’re willing to believe anything at this point.
SE: This is something I really want to focus in on with you, Eric. And I want to kind of turn it into where we are today. And it’s something I’ve talked a lot about on Rising, and talking about tomorrow, is about impeachment. And a point that I’ve been trying to make, and I’m curious to get both your guys’ thoughts on this, is that in the context of impeachment, the way I look at his impeachment is you have to have—this is essentially the most extreme act that you can go through as a democratic society: invalidating the election (the previous), removing the democratically elected President of the United States. And I looked at the recent polling, and to the extent that we even have polling, I don’t know if I even believe it. But what we have is this: 56% of polls, 56% of Americans say that Trump should go. And you could say that’s a lot. But to me I’m like, wait, so there’s still a sizable majority of the country that says that he shouldn’t go, and then you look within Republicans, and you say 73% or whatever still approve of Trump, still, you know, think of the job he’s doing. Some have even, you know, justified the capital violence. And I’m not saying any of this with a qualitative judgment. What I’m saying is, is if your goal is to unite the country, if your goal is to move on, which is what Joe Biden and many of the case[s] for him [were], this seems to be the worst possible thing that you could do.
EW: Which thing is the worst possible?
SE: But then the other se—to impeach Trump. To impeach Trump, either right now, or to impeach and, you know, bar him from office in the future. Because the way I look at it is that would be one of the single biggest instances of trying to, basically not even invalidate votes, but to tell a sizable major—a sizable minority of this country, 44% or so, that the person that you have immense faith in is no longer allowed to represent you as President. And it seems to me that it could be, could be—I’m not saying it’s intentional—that it’s a cover for not wanting to address the reasons that Trump was elected in the first place, number one—and this is what I said today, too, is look, if you’re Joe Biden or the Democrats and you want to make sure that Trump is never elected again, you don’t have to impeach him. Do, you know, distribute a vaccine properly, and, like pass $2,000 checks for all Americans. You will win the presidency. It’s actually not that hard.
I just, I want to get your thoughts on impeachment, about the legitimacy of democracy. No no no, it’s fine. If you disagree, it’s fine. Because, my goal—what I know is that you’re trying to operate in good faith towards trying to be a more harmonious country. And it seems to me that a lot of this, a lot of impeachment talk and more, is about punishment. It’s about penalizing, and I have to try and take Trump out of it, because I find what he did so odious, and all that, but we still have to live with many of the people who voted for him in this country, and we have to channel those concerns and more. Go ahead.
EW: We don’t have to live with them. They’re us.
SE: Yes. Exactly.
EW: Those are my brothers. Those are my brothers and sisters. And let me tell you something. You guys have kids?
MK: No. We don’t.
SE: We don’t.
EW: Okay. Let me imagine you’re my kids, okay? You get involved in a cult. You think I’m not coming ba— I’m coming in for you, to get you the hell out of there? You think that I’m not—that I’m just gonna, you know, dismiss you and say, “Oh, my God. They’re now part of a cult, and they’re beyond the pale, and I just have to cut ties and I’m going to disavow them.”
SE: Yeah, of course not.
EW: Fuck, that shit. Okay? MAGA is our responsibility. Those are my brothers and sisters. I’m not running away from them, I’m not interested in that. I’m not demonizing them. But, a cult it is. I’m not gonna say it isn’t a cult. I’m also not gonna say that Woke isn’t a cult. It’s a cult. These cults are incredibly powerful. And, some of us have been noticing that there is no class of “Break Glass in Case of Emergency” people in our country. This is sometimes what a monarchy is supposed to do. I was hanging out with a royal family in Europe, which will remain nameless. And—
MK: There’s like three, so, someone can figure this out.
SE: No, there’s more than that. There’s more than that.
EW: There’s more than that. And, a prince was saying, “Well, you have to appreciate we’re in a very bad situation. No one—there’s no justification for monarchy anymore. So we’re really sort of hanging on by a thread.” I said, “Look, I’m anti-monarchy, but you should at least be able to steelman the case.” They said, “Well, what do we do? What is our function?” And I said, “You’ve had 75 years of peace since the end of World War II. How often do you use a fire extinguisher? Almost never. Does that mean that you just get rid of the fire extinguisher? Because you haven’t used it? No, you check in on it. And when you need it, it’s there. And what’s the purpose? You’re supposed to walk the rubble when the bombs are falling, you know, on a city, for example. You’re supposed to give the people something to rally around.”
And I don’t believe in doing that through monarchy because I’m an American, we reject that. But I do believe in Buzz Aldrin. Right? I do believe that there are people who are apart, you know? Like when Killer Mike’s spoke in Atlanta, he seemed to be apart. I don’t know who that guy is, I’m not really a hip-hop fan—but I was really impressed with him. And if you, you know, in particular, I am a huge fan of black oratory. The skill involved in black oratory coming out of the black church is—it’s a really—it’s its own thing. And it’s one of the things I’m proudest of as an American. There are times when you have to address a mob or a crowd. The times you have to do what James Brown did after Martin Luther King—I’m going to get through this. We have got a situation in which we don’t believe in seating anybody who has those characteristics in the chairs. The reason that I want to do Rising more than I want to talk to the two of you is not anything against Marshall. It’s about the optics. Rising looks like adulthood. It looks like it comes from the institutional complex. And the optics is the adults.
The institutions don’t listen to anyone outside of a closed system. And effectively, they’ve put up this barrier where they call everything alt-right, or far-right, that doesn’t have the right characteristics, which is “on the take.” And right now, the important thing is to seat the people who have tried to call both balls and strikes for four years and have been torn apart, who’ve had their families torn apart, who’ve, you know—look, I work for a guy who supported Donald Trump in 2016—was noticeably absent in 2020. My entire ability to speak freely comes from my good friend’s money. And the fact that I disagree with him, and I love him so much that I trust that he will not sever me, because I’m undermining his political—I mean, this—you know, my brother for example is ejected from Evergreen State College because he was willing to stand against racism, even if it comes from blacks.
EW: You know, the number of people who’ve tried to call balls and strikes for four years is tiny. And right now, what I want to do is I want to take Brian Williams, and Mara Gay, and I want to give them a huge vacation. Let them go to Tulum. And I want to see different people in those chairs. If those people can’t figure out even how to add and subtract, speaking of their crazy idea that Bloomberg could have given everyone a million dollars with his campaign investment—there is no commentary class that’s competent that sits in those chairs. It’s, you know, that the problem, as I’ve said, is that the system isn’t broken, it’s fixed. And until you actually seat your critics, until you do what we used to do, which is to seat the Noam Chomskys at a place like MIT, so that the conscience of MIT lives inside of MIT, so that the ombudsman can say that the paper is out of control at the New York Times or The Wall Street Journal. When you don’t seat your critics inside of the organization, you are on the road to self extinguishing.
And right now, the most important thing is to realize that we don’t have time to put everything on the blockchain, to build new institutions. The most important thing, right now, is to get the tiny number of people who’ve been calling balls and strikes, who were born after 1964, into those effing chairs, to tell the system you’re over, it’s over, you’re done. You people from the ’40s, you’ve failed. You don’t understand where you are. You’re not technically competent. You don’t have the country’s best interests at heart. You’ve sold us to China. You’ve created incredibly deep, fake stories about, you know, the intelligence complex taking over the world, or, you know, something about the desire to destroy America.
All of these crazy stories that we’ve built around Wokistan and Magastan have to go. And, they are responsive to each other. Woke creates MAGA, MAGA creates Woke, you know, it’s—the snake is eating its own tail. The whole way we get out of this is that we put the people we trust more—let me give you a very simple rubric. Take anyone where the official description of that person is maximally divergent from the actual description of that person. Like, “Ben Shapiro is a Nazi.” Okay, an Orthodox Jewish Nazi. That’s pretty interesting. You know, “Sam Harris is an incredible islamophobe.” No he isn’t. I know Sam, he’s like, he’s my good friend. All of these things, “Bret Weinstein is, you know, the far right.” Seat the people where the description of them inside the gated institutional narrative, or the GIN, is maximally divergent from the reality, because that’s the place that the system showed you. Let the system tell you who it fears, and seat the people in the chairs who are feared most, who are maximally misportrayed. And then you’ll have a solution.
SE: But here’s the question Eric, which is that and—oh, and for the record, Eric is coming on Rising, so don’t everybody worry about that. He will be there and it’s going to be great. But here’s the problem: Democrats and Democratic primary voters in particular who select our possible next president, they love Brian Williams and Mara Gay, and they love MSNBC, and the MSNBC lineup—
SE: And Republican—but they do, they trust them.
EW: They don’t. No they don’t.
SE: See, I don’t know.
MK: So, I wouldn’t say da—I wouldn’t say, Saagar let’s specify. A certain very influential and powerful part of the Democratic Party, people who live in Northern Virginia, people who live in the Long Island suburbs, the Park Avenue reference and everything, they certainly do like those people.
EW: Which Long Island suburbs? The Hamptons?
MK: We’re reaching the limits of my East Coastness—
SE: We’re reaching the limits of our conventional wisdom. But I want to make, just one second, I want to make this point too, because the Republican Party does deeply trust Fox as well. And so, to the point of the media actors, who [unintelligible]—look, I mean, I would love nothing more than to be seated, but I, I can tell you, I go on Fox. There is a character that they want me to play. Increasingly, I have been doing a lot less because they will ask me to come on, and all they want me to do is smack the left, smack the left, smack the left, or talk about culture war issues, and I’m like no, because this is ripping this country in half. And I’ve increasingly turned down a lot of appearances unless it’s to talk about an economic system.
EW: Do you know what my condition is for going on Fox?
SE: Go ahead.
EW: And I’ve done this, like the last time, I think was probably Greg Gutfeld. I said if I come on Fox, I’m telling your audience that I view Fox as a propaganda network. And he said sure. And I said we got a deal.
SE: That’s great. Yeah, that’s good.
EW: No, but I’m telling you, this is part of the deal, which is what’s going on is not quite correct. So let’s take Long Island. The Hamptons loves Kamala Harris. The Kamala Harris that is loved in the Hamptons is not the Kamala Harris that we see. In other words, it’s like a developer looking at a computer program. They see the code, we see the binary. We see the finished product without being able to see what’s actually going on. They specifically love Kamala Harris because they know who she is and what she’s going to do for them. And we see the front end, which is what she’s going to do to us. So first of all, no, I don’t think that they love Brian Williams. And if you think that they love Brian Williams, please allow me to go on opposite Brian Williams and Mara Gay, they’re gonna love him a lot less. Because, you know, it’s a little bit like thinking that the professional wrestlers—well, no, it’s like the Gracie challenge. We used to talk about karate and kung fu and all of these things. And Brazilian Jiu Jitsu wasn’t on anybody’s list of coolest martial arts back in the 1970s, right? It’s only when you actually start pitting these things against each other that you stop believing that somebody is the coolest or the best, you know?
EW: I mean like, Steve Vai seems to be the greatest guitarist in the world until somebody named Guthrie Govan shows up and then, like, check out what happens there. At some level, they live in a protected world, and in professional wrestling, it would be called a “promotion.” They’re not actually fighting. They are, you know, Brian Williams is scripted to win. He’s a designated winner. So we have a designated winner system, and we can’t get away from them. But are you telling me that people wouldn’t—weren’t getting frustrated about what was done to Tulsi Gabbard? When Tulsi went after—
MK: There was like two people, Eric, Rick, there’s like two people who actually feel like—I want to have a quick story about this because it reflects, I think, a danger and over-valorizing Rising, no offense Saagar.
SE: No, it’s fine.
MK: When I was doing Rising panels, back in January and February, every week we were doing the polls, everything like that. I thought Andrew Yang and Tulsi were just crushing it because you’d say something nice about Andrew, and you would get, I would get all these really nice comments that talked about how smooth my skin looked. Or I would say something about Tulsi, her foreign policy, people would say this young guy is the smartest young guy you’ve ever seen. But then the actual election happens and they get like 4 and 2 and 3% of the vote.
EW: That’s not my point.
MK: Well, but my point, though, is that if we’re talking about—like, here’s a better way to put this. Brian Williams represents far bigger of a constituency, at least for right now, at least for the subsequent future, than anything Tulsi Gabbard is putting up there. Tulsi Gabbard, bless—like, bless her, I’m not using this—
SE: Yeah this is not an insult.
MK: It’s not an insult, but Tulsi Gabbard is a—she’s this weird former Republican who’s conservative in many socially conservative ways. She’s progressive in different ways. But that’s not an actual viewpoint which has a serious constituency. So I just can’t accept the idea that she, and a person who represents her ideology, is the inverse of Brian Williams. That’s my concern.
EW: Let me be very clear about this. I don’t think necessarily that Andrew or Tulsi would have won. I’m not claiming that they were set to win. What I am claiming is that when you starve people for airtime, when you publish, like, the ugliest picture of them, and the most attractive picture of somebody else, you do all the media tricks that we do every time, and you drop people from your graphics, that has the effect of letting somebody know that person isn’t going to win. And we tend to take the message. We know that, I knew that Andrew and Tulsi weren’t going to do very well. That causes me not to want to invest in them. And so I don’t necessarily—you know, I wasn’t, I never signed on to Andrew or to Tulsi.
What I am trying to say is that many of us face this accumulated thumb pressure on the scales of justice. And the justice in this case has to do with the primary. There was no primary. My claim is that the primary didn’t exist. It was not free and fair. It’s sealed in a particular way. I don’t think the candidates are allowed to assemble unless the event is sanctioned. The events that are given are given out to legacy media structures. The time given to the candidates is wildly asymmetric. There are all sorts of ways in which the rules are built to make sure that there has to be an appearance that anyone can enter, but that that will not actually happen in a way in which the general election is threatened. An insider will always prevail for the general, and that’s what Donald Trump snuck through on the Republican side. Bernie almost snuck through it in 2016. And, we don’t really know what would have happened with Tulsi and Andrew, if—
SE: See, Eric, I—this is where I want to ask my question too, though, which is even within this premise, which is that within the GIN—because, what you’re supposing is that, if you were allowed to go on Brian Williams, but then we both know that they’re not going to invite you. So I mean, this is part of what I want to get at, which is that, with—and I think your concept of the GIN is incredibly important to anybody who’s actually trying to think about systems, because when you’re thinking about systems, that’s when you’re actually gonna think, generally on a much more structural level as to why incentives work, and the way that people respond to those incentives within them, which is that, at a bare, at a base level, your success, my success, you know, the reason people are even tuning into this conversation, is because Brian Williams will never invite you on, it’s that, I mean, they’re not gonna have me on MSNBC anytime soon. And it’s within that closure of the system—what my greatest fear is, I used to think that they have to eventually relent, because they’re losing market share or whatever, but it’s just not true. The truth is that they got the result that they wanted, in the primary, and they’ve, they’re more profitable than ever, they actually have more viewers than ever by doubling down on the strategy. How can we… Is there a solution to that? That’s my question, because I’m not sure if there is right now.
EW: Well, what I’m trying to get at is, this is the Jayaprakash Narayan effect. If you know Indian history, during Indira Gandhi’s Emergency, all—most of the founding fathers of modern India had moved on from the independence movement, and it’d become bureaucrats, it’d become wealthy by, you know, getting in on the spoils of a new nation. And there was this one guy, Jayaprakash Narayan, who’s sort of the patron saint of lost causes, whose heart was too pure to actually profit from the good work that he did. And when Indira Gandhi declared the state of emergency as she did, which was highly unpopular, the cry went out in the darkness, “There is one light.” Jayaprakash, you know, is the word for light, right, “Prakash.” And the slogan was, “Sampoorna Kranti Ab Nara Hai, Bhavi Itihas Hamaara Hai”, “Total revolution is now the slogan. Future history is ours”. And that’s how this game works. You’re pushing the world towards the Jayaprakash Narayan moment. He didn’t matter except once. But when you need Jayaprakash Narayan, you’re not going to reach for Brian Williams. You’re not going to reach for Sean Hannity. You’re going to want to—there are people, you know people—I have not even set up a Patreon page, and I won’t do it until after the inauguration, you know, or some—people have no ability to contribute to me. And, it’s probably an empty gesture. But the point is, you need people who are planning only for that one eventuality.
MK: I want to build on something here real quick, Eric, because this is interesting. It goes back to your earlier comment about leaders who are equipped. The dynamic that Saagar’s speaking about, what’s happened with MSNBC and Rising, insert Rogan, Sam Harris, and even the Patreon economy is the idea that we no longer have big institutions, no one’s getting 30 million viewers, we instead see a dissemination of audiences. So the business model for you, if you’re doing a Patreon is you get 1000 people who love you the most to give you $10 a month, etc, etc, etc. That’s a lot more valuable than getting 50,000 people who are giving you YouTube revenue clicks. The problem here is that the skill set that that’s selecting for is a skill set of appealing to niche, niche, niche audiences. If Sabra and I wanted to blow up The Realignment right now, what we would do is say, we think the DNC was stolen, in a sort of conspiratorial way. We would do all these little dynamics that wouldn’t necessarily be honest, but they would appeal to that niche audience. So how do we have a set of leaders, or how do we create leaders? Or how do we fill people into different spaces, when what they haven’t been selected for is integrating their group into other groups, or articulating their perspectives rather than what they’re doing? Yeah.
EW: The time hasn’t come, Marshall. The time hasn’t come. Look, I love money. Everybody says that they don’t care about money, I don’t know what they’re talking about. I just love it, because I can buy—I could buy Navy SEALs to protect my house, given what I’m about to say and do. I can boost my signal, I can hire assistance; right now I do everything myself. My problem is that I don’t love money enough. And I don’t think you guys love money enough. No, I’m not kidding.
SE: No we don’t. Yeah.
EW: You know, but hopefully you love money, it’s just, not enough. And your time isn’t now. It becomes very clear—you know, why don’t I love money? Because I have things—money is very expensive. Most of the very wealthy people I know spend almost all of their time talking about money. And I don’t want that life, my time is too valuable. If time is money, my time is precious, and there’s not usually enough money to buy my time. What I believe is that nobody really believes that at the moment. We’re still caught in the old system about power, money, and who’s on top and all of this stuff.
I want my children to survive in a country that I deeply love. And, I don’t see anybody fighting for this. You know, the concept of being a patriot, I can tell you everything wrong with this country, this country has been horrible to my family. I love this country. And, the idea that I get to push out a sophisticated version that is not immediately intellectually insulting, the idea that—you know, I’ve given up huge amounts of income by quieting my podcast because I knew that these cancellations were coming. And, I did not want to give people the excuse to come after me. Our time isn’t yet, gentlemen. That’s what I’m trying to tell you. For 75 years, something hasn’t happened. And that’s so long, that people can’t remember that something is about to happen. We are about—
MK: What do you mean by s—What do—can you define 75? So do you mean like war? Like what do you mean by something, nothing has happened?
EW: In the fall of 1945, we dropped some atomic devices in Japan. And with the exception, in some sense, of maybe The Great Leap Forward in China, we didn’t have 20th century level tumult. So we’ve been through this incredibly quiescent period. And we are the children of The Great Nap. We grew up in a, you know, even with the Cold War, the storm clouds were always on the horizon, the Cuban Missile Crisis, they stayed on the horizon. So as a result, we don’t really know what reality is. We’ve been in a prolonged state of unreality. And when you look at what happened at the Capitol building, and you compare it to what happened at Stalingrad, you’re not even—these aren’t the same parts of speech.
The future is coming. And it’s going to come pretty violently because nobody knows how to hold this thing together. And I don’t mean violently necessarily in terms of blood in the streets, it could be the disruption of our legal system. It could be any one of a number of things. But what’s happened is we’ve held the future at bay. This is my wife, Pia Malaney’s observation. And Covid accelerated the future, because the future has been held back by the people born in the 1940s. The fact that all five of the major candidates left at the end of the election were all born in the 1940s—all of them would be the oldest person ever to take office—tells you something, because it was not even remarked upon. Effectively, what you’re looking at is the pre-Great Society world attempting to hold back the future, and this is their last, you know, when you corner a beast at the end of its life, it is maximally ferocious, because it has no reason to hold back. And what we’re seeing is a maximally ferocious group of septa- and octogenarians clinging to power, which is about to give way.
What I’m trying to tell both of you is your time isn’t quite yet. All that you’re doing right now is you’re getting yourself set for what comes next. And the key question will be, how do we get rid of Brian Williams? How do we get rid of Mara Gay? How do we get rid of Nancy Pelosi, and Mitch McConnell, and Donald Trump, and Joe Biden, and get technically capable, social media savvy people who live in the modern world into the chairs that are needed to direct the institutions. If the institutions only listen to institutional media, what we’re doing is whatever Winston Churchill was doing before World War II.
And what I highly recommend, gentlemen, is look at Chamberlain’s speech of resignation. We always talk about Chamberlain waving the paper about “peace in our time” and “go home and get some sleep” and all this kind of stuff. That was his low point. Wanna know what his high point was? His resignation speech. It’ll give you chills. What he did was, he said Hitler, I don’t know, had invaded Holland, maybe? I can’t remember exactly. And, he says Hitler is counting on our division, and you want to know what he doesn’t count on? What I’m about to do next. I’m resigning. I’m resigning to back Winston Churchill. And Winston Churchill has asked me to stay on. So fuck you.
Well, Joe Biden, if he was an American patriot, would resign at this moment, because he can’t give the speech that you just said. Joe Biden cannot give the unity speech. Killer Mike could give the unity speech, I could give the unity speech, you guys could give the unity speech. Joe Biden can do the Neville—try to imagine not being up to the level of Neville Chamberlain. If Joe Biden resigns, and he should resign, right? Like, this is my thing. People used to do this stuff. People used to understand that the commitment to country was a real thing, and that hanging on to power—like for what purpose is Joe Biden hanging on to power? He’s 78. What’s he going to get from this? He can’t lead. He’s so tarnished. He’s so tainted. MAGA is tainted. Everybody who only called balls and strikes for four years is tainted, you know. And my claim is that those of us who are untainted have this idea of, “Oh, we can’t sit down in the chair.” The fuck we can’t sit down in the chair, gentlemen. We can sit down in those chairs. I mean, what degree, from what university, does Brian Williams have that makes—is it his hair? He’s got better hair, in some sense, for television than any of us. Okay, is that the qualification? I mean, let me ask you guys a question: if he was doing a radio—a podcast that wasn’t institutionally affiliated, what do you think his numbers would be?
SE: Yeah, it would be low. But, I mean the whole point, right, is that he’s just been around forever. He’s actually a pretty good interviewer, whenever it comes to some, you know, new segments. I didn’t say he was perfect. But look, this is the thing, is—
EW: No he’s not.
MK: I do have to cut in for something, Eric. I really disagree with what you said about Joe Biden. And mind you, he can disprove all of this, but looking at the Democratic Party of today, looking at the terrible reality of what—and obviously we started this conversation talking about how we should look to history and like, this wasn’t Stalingrad, et cetera, et cetera, cetera. I think Joe Biden is basically the only person within the institutional Democratic Party, who A, has an actual constituency that really matters, that B, has the capacity to make the unifying decisions that he has to make. He could totally fail to do that. He can make the wrong calls, but the fact that during the height of everything, Joe Biden has the confidence to say, “No, I’m not for defunding the police.” Or, “No, I actually know that most Democrats and people in this country don’t support Medicare for All.” But that matters. That’s the difference—if he resigns, there is no Churchill waiting in the wings. That’s the problem here. And the difference is Churchill, by that point too was, what, he was 65 years old? So it wasn’t as if there was these, like, young whippersnappers who were ready to go. I just don’t think the historical analogy works here.
SE: I guess the question is why—when Joe Biden seems to be, at least within the Democratic Party, the only person even wanting to do what you are alluding to there, Eric, what is to be done? Why should he resign?
MK: I think in everything you’re critiquing Kamala Harris would be worse, on every single count that we’re talking about right, I genuinely believe that Kamala Harris would be worse.
EW: Agreed. I don’t want him to resign so that Kamala takes over. What I’m trying to say is, the entire class is tainted.
EW: Right? And I was saying also, Marshall, what you were saying is that we haven’t created Break-Glass-In-Case-Of-Emergency people. And I want to be very clear about something. I am not interested in a political career. I would be a disaster. So let me destroy any hope—
SE: You’re too honest.
EW: No it’s not just too honest, you know, there’s certain—there are executive decisions. I’m a thinker, I’m not—the ability to make a strong decision on limited information, commit to it, and lead people is a special skill set. And I’m not embarrassed that that isn’t my skillset. I’m frickin’ terrific at all sorts of things. I’m not terrific at that. I am not running for office. I’m not trying to get power. I’m not trying—this is not part of a grab.
You know, there’s this old Bill Hicks routine about marketing and sales, that once you start thinking in marketing and sales terms, and somebody tells you that they hate marketing and sales people, marketing and sales people say, “Oh great, you’re going after the anti marketing and sales dollar, that’s good dollar.” You can’t get out of the mindset of everybody’s grasping for power. Power is fucking boring. I mean, I want to do math and physics. I want to push out all sorts of amazing things to my audience and delight the world. I want to go play the mandolin. You know, I’m not interested in government.
What I am saying is, I’m interested in making sure that the Break-Glass-In-Case-Of-Emergency people get into a position where they can take over from the corrupt people. And I think that the problem, to be honest, is that you guys have Stockholm Syndrome from living in DC. I mean, what we need, what we need currently is, and I understand what you’re saying about Biden, he threads some line, but you know, he voted for the 2005 bill to make student debt non-dischargeable in bankruptcy. I can go through a million things that Joe Biden has done badly. You know, to tell people that he’s gonna prioritize everybody who doesn’t look like him for help with their business, well, Lord knows what Hunter Biden sells, you know, to make his millions. Enough.
And I think that part of the problem is that we’re used to selecting from a pulldown menu. I would recommend that all of your listeners go to a Starbucks and ask for a “short” coffee, because you’ll notice it’s not on the menu. And when you ask for the short coffee, they will give you the short coffee. There are things that are not on the menu that you have to know to ask for. And so right now, the point is, I don’t want a pulldown Kamala Harris, or Joe Biden, or Elizabeth Warren, or any one of these people. I want the short coffee, give me the short coffee. I don’t want Mara Gay. I don’t want Nikole Hannah Jones. I don’t want Sean Hannity, none of these people. And the problem is that most of us have the idea, well, if not A, then the other thing, then B. My point is, no. I want 37, you know, Q, and you’re just talking about A/B testing.
MK: So here’s a question that builds into everything you’re saying here. What—because despite our DC Stockholm Syndrome, which is definitely a real thing in many respects, we do largely agree with your critique. We, frankly, don’t want to run for office either. That’s the dynamic here. But, that being said, there are people who do want to run for office, there are young people who show up in DC, I’m not going to name names here, but who build very big social media followings, and then come into office—like, I will name a name here—like Madison Cawthorne, you know, who has been a frustrating experience from my perspective, because on the one hand, he starts out and he talks about how he wants to fix health care and be his generation’s leader, XYZ thing. And then on the day of his election, he’s tweeting, and he’s apologized for this, name you, but, you know, “owned, Lib,” or just whatever. He’s falling—he—”Cry more, lib.” He’s falling back into the trap of that previous system. So, what would you—what would your advice be for young people who are trying to not be—who want to be that break glass figure, but every single incentive is to push in the opposite direction. Everything is telling you to go speak at the DSA convention, or to go speak at the Turning Point USA conference.
EW: Well, first of all, if you speak at Turning Point USA, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with speaking at Turning Point USA. Just make sure that Charlie Kirk knows that you’re going to say something that isn’t so charitable about Turning Point USA, and that you’re going to thank him for the opportunity, the same way I do it on Fox News. So the first thing is, is that you can absolutely go on Fox News and tell them that Fox News is a propaganda network. And once you’ve done that, that’s fine. If you listen, I went on Ted Cruz’s podcast, The Verdict, but you’ve got to be disagreeable. You can’t get swept up in the desire to make nice. You can’t sell your hosts out. I’m not gonna you know, go on Ted Cruz’s podcast to stick it to Ted Cruz. I really appreciate the fact, and I was polite as could be. On the other hand, I’m no pushover. Don’t be a pushover. Have your own independent sense of reality, and make sure that you carry it with you when you get onto that stage, and make sure that you try to call balls and strikes, and be prepared that you’re going to be called—you know, the amazing thing is in the internet era, is that there’s a name for every ready-made argument. You know, “Oh, both-sides-ism. Oh, that’s just what-about-ism.” Okay, well, you’re gonna get the automated bot-level arguments, “Dude, I thought you had integrity. Now I realize you’re just a grifter,” blah, blah, blah. You know, these are the hyenas of social media. And they just nip at you to try to wear you down. Okay, what you need, you know, you ever watch hyenas going after a lion, you’ve got 20 hyenas on one lion until the rest of the family shows up. And that’s one of the reasons why I’m doing this show. You guys are Break-Glass-In-Case-Of-Emergency people. You know, Joe Rogan, Ben Shapiro—Ben Shapiro and I can appear together. If you want to see unity, Glenn Beck just reached out to me. He said, you know, we need unity now. And I was never a Glenn Beck fan, but I just wrote one letter, you know, I think I just wrote one word, “In.” You know, what do you need? Let’s do this thing.
So my claim is, lead by example. And you don’t have to be perfect. You know, I lashed out at Kyle Kashuv, you know, when he was, like, saying I tried to warn you about this. Enjoy, you know, your new Biden Administration. And I deleted the tweets, you know, because I was on edge. You don’t have to be Jesus Christ, or some kind of a saint, you don’t have to be Mother Teresa. The key thing is, people eventually get that you really care and that you’re decent. And that, you know, maybe you want power or fame, you want to be thought well of. I know that I want status, blah, blah, blah, it’s not a big sin. What we’ve got to do is recognize our time isn’t yet, and we’re on the doorstep of our time, and we have to get there.
And so what I would say to those young people is, don’t screw up your future playing in the present, while the present is unraveling. Better to forego it. Take a few years, you’re not going to get there necessarily. Maybe this whole thing blows up before you ever get there, in which case, I’m sorry. But your best bet is not to play in the present. The thing to do is to get the damn septuagenarians and octogenarians who do not come from the modern era, who come from the pre-Great-Society universe, off the stage, replace them with technically capable people who are better adapted to the modern era. And you can find these people by the people who are maximally demonized relative to their reality, because those—let the system tell you who it fears most. Go scan the list of alt-right people. Every person called a Nazi with a Jewish surname should be somebody that you’re probably interested in talking to. Every person who’s never voted Republican, who’s called “The Far Right” is somebody you should be interested in talking to. Everyone with an advanced degree in virology who says the Wuhan lab hypothesis should not be off the table, because we don’t do science by putting our politics first before we examine all of the evidence. All of those people. I mean, it’s very hard when you can’t trust the CDC, the Surgeon General, Anthony Fauci, or the WHO to know what you’re doing, locked at home, while your business is crumbling—
EW: Not sure whether, in fact, this is actually a very serious pandemic, or a bad version of the flu, because I can tell you, I can’t figure it out. I’m a pretty smart guy, I can’t figure it out. There are times when I hear that the hospital beds are overflowing and we can’t—we don’t have space in the ICU, and we’re—we have triage deaths. And there are other reports I hear that we’ve got all of these beds ready, and that nobody’s inhabiting them. None of this makes any sense. So my claim is that if you feel like you can’t figure out COVID, you can’t figure out what just happened in the election, you don’t understand why the election is disputed in this way, join the club.
I don’t know how much voter fraud there was in this election. What I do know is that our courts didn’t find any of this persuasive. And so if you’re going to claim well, okay, no, the courts are actually under Russian control, if you keep adding epicycles to your conspiracy theory, where the Donald Trump appointed justices aren’t affirming Donald Trump, there’s some point at which you’ve got to realize that you’ve been engaged in a massive LARP, and the LARP is based on a certain amount of reality. And right now what we need to do is to have a place to come back. And I just want to talk about this one woman in Texas. I saw on social media—she adores me, she says, you know, “You’re my favorite person,” blah, blah, blah, and it’s very touching. And I see her wrapped in a Trump cape, you know. And she’s at this January 6 rally. And I knew to fear the January 6 rally, and two days before I put out a tweet stream trying—
SE: You did, you did. Yeah.
EW: I called her up. And she’s like, “I can’t believe you’re calling me.” And I just said, “Look, you’re in college. And you’re going to something like a rave, and you’re having great conversations, and you’re having fun, and you’re trying to explain your patriotism. And you’re worried that you saw all of the thumb on the scales for media, and you’re worried that it extends to the election. And the person who got shot could have been you.” And she immediately talked to me about, you know, “Well, I can’t, how do I go towards Biden?” It’s like, no, neither! Get off that spectrum! Go to your studies! Go get drunk, you know. And I said, “Be young, wild, and free. That’s your job right now. Get away from these old people!” These are crazy old people, and they have no future. This is all going to be taken care of by Father Time. In 20 years, Bill Clinton is in all likelihood going to be dead. Hillary Clinton. Very few of these people are going to be around. You are still going to be here. Stop investing in these old people. They’ve gotten control of our society. In any previous era, before the 1980s, before we started messing around with mandatory retirement, which was allowing our society to renew itself, these people would be embarrassed to be seeking office. You know, I mean, it—when was the last time an octogenarian showed up for a Sports Illustrated swimsuit photoshoot? At some level, it’s not appropriate, you know? It’s just—I appreciate that they want to stay engaged, but, you know, there’s a reason that Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale didn’t run in 2020. And it’s because they have better sense to realize it’s not their time anymore. And I probably would rather have had Jimmy Carter than Joe Biden!
SE: That’s when you know, things are really bleak. Eric, I want to end it there because I think that’s such an inspiring and important point. And I can say too, from personal experience, that you’re 100% right. I mean, just small story, but, you know, whenever I was choosing between Rising, which, remember, at that time, there was no Rising, you know, it was like me, it was just Krystal, right. There was this show at The Hill, which was, you know, at 6000 subscribers on YouTube. It was like, literally nothing, not something people knew anything about. And I had another job offer as a White House correspondent, with a larger news organization here in DC. And everybody in DC told me to take that White House correspondent job, every single one—
MK: I remember this. People talked a lot of shit, it was a real thing. What’s Saagar doing? It was a whole thing.
SE: “What’s he doing?” They were like take the DC correspondent job. They’re like who knows about this thing? Stay within your, you know, your path. Keep doing these three minute Fox News appearances, right? Over and over again, like, that’s the cache Saagar, don’t you understand? Like, what are you doing? And I self exited from the system, before I got to it. I hit the red button. And I was like no, enough, I don’t care enough about Fox. I don’t care about being in the White House all the time. I don’t care about doing these Trump interviews. I don’t care about all of the traditional things in Washington media that we care about and that we are supposed to care about, in terms of your career.
What happens? A year later, “Holy shit, you’re on the Joe Rogan podcast!” Right? It was like this, it was like a—me colliding with a world that they knew tangentially, but didn’t value. And they didn’t understand, you know, the success of the program or the growth, and they minimized it, you know, basically until they couldn’t, until they couldn’t reckon with the fact about how big it had gotten and my ability to have you here to talk to you. I mean, I know people were like, I listen to Eric Weinstein to figure out what’s going on. And I’m like, “Oh, yeah, you know, I’ve talked with Eric, he’s been on my pod—” They’re like, “Oh, my God, you actually know him?”
And it’s just this, it’s this self-defeating problem that we have here in Washington and all establishment media in particular, where they’re always going to tell you to take the safe route. And the only way to succeed, and this happens with politics, anybody who is young, is you have to self exit and say—it’s like you said, you have to look to where the future is going, and you have to play that game, instead of doing what some, like, Boomer executives want you to do, and play within the role that you’re assigned yourself.
So I just want to say again, like, thank you for underscoring that. And, really, in a time like this, I just, we had to talk to you, because you’re one of the few people here who, in good faith, is trying to reach—we want to live in a more harmonious country. And I genuinely know that whenever I talk to you. I don’t know that whenever I talk to a lot of people. Left, right, I mean, all of it is about punishment. All of it is about exacting a cost from your enemies. I don’t know many people who would say about MAGA—be like, these are my brothers and sisters. We have to talk that way more again.
MK: I know we just said we’re gonna—I know we just said we’re gonna finish up, but I thought of a question that came up here. This is totally random. Apologies for that. But as we’re thinking about punishment, and cults, right? The use of cult was applied to Trump. I want to know what you think about this, though, Saagar. Within Eric’s framework of what would you do if your kids were kidnapped by a cult, you go the fuck in, you do all that stuff. But you almost certainly would support the punishment of the cult leader, especially if that punishment prevented him from doing that to other people’s kids. So, how do you think about the punishment framework within the contract you’ve created for Eric? Because it’s unclear which direction it goes.
SE: I agree with that. I would say, and this what I said on my show this morning, which is that he lost the election. That’s the punishment. Like, he lost. That’s the real price. He was humiliated on national stage and lost states that he won previously. Eric, I’m curious, before we go, what do you think about that?
EW: I have a very—people will not understand this and I’m hesitant to say it, but I think I probably should. I believe in smacking some people to the curb, and being the first to make sure that you offer them a hand back up. And my feeling is that right now Donald Trump needs to be smacked to the goddamn curb. And I also believe that at some level, you need to potentially offer, if not him, certainly people around him a hand back up and a way back. And the vengeance—the problem with social justice theory is that justice is actually sometimes a euphemism for vengeance. A lot of us feel very humiliated, we feel very jealous. And Donald Trump is going to be built back up by overreach of the Democratic Party, because the Democratic Party is not without its own blood on his hands. And, in essence, the Democratic Party created the presidency of Donald Trump, in my opinion, by saying, how do we get somebody to irradiate themselves? Well, we’ll give them cancer and then they’ll need to irradiate themselves. Inside of that framework, I don’t think that the Democratic Party is in a position to do this. I do think that the tiny group of misfits to which you guys belong, and I can’t tell you how touched I am that you guys think in these terms, let me just say that for all future appearances on anything you do you have a general “Yes.” I don’t give out a general “Yes,” but I so admire what you guys are doing, that, just don’t even ask me to come next time, whenever you want.
What I’m really thinking is that at some level, you do need to smack some people to the curb. But you also need to recognize that religions that are around for thousands of years have forgiveness, and grace, and redemption. And this passion for the destruction of the individual, the cancellation of an entire human being, the social isolation from deplatforming is a recipe for creating people with nothing left to lose who have access to fertilizer, and potassium nitrate, and worse. And, you know, my claim is that most of us need love, and admiration, and trust. And look at my, look at my timeline. The number of people who say “Eric, I always politically disagree with you, but I never feel that you’re condescending—” Never use words like knuckle draggers, or make fun of the inability of people to spell. I talk a lot about the fact that my IQ is a bit lower than most people imagine, because of my learning issues. I talk about the fact that I am disgusted with the tote bag conspiracy, you know, if you have Karl Castle on your answering machine, that you’re so proud of the fact that you’re not like “those other people” in the center of the country who, by the way, all those farmers actually know genetics probably better than you do, because you just don’t even understand what’s going on in Kansas or Montana or whatever, ranchers…
We need to basically realize that the rest of—that our country is being driven insane by its media, but that person-to-person, human-to-human, most of us are better. And one of the things that I really think, you know, the cure for anti-semitism is getting to know more Jews as friends. The cure for anti-black prejudice is, you know, hanging out in black spaces and experiencing the warmth and hospitality. Part of the problem is that we’ve learned to distrust each other and to look down on each other, and if you will just come forward with an open heart and an outstretched hand, almost everybody immediately realizes that they’re coked up on institutional media, and once that kind of haze and fog lifts, we get back to the business of being who we are, because frankly, if we’re going to be “We’re great, and the other side is horrible,” that’s not America, you’ve already given up on your country. And so I just want to say what a pleasure it is to be in a position where, whatever our differences are, I know you guys have your hearts in the right place. I just view myself as a supporting actor. You guys are the future, and anything I can do to help you get you there will be my honor.
MK: Likewise, Eric.
SE: Thank you so much.