Eric Weinstein is not a conservative, but he talks to conservatives because he says, more often, they’re the ones who let him speak his mind without branding him (a Jew) a Nazi. He tells Glenn why, after many requests over the last few years, he finally agreed to this podcast. In the aftermath of the U.S. Capitol riot and President Trump’s second impeachment, Eric and Glenn probe the historical, economic, social, and even scientific reasons for the events of the last week. They also tackle some of the hardest questions our country faces: What do we do about a power-grabbing Big Tech, a dishonest media, Wokistan vs. MAGAstan, and the destruction of American culture? How do we restore civility between the Left and the Right? How do we save the UNITED States of America? In an honest conversation that will stretch your comfort zone, Glenn and Eric show us where to start.


Glenn Beck: Today’s guest puts the intellectual into the intellectual dark web, literally. His brother and he are the ones that actually started and coined that term, the intellectual dark web. But also, because he has a PhD in mathematical physics from Harvard, he came up with a theory in physics that many people now compare him to Einstein because of that theory. This is a podcast that I have looked forward to for a very long time, literally, probably two years. He was on a very short list at the very beginning of this podcast. And, I’ve tried to get him and his brother over and over and over again, I continually have received a no, and that’s one of the things I have to ask him right off the bat. 

You know how I feel about political outlooks and differences in political outlooks. I don’t think it’s a weakness, I think it’s a strength, and I think America needs to get back to being able to have a conversation with people who don’t agree. We learn so much from each other when we do that. You, I think, are going to hear, and learn, and question, and disagree, or perhaps really agree. Like very few podcasts will push you to, you’re going to learn an awful lot. Today’s podcast, Eric Weinstein.

(Sponsor Segment)

Glenn Beck: Eric, I think I’ve tried to have you on this podcast—well, I mean, you were part of the original shortlist of maybe 8, 10 names that I wanted to talk to, and we’ve always been told no. And I’m wondering why, and why now, trying to have conversations with people that we clearly don’t agree on an awful lot. But we have some principles in place that allow us to have decent conversations. Why the change now? 

Eric Weinstein: Well, two things, and I appreciate you guys having me over. And it’s absolutely true that you have been trying, and I have been avoiding. Now I—no, let’s just do this. This is my chance to explain it to you. So there are two answers. Your question, rather, has a two part answer. 

Glenn Beck: Okay.

Eric Weinstein: The first part is why now, because we’re trifling with the dissolution of our national culture, and our national culture is what animates the country. If we lose the culture, the documents will not save us, okay? Let’s be very clear about that. So, I have a very strongly strategic perspective, which is that you save things up for an emergency. Well, we’re there now. 

Next point. The real reason that I don’t casually hop on over to talk has to do with a strategy that’s being employed to make sure that we cannot come together. And let me explain the strategy. Right now, conservative and center-right affiliated media are the only ones who will reach out to talk to their critics. So when Fox asks me on, I always make the same condition, which is that I get to call Fox a propaganda network, and they say sure.

Glenn Beck: Love it.

Eric Weinstein: You want to call us a conservative right wing propaganda network—which is in large measure how I’ve seen them over the years, although I do think that they may be changing a bit. Then their point is, they’re not scared of that. The real problem has to do with the center-left media, which still controls in some sense, the official version of events for the country, and the affiliated institutions, universities, the party, what have you. And their game is very different. So they used to talk to me all the time. I would be invited on to the news hour, for example, at PBS, or I would be invited on to NPR, I would be asked to supply information to the New York Times, Washington Post. That all changed maybe around eight years ago. And the reason for that is that—what they’ve done is to make a situ—rather, sorry, there’s a little bit of feedback again. The problem that we’re facing is that they figured out that if they will all plug their ears, and just say lalalala, and pretend that their critics don’t exist on the left hand side of the aisle, that long form podcasting doesn’t exist… If they can pretend that everyone who disagrees with them is alt-right, far right, neonazi, etc, etc, then they can avoid the deep criticism that the people on the left and progressives would be leveling at the terrible change in the business model of the Democratic Party, its affiliated media, and educational institutions. And so every time I go on a conservative program, as I did with Ted Cruz, as I have with Greg Gutfeld, as I, you know, Tucker Carlson has invited me on, I’ve declined. The key problem is that they’re counting on the idea that they can say Eric only appears on right wing media, ergo Eric is right wing, QED, we don’t have to listen to him.

Glenn Beck: But you’re not right wing.

Eric Weinstein: Far from it, I’ve never voted Republican. But my point is that it’s an active program to make sure that anyone who’s invited by only right wing media and accepts only right of center media, that person can be portrayed as if they were conservative. But, so, every time I appear on conservative-affiliated media, because NPR, MSNBC, CNN would never dare have me on because I’m a critic from their side of the aisle, they have the increased ability to pretend that I am conservative, because they can say well, you only appeared, let’s say, if I did it on Tucker Carlson, Fox, Breitbart, Daily Caller, etc, etc. And so that’s why, at some level, it’s not personal to you, it’s that I understand their strategy for trying to make sure that they never have to listen to anything I have to say. And right now, it’s worth spending.

Glenn Beck: I did the same thing. I mean, I tried to reach out to the left for a very long time, you know, the left outlets, and said look, let’s just have a conversation, we’re not going to agree with each other, let’s have a conversation. And they weren’t interested. some of them were, but I had to balance that too because it didn’t—my audience would be like wait, are you selling out? Are you, all of a sudden you’re on the left? No, I just think we should talk to each other. 

Eric Weinstein: Of course.

Glenn Beck: And I don’t know when that happened, where we couldn’t go our separate ways. Well, let me rephrase this. I have a sneaking suspicion: it came at a time—and I don’t know when—where we stopped believing in the Bill of Rights. Because that is our Unum. I believe all men are created equal. They have a right to, you know, they have a right to speak out, they have a right to a free press, they have a right to religion or no religion… We lost those Bill of Rights as our cornerstone, and so we can’t agree on anything anymore.

Eric Weinstein: Well, I think that that’s, in a weird way, true and not true, I mean—

Glenn Beck: Okay. 

Eric Weinstein: There is a story here that winds its way from 1945 into the present, which would be sort of the upgraded, secret history of modern America that I think nobody’s really told, which is why everything is falling apart, and yet nobody even seems to be looking for the explanation of how we’ve moved so quickly into madness on both left and right. And that has to do with economics, geopolitics, I’ve—I think I’ve been one of the only people I know even looking to tell a relatively simple story with a through line. I think what you’re talking about really happens after, strangely, the 2010 Colorado midterm senate elections, which is the latest chapter. I mean, if you think about this in terms of chapters, I can break it down for you. But, you know, the problem is that this isn’t a story that I think most people know. And instead, they’re content to be subservient to the story, because they don’t know it, and they are actors in it.

Glenn Beck: So, can you take us back to wherever you need—that you think this storyline starts? Explain the world. How did we get here?

Eric Weinstein: All right. The central concept that we’re going to go through is going to be called an EGO, or embedded growth obligation. So that is the central unifying idea that I have as to why so much has changed so seriously. But in order to get there, let’s begin very quickly in 1945, and hit the story, if we have the space, and tell it. In 1945, the country probably was at its most coherent. We had to win a war, government definitely existed, we were technologically capable, we turned a peacetime army into an incredible fighting force. Then, what happened was that we entered a different era, where we had incredible growth. It was very consistent. It was technologically led. It was broadly distributed. And this technologically led growth became an expectation between I would say 1945, and it lasted probably till about 1971 through ’73. During this period, a guy named Derek de Solla Price, who was at Yale, wrote an incredible book, called Science Since Babylon, and gave some lectures in which he pointed out that all technological progress was on an exponential curve. If you plotted any indicator, scientific and technological progress was moving ahead, so that pretty soon every man, woman, and child on Earth would have two PhDs in order for the trend to continue. And he said, therefore, that the trend cannot continue. And I believe that the Derick de Solla Price breaking of that trend happens in the late ’60s, early ’70s, and the growth pattern of the United States changes. So what happens if you look at median male income, for example, and GDP per capita, they’re in lockstep from 1945 until about ’71 through ’73. Median male income flatlines, growth continues, because of in some sense, how we account for growth. And, in effect, Derek de Solla Price’s prediction, I believe, came true. We just didn’t understand what the prediction was. We’d never heard of the guy. We didn’t put it together. That meant that for several years in the ’70s, we were lost. We started exploring ourselves what was wrong, we impeach Nixon, we had the Church and Pike committees, we changed the structure of university immigration, blah blah blah, until Ronald Reagan comes in in 1980.

Glenn Beck: So wait, before we get into the ’80s, let me make sure I understand the ’70s. You said that we didn’t really understand Derek—I’m sorry, what was his last name?

Eric Weinstein: Derek de Solla Price.

Glenn Beck: Okay, that we didn’t understand his theory. So I’d like you to explain what he was saying a little bit clearer, and does it also, this theory, include things like, you know, we had The Great Society, which promised war and an end to poverty, which led us to the end of the gold standard and the switching with Bretton Woods, and promising the world that we’ll buy their stuff. I mean, there was a huge change there. Dual incomes became, you know, a thing. We added women into the workforce, really, for the first time. So there was this huge change here, is that play a role with Price’s theory?

Eric Weinstein: This is my contention. I believe that Derek de Solla Price is somewhat north of things like the change in the gold standard. That if, in fact, we had been growing at an incredible rate, if, in fact, things were getting better and better, and that more people educated led to more technology, we could accommodate not only women into the workforce, which we’d been lousy on before this, but other underrepresented communities. The problem is that there’s so many distractions that nobody’s trying to figure out why did so much happened between 1971 and ’73. So every time you have a conversation, somebody will say oh I think it’s the pill. I think that, you know, it’s the gold standard. I think it’s the Arab oil shock. I think that it’s the Nixon administration. Forget all that for the moment. Here’s a different theory you haven’t heard, so it’s at least worthy of your time. 

In 1968, for example, we found out that there was quark substructure in every proton and neutron. It has no industrial applications. We kept progressing scientifically, but the ability to plow certain sorts of discoveries back into technologies, and creating new industries, and all these things, very few things continued from that time. Now, two huge exceptions have been communications and semiconductor technology, so everything from the World Wide Web, and the way in which you and I are speaking to each other continued. There are, you know, isolated things that happened, maybe fracking. But in general, part of the problem is this idea of the embedded growth obligation, or ego. If you believe that 1945 to 1971, ’73, is normal, you built your organization with the idea that it would always grow. And what you did—you might, like, work people very hard at the beginning and promise them a career and a future as a reward for their hard work, you didn’t understand that if growth ever ran out, that would become a Ponzi scheme.

Glenn Beck: Right. 

Eric Weinstein: So where we are now is that we’re in a situation in which Derek de Solla Price pointed out that exponentials can’t continue. And if the technology, if the science led the technology, and the technology led to the economic growth, and everything was on an exponential curve, and that was based on some ideas of how you plow the fruits of your labor back into your system, that was always going to change and shift. And that change and shift happened in the—like, if you subtract off the screens in your room, how can you tell you’re not in 1971 through ’73? You know, it’s very tough for most of us, because most of, mostly what happened was that semiconductors and communication kept going, and the rest of society didn’t move to the Jetsons, right? 

That caused this problem where you have this strange graph between median male income and GDP, where men can no longer expect that their career trajectories will grow. So all of us look back to people from before this time and say wow, how did how did a paper route and some student loans, which were quickly paid off, lead to a second home in your 20s—in your in your 30s—if you just worked hard? I don’t know how to do that stuff. I just bought my first home in my 50s. I think I’ve bought one car my entire life, I have a PhD from Harvard. Something really broke down in a very serious way. And, you know, I think what people don’t understand is that this thing happened, and, you know, maybe a third of economists should be trying to figure out what happened between 1971 and ’73. We should all be talking about Derek de Solla Price and the original singularity—in fact, nobody seems to know about it. 

So we start this problem of the EGOs. Every organization and institution has, effectively, an embedded growth obligation: how fast does it have to grow in order for it to keep from becoming sociopathic? Because when it becomes a Ponzi scheme, it will have to be headed by somebody who is willing to lie to new entrants about the nature of that scheme. Right now, we’ve just elected, for example, a 78-year-old president, 8 years older than the oldest president ever elected. Almost no commentary from it. You know, Nancy Pelosi, and what, Dianne Feinstein was conceived during the Hoover administration, Mitch McConnell is not a spring chicken, whatever this leadership class in the 1940s it’s an illusion. They are not a leadership class. They are peacetime kleptocrats. And the reason that peacetime kleptocracy is so important is because we are a high growth country that hit our stall speed. And like any plane, you can’t keep a fixed wing aircraft in the sky if it’s not traveling at an appreciable speed relative to the air mass. So that’s what is the central idea of how we started falling apart. We were a rich family, if you will, with a family business that had built up a tremendous amount of wealth. In the family business, the engine was sputtering. 

So what do most rich families do when you have such a situation? The first thing they do is they try to fix the business. They try to plow it back in. And I believe that probably Ronald Reagan and his cohort had this idea that they were going to stimulate the country back into productivity. We’d gone through Watergate, we’d gone through the Church and Pike committee hearings, we’d gone through, you know, inflation and whip inflation. Now, we were a very dispirited, navel gazing society that couldn’t even get our own hostages back from Iran. Ronald Reagan came in, and with his kitchen cabinet from California filled with certain ideas about supply-side economics, amd they tried, I believe in earnest, to restart the American miracle. And you have people like Paul Volcker, who, you know, wrung inflation out of the system by scaring the living crap out of out of us. 

And it played in—you know, as a Jew, I’m going to say something a little bit edgy. There’s a Christian meme called “daddy’s home”. And, you know, the idea is you’re misbehaving now, but when your father gets home order will be restored, and Ronald Reagan played right into the idea of daddy’s home. And so, daddy came in, and the red tape went away, we stopped enforcing antitrust, we started experimenting with all of these different things. 

Now, it’s very important to communicate something to your audience. In general, the idealism of every age is the cover story of its thefts. So for example, Manifest Destiny, you can figure out what the idealism of White Man’s Burden was all about. You have land that isn’t yours, and now you have an obligation to take it. In the ’80s, our idealism was about competitiveness, and in part that was about taking from organized labor in order to make sure that management had the ability to restart the engines of growth. And of course, what we found out was that all of these techniques didn’t work the way I believe the earnest supply-siders expected they would. And the baby boomers were watching, and in particular, the Democrats had watched 12 years of Republican rule, and they were thinking that it was going to be a permanent Republican situation, permanent conservative rulersh—leadership. And so, Bill Clinton decided to create a second Republican Party. And the Democratic Party shifted away from labor after PATCO was destroyed, and organized labor was attenuated. And so the idea is that that idealism of competitiveness had now worked its way through. 

With the fall of the Berlin Wall in ’89, we started a new idea, which is sort of the United Colors of Benetton, “We Are the World”, Davos idealism of globalization, you know? And that, effectively, allowed us to break the bonds to our fellow countrymen, and to attenuate the idea that a guy like me sitting in Los Angeles is bound to somebody in Eastern Kentucky, coming out of a coal mining background. If I can just free myself of my fellow countrymen, I’m free to move our factories to East Asia, or to, in fact, import our scientific labor force from abroad in order to get, effectively, slave labor, paid for by visas, so that scientific employers don’t actually have to pay our own people. So that’s when we start pretending that Americans are bad at science and technology, when in fact, I think we have the best educational system in the world, and we’ve got all sorts of incredibly creative people who are not preferred by our system because they’re not obedient. Americans aren’t obedient. I’m not obedient. If you train me to get a PhD, you think I’m going to listen to you just because you tell me exactly what to do? I’m not your hired hand, I’m your colleague, I’m your fellow citizen. That period goes through and, effectively, the rich family starts a kleptocracy, in which the center left and the center right kleptocrats start selling off all of the wealth of the family, and it becomes sort of a race, if you will, to pocket as much as you possibly can. 

This goes through up until, you know, the 2000s, we have the dotcom bubble. The dotcom bubble is replaced by a beautiful bubble about housing. Everyone deserves a house and the American dream. But of course, it’s financed by nonsense. This is called The Great Moderation by the supposed grown ups in the room, and you start to see that—you start to realize that Alan Greenspan goes from being an oracle to a guy who just doesn’t even get the basics. So people like me, in 2001, 2002, to start talking about mortgage backed securities. We’re laughed out of the room repeatedly. Nassim Taleb, by the way, super dangerous person. Have him on your podcast. Great friend—

Glenn Beck: What’s his, what’s his name again, and tell me a little bit about him.

Eric Weinstein: Nassim Nicholas Taleb? Nassim Nicholas Taleb is a former trader turned author. And his basic point has been that the establishment constantly minimizes the risks, the tail risks, in favor of looking at what generally happens in markets, but really what happens in markets is determined by extreme events. And so if you throw out the outliers, you throw out the entire story. And Nassim’s point is that all of this is understandable, and that what we have is a world of financiers, who through financialization have figured out how to get all of us, the citizenry, to act as the insurer and they simply help themselves to the profit and stick us with the tail risk.

Glenn Beck: I think this is one of the biggest problems, and—I mean, look, I’m not a… You know, I’m a self-educated guy. 

Eric Weinstein: You and me both.

Glenn Beck: And in 2006, I was looking at the the mortgage system and saying to my friends, who all were on Wall Street, and all bankers, and I’m like guys, this is not—this doesn’t work. This is going to fall apart. This just doesn’t work. And they talked to me about all their systems, and all the fail safes they had, and everything else, and it was all gobbledygook. And it failed. And I—it’s astounding to me that we ended up paying for their mistakes, and so, we never learned—they never learned from their mistakes, because no one’s ever responsible, except apparently the little guy.

Eric Weinstein: Wait a second. They didn’t make a mistake. Why are you saying they made a mistake?

Glenn Beck: Well, they didn’t make a mistake. They, they had faulty, or greedy desires. They were just, we’ll just keep piling it up.

Eric Weinstein: Glenn, let me explain this very clearly. I was in a small hedge fund at the time. And this small hedge fund, we’d decided that we were going to look for new prime brokerage, and we went over to AIG Financial Products Division. Of course, AIG was supposed to be an insurer, and we blurred the distinctions in financialization. We talked to their group, and they told us about how massive they were, and how they were able to extend services to us. And we started asking them questions—this is before the crash. And they told us about how they had tranched all of their exposure, and that in order for them to get hurt, it would have to go through all of these levels. And, you know, we asked the question, okay, so what happens if it cascades through all those levels? And the answer they gave should be known to everyone, and it is this: well, if it goes through all those levels, then we’re all screwed. In other words, we’re protected up until the point it becomes everyone’s problem, and then it’s not our problem anymore. They always knew. 

And, you know, this is the problem with this. The reason that I used to be invited to hedge funds’ conferences was because this is what I was saying. You know, of course, everyone knew this, and people would say well, I don’t understand what you’re not profiting from it. I don’t understand—well, you know, look, the party will go until it’s over. The smart people in finance weren’t convinced by the nonsense that they fed to the public. So I don’t think they made a mistake. We made the mistake. Who underwrites non-recourse loans? You know, the public didn’t even understand what a non-recourse loan was. So, in essence, basically, our financiers take advantage of our financial inadequacy. And I don’t know why we don’t hire the world’s best lawyers, the world’s best accountants, and the world’s best financiers; pay them enormous bonuses to take care of the American people. And, you know, effectively, we’re in there defended by, you know, a few guys with good hearts and, you know, to be attacked by the most sophisticated players in our society, we just sit down—we take it, over and over again. I don’t think they made a mistake, I think we made a mistake. We should have created the fact National Seashore in Long Island from the hip.

Glenn Beck: Okay, but wait, wait, see, here’s the problem, I think. It’s the greed of one group, and the willingness to gamble with other people’s lives, and the power and establishment in the government that knows that they can get elected if they can say everybody who is at this level, you’re going to get a home. You know, as long as they can play the Oprah card, you get a home, and you get home, and you get home! Even though the math just doesn’t work, nobody cares. They’ll deal with the aftermath later. So it’s this—it’s the collusion. It’s—I’m a free market guy. We haven’t done the free market in how long? How long? We haven’t had a free market. It’s, it’s—

Eric Weinstein: It’s an illusion.

Glenn Beck: Pardon me?

Eric Weinstein: It’s an illusion. Yes, you’re right. For some reason—you know, I’ll be honest. I finally live in my own home as if it’s really my own home. Of course, mortgage is another form of rental. My cleaning person drives a nicer car than I do. And, if you had to push me back into a studio apartment to have my country back, I’d go back to a studio apartment. 

Glenn Beck: I would too.

Eric Weinstein: I think, you know, there’s just—you’ve ridden on a private plane? 

Glenn Beck: Yes. 

Eric Weinstein: It’s not that great. It’s kind of cool the first time you do it, and it always feels a little, you know, but it’s just—there’s nothing in this money game that appeals to me as much as having my country and being able to focus, with freedom, on the things that I care about.

Glenn Beck: So let me let me just say this. I’ve owned my private plane, and it’s game-cha—the only thing wealth changes is a private flight. However, I’m with you. I’d I’d be penniless and start over if we could restore actual accountability, responsibility, and freedom.

Eric Weinstein: Yes. That’s what we would, I would like to think we would do. But I think a lot of people aren’t in that game. I think that a lot of people are desperate to feel that they’ve succeeded inside of the American story. So if we can pick up the main thread, I’ll try to finish it out as quickly as I can. We can go from the 1980s through Bill Clinton. So Bill Clinton, the idealism of that age was “We Are the World”, and the sort of Davos pluralism of globalization, that was about breaking the bonds to your fellow countrymen. Then we have the idealism of the “Technology Changes Everything” with the dotcom bubble, you see that that collapses. Then the idealism becomes “Everyone Needs a Home”, it allows the financiers to concentrate the gains, we are caught holding the bag in 2008. The world’s financial system falls apart, right? And then we have the idealism of stimulus, and a very strange thing happens in 2010 (around), which is the Colorado midterm senate elections. And I believe that the Democrats really have a tremendous amount of pain, and they have a bright spot in Colorado. And the Obama people say what happened in Colorado that was different? And it turns out that identity politics played a big role in that election, if I have my story right. At that point, Russlynn Ali writes a 2011 letter to the universities, called the Dear Colleague letter. The Dear Colleague letter put the university system on notice, which is of course beholden to the federal government because, effectively, it’s not—it’s a seemingly private system, of private universities that is entirely dependent on the federal government. And it says by the way, people, if you don’t get your stuff in order, with respect to Title IX, and women’s rights, and the terrible problem of attacks on women on campus, etc, etc, you’re going to be in a situation which you may not like, because the federal government may withdraw its support. 

So the universities scramble towards making sure that they are as compliant as they can be, responsive to the Dear Colleague letter, and that starts a chain of events whereby we start pumping out people who have spent four years coked up in an indoctrination camp, believing things that have always been present in the university system, but have been relatively small. You have to appreciate that intersectionality comes out of UCLA, the concept of unexamined privilege comes out of Wellesley, Mary McIntosh, and Kimberlé Crenshaw is the UCLA law professor. These ideas become supercharged after Russlynn Ali’s Dear Colleague letter. The Democratic Party goes hard to identity. And, to quote my wife and economist Pia Malaney, the Democratic Party had to search for the cheapest alternative to organized labor, and that was organized identity. So now you’ve swapped out organized labor, destroyed by PATCO and competitiveness, and the previous, you know, idealism that was cloaking a theft. And suddenly, the Democratic Party is the party of identity because it’s the cheapest substitute, and it buys time for the kleptocracy to continue looting the country, which gives birth to MAGA. Right?

And so in essence, and this is a really important point, I’ve never said it anywhere else, but I wanted to save it up for you, so let’s see how it goes. America has two twin aspirations: that of being a great society, and that of being a good society. And the left of center tends to overfocus on being a good society, and the right tends to overfocus on being a great society. By great, I mean a massive power. And by good, I mean a moral power. So when you have people like the Dulles brothers or J. Edgar Hoover, you have a situation in which the US perfectly well knows how to throw an election. We know how to assassinate leaders. We know how to gather intelligence, and we know how to take people to black sites and try to get information out of them. We know how to run the School of the Americas. There is this entire Howard Zinn history of the United States which is real and true, and coming from a progressive family, when the United States government chooses to visit you through spies and harassment, it’s no joke. And that causes people like me to be treated as if we’re paranoid. But what’s really going on is that our Bayesian priors are different. If you’re black, or if you’re, let’s say extremely progressive. You have a terrible history with your own country. 

So my country has mistreated my family. I love this country. You have to be able to put up with the warts of your country. This country is not always good. But it has been great for a very long time. We are now trifling with—we’re pretending that we’re trying to be good through all of this wokeness which I’ve called Wokistan, and we’re pretending that we’re returning to greatness with Magastan. Neither of these things are true. We’re about to lose both being great and being good. And so now, what’s going on is that in the modern era, post Russlyn Ali’s letter, you’ve got all of these kids who are hired in order to generate sales, and clicks, and ads, for legacy media—which the old line thought they could control. This is the idea that you’re going to have a tiger cub, And at the beginning, the tiger is going to be adorable—or a lion cub, you know, and then that thing starts growing and growing. 

And so if you look at the Harper’s letter, that was an attempt to say hey, all of us who hired the extremely radical woke products of the university system, we have—we are now being threatened by our own attack squad. We tried to let them loose on everybody else, but we thought they wouldn’t turn on those who hired them. Well guess what, we now have a problem. We recognize this is illiberal. Okay, so now this is what we have to recover from. And it’s almost impossible, because none of us can get access to institutional media, which is the only thing that our institutions have to listen to. They don’t listen—they won’t listen to The Blaze unless we screw up, and then they’ll take whatever we said wrong and they’ll put it in an infinite cycle. But right now, the problem is that Magastan is creating Wokistan, Wokistan is creating Magastan, it’s Escher’s hands drawing hands, the two of them, drawing each other into existence. The kleptocrats are busy stealing everything that isn’t nailed down. And the tiny number of people who are outside of this system, as long as they don’t really have any effect inside what I’ve called the gated institutional narrative, or GIN, we have no ability to reach the uni—we can’t reach the universities. I have a PhD from Harvard, an MIT postdoc, I’ve been funded by the Sloan Foundation: it is absolutely important to portray me as if I’m insane. Or, I’m a complete right-winger, or a Nazi with my Jewish surname. That is how desperate this thing is that I’ve called the DISC, the distributed idea suppression complex. Right now, there are crazy ideas that may be dangerous, and I understand that we’ve always had adjustments to free speech, but there are also ideas that are unifying ideas, ideas that bring us back from the brink. And the system isn’t as worried about going over the edge of the brink, because that will generate clicks and sales. It’s much more worried about unification. It is much more worried that Eric Weinstein can speak to Glenn Beck, and that you and I can disagree on a million things, and we can say I love you, I care about you, this is our country, it’s us.

And right now, we have to free ourselves from institutional media. We are coked up on our own institutions. They used to be the ones who told us how they would call balls and strikes, you know? We don’t have that anymore. Right now, everything worth listening to almost is outside of the institution. And the institutions don’t have to listen to us while we sit in these chairs. So the through line, the reason it’s all falling apart, has to do with a powerful theory. Now Richard Dawkins said that the power of a theory is what it explains, divided by what it assumes. In essence, the engine of this is we built a society around growth between 1945 and the early ’70s, which was unsustainable. And then when the growth went down, every institution became beholden to its EGO: its embedded growth obligation. That meant it had to be headed by somebody who could pretend the future—that our brightest days were still ahead if we just stuck with the model. 

And that would have been possible if we’d found new growth. But effectively, in this orchard, we’ve picked all the low hanging fruit, except for maybe communications, fracking, and semiconductors. We now have to go find new orchards. This is what Elon Musk is doing. He is going back and going forward to find new orchards so that there’s more low hanging fruit—because there’s a financial concept called beta. And in general, when we have something like electrification, or digification, or any kind of an -ification that changes everything, then everybody can get some exposure. Your local laundromat can get exposure to a digital era by broadcasting when the washing machines are free, let’s say. You know? They don’t have to be in the technology business. Right now, we can’t operate our society in a high growth mode. And when you lose growth, the only growth that’s left is not from growing the pie, but from eyeing your neighbor’s slice. And so right now, we’re each looking at each other’s slices of the pie. And instead of seeing a brother, a comrade, a fellow countrymen, we see a source of protein. And that is the terribly concerning thing, which is we have got to stop eating each other to get back to the business of innovation, because this entire nation won’t work until we return to growth. And what we’re doing is cannibalizing the very people who are capable of producing growth.

Glenn Beck: So, right, so here’s the thing on that. We can’t seem to produce growth because we’re being told to stay home, we’re being told to shut down our business, we’re being told, all through regulation that is coming under this new administration. We are, we’re also not the ones getting the bailouts, the big business, the connected business, the global business. And at the same time, many of us are being called horrible names. And they’re putting us out of business now, because of who we support, or how we vote, or what we believe. You—with the technological boom that is coming, just the impact on truck drivers in the next few years, with driverless trucks that are already on the road, you start changing the model, and you start changing and have this almost cotton gin kind of turnover… You can’t add on top of that distrust, abuse, and theft, and survive.

Eric Weinstein: There’s a problem here, Glenn, which is that there is a moral basis for the market, and there is a moral basis for citizenship, and they’re different. It’s sort of the way we used to have courts that would execute the law and courts of chancery that would focus themselves on fairness. Okay? I have two claims on my country. One is as a soul, and one is as a mind and pair of hands. And, in essence, when I work hard, if I don’t have the ability to benefit from my own labor, that destroys the moral basis of the market. If I see handouts being—or bailouts and handouts being given to large corporations, if I see laws that forced me to shutter my business while Jeff Bezos is celebrated in terms of how many billions, Amazon made, etc, etc, what we’re doing is we’re undermining the moral basis of the market, and you cannot shove that on to efficiency.

Glenn Beck: It’s the—it’s Moral Sentiments. It’s, I mean, everybody concentrates on Wealth of Nations, it’s Moral Sentiments: once you disregard or destroy Moral Sentiments, the Wealth of Nations is gone. It’s gone, or so corrupted, it destroys itself.

Eric Weinstein: In the 1970s, probably, there were some pretty bad things that happened, intellectually, to the economics profession. [Unintelligible] of, you know, distribution questions, say that’s somebody else’s issue, we’re just gonna focus on growth, and you can distribute that however you want. The old “Once the rockets go up, who cares where they come down? That’s not my department’s says Wernher von Braun” line, so that they’ve punted all sorts of things. That’s why Piketty suddenly runs, you know, roars into view with our exploding Gini coefficients that measure our inequality. So, the economics profession is completely corrupted by the idea that it is effectively serving the concentration of wealth, as if efficiency and growth are the only two things that matter, and distribution, of course, is not an issue of economics. They pass over these ideas in silence after this. Now, that is a huge problem—is that we’ve created a world of people who don’t have to talk about reality. They don’t have to talk about the fact that souls have a claim on our nation’s wealth as well, and that’s what UBI is all about. It’s trying to restore some kind of basis, moral basis to the market, and saying a rich country can afford to make sure that nobody goes hungry and nobody has—is wanting for a roof over their head. And at the same time, we can’t destroy the incentives to hard work and pretend that everything is egalitarian. Now— 

Glenn Beck: That’s, that is—because I am a free market… really— 

Eric Weinstein: No you’re not.

Glenn Beck: I’m—I’m not?

Eric Weinstein: No, because you’re a smart guy, and you know that market failure exists. So for example, if I produce a public good, and it is both inexhaustible and inexcludable, do you want me to produce something of incredible value and to recapture none of the value that I create? No, you don’t. The free market, in its idealized, childlike sense, will make sure that I am punished for producing a public good. And no thank you, I decline your free market by market principle. So if you’re a sophisticated market guy, you’re not going to look to screw over your own scientists who’ve produced a public good for you. 

Glenn Beck: Correct. 

Eric Weinstein: Okay, so let’s—congratulations—

Glenn Beck: But, when I say free market, I must have an idealized vision of it. When I say free market, I mean a market where, generally, people play by the rules—the free market is, to me—the best capitalist is the one that says how can I help people? How can I make their life easier? Right now, our, many of our capitalists are like how can I get rich? Instead of—

Eric Weinstein: Glenn, we don’t have time for this. You’re not a free market guy anymore. That was then. We’ve entered into a—let me put it this way. Imagine that you have a pie that says all activity is in this pie (that’s economic). Okay? And a tiny sliver of it were public goods and services, which constitute market failure. What if everything that I could produce, almost, can be turned into a small copyable file? So I replace, you know, the calculator on my desk, etc, etc, all sorts of things. Suddenly, that little slice of the pie that represents market failure due to public goods starts growing. And, imagine in a future world, a crazy world, the part of the free market that your thinking applies to is a tiny sliver. We haven’t gotten there yet. But we could. Your point is, in a world in which most things are well seen by the market, and few things are not, we should do almost everything through the market, and then we should do the little bit that we can’t do through the market through taxing, like raising an army, you know? We can’t [inaudible], I wish to opt out of US Army protection. No, you have to tax people for an army. Okay, so my point is, you need to update fast, and I don’t have time to explain it. But—

Glenn Beck: Okay, but wait, wait, wait, but you’re saying—I agree that we’re gonna have to update that, because that’s what’s coming our way. But I don’t think that’s a good thing.

Eric Weinstein: Well, I’m not happy about it—

Glenn Beck: Yeah. 

Eric Weinstein: But that’s where we are. 

Glenn Beck: Okay. Yes, I agree with you on that.

Eric Weinstein: [inaudible] The best parts of capitalism… Free market ideology in the current era is not going to cut it. Because like, just what we’ve seen—

Glenn Beck: But doesn’t that include, I mean, I’m assuming you’re, you’re very well aware of The Great Reset, which is the public-private partnership, you know, and the almost a Chinese kind of model, in some ways… That requires angels to run the countries and the system, that have never existed. I mean—

Eric Weinstein: Yes, we don’t have—we don’t have the wisdom to take over from the market, Glenn. It’s a self-organized system. Nobody’s arguing that. What I’m trying to say is that we’ve got a bunch of simple answers, none of them work. I could say it’s all Ayn Rand, or what we need to do is recognize that Swedish socialism works. You know, all of this is garbage, or everything is gonna—put everything on the blockchain, blockchain solves everything. All of these are completely simplistic, and free market belongs in that group. And, if you’re like me, you want to save the best aspects of the market take over from the market. I agree with that.

Glenn Beck: That’s, you’ve—you’ve defined yourself as a conservative: take the best parts of things, conserve them, and throw the rest out.

Eric Weinstein: No, you don’t realize that you’re a progressive. Forgive me.

Glenn Beck: No, you’re a conservative.

Eric Weinstein: I’m gonna win this argument, you can laugh all you want. 

Glenn Beck: All right, go ahead.

Eric Weinstein: Okay. The point is that what has gotten more people out of progress is the market. If progressive means lifting people out of poverty, about giving people hope, literacy, access to clean water and health care—a progressive has to embrace the market, period, the end.

Glenn Beck: I agree with you. But that’s not a a classical definition of a progressive. That’s not a Woodrow Wilson, you know, FDR progressive.

Eric Weinstein: I don’t think you’re understanding me, let me try it again. We learn from our experience. Many of us believed, back in the 1930s, that progress, with the failure of the crash of ’29, came from embracing socialism. I mean, if you look at Milan Kundera’s discussion, he says very clearly that all the cool kids wanted socialism and communism because that was the hot new idea. Now we know where that goes. We know that, in general, it goes towards extreme levels of violence in order to beat down Gini coefficients, and it goes to a lack of productivity. I visited the Soviet Union at the tail end. You can’t be a progressive and still believe in those things if you’re paying attention to history. The point of being a progressive is progress. And this idea that this word and this concept have been co-opted by people who have no concept of the history of progressives, no understanding of all the great things that we’ve accomplished, you know, interracial marriage. You know, we’ve been behind all sorts of things from the get go. And the point is that those of us who are truly progressive are keeping going. I am pro-market where the market works, and I’m up for calling the market out where it fails. And claiming, “I’m a free market guy.” No, you’re not. You’re just not. You don’t realize that you’re smart person.

Glenn Beck: Yeah. I, I would agree with you—if this is the way you’re defining things, I agree with you. And I don’t—but that’s not the discussion that is happening in the world at all. It should be, it—with the digital revolution on our heels, we have to have this conversation

Eric Weinstein: Glenn, this conversation is taking place outside of the non-conversation. The gated institutional narrative is to conversation what professional wrestling is to mixed martial arts. Okay? It’s a simulated conversation. Say, you know, my wife will sometimes say to me oh, we have to go see this new movie, everybody’s talking about it. And then I say what do you mean everybody’s talking about it? And then she’ll point me at all of these different media outlets cross-promoting. No! And I say nobody’s talking about it. What’s going on is that the media is doing a cross-promotion. So the conversation that’s really going on about progressivism, and all this stuff, is not the progressive conversation. I mean, what is more racist than a bunch of African Americans throwing a white professor out who won’t repeat what they say, you know? It’s what happened to my brother. Okay, if I’m antiracist, I’m probably against what is being called antiracism, because the antiracists may be racist. So the [inaudible], you can’t get confused about what your ideals are, and what your idealism is, just because somebody has taken all your language and reprogrammed it. So none of this has anything to do with progressivism, and if it requires me shouting at a mob of 1000 people who are saying defund the police—my point is, that’s not progressive. That’s insane. Let’s not conflate insanity, and a bad business model built on division, with progressivism. Now, we progressives are still out here. We’re still smart. We just don’t have a voice. We don’t have a seat on the exchange of ideas that is called the gated institutional narrative.

Glenn Beck: So then you are, you would clearly separate the Marxists out of the progressive movement that have really hijacked the Democrats and the progressives. The progressive era, in my opinion, is over. We’re in the Marxist era, if you define progressive as it is usually defined, not the way you just defined it.

Eric Weinstein: Wait a second. Marxism was progressive—

Glenn Beck: Yes.

Eric Weinstein: Before we knew how it behaved. And then when we find out how it behaved—

Glenn Beck: Correct.

Eric Weinstein: You know, there was a point maybe where Stalin was progressive. Paul Robeson would write, you know, rhapsodically about, you know, the great leader Stalin and what he was doing, because he was saying, you know, African Americans were welcome in the Soviet Union, we have black churches in Moscow. And in that situation, maybe, before you understood that Stalin was one of the greatest killers in human history, you might have thought that was progressive. Maybe you thought that Mao was progressive, before you understood the Red Guards and the Great Leap Forward. But the key point is that it’s also the case that conservatives have screwed up all sorts of things. Free marketeers have destroyed the world financial system. It’s clear that supply-side economics doesn’t work. And so all of these things, it’s very important to remember—

Glenn Beck: Okay, so that’s a really good conversation, but I think we’re getting sidetracked a little bit, because I think we agree, in a very compact sort of way, that I’m comfortable with you defining progressivism the way you do, for perhaps you and others on a case by case basis. But generally what I’m talking about with progressives—AOC will call herself a progressive. She’s not a progressive, she wants to drag us back to an old, broken kind of idea of Marxism. Do you agree?

Eric Weinstein: No. AOC is partially progressive and partially insane. And part of the problem—

Glenn Beck: Okay, can you explain that?

Eric Weinstein: Well look, [if] you want to have a next level conversation, we’re not going to be able to just, you know, I don’t want to have Tarzan, you know, talking about Jane, me good, you bad, all that kind of stuff. AOC is a complicated phenomenon. She’s in part constructed, the actual human from which she’s constructed appears to have taken over something in that role. It’s kind of interesting. She has the strength to call out certain kinds of bullshit. She’s extremely talented. Not everything she says and does is stupid. And then there’s the madness of identity politics and effectively communism coming through identity. And the reason for that, we should just be very clear, if you look at a lot of the labor movement, it was always talking about the brotherhood of bricklayers, the brotherhood of to—

Glenn Beck: Correct.

Eric Weinstein: It turned out that that concept really didn’t work very well, because people knew that they weren’t brothers, they were just coworkers. How much did bricklayers say I, you know, I laid the best bricks and I’m proud that that’s what I did? In part, it was proud to bring home a paycheck and feed a family, and to be able to look occasionally at a building and say your father built that. The issue is that identity is much more powerful. So it’s a much more effective means of introducing Marxist ideas. And what I’ve said is, if you want to save capitalism, you’re going to need hyper-capitalism coupled to something like hyper-socialism, because the redistributive aspects of capitalism change character with the multiplier of algorithms, and as an algorithm becomes powerful, whoever owns the algorithm may be able to concentrate fantastic amounts of wealth and no human can afford to defend themselves in that market. 

Glenn Beck: Correct. 

Eric Weinstein: So we’re in an interesting situation, which is when you say I’m a free market guy, you’re applying—you’re appealing to a very old complex. And when I say, you know, that these people, you’re not a free market guy. AOC is not simply progressive. We have to look at Arnold Kling and his concept that the three ideas that animate conservatives, libertarians, and progressives are very simple. Libertarians cannot stand coercion, and they become single issue, which is that they don’t want to be coerced in anything. Progressives can’t abide oppression, so they fight everything has the sort of appearance, or sheen, of oppression. And if you label something oppressive, they’ll fight it. And conservatives are always angry that people don’t remember the hard-won lessons of the past. And so they’re always trying to hang on to the wisdom that has been built up historically in a society. Okay, it’s not perfect, but it’s pretty good if you had to, sort of, get it down to its essence.

Glenn Beck: But if you take, if you take the three of them, and you—with moderation—and put them together, it works.

Eric Weinstein: Bingo, that’s what we’re supposed to be doing. Right, exactly.

Glenn Beck: But we are now facing a system that has gone half insane, on both sides, have their own equal problems. And everybody, it’s my way or the highway, and there’s there’s no difference.

Eric Weinstein: We are not doing that.

Glenn Beck: What?

Eric Weinstein: We’re not doing that. You and I are having a different conversation. If we have a conversation about oh, is it free market versus equity? What’s even the point? I might as well just—let’s call it over and let the Chinese come in and teach us Mandarin. You know, I don’t want to do that. The key point is I can’t stand coercion. I hate coercion. That’s why libertarians imagine I’m libertarian. I really believe in structural oppression. If you look at what Robert Moses did to New York City, tell me with a straight face oppression doesn’t exist.

Glenn Beck: Yep. Amen, I agree.

Eric Weinstein: Everything we built up, including our founding fathers—an actual patriarchy, which was somehow so wise that the fact that they had no women, they had no people of color in their group—they wrote with enough abstraction and headroom that we could actually get out of our own way. I mean, this is genius in the document. Imagine that all men created equal and you keep anything—any mention of the fact that you actually own other human beings?

Glenn Beck: Actually not, actually not true. I urge you to go back, read the original draft. 

Eric Weinstein: You just cut out.

Glenn Beck: Are you there? 

Eric Weinstein: You’re back. 

Glenn Beck: Okay. Read—I urge you to go back and read the original draft in Thomas Jefferson’s own handwriting, the one that was proposed to Congress. Remember, John Hancock said the king will weasel his way in and split us up. Do we all agree it has to be unanimous? They all voted yes, it has to be unanimous. He went to write it. He wrote it, and it’s an unbelievable paragraph about slavery, and the evils of slavery, and how the king has stopped them every step of the way. It’s the only place where his handwriting changes. He capitalizes the word—he says—and the king has continued to allow and stop every effort to stop the practice of selling—capital letters—men on the open market. He did that to tie back to the beginning, all men are created equal. It’s not as clean cut, as everybody thinks it is. These guys were deep thinkers, deep thinkers.

Eric Weinstein: Well, some of them got it probably at the time

Glenn Beck: For where they were, mhmm.

Eric Weinstein: I believe Wyoming was maybe the first to, you know, make sure that women had the vote. So, we have a very strange history. But my point to you is we did have, we did have chattel slavery up until, like, a 100 years before my birth or something.

Glenn Beck: Yeah, I agree. It’s horrible.

Eric Weinstein: However, we had the foresight to have an abstraction, because some people figured out how to do this, so that we could grow into the country that I think we were always meant to be. And there’s a very important concept that came out of France that was taught to me by, I believe a person who taught Bill Clinton history at Oxford, Earl Jamie—I can’t pronounce his last name—which is a nation is defined to be a group of people who have agreed to forget something in common. In part, we are supposed to remember a lot of the horrible things in our beginning to forget them later, so that we can become who we were always meant to be without being tied back to 1619, the way Nikole Hannah Jones wishes to tear us apart and to refound us. We have absolutely, very strong obligations, in particular to African Americans, but also to women who were denied the vote, you know, even in the beginning of my grandfather’s life. But we also have to realize that we have the blueprint for a country that can accommodate our best selves, and that this is the gift of a patriarchy. It may not resemble us, it may have been a white landowning patriarchy. But goddamnit if these people didn’t effectively have a blueprint that can accommodate people that look absolutely nothing like them. 

And the excitement that I have for our country, which is our trajectory—we haven’t gotten close. The people who are calling themselves progressives in the streets are correct, that the progress has been too slow. On the other hand, to give up this thing, in order to pursue fantasies, and phantoms, and… This is madness. So that’s where we are, we’ve got to do better. But look, the other thing is, we’ve got to talk about the two major cults, and what cults are, because I don’t think people understand what a cult is. In general, cults are not simply made up of crazy people. Whatever the dominant society is, [it] always has to throw certain items of truth over the city walls that it represents. Right? You have to ta—you have to forget certain things, you have to pretend that certain things that are true aren’t true. And in so doing, when you have a situation like that, there is always the basis to begin a new civilization based on the idea that the society always has to lie. If the society lies very little, it’s not worth joining the irregulars outside the city walls. But it is true that our culture has been throwing more and more truth over the city walls, and that has been the basis for the cults that have formed around Wokistan and Magastan. And we have to talk about the fact that both of them have a point, and both of them have become cult-like 

Glenn Beck: I agree.

Eric Weinstein: And are now therefore, a threat to our system.

Glenn Beck: Agree. 100% agree. There is a reason, there is a real good set of reasons that people marched with black lives matter. They have some really good points—not Black Lives Matter Inc, but black lives matter. What was happening with our cops, the whole experience of the past—and it needs to change. The same thing with the people who—and I want to be careful here—gathered last week and said hey, can we just have 10 days just to air these things? To make sure that we all check? I didn’t think that that would happen. I didn’t think that you had the time to actually make any progress on it, because the constitution is very clear. But you had a right to say that. No one’s listening to the the real plight, the people who really mean—the peaceful protesters of black lives matter, and not the radicals that want to abolish the family and everything else. 

Eric Weinstein: No, but wait a second.

Glenn Beck: What? And we’re dismissing, we’re dismissing the people who say I don’t think I can trust this system anymore. If we shut them down, we’re nitroglycerin in a paint shaker.

Eric Weinstein: Well, let’s be very clear about this. Do you remember the claim that black lives matter protests were mostly peaceful? The Capitol Hill protest was probably mostly peaceful. Right back at you. Right? If you want to play the game of mostly peaceful, okay, fine, you know, that comes back to haunt you. The key issue is who’s been calling balls and strikes out here? I hate Donald Trump’s presidency, I really do. He accomplished some amazing things, like the Middle East peace stuff, like getting critical race theory out, like not starting new wars. Before his presidency, I said he will be a superposition, probably, of the best and worst president we’ve ever had in our country. And, you’ve got a group of internet hyenas who whenever they hear anybody trying to promote a nuanced position, a long-short position, whatever you want to call it, immediately say whataboutism, or bothsidesism. Like, can you imagine if physicists looked at Schrodinger’s cat and said oh, it’s bothsidesism. You know? Is the cat dead or alive? No, you’re not getting it. 

The key point is, Donald Trump represents something to many people who hate him. He represent something standing in the way of a news media that cannot report that the mayor of Portland is in fact coordinating with an organization it doesn’t think—it pretends doesn’t exist—to firebomb our own federal courthouse in a completely bizarre, largely performative ritual of showing us what a breakdown of law and order is when we—I mean, no smart person talks about getting rid of the police. And by the way, there is no minority community in the country that can say we’re so oppressed that you have to understand we have a right to get rid of the police. Well, I guarantee you, people with my surname, what will happen if you get rid of the police? It’s going to be a very short ride. Don’t ever tell a Jew we’re getting rid of the police, all right? We’re in a situation in which the MAGA people have to be reached by somebody who hasn’t gone along with the lies, right? Yes, the media is lying to you exactly as you say the media is lying to you. Mayor Jenny and Mayor Ted Wheeler in Seattle and Portland are completely out of control. Everyone who failed to talk about that in real terms is completely out of control. You’re not wrong about everything, Magastan, by far. I’m not even positive that the election, the general election is free and fair. I don’t know. I don’t know.

On the other hand, let me tell you something that I’m very, very clear on. Assume all of your worst nightmares are true. Assume that you have an incredibly talented intelligence complex that views Donald Trump, incorrectly, as a puppet of Vladimir Putin and decided that it had to rig the election through fraud. All right? Just indulge your wildest, craziest claims. Go full QAnon: Justice Roberts is part of a pedophile conspiracy, etc. The Supreme Court pretends to be nine druids that can divine the truth, by taking on black robes speaking in Latin. It’s not true. They’re nine dudes and chicks like you and me, who are assigned to be the last word. And we as Americans agree to abide by the Supreme Court’s decisions, even when they’re wrong. So, if you want—if you tell me I don’t get it, and I haven’t looked at Benford’s law, and all of this stuff, and I don’t understand that the Epstein conspiracy reached the court—okay, fine. But you’re not talking about the United States anymore. You’re talking about a revolution to found a new country that doesn’t exist.

Glenn Beck: Yes, yes.

Eric Weinstein: And, what we need to say to our MAGA brothers and sisters, just like our Woke brothers and sisters, is you began around a system of truths that were excluded from the gated institutional narrative. That was your seed corn. Yes, structural oppression really does exist, you know? Yes, it is absolutely true that there are so many irregularities, to explain that Antifa is denied not reported upon, that you’re having the idea that you’re bigots and chauvinists shoved down your throat. There’s no shortage of reality that you have been denied. And now, you’ve attacked the Capitol building of the United States. And I can, I can spin it either way: I can decide that it’s a failed insurrection, or I could say it’s a mostly peaceful protest. Right? It doesn’t matter. The key point is the culture of the United States of America. And as I said recently to Saagar and Marshall over at The Realignment, the magic and genius of this country is the way in which the—what I’ve called the Oral and Written Torah of the United States—the Constitution and our culture interact. And what I love about this country is that I’m absolutely free to burn a flag and protest, and I have zero desire to do it. And the idea is, if you want to get rid of the culture of this country, you’re going to need laws and rules, and you can kiss your freedom goodbye. And so part of it is that even though this country came after my family 1953, I stand when the national anthem is played. I’m sure I would not have wanted to hang out with Francis Scott Key. But I heard Jose Feliciano sing his Puerto Rican version at Candlestick Park, and Jimi Hendrix, and I heard Marian Anderson do it, and Whitney Houston. We took that song, and we made it something absolutely incredible. And I stand whether I feel like it or not, not because I have to. I support the right to go down on one knee—by the way, a genius move, if I may say so, because sitting on the bench was a terrible move, it was incredibly disrespectful. Being on one knee is a way of communicating a certain form of respect. And I would prefer that you stand, but I celebrate your right to kneel. The key thing, though, is our culture is being destroyed. And, I don’t know how to say this. We have to go non-coercive, we have to respect our past, and we’ve got to get the boot of oppression off the number of people who can’t figure out—I feel like I did almost everything right, I did not have the career that I was expecting. Right? And it’s the same issue with Donald Trump. Let me tell you something, Baby Boomers do not like to be told to leave the workforce when it’s time. 

Glenn Beck: Right. 

Eric Weinstein: We got rid of mandatory retirement in all sorts of places in the ’80s. And, in part, that’s because the Boomers didn’t have enough wealth, and as a result, everybody else is in a holding pattern. And right now, the principle emergency is that we’ve got a ton of young men and young women who need to form families and homes. And I don’t care whether it’s two dudes raising a kid, or two chicks, or two people who are non-binary, but a continuing society is all about babies. And, creating the preconditions where people wish to keep their society going, so that people will care enough to sacrifice in their life for a legacy… When you start taking down all statues, not just the statues that were put up as a finger in the eye of somebody else—and there were some statues that were put up in that way—but when you started tearing down, you know, a statue of an elk, or Stevie Ray Vaughn, because you’re trying to make sure that nobody has a future, that there is no history of who cared, and who did, and who won for you, what you’re doing is you’re stopping the loop of sacrifice. You need to make sacrifice worthwhile, maybe not directly, but at least indirectly. 

And the future has collapsed for these people. There’s this thing I’ve called metastatic maternity, where when women realize that they’re not going to have a baby that they’re going to care for, they have to care for something else. And remember, the lesson of the wild is that mothers love their babies in a way that is violent. And if you’ve ever seen a mother and having was attacked, you have not seen what violence is. Incredible violence. And in effect, we have a lot of young women who are trying to take care of something, who may not be able to have kids because the market is completely taking away the ability to form families from our young people. 

And so right now, what we’ve got to do is we’ve got to get a bunch of old people out of their goddamn chairs. They’re an embarrassment. They’re completely failed. By the way, it’s not the fact that they’re old. Joe Biden entered the Senate in 1972, at the age of 29. It’s enough already. If he had something to say I’m pretty sure we would know about it by now. Right now, the big issue is that Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell don’t make sense, Nancy Pelosi, none of these people. We are talking about a world of technically incompetent people who grew up in an era, generally speaking, before the Great Society programs, born in the 1940s, who are not capable of living in a 21st century technological world built with all this change. And we need different people in the leadership position.

Glenn Beck: I was just saying on the radio today or yesterday. If it wasn’t unconstitutional, I would vote for somebody like Elon Musk, and not because I agree with everything he has to say. I think he’d be you know, a nightmare to me in many cases, but he, at least, is looking at a new world. It’s like we’ve got a group of people that want to keep us packed into the systems of 1950 that don’t work. Nothing, this, all of this doesn’t work. We need visionaries that can understand the technology of tomorrow, the social impact of those things, explain it, and help us get into that. And I see very few of them on the horizon.

Eric Weinstein: Yeah, I mean, you need to—my guess is that most of our leadership born in the 1940s can’t write a Hello World program in any computer language.

Glenn Beck: Yeah. Right.

Eric Weinstein: You know, at some level it’s enough. We’re in a technological world, we’re in a new age, and what their job has been, again, I have to quote my wife, which I resent, because she has a lot of good points. But her point has been that COVID accelerated the destruction of the dam that people born in the 1940s have been using to hold back all progress.

Glenn Beck: Yeah. 

Eric Weinstein: And so what’s coming… demography is going to take care of this.

Glenn Beck: So let me, because we’re running out of time, let me ask you two questions. I’m very concerned about this transition, because one person makes a mistake, it’s a Reichstag fire. I mean, and it doesn’t matter—it doesn’t matter if the Nazis of the communists did it. The impact of that event changed the whole world. And I am so afraid that it takes one lunatic or one group of lunatics, on either side, it won’t matter, and the world changes. Do you believe we’re that close?

Eric Weinstein: That’s, that’s right. We’re LARPing. The key problem, we’re engaged in live action roleplay. And if you see the woman who got shot on Capitol Hill—very clear that she walked right into a gun in which the officer who shot her had his finger along the barrel of the pistol. It came inside the trigger guard, it went back out along the barrel, it was shouted he’s got a gun. And she did not stop, because she LARPed her way into her own death. And I, if I may, I would like to address your audience, and I want to do it non-condescendingly because I’m not in a position to condescend. I’ve screwed up enough in this story. But look, I’ve been here the whole time, and I’ve been telling you, you guys are right about the center left media. It’s gone completely insane. It’s denying reality. It’s gaslighting you, you’re not wrong about that. You’re not wrong that critical race theory is insane. You’re wrong somewhere else. If you believe, effectively, that the court system didn’t hear the evidence, and it just didn’t give standing, and that the corruption has gone all the way to the Supreme Court and Justice Roberts, it may have. But there is no opportunity to save the United States if what you’re going to do is to talk about something above the Supreme Court. What you’re talking about, right now, is you’re talking about a new country that you’re hoping to found. And that new country is not the United States. 

And I’ll tell you, I am fighting very hard, as I can, using every tool in my arsenal to try to get people’s consciousness up that MAGA is not completely insane. I can see that from the left. Now I’ll be told that I’m not on the left because I can see it, but that’s not true. You can look at my credentials. I said that Donald Trump was an existential risk, at the beginning, to the fabric of the United States. Give me my due, tell me that I’m not wrong about that. Tell me that the fact is that he used the old Henry II tool of saying will nobody rid me of this quarrelsome priest, which is called direction through indirection. He told people to be peaceful. But there’s no way to overturn this election the way Donald Trump wanted to, there’s no way to go around Justice Roberts. You have to wait and take it on the chin. You have to take your loss. If you want to save the country that you claim—it’s not that you have no allies, it’s not that you haven’t been heard, and you made lots of real points. Donald Trump did many good things. No new wars is a heck of a big deal. Getting rid of critical race theory, he wasn’t wrong that our immigration policy has been structured around calling everybody a xenophobe who wants a border. It’s insane. But I want to give you your due, and I want to tell you also something: you’ve gone over the line. If you believe in zip ties, and you’re going to take back the Capitol, you’re coked up on an ideology, and if what you’re trying to save is the United States, your United States can only be saved by waiting it out. 

And I want to point something out to all of you. In 1971, a group called the Citizens’ Committee to Investigate the FBI created an incredible act of civil disobedience and broke into an FBI office and they stole a bunch of documents, because they were willing, as patriots, to pay with their freedom to expose the fact that the FBI was out of control. And that turned into the Church and Pike Committees in the mid-1970s. And for the first time, we investigated our own intelligence services, and found out the United States government was harassing and assassinating Americans citizens who were trying to behave in a way politically that was anathema to J. Edgar Hoover. [Inaudible] need to do is to look at the leader of that group, I believe his name was William Davidon, a student of [unintelligible]. Those guys, disciplined, organized, they found the word COINTELPRO, they created FOIA requests, they forced—I believe the New York Times wouldn’t run their findings, and they forced the Washington Post to have to investigate us. Right now, we need a redo of the Church and Pike Committees so that we know what our intelligence are up to. We need to inflict people who are actually progressive inside of center left media, which is demonizing everybody. And what I need from MAGA is—I need, I’ve got an outstretched hand, and it’s been outstretched for four years. And I’ve waited now, hopefully strategically, to talk to Glenn, because hopefully, this is somewhat electrifying. We’ve got to get back from the brink. 

And, I speak on behalf of a large number of people who have no voice, who have always voted Democratic, which is I love you. I love you. You guys are a part of what makes America great. There are certain aspects that I can’t do, because my left-of-centerness doesn’t allow me to do it. We benefit from being a great country and a good country. And I’ve tried to do both, but we have to have a conscience, and we can’t go down this route. You have to realize that the cult-like aspect of Donald Trump may have been necessary to the break the cabal that has been denying all kinds of truth—I’ve called it the DISC. I’ve talked about the gated institutional narrative—it’s over. The Donald Trump thing has to mutate into something that is pro-America, that is not based on a cult of personality. I know that many of you hate him, and support him because he was the only way to stop the denial that Antifa was attacking the federal courthouse, for example. All of these people born in the 1940s are going away because of father time. They don’t have much time left on this planet. And we are going to have to figure out how to unseat them legally. And with apologies to Malcolm X, you need to remove them by any legal means necessary. I apologize for the word legal, but it really does matter. What we need to do is to recognize that Magastan and Wokistan are two cults founded on reality. There really is structural oppression. There really is a denial of reality by center left media. And, we went over the brink. What we did at the Capitol was disgusting. And we [inaudible] in a mob mentality. That woman who died, from San Diego, LARPed her way to an early grave because of the contents of her mind—the software she was running—told her that she was as if she was in the Boxer Rebellion, that she had supernatural powers, that nothing would happen. If you look at that video, you look at all of the heavily armed officers behind her who could have stopped her. We have entered non-reality, and we are a thermonuclear nation with responsibilities to the entire planet. I keep hearing from black Americans that it’s finally our time, you’re not going to silence us, and you’re not go—nobody’s trying to do that. But you too have responsibilities to the planet, this is a thermonuclear situation.

And, you know, I appreciate that the killing of George Floyd had the optics of a police lynching, and that it plays into the denied reality of black America. Yes, your history has been denied. Just as my history is denied, just as everybody who understands Howard Zinn’s history has been denied. But on the other hand, I want to come back to one image. I had an idea that I was going to get the two guys on my show who engaged in an incident—Donald Trump said to rough up protesters and that he would pay legal bills, and a 78 year old man, a white guy, threw an elbow, sucker punching a black protester being led out of an arena. And what I found was that they had reconciled. And they’d hugged, and they’d put it behind them. And there were 20,000 views on video over four years, I think there were fewer than 20 likes. Just by pointing out that video existed, I think it went to 30,000 likes from my account alone. We love each other. And, we have to stop speaking through our media, and we have to stop speaking through our politicians, and we have to stop speaking through people who are pretending to be progressive, or pretending to be conservative. You can’t conserve the United States by going above the Supreme Court. And if you want to think that I’m soft on Jeffrey Epstein, take a look at the episode that I did specifically. Hey, news media. You have to ask the question, “Was Jeffrey Epstein attached to any intelligence service?” And if you get shut down and say we don’t discuss sources and methods, that’s fine, but the fact that you won’t ask the question about whether or not Jeffrey Epstein is attached to an intelligence service creates a vacuum, and that vacuum is going to be filled by people who believe fantastic things: the worst excesses of Alex Jones, or QAnon, or the Nation of Islam, or whatever. 

Right now, the problem is we have no adults. I’m pretending to be an adult on Glenn’s show. Maybe Glenn is pretending to be an adult. But those of us pretending to be adults are at least trying, because we’ve had a 75 year nap since the end of World War II, and it’s coming to an end no matter what. Whether it descends to bloodshed, or violence, or authoritarianism, whether we lose the right to speak to each other on social media because they take a power grab given what horrible things happened in the Capitol, we’ve got to come back to reality. There really was a direction to stop the steal from Donald Trump on January 6. There really was an admonition to be peaceful. He knows exactly what he’s doing, he sent twin messages. And that happened at the Capitol, where certain people were just going to a rave, some people were going to a revolution, some people were just reporting it. Nancy Pelosi is not the right person to bring impeachment proceedings. The fact is, whoever brought impeachment proceedings should have been talking about Mayor Wheeler, and Mayor Jenny, and their abominable performance as public services, allowing lawlessness, people to die. We’ve got to go back. We need effectively a national mikveh, to separate our unclean period from whoever it is that we’re meant to be and try again. And we need to cover structural oppression and end coercion in the conservation of our best values. And if that seems like a tall order, tough shit. That’s where we are. And, if you don’t want to do that, if you want to just say my free market, or my structural oppression, you’re not part of the American experiment. You’re part of its final act. And quite frankly, we’ve got to fight the kleptocrats in center left [and] center right, Wokistan and Magastan, and get back to the business of innovation. I’ve tried to give you a history that you probably didn’t know, involving a through line that is incredibly simple, that explains why everything is falling apart, and tried to use as few assumptions as possible. And it’s been an honor to do it on Glenn’s program. Glenn, it was never personal, it was always strategic. I’m sorry, I’m not a free market guy. I’m not a conservative. I’m an honest progressive from a different era. And, I know that you are not a free marketeer, you get that things have changed. We’ve got to find our way into the future and we’ve got to stop looking back for the answers. They ain’t there. We’ve got to invent the future anew. Thanks for letting me rant.

Glenn Beck: I have to tell you, Eric, if you were here, I’m a hugger. I would hug you. I would be your friend, I could be your neighbor, and we would never have an argument even though we may disagree on policies or things. This is the kind of conversation that America must have. And I hope this isn’t the last time you will join me, because I would love to hear more of your thoughts. Thank you so much.

Eric Weinstein: Thank you. Love you, brother.

This “housekeeping” (cough cough) episode of The Portal is only for the hard core listeners who launched this experiment with us. This year we begin to take on the idea of the Distributed Idea Suppression Complex or “DISC”. 

From “Terms of Service” changes, to selective enforcement of rules, peer review, “Strategic Silence”, ‘authoritative sources only’, deboosting, shadow banning, down ranking, “unbiasing”, “Good Censorship”, ‘diversity and inclusion’ oaths, ‘cancel culture’, no-platforming, mob shaming, certification requirements, “trust and safety” and quality control, we are surrounded by others interested in various forms of idea suppression who would prefer to work in private. Obviously some, but not all, of those ideas are truly dangerous. But many of those ideas never reached us because they threatened institutional players rather than public safety. 

This is the year we begin to do the unthinkable: attempt to fully reveal and slip the DISC. Stay tuned to the Portal for 2020. Or feel free to unsubscribe right now before we change it up…hope to see you soon.

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Eric Weinstein: Hello, you’ve found The Portal. I’m your host Eric Weinstein, and this is sort of an unusual edition of The Portal because it’s coming at the beginning of a new decade and I wanted to set some intentions, and also to sort of recap where we’ve been for the last half a year that the show has been on the air and on the internet. There are no notes. There’s nothing planned. What I’d like to do is to just try to speak directly about some of the things that have been on my mind and give you all my thoughts on your feedback on the show, and where I think we’re going to be going to next. So, with your permission, let’s begin. 

It’s been a pretty interesting half of a year. The show has built up a fairly sizable audience. And what’s more, there are a lot of influential and important voices within our audience, so I know that when I’m speaking I’m reaching a lot of the people who would be on my dream list of people to interview, to talk to, and in fact to plot next steps with. So, I think we’ve had a pretty successful run of it. We can still grow the show bigger, but the show is now large enough that I actually don’t mind losing some of our listeners and some of our viewers by going into more challenging topics. And so, I don’t think that our primary goal is going to be building the audience quite as much as it was during the first 6 months.

Furthermore, I think what’s been somewhat confusing is that we’ve had—if I recall correctly—16 different interview episodes and one solo episode so far, and I don’t think that is exactly what The Portal was intended to be. In fact, you could argue that The Portal has not even begun. What we’ve done is to build up an audience and to habituate the audience to a different style of interaction. I think we had to figure out what we were going to do if we wanted to bring you certain high-level concepts that often get lost, because the admonition to make sure that you don’t lose your audience along the way means that you never get very far because you’re always doing the sort of preliminary groundwork, and you’re never actually getting to the meat of the issue. 

And I think one of the things that we are very proud of is that we have a very motivated audience, who’s willing to sometimes even listen to the show more than once, or do it with a notepad, so that if there are unfamiliar concepts, they can be looked up, and in fact, we’ve noted that there have been several communities spring up around the show so that people can trade their questions, and we’ve been watching you guys answer each other’s questions in a way that’s really been gratifying. So having a lot of experts in the audience has been a huge boon to the show, and we hope to try to figure out how to make community in a meaningful sense a larger part of the show on a going-forward basis. 

One of those efforts that’s particularly special is that we’re trying to enlist artists. That could be visual artists, that could be digital artists, it could also be musicians. And the idea we have is that that legion of artists will be able to help push out many of the higher-level ideas that we would find challenging to do just in speech, by using, sort of, the brain’s full abilities to take in new information, and also to use the, sort of the transcendent modality to kind of open hearts and minds to truly different and unfamiliar ways of thinking.

So, I think we may try to get that going. We need, obviously, to build a website. We need to have some way in which people who wish to avoid advertising can subscribe to the podcast, and other people who want to contribute and be part of this as a movement…

We just held our first live show at the Ice House in Pasadena, and thanks everybody who came out. The show sold out extremely quickly, even though we sort of didn’t exactly advertise where and when it was, except for cryptically at first. And, one of the things that allowed us to do is to meet the listenership en masse, and, you know, it was a truly interesting, and, in many different ways, diverse group of people.

There were [sic] a pretty even split between anti- and pro-Trump voices. People got along great, so we don’t seem to be as affected as I was concerned we might be by the election cycle. And what I sensed was that people really want to use the show to coalesce and come together, and that there’s a lot of fear at the moment about anything tribal, or anything cult-like, and therefore, anything that might be tribal trades at a discount.

So I think we might actually take a contrarian position, and decide that the show in fact deserves more community, based on the way in which we see our listenership and our viewership going. And so, rather than fear that anything would emerge with leadership, because, of course, anything with leadership looks like Hitler to many people, anything that looks at all ritualistic looks like a cult, I think we’re not going to worry about those things quite so much.

So I think, if I can, I’m going to try to realize that, in fact, the audience is leading, and that I need to do a better job of just accepting that there’s a lot of interest in new ways of thinking, and this is one way of kind of getting unstuck, to try to find The Portal out of the stasis. And so if the show is to be true to its original mission, I think we’re going to have to take some risks, which might mean drinking songs, it might mean ritualistic behavior, and hopefully it’ll mean a lot more opportunities to interact through live dates. The show is going to remain unabashedly a commercial enterprise, because otherwise it would never happen.

And I want to give a huge shout out to Kast Media, who has been the original studio and effectively a co-producer of the show, along with Jesse Michels, and the advertisers and the sponsors who have been paying for the equipment, for the people who work on the show, so that nobody had to shell out anything in order to get this. The show would never have happened if it wasn’t taking place as a commercial enterprise.

And so, even though some of you find the ads annoying, although others of you find them actually entertaining or interesting, what we need to do is to come up with a better model, and a model in which sponsors get access to the kind of heart and passion for sticking with the show. So I think I’m going to try to figure out how the riskvertizer model works in earnest this year, but it’s also important to me that those of you who wish to avoid having a brain sullied with any kind of commercial intrusion have an option to do that.

We’ve been doing that through the YouTube videos, and in that respect, I feel like, in general if you’re willing to sit through maybe an initial ad that rolls before the video goes, you usually have an uninterrupted viewing or listening experience thereafter. We’ll try to get the videos a little bit in better sync with the audio, but most importantly what I want to get to is what the show is really about.

And, the last thing I will say on the sort of initial housekeeping is we probably needed to recognize earlier that we need your help. A lot of you guys are audio engineers, or you’re graphic designers, or you’re website builders. I don’t quite know how to source the talent we need from the pool, but I’ve been bombarded by wonderful offers from any of you, some of you at the absolute top of your field, who want to help this podcast because you want to see this grow as a movement.

And maybe I was slow to recognize how genuine the interest was, and, just to say, thank you. I mean, I think it’s sort of hard to recognize that it’s working, for various internal psychological reasons. I’ve been incredibly touched, and I really want to incorporate some of the offers of help because Lord knows we need it, just haven’t figured out how to do it yet. So stay tuned, I think we’ll be organizing that shortly.

We’ve now got a Facebook group for The Portal Podcast. We’ve got an Instagram account that’s growing. Twitter’s still our largest following, but the actual subscriptions to the podcast, on both YouTube, through Apple and other places, are now quite large. And I think it’ll be increasingly hard to shut down these channels to you, so that even if we lose one or two of them because of something we say, hopefully we’ll remain engaged to and will try to make sure that we’re not the vulnerable to having the oxygen cut off.

The Portal in 2020 and this Decade

All right, so what is it that is happening in 2020? What kind of a decade are we up for? What’s going to be going on with The Portal during the coming year? The coming 10 years? I think that the first thing that I want to signal is that we are finally ready to take on something which I’ve always found terrifying, and that has to do with idea suppression.

Now before we get to idea suppression, and how it functions, and what it is, I want to take new listeners through a very brief description of how we would order the world relative to The Portal and its objectives. So if you will, let me take you back to the end of World War II. There’s a lot of prehistory, but we can’t afford to do everything.

Twin Nuclei Problem of Cell and Atom

So shortly after World War II, there were two very important events in the early 1950’s, from our perspective, one of which was the unlocking of the three-dimensional structure of DNA by Watson and Crick in 1953, and the other was the explosions of hydrogen devices using work of Edward Teller and Stanislaw Ulam, and what that changed in the human picture—because we went from a short period where we were dealing with atomic bombs, where duck-and-cover was a plausible solution, to dealing with hydrogen devices in which the destructive power was really incalculable. It’s the power of gods used to power the sun, here on Earth.

Now, to my way of thinking, since the early 1950s, there has been no comparable explosion of wisdom to go along with this newfound power that humans have—this new godlike power. So I’ve called this the twin nuclei problem of cell and atom.

And I think what we’ve had is an incredible run of luck. And I think it’s the most magical and marvelous thing, but I don’t believe that we can count on luck forever. And in fact, given some of the events of early 2020 taking place in Iraq and Iran, I would say that history at the scale that we were accustomed to it during the, let’s say, first half of the 20th century, could start up at any moment, and we’re entirely unprepared for this.

Embedded Growth Obligations (EGOs)

Now, in the story that has this major through-line that we’ve been following, the next thing that happens that’s really important is a guy named Derek de Solla Price starts to calculate that science is on an exponential trajectory, and rather than thinking that that’s a great thing, he starts to understand that anything on an exponential trajectory can’t really go on, because it’s going to burn itself out. And if science is the original seed corn, if you will, of technology, and technology of economics, then effectively what’s going to happen in science is going to percolate through a chain, through technology and into the economy, with a potential stagnation coming. 

Now, he started to arrive at these ideas, I think, at Yale in the late 1950s. It was not well understood what he was talking about—and still I’m always shocked that the book Science Since Babylon, which he wrote, and which discusses this issue, is so much less well-known than, say, Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. For some reason, this is so dispiriting to so many people that we actually don’t discuss it much.

Studying this work led to the idea of talking about EGOs, that is, embedded growth obligations. Now, embedded growth obligations are the way in which institutions plan their future predicated on legacies of growth. And since the period between the end of World War II in 1945 and the early ’70s had such an unusually beautiful growth regime, many of our institutions became predicated upon low-variance, technology-led, stable, broadly distributed growth. Now, this is a world we have not seen in an organic way since the early 1970s. And yet, because it was embedded in our institutions, what we have is a world in which the expectation is still present in the form of an embedded growth obligation. That is, the pension plans, the corporate ladders, are all still built very much around a world that has long since vanished.

We have effectively become a growth cargo cult. That is, once upon a time, planes used to land in the Pacific, let’s say, during World War II, and Indigenous people looked at the air strips and the behavior of the air traffic controllers, and they’ve been mimicking those behaviors in the years since as ritual, but the planes no longer land. Well, in large measure, our institutions are built for a world in which growth doesn’t happen in the same way anymore.

Gated Institutional Narrative (GIN)

All right. What then happened was that a different structure, which I have termed the gated institutional narrative, came to become repurposed. Now, the gated institutional narrative is like an exchange—a financial exchange, if you will, except it’s an exchange of information and ideas. And in order to actually participate in this particular special conversation, you need to have a seat on the exchange. That is, you need to write for an important paper, like the Wall Street Journal, or you need to be a senator or a congressman so that you can gain access to the news media, or you need to be sitting at a news desk.

In any of these situations, whether you’re a professor, or a reporter, or a politician, if you can gain a seat inside of the gated institutional narrative, you can attempt to converse with other people within that particular conversation. The rest of us do not really have the same level or kind of access to this highly rarefied discussion, and I’ve previously compared this to what we would term a “promotion” inside of the world of professional wrestling. It’s an agreed-upon structure, in which people often agree to simulate dispute, rather than actually have disputes, because somebody could get really seriously injured, but they’re in fact working together to produce an engaging and regular product for mass consumption. The problem with this gated institutional narrative is that, in general, it doesn’t contain the most important ideas, and that is where the gating function comes in.

Distributed Idea Suppression Complex

The most important ideas are likely to be the ideas that are most disruptive. What if the entire food pyramid, for example, was wildly off? What if fats were not the great danger we thought they were, and those waving fields of wheat that are fabled in American song, in fact, give rise to carbs, which are very dangerous to us all? So if everything were inverted, let’s say, where, in a world where instead of banishing volatility during the so-called Great Moderation before 2008, we were actually building the tinder for the world’s largest financial forest fire. What if, in fact, we had all sorts of things exactly backwards and completely wrong? What if diversity wasn’t always a sign of our strength, but sometimes a sign of our weakness? What if, for example, immigration, far from being an issue of xenophobes versus xenophiles, was actually an instrument of redistribution having very little to do with xenophobia or xenophilia to begin with?

These sorts of ideas can’t be entertained inside of the gated institutional narrative, and that’s where the gating function comes in. What was originally a function intended to ensure quality control of the narrative became an instrument for something else. And this is where I want to introduce the most important concept that I think we will be dealing with on a going-forward basis in 2020 on this program, the DISC. What is the DISC? The DISC stands for the distributed idea suppression complex.

Now, taking it apart, the center of it is idea suppression. Not all ideas are good, and so idea suppression is very frequently understood as an important concept when we’re talking about something like bigotry, or we’re talking about something like violent ideology. Of course we want to suppress certain ideas. But, these are not the ideas that are principally important inside of the DISC. 

The DISC is actually a complex. It is a large collection of different structures, and it’s not controlled in any one place. Many of these have emerged separately. But what makes an aspect of the DISC—what shows you a particular component—is that it protects institutions from individuals who are making valid and reasonable points. 

So, if you imagine that the institutions have become incredibly fragile because they’re in fact built for growth, and that plan for their growth obligates them to tell untruths, and to hide certain characteristics, because they are not, in fact, able to grow at the rates in which they are supposed to, you need some complex for making sure that that information doesn’t reach the bottom entrance to a pyramid structure.

Two Current Examples of the DISC

Let’s talk about some aspects of idea suppression. The two stories that I’m following most closely—and we can date this particular episode by talking about current events, I think that’s fine—the two stories I’m following most closely with interest from the perspective of understanding the DISC are the story of Andrew Yang and the media, and the story of Jeffrey Epstein and his recent demise.

Now, in neither of these cases is my principal interest the ostensible subject matter. In the case of Andrew Yang, Andrew is going through a weird ritual that I’ve noted repeatedly election cycle after election cycle. Perhaps the three most recent versions of the situation have been with Ron Paul and his run for president, with Bernie Sanders and his run for the presidency, and now with Andrew Yang.

In all of these cases, we see a very bizarre behavior inside of the news media. That is, that when the candidate starts to gain traction with the public, they become left off of lists. They become misreported—very often a reporter will stand in front of the graphic that has that particular candidate alongside others, and we don’t really know why this is occurring, and we don’t know how these instructions are going out. 

But in the case of Andrew Yang, because this is taking place in a highly connected internet era, we have people chronicling all of the myriad ways in which Andrew Yang’s candidacy is distorted. In particular, there appears to be a different level of distortion taking place at one particular news media outlet. We need to better understand exactly what is the political economy of the news.

Andrew Yang

Now in the case of Andrew Yang, the key question would be, “Why aren’t the regular news media, and the competing news media, reporting on the outsized effort being made to make sure that Andrew does not appear normally with other candidates in this Democratic primary field?”

It doesn’t make logical sense, if you believe that the principal reason for reporting on the election is to make sure that the voters have an early opportunity to hear all voices and to begin to make their decisions, rather than immediately trying to pick a narrative about frontrunners who are always taken to be inevitable, and that’s a conserved feature of this bizarre election coverage, cycle after cycle.

So the first thing I want to do is recommend that you Google “MSNBC” and “Andrew Yang”, and “#YangMediaBlackout”, and look at the impressive data set that has been collected, which shows a singular focus that can be inferred from the data on Andrew Yang. Now, to an extent, this has also happened with Tulsi Gabbard. To an extent there’s been some carryover from Bernie Sanders, but Bernie Sanders’ showing in 2016 was so strong that the same games that were applied to Sanders then cannot easily be applied now.

But the key question we have is, “Why is the news media spending so much on one candidate, who doesn’t appear to be that large, to keep that candidate from growing?” I think this is an interesting topic, and what it has to do with is making maps of silence. 

Now through the efforts of Dana Boyd and the Data and Society group, we’ve learned about a doctrine called strategic silence. And that is, that there are certain things that the media may not want to happen and therefore, rather than simply reporting the facts of the matter, they make editorial decisions so as not to give fodder or fuel for some undesirable outcome. Now, we can partially understand that in the case of copycat killings after, let’s say, gun massacres. But, it’s much harder to understand why somebody coming from outside of the political system would be treated to something like strategic silence or strategic distortion.

What we need to do is to have a better understanding of the maps of silence and maps of distortion that take place in our press. And what Andrew has done that is special and unique is that he’s given us a very large N for our dataset. We now have enough different incidents of this that we can begin to piece together what might be inferred from this very bizarre behavior.

Jeffrey Epstein

The second example of this that I find fascinating is the death of Jeffrey Epstein. Now, you’ll hear a lot of other people say well Epstein didn’t kill himself, or it’s obviously this, or it’s obviously that. I have a decidedly smaller interest in those questions. The questions that fascinate me have to do not with Epstein, not with who might have killed him, whether he died by his own hand, but they have to deal with the sense-making apparatus—that is, the news media around this untimely exit from our world. Now, Jeffrey Epstein was accused of trafficking and had a very bizarre life that is difficult for many of us understand, where he got a slap on the wrist in Florida and appeared to operate with impunity even after his conviction in Florida as a sex offender.

What’s fascinating is that, if anyone remembers the Watergate era, the news media used to go to federal agencies and ask whether or not something was true or false, and this gave us the phrase “a non-denial denial“. When is the question arises, let’s say, in this case, “Does Jeffrey Epstein have any ties to any known intelligence community,” that question can be asked, let’s say, to the CIA, to the State Department, to the NSA, and you might expect that you’d get an answer, “Absolutely this person had no ties,” because the idea of the intelligence agencies being connected to a known sex trafficker seems preposterous at one level, but you can also imagine that they’d get “No comment.” 

Now, we don’t even have that in this situation. You can go—I think I did this fairly recently with the New York Times—and try to simply use their own search engine: “Have you asked the question whether Jeffrey Epstein had ties to the intelligence agencies?” The other questions that arise in this case are, “Where is the last known recording of Ghislaine Maxwell’s passport crossing a border?” This is a simple factual question. A reporter would be dispatched. They would call up somebody like Interpol. They would try to find out whether people would speak about it or not speak about it.

Under any circumstances, they would be able to print an interesting story. For example, “Interpol has no comment,” or “Interpol says that the last recorded border where Ghislaine Maxwell’s passport showed up was a border crossing in New York City.” Under any circumstances, it is very bizarre to see the map of silence around these questions. 

Another such question is, “If Jeffrey Epstein’s fortune came from currency trading, where are the records from his office in Villard House in Manhattan?” He had a very large office in a trophy property on the island of Manhattan, and to the best of my knowledge, I have seen no printed discussion of where the supposed trading records of this person [are], who seemed to amass a fortune. 

Another weird thing about this fortune is that he seemed to live life as a high 11-figure individual, owning islands and incredible properties, and multiple jets, and yet all of the assets I’ve seen accounted for puts him instead in 9-figure territory. Now that’s two orders of magnitude different, and I don’t think that there are many 9-figure rich who would live anything like Jeffrey Epstein’s lifestyle. It appears that most of the assets were put towards a kind of front, if you will.

So we don’t have any idea about where the records are of his trading. We don’t have any idea where the passport of his partner was seen last, and we also have no confirmation that any of our major government agencies have denied that Jeffrey Epstein, the accused sex trafficker, was tied to any intelligence community. In all of those situations, what you can map with honesty, and without having to go anywhere near tinfoil-hat territory, is that there’s something broken with our sense making apparatus. Because in the Watergate era, you could have assigned this to a cub reporter and they would have known exactly what to do. Where are our “no comments” on the record? No one knows.

All right, in those two circumstances, that gives you an idea about how the DISC, the distributed idea suppression complex, works inside of journalism. There is some sort of editorial function that is keeping us from learning certain things, because certain stories do not run. With a little bit of poetic liberty, this seems to be what Paul Simon was talking about in Sounds of Silence. What we’re listening for now are the silences. Where else are we confronted with silence? What are the other things we would expect, where we don’t hear particular ideas?

Now, obviously, you have a situation where I’ve been talking for quite some time about the idea that there are many reasons that one might ask to restrict immigration. The Sierra Club used to support a restriction of immigration. Farm workers unions used to support restrictions on immigration. But sometime in the fairly recent past, it became an idée fixe of the elite that the only reason for supporting a restriction in immigration, the only possible reason could be that you were xenophobic, and probably racist.

Now, I don’t exactly know where these ideas came from, but I know that these ideas are prima facie preposterous. They make no sense. And so I’ve been talking for some time—about where are the media willing to discuss all of the reasons that one might want to restrict immigration having nothing to do with xenophobia? The so-called “xenophilic restrictionist” perspective. This is another place where there is no public discussion, and we have no idea why. So once you begin to look for these silences, these gaps, you start to become rather terrified, that somehow the world is not behaving properly, and that’s one of the reasons that people are flocking to this podcast.

The DISC in Academia

This is, however, not my major focus. My major focus of the distributed idea suppression complex, or DISC, has to do with what happened inside of our universities. Now, I’m in a somewhat unusual position, in that both myself and my wife have PhDs, as well as my brother and his wife, and we’ve all appeared in interviews within the last five years, so maybe you’ve seen all of us on camera, or have some idea of how Bret Weinstein, Heather Heying, Pia Malaney, and I sound.

What some of you don’t know is that I believe that, inside of that group of four, one of us wrote a book immediately after getting a PhD, which is Heather Heying’s book, Antipode, about her solo travels to the jungles of Madagascar. So if you have a young woman in your life who is looking for a pretty impressive female role model, I would say Heather’s toughness, intelligence, and grit makes for pretty terrific reading, and I’d recommend buying the book Antipode for that young lady.

In the case of the remaining three, none of us wrote a book immediately afterwards. However, I think that the quality of the discoveries that were being explored was incredibly high, and in each case, what I thought happened to those was most unexpected. 

Now, what are these ideas that I’m claiming were suppressed? So I would say that in one case, we were talking about the reasons why we die. One of these theses contained what I think is one of the best models for the reasons that we have these finite life-spans, and of course, we’re all subject to what might be called environmental insult: if a piano falls on your head while you’re walking down the street, that’s usually going to be your exit. But why we age, why we get cancer, and why we die, I think has not been very well understood at the molecular level. And I think perhaps one of the first mature attempts to do this took place in my brother’s thesis at the University of Michigan. This is one of the major ideas that I wish to be exploring in 2020.

If biology is one of the greatest ideas man is ever had in the form of natural and sexual selection in the work of Darwin and Wallace, I would say that the other complex of great ideas, truly top ideas, would be what I would call geometric dynamics. Those are the ideas that take place underneath theoretical physics, whether we’re talking about the standard model or general relativity. And we now believe that all fundamental physical phenomena can be divided between these two great theories. In one case, that of Einstein’s general relativity, it’s been known for about a hundred years that the substrate of the theory is Riemann’s theory of differential geometry, that is, Riemannian geometry.

What is much more recent, perhaps slightly less than 50 years old, thanks to Jim Simons and C.N. Yang, is the knowledge that the classical theory underneath quantum field theory is in fact a different form of geometry, known as Ehresmannian geometry, fiber bundle geometry, gauge theory, or Steenrod geometry, whatever you want to call it. So the idea that geometry is the birthplace of fundamental physics, I think is now generally understood by all practicing theoretical physicists functioning at the top level.

Inside of that complex, we’ve been stuck for approximately, I don’t know, 47 years, where theory used to lead experiment, and we used to make predictions and the predictions would usually be confirmed in relatively short order. We have not had a period of stagnation inside of theoretical physics that mirrors this, with the closest comparable period perhaps being the period from the late 1920s, with the advent of quantum electrodynamics, to the late 1940s, with the beginning of renormalization theory being ushered in at the Shelter Island, Pocono, and Old Stone conferences.

So that 20-year period is now more than doubled, and we haven’t been making progress. And I’ve been very uncomfortable with the idea of coming forward with ideas. Why? Well, to be honest, it’s very rare for anyone outside of theoretical physics to have reasonable ideas in physics. I could explain why, but the physicists are fantastic. They’ve got all sorts of no-go theorems, and all sorts of considerations that have to be kept in mind, and effectively what they’ve got is a world that is so tightly constrained, when it comes to understanding where we are, that almost every new idea is instantly dead on arrival. Now this has been incredibly demotivating to people in the field. And it does feel, from many different perspectives, like we’re almost at the end, if not of all of physics, at least of this chapter of physics.

But what I’m starting to see is that the field has become exhausted. It has been telling the same story since 1984, about how string theory is our leading theory of quantum gravity, that quantum gravity is the replacement for Einstein’s search for a unified field. And, as the accelerator turns up the Higgs and little else, as effectively no new physical theories arise with confirmations, as the only major updates to our model of the physical world are things like massive neutrinos or the accelerating expansion of the universe coming from experiment, the theoretical physics community has been very slow to own up to just how much trouble it’s in. It’s an incredibly demanding life. It has incredible standards for rigor and intellectual honesty, and quite honestly, it’s been lying for far too long to sustain the kind of integrity that’s needed in that community.

Now, I don’t know whether I’m nuts, but I do know that at previous points, I’ve suggested things into both the mathematical and physics communities that have later been shown, by other people, to be correct. And while I was waiting for a some kind of confirmation, I was being told Eric, you’re completely off base. You’re not getting it. One of these situations involved something called the Seiberg-Witten equations, which I put forward in the 1980s, around probably ’87, and I was told that these couldn’t possibly be right, that they weren’t sufficiently nonlinear. I’ll tell the whole story about how if spinors were involved, then obviously Nigel Hitchin would have told us so, blah, blah, blah. 

None of this was true, and in 1994, Nati Seiberg and Edward Witten made a huge splash with these equations. I remember being in the room, and seeing the equations written at MIT on the board and I was thinking well, wait a minute. Those are the equations that I put forward. If those equations are being put forward by Witten, why is it that the community isn’t telling him that they’re wrong for the same reasons that they told me that they were wrong?

Legend of the Mugnaia

This is also how idea suppression works. When you are young, and when you are vulnerable, and when you need the help of older members of your academic community to bring you forward, you’re extremely vulnerable to what might be termed the Droit du seigneur—or the prima nocta—of the academic community. Now, for those of you who aren’t familiar with it, there was an old legend that the Lords of the Manor would command the right to take the virginity of every bride on her wedding night, until there arose a miller’s daughter known as the Mugnaia.

Now the Mugnaia had a different plan, for she wished instead to be with her husband, and not the evil Lord of the Manor. So what she did was she smuggled a knife underneath her robes, and appeared in the bedchamber of the Lord of the Manor, and killed him.

Now this is celebrated in the Festival of the Oranges, which is potentially the world’s largest food fight in which armed combatants throw oranges at each other—I think it’s in Italy, if I’m not mistaken—celebrating the victory of the Mugnaia. But right now, we have a problem in our intellectual disciplines, which is that when we come forward with our best ideas, very often, even if they’re slightly wrong, they’re slammed. And when they’re slammed, sometimes the older members of the community then take the ideas for themselves at a later point. 

This has to stop. And I think I’ve been trying to gather courage to put forward some ideas, which I think some aspects of them may be wrong, but are certainly quite interesting, and given that our leading theories have completely stalled out and failed to ship a product for—depending on how you count—you know, nearly 40 years or 50 years, depending upon whether it’s the anomaly cancellation or something called the Vanetsiana model… I think it’s time to simply ignore these people and realize that the leading lights of our most important community have failed. 

Finding the Source Code

If we don’t figure out the full source code, going beyond Einstein, going beyond the standard model, we can’t know whether we’re actually literally trapped in our local area, or whether we have some hope of going out and looking at the night sky with an idea that that might be the roadmap to our future. So whether or not we’re consigned by Einstein to the Elon Musk program, let’s say, of exploring the Moon and Mars, or whether, in fact, we might get on the Star Trek or Star Wars program, of exploring the cosmos has to do with whether or not we can get the source code.

So the next thing has to do with who we are, what is this place, and what I’ve called Geometric Unity. It is the aim of making The Portal a place where I can have a channel that cannot be controlled by the academic complex, and I’ll come back to that in a second. The third area that I want to talk about has to do with markets. Now markets are really the sponsor of our freedom. By having non-centrally directed, locally organized human activity, free agents are able to contract freely with each other, exchange with each other, build prosperity, lift each other up, and if you are a progressive, you almost certainly really have to appreciate the power of markets. But our markets are in great danger at the moment, in my opinion, because they’re being meddled with, and they are returning results that indicate that only a tiny fraction of us are worthy of reaping the true rewards of the markets, while many of us feel that we’re being left behind.

Generational Wealth Structure

If you look at the wealth structure of the Silent Generation, Boomer Generation, Generation X, and the Millennials, or Gen Y, you see that the Millennials have, at this age, amassed far smaller percentages of the wealth, than the Boomers did at the same age, and I don’t think it’s because they’re lazy or they’re not talented. So we have a very dangerous situation shaping up, where our younger generations are not fully bought in. 

In fact, in the last year I just bought my first house. I’m 54 years old, born in 1965. I’ve bought one car, and then had to re-buy it when it got rear-ended. There’s something very bizarre about that pattern, for somebody who is educated at an Ivy League undergraduate institution and has an advanced degree from potentially our leading institution in the country. We’ve created a world in which it’s simply too hard for regular people to advance properly, because the society is not growing.

Now, rather than complain about it, I’d rather do something about it. So partially what I hope to do is to show you what’s been going on with GDP and inflation, by introducing a new theory that combines the two greatest theories we have. So if you think about biology as being driven by the theory of natural and sexual selection, and if you think about physics as being driven by geometric dynamics, either coming from Riemannian or Ehresmannian geometry, then, in fact, what would be the the meeting place of our two greatest theories? The only place that I’m aware of is that it takes place in economics. And why is that? Because you have apes carrying on the theory of selection, but by other means, through markets. And what are markets? Markets are an attempt to create an as-if physical system by uniformizing apples and oranges, so that we have a basis for their comparison by using mediums of exchange, like money. 

So, in so doing, economics is the logical meeting place for the two greatest theories man has ever had. And this was explored in the early—rather, the mid-1990s, early to mid-1990s, by Pia Malaney, my wife and collaborator, and myself, in work that never got out of Harvard University. Now that’s not quite true. There is a book called The Physics of Wall Street, by James Weatherall, which touches upon this. But this work died because of something called the Harvard Job Market committee. And my wife went into that Job Market committee meeting, having her work presented there, thinking that she could apply anywhere in the country, and being told, instead, that she had almost nothing, and that she’d be lucky to escape with a PhD. 

Now in these three cases, that is, a theory of death that comes out of my brother’s work at the University of Michigan, a theory of productivity, and how our wealth is inflated away, coming out of my wife’s work at Harvard, and another theory about “What is this place,” and “How do these different geometries come together,” which would be the subject of Geometric Unity—all three of these ideas met a level of resistance that none of us had ever anticipated or encountered. And I think that it’s been terrifying to me to think about the idea of going up against the institutions.

Effect ’64

However, last year I made an interesting calculation. I decided to look at the presidencies of all of our leading research institutions, and to try to figure out how many of them belonged to people who came after the Baby Boom.

In a previous world, let’s say the world of the early 1980s, approximately half of the heads of research institutions would be Gen X and Gen Y, that is, Xers and Millennials. However, almost no research university, certainly almost no leading research university, with, I think, the exception of the University of California at Berkeley, when I did this calculation last year, was under anything other than the presidency of a Baby Boomer. Now what had happened? Well, we got rid of a mandatory retirement requirement, that probably affected things fairly significantly, and we began to concentrate all sorts of power in one generation’s ideas. Now, generations aren’t magical things—what they are, are instead cohorts that are exposed to some set of circumstances that is peculiar to the time in which they are growing up.

So for example, if your primary experience is that you work hard as a kid, with a paper route and an internship, you go to college, you work your way up a ladder, and everything works out fine, and pretty soon, before you know it, you’ve got three kids and two homes, that’s your idea of what a normal life is. Now this is sort of the basis of the meme “Ok Boomer,” because many of the rest of us who followed this generation have no idea how you would accomplish that in these times. 

I actually put the blame slightly more on the Silent Generation than most people do. I think if you look at it you realize a lot of the problems that we’re having now began through intergenerational issues initiated by the Silents rather than the Boomers, but, it’s a pretty stark division between the Xers, Millennials, and Gen Z, and the Silents and the Boomers, as the major generations that are still extant.

In this situation, it’s terrifying to say what I’m about to say next, but it is time to inflict ourselves on our own institutions. It is time to have Gen X candidates for presidencies, not necessarily just of the political parties, because we’ve spent, what is it, 20 years on men born in the summer of 1946 so far. I mean, we’re just at the beginning of Baby Boom presidencies, and we’ve been doing it since 1992.

That doesn’t make a lot of sense. On the other hand, I think that the presidencies of companies, or CEO roles, I think that the issue of university presidents—many of these things have been tilted far too much towards these other generations. I think that Gen X has a very interesting story to tell. We were not highly infantilized, in terms of when we were growing up. In fact, we had to the moniker of the latchkey kids, and we’re also not large enough to get things just by chanting them. We have always had the pressure of having to make some degree of sense, because we’re just too small as a generation.

The Failure of Peer Review

So, in fact, what I’d like to do—I’ve said that I believe that string theory is effectively in affirmative action program for mathematically talented Baby Boomers who do not wish to sully themselves with the problem of working on the physical and real world as we have it. What I’d like to do is to bring you these three theories over the course of the next year or two—that is, a theory of death, a theory of markets, and how the agents within those markets, and the measurement of those markets should be changed and understood, and a theory, also, about who we are and what is this place in which we find ourselves, called Geometric Unity.

The purpose of The Portal, if you will, is to create a channel that has never existed. Now, I could try to submit everything to Phys Review Letters. I could try to submit to Econometrica. I could try to go through all of the normal channels, and I think what I’ve started to realize is, part of the problem of having screwed up all of this early stuff in our lives, of having tried to do this the formal and “right” way, so to speak—the privilege of having been screwed over so directly and so beautifully by the system is the right to raise the middle finger to the institutions. Like, how dare you expect that I’m going to use your quiet procedures.

If you think about what peer review is, it’s the exact opposite of what peer review should mean. “Peer review” should mean that you publish your article, and then the peers in the community review it, but in fact what it is is peer suppression. You take your article and you mail it off to somebody who you don’t know. That person gets an early look at it. They might hold it up in review. They then inflict any changes that they want, or they reject it for reasons that make no sense. And then it’s handed back to you.

Now, why does it have such a positive spin? It’s not long standing in the community. It doesn’t seem to have a very long history, but it came out of an effort to quality control new ideas. We wanted to know if new ideas were coming from reputable people. Were they using reasonable methods? Were they reasonably familiar with their fields? And in fact, that is the good reason that we had this new technique of peer review. Previously, editors have been tasked with being responsible for the field and figuring out whether or not something was up to snuff.

In this new situation, it was perfectly constructed for abuse. In fact, what you find is that it’s like what my brother refers to as the low posted speed limit in a southern town. The key question isn’t peer review, it’s how is it enforced for different people? That is, if you are a famous professor who is well plugged into a journal, where your friend is the editor, you are going to have an entirely different experience with peer review than if you submit the exact same article coming from someplace that is not well known to that journal, and in which there is a bias against that group.

For example, if I were to point out that every purebred dog in a kennel show is a product of intelligent design, that is, that humans have commanded canines with whom and how they can mate—that process has produced things like dachshunds and poodles. However, if I use words like “intelligent design”, I guarantee you that even though it’s clearly true that dogs are intelligently designed, that that paper will be rejected, because there is a belief that we should have a line which says no paper on intelligent design has ever been accepted by a leading peer-reviewed journal.

Now that political understanding of intelligent design has to do with both a reasonable idea and an unreasonable idea. The reasonable idea is that you should not be able to smuggle Jesus into evolutionary theory. You should not be able to do young Earth creationism inside of a scientific context. That is the previous, reasonable version of peer review. It makes sense as quality control. 

But, what happens when you start talking about perception-mediated selection? For example, pseudocopulation in orchids, which we’ve discussed before, or in the predatory system with the other mussel lampsilis, where the perception of the bass matters, because it thinks that it’s consuming a bait fish. But in fact, that’s a fake bait fish filled with the young of the mussel.

In both of those cases you have perception-mediated selection, and you can make an argument that that should be called “intelligent design”, but those magic words can’t appear in that journal. Why? For a political reason. So what we have is we’ve created a system based around quality control that in fact is rife and open for abuse.

In that system, we now have to realize that we need other channels. We need an ability to route around. We need to be able to reinsert dissidents and people who do not get along with institutions back inside of the institutions. 

If you look at Noam Chomsky sitting at MIT, you will realize that it was once the case that such people were much more common. You can look up a fellow, an old friend of mine named Serge Lang, and you could scarcely believe that such a person could have existed at Yale, but that person very much did exist. You can look at an old controversy about David Baltimore and a woman named Margo O’Toole, and the courage of Mark Ptashne and Walter Gilbert in fighting a Nobel Laureate when Margo O’Toole accused a colleague of the Nobel Laureate of misconduct, or at least, irreproducibility of results. 

We have a long and storied history that has gone wildly off the rails with the crisis in current sense-making. And the purpose of The Portal was always to set up a channel by which we would have enough people watching that we could attempt to keep people from being rolled in the alleys when they contradicted the institutions, and that is in large measure what we’re here to do. 

If you look at our episode with Timur Kuran, we introduced you to a concept of preference falsification. Right now, the danger of the Andrew Yang and the Jeffrey Epstein situations is that they have conveniently communicated to many people, “Of course we’re going to mess with your sense-making. What is it that you’re prepared to do about it?”

No Living Heroes

This brings us to a final issue, which I think is incredibly important, which has to do with why there are no living heroes. In effect, we almost don’t believe in heroism. As soon as somebody starts to make us excited about the world and what is possible for the individual, we come to start feeling terrible about that person, unless they’re trapped inside of a Marvel movie, or something like that. If you go back to the history of ticker tape parades, you will see that there were many ticker tape parades given for individual aviators, individual explorers, ships captains who put their ship at risk to rescue the crew of another—and, in fact, this pattern largely stopped.

My contention is that the difficult case of Charles Lindbergh may have marked a turning point. In Lindbergh’s case, he had flown solo to Europe from the United States and come back a hero, I believe in the late 1920s. Now, Lindbergh was a very difficult human being to deal with, because he was an authentic hero, and he was also somebody who believed in America First, and in isolationism, and given the Nazi menace in Europe, I think it’s almost an unforgivable position. Nevertheless, the fact is that Lindberg commanded tremendous popularity, and that popularity could have been used to keep the U.S. out of a war.

What I find is that, since Lindbergh, it has been very rare to elevate any individual to the point where they can oppose our institutions. The Pete Seegers and Albert Einsteins of the world, who fought against McCarthyism, were a huge danger to the industry that was cropping up around anti-communism. When it came to the Vietnam War, it was very dangerous to have popular entertainers, like John Lennon, who were against it.

We have been frightened about individuals coming to rival our institutions in terms of power. And that’s what’s so great about the new revolution in long-form podcasting, and all of these other forms of social media. Now, we have a great danger in that most of these platforms are mediated. We saw what happened to Alex Jones. It’s quite possible that if these powerful institutions come to believe that a particular individual should be removed, they can always choose to enforce the rules in a different way. 

We saw recently the advent of Terms of Service changes to include deadnaming. Now if I say that Walter Carlos composed the album Switched-On Bach, or performed the album Switched-On Bach, that is a true statement. But because Walter Carlos became Wendy Carlos, I have no idea whether or not I can be accused of deadnaming. Now imagine that you have a hundred such rules, rules that are never spelled out, never clear, that can be enforced any which way to deny someone access to the major platforms. This is the great danger with this moment. We have unprecedented access, but we also have a gating function, which can be turned on at any time if we fall out of line with the institutions.

I want to read you one tweet that has been on my mind for quite some time. This tweet came from a contributor to The Washington Post, who is a professor at the Fletcher School and it said, “Good morning, Eric!”—I’m going to leave out the parentheses—”So I’ve read up on a few of your notions, and I have some thoughts, but my basic conclusion is simple: what’s true isn’t new, and what’s new isn’t true.”

I think it’s fantastic. I was stung by it, because at first I was under the impression that we were still living in a world in which the Washington Post, New York Times, Harvard, Stanford, what-have-you, control the major conversation. But, coming off of a recent date at the Ice House in Pasadena, which was a live gig with Peter Thiel, I’ve started to realize how powerful this new movement is. We can reach anyone, anywhere, and I think that the gated institutional narrative deserves to have the battle that it’s been bruising for.*

* Note: The last clause of this sentence was cut from the YouTube version of this episode: “…and I think that the gated institutional narrative deserves to have the battle that it’s been bruising for.

David vs Goliath

What I now believe is that the gated institutional narrative has been spoiling for a fight. We are quickly coming to the point where we have a David-and-Goliath moment. We now need to try to re-inflict the individuals who are uncorrelated, who are not particularly good at taking orders, who don’t like committee meetings, who don’t want to sign loyalty oaths, but who are passionately committed to the public good, and to some version of intellectual meta-honesty. We need these people to once again take up positions inside of the institutions, and I would like to, in fact, inflict myself on my favorite institution, Harvard University.

The children of Harvard University have always been divided into white sheep and black sheep, and there’s no question that I represent black sheep Harvard, but I also think that one of the features of the University that makes it great is that it has tolerated both its white sheep and it’s black sheep.

It is time to do battle with the oppressive structures that have been used to silence new ideas. If in my family, I assert that there might be as many as three revolutionary Nobel-quality ideas in one clutch, how many ideas might there be suppressed if that is actually true? How many people are sitting on top of intellectual gold that never got its chance to see the light of day?

What I’d like to do is to try to do battle with the DISC, to show you that it exists, to try to figure out how it works, and to try to show that the tools that we currently have may be powerful enough to defeat it. This is the actual purpose of The Portal, and I think even if we lose some viewers and some listeners, even if people start to see articles appearing that say how terrible the show is, and how it’s trying to foment some kind of unrest, to hell with them.

We are in an amazing position to try to do something new, and to stand up for a lot of people who may have given up on their own original ideas, and to try to spark a revolution, because if I’m right, the DISC has been sitting up on top of some of our best and most hopeful ideas for a way out of our economic conundrums, our military problems, ideas which have some chance of delivering us to a much more interesting and brighter tomorrow.

So, I hope that this is going to be an unbelievable decade. Thank you guys for sticking with it. I’m sorry if this was a little bit long, but it was a lot to say and it was heartfelt and quite important to me to get it out, and we will return to trying to get you high quality content, either in the form of interviews, which you’ve become used to on The Portal, or perhaps some new visual content that allows you to understand ideas that would be very difficult to communicate but for some novel means of presentation. 

We hope to approach the community, to try to coordinate people who are eager to contribute back into the program, and maybe get a little bit of a closer relationship to our content going forward, maybe influence it a little bit, and we haven’t figured out all of the bugs. So thanks for being part of the initial experiment. Thanks for sticking with us, and we’re looking forward to being with you in the coming year and decade ahead. So you’ve been through The Portal for first solo episode of 2020. Be well everybody. Stay tuned.