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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.


Transcript

00:00:00
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. 

00:00:48
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.

00:01:29
(Sponsor Segment)

00:03:39
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? 

00:04:10
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. 

00:04:25
Glenn Beck: Okay.

00:04:27
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. 

00:04:54
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.

00:05:24
Glenn Beck: Love it.

00:05:25
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.

00:07:17
Glenn Beck: But you’re not right wing.

00:07:19
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.

00:08:17
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. 

00:08:48
Eric Weinstein: Of course.

00:08:48
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.

00:09:27
Eric Weinstein: Well, I think that that’s, in a weird way, true and not true, I mean—

00:09:33
Glenn Beck: Okay. 

00:09:34
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.

00:10:32
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?

00:10:41
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.

00:13:14
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?

00:13:29
Eric Weinstein: Derek de Solla Price.

00:13:30
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?

00:14:21
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. 

00:15:13
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.

00:16:20
Glenn Beck: Right. 

00:16:21
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? 

00:17:07
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. 

00:18:02
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. 

00:19:23
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. 

00:20:12
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. 

00:20:38
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. 

00:21:47
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. 

00:23:24
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—

00:24:01
Glenn Beck: What’s his, what’s his name again, and tell me a little bit about him.

00:24:05
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.

00:24:51
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. 

00:25:01
Eric Weinstein: You and me both.

00:25:02
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.

00:25:47
Eric Weinstein: Wait a second. They didn’t make a mistake. Why are you saying they made a mistake?

00:25:51
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.

00:26:02
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. 

00:27:04
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.

00:28:22
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—

00:29:15
Eric Weinstein: It’s an illusion.

00:29:16
Glenn Beck: Pardon me?

00:29:17
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. 

00:29:41
Glenn Beck: I would too.

00:29:42
Eric Weinstein: I think, you know, there’s just—you’ve ridden on a private plane? 

00:29:47
Glenn Beck: Yes. 

00:29:49
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.

00:30:05
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.

00:30:31
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. 

00:32:29
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?

00:33:46
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. 

00:34:57
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. 

00:35:53
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.

00:38:06
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. 

00:39:09
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.

00:40:37
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.

00:41:55
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.

00:42:54
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.

00:43:13
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— 

00:44:38
Glenn Beck: That’s, that is—because I am a free market… really— 

00:44:46
Eric Weinstein: No you’re not.

00:44:47
Glenn Beck: I’m—I’m not?

00:44:49
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. 

00:45:23
Glenn Beck: Correct. 

00:45:24
Eric Weinstein: Okay, so let’s—congratulations—

00:45:26
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—

00:45:55
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—

00:47:08
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.

00:47:18
Eric Weinstein: Well, I’m not happy about it—

00:47:19
Glenn Beck: Yeah. 

00:47:19
Eric Weinstein: But that’s where we are. 

00:47:20
Glenn Beck: Okay. Yes, I agree with you on that.

00:47:22
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—

00:47:32
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—

00:47:55
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.

00:48:33
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.

00:48:43
Eric Weinstein: No, you don’t realize that you’re a progressive. Forgive me.

00:48:48
Glenn Beck: No, you’re a conservative.

00:48:51
Eric Weinstein: I’m gonna win this argument, you can laugh all you want. 

00:48:53
Glenn Beck: All right, go ahead.

00:48:55
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.

00:49:14
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.

00:49:26
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.

00:50:53
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

00:51:13
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.

00:52:51
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.

00:53:18
Eric Weinstein: Wait a second. Marxism was progressive—

00:53:22
Glenn Beck: Yes.

00:53:22
Eric Weinstein: Before we knew how it behaved. And then when we find out how it behaved—

00:53:26
Glenn Beck: Correct.

00:53:27
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—

00:54:11
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?

00:54:47
Eric Weinstein: No. AOC is partially progressive and partially insane. And part of the problem—

00:54:53
Glenn Beck: Okay, can you explain that?

00:54:57
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—

00:55:37
Glenn Beck: Correct.

00:55:39
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. 

00:56:31
Glenn Beck: Correct. 

00:56:32
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.

00:57:29
Glenn Beck: But if you take, if you take the three of them, and you—with moderation—and put them together, it works.

00:57:39
Eric Weinstein: Bingo, that’s what we’re supposed to be doing. Right, exactly.

00:57:42
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.

00:58:03
Eric Weinstein: We are not doing that.

00:58:04
Glenn Beck: What?

00:58:05
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.

00:58:34
Glenn Beck: Yep. Amen, I agree.

00:58:36
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?

00:59:01
Glenn Beck: Actually not, actually not true. I urge you to go back, read the original draft. 

00:59:07
Eric Weinstein: You just cut out.

00:59:09
Glenn Beck: Are you there? 

00:59:11
Eric Weinstein: You’re back. 

00:59:12
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.

01:00:18
Eric Weinstein: Well, some of them got it probably at the time

01:00:21
Glenn Beck: For where they were, mhmm.

01:00:22
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.

01:00:38
Glenn Beck: Yeah, I agree. It’s horrible.

01:00:41
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. 

01:02:03
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 

01:03:27
Glenn Beck: I agree.

01:03:28
Eric Weinstein: And are now therefore, a threat to our system.

01:03:30
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. 

01:04:35
Eric Weinstein: No, but wait a second.

01:04:37
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.

01:04:53
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. 

01:06:00
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.

01:07:27
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.

01:08:37
Glenn Beck: Yes, yes.

01:08:39
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. 

01:11:36
Glenn Beck: Right. 

01:11:36
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. 

01:12:48
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. 

01:13:29
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.

01:14:17
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.

01:15:09
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.

01:15:18
Glenn Beck: Yeah. Right.

01:15:19
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.

01:15:41
Glenn Beck: Yeah. 

01:15:42
Eric Weinstein: And so what’s coming… demography is going to take care of this.

01:15:47
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?

01:16:24
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. 

01:17:50
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. 

01:19:20
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. 

01:20:59
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.

01:23:15
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. 

01:25:05
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.

01:27:31
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.

01:28:04
Eric Weinstein: Thank you. Love you, brother.

“Eric Weinstein, host of “The Portal” podcast and managing director at Thiel Capital, returns to The Realignment to discuss the state of the U.S. after the riot at the U.S. Capitol.”


Transcript

00:00:10
Saagar Enjeti: Dr. Eric Weinstein, welcome back to The Realignment—

00:00:14
Eric Weinstein: Careful with the “doctor”, I don’t want to be confused with somebody preparing to do surgery.

00:00:19
Saagar Enjeti: That’s true. But that’s also a pun, Eric. My parents are both PhD “doctors” themselves, so ever since the whole scandal on Jill Biden, I’ve been calling them both “doctor.” So, I just think that it’s an honorific that we should try.

00:00:32
Eric Weinstein: Actually—

00:00:32
Saagar Enjeti: To give everybody—

00:00:34
Eric Weinstein: I’ll be entirely honest, I really don’t think MDs should be called “doctor.” If anyone should be called “doctor”, it should be PhDs. But I figure we should let it slide.

00:00:42
Saagar Enjeti: See, we’ve already got such good content. Eric, we wanted to bring you back to the show because you’ve been putting out some really just, I think, profound thoughts about where we are at the state of the country. I think you recently tweeted you’re having trouble sleeping as a result of the capital riots and so much of what we saw, and I just want to give you the opportunity to just give us your thoughts and break down this terrible week in America, and how you think that we can get out of this? What can we do?

00:01:11
Eric Weinstein: Well, I want to even go—I think it is a terrible week. But I don’t think it’s a terrible week for the same reasons that everyone else seems to think it’s a terrible week. One of the things that’s going on is that we have a very strange selective memory. And the selective memory doesn’t remember the fact that we’ve had bombings in the Capitol Building, we’ve had, I think a Jewish suicide bomber in the Capitol building in previous times. 

00:01:38
Marshall Kosloff: Puerto Rican occupiers, yeah, it goes deeper than that.

00:01:42
EW: Right. So, the fact is that the optics of this week are absolutely horrendous. We had a police—law enforcement officer beaten to death with a fire extinguisher, which, you know, I don’t, I really don’t even have words for that. But I also think that, in part, we’re not really capable of having the discussion about what really happened. What—maybe we could—let’s start with the Viking. Right? We had a Viking taking pictures, playing around, I don’t know, in the Senate or the House. And I think that this really gets to the heart of what’s going on, which is that we are LARPing our way into armageddon. And the seriousness of this, you know, all of the talk of civil war and all this kind of stuff, is weirdly not getting our opportunity to find the off-ramp. 

00:02:42
In large measure, what we’ve got is two teams of Live Action Role-Players, or, so-called LARPers. And they’re engaging in something that I was worried about in I think 2013, and I wrote an article for the Edge Annual Question. And they asked, “What is the scientific theory that everyone should have in their cognitive toolkit?” And I had several ideas, I was going to write about regulated expression in genetics. And I said to my wife, you know, the thing I really want to write about is Kayfabe, and that is the system of lies and deceptions found inside of professional wrestling. Now of course, that’s not going to be seen as an academic theory. But professional wrestling and the intelligence community are the two places that understand nested levels of deception better than any other two groups. And they’re lightyears ahead of psychology departments. 

00:03:40
So, part of what’s going on is that we’ve got two national LARPing complexes that are engaged in what I would call Kayfabe. So we have Vikings, people are posing, stealing the lectern, I don’t know, from the House of Representatives, thinking that they’re at some kind of a rave or a party, maybe it’s Burning Man for politics, not clear. That situation can go completely insane and become real in a way that I don’t think people appreciate. So I often pose the question, “Which is more real, mixed martial arts or professional wrestling?” And I would say professional wrestling by a longshot. If you look at the list of deaths associated with professional wrestling, it doesn’t get more real than that. I don’t think UFC has had its first fatality yet. 

00:04:35
And, in essence, what we have is we have a mock national conversation, one around “Stop the Steal” which has rejected the United States justice system, which has refused to give Donald Trump much comfort. And the idea that you’re going to save America from its own justice system is pretty interesting, by going around the will of the courts. So I think what we have here is a national meaning crisis, where there are people who have very little future, and there are people who still have a future. And the people who still have a future are selling LARPing to two teams, you know, one of which is Wokistan, and the other of which is Magastan. And so we now have a war, mostly on the internet, mostly through Kayfabe, of Magastan versus Wokistan, which have to be two of the, you know, most intellectually crippled theories you could have, not because they don’t contain seeds of truth, but because they fill in what is missing with total nonsense. And I think that what’s going on, I—did you guys take a look at the video of the woman being shot in the capital?

00:05:46
MK: Yeah.

00:05:46
SE: Yes, we did.

00:05:47
EW: How closely did you study it?

00:05:49
SE: I think I saw it [from] three or four different angles. But I mean, I saw this woman literally leap towards a gun. And I just couldn’t stop thinking, I’m like, ‘What really compels somebody to do that?’ I mean, it’s pure and genuine belief.

00:06:03
EW: Well, and that’s exactly it. This is like the Boxer Rebellion in China, where you had people who were convinced that they had supernatural powers, or you know, you get kids, you know, on some powerful drug and you turn them into child warriors, and you make them wear dresses, and you tell them that the dress will make them invincible, or, you know, I forget what general, you know, butt-naked or whatever it was in Africa—there are sort of supernatural beliefs about what’s going on. One of the angles on the woman being killed shows the gun emerge first, pointed at the window that they’re trying to break through. 

00:06:42
SE: Right.

00:06:42
EW: And you clearly hear on the audio, “He’s got a gun! Gun!” Right? So that’s clear warning. You see that the finger that is to pull the trigger is properly not on the trigger. It’s not inside the trigger guard. It’s along the barrel of the pistol. It comes inside the trigger guard, and then it goes back out. This is not somebody who is looking to discharge a weapon. This is somebody looking to not discharge a weapon. And the idea that this woman was climbing up on this, right into a gun, is bolstered by the idea that right behind her is—immediately after she’s shot, you see all sorts of law enforcement officers armed to the effing teeth, who are clearly behind her, who are not stopping this thing: we are not going to have an accurate discussion. What we’re going to have is a political football. And the political football is going to be used by anyone and everyone who has a partisan axe to grind, in an attempt to divide the country into these warring factions. And we can’t get at these two insane memetic complexes, because the center is actually sponsoring the lunatics. So figure that the center of the left and the right, the establishment, is busy looting the United States government, stealing as much silver as it can, cutting the paintings out of the frames, and they’re distracting the people with no future, as the people who still have a stake in the game and can hollow us out, keep amping us up. 

00:08:21
And I posted something on social media—if you recall, Donald Trump was encouraging people to rough up the protesters and beat them up, back in 20—the 2016 election, and one guy who was 78 threw an elbow into the eye of an African American and sort of sucker punched him with an elbow. And, I went looking for those two guys, thinking I should get them on my podcast. And I—I found that they’d reconciled, and they hugged in a courtroom, and they’d put this behind them. And in four years, the video had fewer than 20,000 views, and fewer than I think 20 likes. And I posted this, and immediately, just posting it, caused a 50% increase in the viewership over four years in a single day. We are being kept from coming together, we are being kept from getting rid of these people, and right now, the most important thing is that, by any—and with apologies to Malcolm X—by any legal means necessary, we have got to remove our current leadership. Period. The end. There is no more.

00:09:30
MK: So a question that comes to mind because it came up a couple of times during your statement there, LARPing. There’s a portion of the audience which isn’t online. If you’re not on Twitter, this won’t make as much sense for you. So can you just describe the phenomenon of LARPing? What is it, and how does it manifest itself on the Wokistani side or the Magastani side if you will?

00:09:51
EW: Well, okay, sure. If you ever go to—let’s say if you go to Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, many of the most nerdy and kind of spectrummy kids are engaged—and by the way, I say that with zero disrespect, I’m proud to be part of that group—engage in sort of live action versions of Dungeons and Dragons, and they’ve got foam swords and maces and all sorts of things, and there are, you know, very clear rules. And you get to play in a fantasy medieval war situation, let’s say. Now, in some sense it’s like the Stanford Prison Experiment of Zimbardo, where you tell people you’re guards, you’re prisoners, and sure enough, theater becomes real. There’s a limited ability to suspend the distance between our characters and ourselves. Our characters are, in some sense, real. And what’s interesting is that live action role-playing can become immersive, you can forget that you’re in a game. And in Kayfabe, which is the sort of professional wrestling system of deceptions, you break things into “work” or “shoot.” A “work” is a scripted activity taking place—by the way, Kayfabe is carnival speak for “fake”—and so a “work” would be if, you know, we agreed to have a fight on this podcast to drive your ratings through the roof. Right? Coming up in 10 minutes. And—

00:11:21
MK: And I have some words for you, Dr. 

00:11:24
EW: Marshall, I’ve had about enough of your back-talking!

00:11:27
SE: Let’s not call out CNN too hard here, Eric.

00:11:32
EW: So, then a “shoot” would be the spontaneous occurrence of reality in a scripted event. And then tertiary deception occurs, where you think you have a work where everyone’s in on it. By the way, if you don’t understand the professional wrestling is fake, you’re called a “mark.” If you understand that it’s fake, you’re called a “smart mark” or a “smark”, and one of the reasons I love this stuff is that I can’t get the language that the espionage community uses to talk about deception. You know, like “false flags” and stuff like that, I mean, they’re very advanced, but professional wrestling by now is known to all. So the smarks understand that it’s all fake. But then you can have a situation where the fourth wall appears to break, and the people who are in on the idea that it’s a deception are suddenly freaked out to find out that it’s spilled over into reality, but that spill over into reality can in fact be encased by another fourth wall. And that would be called a “worked shoot.” 

00:12:28
So what’s going on right now is that we don’t have language for the levels of theater, deception, fantasy, and we’re struggling. So what we do is we keep finding meaning. And if you’ll notice very carefully, what we’re doing this week is that we’re finding meaning, you know. “These are the darkest days of America. We thought it could never happen here, but in shocking footage released from Capitol Hill, we see the destruction of everything good about this country,” blah, blah, blah. That kind of mock seriousness is preposterous. I mean, this has been visible for the entire time that we’ve been engaged in this, and nobody cares about the fact that we are a thermonuclear nation trifling with the very dangerous business of degrading the customs of the United States, which are used to evade the need for putting restrictions into law. Our culture has allowed us to be free. And right now what you’re seeing is the degradation of our culture, which will necessitate rules. Right? 

00:13:40
The old magic of America is that it’s a country in which you have no desire to burn the flag you have every right to burn. And when you lose that culture, you’re going to see a call to restrict free action. So, the magic of the United States is not its constitution. I’ve compared that to the Written Torah of the United States. But the Written Torah is complemented in a duality by the Oral Torah. And the Written Torah doesn’t really work on its own. You need the Oral Torah and the culture to animate the document—the document can’t do anything. What we’re now seeing is a complete degradation. The great attack of Donald Trump was on the Oral Torah and culture of the United States. And a lot of people who found that very restrictive, it’s like, why can’t I tell Pollock jokes? When was the last time anybody told a Pollock joke? I grew up and there were books of Pollock jokes. We don’t do that anymore. And that kind of behavior is something that we can do, we just choose not to. So we’re talking now about the degradation of our culture, where Donald Trump has pioneered the idea that if everyone has thrown out the first baseball—every president has thrown out the first baseball of the season, he realizes that there’s a huge win to be gotten by not going along with tradition. Every time there’s a tradition or a custom, you can always just decide that you’re going to disobey it to show how independent, you know, the fact—let’s imagine it had been going on for 200 years, which it has.

00:15:20
MK: Yeah. 

00:15:21
EW: Cool, “I’m the first person in 200 years to think for myself,” and that’s what Donald Trump has been doing. He’s been degrading the Oral Torah of the United States, which was holding things together so we didn’t need rules. And the people who didn’t like the Oral Torah, and wanted to be completely free to be, you know, their horrible selves, were super enthusiastic about the idea that Donald Trump was finally “freeing” us. And guess what’s going to happen next, you’re going to see a move to shut down speech on the internet, you’re going to have the major tech platforms refusing to host, you’re going to have financial harassment, you’re—I’m already, you know, I’ve been making the joke for years, that should republicans be allowed to use the streets?

00:16:04
That’s not a joke, I start seeing calls that Republicans shouldn’t be able to buy groceries. So I think that the problem is, I think this is a grave week, as Marshall says I’ve been up, you know, I really am on no sleep. But I don’t think it’s serious for the same reasons. I think that the problem is that this LARPing can become reality, it can convert to reality, it’s a rehearsal for something. And effectively, it’s like, if you’re waving a gun around with no intention of firing, and it suddenly goes off, you’ve just transitioned into a different world. And you see this all the time. And right now, what people are doing is they’re dancing on the eaves of a building, you know, and somebody’s gonna fall sooner or later, and the whole thing is going to convert in seconds.

00:16:50
MK: How does the leadership class distinguish between the LARPing and the actual danger moments, because—I think we’ve mentioned this—I’m from Portland, Oregon, and you see the example of this in the treatment of Antifa. Back in July, back in June, Mayor Ted Wheeler, the leadership class of the city say that it doesn’t exist, it’s not real. Anything that has happened, anything that does exist is basically referred to as LARPing. Come November, predictably, as soon as Donald Trump is no longer in the presidency, the mayor of Portland gives a very strong, very aggressive statement about Antifa not following the law, all these sorts of things. So that’s the center left to left-wing version, the right-wing version is—

00:17:34
EW: No, sorry, that isn’t the center-left to left wing version. That’s something that never—Ted Wheeler is an abomination unlike anything that we’ve ever seen on the center-left. I don’t know what that is. 

00:17:46
MK: My point is that I—here’s what I mean by that, I suspect that most mayors of most Democratic cities would have operated in the sense that Ted Wheeler operated. What I want to do is bring this back to what happened last week—if you went to most Republicans, Republicans who have now turned very aggressively against what happened at the Capitol, they would probably say there’s protesters, it basically doesn’t matter, there’s gonna be some MAGA people, there’s gonna be a couple of groupers, whatever, it doesn’t really matter. Now, it matters. So from my perspective, on both sides of the aisle, you see a leadership class, it doesn’t seem able to navigate the LARP to real world danger scenario. How, from your perspective, should they think about that?

00:18:28
EW: I don’t think we have a leadership class. And Marshall, I don’t mean to say that I can’t understand your question. I mean to say that we should reject your question, and I don’t—the frame is the problem. I don’t—let me make a more provocative statement and then attempt to back it up, because the provocative statement is gonna obviously sound insane. I don’t think the United States government really exists at the moment. I don’t think that there is a leadership class. I think what happens is that, you know, just the way you have an army during peacetime, which develops certain habits, you get peacetime generals, people play war games. It’s not really an army. And then you have a live action situation, and the thing has to convert into a fighting force. 

00:19:14
I think we don’t have a government. And I don’t think we’ve had a government for a long time. I think in some sense, the last time the United States clearly existed may have been 1945, and then it has been degrading in various fashions from there. So, that was a pretty functional thing we put together during World War II. And, you know, we were able to do the space program and, you know, the 1950s were an era of incredible scientific progress, unfortunately also incredible military progress, both us and the Iron Curtain, behind the Iron Curtain. But I don’t think that you understand how little the government actually exists now. And when Donald Trump got elected, I went to visit a colleague at the old Eisenhower office building off the West Wing, and as I was walking the halls, I noticed how many offices were empty—that seemed to have very important plaques on their doors. There was no Trump intellectual movement that you could staff the government with. 

00:20:20
And I think this goes back to something that Saagar and Krystal said beautifully on Joe Rogan right at the beginning, I recommend everybody at the beginning of that episode, that there are these two teams that get rotated in and out of government, and either you go into the think tanks, or you go into the office buildings, in government office buildings. Trump did not have an intellectual movement to put in. And so as a result, you know, it’s sort of the dream of the anti-tax movement, that you want a government so small, you can strangle it in a bathtub. And I think that in part, he wasn’t able to staff because Donald Trump really was the only thing behind Trumpism. It was a completely idiosyncratic, drunken boxing movement, where Donald Trump understands a few things very well better than anyone else, and many things much worse than anyone else, or it’s just a horrible human being. But he’s at his best when he’s sticking it. To the left, the institutional organized left, which again, isn’t really left at all, based on its hypocrisy, he’s very effective at that. He’s the only—if you include military and administrative appointments, I don’t think we have had another president with zero government experience. And that’s an incredible achievement. And many people said, we’re never going to get another shot. Let’s get on this train, even though we can see the danger even though we despise him. Because the main thing is to stop the insiders from selling us out to China, from selling us out to Davos. The major business, post the fall of the Berlin Wall, has been selling out those Americans too weak to defend themselves in order to get wealth by globalization, let’s say, or financialization, or anything like that. 

00:22:09
So we’ve been in a suicidal spiral, clearly, since Bill Clinton, and arguably before that. In such a situation, I don’t think we have a leadership class. And I think that the people who are sitting in those seats are children, and they’re children who are, in general—at the national level, many of them are born in the 1940s. I mean, somebody pointed out that, well, one way of saying it is Dianne Feinstein was conceived in the Hoover administration. Most of these people were conceived in like, you know, the Truman administration. This is not a way to lead a technologically advanced society into the 21st century. These people can’t code. They’ve never used a pipette. They basically—they don’t know what the Teller-Ulam design is. They don’t—they’re not technically capable people. They’re professional peacetime kleptocrats. And the extent to which Ted Wheeler and Mayor Jenny destroyed confidence in the willingness to enforce the law created this thing that I got really attacked on social media for, which is that we created the “Never Trump” Trump voter—people who hate Donald Trump with a passion, who voted for him in desperation to stop Mayor Ted Wheeler and Mayor Jenny and their obvious attempt to allow a criminal element into the city for the purposes of provocation, allowing, in particular in Portland, attacking the federal courthouse with—you guys remember the Shaggy song, It Wasn’t Me

00:23:56
MK: Yes. 

00:23:58
EW: That was the strategy: What Antifa? Yeah, there’s no Antifa! It doesn’t exist! And you know, Jerry Nadler was asked about this directly and I posted this clip where you know, you see the courthouse being firebombed, and the claim is that the group doing the firebomb doesn’t even exist! It’s a myth. And, okay, this is why for example black Americans believe in chemtrails, because the Tuskegee medical experiment lets them know hey, we’d do anything. We’re so crazy, given what we’ve already done to you, you have no reason to believe that chemtrails aren’t real. It’s what we would call Bayesian priors. You’re tutoring people’s Bayesian priors that you’re completely full of shit, you have absolutely no integrity, you’re willing to engage in madness—and keep in mind that the one thing we know about LARPing is that the body count in Portland is so low because this is an agreed upon theatrical battle. 

00:24:53
MK: Quick thing Eric, I have to ask you this. I’m not asking you this in the woke sense, so let me finish a thought here. I’m from Oregon, as I said before, so I only mostly know white people. So everyone I knew growing up who believed in chemtrails was white. So I get your point about why black people—why do white people believe in chemtrails?

00:25:13
EW: Oh, that’s a little bit different. The Pacific Northwest, because of its history of labor activism and communism, in part shares a lot of the history of black America. So, one of the reasons that people see me as conspiratorial is because I come from a progressive family. And so when the government has spied on your family, when it’s—you know, we locked Paul Robeson in the country by taking his passport, we locked Charlie Chaplin out of the country so that he left, and we wouldn’t let him back in to go to his house. Once you’ve been the target of the United States government, you realize that the mainstream belief of “Oh that’s all science fiction and you go to too many movies” is complete nonsense. So I would say everybody who shares the history of just being lied to and having their history completely denied—remember, the Weather Underground was a response to the assassination of Fred Hampton at the hands of the Cook County Sheriff’s Department, as directed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for the crime of introducing the Rainbow Coalition to decrease black fighting between gangs to create a political movement. We are that crazy. And because we are that crazy, everyone who is plugged into the Howard Zinn version of our history is not quite so sure that all elections are free and fair. You know, if you take Operation Ajax in Iran, we clearly know how to turn over a government.

00:26:42
MK: That was the overthrow of the Shah, right?

00:26:43
SE: Yeah. Mosaddegh, Mosaddegh.

00:26:45
MK: So yeah. Too many, too many operations, it’s hard to keep track.

00:26:49
EW: There’s also Operation Condor in Chile. The issue is, if you don’t know your history, maybe all this sounds like conspiracy theory. If you do know your history, you know what we’re capable of, and there’s no question that we’re capable of throwing an election. And then now the problem is okay, he said that. It’s a little bit like saying, I don’t believe vaccines are 100% safe. Now, that’s clearly true. Vaccines are not 100% safe. However, there’s an expectation that nobody will speak reality if you’re part of—you know, if you’re like me and you have advanced degrees in something, you’re supposed to deny reality the way everybody denies reality. We’re now at the point where the public, so many members of the public have caught on to the fact that the national official narrative is total nonsense, and they’re willing to believe anything at this point.

00:27:41
SE: This is something I really want to focus in on with you, Eric. And I want to kind of turn it into where we are today. And it’s something I’ve talked a lot about on Rising, and talking about tomorrow, is about impeachment. And a point that I’ve been trying to make, and I’m curious to get both your guys’ thoughts on this, is that in the context of impeachment, the way I look at his impeachment is you have to have—this is essentially the most extreme act that you can go through as a democratic society: invalidating the election (the previous), removing the democratically elected President of the United States. And I looked at the recent polling, and to the extent that we even have polling, I don’t know if I even believe it. But what we have is this: 56% of polls, 56% of Americans say that Trump should go. And you could say that’s a lot. But to me I’m like, wait, so there’s still a sizable majority of the country that says that he shouldn’t go, and then you look within Republicans, and you say 73% or whatever still approve of Trump, still, you know, think of the job he’s doing. Some have even, you know, justified the capital violence. And I’m not saying any of this with a qualitative judgment. What I’m saying is, is if your goal is to unite the country, if your goal is to move on, which is what Joe Biden and many of the case[s] for him [were], this seems to be the worst possible thing that you could do. 

00:28:56
EW: Which thing is the worst possible?

00:28:56
SE: But then the other se—to impeach Trump. To impeach Trump, either right now, or to impeach and, you know, bar him from office in the future. Because the way I look at it is that would be one of the single biggest instances of trying to, basically not even invalidate votes, but to tell a sizable major—a sizable minority of this country, 44% or so, that the person that you have immense faith in is no longer allowed to represent you as President. And it seems to me that it could be, could be—I’m not saying it’s intentional—that it’s a cover for not wanting to address the reasons that Trump was elected in the first place, number one—and this is what I said today, too, is look, if you’re Joe Biden or the Democrats and you want to make sure that Trump is never elected again, you don’t have to impeach him. Do, you know, distribute a vaccine properly, and, like pass $2,000 checks for all Americans. You will win the presidency. It’s actually not that hard. 

00:29:55
I just, I want to get your thoughts on impeachment, about the legitimacy of democracy. No no no, it’s fine. If you disagree, it’s fine. Because, my goal—what I know is that you’re trying to operate in good faith towards trying to be a more harmonious country. And it seems to me that a lot of this, a lot of impeachment talk and more, is about punishment. It’s about penalizing, and I have to try and take Trump out of it, because I find what he did so odious, and all that, but we still have to live with many of the people who voted for him in this country, and we have to channel those concerns and more. Go ahead.

00:30:30
EW: We don’t have to live with them. They’re us. 

00:30:32
SE: Yes. Exactly. 

00:30:33
EW: Those are my brothers. Those are my brothers and sisters. And let me tell you something. You guys have kids?

00:30:39
MK: No. We don’t.

00:30:39
SE: We don’t.

00:30:40
EW: Okay. Let me imagine you’re my kids, okay? You get involved in a cult. You think I’m not coming ba— I’m coming in for you, to get you the hell out of there? You think that I’m not—that I’m just gonna, you know, dismiss you and say, “Oh, my God. They’re now part of a cult, and they’re beyond the pale, and I just have to cut ties and I’m going to disavow them.” 

00:31:06
SE: Yeah, of course not.

00:31:06
EW: Fuck, that shit. Okay? MAGA is our responsibility. Those are my brothers and sisters. I’m not running away from them, I’m not interested in that. I’m not demonizing them. But, a cult it is. I’m not gonna say it isn’t a cult. I’m also not gonna say that Woke isn’t a cult. It’s a cult. These cults are incredibly powerful. And, some of us have been noticing that there is no class of “Break Glass in Case of Emergency” people in our country. This is sometimes what a monarchy is supposed to do. I was hanging out with a royal family in Europe, which will remain nameless. And— 

00:31:49
MK: There’s like three, so, someone can figure this out. 

00:31:51
SE: No, there’s more than that. There’s more than that.

00:31:53
EW: There’s more than that. And, a prince was saying, “Well, you have to appreciate we’re in a very bad situation. No one—there’s no justification for monarchy anymore. So we’re really sort of hanging on by a thread.” I said, “Look, I’m anti-monarchy, but you should at least be able to steelman the case.” They said, “Well, what do we do? What is our function?” And I said, “You’ve had 75 years of peace since the end of World War II. How often do you use a fire extinguisher? Almost never. Does that mean that you just get rid of the fire extinguisher? Because you haven’t used it? No, you check in on it. And when you need it, it’s there. And what’s the purpose? You’re supposed to walk the rubble when the bombs are falling, you know, on a city, for example. You’re supposed to give the people something to rally around.” 

00:32:46
And I don’t believe in doing that through monarchy because I’m an American, we reject that. But I do believe in Buzz Aldrin. Right? I do believe that there are people who are apart, you know? Like when Killer Mike’s spoke in Atlanta, he seemed to be apart. I don’t know who that guy is, I’m not really a hip-hop fan—but I was really impressed with him. And if you, you know, in particular, I am a huge fan of black oratory. The skill involved in black oratory coming out of the black church is—it’s a really—it’s its own thing. And it’s one of the things I’m proudest of as an American. There are times when you have to address a mob or a crowd. The times you have to do what James Brown did after Martin Luther King—I’m going to get through this. We have got a situation in which we don’t believe in seating anybody who has those characteristics in the chairs. The reason that I want to do Rising more than I want to talk to the two of you is not anything against Marshall. It’s about the optics. Rising looks like adulthood. It looks like it comes from the institutional complex. And the optics is the adults. 

00:34:13
The institutions don’t listen to anyone outside of a closed system. And effectively, they’ve put up this barrier where they call everything alt-right, or far-right, that doesn’t have the right characteristics, which is “on the take.” And right now, the important thing is to seat the people who have tried to call both balls and strikes for four years and have been torn apart, who’ve had their families torn apart, who’ve, you know—look, I work for a guy who supported Donald Trump in 2016—was noticeably absent in 2020. My entire ability to speak freely comes from my good friend’s money. And the fact that I disagree with him, and I love him so much that I trust that he will not sever me, because I’m undermining his political—I mean, this—you know, my brother for example is ejected from Evergreen State College because he was willing to stand against racism, even if it comes from blacks. 

00:35:23
SE: Yeah.

00:35:24
EW: You know, the number of people who’ve tried to call balls and strikes for four years is tiny. And right now, what I want to do is I want to take Brian Williams, and Mara Gay, and I want to give them a huge vacation. Let them go to Tulum. And I want to see different people in those chairs. If those people can’t figure out even how to add and subtract, speaking of their crazy idea that Bloomberg could have given everyone a million dollars with his campaign investment—there is no commentary class that’s competent that sits in those chairs. It’s, you know, that the problem, as I’ve said, is that the system isn’t broken, it’s fixed. And until you actually seat your critics, until you do what we used to do, which is to seat the Noam Chomskys at a place like MIT, so that the conscience of MIT lives inside of MIT, so that the ombudsman can say that the paper is out of control at the New York Times or The Wall Street Journal. When you don’t seat your critics inside of the organization, you are on the road to self extinguishing.

00:36:32
And right now, the most important thing is to realize that we don’t have time to put everything on the blockchain, to build new institutions. The most important thing, right now, is to get the tiny number of people who’ve been calling balls and strikes, who were born after 1964, into those effing chairs, to tell the system you’re over, it’s over, you’re done. You people from the ’40s, you’ve failed. You don’t understand where you are. You’re not technically competent. You don’t have the country’s best interests at heart. You’ve sold us to China. You’ve created incredibly deep, fake stories about, you know, the intelligence complex taking over the world, or, you know, something about the desire to destroy America.

00:37:22
All of these crazy stories that we’ve built around Wokistan and Magastan have to go. And, they are responsive to each other. Woke creates MAGA, MAGA creates Woke, you know, it’s—the snake is eating its own tail. The whole way we get out of this is that we put the people we trust more—let me give you a very simple rubric. Take anyone where the official description of that person is maximally divergent from the actual description of that person. Like, “Ben Shapiro is a Nazi.” Okay, an Orthodox Jewish Nazi. That’s pretty interesting. You know, “Sam Harris is an incredible islamophobe.” No he isn’t. I know Sam, he’s like, he’s my good friend. All of these things, “Bret Weinstein is, you know, the far right.” Seat the people where the description of them inside the gated institutional narrative, or the GIN, is maximally divergent from the reality, because that’s the place that the system showed you. Let the system tell you who it fears, and seat the people in the chairs who are feared most, who are maximally misportrayed. And then you’ll have a solution.

00:38:41
SE: But here’s the question Eric, which is that and—oh, and for the record, Eric is coming on Rising, so don’t everybody worry about that. He will be there and it’s going to be great. But here’s the problem: Democrats and Democratic primary voters in particular who select our possible next president, they love Brian Williams and Mara Gay, and they love MSNBC, and the MSNBC lineup— 

00:39:03
EW: No.

00:39:03
SE: And Republican—but they do, they trust them.

00:39:05
EW: They don’t. No they don’t.

00:39:08
SE: See, I don’t know.

00:39:09
MK: So, I wouldn’t say da—I wouldn’t say, Saagar let’s specify. A certain very influential and powerful part of the Democratic Party, people who live in Northern Virginia, people who live in the Long Island suburbs, the Park Avenue reference and everything, they certainly do like those people.

00:39:26
EW: Which Long Island suburbs? The Hamptons? 

00:39:28
MK: We’re reaching the limits of my East Coastness—

00:39:31
SE: We’re reaching the limits of our conventional wisdom. But I want to make, just one second, I want to make this point too, because the Republican Party does deeply trust Fox as well. And so, to the point of the media actors, who [unintelligible]—look, I mean, I would love nothing more than to be seated, but I, I can tell you, I go on Fox. There is a character that they want me to play. Increasingly, I have been doing a lot less because they will ask me to come on, and all they want me to do is smack the left, smack the left, smack the left, or talk about culture war issues, and I’m like no, because this is ripping this country in half. And I’ve increasingly turned down a lot of appearances unless it’s to talk about an economic system.

00:40:10
EW: Do you know what my condition is for going on Fox?

00:40:12
SE: Go ahead. 

00:40:12
EW: And I’ve done this, like the last time, I think was probably Greg Gutfeld. I said if I come on Fox, I’m telling your audience that I view Fox as a propaganda network. And he said sure. And I said we got a deal.

00:40:23
SE: That’s great. Yeah, that’s good. 

00:40:25
EW: No, but I’m telling you, this is part of the deal, which is what’s going on is not quite correct. So let’s take Long Island. The Hamptons loves Kamala Harris. The Kamala Harris that is loved in the Hamptons is not the Kamala Harris that we see. In other words, it’s like a developer looking at a computer program. They see the code, we see the binary. We see the finished product without being able to see what’s actually going on. They specifically love Kamala Harris because they know who she is and what she’s going to do for them. And we see the front end, which is what she’s going to do to us. So first of all, no, I don’t think that they love Brian Williams. And if you think that they love Brian Williams, please allow me to go on opposite Brian Williams and Mara Gay, they’re gonna love him a lot less. Because, you know, it’s a little bit like thinking that the professional wrestlers—well, no, it’s like the Gracie challenge. We used to talk about karate and kung fu and all of these things. And Brazilian Jiu Jitsu wasn’t on anybody’s list of coolest martial arts back in the 1970s, right? It’s only when you actually start pitting these things against each other that you stop believing that somebody is the coolest or the best, you know? 

00:41:48
SE: Right. 

00:41:48
EW: I mean like, Steve Vai seems to be the greatest guitarist in the world until somebody named Guthrie Govan shows up and then, like, check out what happens there. At some level, they live in a protected world, and in professional wrestling, it would be called a “promotion.” They’re not actually fighting. They are, you know, Brian Williams is scripted to win. He’s a designated winner. So we have a designated winner system, and we can’t get away from them. But are you telling me that people wouldn’t—weren’t getting frustrated about what was done to Tulsi Gabbard? When Tulsi went after—

00:42:20
MK: There was like two people, Eric, Rick, there’s like two people who actually feel like—I want to have a quick story about this because it reflects, I think, a danger and over-valorizing Rising, no offense Saagar. 

00:42:30
SE: No, it’s fine.

00:42:31
MK: When I was doing Rising panels, back in January and February, every week we were doing the polls, everything like that. I thought Andrew Yang and Tulsi were just crushing it because you’d say something nice about Andrew, and you would get, I would get all these really nice comments that talked about how smooth my skin looked. Or I would say something about Tulsi, her foreign policy, people would say this young guy is the smartest young guy you’ve ever seen. But then the actual election happens and they get like 4 and 2 and 3% of the vote. 

00:42:59
EW: That’s not my point. 

00:43:00
MK: Well, but my point, though, is that if we’re talking about—like, here’s a better way to put this. Brian Williams represents far bigger of a constituency, at least for right now, at least for the subsequent future, than anything Tulsi Gabbard is putting up there. Tulsi Gabbard, bless—like, bless her, I’m not using this—

00:43:18
SE: Yeah this is not an insult. 

00:43:19
MK: It’s not an insult, but Tulsi Gabbard is a—she’s this weird former Republican who’s conservative in many socially conservative ways. She’s progressive in different ways. But that’s not an actual viewpoint which has a serious constituency. So I just can’t accept the idea that she, and a person who represents her ideology, is the inverse of Brian Williams. That’s my concern.

00:43:40
EW: Let me be very clear about this. I don’t think necessarily that Andrew or Tulsi would have won. I’m not claiming that they were set to win. What I am claiming is that when you starve people for airtime, when you publish, like, the ugliest picture of them, and the most attractive picture of somebody else, you do all the media tricks that we do every time, and you drop people from your graphics, that has the effect of letting somebody know that person isn’t going to win. And we tend to take the message. We know that, I knew that Andrew and Tulsi weren’t going to do very well. That causes me not to want to invest in them. And so I don’t necessarily—you know, I wasn’t, I never signed on to Andrew or to Tulsi. 

00:44:28
What I am trying to say is that many of us face this accumulated thumb pressure on the scales of justice. And the justice in this case has to do with the primary. There was no primary. My claim is that the primary didn’t exist. It was not free and fair. It’s sealed in a particular way. I don’t think the candidates are allowed to assemble unless the event is sanctioned. The events that are given are given out to legacy media structures. The time given to the candidates is wildly asymmetric. There are all sorts of ways in which the rules are built to make sure that there has to be an appearance that anyone can enter, but that that will not actually happen in a way in which the general election is threatened. An insider will always prevail for the general, and that’s what Donald Trump snuck through on the Republican side. Bernie almost snuck through it in 2016. And, we don’t really know what would have happened with Tulsi and Andrew, if— 

00:45:27
SE: See, Eric, I—this is where I want to ask my question too, though, which is even within this premise, which is that within the GIN—because, what you’re supposing is that, if you were allowed to go on Brian Williams, but then we both know that they’re not going to invite you. So I mean, this is part of what I want to get at, which is that, with—and I think your concept of the GIN is incredibly important to anybody who’s actually trying to think about systems, because when you’re thinking about systems, that’s when you’re actually gonna think, generally on a much more structural level as to why incentives work, and the way that people respond to those incentives within them, which is that, at a bare, at a base level, your success, my success, you know, the reason people are even tuning into this conversation, is because Brian Williams will never invite you on, it’s that, I mean, they’re not gonna have me on MSNBC anytime soon. And it’s within that closure of the system—what my greatest fear is, I used to think that they have to eventually relent, because they’re losing market share or whatever, but it’s just not true. The truth is that they got the result that they wanted, in the primary, and they’ve, they’re more profitable than ever, they actually have more viewers than ever by doubling down on the strategy. How can we… Is there a solution to that? That’s my question, because I’m not sure if there is right now.

00:46:49
EW: Well, what I’m trying to get at is, this is the Jayaprakash Narayan effect. If you know Indian history, during Indira Gandhi’s Emergency, all—most of the founding fathers of modern India had moved on from the independence movement, and it’d become bureaucrats, it’d become wealthy by, you know, getting in on the spoils of a new nation. And there was this one guy, Jayaprakash Narayan, who’s sort of the patron saint of lost causes, whose heart was too pure to actually profit from the good work that he did. And when Indira Gandhi declared the state of emergency as she did, which was highly unpopular, the cry went out in the darkness, “There is one light.” Jayaprakash, you know, is the word for light, right, “Prakash.” And the slogan was, “Sampoorna Kranti Ab Nara Hai, Bhavi Itihas Hamaara Hai”, “Total revolution is now the slogan. Future history is ours”. And that’s how this game works. You’re pushing the world towards the Jayaprakash Narayan moment. He didn’t matter except once. But when you need Jayaprakash Narayan, you’re not going to reach for Brian Williams. You’re not going to reach for Sean Hannity. You’re going to want to—there are people, you know people—I have not even set up a Patreon page, and I won’t do it until after the inauguration, you know, or some—people have no ability to contribute to me. And, it’s probably an empty gesture. But the point is, you need people who are planning only for that one eventuality.

00:48:33
MK: I want to build on something here real quick, Eric, because this is interesting. It goes back to your earlier comment about leaders who are equipped. The dynamic that Saagar’s speaking about, what’s happened with MSNBC and Rising, insert Rogan, Sam Harris, and even the Patreon economy is the idea that we no longer have big institutions, no one’s getting 30 million viewers, we instead see a dissemination of audiences. So the business model for you, if you’re doing a Patreon is you get 1000 people who love you the most to give you $10 a month, etc, etc, etc. That’s a lot more valuable than getting 50,000 people who are giving you YouTube revenue clicks. The problem here is that the skill set that that’s selecting for is a skill set of appealing to niche, niche, niche audiences. If Sabra and I wanted to blow up The Realignment right now, what we would do is say, we think the DNC was stolen, in a sort of conspiratorial way. We would do all these little dynamics that wouldn’t necessarily be honest, but they would appeal to that niche audience. So how do we have a set of leaders, or how do we create leaders? Or how do we fill people into different spaces, when what they haven’t been selected for is integrating their group into other groups, or articulating their perspectives rather than what they’re doing? Yeah.

00:49:43
EW: The time hasn’t come, Marshall. The time hasn’t come. Look, I love money. Everybody says that they don’t care about money, I don’t know what they’re talking about. I just love it, because I can buy—I could buy Navy SEALs to protect my house, given what I’m about to say and do. I can boost my signal, I can hire assistance; right now I do everything myself. My problem is that I don’t love money enough. And I don’t think you guys love money enough. No, I’m not kidding.

00:50:12
SE: No we don’t. Yeah. 

00:50:13
EW: You know, but hopefully you love money, it’s just, not enough. And your time isn’t now. It becomes very clear—you know, why don’t I love money? Because I have things—money is very expensive. Most of the very wealthy people I know spend almost all of their time talking about money. And I don’t want that life, my time is too valuable. If time is money, my time is precious, and there’s not usually enough money to buy my time. What I believe is that nobody really believes that at the moment. We’re still caught in the old system about power, money, and who’s on top and all of this stuff. 

00:50:54
I want my children to survive in a country that I deeply love. And, I don’t see anybody fighting for this. You know, the concept of being a patriot, I can tell you everything wrong with this country, this country has been horrible to my family. I love this country. And, the idea that I get to push out a sophisticated version that is not immediately intellectually insulting, the idea that—you know, I’ve given up huge amounts of income by quieting my podcast because I knew that these cancellations were coming. And, I did not want to give people the excuse to come after me. Our time isn’t yet, gentlemen. That’s what I’m trying to tell you. For 75 years, something hasn’t happened. And that’s so long, that people can’t remember that something is about to happen. We are about—

00:50:45
MK: What do you mean by s—What do—can you define 75? So do you mean like war? Like what do you mean by something, nothing has happened?

00:51:52
EW: In the fall of 1945, we dropped some atomic devices in Japan. And with the exception, in some sense, of maybe The Great Leap Forward in China, we didn’t have 20th century level tumult. So we’ve been through this incredibly quiescent period. And we are the children of The Great Nap. We grew up in a, you know, even with the Cold War, the storm clouds were always on the horizon, the Cuban Missile Crisis, they stayed on the horizon. So as a result, we don’t really know what reality is. We’ve been in a prolonged state of unreality. And when you look at what happened at the Capitol building, and you compare it to what happened at Stalingrad, you’re not even—these aren’t the same parts of speech.

00:52:44
The future is coming. And it’s going to come pretty violently because nobody knows how to hold this thing together. And I don’t mean violently necessarily in terms of blood in the streets, it could be the disruption of our legal system. It could be any one of a number of things. But what’s happened is we’ve held the future at bay. This is my wife, Pia Malaney’s observation. And Covid accelerated the future, because the future has been held back by the people born in the 1940s. The fact that all five of the major candidates left at the end of the election were all born in the 1940s—all of them would be the oldest person ever to take office—tells you something, because it was not even remarked upon. Effectively, what you’re looking at is the pre-Great Society world attempting to hold back the future, and this is their last, you know, when you corner a beast at the end of its life, it is maximally ferocious, because it has no reason to hold back. And what we’re seeing is a maximally ferocious group of septa- and octogenarians clinging to power, which is about to give way.

00:53:55
What I’m trying to tell both of you is your time isn’t quite yet. All that you’re doing right now is you’re getting yourself set for what comes next. And the key question will be, how do we get rid of Brian Williams? How do we get rid of Mara Gay? How do we get rid of Nancy Pelosi, and Mitch McConnell, and Donald Trump, and Joe Biden, and get technically capable, social media savvy people who live in the modern world into the chairs that are needed to direct the institutions. If the institutions only listen to institutional media, what we’re doing is whatever Winston Churchill was doing before World War II. 

00:54:34
And what I highly recommend, gentlemen, is look at Chamberlain’s speech of resignation. We always talk about Chamberlain waving the paper about “peace in our time” and “go home and get some sleep” and all this kind of stuff. That was his low point. Wanna know what his high point was? His resignation speech. It’ll give you chills. What he did was, he said Hitler, I don’t know, had invaded Holland, maybe? I can’t remember exactly. And, he says Hitler is counting on our division, and you want to know what he doesn’t count on? What I’m about to do next. I’m resigning. I’m resigning to back Winston Churchill. And Winston Churchill has asked me to stay on. So fuck you. 

00:55:23
Well, Joe Biden, if he was an American patriot, would resign at this moment, because he can’t give the speech that you just said. Joe Biden cannot give the unity speech. Killer Mike could give the unity speech, I could give the unity speech, you guys could give the unity speech. Joe Biden can do the Neville—try to imagine not being up to the level of Neville Chamberlain. If Joe Biden resigns, and he should resign, right? Like, this is my thing. People used to do this stuff. People used to understand that the commitment to country was a real thing, and that hanging on to power—like for what purpose is Joe Biden hanging on to power? He’s 78. What’s he going to get from this? He can’t lead. He’s so tarnished. He’s so tainted. MAGA is tainted. Everybody who only called balls and strikes for four years is tainted, you know. And my claim is that those of us who are untainted have this idea of, “Oh, we can’t sit down in the chair.” The fuck we can’t sit down in the chair, gentlemen. We can sit down in those chairs. I mean, what degree, from what university, does Brian Williams have that makes—is it his hair? He’s got better hair, in some sense, for television than any of us. Okay, is that the qualification? I mean, let me ask you guys a question: if he was doing a radio—a podcast that wasn’t institutionally affiliated, what do you think his numbers would be?

00:57:03
SE: Yeah, it would be low. But, I mean the whole point, right, is that he’s just been around forever. He’s actually a pretty good interviewer, whenever it comes to some, you know, new segments. I didn’t say he was perfect. But look, this is the thing, is—

00:57:15
EW: No he’s not.

00:57:19
MK: I do have to cut in for something, Eric. I really disagree with what you said about Joe Biden. And mind you, he can disprove all of this, but looking at the Democratic Party of today, looking at the terrible reality of what—and obviously we started this conversation talking about how we should look to history and like, this wasn’t Stalingrad, et cetera, et cetera, cetera. I think Joe Biden is basically the only person within the institutional Democratic Party, who A, has an actual constituency that really matters, that B, has the capacity to make the unifying decisions that he has to make. He could totally fail to do that. He can make the wrong calls, but the fact that during the height of everything, Joe Biden has the confidence to say, “No, I’m not for defunding the police.” Or, “No, I actually know that most Democrats and people in this country don’t support Medicare for All.” But that matters. That’s the difference—if he resigns, there is no Churchill waiting in the wings. That’s the problem here. And the difference is Churchill, by that point too was, what, he was 65 years old? So it wasn’t as if there was these, like, young whippersnappers who were ready to go. I just don’t think the historical analogy works here.

00:58:31
SE: I guess the question is why—when Joe Biden seems to be, at least within the Democratic Party, the only person even wanting to do what you are alluding to there, Eric, what is to be done? Why should he resign?

00:58:49
MK: I think in everything you’re critiquing Kamala Harris would be worse, on every single count that we’re talking about right, I genuinely believe that Kamala Harris would be worse.

00:58:58
EW: Agreed. I don’t want him to resign so that Kamala takes over. What I’m trying to say is, the entire class is tainted. 

00:59:06
MK: Okay. 

00:59:06
SE: Yeah. 

00:59:06
EW: Right? And I was saying also, Marshall, what you were saying is that we haven’t created Break-Glass-In-Case-Of-Emergency people. And I want to be very clear about something. I am not interested in a political career. I would be a disaster. So let me destroy any hope—

00:59:22
SE: You’re too honest.

00:59:24
EW: No it’s not just too honest, you know, there’s certain—there are executive decisions. I’m a thinker, I’m not—the ability to make a strong decision on limited information, commit to it, and lead people is a special skill set. And I’m not embarrassed that that isn’t my skillset. I’m frickin’ terrific at all sorts of things. I’m not terrific at that. I am not running for office. I’m not trying to get power. I’m not trying—this is not part of a grab. 

00:59:49
You know, there’s this old Bill Hicks routine about marketing and sales, that once you start thinking in marketing and sales terms, and somebody tells you that they hate marketing and sales people, marketing and sales people say, “Oh great, you’re going after the anti marketing and sales dollar, that’s good dollar.” You can’t get out of the mindset of everybody’s grasping for power. Power is fucking boring. I mean, I want to do math and physics. I want to push out all sorts of amazing things to my audience and delight the world. I want to go play the mandolin. You know, I’m not interested in government. 

01:00:19
What I am saying is, I’m interested in making sure that the Break-Glass-In-Case-Of-Emergency people get into a position where they can take over from the corrupt people. And I think that the problem, to be honest, is that you guys have Stockholm Syndrome from living in DC. I mean, what we need, what we need currently is, and I understand what you’re saying about Biden, he threads some line, but you know, he voted for the 2005 bill to make student debt non-dischargeable in bankruptcy. I can go through a million things that Joe Biden has done badly. You know, to tell people that he’s gonna prioritize everybody who doesn’t look like him for help with their business, well, Lord knows what Hunter Biden sells, you know, to make his millions. Enough. 

01:01:05
And I think that part of the problem is that we’re used to selecting from a pulldown menu. I would recommend that all of your listeners go to a Starbucks and ask for a “short” coffee, because you’ll notice it’s not on the menu. And when you ask for the short coffee, they will give you the short coffee. There are things that are not on the menu that you have to know to ask for. And so right now, the point is, I don’t want a pulldown Kamala Harris, or Joe Biden, or Elizabeth Warren, or any one of these people. I want the short coffee, give me the short coffee. I don’t want Mara Gay. I don’t want Nikole Hannah Jones. I don’t want Sean Hannity, none of these people. And the problem is that most of us have the idea, well, if not A, then the other thing, then B. My point is, no. I want 37, you know, Q, and you’re just talking about A/B testing.

01:02:02
MK: So here’s a question that builds into everything you’re saying here. What—because despite our DC Stockholm Syndrome, which is definitely a real thing in many respects, we do largely agree with your critique. We, frankly, don’t want to run for office either. That’s the dynamic here. But, that being said, there are people who do want to run for office, there are young people who show up in DC, I’m not going to name names here, but who build very big social media followings, and then come into office—like, I will name a name here—like Madison Cawthorne, you know, who has been a frustrating experience from my perspective, because on the one hand, he starts out and he talks about how he wants to fix health care and be his generation’s leader, XYZ thing. And then on the day of his election, he’s tweeting, and he’s apologized for this, name you, but, you know, “owned, Lib,” or just whatever. He’s falling—he—”Cry more, lib.” He’s falling back into the trap of that previous system. So, what would you—what would your advice be for young people who are trying to not be—who want to be that break glass figure, but every single incentive is to push in the opposite direction. Everything is telling you to go speak at the DSA convention, or to go speak at the Turning Point USA conference.

01:03:12
EW: Well, first of all, if you speak at Turning Point USA, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with speaking at Turning Point USA. Just make sure that Charlie Kirk knows that you’re going to say something that isn’t so charitable about Turning Point USA, and that you’re going to thank him for the opportunity, the same way I do it on Fox News. So the first thing is, is that you can absolutely go on Fox News and tell them that Fox News is a propaganda network. And once you’ve done that, that’s fine. If you listen, I went on Ted Cruz’s podcast, The Verdict, but you’ve got to be disagreeable. You can’t get swept up in the desire to make nice. You can’t sell your hosts out. I’m not gonna you know, go on Ted Cruz’s podcast to stick it to Ted Cruz. I really appreciate the fact, and I was polite as could be. On the other hand, I’m no pushover. Don’t be a pushover. Have your own independent sense of reality, and make sure that you carry it with you when you get onto that stage, and make sure that you try to call balls and strikes, and be prepared that you’re going to be called—you know, the amazing thing is in the internet era, is that there’s a name for every ready-made argument. You know, “Oh, both-sides-ism. Oh, that’s just what-about-ism.” Okay, well, you’re gonna get the automated bot-level arguments, “Dude, I thought you had integrity. Now I realize you’re just a grifter,” blah, blah, blah. You know, these are the hyenas of social media. And they just nip at you to try to wear you down. Okay, what you need, you know, you ever watch hyenas going after a lion, you’ve got 20 hyenas on one lion until the rest of the family shows up. And that’s one of the reasons why I’m doing this show. You guys are Break-Glass-In-Case-Of-Emergency people. You know, Joe Rogan, Ben Shapiro—Ben Shapiro and I can appear together. If you want to see unity, Glenn Beck just reached out to me. He said, you know, we need unity now. And I was never a Glenn Beck fan, but I just wrote one letter, you know, I think I just wrote one word, “In.” You know, what do you need? Let’s do this thing. 

01:03:12
So my claim is, lead by example. And you don’t have to be perfect. You know, I lashed out at Kyle Kashuv, you know, when he was, like, saying I tried to warn you about this. Enjoy, you know, your new Biden Administration. And I deleted the tweets, you know, because I was on edge. You don’t have to be Jesus Christ, or some kind of a saint, you don’t have to be Mother Teresa. The key thing is, people eventually get that you really care and that you’re decent. And that, you know, maybe you want power or fame, you want to be thought well of. I know that I want status, blah, blah, blah, it’s not a big sin. What we’ve got to do is recognize our time isn’t yet, and we’re on the doorstep of our time, and we have to get there. 

01:05:51
And so what I would say to those young people is, don’t screw up your future playing in the present, while the present is unraveling. Better to forego it. Take a few years, you’re not going to get there necessarily. Maybe this whole thing blows up before you ever get there, in which case, I’m sorry. But your best bet is not to play in the present. The thing to do is to get the damn septuagenarians and octogenarians who do not come from the modern era, who come from the pre-Great-Society universe, off the stage, replace them with technically capable people who are better adapted to the modern era. And you can find these people by the people who are maximally demonized relative to their reality, because those—let the system tell you who it fears most. Go scan the list of alt-right people. Every person called a Nazi with a Jewish surname should be somebody that you’re probably interested in talking to. Every person who’s never voted Republican, who’s called “The Far Right” is somebody you should be interested in talking to. Everyone with an advanced degree in virology who says the Wuhan lab hypothesis should not be off the table, because we don’t do science by putting our politics first before we examine all of the evidence. All of those people. I mean, it’s very hard when you can’t trust the CDC, the Surgeon General, Anthony Fauci, or the WHO to know what you’re doing, locked at home, while your business is crumbling—

01:07:17
SE: Yeah. 

01:07:17
EW: Not sure whether, in fact, this is actually a very serious pandemic, or a bad version of the flu, because I can tell you, I can’t figure it out. I’m a pretty smart guy, I can’t figure it out. There are times when I hear that the hospital beds are overflowing and we can’t—we don’t have space in the ICU, and we’re—we have triage deaths. And there are other reports I hear that we’ve got all of these beds ready, and that nobody’s inhabiting them. None of this makes any sense. So my claim is that if you feel like you can’t figure out COVID, you can’t figure out what just happened in the election, you don’t understand why the election is disputed in this way, join the club. 

01:07:56
I don’t know how much voter fraud there was in this election. What I do know is that our courts didn’t find any of this persuasive. And so if you’re going to claim well, okay, no, the courts are actually under Russian control, if you keep adding epicycles to your conspiracy theory, where the Donald Trump appointed justices aren’t affirming Donald Trump, there’s some point at which you’ve got to realize that you’ve been engaged in a massive LARP, and the LARP is based on a certain amount of reality. And right now what we need to do is to have a place to come back. And I just want to talk about this one woman in Texas. I saw on social media—she adores me, she says, you know, “You’re my favorite person,” blah, blah, blah, and it’s very touching. And I see her wrapped in a Trump cape, you know. And she’s at this January 6 rally. And I knew to fear the January 6 rally, and two days before I put out a tweet stream trying—

01:08:50
SE: You did, you did. Yeah. 

01:08:53
EW: I called her up. And she’s like, “I can’t believe you’re calling me.” And I just said, “Look, you’re in college. And you’re going to something like a rave, and you’re having great conversations, and you’re having fun, and you’re trying to explain your patriotism. And you’re worried that you saw all of the thumb on the scales for media, and you’re worried that it extends to the election. And the person who got shot could have been you.” And she immediately talked to me about, you know, “Well, I can’t, how do I go towards Biden?” It’s like, no, neither! Get off that spectrum! Go to your studies! Go get drunk, you know. And I said, “Be young, wild, and free. That’s your job right now. Get away from these old people!” These are crazy old people, and they have no future. This is all going to be taken care of by Father Time. In 20 years, Bill Clinton is in all likelihood going to be dead. Hillary Clinton. Very few of these people are going to be around. You are still going to be here. Stop investing in these old people. They’ve gotten control of our society. In any previous era, before the 1980s, before we started messing around with mandatory retirement, which was allowing our society to renew itself, these people would be embarrassed to be seeking office. You know, I mean, it—when was the last time an octogenarian showed up for a Sports Illustrated swimsuit photoshoot? At some level, it’s not appropriate, you know? It’s just—I appreciate that they want to stay engaged, but, you know, there’s a reason that Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale didn’t run in 2020. And it’s because they have better sense to realize it’s not their time anymore. And I probably would rather have had Jimmy Carter than Joe Biden!

01:10:56
SE: That’s when you know, things are really bleak. Eric, I want to end it there because I think that’s such an inspiring and important point. And I can say too, from personal experience, that you’re 100% right. I mean, just small story, but, you know, whenever I was choosing between Rising, which, remember, at that time, there was no Rising, you know, it was like me, it was just Krystal, right. There was this show at The Hill, which was, you know, at 6000 subscribers on YouTube. It was like, literally nothing, not something people knew anything about. And I had another job offer as a White House correspondent, with a larger news organization here in DC. And everybody in DC told me to take that White House correspondent job, every single one—

01:11:36
MK: I remember this. People talked a lot of shit, it was a real thing. What’s Saagar doing? It was a whole thing.

01:11:41
SE: “What’s he doing?” They were like take the DC correspondent job. They’re like who knows about this thing? Stay within your, you know, your path. Keep doing these three minute Fox News appearances, right? Over and over again, like, that’s the cache Saagar, don’t you understand? Like, what are you doing? And I self exited from the system, before I got to it. I hit the red button. And I was like no, enough, I don’t care enough about Fox. I don’t care about being in the White House all the time. I don’t care about doing these Trump interviews. I don’t care about all of the traditional things in Washington media that we care about and that we are supposed to care about, in terms of your career. 

01:12:18
What happens? A year later, “Holy shit, you’re on the Joe Rogan podcast!” Right? It was like this, it was like a—me colliding with a world that they knew tangentially, but didn’t value. And they didn’t understand, you know, the success of the program or the growth, and they minimized it, you know, basically until they couldn’t, until they couldn’t reckon with the fact about how big it had gotten and my ability to have you here to talk to you. I mean, I know people were like, I listen to Eric Weinstein to figure out what’s going on. And I’m like, “Oh, yeah, you know, I’ve talked with Eric, he’s been on my pod—” They’re like, “Oh, my God, you actually know him?”

01:12:54
And it’s just this, it’s this self-defeating problem that we have here in Washington and all establishment media in particular, where they’re always going to tell you to take the safe route. And the only way to succeed, and this happens with politics, anybody who is young, is you have to self exit and say—it’s like you said, you have to look to where the future is going, and you have to play that game, instead of doing what some, like, Boomer executives want you to do, and play within the role that you’re assigned yourself. 

01:13:22
So I just want to say again, like, thank you for underscoring that. And, really, in a time like this, I just, we had to talk to you, because you’re one of the few people here who, in good faith, is trying to reach—we want to live in a more harmonious country. And I genuinely know that whenever I talk to you. I don’t know that whenever I talk to a lot of people. Left, right, I mean, all of it is about punishment. All of it is about exacting a cost from your enemies. I don’t know many people who would say about MAGA—be like, these are my brothers and sisters. We have to talk that way more again.

01:13:56
MK: I know we just said we’re gonna—I know we just said we’re gonna finish up, but I thought of a question that came up here. This is totally random. Apologies for that. But as we’re thinking about punishment, and cults, right? The use of cult was applied to Trump. I want to know what you think about this, though, Saagar. Within Eric’s framework of what would you do if your kids were kidnapped by a cult, you go the fuck in, you do all that stuff. But you almost certainly would support the punishment of the cult leader, especially if that punishment prevented him from doing that to other people’s kids. So, how do you think about the punishment framework within the contract you’ve created for Eric? Because it’s unclear which direction it goes.

01:14:42
SE: I agree with that. I would say, and this what I said on my show this morning, which is that he lost the election. That’s the punishment. Like, he lost. That’s the real price. He was humiliated on national stage and lost states that he won previously. Eric, I’m curious, before we go, what do you think about that?

01:14:59
EW: I have a very—people will not understand this and I’m hesitant to say it, but I think I probably should. I believe in smacking some people to the curb, and being the first to make sure that you offer them a hand back up. And my feeling is that right now Donald Trump needs to be smacked to the goddamn curb. And I also believe that at some level, you need to potentially offer, if not him, certainly people around him a hand back up and a way back. And the vengeance—the problem with social justice theory is that justice is actually sometimes a euphemism for vengeance. A lot of us feel very humiliated, we feel very jealous. And Donald Trump is going to be built back up by overreach of the Democratic Party, because the Democratic Party is not without its own blood on his hands. And, in essence, the Democratic Party created the presidency of Donald Trump, in my opinion, by saying, how do we get somebody to irradiate themselves? Well, we’ll give them cancer and then they’ll need to irradiate themselves. Inside of that framework, I don’t think that the Democratic Party is in a position to do this. I do think that the tiny group of misfits to which you guys belong, and I can’t tell you how touched I am that you guys think in these terms, let me just say that for all future appearances on anything you do you have a general “Yes.” I don’t give out a general “Yes,” but I so admire what you guys are doing, that, just don’t even ask me to come next time, whenever you want. 

01:16:37
What I’m really thinking is that at some level, you do need to smack some people to the curb. But you also need to recognize that religions that are around for thousands of years have forgiveness, and grace, and redemption. And this passion for the destruction of the individual, the cancellation of an entire human being, the social isolation from deplatforming is a recipe for creating people with nothing left to lose who have access to fertilizer, and potassium nitrate, and worse. And, you know, my claim is that most of us need love, and admiration, and trust. And look at my, look at my timeline. The number of people who say “Eric, I always politically disagree with you, but I never feel that you’re condescending—” Never use words like knuckle draggers, or make fun of the inability of people to spell. I talk a lot about the fact that my IQ is a bit lower than most people imagine, because of my learning issues. I talk about the fact that I am disgusted with the tote bag conspiracy, you know, if you have Karl Castle on your answering machine, that you’re so proud of the fact that you’re not like “those other people” in the center of the country who, by the way, all those farmers actually know genetics probably better than you do, because you just don’t even understand what’s going on in Kansas or Montana or whatever, ranchers…

01:18:06
We need to basically realize that the rest of—that our country is being driven insane by its media, but that person-to-person, human-to-human, most of us are better. And one of the things that I really think, you know, the cure for anti-semitism is getting to know more Jews as friends. The cure for anti-black prejudice is, you know, hanging out in black spaces and experiencing the warmth and hospitality. Part of the problem is that we’ve learned to distrust each other and to look down on each other, and if you will just come forward with an open heart and an outstretched hand, almost everybody immediately realizes that they’re coked up on institutional media, and once that kind of haze and fog lifts, we get back to the business of being who we are, because frankly, if we’re going to be “We’re great, and the other side is horrible,” that’s not America, you’ve already given up on your country. And so I just want to say what a pleasure it is to be in a position where, whatever our differences are, I know you guys have your hearts in the right place. I just view myself as a supporting actor. You guys are the future, and anything I can do to help you get you there will be my honor.

01:19:20
MK: Likewise, Eric.

01:19:21
SE: Thank you so much.


Transcript

Hello, You’ve found The Portal. I’m your host Eric Weinstein, and I’m still trying to lie low until this election cycle is concluded given that, in particular, the threat of being booted off the platforms like Twitter for intellectual non-compliance looms over us all. If you have any questions about whether self-censorship is real, I, as a grown Harvard PhD with just under a half a million followers and a direct connection to the CEO of Twitter, live in fear that more than a decade spent building an audience can be undone without possible appeal by the push of a button, sending a single message from some person named Vijaya, who I have never met, after having done nothing at all wrong. Oh yeah. It’s real. These sudden Kafkaesque suspensions, which are then retracted and apologized for, and which emanate from the ironically named Trust and Safety group really do work. Congratulations Twitter, Facebook, and Google. Mission accomplished.  

So I am going to make this an all audio-essay episode, with three distinct segments. These will begin my goodbye to the wildest administration within the memories of my middle-aged life, which I may add, also includes the administrations of Ronald Reagan and even Richard Nixon fairly vividly. I think we will begin with a segment on Trump and what I have avoided saying about him for some time. We will then hear from two of our loyal sponsors, I’ll come back to give my thoughts on the bizarre state of the 2020 US election before paying some bills, and we will then hear from two other sponsors before moving to our final segment on the effect of the 2020 election on my colleagues in long form podcasting. So, without further ado, let us discuss what I have waited to say about Donald Trump until the bitter end. 


Beginning To Cash Out My Trump Position

If your regular commentators have sounded a bit odd recently to your ears, they have to mine as well. I spent some time recently rather puzzled, and tried to figure out why that might be, before I settled on a relatively simple explanation. In some sense, what I believe we are seeing is that members of the commentariat had settled in for a kind of alternate political reality when Donald Trump first took the oath of office, and that each analyst had built a bespoke theory of Donald Trump and the meaning of the sojourn into the bizarre splitting of the country into incompatible camps of political interpretation. As it now appears to most of this group, Trump will shortly leave office, and so people are cashing out any remaining value in their private Trump positions. We are finding that some people who supported him actually secretly despise him. Others who thought they hated his idiosyncratic antics are surprised by how upsetting they find Biden’s staffing choices, signaling a return to our usual metastatic swamp politics. 

There is a semi-official position of our institutional class on Donald Trump that has to be stated up front. Put simply, Donald Trump is to them an unethical and lucky idiot under the control of foreign powers, who stumbled into the White House because an enormous percentage of the United States electorate is composed of either unethical bigots or confused fools who cannot think for themselves, and are thus taken in by a simple conman.

Now, in my opinion that is simply false. In my estimation there is a single aspect of Donald Trump that is more remarkable than any other. And that is that Donald Trump is the only true outsider ever to run the presidential gauntlet successfully and win. Perhaps his singular importance within our system is that he is utterly unique as an outsider. I hope I have this right, but when our government is understood to include our military as well as political appointees, so far as I can work out Donald Trump is the first and only president in our nation’s history to have never been in government. This one fact is the key to understanding many dichotomies that Trump vs Biden represented:

  • Outsiders vs Insiders
  • The Crude vs The Civil
  • Idiosyncratic vs Systemic corruption
  • Bullshittng vs Spinning
  • Unpredictable negotiation vs Reliable leadership
  • Offensive vs Overly Pandering behaviors
  • Narcissistic vs Collectivist impulses
  • Free vs Constrained thinking and action

Now the difficult part to talk about is this. As I have said before, I consider the Trump phenomenon to be an epiphenomena of the escalating kleptocracy of our centrist, Silent, and Boomer political classes. When you can’t point to a moderate, political, and adult center because they are too busy stealing things that aren’t nailed down, you are more likely to end up in the far wings of the political spectrum. And both parties have been busy stuffing their pockets and faces while playing footsie with their own extremes. This is done by alternating between keeping a proper distance one minute and casting come-hither looks towards the fringes in the next.

And, in this set up, the one thing we cannot ever discuss is the narrative—the GIN, to regular listeners—that allows the looting of our nation and its future by a seemingly near-permanent gerontocracy of magical individuals conceived between the Hoover and Truman administrations. They are the Golden Ones, if you will. These are people who, in any sensible era, would resign for the good of their own children, but who seem to be utterly unconcerned that they have held back needed change for more than 30-50 years, rather like a hypothetical aging monarch waiting for an untrustworthy heir to expire so that she herself can at last move on towards a well-deserved rest and reward. It is not so much that these people are old, mind you, but rather that they are failed leaders who have held power without success, challenge, or much turnover for far longer than is normal in any healthy society.

Many of you know that I occasionally refer to Donald Trump as an existential risk to the fabric of our democracy, and by extension the world, as we are the lone stabilizing nuclear and economic superpower as I see it. But what I have tried not to say until now is why I have called Donald Trump an existential risk since before his election, while I obviously see him as the enemy of my enemy. Is it not the fact that the enemy of my enemy is supposed to be my friend?  It is here that we run into difficulty. Most of the political observers seem to be cheerleaders of one form or another, and I suppose that is even true of me. But you can imagine without too much difficulty that during the doping scandal in the Tour de France bicycle race, for example, that there would be someone cheering for the race itself, given that it seems everyone who was viable was juicing. 

That is roughly my position now. I am a cheerleader for the American experiment and don’t want any of these people to win. Now, I know that that doesn’t make sense at some level, but it is what I believe, and at this point I am just trying to wait this out.  

One of the things that makes me consider Donald Trump an existential risk is that he is the most skilled politician I have ever seen in getting air time to talk about what the mainstream wants never to openly discuss: Immigration, Islam, the Chinese Communist Party, Critical Race Theory, the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the Costs of Bad Globalization, the American Embassy in Jerusalem, comparative viral morbidity and mortality rates. But discussing these things isn’t the problem. In fact, I am in awe of how he gets the kleptocrats to talk about the things that they are actively trying to paper over and are thus loath to discuss.   

Let me get something out of the way: Donald Trump has a very particular and methodical way of pointing out what is wrong with the mainstream, as I understand it. At some point early on, I studied the recurring motifs and structures in his Twitter feed and found a tremendous amount of method between his supposedly spontaneous ejaculations into the Twittersphere. And this is likely why he was hired, and is not likely to be renewed. He was considered, in some sense, by his supporters a foreign threat, intended to kill the tumor of systemic corruption in Washington D.C.; Manhattan, New York; and Silicon Valley slightly faster than he damages the accumulated national culture of civil society.

Without fail, he simultaneously takes the legitimate anger we all feel as well as the critiques that have been building for generations, but which have been silenced and stonewalled for decades by our mainstream institutions, and he remakes them in his own image so that they are more powerful, more politically effective, and much more divisive than the underlying correct versions of any legitimate and decent point he might raise. This has a tendency to polarize us about Donald Trump rather than about the issues at hand. 

In some ways, Donald Trump is similar to Black Lives Matter during Covid, where an enormous number of issues had been building up under quarantine-like conditions. Then suddenly, a single tragic death with the optics of a police lynching caught on video allowed all energy to be focused on the single issue of unarmed black Americans dying in police custody. This is a category which, while absolutely tragic, is simply too small to fully explain the enormous reaction, given that nearly identical deaths had recently occurred on video with white suspects and without much impact. In short, both Donald Trump and Black Lives Matter learned how to channel diverse frustrations over legitimate grievances that had for years been pushed by institutions to lie outside the Overton window so that they could not be discussed by the population in general.  And both Donald Trump and Black Lives Matter made everything they could into a narrative about themselves as their reward for breaking the silences.

For example, as a Xenophilic Restrictionist, I have sought for years to point out that absolutely nothing anti-immigrant can be automatically inferred from an American’s desire for lower immigration, without further information. That point went nowhere politically, as both political parties pay the donor class with visas as a tool to keep working Americans from being able to bargain effectively with their employers at the negotiating table. What is more, no news organization, at least with which I am familiar, has ever broken ranks on the idea that there is an entirely legitimate xenophilic case to be made for restricting high levels of immigration. And that was where things were, at least before 2016. 

Enter Donald Trump. In one fell swoop, Donald Trump made the pro-American case for labor, but he also gave Americans a new-found freedom to blame foreign workers trying to get in if they so chose. In the Trump era, if you wanted to take a shortcut around blaming the donor class, which was trying to put pressure on wages to juice corporate profits, you could just blame the desperate immigrants themselves, risking their lives by trying to cross the border illegally. The choice was yours. 

This left people like me in a conundrum: essential progressive issues that had been directly stifled for 40 to 50 years were suddenly alive again, but reborn as right-of-center nationalism. Is Critical Theory and Critical Race Theory in particular simply divisive McCarthyist bullshit with a PhD? Is constructive engagement through ever tighter economic ties with the authoritarian Chinese Communist Party a suicidal strategy for the US? Is there something both Orwellian and wrong with not reporting intolerant religiously motivated massacres as being specifically religiously motivated? Why, after all, can’t we discuss that ever freer trade is an esoteric, anti-labor wealth concentration scheme defended by economists with exoteric excuses well known inside the economics profession to be horseshit?

Well, Donald Trump was here to help and, at least in public, he always seemed to relish deliberately cutting at least a few corners to help out anyone with a simple and direct frame of mind who wanted to call bullshit on what appears, at least to me, to be a creepy and mysterious media consensus not to honestly report the news. But there was always a cost. The Trump version of every one of the above reasonable ideas was simpler and thus far more politically powerful… and it was always also far more dangerous than it had been previously been. And this polarized many contrarians, myself included. 

Yes, I am a Restrictionist, but I wasn’t going to stand for relaxed norms in conversation so that xenophobia could flourish. My national pride may despise the Davos agenda to degrade democratic sovereignty, but I wasn’t going to opt for newly liberated jingoism, because my patriotism doesn’t have anything to do with nationalist bigotry. In fact it repudiates it. Yes, I favor talking about the religious madness that totalitarian jihadis have invoked to explain their massacres of ordinary people, but no, I don’t favor painting my many Muslim friends with a broad brush dipped in excrement by Donald Trump, just to get at the ridiculous ways news desks refuse to comment honestly on mass murderers who are cheered on by what is still a *miniscule* minority of American Muslims who support jihadi barbarism.  

And so, Donald Trump has offered this same service to all contrarians who have been ignored for many years. He would finally get a mutant version of your legitimate issues heard on a world stage for the price of changing the prohibitions around what could be said, and also do so in a way that made your issue partially intellectually illegitimate. And while some of those relaxations were warranted, some of them were terrifying. Particularly in the time during the 2016 election, up to the period shortly after Charlottesville, my various inboxes and direct messages showcased to me the glee that anti-semites and other bigots were experiencing. The number 1488 was suddenly everywhere, and Pepe the frog greeted me standing next to an oven one minute and grinning underneath the welcome message Arbeit Macht Frei the next. Lots of tweets and direct messages were suddenly throwing around Hebrew and Yiddish words to indicate that the anti-semites were coming for us now, having cracked the supposedly secure code of our shibboleths? The message: We would not replace them. Trust me, it was an eye opener. 

Thus, when the prophesied friendly stranger in the black sedan pulls up to tell you that he’s a lovable man who will be your vehicle to take you anywhere you want to go, the answer for me was then and is still a clear “Nuh uh”. I mean, the band The Ides of March pretty much warned us about this exact phenomenon directly in 1970, no? And with one hell of a hook. I digress.  

Sure, I could see the appeal of at last getting past the gatekeeping at CNN or NPR if I only closed my eyes to the emboldening of bigots and ignored the body count of Trump allies who were injured by their associations with him. But, as none other than Peggy Noonan had prophetically warned us about the phenomenon of Trump cooties before the election, nobody was going to be getting out of that Cadillac as the same person who stepped inside that car. So some of my contrarian friends got in, while others stayed out.

But it divided many of us contrarians and first principle thinkers to see legitimate issues that could not previously be discussed turned into supercharged illegitimate issues that should not be discussed in the terms that he offered. In short, I ended up praying for Trump not to find more of these issues, because every time he located some issue over which Americans felt they were being gaslighted, he took away its legitimacy for someone who might come later and actually want to fix it in the right way. Trump was like a self-taught back alley surgeon, who could take you right away at a price you could afford because he refused to scrub in, while all the other properly trained physicians who followed procedures were booked with indefinite waiting lists at extortionary prices. Some of us wanted nothing to do with him, while others signed up to take the risk. 

Now, if I am honest, Trump did do something to clamp down on the right wing fringe and their tiki torches. After Charlottesville, the worst of it may have been over, but the pattern was established. Trump was going to change what was permissible in political life for both better and worse. The Overton window was going to be stretched under Trump to include things that should never have been included as well as other things that should never have been excluded by our moderate institutions from conversation in civil society.

So, for example, where in years past I had foolishly written an academic, peer reviewed explanation and Coasian labor model for economists, explaining why the villains in immigration theory were US employers screaming about labor shortages, Trump was much closer to saying “The immigrants are taking your jobs.” Well, to a labor market analyst, that’s not remotely the same thing at all as saying “US employers and political donors are colluding to confiscate your most valuable rights without market-based compensation, while denigrating you as lazy and stupid, and hiding behind a veneer of excellence and xenophilia as they economically undermine your families.” But it’s much easier, isn’t it? 

So I began to better understand his strategy. He was simply going to take all the correct points about the Chinese Communist Party, Trade, Universities, Totalitarian Islam, Migration, and Critical Theory that our corrupt political centrists in both parties had made impossible for us to discuss, and he would break through the media blockade to replace the whole lot with a truly shitty and intellectually damaged version of each and every one of them.

And that is where I found myself. Trump was effectively taking all the issues that we needed to fix and making them all over in his own image. He was going to divide us by rebranding legitimate forms of contrarianism in a way that would potentially paralyze us for a generation, as China would continue to accumulate power. (A period of time I don’t think we have.) Thus, between Trump’s unpredictability, an asset in negotiations, while a nightmare in alliances, and his ability to divide us by rebranding undiscussable issues that should unite all but our elite, as if they were naturally MAGA issues specifically branded in ways to divide us all, Trump set us up for a collection of daily splitting events in the political multiverse.  

So why haven’t I talked about what the threat is? Well because first of all, I don’t want to highlight more issues for him to find and rebrand. I also frankly don’t want to talk about him. I find it boring. I’d frankly rather talk about jazz, physics, love, and getting our millennial generation the option for homes and families they need to renew our society. 

I also don’t want to talk about the nuclear football constantly when we can mostly forget about it. And I also don’t want to give legitimacy to Donald Trump. Yes, like everyone else, he can see what we are not supposed to talk about. But unlike anyone else, Donald Trump can always get the issue heard, albeit at the cost of changing the issue into something unrecognizable and occasionally disgusting. And that makes it possible for the kleptocrats to justify reimposing an even narrower and more draconian Overton window than before. As they are now attempting to do. 

Right now, you can look at the changes in the Terms of Services of the tech platforms, and the nature of the algorithms which tell us what we can and cannot simply observe. If you thought Trump was shattering the Overton window for good, take a second look. Watch now as they Build it. Back. And even Better that it ever was before. 

We will return after these messages with our next audio essay on the US Elections of 2020.  


What Is Going On With This Election? 

Perhaps what concerns me most about the fallout of Trump’s decision to contest the 2020 election is that an enormous number of us are in one of two seemingly irreconcilable camps. Either we can’t imagine how anyone is seriously claiming that there is a basis to challenge the victory of Joe Biden and the Democrats, or we believe that it is just as obvious that Trump clearly won the election.

Perhaps my top concern is that this infinite splitting of the political multiverse must come to an end, or we will become an ungovernable country, divided by two main master partisan narratives. We cannot continue indefinitely to pretend that somehow we are the sane, and that the millions who disagree with us are simply crazy.

As I believe that—barring some kind of a revelation—it has become clear that for some time Joe Biden has won the general election, I will be concentrating on why my friends and followers who disagree with my conclusion need not be any crazier than those who agree with me.

The main point I want to consider is this: “What does it mean if someone raises the issue of fraud or a stolen election?” Does it mean that they are necessarily a delusional Trump supporter? A QAnon lunatic? A dupe?

Hardly, in my opinion. In fact, the best argument for keeping the issue of fraud on the table comes not from Donald Trump, who has so far, in my opinion, embarrassed himself by failing to make any credible case, but instead from the Democratic Party. 

So, while that may initially sound somewhat far-fetched, let us remember that it was from the Democratic Party and its allied media that we first heard that the 2016 election had been compromised by Russia, and that Russia likely held control over Donald Trump, and by extension the United States. 

Now before I get into the meat of this essay, I need to locate some serious malware that is likely installed between both your ears and mine, so as to uninstall and hopefully disable it. Ready?

Okay, when I say the phrases “Russian Asset”, Kompromat, “Putin’s Bitch”, “golden showers”, and “Moscow hotel”, what is the first name that comes to your mind? Okay, great. So hopefully we’ve just established that both you and I have had the same malware installed in our minds through mainstream media.   

Now, this cognitive malware I’m aiming to remove is not what was alleged and insinuated, however, about Donald Trump’s sexual proclivities, indebtedness, or fondness for authoritarian despots. It was instead that this was a matter for casual accusation, lighthearted banter, humor, and bonding. We were all led, regardless of party, into talking rather casually about two nuclear nations and the infiltration and direct control of the stronger one by the weaker of the two old Cold War rivals. 

Now, call me old fashioned, but I am passably acquainted with the history of our intelligence services, special forces, and their most audacious exploits. No one refers to Operation Ajax in 1950s Iran as “Kermit’s Shits and Giggles”. I’ve never heard of the “Cuban Missile Prank” or “Cuban Missile Tomfoolery”. When a serious person like a sitting senator becomes serious about alleging something of this magnitude, we are usually talking about things that involve Charges of Treason, Secret Closed Door Sessions, Covert Operations, Regime Change, Troop and Fleet Deployments, and potentially War. There is no such thing, of which I am aware, as “kind of a Russian Asset”, “Russian Asset-ish”, “Russian Asset Lite”, or “Russian Asset without obligation to extreme action beyond formal reprimand”. If you don’t believe me, try asking Julius Rosenberg. You get my point.

So what I want you to notice is that the malware that is in your brain has a particular purpose. It appears to be installed to allow you to treat an assertion of the executive branch of the United States government as being under Russian control as some kind of semi-serious concern that oddly doesn’t rise to the level of exotic emergency action. This is somewhat akin to the claims of a few Hollywood personalities every four years that if a Republican becomes president, they will leave the country. I am sure that this means something, it is just that I am not sure what it means when they fail to depart. Whatever it does mean, the malware allows us to explore what are quite clearly literal claims without triggering an expectation of literal consequences. 

So with that understood, I want to point a few things out that I believe are socially extremely controversial, while somehow simultaneously being intellectually non-controversial: 

  1. This was obviously not a free and fair election. 
  2. It can be completely legitimate to worry about whether this election was fair with respect to material levels of voter fraud. 
  3. Neither A nor B need have anything to do with Donald Trump and his legal team’s bizarre and largely unsupported, unprofessional post-election claims or seemingly unhinged post-election strategy. 

Let’s begin with A. A free and fair general election would have to include a true national primary election, and we clearly don’t have a national Democratic primary. What we have instead is a political industry run by insiders for insiders, where MSNBC and its allied media’s blatant and legendary mistreatment of Andrew Yang’s campaign cleanly and openly illustrated that our primaries are at least partially fixed by insiders for insiders. The amount of credibility spent dropping Andrew Yang from graphics or posting a picture of an unrelated Yang was just incredible. The network at times seemed to spend more time apologizing for one obvious diss after another than it did fairly covering the candidate.

Some of us in long-form podcasting, who interviewed and talked with more than one candidate for the Democratic nomination, became aware of just how tightly integrated the political parties, media news desks, think tanks, and donor classes truly are. We at times talked about hosting debate replacements where the candidates with something to say could dig deep into issues, while those searching for those canned ready-made-for-TV gotcha moments could take a hike and kiss our asses. Would you believe that there are actually Democratic party rules in restraint of trade in place to make that impossible in the marketplace of ideas? I suppose we should all have seen that coming. But we didn’t truly understand just how many ways this process has been bulletproofed by its insiders to remain a duopoly that stays in power by doling out access to media in exchange for promises not to hold an actual primary with actual coverage and actual debates outside of legacy platforms. 

So the fact that this wasn’t remotely a free and fair election, given the open interference from media, tech platforms, and the party mandarins was in evidence at all turns, and doesn’t really hinge on proving fraud in the later general election. You don’t get to the general election without building on a primary as foundation. And our rolling pseudo-primary system is manifestly neither free, nor fair, nor an election. Thus any general election that rests on the primary would not be free and fair, even if there were zero irregularities for mail-in voting and in-person voting. 

As for point B, this claim works in roughly the same way. Imagine that absolutely everything Donald Trump, his legal team, and his supporters have said about fraud is at best false, and at worst an attempt to subvert democracy. Imagine they are wrong about everything. Well, even so, it still makes sense to worry about fraud, as I will try to explain. 

Over the last four years, the hatred of Donald Trump by the establishment produced a kind of a kitchen sink strategy. His opponents hated him so much that they threw everything they could think of at him, without noticing that their conflicting and simplistic claims tended to weaken each other. The same people would accuse him of being both a low IQ idiot and an evil supergenius in adjacent accusations, without stopping to breathe or notice any contradictions. He was, simultaneously, a Xenophobe of the highest order, but with a foreign wife, and who loved only Russia. A billionaire who was broke, but whose oceans of non-existent money somehow insulated him. In short, his opponents never settled on a simple consistent narrative, and preferred a largely self-contradictory strategy in hopes that something would eventually stick. 

And so it went with the election. 

In particular, there were three claims insisted on by his detractors which, at least in their stronger forms, could not all simultaneously be true. They are as follows: 

  1. It is essentially insane to suggest that the 2020 election could be stolen, as only conspiracy nuts would say such a thing. 
  2. Donald Trump was a foreign asset under the control of Vladimir Putin, who was installed in 2016 amidst foreign election tampering.
  3. Donald Trump began his presidency by disrespecting the US intelligence community, whose skill is the envy of the world, and whose loyalty and patriotism should be beyond question. 

Ahem. You may pick no more than two of these strong claims before you run into a contradiction. If you claim that Donald Trump was under foreign control and that the 2016 election was materially tainted by fake news and foreign interference, then it would become the patriotic duty of our intelligence community to stop a foreign stealth take over of the United States by a Russian asset by almost any means available. And since you believe that our intelligence community is highly skilled, it can’t be unthinkable for them to hack an election if the sovereignty of the United States has been compromised, given our history of exploits since the Dulles Brothers (Allen Welsh and John Foster) and J. Edgar Hoover. Thus if you want to claim that it is madness to even question the hacking of the election without evidence, you would either have to claim that our intelligence community isn’t imaginative or patriotic enough to consider removing a compromised leader controlled from abroad, or that the extravagant attempt to taint Trump’s presidency by claiming that he was Putin’s man in DC was a political stunt. A monumental work of Kayfabe, held together by horseshit and presented as if it were the product of straight shooting patriots. I personally would like to think that treating the claim of Trump as being under Putin’s direct control as overblown political theater is the best way out of this messy puzzle. But just consider how expensive back-propagating the implications of that line of reasoning truly are, and how despicable his opposition would have to be if everyone inside has always believed that the Russian asset theory was overblown BS. 

So while I have never seen any clear evidence of widespread fraud, I would certainly trust our intelligence community to do their sworn patriotic duty to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, in attempting to remove a foreign asset in control of our nuclear football inside our own oval office. Thus the idea of asserting that any questioning of electoral integrity in 2020 as automatically being crazy talk must itself be crazy talk. The major conspiracy theorists of this era will always be those who asserted that Trump has been compromised early and belonged completely to Vladimir Putin. You don’t get to claim all the strongest assertions you find politically expedient without noticing that they will always tend to directly contradict each other.

In my personal estimation it was either up to the Democratic Party and its affiliated media to back off of the strongest and least substantiated claims against Donald Trump, or to follow the consequences of those claims into severe action well beyond impeachment. The fact that they did neither is what confused me completely, and what leads me to say that a questioning of the legitimacy of the 2020 election follows not from Benford’s law, nor from Trump’s legal strategy, but is instead a direct consequence of routinely asserting something tantamount to treason, while avoiding any necessity to explore the dire, and likely obligate, consequences of such assertions, which, I trust, are known to us all and need not be detailed here. It may be a low probability event, but it is not consistent to claim that one must be a devotee of QAnon to imagine that our intelligence community would be forced to act, in the presence of material and substantiated claims tantamount to treason.

We will return shortly with our final audio essay on the state of the so-called Intellectual Dark Web.


Loyalty and the Intellectual Dark Web

This essay is written from what some today would consider a gendered perspective. As a guy who grew up going to an all male high school, and who has since held positions in academic mathematics, physics, and economics departments, who has worked in finance and hedge funds, risk management, and technology, I have found myself repeatedly in a world far more gender-segregated than most, and one which I wish appealed to more women. I have had very few collaborators, but they have been oddly evenly split between men and women. My high school and my experience with the Sell-side culture of Wall Street investment banks allow me to say that “Toxic Masculinity” actually describes a real thing and it should never have been ruined by overuse for just that reason. In one evening in finance or 11th grade, I probably heard more open misogyny than I did in all my years studying mathematics, physics, and economics combined. But what all male group culture can sound like behind closed doors in high trust environments varies more than almost any woman likely imagines. Some of it was and is absolutely wonderful, and some of it bordered on psychotic. Sell-side finance culture was by far the worst I experienced. In my experience, many people there were trying to earn your business by assuming that you are automatically car, sports, stripper, and cigar obsessed. And those Sell-side professionals were not entirely male, either. It was pretty much exactly as you would expect from what you see in the movies minus the dwarf tossing. I guess I never got invited for dwarf tossing after I turned down free tickets to the US open. [sic trans]

MIT and Harvard’s Symplectic Geometers and Topologists were, by contrast, likely the best. An all male culture at MIT when I first arrived to be sure, but one which easily and instantly put out a welcome mat as soon as talented women started showing an interest. No one there even seemed to notice, or wanted to discuss much, any change in the culture, as the subject matter was universally thought to be far more interesting. There were also very subtle gradations: Labor Market Economics, Algebraic Geometry, and Particle Theory at Harvard were at times somewhat exaggeratedly and, frankly, comically male, but they had a core of women regularly attending and giving the seminars, and I don’t think I ever heard any comments there that couldn’t be said in a mixed group.

The reason I am going into all this as background is that I want to establish two separate claims: 

  1. That, due to my subject matter interests alone, I have inadvertently spent a fair chunk of my life in a large and diverse array of nearly all male environments.
  2. That my experience within these environments is that they range along a spectrum, from outright misogyny to environments which are welcoming to women but which are self-segregated by the differing interests of men and women, and with every gradation in between.

Unfortunately this diversity is not accurately perceived. In an effort to drain all the true swamps of their misogyny, we drained pretty much every male culture we could find of its vitality. Try to imagine a world in which women could not congregate by themselves for fear that they would get up to witchcraft. That’s pretty close to where we are now.

You may fairly ask the question, “What, if anything, is lost when we target straight male culture by treating any meeting behind closed doors as suspect? Isn’t that where the bad behavior actually happens?” Well, yes. That’s right. But there are so many good things, and even magic that happens too, that are being lost when we don’t understand that the majority of such rooms are normal, healthy places on which men actually depend as much as nursing mothers who form support groups for postpartum depression, say. 

And, while few mention it, men have tended to help each other course correct, in private. When you see a man come to his friend’s aid in public, and when that friend being threatened has done something wrong, you actually have zero idea of what is going on in private. Maybe they are high-fiving like idiots. That certainly happens among jerks. But it is far more likely that there are going to be words that go in a different direction. Men have historically helped each other get back on track in private, while holding mobs at bay in public, in a way that puts an enormous premium on loyalty, but which has not always been understood from outside, because it is, by definition, invisible.

So this is all preamble, because the last section of this episode has to do with a funny topic. For a guy that values male culture around course-correction in private, it is somewhat odd to admit that my least favorite four-word sentence to hear spoken in the English language by another man has recently become “I’ve got your back.” Now, why is that? Shouldn’t that sentence be among one’s favorite sentences?

Well, that’s undoubtedly how it should be… but truth be told, most of us have never been part of a fighting unit, and the closest thing we’ve been to a platoon in a firefight is a movie theater. We know that there is supposed to be a fog of war, just as we are familiar with the phrase “brothers in arms”, but, if we are honest with ourselves, many of us must realize that we mostly don’t fully know what those words actually mean. Dealing with an implacable mob on the internet that is taking aim at your reputation, and thus your ability to earn a living to feed your family, is surely a hell of a lot closer to being in a bar fight than paintball is. Full disclosure: I have never played paintball.

So when a man says “I’ve got your back”, what is he really saying?

Well I used to think I knew what it meant, but I don’t fully know anymore. And at the moment, it feels like it means nothing.

I have placed my life in the hands of only one male friend on multiple occasions, and none of those involved combat. That friend’s name is Adil Abdulali, and I suppose he also placed his life in my hands now that I think about it. We do have a few decent enough stories about physical risk from years back that remain, so far anyway, personal and private. Our mothers might be listening to this podcast after all and I wouldn’t want to alarm them. Please don’t worry, Alia, if you are listening, everything worked out fine, and it was a long time ago.

I must therefore, by necessity, lean rather more heavily on this one life-long friendship’s experience than I would like. But he has had my back certainly for a long time and, knowing him, probably has since shortly after I first met him at age 16.

Now, do we disagree about many things? Of course. Have we always done the right thing by each other? Mostly, but not always. Yet, we have always righted our ship when it has listed, and we don’t keep track of the small things. There have been stretches of years where one or the other of us were in a drought of good luck and it just doesn’t make sense to pay attention to these matters over decades.

So, why am I bringing this up? Because ever since The Portal took off, I have been regularly and repeatedly invited to “throw other people under the bus” as the kids today say. And most of those calls have been to throw men, rather than women, in the path of an oncoming mob.  

The public calls don’t sound familiar to my middle-aged ears. And while they are often phrased in bro-speak, they seem foreign to Protestant, Masculine, British, Professional, and other norms of not regularly losing your shit in public, nor sorting out personal business with friends in front of the world. I may be only one of those four things, but I appreciate that norm in whatever cultures exhibit it.

So, what does this new culture sound like? Well, something like this:  

“Hey Eric, did you hear what your bros just said about you?”

“Dude, time to collect your friend. He’s so cringe, and it’s not a good look for you.”

“Yo, you gonna call out your homie on his BS or nah? Thought not. Bye.”

“Hey, did you read that article about your ‘Ride or Die’ and what he did? You gotta cut him loose, dude.”

Now, what is this style of speech? “Bruh”, “Nah”, “Call out”, “Ride or Die”, “Not a good look”, “Collect your homie”, “Spill the tea”, I don’t know about the rest of you who grew up before the Internet, but at least in my experience, we didn’t use to talk or think like this all the time.

The point of bringing up this stylized speech is that the calls are so frequent that it makes me wonder what we are doing as a society. Assuming men and women are truly equal, it stands to reason that I would be invited to disavow women making controversial or boneheaded statements about half the time. Why are there so few calls to disavow not only women but tech companies, government officials, newspapers, hereditary monarchies, theocracies, etc.?

In particular, among nations, I find it fascinating that I am regularly invited to disavow Israel, but not Turkey, both of which I deeply love.  I get regularly invited to disavow men and not women. I must disavow Brett Kavanaugh on the Right, but not Joe Biden on the Left in a similar situation. This appears to be because of a persistent asymmetry: I am invited to disavow things from the political Right by the political Left, while the political Right doesn’t expect devotion or this kind of disavowal of the Left. In short, the disavowal game doesn’t seem to play by any symmetrical rules. 

And why is this? Well, it appears to be because disavowal has become a major collectivist political tactic to pick off all who refuse to sing from one party’s hymnal when instructed. For better or worse, only one of our two political parties seems to be imbued with the power to grant an indulgence, so that someone may keep his respectability separate from his behavior. Call it the Chappaquiddick privilege, if you’re confused about which party has the power. 

So, how does this work? Well, no one sensible wants to publicly support bad behavior, so the rhyme “Silence equals Violence” is particularly effective against caring progressives who want to “Do the right thing”. The problem with this is that Public Silence or even Public Support for another person is not remotely the same thing as condoning an action of that person in private. I regularly support someone in public whose behavior I may criticize in private. In fact, I’ll go further. I believe that we are obligated to both protect and not abandon friends to mobs that are braying for their blood, just as we are obligated to balance public protection with private accountability within an intimate context. 

Yet, what we seem to be seeing now is a bull market in disavowal: “Do you disavow Israel?” “Do you disavow your employer?” “Do you disavow your sibling?” “Do you disavow the IDW?” “Do you disavow your candidate?” … etc. etc. etc. 

That’s a lot of requests for disavowal, so let me make this easier. When it comes to people I have spent serious time with, the simple answer is a polite but firm ‘No’. The slightly longer answer is “Go bugger yourself. I appreciate that you are offering me a bus under which you believe my friends belong. I well understand that there is always a mob, which hungers not only for justice but sanctimony, attention, entertainment, and excitement, and that my friends may look like a delicious snack to it. But in a gendered context, men haven’t usually course-corrected in this way. We take each other aside, we talk it through, attempting to minimize harm as well as embarrassment, offer support, and in serious circumstances, attempt to find a way back if someone has done something seriously wrong. Occasionally, when we are really not getting through, we have even been known to physically fight each other in private without letting on in public that such a thing has ever occurred. So if you don’t see men taking each other aside, you may easily get confused that nothing is happening. But, that’s not usually my experience. Very often, the difficult conversations are happening, even when what you are seeing are outward signs of support. And perhaps, calling each other out is the new way forward, but, I’m old and set in my ways, and I don’t know how to do that with my friends. So, you kids have fun and I’ll stick with having different public and private reactions from time to time. We can always compare notes at the very end to see whose system actually worked better.”

So, why do I believe the older system, with all its flaws, is better? Isn’t it hypocritical? To me, this is like saying “If you feel that the human body isn’t shameful, you should just go to work naked, as it would be far more honest.” Let’s admit that always saying the same thing in public as you do in private has got a certain, powerful, simple appeal to it. However, it is a disaster to succumb to that appeal.

Permit me to put forward a theory. Society is actually safer with fewer isolated people, and it is safest when we all have a stake in the world. And cancellation? It’s about creating people with no stake in life and no way back. It is an absolute abomination. There is simply no social justice without redemption, statutes of limitations, forgiveness, due process, and grace, full stop. But aside from social justice through cancellation being just about the most heartless, braindead, boneheaded, evil, malignant, repugnant, and self-contradictory idea I have ever had the pleasure to encounter, it is also dangerous. How often do we read about a tragedy involving a loner on a losing streak who mostly kept to himself and had nothing left to lose? That may be extreme, but it gets to the problem of disavowal, cancelation, shame, and repudiation. In short, it’s a recipe for disaster. 

Let me put it in simple terms: the men you depend on to be capable of stopping a bar fight are, somewhat embarrassingly, generally the men who have been in bar fights themselves. The man who stops a drunk buddy from making an ass out of himself, by finding a diplomatic way to exit an incident, is not infrequently a guy who has been drunk and stopped by his buddies from the same kind of idiocies in some earlier phase of his life, like ten years ago, or ten minutes ago. If we were to disavow our buddies for their most boneheaded moments, we’d all generally be forced to disavow ourselves first. We would then keep ourselves and each other from earning a living and would all shun ourselves into social isolation, poverty, and self-harm.

One can hear the response forming immediately in the minds of the Woke, “Dude, how is this not condoning bad behavior?” Well, it would be if every time you saw a man stick up for his friends, that was all that happened. And it is time to tell the world, “That’s not generally what happens. And by inducing everyone to publicly call out their friends for their lapses, we the Internet are ridding ourselves of the most powerful single tool we have to make better men.”

This new social media theory of “no platforming”, “cancelation”, “calling out”, and “shaming” is not a recipe for a happy world, or an ethical one. It’s a recipe for creating a desperate human out of every normal schmuck with a beating heart. In fact, if you have a friend accused of tearing off mattress tags under penalty of law, or murder, or treason, or even stealing adorable helpless puppies to sell their tiny internal organs on eBay, I want you to consider what happens when you disavow that friend or diss that person in public in order to signal to everyone that you know right from wrong in that particular case. 

First of all, the people in front of whom you are disavowing your friend on social media contain many people worse than your friend. So you are selling out your friendship to please acquaintances and strangers, some of whom are doing the same damn things or even worse. Secondly, you are creating a more isolated human being at the exact same moment that someone is in maximal need of love, warmth, guidance, and help. You are generally not successfully signaling virtue to me, but are instead signaling that you are abdicating responsibility for standing by someone who may have done a wrong thing, and who likely needs your loyalty now more than ever. 

Now I bring all of this up to briefly discuss the state of the so-called Intellectual Dark Web. First of all, it doesn’t really fully exist. But if it did, it would not recognize disavowal as a major modality. There are tensions within it, as there have always been, but there are also unwritten rules that have not previously required my commentary. In particular, my friend Sam Harris attempted to very publicly exit the so-called IDW. That’s a bit tricky, since it doesn’t fully exist, and almost no one in it talks about it that much in 2020. So you may be thinking that I am angry at Sam for violating this rule. Oddly, it is closer to being the opposite of that. Sam was quite right, in my opinion, in one sense, and the more important one, and wrong in another of lesser significance. Before this, I heard public remarks about Sam’s inability to understand reality from more than a few people that dismayed me. But in true IDW fashion, I am not going to talk directly about who made those remarks, because the ideas were the problem, and the idea that Sam is not capable of seeing reality is frankly silly. If you aren’t happy about that and feel disappointed, please feel free to get your Internet drama somewhere else. It’s available 24/7. Now to be blunt, I have disagreed with Sam for the four years of this administration on two basic points: 

  1. Whether Donald Trump as Evil Chauncy Gardner (Sam’s concept), or Freakish Strategic Savant (My choice) is a better description.
  2. Whether the Mainstream media is less or more terrifying because it still fact checks, uses compound complex sentences, cares about an appearance of journalistic integrity, and carries gravitas earned in a previous era as it explores new territory, dividing us as a society to serve business and activist models and interests. 

Now I’d love to tell you that I am correct and that Sam is in the wrong, but honestly I don’t know that. I don’t know Sam to be wrong on either point. I simply disagree with him, as we have done openly and cordially over the last four years. What’s more, I would say that Donald Trump’s bizarre challenge to the 2020 election has, so far anyway, been a rare and pretty spectacular late win for Sam’s model over my own of Trump’s strategic intuition. If Sam has Trump Derangement Syndrome, a non-existent pseudo-malady which I don’t really believe in and thus don’t discuss much, then TDS is so far doing a better job at explaining the very end of this term than I feel it was doing at explaining the middle of it. Two cheers for that non-existent TDS that Sam doesn’t have.

What’s more, Sam did not name or shame anyone who named or shamed him by accusing him of getting this wrong. He stuck to the ideas in true IDW fashion. 

And as Sam’s friend Christopher Hitchens once said in a seminar that I attended at the Kennedy School, and the only time I ever met him, “A gentleman is defined to be a man who is never rude by accident.” And Sam is very much a gentleman.

Which brings me to what Sam *is* doing wrong. You don’t leave the IDW by being civil, focusing on ideas, forgoing the ability to stick it to others, holding to your true convictions, or getting things right. I’m sorry, but that’s just not how this works at all. I shouldn’t have to explain this, but you do it instead by being publicly dismissive of members of your group rather than their ideas, trolling, not paying attention to shifting situations like the election, getting captured by your audience, or getting it wrong and not noticing. If the IDW is a protocol as much as it is a group of humans, Sam continued to behave as a gentleman, while others were far closer to trying to leave the group, by at least testing the above boundaries.  

This is why, when Sam published a clip about resigning from the IDW, I chuckled to myself and chose to quote from Hotel California on Twitter. In the words of the Eagles, “Sam: Relax. We are programmed to receive.” Feel free to collect your things, to find the passage back to the place we all were before, as you can, in fact, check out anytime you like. I’ll send for the nightman at once. If you really want to leave, however, you now know what it takes. 

The IDW, like the Hotel California, doesn’t really exist. Maybe it never did, and this was all just a dream in a tongue-in-cheek bad joke of mine that took on a life of its own for a while. But it’s possible there is some reason we still go back to the IDW now and again, just as we do to that tired old song over 40 years later. Or hadn’t you noticed that every time you queue it up to play it again, it proves that we are never really able to leave it fully behind. Which, if you give it a moment’s thought, is exactly what the song’s lyrics foretold. Funny that. 


*Insert guitar solo here.*


Be well everyone. 

You’ve been through The Portal.

Eric joins The Realignment to discuss what’s at stake in the 2020 election and why he’s focused on 2024.