This week’s High Noon guest is popular author and commentator Dave Rubin of The Rubin Report. Given his own journey from the left, Stepman asked Rubin about whether the different parts of the non-left — classical liberals, traditionalists, the new right, etc. — could fit together into a cohesive pushback movement. The two also chatted about the ongoing attempts to cancel Joe Rogan, and how the anti-woke can build parallel institutions, as well as the potential dangers to an integrated society of differing citizens if that effort succeeds.
High Noon is an intellectual download featuring conversations that make possible a free society. The podcast features interesting thinkers from all parts of the political spectrum to discuss the most controversial subjects of the day in a way that hopes to advance our common American future. Hosted by Inez Stepman of Independent Women’s Forum.
Welcome to High Noon, where we talk about controversial subjects with interesting people. Dave Rubin is the host of The Rubin Report and the author of Don’t Burn This Book: Thinking for Yourself in an Age of Unreason. But I’m sure that you’re all familiar with his commentary; his interviews draw millions of viewers to discuss subjects, not just about the politics of the day, but about the search for truth, what it means to be free, all kinds of things that I think maybe 10 years ago none of us would’ve expected would draw millions and millions of people, but there’s such a search for honest conversation, not just about politics, but about what it means to be human. And Dave has been such a great contributor to that conversation. So I’m so pleased to have you, Dave Rubin, here on High Noon.
It’s a pleasure to be with you. Yeah. It seems kind of funny, like why do we have to spend so much time having these conversations that seemingly are about obvious things like truth is good, freedom is good, individual choice is good. I thought we settled a lot of that stuff, but apparently we have not. And just like you, it gives me a lot to do during the day.
Yeah. Absolutely. And you’re famously somebody who has experienced a type of political conversion. You started out more on the left for a long time. You considered yourself or you labeled yourself as a classical liberal. I don’t know if that’s something that you still call yourself, but you certainly engage with the traditionalists, right? You engage with folks who unabashedly call themselves conservative.
And you don’t have that kind of fear of being lumped in, I think, with the right, but some folks who maybe have doubts about wokeism really do. But because you’ve been engaging with all these different parts of the political spectrum and these different coalitions, I’m wondering what you think their future together is, or whether they actually have a future together?
Because if you have sort of left-liberals like Bill Maher or you have classical liberals, conservatives, traditionalists, new right types, meme edgelords types, you have all of these different kinds of people with very different priorities, even different ways of looking at truth and reason and political structure in the most fundamental way.
I mean, what do you think the future of this coalition is? Can it actually come together to do something effective? Can we sort of learn from each other? What’s going to happen with all of these cats in a sack?
Yeah. I like how you’re going to the hardest question first; that should set us up nicely for the rest of the interview. This is the big question, right? As we have watched this very weird realignment of politics, this odd yet perhaps necessary destruction of what was old politically and just the sort of Democrat versus Republican, traditional liberal versus conservative, left versus right thing, which in large part is because Donald Trump came in and just threw the chessboard up or broke through the ice, whatever.
Or he was the bull in the China shop, whatever analogy you want to use. Because he did all that, it has left us now, five years later, in this very weird spot. Now, I would argue that him doing it was necessary, by the way. I mean, we were really on a slow descent to hell without fully realizing it. Trump unearthed a lot of stuff. So now we can all see the fakeness of the media. We can see the collusion of the Democratic party with the media and how, if you fight for basic constitutional rights, basic human rights, you’re often labeled a racist and a Nazi and everything else. So just to be clear about one thing, I absolutely was a lefty and a progressive. I mean, you can find videos — I’m not proud of them — you can find videos of me in 2015 supporting Bernie Sanders. I was on The Young Turks Network.
I mean, that says progressive sort of loony left at this point, I would say, as you can get. And then what happened was I started talking about, well, wait a minute, I thought we lefties were the ones that were supposed to defend individual rights. I thought human dignity and liberty and true tolerance and equality, I thought those were things of the left.
But I saw very early on — because I was part of it — what was so wrong with the left, which now everyone sees, that it’s become this really hegemonic, authoritarian, draconian, I would say, institution. That you have to believe exactly what they believe the second they believe it, otherwise you’re on the out. And I just started talking about that and saying, “Hey, these are not actually the liberal principles that I know of,” speaking of classical liberalism, which is really what I defended in my book, the idea of individual rights of laissez-faire economics, things of that nature. That the left had completely abandoned all those things. That the ACLU of 2022 is the polar opposite of the ACLU of 1971 that was defending the rights of Nazis to march in Skokie, Illinois, which had the highest percentage of Jewish Holocaust survivors in the United States.
But the ACLU actually defended their right to speak freely, however noxious, obviously, their views are. But something had really, really shifted. And I just started talking about that. And I kept saying, we as lefties, sort of the way Bill Maher does it now, five years ago, I was going, “Hey, we lefties, we better think this through. We seem to be abandoning all of our principles. What’s going on here?”
And what happened was that all of these people on the right started saying, “Hey, Dave, I’ll talk to you. Let’s chat about this. Let’s chat about it.” And these people that I thought were evil or racist or something like that, Ben Shapiro, Larry Elder, Glenn Beck, Dennis Prager. What I realized was, boy, maybe I have some political disagreements with them, which at this point now are shrinking almost by the day, but they’re decent people.
And they want to live in the same country that I want to live in. And they want to agree to disagree and respect our differences. And then suddenly all I got was hate from the left, and now everyone sort of sees that. So that’s how I got the sort of initial view, let’s say, of wokeism and cancel culture and all that. But to your questions specifically about can this thing come together?
I think the answer is yes. I really do, but it is a huge if. And if it doesn’t come together, if we think we’re in trouble right now, we’re in much worse trouble. Because the woke thing — you have to give it credit — it has destroyed so much. It has destroyed our political institutions, our cultural institutions.
It has infected all of our corporations. Neo-racism is promoted everywhere. I mean, the stuff that Martin Luther King used to rail against is now the stuff that is pushed on us everywhere. We all know this, right? He didn’t want his children to be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character; that’s the reverse of the way the wokesters are pushing.
So now, can this alliance of, say, traditional conservatives, say religious conservatives, say California conservatives, who maybe aren’t as religious, maybe have different views on even abortion, something like that, throw in the libertarians, who just want the government out of everything altogether, while conservatives generally want some level of government to protect their conservative values.
You threw in a couple of others, the meme lords, and like the whole thing. And then you take the ex-liberals, right? You take these other people that are coming alongside. I would put myself a little more in that libertarian side of this thing. Can we all figure this out? Well, I think we have to figure it out. And it’s going to be extremely uneasy at times, but we have a common enemy, which is an enemy that is here to destroy America.
And if all of the groups that we just mentioned believe that America — that this project is fundamentally good and that you should be able to live in this country regardless of your skin color and that we should treat everyone equally, and then it then comes down to luck and hard work and everything else — but that what America can do is create the conditions for freedom….
And then what I would argue is that the, say, traditional, more religious conservatives, let’s say, they should be trying to keep all of their cultural institutions and religious institutions how they see fit. That’s great. That’s absolutely great, whether those are Catholic institutions or Jewish institutions or whatever that may be. And we can talk about where that can touch related to public and private and government and all of those things.
Then there’ll be the more libertarian side, again, that just want government out of everything, so that maybe they’d want marijuana legalized. Now, traditionally, conservatives don’t really want that, even though they like limited government. So here’s a place where we’re at like a little bit of a loggerhead, right? Conservatives, they don’t want drugs legalized because they’re worried about the slippery slope. Libertarians want more personal choice. I think these are all things that we can work through. I don’t know how we’re going to do all of it. And I think that there’s a bunch of us trying to do it, but if we don’t do it, it’s over. We all sense that. The America of 2022 right now is very, very different than America of two years ago, this very month, right? It really is because this was just, February of 2020 was just when COVID lockdowns were about to start.
If we could all reset that clock and go back to that, I’m pretty sure most of us would. And most of us might be grabbing ourselves and going, “Man, wake up this moment because you’re about to give a whole hell of a lot away.” And if we could just reset to that and say, “Okay. We got some differences, but the religious conservative is not the enemy of the libertarian or even the ex-liberal.”
Is it going to be messy? Are we going to disagree about some foreign policy stuff and some border stuff? And again, even abortion, which is obviously the biggest one for conservatives usually? Yes, it’s going to be messy. But I would say, I’m optimistic on it. I’m bullish on it. And I just see no choice. The other choice is much worse. The other choice ends with us in the Gulag. I would prefer not to do that.
Yeah. I mean, I totally agree with you that I do think that this impulse, this whatever we call it, wokeism or whatever — I just haven’t found a better word than wokeism — not because it’s offensive in any way, but it seems through, over use, to get less precise. And that bothers me, but there is this ideology that, as you say, has infected public and private institutions, virtually every hall of power, virtually every pipeline to be able to push any levers of power, whether those are government or private levers of power. But I wanted to ask you, because you still do consider yourself more of a libertarian — I’ve made plenty of critiques of libertarianism on the show, but I do think that there is a “leave me alone” impulse in the American soul still, right? Whether you call it Jeffersonian, whether you call it kind of a more base kind of a reaction, Americans usually have a usually very strong cultural reaction against being told what to do. They’re sort of crotchety in that way. What is left of this Jeffersonian impulse in America considering the lockdowns, right?
We’re watching what’s happening in Canada with the truckers. In America, it seems federalism has kind of tamped down a little bit on that pushback impulse because people are able to sort themselves into, people who are really against it can move to Florida, and so on. I mean, where do you see that Jeffersonian impulse against these kinds of restrictions going in the next several months, especially now, as it seems, there are blue state governors who are starting to roll back some of these mandates?
Yeah. It’s a great question. Because first off, I would say, even though I do have some libertarian impulses, obviously, and I don’t want the government to have that much power, I don’t think the government should have no power. I don’t describe myself as an anarchist, a guy like Michael Malice, who I’m sure you’re familiar with, who is a good buddy of mine, who I’ve had on the show a million times. I love him.
I think he’s such a great political thinker. I’m not in the same camp as him. I love those conversations, but I’m not there. I would say I’ve actually gone more towards sort of the base conservative position because it’s a position we can fight from. And I think we really do need to fight. But let’s hold that for a second so I can answer your question specifically, which is that what you just described there, the idea that we are going back to the federalist system is actually quite beautiful, and it also shows you that the system that our founders laid out really did have, well, hopefully had enough trap doors that, when the bad guys were really there, we were going to be able to figure out ways around them. Look, I’m a guy that spent the last eight years of my life in California, in Los Angeles, the hotbed of leftism.
I fought very hard for the recall of Gavin Newsom, who I think is the worst of most of the things that we’re going to talk about here. I campaigned with Larry Elder, who was a good decent man, who did not want to be a politician but felt that it was being thrust upon him because of how bad the system was there. It did not work, obviously did not work. And then, three days after the recall, I was audited by the state of California.
I mean, how much more do you want that these people use the levers, as you said, the levers of power, they use them to punish their political opponents? That was the final straw for me. I mean, obviously, I was very frustrated in California for two years at least. That was the final straw. I’m in Florida now, and it’s like living in another country. And guess what? That’s good. It’s good. It’s great, actually, that I live in a state that now is aligned, for the most part, with my views. Now look, there are plenty of people that are Democrats or liberals that are not happy with DeSantis. I think they’re obviously very misguided because if they want to wear a mask, they can wear a mask. And if they don’t want to go out, they don’t have to go out.
But the federalist system — the idea that we have these states that are operating independently, so this experiment can move around, and you can choose where you want to live with your foot vote — is a beautiful, beautiful thing. So I think we’re just going to have to do more and more of that. Look, I want us to remain the United States of America. I think this is a worthy experiment, and this country has done extraordinary things in 200 years. More people have come here from all walks of life, every corner of the earth, to free themselves and free their ancestors, and they’ve done it. They’ve done it. I know, I don’t know where your grandparents are from, but I guarantee you, you have it better than they do. I know it. I don’t even have to ask. I know that you do.
And I do too. And every time I’ve ever gone to a college event, when I ask that question, almost without exception, everyone knows that to be true. There are some really weird exceptions to that. Like if your grandparents or your great-grandparents were oil tycoons in America in the 1920s, maybe you don’t have it as good as them, but I think you get the point. And we have to protect something that was so good.
We let the barbarians in. Douglas Murray, who I’m sure you’re familiar with, who’s a great British conservative, he has a line that I often quote. It’s like, “The barbarians are at the gate and we’re basically debating what gender pronoun to call them.” This is a problem. They’re here, the communists, the wokesters, whatever you want to call that thing, that it is here, and we must stop debating the nitty-gritty of it and figure out how to fight it. And I think we do that by going to different states, focusing on your local community, et cetera.
So at what point, then — because I also am a huge proponent of federalism. I think it has shown the wisdom of the founder system over the last two years. But there is a point where, you said it yourself, you feel like you’re going to a different country. At what point does this sorting, this great political sorting, realign itself truly into two different countries?
I mean, at what point does — you still have to have because, even in a Federalist system, you have to agree, especially actually in a country like America where there are so many people with different creeds, different religions, different backgrounds, different ethnic composition and their families, different commitments, different, I mean, everything. We are an incredibly polyglot society.
And what I worry about is that, at this point, when there is nobody in the public square, there’s virtually no proposition that you and I can state at whatever level of abstraction about America that’s going to garner even, let’s say, 80 or 90% of the population behind it, because the left has moved away from some of those more basic fundamental things like America is good.
The American system was wise. It has created prosperity and freedom for so many generations of Americans, even things as basic as that are highly contested in that context to have folks sort of separating themselves physically. Do you ever worry about the fact that we’re building parallel systems?
Yes. And it may just be, I don’t want to say a necessary evil, because I don’t know that it’s inherently evil. It may just be a necessary construct that we have to deal with. Let’s put it that way. So if you just see what’s going on in America right now, we’ve covered this on my show a whole bunch, obviously, because of my move.
But hundreds of thousands of people, almost 400,000 people, moved out of California in the last year and a half roughly. California had its first net loss population ever as a state during COVID. And where are they all moving? They’re moving to Texas, they’re moving to Tennessee and to Florida. New York is losing population. Where are they going? The same places.
Nobody, I mean, there’s really nobody that is saying “I can’t take it in Florida, where they have basically left us alone. I’m moving to New York. And I would like to pay 10% more in income tax. I would like to be locked down. Not sure if I can go to work. I’d like my kids to be in masks forever,” et cetera, et cetera. So now the problem is that Florida is freaking flourishing right now. The economy is strong. Everywhere that I go, people are happy.
They’re out and about. If anything, I’m in the Miami area. It’s like, we got a lot of traffic now because everybody’s… That’s what the old Miami residents are complaining about because now so many people have come here. But I can tell you, I live in the suburbs, and the area that I’m in, they’re knocking down houses left and right, construction everywhere, house prices are high because so many people are moving in.
So people that have been here for a long time are going to get more money for their houses. There is a system here that is flourishing, really, really flourishing. The Miami mayor, as you know, Suarez. This guy has welcomed the tech people here. And the tech people who are more libertarian, generally, although San Francisco went woke, I think they really understand why they’re here right now.
And they’re, I think, going to vote the right way. I certainly hope they’re going to vote the right way. The problem is that as Florida, specifically, because I think Florida’s really the model. As Florida flourishes, and New York and California continue to crumble — I mean, think about this, Gavin Newsom who, I genuinely believe he is an evil person. I don’t know how to say it in any other way after everything he’s done in the last two years and the way he treated Larry Elder.
He now is lifting his mask mandate because, you alluded to it earlier, they’re finally coming around on this because they realize they’re going to get crushed in the midterms. And by the way, watch the way the media is going to somehow over the next six months twist it so that people will think that it was the Democrats who always wanted to open things up and the Republicans who always wanted to keep things closed.
But Gavin Newsom, he’s opening up. But still, the head of the department of health in Los Angeles is still saying, “No, we’re not going to open up.” It’s like, it never ends in these bureaucratic nightmarish systems. And what’s going to happen is, the more that Florida flourishes and the more that New York loses its tax base because the wealthy people are leaving, the more that the average Californian just can’t take it anymore and maybe they move to Arizona, if they don’t want to come all the way across the country, the blue states will not allow the red states to flourish. This is the answer to your question is the red states will do just fine. And they won’t ask anything of the blue states. You never see people in red states or politicians in red states like, “we want the tax money of the people in the blue states, we want them to do this,” but you see it the other way. And that’s why Newsom knows, no matter how badly he runs California, what happens? He gets federal government money, which is taxpayer money, obviously, to bail himself out. But now if you’re the good, decent citizen of Florida who has voted in the right person, say DeSantis in this case, the right senators. You’ve lived your life roughly honestly and decently within your means.
And now you realize that any of your tax dollars, your federal tax dollars, are going to bail out these leftist lunatics in California, you’re going to be really pissed. And also, the next step of this, which is really dystopian, is at what point do these people that love federal government power, mostly Democrats, start leveraging that to, I don’t know what that means exactly, but to really infringe on the rights of the free states?
So we’re going to have free states that are going to have to figure out how to band together. I don’t know if that means more national guard or controlling their own borders differently. I know this is all crazy stuff, at some level, but it’s being discussed in a lot of these base circles that you and I are in.
Our buddy David Reaboi has been talking about this for quite some time, that maybe we need this national divorce. I don’t really like it, because I think we’ll end up in a sort of perpetual cold war. But I think the best thing we can do right now is to hopefully live in a place that is roughly close to your means or your way of life and do the best you can to fight for it and then we see, I think that’s it.
So I live in New York and I moved here from California originally. So I’m from the San Francisco Bay Area, all that kind of… So moved to DC —
Lord, you’ve done it.
— [crosstalk 00:21:54] years. So I’ve never really lived in a place that reflects my values. But I think the more important thing, so some people do this by moving, others do it by trying to do it where they are, even if they disagree with the surroundings.
But it seems to me that you’re right about building something outside of the traditional structures, whether that’s by moving to a wholly different jurisdiction in another state or whether that’s, for example, building an alternative to the corporate media model, whether that’s building an alternative to tech power.
One of the things that happened just recently here, of course, is that Rumble, the company that is merged with your company Locals, has made this enormous offer to Joe Rogan for $100 million to come off of the Spotify platform, where there has been all this attendant pressure on him to take down some of his episodes, to apologize, all the usual cancel culture stuff that we are now very familiar with, this playbook. It’s been run against a lot of other people. Could you tell us a little bit about that offer and then why that’s important, not just in terms of making sure that people can experience the Joe Rogan experience, right?
But also, what that kind of competition within the tech space might actually mean for fighting back against what seems to be a pretty universal cultural collusion among a bunch of these companies that they don’t want dissenting voices to use their products, and by that primarily to get out views that they don’t agree with?
I like that one, Inez, cultural collusion, because that’s what it is. That’s what they really are doing. It’s corporate cultural collusion. Look, this thing is much bigger than Joe Rogan. So yeah, I created Locals, which basically was a subscription model sort of to fight Patreon and help get me and the show that I do, The Rubin Report, off of the rails of big tech.
And then we started building out a really great feature set where you’d own the data, and you’d own the content. And we had our own video player. We have our own video player, and you can livestream from your phone, all this cool stuff. And then I realized, “Hey, you can’t fight big tech alone.” And then Rumble came along and they said, “Hey, we’re building really a replacement to Amazon AWS and YouTube.”
So we merged the companies about six months ago. I’ll tell you the total truth as to what happened with the Rogan thing. I was at a big Rumble meeting, they were having their sort of first-ever corporate meeting with most of the employees from all over the world in Sarasota, Florida, on Monday. We were at a dinner on Sunday night to sort of kick off the day, and we were all talking about the Rogan thing because, obviously, that’s the big cultural moment right now. And I said, “Hey, we really need to do something that changes the game. Why don’t we just offer Rogan $100 million bucks.” Now 100% honestly, I have no idea how much Rumble has in the bank. I was just saying something like, let’s shock the system. That’s what I kept saying. “Let’s shock the system.”
Well, Chris, who is the Rumble CEO, was sitting across from me at the table. And he is like, “Yeah, I like it. I like it. We should do that.” And he turned to the lawyer and he said, “Could we do that?” And the lawyer was kind of freaked out for a second. He’s like, “I don’t know. We have to talk to the accountants or look at the books.”
Chris walked away, came back about 10 minutes later, he made a couple calls, talked to the powers that be, the money people. And they said we could go ahead and do it. And we wrote that… I actually wrote that release that went live on Rumble’s Twitter. I wrote it on my phone. That’s exactly the text that we used the next morning. And the offer is totally legit. And I said it on Fox this morning, and I’ll say it on your show right now. If Rogan, I know he has obviously heard of the offer at this point. Look, we’re offering 100 million bucks to have you be completely uncensored, put all of your episodes back. When he signed the deal with Spotify originally, two years ago or so, year and a half ago, whatever it is, he allowed himself to have 46 episodes removed.
So he knew at some level that this was going to happen, right? Because when you signed your name on the dotted line for the 100 mil, it was already there. The problem was already there. Now, it’s something like another 80 or so are gone, including Michael Malice — two of his that we mentioned before. So we’re offering Rogan a chance to, “Hey, take the money and run, man. We’re going to put all your stuff up, and you can do whatever you want to do.”
Nobody thinks Joe Rogan’s a racist. Nobody thinks Joe Rogan is a misinformation specialist who’s killing people. If you’re worried about misinformation, you should be far more worried about CNN than you should be about Joe Rogan. So the offer is legit and it’s a starting point, by the way. It’s like, let his people negotiate.
Let’s see. But we’re trying, we’re really trying. You can’t just talk about these things this, you know this. You can’t just talk about these things. You got to try to do something about them. And this is our way of trying to do something.
Do you worry that, just like folks who tried to do something about the censorship on Twitter, right, and then there were these alternatives Gab, Parler. You started one, of course, yourself, which wasn’t really, it was more of a… Locals is not… It has a lot more than Twitter. It’s not just —
Yeah. It was more of Patreon [crosstalk 00:27:10] competitor than a Twitter competitor. Yeah.
Yeah. But don’t you worry that this will just get kicked up one level back? And maybe this is something that you guys have talked about at Rumble, Locals, but the very infrastructure of the internet being able to access the equivalent, I guess, the equivalent — and I’m not a tech person — but the equivalent would be being able to use the roads, right? Being able to use the basic infrastructure, even if you have a separate company that’s a competitor for Amazon or for Twitter. It seems like the whole battle just gets kicked back one more level. I mean, are you guys building out “your entire internet,” is that the idea?
Yeah. That is the idea. And that’s what Rumble is doing. That’s why we wanted to do this merger. So when most people think of Rumble, they think it’s a YouTube competitor because that’s what the sort of front-facing side of Rumble is. If you go to rumble.com, it looks like YouTube. So people think it’s just a place for video. What rumble really is, is infrastructure of the internet.
It’s an Amazon AWS replacement. So Amazon AWS, Amazon Web Services, that’s what pretty much everyone uses to get online, to put their website on. It’s the sort of ubiquitous server farm of the internet. So Parler, which is the best example of what you’re talking about — after January 6th, we all know what happened. Amazon just blew them up.
They literally just pressed a button. I don’t know if it’s a physical button or it’s a dial or it’s touch screen or whatever. But they, in effect, they pressed a button, and they blew up a website that was a functioning business with 23 million users in essence for no good reason, by the way, because we now know that there was far more coordination regarding the January 6th events on Facebook than there were on Parler.
It’s a whole other separate discussion whether anyone should have been blown up or censored or anything — my general belief would be no — but we cannot be blown up that way. Rumble has incredible, incredible infrastructure. Now, I will be very clear that that is not the only problem. There are payment processor problems, meaning the banks can shut you down, Stripe can shut you down. All of those things.
We’re now working with a new payment processor. We’re making sure that users own their data so that if something happens — let’s say something really did happen, that we can’t even explain right now, that we just haven’t solved yet — you still have your data. So we’re dealing with this in, I think, the most holistic way. Look, I’m not going to sit here and BS you like we’ve solved all of the problems of the internet.
And of course, there’s obviously, most of this ultimately will come down to truly decentralized options where they just can’t take out one thing. But there’s problems with decentralization, too, because once something’s fully decentralized — I mean, this was literally the plot of Silicon Valley. The show on HBO. All sorts of horrible stuff can be on there, I’m telling you.
Child porn and snuff films and how to build bombs, whatever it might be. I mean, evil stuff. And it’s like, do you want to give those tools to lots of bad people? These are all things that have to be grappled with and dealt with from a, I would say a philosophical perspective, from a political perspective, from a moral perspective, legal perspective, et cetera.
So we’re doing the best we can, but your question is completely on point, like where are all the choke-off points? So we’re dealing with the infrastructure one, we’re dealing with the payment processor one, we’re dealing with the data one, but there are others. And unfortunately, I can’t tell you everything that we’re working on, obviously, because not everybody likes us. It’s weird.
I mean, so I’m thinking about the last week and a half, or actually extended out to the last two or three weeks here, we have at least three different modes of essentially getting at somebody whose beliefs were outside of the parameters of what is set by, not the majority of the American people, most of these… but by essentially, and I’m highly conscious that I use this phrase literally every podcast, but the managerial class or an elite class.
Mm-hmm (affirmative). I know, it’s like trying to come up with the right word for that without sounding conspiratorial or something. But there’s this set of acceptable views that are created by somebody, whatever the hell that is, whatever you want to call that, I think is what we’re talking about here.
Yeah. As somebody who does come from the right and was conservative and has been conservative for a long time, these class arguments don’t roll easily off my tongue, right? I very much believe in the American free enterprise system and the ability of people to fail and succeed. And I don’t believe in that, for example, we shouldn’t have any billionaires, right?
But there does seem to be a certain amount of class hardening in America and kind of I’m unable to avoid that that’s actually the analysis or the lens through which a lot of things that are happening around us make most sense. But we have these three different incidents, right? We have what we just talked about with Joe Rogan. We have what happened to Ilya Shapiro in Georgetown Law.
He’s on administrative leave for a view that, on the base of it, in terms of selecting Supreme Court justices without regard to the color of their skin or their sex, 76% of Americans agree with. And then you have somebody who’s truly on the fringes, Michelle Malkin, who was refused service from, not from Twitter, not from a tech company, but from Airbnb.
Right. And we’ve had kind of similar instances like that where banks have refused to either process payments or banks have refused to actually open accounts for, for example, the NRA, right? So it seems that this tech collusion problem has gone well, well beyond social media or a handful of companies like Amazon and Google. And it has now jumped into real life.
To the point where, if they decide that you are obnoxious, whether the majority of Americans agree with that assessment or not, you do not have access potentially to a lot of services in real life. And competitors have been slow to spring up. I mean, I know that’s what you’re working on over there at Rumble, but do you think this is the beginning of a type of social credit system?
And how do we deal with that kind of social credit system when perhaps it’s not enforced by government? Because I think sort of all these different critiques from the right, it’s easy for us to at least theoretically deal with the idea of government censorship. We say, okay, the First Amendment, we don’t believe that government has the right to impinge on these natural rights that people have, including to the freedom of speech.
When it’s a private system and an entirely private system that is nonetheless colluding with each other, so that the natural remedies of the market are at least stifled in terms of just being able to take your business elsewhere, what do we do with that in terms of preserving freedom?
Because I don’t think there’s actually all that much difference in the end of the day between the government enforcing censorship, where you go to jail if you say the wrong thing, and saying you can’t get a job, you can’t travel, you can’t hold a bank account. I mean, that is more than enough to shut most people up.
That would send an awful lot of people to Squid Games. If you didn’t watch that show on Netflix, you should, because it sort of explains a bit of it. Well, first off, we should just briefly mention just the hypocrisy of the whole thing. I mean, the idea that Michelle Malkin, regardless of whether you agree with her politically or not, that she can’t go to an Airbnb because of her beliefs.
I mean, the same people who will applaud that all day long, “Oh, see, they’re stopping this hateful woman.” Those are the same people who would tell you that the baker should have to bake a cake against his own religious free will. I would not force that baker to bake a cake, but hypocrisy sort of knows no bounds these days. So putting the hypocrisy aside, this is why we have to build new things.
It’s coming, the social credit score. Glen Beck just wrote a whole book about it. I had him on my show last week. I mean, he’s talking a lot about this. This was conspiracy stuff two years ago, right? This is what Alex Jones was screaming about two years ago. And now everyone’s sort of realizing it’s here. Why would you demand that everyone have a vaccine passport to go to a football game or to enter McDonald’s?
Is it really about the vaccine passport or, once they have that, that piece of identification, then they can associate that with all their other behaviors and what you say online, and can we listen to you when you’re at home because you’ve got Alexa? And all of these really crazy dystopian things. Yeah. It’s all kind of coming here. And you’re right, people are being denied bank accounts and a whole bunch of other things.
So what do we do? I mean, it’s the same thing. I mean, you’re a free-market person too. It’s like the best thing we can do is build better things that are not affected by this. And this is where you have to give the devil his due. The way they infected all of the institutions culturally, economically, politically, educationally. It’s extraordinary what they did.
There’s a lot of people that have talked about this quite extensively — James Lindsay is one of them — in terms of how they did it over decades, really starting through the universities, but it leaked out everywhere, they captured all of the institutions, and you have people like the CEO of Spotify basically apologizing for having The Joe Rogan Show on his network, even though it’s the number one show on the network, obviously, and generates a ton of revenue. He’s apologizing to a bunch of 22-year-olds who work at the company in HR.
And it won’t just stop with the apology. This thing is a totalitarian set of ideas that is designed — purely designed, not accidentally designed — it is designed to topple the entire American enterprise, and thus the Western world.
So the best thing that we can do is build separate structures and build them properly, whether it is the Amazon AWS replacement, or whether it is a freaking hardware store, or whether you as a general contractor, whatever you might be in your business, you are going to hire and work with people aligned with your views.
It’s a sort of depressing thing in a certain respect. But here, let’s put it this way. I have two companies. I don’t run Locals anymore, but I’m involved, obviously, in Locals. But I have my production company that runs my show, so I have several employees and people at my houses, where my studio is, people come in and out.
I don’t demand that everyone that works with me believes the same things that I believe politically; I don’t know everyone’s political beliefs. But I would never allow a wokester to work for me. You can call that discrimination or whatever it might be, but I would never allow it. I would not allow, even if that person said I’m the best programmer or I’m the best director or whatever it might be, I would never allow them in.
They’re here to destroy something. And we must build things with the safeguards to ensure that we don’t allow those barbarians to come into the gate, but they’re in the gate everywhere. The only choice, I mean, unless you’ve got something that I’ve never heard of, the only choice is to build better things.
So I’ve been thinking a lot about this distinction that you just pointed to, right? Which is this frame of association than what we fought for, for the baker, right? For Jack Phillips to determine that he did not want to bake a cake for a gay wedding. I think it’s important to make that distinction because it wasn’t that he was turning away gay customers. It was that [crosstalk 00:39:10].
Right. Which of course, they never tell you that in mainstream media, that it wasn’t that he didn’t let them into the store to buy something that was on the shelf, which would’ve been against the Civil Rights Act. It was a custom cake. And by the way — I’m sorry to interrupt you — but by the way, everyone knows that if there was a painter who took commissions online, that was a Jewish painter, would you force them to paint Nazi imagery if a white nationalist said, “I want you to actually paint Jews going to the gas chambers in Auschwitz”?
No one in their right mind would say, “Yes, that artist should be forced to take that commission.” But this is, again, there’s no end to the hypocrisy. So it’s like now, “Yes. Yes. We’re very, very proud of Airbnb for stopping Michelle Malkin.”
Yeah. And that’s one of the legal distinctions between these cases, but the broader societal distinction that I’ve been thinking a lot about is the fact that, the phrase I used before, this cultural collusion, right? It’s not really a problem if Twitter kicks off me or you. It’s not a problem in itself in isolation, right, because then you think, “Okay, well, I can go to Facebook or I can go to YouTube or I can go to wherever, so I can express my views and communicate to people online from these different companies.” And similarly, it’s not really a problem if Airbnb turns away Michelle Malkin because somebody says, “I don’t want to work with this person. I think her views are noxious. I don’t want to work with this person.”
The real problem is that we know if she’s turned away from Airbnb, she will be turned away from Uber. If she’s turned away from Uber, she will be turned away from Lyft, if she’s turned away from… And one very concrete way I’ve been thinking about this is that…. There was the Equality Act, was debated in Congress, right?
And it included a very controversial aspect which was putting gender identity into the Civil Rights Act, right? So all the arguments we’re having about whether biological men should be able to participate in women’s sports, whether they should be able to be housed in prison, for example, with biologically female inmates. All of these questions, right?
This is very, very controversial. I’m on one side of them, but this is something that Americans are debating hotly right now. And this piece of legislation would take a radical position on that — federal law, you’re not allowed to “discriminate” which would mean to distinguish between men and women biologically in any context.
Okay. There’s a list of companies that support that legislation. There’s a letter that was sent to Congress. If you can name a household American company name that is not on that list, I will pay you. Right? If you don’t like Delta’s politics, Southwest is on there too, so is American. All major pharmaceutical companies, every major bank, Walmart, Amazon, right?
There’s very little ability to actually take your business somewhere else where these companies, they’re not colluding in the traditional antitrust sense where they’re sitting down and saying, “we’re going to create a monopoly, we’re going to raise the prices, and there won’t be any competitive effect to bring the price down because customers will have nowhere to go.”
But what they are saying is we all came through the same universities, we all share the same cultural ideology, and if one of us locks out a group of people from our product, we can count on the fact that the rest of the sector will follow. And therefore, they don’t really have to worry about competing with each other for that customer because they can count on that cultural collusion, which is not at all the case with an individual small business.
It’s not the case with a cake shop. In that one town, there are doubtless countless cake shops that would be happy to bake that cake for that gay wedding. So there is a natural kind of alternative for people with different views to associate how they please and still be able to participate in the public square and to be participants in an economy. I don’t know that when you have this type of agreement across sectors, across huge corporations, that…. The same solutions don’t work.
Yeah. I agree. I agree. That’s why I’m not sitting here telling you like, “Oh, we’ve solved all of this.” And as I always say when it comes to big tech, censorship, it’s like, I’m not that concerned about the things we know they’re doing, like shadow banning. I’m more concerned about the things we have no idea that they’re doing.
We have literally no idea how these people are manipulating us in ways that we can’t imagine, whether it’s through our YouTube feed…. If they just want to completely change your view politically, could they just keep feeding you things one way or another or radically alter your recommended videos so that within two weeks they can completely rewire you?
I don’t know. I really don’t know. I mean, there’s some studies on that and some people have tried to figure out some of that stuff, but you’re right on the corporate collusion side. I mean, look at it this way. When Trump, after January 6th, was kicked off everything. Now, how did he get kicked off everything? These are independent companies. How did they all suddenly within 24 hours decide to make the right move?
I actually asked Peter Thiel about this. And what he said was, it’s not purely like Jack from Twitter gets on the phone with Zuckerberg and he is like, “Let’s do it now.” And then they get on the phone with the Pinterest guy, whoever that is or gal, “Let’s do it.” It’s not that. What he said basically, is the way they operate because of what you just laid out. They come from the same places. Their identities are so forged from the same muck that basically once somebody does it, everyone does it. Like, “Oh, you’ve given us the green light to do the thing.” So you could even go back even further than that. I mean, when they took out Alex Jones, how did he get taken out on all of these things at the same time? Again, it doesn’t matter what you think about Alex Jones.
It doesn’t matter what you think about Sandy Hook. It doesn’t matter what you think about any of those things. How did these huge structures all come to the same conclusion at roughly the same time? It’s because of exactly what you just laid out there. So the real question is, well, then what do we do to fight these things that seem insurmountably huge? David beat Goliath. I mean, I really believe that.
I believe in the individual. It is the story that has been told a million times before us and will be told a million times after us. And I don’t think that these amorphous companies that sort of represent nobody, Facebook has morphed into Meta now, right? Nobody really wants to live in the metaverse, right? Nobody does. We all don’t.
We all know that we don’t. We’ve all seen enough sci-fi movies to know this ends horribly with robots killing us and Skynet being turned on. We all know that bad stuff is on the horizon because of algorithms and robots, and humans will be the imperfect creature in the supposed perfect system. But we don’t do anything about it. We don’t do anything about it.
Well, nobody represents the individual anymore. So that it just keeps going. Meta, it’s like, is there is anyone at Meta, at the offices being like, “You know, maybe it’s not the greatest thing for the future of humanity that we’re going to strap virtual reality helmets on and we’re going to live in this virtual planet and they’re going to stick a feeding tube in our mouth. And we’ll basically be in some combination of idiocrasy and total recall or something like that.”
We all know that’s not the future we really want, right? We all know it, but nobody there represents the individual. So these companies end up representing these ideas that are often bad ideas, because bad ideas are usually easier to spread, and then we end up in a situation like this. So I don’t know that I answered your question exactly, other than, we have a lot of things we have to do somewhat quickly.
I mean, I think, if I pull out one thing that you just said, it’s that they form their identities out of the same muck. I think the identity part is really important because why are people attracted to the idea of the metaverse, which, I think there are people who are very attracted to this idea. It’s because there is such a collapse of meaning.
And this is not unique to America. It’s definitely something that the whole Western world has experienced, but in the hole left by defining yourself through family or through religion, organized religion, or through civic organizations or, for that matter, as a member of a nation. All of these traditional bases for… And by traditional, I just mean this is how human beings have formed their most sort of core identities for millennia.
All of those solutions seem untenable in modern life. And I think that’s a large part of why, for example, the woke are so, they have that religious fervor, as John McWhorter has pointed out many times. Or why people seem to make decisions that, to you and I, sound like total recall or sound like dystopia. But if you’re alone, you don’t have close relationships with your family, maybe your family was never sort of a unit to begin with, you’ve been shut down for the last two years, you probably didn’t have a lot of friends to begin with, and now perhaps you have none, except for these online communities, your real identity starts to become who you are on these online communities, and the metaverse sounds really great, because then you can attach a whole body to that, right?
In the metaverse, because that seems so much more appealing than the difficulties of real life. Do you think that we are going to be able to fight these political battles, absent finding, whether it’s a return to some of these previous forms of identity or strong sense of self out of those things or whether it’s something that you and I probably have no idea what it looks like, but moving beyond the postmodern into perhaps the post-post-postmodern? I don’t know. But it seems to me that that —
Yeah. Yeah. That’s a scary place, but there’s definitely —
… fundamental problem of meaning has to be solved.
Yeah. There’s definitely a room or whatever they’re going to have, whatever they call it in the metaverse for the post-post-postmodern world, I don’t know if they’re rooms or universes or galaxies or whatever they call it. Well, look, you know I toured with Jordan Peterson for about a year and a half and we went to about 20 countries, 120 stops, and it was an extraordinary time.
And Jordan is grappling with this, I would say, at the highest possible level. How do we reconnect, I would say, to meaning at an individual level and at a societal level, in a time of odd technological adolescence and with this weird new world on the horizon that we can all see? And yes, I think you’re right, I should have said it a little clearer.
Some of us are rushing towards it and are very excited to throw the helmet on because they feel that their lives are so miserable. So it’s not that everyone thinks it’s so bad, but I think people that are a little more thoughtful in how humanity works are probably a little more wary of the thing. But we all know that this world is on the horizon, the old world is ending, what happened to meaning and all of these things. All of the traditional beliefs and lessons that were churned throughout the ages that have been taught from a biblical perspective or through cultural perspectives or whatever your religious traditions are, et cetera, et cetera. We’re throwing an awful lot out right now.
I would say, first, that the atheists, the really known atheists, they have a lot of this on their hands, unfortunately. That is not to say that you cannot be an atheist and a good person. Of course. I always have to say that. Of course, you can be, and I have some friends that are atheists, although even my atheist friends are kind of starting to shake a little bit at the moment. But the atheists, it’s my belief, my belief that whether you believe you believe or you don’t, you do. Humans end up believing in something one way or another. That there is something so fundamentally part of the human experience that it’s not just this thing right here and now, it’s not just me talking to you in this moment. It’s not just the wires that we’re speaking through and the computers that people are watching this on and the devices. There is something that has stretched through time that is fundamentally part of the human experience that you need to believe in. You need to, to function.
If you don’t believe in something, you will end up mostly believing in only what is now. And by the way, that’s why so many well-known atheists all sort of lost their minds over Trump because they didn’t believe in God, but they started believing that Trump was the devil because the desire for need is so important. So I think they have a lot to grapple with on that front because what that did, then, was create the conditions for America to become such a secular society — that, although I’m for secularism in, of course, in your own life, and I don’t want to force anyone to be religious per se or something like that — but if you blow up all of the stuff that got us to an extraordinary place of freedom, where we, in essence, destroyed racism, we pretty much did in America, and they couldn’t leave well enough alone.
And this was the fault of the liberals. Because they decided equality wasn’t good enough, we got to go to equity, and then that became a religion. A religion that they’re always chasing. So we have to return to some of this stuff. And this actually sort of brings us back to where we started, because you asked me about some of the traditional conservatives and, let’s say, more religious types, and how can they blend that understanding — which obviously, if they’re watching this and they hear me say that they’re going, “All right, Dave, I’m with you,” but you see maybe a little still more on the libertarian side of things. Well, it’s like, “All right. Great. That’s a great spot for us to all to talk.” And that’s really where I want to focus my energies because that’s the place that we have to fix if we’re going to do this going forward.
Well, thank you so much, Dave Rubin, for coming on High Noon. I think they blow stuff up, as you just said, then our project truly has to be built. So I think that’s what you’re doing with your show, with Rumble, with Locals, really trying to build a world in which we can have the kind of conversations that we just had today and have them mean something in our lives. So thank you so much, Dave Rubin, for coming on High Noon.
I enjoyed talking to you.