Ben Weingarten

Reader. Writer. Thinker. Commentator. Truth Seeker.

Category: Big Ideas with Ben Weingarten Podcast

Confucius Institutes: Centers of Chinese Cultural Exchange, or Trojan Horses for Propaganda and Penetration of U.S. College Campuses?

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My Guest

Rachelle Peterson is director of research projects at the National Association of Scholars (NAS), an organization dedicated to upholding “the standards of a liberal arts education that fosters intellectual freedom, searches for the truth, and promotes virtuous citizenship.” In that position, she has published numerous reports on trends in academia that threaten these values and principles, including one on the subject of this podcast titled Outsourced to China: Confucius Institutes and Soft Power in American Higher Education. Mrs. Peterson’s research and commentary has been published in outlets such as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, and Commentary magazine. She has discussed her research on the Wall Street Journal’s Opinion Journal and on numerous radio shows.

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Deep Dive on the Declaration of Independence and its Values, Principles and Relevance to Modern America

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Episode Summary

For Independence Day, I take a deep dive into the Declaration of Independence, discussing its unique place in human history and the cause of freedom; the link between natural law and natural rights, faith and freedom; the Founders’ emphasis on virtue and morality to sustain a free system of limited government; parallels between the charges laid out against King George III in the Declaration and today’s federal Leviathan from the administrative state to sanctuary cities; the Founders’ views on slavery, Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass and failing to live up to the values and principles of the Declaration; the imperative to defend liberty against tyranny.

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Democrat Pollster Doug Schoen on Life Lessons from Politics, Learning from Clinton and Nixon, Threats from China and Russia and Our Damaged Institutions


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My Guest

Doug Schoen has been one of the most influential Democratic campaign consultants for over thirty years. A founding partner and principal strategist for Penn, Schoen & Berland, he is widely recognized as one of the co-inventors of overnight polling. He has advised presidents, prime ministers and titans of private industry. He is the author of multiple books; his most recent include Putin’s Master PlanThe Nixon Effect (interview here), and Return to Winter: Russia, China, and the New Cold War Against America (interview here). Schoen is a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and various other newspaper and online publications as well as Fox News.

Even though Doug and I disagree on several political issues, I am proud to call him a mentor and friend. His insights on politics and policy are not at all clouded by ideology, something rare in the world of punditry and prognostication. And his experience, judgment and wisdom are unparalleled. Perhaps most importantly, Doug and I share a love of country and belief in the imperative to defend it.

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Penn Law’s Amy Wax on Being Ousted from Her First-Year Class Over Comments on Race, Performance and Bourgeois Values, Attacks on Free Speech, Criticism of Affirmative Action and Diversity, Hard Truths, Anti-Western Colleges

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My Guest

Amy Wax is the Robert Mundheim Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where she specializes in social welfare law and policy as well as the relationship of the family, the workplace, and labor markets. She is the author of Race, Wrongs, and Remedies: Group Justice in the 21st Century.

Professor Wax has become a controversial figure because of her politically incorrect comments advocating in favor of bourgeois values and the WASP culture from which they stem, and in her claims that black students had generally performed at significantly lower levels than other students in her classes in context of a conversation about the downsides of affirmative action — comments that got her ousted from teaching the first year civil procedure class for which she had previously won an award for “teaching excellence.”

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Andrew C. McCarthy on Russiagate, Clinton-Trump Investigation Double Standards, Mueller’s Mandate, DOJ-FBI-CIA Politicization (Part II)

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My Guest

Andrew C. McCarthy (@AndrewCMcCarthy) is senior fellow at the National Review Institute, contributing editor of National Review and author most recently of essential books on the threat of Islamic supremacism including Willful Blindness: A Memoir of the JihadThe Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America and Spring Fever: The Illusion of Islamic Democracy.

In Part II of my in-depth interview with Andy, we discussed Russiagate, the pervasive unethical and at times lawless behavior of law enforcement and the intelligence community with respect to Donald Trump and Russia versus Hillary Clinton and her e-mail server, the apparently limitless mandate of Robert Mueller’s special counsel, obstruction of justice and much more.

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Andrew C. McCarthy: Lessons from the Blind Sheikh Terror Trial, What Animates Jihadists, Why U.S. Middle East Policy Fails, Collapsing Iran’s Regime (Part I)

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My Guest

Andrew C. McCarthy (@AndrewCMcCarthy) is senior fellow at the National Review Institute, contributing editor of National Review and author most recently of essential books on the threat of Islamic supremacism including Willful Blindness: A Memoir of the JihadThe Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America and Spring Fever: The Illusion of Islamic Democracy.

In addition to being one of the nation’s foremost national security analysts and legal experts — formerly serving as Assistant U.S. Attorney in the vaunted Southern District of New York — he is one of the most humble, insightful and devoted patriots I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.

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Andrew Klavan on the Criticality of Conservative Competition in Culture, Regressive Progressivism, Political Correctness, Free Speech

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My Guest

Andrew Klavan (@andrewklavan) is a screenwriter, bestselling crime and suspense novelist, contributor to publications such as City Journal and PJ Media and proprietor of “The Andrew Klavan Show,” a video podcast on The Daily Wire.

Klavan is witty, he’s got a sense of humor and a keen understanding of the importance of narrative and storytelling to culture.

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Heather Mac Donald on Corrosive Identity Politics, Multiculturalism and Unjust Criminal Justice

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My Guest

Heather Mac Donald is the Thomas W. Smith Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, contributing editor at City Journal and author most recently of The War on Cops: How the New Attack on Law and Order Makes Everyone Less Safe.

Mac Donald, the archetype of an unassuming academic, makes for an unlikely counter-cultural figure. She draws protests and outrage on college campuses across the country because she has the gall to challenge the prevailing progressive orthodoxy about subjects like identity politics, multiculturalism and criminal justice.

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How to Listen to the Big Ideas with Ben Weingarten Podcast

Welcome to Big Ideas with Ben Weingarten, a podcast featuring compelling long-form conversations with exceptional thinkers and doers on the most important ideas and issues of our time, and all time.

Our discussions focus on topics ranging from national security and foreign affairs, to economics and politics and philosophy and culture with a classical Liberal bent and a grounding in history — challenging the prevailing progressive orthodoxy with a contrarian counter-narrative based in individual liberty, limited government, free enterprise and a strong, national interest-oriented and prudently used defense.

There are several ways you can consume the podcast, summarized below for your listening pleasure:

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