Interview With Dave Rubin: “Don’t Burn This Book”
The following is transcribed from an interview I had with Dave Rubin earlier today.
Me: We’re talking with popular podcaster, YouTuber and now BlazeTV host of the Rubin Report, Dave Rubin, on his new book Don’t Burn This Book, which has, against their better efforts, has made the New York Times bestseller list, which is amazing. Dave, how are you this morning?
Dave: I’m doing just fine. I suspect that there were many meetings at the New York Times about how to keep this thing off the list, but, you know, I guess our sales hit it to a point where they felt there was no way that they could screw me. I mean, you know, obviously I’m very critical of the New York Times on Twitter and the book is very critical of New York Times and they’ve written hit pieces about me and they bring hit pieces about many of my friends and colleagues.
The dirty secret of the publishing world is that the Times list is, you know, the fix is in on that thing. But I’m proud to say we sold a ton. People are really enjoying it and I guess they said, “you know, we really can’t say no to this one cause we’re going to be in trouble.” So I’ll take it for sure.
Me: For sure. I remember, I heard you say on a different show, I forget who it was from that basically, I think it was one of your parent’s friends picked up the paper and like saw like a hit piece on you. And then like, that must be so interesting to have for that to happen. But like when they do a hit piece on you, you know, you made it big, you know, I guess.
Dave: You know, it’s kind of funny, the story was that they had done this cover story on the Sunday Times about the rise of the alt Right and how the YouTube algorithm is turning people to the far Right.
And of course the story was a complete work of fiction anyway because at the end of the story, the guy that they’re tracking who’s they say is becoming all Right, he actually becomes a Lefty because of Lefty YouTube.
So the whole story was, was a complete fabrication. And the final chapter of the story, the final paragraph actually counters the entire title of the story, which is very consistent with the way the New York Times does “journalism.” But in that piece, they had a whole slew of pictures of people on the front. And that included, of course, Jordan Peterson and Ben Shapiro and, and scary YouTuber Phil de Franco and Nobel winning economist Milton Friedman, that he’s driven a lot of people to the far Right. And then when you go in, you know, two or three pages when they expand the article, there’s a huge picture of my face from an interview I did with John Stossel and the headline reads something like the rise of the alt-Right on YouTube.
And, and my dad, who’s subscribed to the New York Times since before I was born, about 45 years, he was getting a bagel on a Sunday in Long Island and had a friend come up to him and said, “oh, I didn’t know that your son Dave was part of the alt Right.” I mean, that’s how ridiculous these things are.
Me: That’s pretty amazing. Especially with three Jews, one even Orthodox (Shapiro).
Dave: Yeah. That’s pretty unbelievable. Yeah. But they, you know this, they use these ridiculous labels, not everybody. And in many ways, that has led to the polarization that we’re at. Because instead of having healthy debate or anything remotely close to healthy debate on the Left, they just decided, Oh, we can win all of our debates by labeling everyone who’s against us, a bigot and a racist and a homophobe. And it worked. It actually did work for a couple of years.
And then I think what happened was about four years ago, I was one of the first people as a Lefty. I mean, I was a Lefty. You can find videos where I’m talking about supporting Bernie Sanders. I’m saying, “hey guys, as Lefties, as liberals, we’re supposed to be the free speech guys were supposed to be the tolerant guys, like what is happening to us?”
And what I, one of the things that I track in the book is that when I started doing that, I thought, but I was just going to get like endless love from the Left because they were going to go, “oh, you’re Right Dave. Maybe we have to think about this.” But instead what happened was I got nothing but relentless hate from Left. And then I found all these conservatives and libertarians who were like, “hey, how you doing? You want to chat?We can agree to disagree and let’s see if we can find some common ground.” And I think that that really is the new movement in politics. I think the liberalism has sort of been decimated by the Progressive and whatever remaining liberals there are, and I always compare this to order 66 in Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars. It’s like we’ve executed all the liberals. We got Bill Maher, we got me. There’s maybe two or three others scattered throughout the galaxy, but there’s a lot of undercurrent people, people that aren’t public, that actually believe in old school liberalism that isn’t all about the government, that isn’t all about collectivism. And I think they’re, they’re suddenly being welcomed on the Right. And I think that’s the most underserved, a political movement in the United States.
Me: It really is. And it’s unbelievable. They talk about even liberals of the past 20 years. For example, Daniel Patrick Moynihan,
Dave: Ed Koch from New York city, JFK. I mean, these people would all be, in effect, conservative. They would be, they would be, what I would say are like moderate conservatives, maybe a little more on the libertarian side. JFK wanted to scale back war. He wanted to reign in taxes, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. I mean, that’s the reverse of Bernie Sanders. And the thing is that Biden was sort of the firewall, the last thing that the Democrats had to stop this movement. But Biden, you know, beyond the cognitive issues that he’s having, which is quite depressing actually.
It’s sad. It’s like he and whoever the last, you know, “good liberals” are, they have no idea what they believe anymore. And the Progressives see that as weakness. And the Progressives have basically acted as a virus. They have infected the host. And this is why the Democrats, nothing that the Democrats say makes any sense other than “I’m for government.” And then the next guy says, I’m for more government. But that’s not a principle. That’s not a foundational principle. Where on the Right where you can have all sorts of disagreements on whether they ever live up to their ideals, but the Right basically believes in individual rights and the Constitution. But imagine if you said constitution or Liberty or freedom at a Democratic debate. I mean, I think the one time the word constitution was said was when Kamala Harris said she was going to do an executive action on guns.And then, and then Biden said, “oh, well it would have to be constitutional.” And she literally laughed in his face. She, you can find the clips. She laughed in his face.
So they don’t have foundational principles anymore. They just have, “Hey, I believe in government.” And then the next guy comes and says, “I believe in more government.” So I think the Right has a very compelling argument right now. And I love the fact that old school liberals, libertarians, and conservatives can agree to disagree. That’s what America is all about.
Me: I think that’s amazing and a pretty good way to segue into the book and I guess why you wrote the book. You pretty much answered the question that I was going to ask, but it’s pretty incredible. I love the title. It’s just, it just gives away exactly what it’s about.
Dave: Well, it’s funny because you know, the title “Don’t Burn This Book.” It’s like the ideas that I lay out in this book I think are pretty common sense. They’re pretty much in line with what the founders wanted for this country to become and in line with why this country is still so great. Even to this day, 200 some odd years later that we’ve given more freedom to more people for more walks of life than anywhere else in the world. And it’s, as Dennis Prager calls it, America is just an experiment and we’re seeing if it can work. And in many ways the Progressives, the collectivists, the socialists, they’re trying to undo it. I mean, think of what a depressing message they have that we’re in a racist, patriarchal, homophobic society. No, we’re not. We’re in literally the least racist, patriarchal, homophobic society in the history of the world.
You can do whatever you want in America. Nobody stops you from doing what you want because of your race or your skin color or your sexuality. It’s actually crazy to think that, but they’ve offered a very depressing worldview that that in some ways is appealing because it just, it’s so anger filled that it actually is appealing to young people. And that’s why, that’s why I described it as a virus, because the virus is easy to catch and hard to get rid of. Sorta like coronavirus right now.
Me: Yeah, pretty much. I think that’s a great way to put it and it’s truly amazing. Speaking of Dennis Prager, he also asks a lot if these people really believe what they say, if they really believe they’re lies and he says he doesn’t know. It’s probably a mix of both, I would think.
Dave: And it’s a great question because I try not to attack people’s motives. So when I talk about the people that have adopted all of these bad ideas, especially the young people, I think they’re just confused. I actually think it’s partly because our system is so terrible. They’ve never learned basic civics. They don’t know anything about the constitution. They don’t know anything about the Bill of Rights. They don’t know where rights come from in the first place. So they just believe that government, it’s just sort of the default factory settings that government is supposed to do everything, even though that’s actually completely the reverse of the truth. So I would say a lot of them have no idea. They just don’t know what they’re talking about and they just have an emotional feeling about something. And that’s why they do it.
I would say as the leaders of it, you know, whoever the leaders are, the Bernie’s, the AOC is the, you know, whatever their blue check Twitterati leaders are. I think most of them, they just love power. They really just love power. Those are the people that I think their intentions are not good. They would love to use their power to silence descent. They would love to use their power to take from whoever they want to take and give to whoever they want to give. They are authoritarian. You can say whatever you want about people on the Right, but people on the Right don’t put a primacy on power as a general rule. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t elements of that. Of course, if we gave Trump more and more power, would he love to take it? Of course he would. But, but generally people on the Right are more live and let live. They don’t exist to try to push their ideals on other people. The Left in effect at this point solely exists to push their ideology on everyone else. That’s much more dangerous.
Me: It really is very dangerous. And in a sense you could also see their love of power. You could see throughout this entire virus throughout the last couple of months. Like it’s all of these blue state governors especially, for example, Michigan where they basically then ban intrastate travel. And they’ve been talking about the protesters and calling them racists.
I mean, yeah, you could say that the people that are doing the swastikas, because the reason that they’re doing that is because they’re comparing the governor (lockdown laws) to Nazis.
Dave: You know, we can talk about the protesters tactics all day, whether they have the right to open carry or not, and whether that’s an effective tactic because we know the way the media is going to run with it.
I mean it’s not like they’re running out there and shooting people, but is there a level of image intimidation involved in that? Of course. So that’s worthy of debate whether that they’re doing everything Right, but they certainly are not out there in the name of racism. They’re out there in the name of freedom. They want to live their lives and they have a Progressive governor who I think has, has sort of the worst set of ideas where she’s literally telling people they can’t plant seeds and they can’t landscape in front of their houses. It’s like you have literally no right to do that, Whitmer.
And the people shouldn’t stand up against that. You know, when they close the beaches here in California, it’s not like they tell us why they’re doing it exactly. Or even say to us, Hey, how about we’re going to do beaches that have capacity. You’re going to have to have a space between your car. We’re only going to have groups of four or less. We’re going to cordon off areas on the beach so that you know, you won’t be too close to anyone else. But that way we can sort of enjoy Southern California, which is why you guys pay all these high taxes and we’re not trying to ruin all of your lives, but instead they just closed the whole thing and they think it’s just, it should just be accepted that it’s right just because they deemed it right. And that is, that’s deeply anti-American.
Me: It absolutely is. It’s just, it’s astonishing to see, but it’s weirdly unsurprising. I mean you see it in these people, the way they talk all the time. For example, take gun control, when something happens, God forbid any kind of shooting or anything like that, they always want to say take all the guns. They want to get everybody as much money to use, every opportunity they can as a quest for power. And it’s truly, I think it’s a human nature type thing, which I just can’t relate to.
Dave: Well that’s the interesting thing. It’s like if your quest is power, and that’s what I mean, all the Left has is government that that’s all they have spiritually. It’s all they have sort of tangibly granularly and it’s like, look, Donald Trump, whatever you think about Donald Trump, it’s like he had the opportunity right now to freaking do whatever the hell he wanted. You know, if he wanted the states to bow to him, he could have been fighting for that this whole time. And so few people understand federalism that they probably would have allowed him to do it.
But instead Donald Trump actually did the right thing. He said to the states, Hey, you guys got to figure out what’s good for you. We’ll help you where we can. And that basically is what’s happening. And by the way, thank God that’s happening because otherwise we would be under some hegemonic authoritarian rule and what’s good for New York isn’t necessarily what’s good for Montana. And so as we watch states open, like look, Texas is going to open and maybe there will be a little bump in cases and they’ll have to adjust accordingly. But at least they’re trying to test it out. There’s no no-risk situation. The idea that, “Oh, we can’t open up until nobody’s going to catch this or there’s an antidote,” we will literally never open up. That is a childish answer peddled by people with bad intentions. Life is about risk. We’re going to have to take some risks. And the people who say otherwise, they’re just lying.
Me: It is a childish argument. It’s meant to be emotion-driven and it’s meant to make the person who hears it feel bad. And that’s what they want. They want you to cower before them. And that’s what these are, that’s what these Left-wing mobs do.
For example, I remember about two years ago, actor Mark Duplass. You know, he came on, I think he came on Glenn Beck’s show. He came on (Steven) Crowder’s show. Your show. And I remember when he put out that tweet praising Ben Shapiro, even though they disagreed on everything. And they came for him, wanting him to grovel and apologize. That’s what is with these people just wanting power, everybody to be in lock-step. It’s almost like a cult.
Dave: Well, it’s really tricky because all in effects Duplass said was, “I disagree with Ben on some stuff,” but in effect he said, “but he’s a human.” And then the mob went after him, he deleted the tweet, then he issued an apology where in effect he called Ben a racist and sexist and a bigot. And, and by the way, you know, I had breakfast with him. I think he’s a decent guy, but he’s become sort of irrelevant since then. I’m not, I don’t know what work he’s up to, but like he decided that when the mob comes, you bow to the mob and the guests what, you’re not really a full human then. I refuse that. I will never bow to the mob. I will never apologize for something if I’m not sorry for that. Doesn’t mean I won’t apologize if I’ve done something wrong.
But to live under the rule of the mob is to live in perpetual slavery of a mental slavery. And it’s embarrassing and it’s pathetic. And it’s not what you’re supposed to do as a human being.
Me: It’s the worst of both worlds that still hate you for what you did and then any kind of credibility you built up the other side is also gone cause you coward.
Dave: Yeah. Look, he was being treated well by conservatives and libertarians despite all of his differences. No conservative or libertarian went after him. No mob tried to get him because of his Progressive views. The Left, tried to get him because he, he tried to preach tolerance. What does that tell you? I mean this is where people always say, “Oh, it’s equal on both sides,” and it’s like, no, it’s not equal on both sides.
Where is it that that Left the speakers, you know, average Lefty speakers getting kicked off college campuses never happens. Period. It’s happening with the most mainstream conservatives. I’ve had to have ridiculous security at campuses. I go on, I go to, I get invited by conservatives. I talk about being pro-choice and gay married and against the death penalty and I have to have security from the tolerant liberals while the conservatives all sit there and go, well this is great. We agree to disagree. You want to talk about it. Fantastic.
Me: And it’s pretty amazing how they preach tolerance. And it’s also amazing how people still take it seriously, but they actually believe that.
Dave: Yeah. I don’t know how many people actually believe it. I think a lot of people are waking up, which is why I’m saying I think this sort of big underserved group is the disaffected liberal cause I think people have had it.
I think also there’s a certain set of people on Twitter, especially like influential people that they, they really do understand it privately, but they still want to score the points by going after Trump and conservatives all the time. So it’s almost like they want Trump to do all the dirty work to, to attack and destroy these social justice warriors and destroy the Progressive socialist ideology. But they don’t want to back him on it publicly because they still want to be invited to nice parties. And I see a lot of that in, in LA and uh, that makes me sick because I know what people privately think and then the way they behave on Twitter and when I see that disconnect, it’s really grotesque answer.
Me: It’s horrible. I mean, it’s also a very bad position to be put along with these people. They have jobs and like are afraid of getting fired or they’re afraid for even just regular people. People who liked Trump when he was a public figure since before I was alive. And then like you see once he starts running for president as a Republican, you might not even say conservative (at the time), suddenly he’s whatever the Left says he is.
Dave: Completely. Trump is, you know, to say Trump is a conservative, I think fully makes sense. Although most of his policies have been conservative, but you know, look who’s his number one ally in the Senate. It’s Rand Paul the libertarian, which is one of the reasons that I’ve become more comfortable with Trump because it’s the guy that I think is our, our best person interested in liberty in the entire Senate for the last decade. He’s become an ally of Trump.
That has made me more comfortable with Trump, generally speaking. And you know, Trump is just Trump. He’s a different thing. And in an odd way it’s, it’s very much what we needed because we were just caught in this duopoly between Democrats and Republicans. And by the way, no Republican was ever going to win again. They tried it with nice guys. They tried it with McCain, they tried it with Romney, but it’s not an equal fight, not the Democrats fighting Republicans. It’s a Republican fighting the Democrats and the media. So Trump said, “Hey, I know the media, let’s do it.” And here we are.
Me: And it worked really well. I mean, I did vote for him and I admit, I didn’t know what to expect. I’ve been pleasantly surprised. I was a (Ted) Cruz guy to begin with. And now I think it’s awesome that he’s in there and exposing these people for what they truly are because they haven’t been this unhinged. I mean, with the Bush-Derangement-Syndrome back in the day it was much more political than it was personal.
Dave: Right. Well, Bush at least, you know, he appeared to be something somewhat statesman. Like even though, you know, they made fun of him for the way he spoke and he would make errors and he struggled off the prompter, now they make him a hero right now he can go out there with with Ellen DeGeneres and it’s like he’s a hero. Although the radical, the really radicals tried to just cancel Ellen for even appearing with him. And it’s like, man, the story there should have been that the guy who ran against gay marriage as a wedge issue in his reelection campaign is now sitting down with America’s number one lesbian.
That would have been an interesting story, but instead they tried to destroy and have Ellen canceled for even sitting down at the guy. Um, so, you know, the media, the media is a whole other thing, but we’re, we’re watching it collapse and deservingly so.
Me: It really is. And while speaking of the media, but when you were with the young Turks and you could see it now, like Cenk and all the other people there, I forgot their names, but like once you sort of left the Left, what was their reaction? Did you ever keep in touch with any of them? Did any of them ever like support you or did they write you off?
Dave: You know, even though I had, I had ideologically, I had had it him, but I left on perfectly good terms. You know, I said goodbye to everybody. I had a goodbye lunch with Cenk. I still played basketball with Cenk. I left in, I think March. I still played basketball up until September until the last, the last time I played was because I blew out my knee and I tore my ACL. It’s actually the last time I played basketball, which is a very sad thing for me to say. Um, but so they, they’ve sort of recreated a story that I somehow left on bad terms that I demanded all these things and, and that, like all of this craziness, it’s just a complete fabrication. I mean, you know, one of their co-hosts was invited to my wedding in LA, which was eight months later and now refers to me as a racist and a bigot. And the rest of it, I honestly, I don’t even really care. Like I left. I know that what I’m doing is right and true and good and if they’re bitter about it, let them be bitter.
I, you know, they, they sort of crumbled anyway. They also ushered in such a huge amount of this part is in hatred and clickbait and, you know, manipulative titles and thumbnails to just get and keep people watching. You know, we learned all of the bad tricks of YouTube that we never use on my channel. They were the primary peddlers of it. And then they became a YouTube partner for doing all of the things that just manipulate people and keep everybody angry.
Me: So what exactly are those YouTube tricks that they did?
Dave: Oh, well you can just title things that exacerbate outrage and put thumbnails in that make everybody angry. And that just keep you clicking. And “this one destroys this one” and everyone’s a racist and a bigot. It’s just an extension of the way Progressives talk about everybody.
But you can use that to keep the algorithm just keeping clicking around there and be angry. And it’s like, it’s so odd because Progressives are supposed to be the decent tolerant people and yet they’re the ones that are screaming. They’re the ones that are calling everyone racist and bigots and they’re the ones that are keeping everyone in perpetual, perpetual outrage.
Me: So if there was one thing that we can all take from this book, what would that be?
Dave: Fight for what you believe in. Even if the things that you believe in are not what I believe in.
I am not trying to convince anybody that I have write about every prescription, every policy prescription that I lay out in this book. I lay out every basically every thought I have on every relevant political topic. I’m not trying to convince conservatives to be pro-choice. I’m not trying to convince anyone to go against their own personal religious beliefs. I’m trying to lay out a set of ideas using the classical liberal lens that that is about, you know, individual rights and the light touch of government. That I believe is exactly what the Founders intended for this great pluralist nation to be. And you don’t have to agree with my conclusions. I’ll always find all the issues. But I think you’ll find that my line of thinking is consistent. And what I want other people to do is find a consistent line of thinking for themselves.
But not only find it for yourself, but once you find it for yourself, once you know what you’re talking about, then the most important part is that you must be brave enough to say it. We are living in an odd time where the politically closeted is the largest political group in America, in the freest country, the history of the world where our grandparents had to fight in World War II and suddenly you can walk around on Twitter and be afraid to say what you think all day because some pink anime fox is going to say something mean to you, and we must get over this for the sake of our democracy and for our freedom.
Me: I think that’s perfectly true and it’s a shame that people aren’t willing to fight for what they believe in and I hope that your book helps everybody else fighting for this.
Dave: Well, you keep doing it with me, my man.