1783 Ben Burgis

The Joe Rogan Experience.

Train by day Joe Rogan podcast by Night, all day.

Joe Rogan

So this is for you

Ben Burgis

Hello, thank you

Joe Rogan

So much your own

It's got a little Jerry label on the back of it

This is your own, but in the side this little thing

Oh yeah, this is a part of a thing we did with fight for the forgotten, which is

I don't know if you know what that is, but it's a charity that my friend Justin Wren put together

It's they build wells for people in the pygmy pygmy population in Uganda and in the Congo as well

And so they did a thing with Buffalo trace where

We picked out one very specific batch and they they literally gave us a barrel of whiskey so we have what's one giant bottle and then a bunch of these bottles to give out to guests

So there

Ben Burgis

You go nice

Oh man, this feels strange

I you know I, I've got to tell you

In the late 90s, I watched News Radio all the time so you know, get the you know

Feels feels weird having a

Drink with you, yeah

Joe Rogan

It feels weird just being me so

It's it's weird for both

It's weird for people to feel weird to meet me, so that's that's odd too

So your book is speaks to my

Heart, did you bring a copy?

Ben Burgis

Ah, I did

Joe Rogan

You have a

Ben Burgis

Book with you

No, I have a book with me

This is a this is a book by my friend Adolph Reed


Ben Burgis

So it's about growing up in New Orleans under Jim Crow and like kind of how

The South and the country has changed and how it hasn't changed, so this is good stuff, but

Joe Rogan

OK, cool, well that's a good book too, but tell everybody about

Ben Burgis

Your book, yeah, so my book is called canceling comedians while the world burns, a critique of the contemporary left and I wrote that a while ago, so that was before we went through this like surreal experience where

During weeks that the United States and Russia have been like closer to the brink of war than the Cuban missile crisis, you know than they have been since the Cuban missile crisis

Somehow we've had new weeks of news cycle about Joe Rogan, you know, I

Don't know, I don't know how that happened

Joe Rogan

Yeah, I'm a controversial character, apparently

Ben Burgis

Apparently, at apparently those controversies are the most important thing in

Joe Rogan

The world, well, the most important thing in the world in media is ratings, and unfortunately

Outrage is what sells and if you could be upset at something and so there's like a perfect storm with me

First of all, it was questioning the COVID narrative and then it was having on doctors who also questioned the COVID narrative

And then it was me getting COVID and recovering very quickly, but taking the wrong medication in their eyes

From here

Joe Rogan

And then it was, you know, like posting up the brought to you by Pfizer videos and like showing like these, these people like bought and paid for by pharmaceutical companies

And then

It's all the other things

It's like every clip that we talked about before the podcast, like every clip that I've ever said, taken out of context and if you smush em all together how horrible it looks, but it's not really, it's

It's not really that they think it's important, it's they don't give a **** what's important, they're just trying to stay alive and they're trying to get as many views as possible and they're trying to escape what is

This is undeniable

The demise of modern mainstream news

Ben Burgis

Well, that's the yeah we're talking about this a little bit before before we started and

I think what's really, I mean, whatever, this is not like a mind shatteringly original insight or whatever

You know lots of people have said this, but I think what's really gone on is that the economic collapse of traditional media has meant

That the profit incentive now is just to cater to whoever you have left, right?

So if you have

You know, like if you're on Fox

Bucks then, like you know, whatever like couple million conservative old people

Or you know, watching any given time you want to give them the narrative that's going to keep them scared and angry

And watching the news if you're on MSNBC

Then you know you spend the entire Trump years talking about Russia

You know, 'cause like, that's what like, that's what scares their audience

Yeah, and people don't, you know

And one thing that that really disturbs me about this, I mean like the book is about all of the things that people who I basically agree with are getting wrong, right?

So in other words, like I'm a socialist, I'm a columnist for Jacobin magazine

Joe Rogan

You are straight up socialist

Are you a democratic socialist?

'cause I know that you've been represented as a democratic socialist

Ben Burgis

Yeah, so I mean look

Joe Rogan

Like what do you what is?

Ben Burgis

The reason I put democratic in there, right?

You know which you know which I which I do

But you know the reason I put democratic

In there is

Because there are obviously countries that have existed that have, you know, called themselves socialist that have

You know not had things that I care about, like in a free speech

And you know, multiparty elections and and and so

I certainly don't want to associate myself with that, but look

I mean, short term I care very much about, you know having

You know socialized healthcare

About about having you know, like tuition, free, higher education so people can go to school without being having to be in debt for like

Decades, which is obscene

I mean, that's ridiculous

Joe Rogan

Yeah, I'm with you 100% on both those things

Ben Burgis

You know and

And I do think that like the let the level of inequality that we get from our current system is indefensible, that in other words, that if one person has more than another just because they chose to work harder

Then like, that's one thing, right?

I could you know, like, right, that you know I would

You know person A wants to stay home and watch Netflix

And you know person B

You know one wants to work

For for more hours than like you know person, you know person B should get more money

I am totally fine with that

But what bothers me is when you have these massive inequalities that have huge effects on people's lives, they're linked to things that they aren't under their control, and I think we have a

Joe Rogan

Lot of that too. I would agree with you 100% my position

On this, whenever people push back against the concept of socialism, or when I was supporting Bernie Sanders or President, I was saying that we look at all the things that are technically a socialist concept that we accept like the fire department

Imagine if you had to have money to get your fire put out

Like we don't think that like if your house burns down we call the fire department

They show up our taxes, fund the fire department

That is essentially a socialist endeavor

Socialist institution

I mean, it's

Ben Burgis

Yeah, it's it's taken outside of the it's taken outside of the market

It's provided just as like a right that you should have just for just for being a person, right?

Joe Rogan


Ben Burgis

You know you shouldn't have to do anything special

To get your house put out if it's on fire and you also shouldn't have to do anything special to get treatment

If you're sick to to go to to go to College in the 1st place, it seems to be that a lot of people who like don't think that there should be a higher minimum wage or the same people who will go turn around and say, oh, if they wanted to make more money, they should go back to school, but then they don't want to pay for that, right so?

Which exactly which one?

Is it right?

Should they be paid more doing what they're doing?

Or should they go back to school?

'cause if it's none of the above, then it sounds like you just don't think those people should have like good lives, or at least you don't have

A plan to help them have good lives

Joe Rogan

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One free year supply of vitamin D and five free travel packs with your first purchase. That's athleticgreens.com/what's fascinating to me, too, is when you look at public school versus public services like the Fire Department Fire Department, people get paid

Well, it's a good job if you're a member of the fire department

I have friends that are in the fire department

It's good benefits. The hours are cool because you get to work like 24 hour shifts. You sleep there, you work there

You like my friend?

Ray was a fire fireman for years and he would say like he worked like a few days a week

And then you know they were long shifts

And they weren't always called to fires, so sometimes they're just cooking and working out and hanging out around the Firehouse

But it's a great job, it's

Go ahead

Joe Rogan

It's like a a job that people look forward to getting

It's it's difficult to get

How come that's not the same thing with teachers like what?

What kind of ******* world do we live in?

Where teachers don't get paid well?

I mean, I'm not saying fire department people shouldn't be paid well

Of course they should be paid well

They should be paid great

It's a ******* very risky job

It's very valuable to the community, but ******* so is teaching

And how is there such a disparity?

Ben Burgis

So is teaching and it's crazy that there are so many people who look at K12 teachers and say, like, oh, how come you know how come they get summers off or you know, whatever you know or like don't like that?

Yeah, you know it's

Ben Burgis

No, it's ridiculous

Joe Rogan

It's so stupid

Ben Burgis

And they don't, you know, and I guess what gets me is when people see someone like a unionized school teacher who has some good benefits

A little bit of job security

Not nearly as good as it should be like

We've been talking about, right, you know, but like, and they say, Oh well, why should they have those things when I don't?

Instead of saying well, how can I get those things right so I could have them?

Do you know, because it doesn't?

You know it doesn't benefit you right?

As an ordinary person if like somebody who has a job like that is paid less

In fact, what it it does is it's bad for your kids if they go to public schools because the kinds of things that teachers unions want

Like smaller class sizes are things that are, you know, like the conditions that they teach in are the same conditions that the kids are are learning in right?

So I think it actually

Benefits everybody like I think that Finland is supposed to have the best public schools in the world by a lot of by a lot of metrics

The best school system you know in the world

They actually don't really have private schools

And in Finland and you know it's very strong unions

You know people are certainly you know

Certainly getting a better deal

Teachers there than they they are here but so many people think the solution is to

You know is to privatize things or you know is is to, you know

Joe Rogan

That's the solution if there's no other options

I mean, if you like if you're a guy right now and you have a child and you have enough money to put them in a really good school that you have to pay for versus a really ****** school that you get for

Free that makes sense

Ben Burgis

Yeah, I don't blame anybody for making that decision

As an individual, I

Mean like what I would ask?

Joe Rogan

But they shouldn't have to make that decision

Ben Burgis

Yeah, exactly

I think what we should have are like excellent public schools so that like everybody can just do that imagine

I mean

Joe Rogan

Imagine that that's controversial, like literally one of the most important things for the future of our society is raising children correctly and educating them by correctly meaning, like giving, giving them the opportunity to grow and pursue their interests and find out where they fit in life and have enthusiastic well paid teachers, not people that feel like they're being taken advantage of and

Fuct with and just just exhausted all the time

Ben Burgis

Well, it's weird too, because a lot of the same people who are hostile to that will say when they're talking about like corporate CEO's like, oh, you can't complain about how much they're paid because they have to be, you know, like like, you have to have that as an incentive or they're not going to give you their best work if they're not being paid, you know 500 times more

You know, then people who work there, but it's like wait a second so, so why doesn't that logic go for like teachers or other public employees that, like if if they're paid more you know then you're going to get you know then you're going to get a better

Performance out of them

Joe Rogan

Why is it only CEOs?

Well, it's just we have a very distorted set of values when it comes to like what's important and this is again, not saying that

That fire department people are not important

They're ******* hugely important

I respect him very much and I'm glad they get paid well, but I mean they should get the IT

It should be like that with all of what I would think of social services services for the Community that we would gladly pay for for taxes, fixing infrastructures, fixing roads

The problem, I think with a lot of people is they just don't trust government to handle the money

To whom?

Joe Rogan

Well, they think that you're going to get a lot of bureaucracy is going to be bloated

There's going to be a **** load of people that are working. They're not gonna resolve it, and it's going to be the sort of that same situation where if you donate to charities and then you find out that like 90% of the money goes to infrastructure and you're in

And you know, just some of those ****** charities where so much money goes to the people that are working there that very little of it goes to the actual charity itself

Ben Burgis

Of course, that's

The private sector

Joe Rogan

Too, but yes it is, it is

Ben Burgis

With everything but I, I guess I would just say one thing about the bureaucracy thing

'cause like I know that that's something that's like a

Easy association lots

Yeah, mine's right. You know that like more government means more bureaucracy, and if you're thinking about people who are like petty gatekeepers, you know we're like gonna be able to approve or deny something. It's like very natural, like resent people like that

But what I would say is that what what situation is actually going to give bureaucrats more power?

Is it going to be if you have something like Medicare for all?

For example, where or, you know, just like how public schools already work, right?

That case for K through 12 that, like every kid, has to be educated

You know, like, like you don't go through a special process

So if it's universal programs, then you don't have what you have with means tested programs where there's somebody who's like looking over your application and deciding whether or not you know you qualify and you know deciding which hoops you have to jump through

Joe Rogan


Ben Burgis

And like that really seems to me like where bureaucrats are really going to get

You know, most of their power, and that's not to say

Like when I was saying that I'm not saying that like there are no legitimate complaints about like any of the agencies that do these things

Of course that are right course, you know

But what I would ask though, is what the what the options are, right?

So 'cause 'cause if you privatize something then you're still?

You know you're still having decisions being made by

You know decision makers, who you know who you don't necessarily

You know like might be very distant from you, but the difference is, at least when it's public

Then you know, theoretically, right?

You can at least elect the people who are

You know who are overseeing it, whereas if something is like subcontracted out to a private corporation

Then like, that's not even true anymore, right?

Like there's another layer in between

You is like an ordinary person and control over this

This institution

I mean like if

You know, if the federal government does anything bad, then we can

You know theoretically, get, you know, get rid of them

Although I think there are a lot of very undemocratic things about America's political system that make it

Way harder to do that, I mean, the fact that we've only got 2 political parties that are basically allowed to participate in all the the fact you

Know like we

Joe Rogan

Yeah, you go on and on

Ben Burgis

We could go on and on, right, you know

Joe Rogan

The money that's involved in getting these people elected

Ben Burgis

Yeah, the money definitely right

Joe Rogan

Amounts of money from special interest

Ben Burgis

Groups, yeah, no question right?

So like I think it's I think we've got like, you know, we've got like a little bit of democracy there

Not nearly as much as we should, right?

But like Jeff Bezos isn't up for election by anybody, right?

Like like, like, like, he's just there, right?

So like if you have

You know, like if for example you know you you didn't have like the public post office, right it was

It was just like Amazon, you know, taking the you know like Amazon trucks and that's it then

Now you're talking about an institution that that there's no democratic control over, right?

There's some like a little bit of indirect control in the case

Of the the Post office, which you know, by the way, I would point out that like

When conservatives talk about you, know bureaucracy and inefficiency and stuff like that, they always bring that up. But like if you actually look at polls like 90% of Americans like the

Joe Rogan

Post office the Post office is amazing

They can get a ******* letter across the country less than a dollar

Right, right?

Crazy is that

Yeah you

Could what does it cost for a stamp?

Let's say that now

Ben Burgis

Yeah, it's like I know it's less than a dollar it's it's been awhile since I actually yeah, like I think my wife usually like flies this stuff, the post office but like but like, but the fact that you can take a letter from Austin to like rural Alaska for a buck for a buck is ******* bonkers is ridiculous

Joe Rogan

I just email stuff I don't ******* mail **** anymore, but like

Ben Burgis

And no private company would

Would have the the incentive to do that, right?

You know and and and I think that that's

Like one of the things that Bernie Sanders was talking about, the two times he ran for president, and it's not one of the things that was played up the most

Is postal banking you know which is the idea that you could have like basic basic banking services offered at the post office, which they actually do have in some Scandinavian countries and that was

Joe Rogan

Basic banking service like deposits and withdrawals and stuff like that at the post

Ben Burgis

Yeah, yes

Joe Rogan

Office, why would you do that?

Ben Burgis

At the Post office, which is, which is because it's a public institution that already exists everywhere, right?

You know their their post offices all over the place

Joe Rogan

So they would sort out money as well as mail

What if the money goes to the wrong places like the mail sometimes goes?

I get mail from wrong people sometimes

Ben Burgis

Well, the mail does sometimes go to the wrong places

I would point out if you look at like FedEx, you know FedEx versus the universe is the post office

Joe Rogan

Or two wrong people I should say?

Ben Burgis

You know it's it's the the I, I don't

I don't actually think the the failure rate you know is is worse with the

With the the USPS, but

Joe Rogan

No, we have a problem with UPS

Here we get our ******* packages get stolen

Ben Burgis

Yeah, and I

Joe Rogan

They just leave him here

And we're not here and someone snatched it

Ben Burgis

Yeah, well, I don't know

That's you know if the alternative is they they they put the thing on

The you know

Joe Rogan

Yeah, put the ******* thing on the door

Man will come get it

You got a lazy UPS driver, but your subject like at home I got a great guy but it's it's like you're subjected to the whoever the **** it is

It's running that route, you know, unfortunately

Ben Burgis

No fair enough, right?

But but what I would just point out is this that like right now there are a lot of people who for one reason or another they can't get a bank account

Like you know that they have that

I mean the most like extreme case might be like somebody who's who's like homeless, you know so they don't have an address

But like even short of that right, there are people who, for one reason or another have trouble getting a bank account

So you have all these, like parasitical, like you know, check cashing you know businesses and stuff like that

Joe Rogan


Ben Burgis

That, like prey on people like that and I think having some kind of public alternative

Would like go a long way to to helping with that issue

There are countries that already exist, you know so so I think that like in the short term

Like the stuff that makes sense to me is finding ways you know where it makes sense

It might not always make sense, right?

You know, but finding ways that you can expand what's not just like you have to find some private corporation to to do it for you, but that can be within the sort of

You know the public, the public sphere, and then look

I mean, there are things that will probably always need

You know private businesses for I'm under no illusions about that. You know that you know, if you don't want to have, like the way grocery stores were in like the Soviet Union in 1985 or whatever, right?

You know you you have to have you know like there are certain things, price signals and you know firm failure

You probably do need to have

But I do think like at the sort of outer edges of what I would like that it would be good if it was a long term goal to move towards having it be more of a norm that that you know workers like own like a lot of a lot of private businesses

You know that there are

You know, if you look at like the Mondragon Corporation in Spain, you know that that that has like 80,000. You know worker members you know who who own that

You know you have like the equivalent, like an operating agreement, which is like the equivalent of a Union contract, but there's no like separate Boston negotiate with

And you

You know might not necessarily directly elect managers, because there could be things that are, like, you know, technical things that you know managers have to do that, like you want that to be more of a traditional job application, but you can at least elect the people who who hire them and

Even if I could, like you know, whatever like a magical genie would, just like somehow

Grant me you

Know that like all of my political preferences where we're satisfied in ways that I don't think they're going to be anytime soon. Given all those problems with America's political system, we talked about earlier

But like even if

That happened, I don't think that like every single business should have to be like that, that if you you know like

Hire a guy to you, know to to do like graphic design for your podcast for 10 hours a week or something that they have to have, like voting rights and cooperative like that would be silly, but I think that you can

I think we could move towards an economy where that was like a much more common thing

And I think that would be way better off because the way it is

In like the kinds of corporations that dominate the economy right now, where you'll get like Amazon workers who are like sometimes like working at the warehouse and then they have to have like a second job at night and their boss literally has enough money off of that to buy his own spaceship, right?

That that strikes me

As a level of of inequality that's really hard to justify by the principles that we kind of

Started with

Joe Rogan

Well, what do?

What do they pay at Amazon?

Are they so so?

I think just the underpaid I

Ben Burgis

I don't think that they're egregiously underpaid by the standards of the standards

The of, like you know, corporate America as a whole

I think I think it is up to you know

15 Now I'd have to check the exact numbers, but I think that the but like what I would

What I would question is just this though right like

When you're dividing up right, like the revenues that the whole company is making, then you say like there are lots of ways that if you are in a cooperative and people could vote on pay scales, there are lots of things you could do

Joe Rogan

To convince somebody like employees vote on

Ben Burgis

Pay scales, yeah, like if you have like a worker, cooperative, right, right?

You know then

Joe Rogan

But the problem with that is a lot more workers than there are Jeff Bezos

And if they decide to say, like we, we should get most of the

Ben Burgis

Money OK, but they put but what do you think?

What do you think Jeff Bezos is is doing like what's the?

Joe Rogan

Right now

Ben Burgis

What yoke?

Joe Rogan

He's doing coke and he's banging his girlfriend on a yacht

He's living like a guy who's got a

180 $3 billion

Ben Burgis

One space

Joe Rogan

Yeah, going to space on a rocket ship looks like a

**** he's shooting a giant metal **** up into the heavens

He's literally trying to Fock space

Yeah, that's what he's doing that he's supposed to do

When you make that kind of money with my fascination with Jeff Bezos is his transformation from nerd to like this like muscle looking guy

It looks like, uh, jujitsu

Black belt

He looks like a tank

It's kind of crazy, and he's now he's got

He used to have this like very respectable normal wife and now he's got this bombshell girlfriend

It's kind of hilarious

I love it

I love a good cliche

I really do

I love the fact they have to take down a bridge because he made a yacht that is so ******* big in order for it to get out of the the place where they're making it, they have to disassemble a ******* bridge

And he's like, yeah, disassembled the bridge

Like **** the

Joe Rogan

**** man

Why do you need a yacht so big?

They have to

What are you doing?

What are you doing?

He's just out of control, but that's like I feel like everyone that gets to that level of wealth seems to go out of control

Ben Burgis

Yeah, no, it it definitely does

It definitely does seem that way

Right and then their their kids

In many cases start out of control because they grew up their entire lives like having this

Like level of wealth

That makes it easy to get anybody to do whatever you want them to do

Joe Rogan

That's part of the problem

The other part of the problem is there's no time to be with the kids, so when you're working and you're the CEO of Amazon, I mean the ******* hours that guy was putting in is probably insane

He's probably working when he was working

He's not CEO anymore, but he's probably working 16 hours a

Day, how the ****

Can you instill some sort of sense of normalcy in your children?

When you're never home, it's not really possible


Joe Rogan

It's and

So then you compensate with gifts and

Ben Burgis

And and and now he's pictures

Yeah, now he's too busy, you know, storming coke and you know, going into

Space all that stuff

Joe Rogan

And and banging his bombshell girlfriend woo?

Yeah I I feel what you're saying

Do you think that?

Do you have hope for?

I mean, there seems such a polarization in this country

There's people that are completely disagree with on the right that are like pull yourself up by your bootstraps

All that stuff like that that is nonsense talk when people talk like that

I'm like Jesus Christ man

Not everybody is starting from the same position, it's it's a crazy disparity

And until we address that

As a society, until we look at these impoverished communities that have been impoverished for decades and decades and decades, and you know, if you really want to talk about where my real feelings of socialism lie, my feelings of socialism are there are communities, and it's not just inner cities, it's like Appalachia, it's these coal mining towns like we have to dump money into these places and help these folks

Because if you don't, you're gonna have people that come out of there and they're gonna cost you exponentially more money and all the problems that they create in their own lives

And other people's lives with whether it's crime or whether it's drug addiction or whether it's whatever despair that comes out of these horrific starting points that these people are from. That can be fixed

And this is like where I'm a bleeding heart

Ben Burgis

And yeah, I mean they can be fixed, but like it it sure

Hasn't been

Joe Rogan

It hasn't been even addressed, no even addressed they

There's no talk whatsoever about looking at communities like Baltimore and saying, hey, this has been ****** from the beginning

Like what do we do?

Like, look at the red line laws

They instituted

Look at the fact that

The same

What was his name Woods?

What was the the cop that we had on?

Michael Woods he was on he was a police officer in Baltimore

Yeah, and he was working there and one of the things that he noticed was they found a rap like a, you know, a arrest sheet from like the 1970s and it showed all of the same


Joe Rogan

Exact crimes that they're dealing with in the current time, all in the same areas, and they were all happening this in like the same thing was going on all the different arrests for violence and drugs and all this different stuff and he was like Jesus Christ

This is not like and he felt this feeling like

I'm I'm in a system that's broken like you're not gonna fix this like you're just gonna keep arresting people and you you keep having this

You know the systemic equality inequality in this area, that's

Ben Burgis

Just been ****** from for decades

Yeah no

I mean I think that 'cause by the time you're dealing with that on that level you're you're treating symptoms

You know that they like it's, it's already

The problem has has already happened

And you know, don't get me wrong, I know people commit crimes for all kinds of reasons

I'm not saying it's all economic, but like

Also, I don't see a lot of like kids in the suburbs joining gangs right?

Like there

There is a reason there is a reason

That right, you know, the things that like really drive up the violent crime rate you know are things that have a lot to do with poverty and inequality

And I think that if you you know you talked about Appalachia, I mean like the Obama administration's like response to like all the coal, you know, like this sort of misery caused by all the coal mines closing was to, you know, just kind of sprinkle the region with

Well, if

Ben Burgis

I forgot

Joe Rogan

You learn to code ********

Ben Burgis

Well, that's exactly it, right?

'cause like they they put up these technology training centers, so it's essentially telling people to learn to code

'cause like yeah, if you're like a 50 year old laid off coal miner, you'll definitely get the coding job and preference over the 22 year old kid. You know who just who just graduated. It's it's absurd and and then, like Trump, came in

But he said he was going to bring the jobs back and there are fewer jobs there than, you know, than ever, right?

I mean, I, I don't think that I don't think any of these people

Are are serious about helping working class people either in places like Baltimore or in places like Appalachia because you know, I think they I think the Democrats, increasingly the kind of liberalism that's dominant in the Democratic Party right now

I think isn't really about that

I think that what it's really about is trying to have like a more diverse ruling class like

I know that sounds like an oversimplification, but I really think a lot of it's just about that right?

You know that

Like what they like, to the extent they're concerned with social justice, what they're concerned about is disparity

You know that you have

More black people than white people

Who are, you know, living in poverty and going through a criminal justice system and all this stuff

And that's absolutely true, right?

That that is

And that is completely a result of the fact that

You know, up until the 1960s, we literally lived in an empire tide country. You know that in much of the United States you know there, you know we had

Jim Crow laws

You know on the on the books you know, and and there I think there's I think the horrible racial history of the United States is

The reason for that?

But what's the goal right is the goal is what you count as justice?

Having like, exactly demographically correct, proportions of every group living in poverty?

Joe Rogan

Well also this

Ben Burgis

And it's you know, being like

All of that stuff like it's ridiculous

I was just going to say like the Republicans are

Even worse, right?

I mean like Republicans, when they claim that they're like big populist

Now it's like, well, what do you actually want to do?

Do you want when they care for all do?

You want you know, like they don't support any of that stuff


Joe Rogan

Well, it's also their positions or weaponized, you know, and it's there

There's so much polar that I think it's very unhealthy to have two positions

A red position of blue position because people are so malleable

They're so easily manipulated and they want to be a part of a tribe, and they'll just subscribe to these ideas and then they they take comfort in the fact there's other people that agree with them so they get in these Facebook groups and they they just like you know, talk about stuff that everyone else in their little echo chamber agrees with and and they feel like the whole world should bend to their will

And it's just

Ben Burgis

I mean, that's

Joe Rogan

Yeah, it's a bizarre time, absolutely, I mean

Ben Burgis

That I mean we

You know what we were talking about?

Earlier about the fact that the collapse of traditional media means that everybody gets to curate, you know their

Joe Rogan

Own little media that's a problem too, right?

Ben Burgis

Mediafire right

You know that you can

It's so easy now to just like, expose yourself to absolutely nothing all the time except people who agree with you

Because yeah, if there are only a couple million people watching like one of the you know traditional networks at any given night

Then you know what's their profit incentive

Their profit incentive is to like relentlessly pander to whatever audience they have

They have left, so if you know if you're fox

You know you you scare old, you know conservatives and you know, whatever like the MSNBC has their own version like we're talking about

But I think that like This is why I try to like go out and do debates all the time, because which like some people in this one of the things I talk about in the book, right?

Some people on the left don't like that, right?

They say that like if you're

You know, if you're like if you talk to a bad person basically right, you know they'll say, like, oh your platform, and you know that that person that's so stupid

Is a word I hate so much, but they have but

Joe Rogan

Get that more than anybody because I I you know people want to say that I'm like a fake liberal because I talked to conservatives and I'm friends with some conservatives like that is the dumbest ******* thing to ever you

We need to communicate with each other

We're supposed to be in a community

The community is the human race first of all, and then the United States 2nd

It's supposed to be a community, and if there I have a lot of friends that have completely different perspectives that than me they have a lot of friends that are like very Christian

I have friends that are very Muslim

I have friends that have, you know, no religious affiliation whatsoever

I have friends that are right wing and left wing and I don't

I don't mind

All those things, as long as you're not a suppressive person, you're not suppressing people that have an opposite position or an opposite perspective, like, why not?

What are we doing here?

Aren't we just talking to each other?

It shouldn't?

We like communicate with people that are

But when I have people on you know you'll, I'll get all this pushback like or someone like Ben Shapiro

Ben Shapiro is

A lovely guy meet him, get to know him

He's very nice

I don't agree with him a lot

Yeah, a lot on a lot of

Ben Burgis

Stuff, yeah, I mean, look if if

Joe Rogan

But I love the guy

Ben Burgis

Sure, I mean look if if you know Ben Shapiro ever wanted to like come on my show and argue with me, I would. I would 100% do that

I bet he'd do it

Ben Burgis

But I think it's OK

Well, you know

Joe Rogan

But he talks really fast

You gotta be careful 'cause it's hard

To keep

Up with him, it's like his ******* brain is on a different RPM

You gotta whenever I talk to him I try to slow things down

Slow down youngster

That's awesome, but he's very enthusiastic

Yeah, I don't agree with him on a lot of things, particularly on gay issues

He thinks that gay folks shouldn't just

They should just not do it

Ben Burgis

Which is which is ridiculous, like you're gonna

Joe Rogan

It's it's this

It's the

Joe Rogan

Strangest position, I just don't understand that position

Ben Burgis

So so like you, if you're gay, you have like a moral obligation to just be celibate for your entire life

Joe Rogan

No, you're supposed to actually engage in heterosexual sex

Yeah, what's but what's amazing is that this

Ben Burgis


That's that. Sounds like it

Joe Rogan

Well, this is where that falls apart, right?

Because this is all based on ancient writing like who?

Because God said this like who said God said this?

Who are these ******* people and what else did they say God said?

Did they say anything about zombies?

They say anything about people coming back from the dead, like what did God say?

Did I mean how much did they say?

That doesn't make sense?

Did they say anything about partying oceans and like did did anybody like lead someone to a place and part SC?

'cause that doesn't seem real

Maybe someone was lying

Ben Burgis

Yeah, right, that's that's

That's that's like, yeah

Joe Rogan

I mean, anybody who does anybody who knows gay people right?

Like I have gay friends that are like you could never tell they're gay 'cause they don't

You know, they just seem

Like a man and then I have gay friends who like Oh no straight guy acts like that

Ben Burgis

Yeah, they're

Gay from space, right?

Joe Rogan

Yes, it's super gay

Ben Burgis

That's yeah, yeah, yeah

Joe Rogan

Like when you meet a super gay person, that first of all they enjoy behaving that way

Ben Burgis

Sure, sure

Joe Rogan

That is how they like to talk. That's how they like. Like Justin martindale's. Great example my friend Justin

He's gay as **** but he's hilarious

I mean, he's hilarious with it

He's like he's a joyful gay person

You wouldn't get confused when you're around him

You wouldn't say

What do you think this guy is?

Like that guy is

Gay, you know

But like that's how he is, man

Ben Burgis

Yeah, that that's how he is and the idea is

Joe Rogan

This idea that this is he's he's supposed to make a choice to have sex with women like ****

Ben Burgis

Yeah, that's that

Sounds like a good deal for the woman to Jesus, yeah

Joe Rogan

That woman he's closing his eyes thinking about beards and ****

It's so dumb

Ben Burgis

Yeah, and and I think and also I mean we could talk to about like

OK, so there's the part in the Red Sea stuff

There's also the like slavery in the Bible, right?

Like that's you know, like?

Joe Rogan

Oh God, a ton of it, you know, and and then treating women as second class citizens condoning slavery

There's a lot of murder in the in the Bible for disrespecting people

Like how about that?

The the one guy when the kids called him bald and they seek the ******* bear to kill all the kids?

Ben Burgis

Yeah, the she bears

Joe Rogan

Then kids

They killed the bear

They killed, the bears, killed the kids 'cause they called him a bald guy like

Ben Burgis

Because they called him old bald head

Joe Rogan

What the **** coming from a bald person?

Let me tell you something, that's an overreach

That's ridiculous, but it's this idea that

Ben Burgis

You don't you?

You don't think if like some kids tasty about that

They deserve the

Death penalty

Joe Rogan

Listen, I think there's some things that are fascinating about religious traditions that I think they can act as a scaffolding for moral behavior, and some of the like the kindest, nicest people I know are Christians, and I think that there's

Something about that sort of structure that that religious structure

When I was younger I was much more of a what you would say like a traditional, like agnostic or atheist, like I thought it was dumb

I thought the religion was dumb

I don't think it's dumb anymore and I think it's greatly beneficial to some people and I think it does give them a structure

And if you Jordan Peterson said something that really made a lot of sense

He said

It's not whether or not I believe in God, he goes

But if you live your life like God exists, you will have a higher quality of life

And is that if you live your life like you are a part of this

Enormous community of loving beings that are all connected to this higher power and that you have this like moral obligation to be a good person, and that there's great value and benefit in that

And then there's there's a spiritual path to take of a righteous person who's really trying to do good in this world

And I think for a lot of people, religion can act as a scaffolding to substantiate and enforce those kind of positive traits and positive

Paths of life, and I think there's great benefit in that

I think it's there's great

Ben Burgis

Good in that, yeah, I mean look, I'm an atheist but you know, but I have tremendous respect for

Christians who get what you just described out of it I I have to say there are Christians who get very different things out of it, right?

You know that they that they want to like

You know, ban abortion and make gay people go back in the closet and all that stuff you know

But like but look, I mean I, I think like Cornell West, you know I, I think that's a that's a Christian

I have immense respect for us

Joe Rogan

He's have you ever met?

Ben Burgis

Him no, no I I have

He was on like so I I used to do a segment on the Michael Brooks Show and I think he was on that at

Least at least once

Joe Rogan

I miss that guy

Ben Burgis

I'm a couple times

Yeah, he was great

Yeah he was he was, he was

He was one of my my closest friends for the last couple of years before he before he passed

Joe Rogan

He's a funny dude too man

Ben Burgis

That was just

He was a very so

Joe Rogan

He was funny

Ben Burgis

Very funny guy

What he would do like the the like Nation of Islam, Obama and you know

Joe Rogan

Good impressions

He was just a really thoughtful, interesting guy who knew a **** load about politics

And you know, and about socialism and he was a really good guy to sort of defend these positions of democratic socialism too

'cause he didn't seem like a bad person, you know, like when, and even in critiquing other people

That this this disagreed with him

I felt like he did it for the most

Ben Burgis

Part pretty reasonably, yeah

Well, I think that one thing that he really got, and I actually think he helped me to get

You know, since in the you know in the years since I met him is that

Like a lot of people who who agree with with his position with my position don't

Think nearly enough about what's going to be appealing to

Like most ordinary people, right?


Ben Burgis

You know that they have 'cause like if you're just

You know, like which is one of the reasons I wrote the book that like that stuff was starting to drive me crazy

You know that like it seems like what a lot of people want to do is be part of an in Group and like yell at everybody who who doesn't

You know who isn't like already on board with like every single thing on on a checklist and and that's just not going to

That's just not gonna work, right?

I mean, that's like like if you actually care about this stuff, right?

Like if you think, yeah, I

I think that we have like a grotesquely unequal society

I think that you know

I think we need to have National Health care

We need to, you know, not fight all these wars around the world

All of that stuff and like you're actually talking about this stuff

'cause you care about it

Which, let's be honest, not everybody does

I mean some people

Politics is like a weird hobby for them, right?

You know

But like if you really care about that stuff

Then you want to present that in a way that's going to appeal to ordinary people who haven't read everything that you've read, who who aren't like, necessarily don't have all the same like subculture you know sensibilities that

That you have so like yeah, I mean it drives me

It drives me crazy when I see people who who want all the things that

You know all the things that I want who are instead of trying to, you know, find ways that they can explain this to people who might like you, know, agree with them on some things, disagree with them on some things, like a lot of people, like most people aren't like centrists in the way that the media means when they say centrist right, which is like the you know whatever

Socially liberal, fiscally conservative

All that stuff, right?

You know

Like like most people

I think just have weird combinations of views right, which is because

Like if you spend all of your time thinking about politics and tweeting about politics and all of that stuff, you're like kind of an unusual person

Most people don't do that

They have other things that they have to do, so they might have political reactions to things they have political impulses

But like, they haven't necessarily thought through every single thing you know to

Joe Rogan

They probably don't have the time

Ben Burgis

Yeah, that of course they don't have the time

Joe Rogan

If you want to get involved deeply into the weeds and politics, you're gonna it's tremendous amount of hours for years and years and years just to get a base understanding of what's going on

That's why it's so impressive when you talk to someone who really does know a lot about politics

Like whenever I talk to like my friend Kyle Kulinski never talked to him about politics like

That ************ knows a lot like so when we had the end of the World Podcast when there was the election this past year when we brought him, I I brought him out like you're the voice of reason

Like you actually understand what's going on here, and he called it every step of the way

You see all these people that had like these conspiracy theories about?

Trump, like oh the mail in votes

He explained he's like the mail in votes are going to be majority Democrat votes

Yeah, and he goes

So if you look at Trump getting way ahead in places like Pennsylvania and there's a couple of these other states he's like, this is what's going on

There's a lot of the Republican folks are going to show up, and they're going to vote in person and then the mail in is going to be overwhelmingly democratic

And then he's probably going to lose a lot of numbers overnight and

They're like, oh, he went

We went to bed and he was ahead

But then it's like Kyle Kolinsky explained it, explained it all on the podcast, clearly called it just caught, and that's because

That's a guy who's been like really studying politics at a like very comprehensive level for a long time, and he can give you the like

The real information about

Ben Burgis

It yeah and most people like I said they they don't have the time

I mean especially when you're in a increasingly precarious economy where lots of people

Like might have a couple of jobs and like drive an Uber on the side, you know like just just 'cause they're

Joe Rogan

How to **** Do you have time?

Ben Burgis

Trying to

Yeah, of course

Joe Rogan

Unless you're just listening to podcasts all the time and you know like really educational podcasts on on on politics like

And even then, you're going to get a cursory sort of understanding of

Ben Burgis

It yeah, absolutely so

I mean, I think that what you know what you should really be?

Would you approach people to try to convince them of the things that are?

That are important to you

Like you shouldn't start from a place of do you?

You know, do you have all the like, right?

You know, to, uh, you have all the right positions

Joe Rogan

Right, right?

Ben Burgis

And like all of this stuff, because you know, by definition, look if everybody you know

If everybody agreed with me about all this stuff, we'd be living in a very different country right now, right?

You know, like like so, so I think that

You need to assume the real question like is does somebody have like?

Values that are just like totally incompatible with mine and or do they just have like?

Economic interests that are going to like lead them to like they're never going to agree with me, right?

Like like like, like Jeff Bezos

And I are never going to agree on like what?

Tax rates should be for obvious reasons, right?

You know, like

Joe Rogan

Would like you to talk to him though I think that'll be an interesting conversation

I don't

I've never heard him discuss money in terms of like wealth and taxes and things like

I wonder what his position is on that

I feel like there's a system that's in place that you would almost be

Negligent if you didn't take advantage of it

You know, if if you're a guy who's making a lot of

Money and this is

This is how you could pay X amount of taxes

And this is like these are your deductions, and this is like the law

You follow the law tuiti and then the rest of it

You can give out charitably, if you choose to

But like, I wonder what?

His position is on all that stuff, like when you've got that kind of money

Ben Burgis

Yeah, I mean, I think that my suspicion is that it starts to look very different, right you

Know once you get all

Joe Rogan

That cash

Ben Burgis

Yeah right, you know like you're going to, you know like you're going to feel very

It's really hard to convince somebody that like who's benefiting that much from the

Way things are

Joe Rogan

Now do you see the image of him at the New Year's party with his girlfriend?

No, Jamie help me out. This is so important because someone needs to superimpose this with, uh, an image of Jeff Bezos from like, 1989

Like what he looked

Like when he started Amazon versus what he looks like now

I mean when did he start?

Amazon must be in the 90s

Right because?

It was an online book look thing, yeah and he was like this kind

Of nerdy guy

Now look at him and look at his girlfriend

I mean this is amazing

Like he's got ******* heart and

Ben Burgis

The heart sunglasses

Joe Rogan

In his defense, in his defense, this was actually a party that was, for it was like a disco themed party

So you're supposed to dress like this, so everybody dressed like that


Joe Rogan

They all dress silly

It was just

It was a fun party

So he had these glasses that were like heart shaped lenses and he's got this bombshell girlfriend who's leaning on him

I love it

I love excess

I love when people are preposterous

Yeah, that's why I love it

You know?

Ben Burgis

Yeah no, no

I mean fair enough like

And again, I don't blame it

Like if you're not like

You know doing some things that I do think you know Bezos has done

But like, you know

But if you know, but there are like a list you know, like if you're not like busting unions and this and that, right?

Then like look

If you look at that, just look at

Joe Rogan

How it started?

I wasn't going

They did it

Someone did it

Ha ha ha

Joe Rogan

Look at that

That's ******* amazing

That's amazing

Work hard folks, and you don't have to be a dork

Imagine shave your head, get a bombshell girlfriend

Ooh I love it

Ben Burgis

Yeah yeah yeah

Joe Rogan

Happy days are here, let's go

Ben Burgis

Hundreds of millions of dollars help

Joe Rogan

Let's guys live different lives

He's lived billions of dollars, hundreds of billions, not hundreds of 1,000,000 Sir hundreds of billions

Ben Burgis

That's outrageous, yeah, now I mean is on track to be the first trillionaire, right?

That's that's what?

They're saying

Joe Rogan

Oh, there's trillionaires out

Ben Burgis

There yeah, OK, are there?

I thought they were saying like in 2020 they were saying that like

At the end of the OK

Joe Rogan

No, the trillionaires are all non public

See if you think about like the royal families like they they don't have to disclose their wealth

These people that have literally they own countries

I mean if you think I mean we don't have to name the countries but there I know for a fact 'cause I have talked to people who are in fact billionaires

We're very wealthy business people that laugh and they've told me the royal families and some of these countries are worth trillions of dollars and they don't have to disclose it

So when you get this public list of who the richest people in the world are, that's the richest people publicly

That you know, like they have to disclose it

They're not oligarchs, they're not people that are in charge, literally in charge of the oil

All the oil in a particular part of the world where billions of dollars are coming out every day

Like come on, there's a **** load of money involved in

Ben Burgis

That yeah, and I mean The thing is, even if you're not like one of those people, right?

Like you know the the non you know non public trillionaires you know from those countries that you're talking about

Like one thing that I think people often don't think about enough when they think about stuff like this is OK

If you have a system where you're going to get like wealth gaps, that extreme right, you know that you can

You can have people who are trillionaires maybe or who at least have hundreds of billions of dollars

Then you're just not going to have political democracy

The way that we should have it because you know the idea that like everybody is going to have the same amount of influence on the government is just ridiculous

Joe Rogan


It's ridiculous

Ben Burgis

You know, once you get to that level, right?

Because like if you

Work at an Amazon warehouse and you want to like call your congressman

You'll be lucky if you have a conversation with

Joe Rogan

An intern, but Jeff Bezos can make a phone call to Biden

Ben Burgis

Yeah no absolutely Biden would take the call

Joe Rogan

Anybody like hey ************

Ben Burgis

Because if he told him, right, you know

Joe Rogan

Listen bro, take a couple extra Advil and let's have a conversation

I need to be awake for this one

Ben Burgis

Yeah, which which you might have to

Provide him but yeah

Joe Rogan

What what happened to the left, where somewhere along the line this get back to your book on the subject that we started with?

Good good Yep

Joe Rogan

What happened to the left, where they are willing to

They there's something that happened where they became

The the side that accepts censorship and even promotes it

And my

My thought is that something morphed during the time where social media became

It became a tool of a lot of right wing people and this is actually like

Pre Trump but was certainly accentuated during the Trump administration

It's like people had a chance to anonymously say things through social media that maybe they wouldn't say around the office because like say if you have like 10 people in your office and nine of them are Democrats and you're a Republican, you really have to keep your mouth shut

Ben Burgis


Joe Rogan

Right, but when you get on Twitter, you can talk all kinds of crazy **** or read it or whatever, and then all the other people that agree with you

They they get attracted to you and then you form these echo chambers and then some of them are very aggressive in sort of pushing these ideas out and

We saw that a lot with like Milo Yiannopoulos and there was a lot of like these like very influential online right wing people that were

You know they had like cheers from the fans and they had like these throngs of supporters and they silenced those guys

They pulled those guys off social media and they found out that it was effective to do that and then it became a thing that they got really into where they're into silencing, dissenting opinions and it's gone so far that they're doing it to left wing people

That step even remotely outside the bounds of the orthodoxy remotely outside the bounds of what they consider to be the rigid

This the rigid maintaining of this ideology

They step outside of that

They they silence people and they're pulling videos down left and right off of Instagram and Tik T.O.K

And and and Twitter

In some ways, Twitter is like less censorship oriented, even though people think of Twitter as being like a very censored place, it's one of the more lenient

Online platforms, but what the **** happened?

Ben Burgis

Yeah, I mean the Milo case is interesting actually, because I think that I mean, I understand that like he got kicked off of Twitter and that was definitely part of it

But like he was still riding pretty high after that happened like I think that in my Lowe's case and this is what you know when I kind of try to tell people

That, like the ways that like some people on the left like want to like deal with figures like this like forget morality for a second

They're just not going to work right?

So like, here's what I mean by that, right?

That like

Milo's career was built on people trying to like, you know, stop him and Heckle him, and you know stop him from speaking and all that stuff

You know that, like my view on that guy, is that honestly you know he he wouldn't be that interesting if he just showed up on a college campus and like just talked and nobody, you know nobody had erupted him, but like that was why?

Like 'cause he's like, oh, he's like speaking edgy forbidden truths

And like you know it was the dangerous ideas to her

That's what it's called like

I think where Milo really got dropped like like where Milo like was really ended, right?

And I'm not saying there aren't other cases, they're more like what you're talking about, but it seems to me that we're Milo was really ended was when the right dropped him after the age of consent

Stuff like he

He was going to speak at CPAC and they cancelled that he had his book deal, you know, got dropped

Joe Rogan

But it wasn't just the right dropping

Him, I mean that was across the board people dropped

Ben Burgis

Him well, I

I mean, everybody else had always hated him, right?

But then like after that

Joe Rogan

Happened, right?

You know that that was just a thing where it it felt like it was so unacceptable to so many people that it was

It's very rare that one idea

Becomes a thing that completely stops all the momentum that someone had like

He was a very popular cultural figure and then he vanished like his essentially been not just deep platform, but removed from the cultural conversation

Ben Burgis

Yeah, but

Yeah, I mean like a week before that happened he was on Bill Maher, right, you?

Know that's that's so, yeah, that's

Joe Rogan

No, then wild and Bill Maher was praising him and comparing him to Christopher Hitchens

Ben Burgis

He was Christopher Hitchens, which which I do not think Miley Innopolis deserves

Joe Rogan

It's wild

Ben Burgis

But they

But yeah, look, I think that

I mean, I think that there are a couple things going on there with the the with

With censorship I mean I would push back a little on

On the idea

You know that the that the right isn't like plenty pro censorship in lots of ways

Like like I think

I think they are

Joe Rogan

No, I wouldn't say that I, I think, listen, no, I I think that people politically like to silence their opposing or their opposition when someone opposes their position

Ben Burgis

OK, well so we disagree on


Joe Rogan

I think they

Like to do that, but I think is like the left is traditionally been the ACLU, which those Jewish lawyers supported

Ben Burgis

Yeah, right?

Joe Rogan

The idea of Nazis

Being allowed to say whatever they want because they said that this the counter to that the opposite of that is the suppressing speech, and it's a terrible dangerous road to go down

And the answer to bad ideas is not silencing those ideas, it's better ideas

Ben Burgis

But they were absolutely right

Joe Rogan

That's my position, and that's an old school liberal position, but that doesn't exist that much in the

Ben Burgis

Now this

Joe Rogan

Left wing of today

Ben Burgis

Yeah, I mean that's 100% my position I. I think that and and and I think that it's really dangerous that a lot of people like, even though most of the stuff you're talking about is driven more by like mainstream liberals

That, like it's not like you know whatever you know, people running like these insanely profitable social media companies, right?

It's not like they want all the stuff I want, right?

You know, but like but but I I, I see way too many people on the left going along with it

Joe Rogan


Ben Burgis

And I think

Joe Rogan

It's super short sighted, right?

Because like how did it happen though?

Do you think it happened by what I'm saying that like they found it was effective for silencing people they felt was problematic

So they just adopted these ideas and then they sort of shifted their their their ethics

Ben Burgis

I think there's some of that. I think that I think that a lot of it is that a lot of people feel powerless to change the world in any way that actually matters, and so they end up getting sucked into these like culture, war, distractions about who said what in 1995 that we can like get mad at them about. And you know what, the?

You know, whatever like, just just whatever like weird nonsense people are arguing about this week, right?

The Green Eminem, you know and and like some of this stuff is part of that, right?

Like they have a

That like if you don't like if you can't actually, you know change the world like create a more equal society or whatever you can at least get somebody fired

You can at least get somebody kicked off and then you felt like you've won something, and I think that that's like I think it's incredibly dangerous because like people who want, for example

You know Spotify to to kick you off, you know there there's a

There's a move on, you know petition, you know for them to do that that like

What I always say is, even though and the thing that really gets me about the calls for censorship is OK, I think there are principled reasons that you know free speech is important and we should have like open

You know, open debates about controversial ideas

I think there are ways that we have a better society if we do that, but also

I think it's it's crazy that anybody who basically agrees with me about politics would support

Increased corporate censorship, right?

Because if you have like some like social media company, right?

You know that's that's going to be owned

You know, like they're going to have, you know, some CEO who's partying like Bezos in that you know in that picture you know, like is, are they?

You know whose side are they going to take with their future things where people say that something is misinformation, you know that they you know 'cause like

Joe Rogan

Right exactly exactly and by what definition is it misinforming?

Ben Burgis

Information because the problem is

Is that every every political argument is to some extent an argument about facts, right? Like that? Like in 2002, even though my position was, you know, as like a college like anti war activist. Was that even if Saddam Hussein did have weapons of mass destruction and still be against the war? 'cause you know, I think the rationale still wouldn't made sense to me

But like that was like part of what people were arguing about was whether there's mass destruction weapons of mass destruction


And look if you had had social media companies in 2002 in the way that you do now

And they had misinformation policies. Who would be more likely to get bounds for misinformation? People who said who agreed with the, you know, the government agreed with the New York Times said there were WMD's or people who thought that, like Bush administration, officials were conspiring to lie to the public


Ben Burgis

You know, like and

I think that who's going to like if there's something that comes out tomorrow about like some horrible labor practice at Amazon

Who are these companies more likely to side with, right?

You know, people who say, yeah, they did this thing right, or or the the company saying no, it's it's

It's a lie

It's misinformation and

I, I think the the issue with free speech is always

Who gets to decide right like and I think this is the same reason

I mean look, this is the same reason I don't like

You know, I don't like the I don't like the CRT laws either, right?

Because I I don't like the idea that there are going to be people who are second guessing

You know what happened in some, you know some classroom to say like was this too close to like you know to to to one of these ideas that we don't like, right?

Did you talk to your students about something that like flew a little bit too close to the sun?

Of CRT, and that that makes me nervous

Joe Rogan

By CRT, you're talking

About critical race theory, just some people

Ben Burgis

Oh yeah, sorry critical yeah sorry

Critical race theory, yeah, and I think that like actual critical race theory, their parts

I agree with their parts that I disagree with, but

I don't wanna live in a system

I want to live in the kind of society where when there's salt like some controversial idea that's out there, you know, like that like people can talk about it and debate about it

And like if you can, you know like you could discuss it with students in a classroom like I think

Ideally, the way that education should work

It should foster critical thinking like instead of like

This is exactly what you should think

Joe Rogan

For sure

Ben Burgis

You know you should be encouraging students to like

You know to think about it, you know more clearly and to argue about it and to you know and to decide

And to decide what they think, right?

You know, because like ultimately, if you

Want people to be citizens in a democracy right to the extent that we have one of those like that's that's what you want

Like that's that's how you want them to

Joe Rogan

Grow up, I hope, yeah, absolutely you want discussion

This way you sort out if you're an observer

The way you sort out who has the better argument is to watch them discuss you

Remember the gore Vidal

And we've got Buckley speeches, you know, which is a great documentary

Ben Burgis

William F yes

Joe Rogan

What is it called best of enemies?

Ben Burgis

Best of enemies

Joe Rogan

It's a fantastic documentary where it shows that

I mean, this is the difference in our culture today versus then these guys I believe is on ABC

These guys had this like really highly rated debate series

I think they did like

How many of them they do, six of them or something?

Like that I don't remember how

Ben Burgis

Many, but they did a few

Joe Rogan

Yeah, they did quite a few so they were going back and forth

And William F

Buckley was a famous conservative

Gore Vidal was a famous liberal and they had these fascinating discussions and they did them on national television

And they became this point of discussion through the entire country in the world where people sat down

And you know, some people took Buckley side

Some people did Gore Vidal side

And this is how we sort things out

We don't sort things out by silencing people

We don't sort things out by saying you have an unacceptable position because it doesn't fit in with what I'm saying or it causes this or that, and it it's just and it's a

It's a dangerous way

To to set a precedent because you're filtering ideas, you're filtering ideas through your own standards, and I don't think that's good because I I think it's it's it's bad for you too

It's bad for your ideas 'cause your ideas can't stand the vetting of of of an opposing position

Then your ideas might suck and you maybe should look at them

So maybe you're lazy and you don't want to go through the hassle of debate or or of like serious discourse, but if your ideas can't handle that kind of a discussion, you probably shouldn't have them

You shouldn't adopt them

You shouldn't be holding on to them

That's my position on all this, and I think this whenever someone is trying to silence someone

This it's more political than it is anything it's more

This person has an incredible amount of influence and they don't align up very rigidly with what our ideology is, and they could cause us problems if they discuss certain things and

An unorthodox way and we don't like that, so we're going to silence them and we're going to pretend that there's something that they're not, and we're going to do that openly, and it's going to be

Ben Burgis

Obvious, yeah, and I think, and I think especially like look if you think the status quo is totally fine

That like everything is the way that it should be

I can, I guess, understand

Joe Rogan

Who the **** thinks that?

I don't know

That's a crazy argument, right?

There's not a single person alive that thinks everything is perfect, right?

Is there?

Ben Burgis

I mean, if so I haven't met them, but

Joe Rogan

I never met him, so I don't think he can have that argument

Ben Burgis

Yeah, so I mean, if you think that there are things

Really, seriously wrong with the society that you live in

Right now have

Discussion then then you like the last thing that you wanna do is to make it harder to get your ideas out about that out there so you know so people can

People can talk about them people

Can you know people can can hear about them, right?

Like I, I think that if you

You know, if you want if you want to have like, you know, in my case you think that like we have, you know we have way too much economic inequality

I think it's particularly crazy to support like more corporate censorship, because, again

Who do you think who?

Do you think is going to get censor right like like it?

Like if it's you know

I mean, if there's some Starbucks worker who's, like, you know, got fired when they're trying to organize a union, and Starbucks says that no, they weren't really fired for that

It was really, you know, because they you know whatever is they

Joe Rogan

Showed up late, yeah?

Ben Burgis

You know they showed up late

I mean, OK, so somebody is lying

Right, do we want you know Twitter or whatever platform to be making decisions about like who's lying and like oh which which which of these sides is misinformation

I don't right like not just because like I support free speech, though I do, but also just because like I don't, I don't trust at all, right?

You know that they're going to take

The side that I would want to on that course

Joe Rogan

So one of the things that I talked about when I made a video recently when they said that I was setting saying misinformation, and I was saying, well, look at what used to be misinformation just a few months ago

That's now fact

There's like the lab leak theory

The lab leak theory

If you said that before you get kicked off of social media, now it's on the front cover of Newsweek

The the idea that if you get vaccinated, you can still spread COVID and you could still get COVID

Ben Burgis

Yeah, I mean it's yeah

Joe Rogan

That was crazy talk

Rachel Maddow was on television, saying the virus stops with you

You can't spread it, you can't catch it

It stops with you if you're vaccinated

That's not true

We know that's not true, so that was if you said that I think people were vaccinated

Can still catch COVID and they could still spread COVID

That would be misinformation, but now that's accepted as fact

There's a bunch of those

Ben Burgis

Yeah, I mean I think in that case

I think that might be less like

You know people didn't know that and more just kind of

Rachel Maddow is an idiot because like if you, you know because what they always said is like the like

You know, whatever it is, even for, like the original version of COVID that you know wild COVID whatever they call it, right they

Like you know whatever 90 something you know percent you know like rate of effectiveness of like Pfizer or things you know

Joe Rogan

Yeah, but if you read the literature, that's not

Ben Burgis

Really even accurate

I mean what you know, but but this is the thing like whatever you think the effectiveness rate is, right?

Like it was never 100% and if and if like Rachel Maddow thought it was 100%, that's like that. One seems more like an issue of, like Rachel Maddow not understanding, you know, medical science, but

Again, I don't, I don't

Joe Rogan

Know that would make it misinformation

Ben Burgis

Right, yeah and

Joe Rogan

So it's the same thing that's

Ben Burgis

My point, I mean, I mean like actually so here's an example

I completely agree with at the beginning of the pandemic

Like back in was like March, you know 2020 maybe until sometime in April

Fauci the CDC everybody was saying don't wear a mask, right?

You know and

You know, as we established, I'm not some you know, like there are a lot of things that I would rather spend my time on than like trying to sort through all the COVID stuff but like

Even high at the time was like, well, you would think that doesn't make sense

Why not, right, like you know what?

Why would that like the reasons they were given didn't make sense to me

And then they kind of said

I mean like I know some people say this is an oversimplification, but I think if you go back and look at this is kind of what they said

Oh, we lied about that

So that like all the masks, wouldn't get, you know get bought up

Joe Rogan

That's not an oversimplification simplification at all, that's exactly what they said and

Ben Burgis

And and which is crazy to like the thing that's crazy to me is like OK?

If you're gonna do that, and I think you should have done it, but if you're gonna do that like you have to resign after that, right?

Like, once you've once you've like shown that you were willing to like lie, lie to people like like like if if you think it's important that people trust you, know medical authorities which you know

I mean, I can see why public health crisis you know that you think that was important, like what's going to undermine that

More right people, you know, random people on the Internet, you know like saying things that you know that might not be true about it, or you know

Or people going on podcasts. You know who who might say things that are wrong or like CD's

See like admitting that they were lying about something, something important that's gonna that's gonna undermine that

That's going to undermine that like crazy and I would not have wanted people who were pointing things like this out at the time that like oh the stated reasons why masks were supposed to be bad didn't really make sense, which they didn't write, you know, 'cause it was like?

Well, it's going to encourage people to be reckless

It's like, well, OK, that's an argument

It's like seatbelts, right?

Joe Rogan

I don't think that was the courage

Ben Burgis

That was one that was one that they used right?

Joe Rogan

No, but not fancy

Ben Burgis

Like that

Joe Rogan

I don't think fouchy

Ben Burgis

Used that argument. Yeah, I think The Who did like

I think there was like if you go with their website, I think that's one of the things that they said there at one point

But they also say, well, people don't know how to use them properly

So like they're going to like end up, it's going to end up being more dangerous

You know there are a bunch of things they threw out

None of it quite seemed to add up

You know, even at the you know, even at the time and then again then they came out and said no

Actually, like it's not like the science changed, right?

You know when that happened and I and I think that I certainly wouldn't have wanted people who were pointing that out to not be able to do that because of some misinformation policy

Joe Rogan

Don't you think?

That the issue really was that people were afraid

And when people are afraid, then they'll will support harsher measures to ensure safety

And one of those measures would be to silence people that may be spreading information that could get people in trouble, so they're willing to compromise their values because they think there's a greater good to be high, like there's a different time, and that's one of the more dangerous things about a thing like a pandemic

Because people will compromise their positions because they feel like there's a greater good to be achieved, and so we need to silence these people like this was during the presidential campaign

And this is one of the things that I found out that I that I was really shocked by that Twitter band, Bret Weinstein had a thing that he had put together called

Unity 2020 and the idea was

Instead of this rigid two party system where you have people that left and people the right, what if you had like a really reasonable person?

Well balanced person from the right and a really reasonable, well balanced person from the left and we brought them together

Very popular people and put together like a party and call it like the Unity Party

And so he made a

Twitter page and and Twitter banned the page

Ben Burgis

And what was the reason the

Joe Rogan

Gift some ******** reason, but the reason was they were terrified that these popular podcasters and people were going to take votes away from the left

Because these people like Weinstein and his wife or their progressives

I mean they taught at a very progressive university

There's a lot of people that are progressive that feel disenfranchised with some of the standards

Of the Democratic Party, and they weren't really interested in a guy like Biden

Who is this career politician who's basically full of **** and having him be president like aren't there aren't more reasonable, more attractive alternatives, so they put together this thing and Twitter


Ben Burgis

In the 90

Joe Rogan

Six that this. This is exactly the same. They were worried that like that can FCK up an election if you get enough people that say hey you guys are making a lot of sense, I'm going to vote Unity 2020. If that becomes a big thing, like in the Republicans aren't going to vote Unity 2020, they're going to stick with their base. They're going to stick with their guy. They're Trump people

We got a guy. He's our winner and they were worried and concerned. I think that this Unity 2020 thing, even if it's like 10,000 votes in this place and 5000 votes at that

Ben Burgis

Yeah it does

It does

It doesn't take that much to like

Joe Rogan

It doesn't take that much to swing elections

Ben Burgis

No, definitely not. Yeah, I mean look, I certainly wouldn't have voted for you to do 2020

I think that the Democrats and Republicans are too close together in their positions

Already, right?

There's there are too many things where where they that they basically agree on that

I don't like you know, but but I certainly don't think that you should be banned for Twitter

Joe Rogan

It's crazy, but that's the thing about these social media platforms is that they've become too big

Ben Burgis

For you know like this

Joe Rogan

They're they

They have too much influence

It's not as simple as like this is a private business

They can do whatever they want like this private business is the way that people distribute information to billions and billions of people

The idea that Facebook is just a private business is bananas

'cause it literally influences worldwide elections and it comes standard on your phone

In many countries it

Is the Internet to a lot of people in other countries the idea that that's just a private company is crazy?

Ben Burgis

Well, the thing that's particularly crazy to me is like look, I understand like a like a conservative or libertarian

You know who'd say that, uh, their private business

They could do whatever they want, 'cause that's what they would say about everything, right?

You know that, like private businesses should be able to do what they want and like you know and

And obviously

You know I'm a I'm a socialist I really disagree with that right?

But like what's crazy to me is when people who are on the left who say that who want there to be more

You know lots of restrictions that I agree with, right?

You know on on private businesses, then turn around and say, oh, this isn't really a free speech issue

'cause it's like a private business, it's

Joe Rogan

Right 'cause it supports their their desires

Ben Burgis

Like wait a second guys

You know?

Ben Burgis

You know which one is it right?

I mean like like

Like I said, you know, because if you if you are on the left and I don't mean like if you're a liberal but like if you're a real leftist, then I would say that you know a lot of the core of like your worldview is that you understand that private businesses can have a crazy amount of power over people

Lives and that can be, you know in certain respects, as dangerous as as you know, the power of governments and and of course the two are not unrelated, right?

Because private businesses like we're talking about earlier have a crazy amount of influence over what the over, what the government does

So like

Do you like, I think, wanting private corporations?

To be more powerful, because you think that it's going to silence like just the people that you don't like, that's the problem

Seems like it it just it just always seems like you haven't thought this through at

Joe Rogan

All no, but that that's the problem and this is where I come to you with this

Like how do we get people on the left to realize that this is a tremendous error and that is not?

Just I understand that they think that short term this is beneficial 'cause they can silence people they disagree with

But to understand that for

I mean, it sounds a little grand, but for the human race this is a terrible thing to have

It's a terrible thing to have because you're discouraging discourse, and it's one of the most important things that we have is the ability to talk things out

The ability to find out how a person thinks and to consider how that person thinks

And whether or not that

Would apply to you like can I use these thoughts is that they have a point that I haven't considered

Is there something about the way they're looking at the world that maybe there is a perspective that I have either ignored or I just haven't been aware of that will enlighten me and change the way I look at things?

Maybe I look at a person

Coming from a different walk of life from a different part of the world or different, what a different education, whatever it is like

Let me take in their point of view and see see if this is helpful

See if I can help

See, we can we we need more friends than we need enemies we don't need more enemies so this silencing people or you're just crazy

Enemies, you're polarizing

We need communication

We need it for most people

Want the same thing when I turn in terms of like what do you want from life?

You want your friends, your family, your loved ones to be happy?

You want to be able to pursue your interests and your dreams and your goals

You have these ideas and these projects you want to do these goals you want to achieve

You want to be able to pursue those

And you want to not be hammered by ******** while you're trying to do that

And you also


Want to be?

Joe Rogan

A good person like that's universal stuff

Then it comes to like, well, what is a good person like?

What should you be allowed to do and what you should you not be allowed to do?

How do you infringe upon the rights of your neighbors with your ideas?

Do do you support the community with your ideas is beneficial to people?

And these are all where things get weird and then we get ideologically driven into a left or right category

And I believe that many people that are either on the left or on the right are just looking for a gang

They're just looking for a gang to be in and they find it and they just adopt their positions and they adopt this predetermined pattern of thinking

And this ideology that they subscribe to because other people on the left do it, or other people in the right do it

And when you do it, those people in the right like yeah, good for you

Good for you, Ben

You're thinking the right way

Now you're on our side and there's like for human beings

There's a great feeling of camaraderie that comes with that

You're you're part of a tribe

It's very attractive

And it's it's that's a problem

Ben Burgis

Yeah, and I think it's also a problem when, like, how are the tribes being divided up and is it in a way that's going to actually advance the things that you want, right?

Like as if?

If it's really about like different regions of the country, or like you know for the diminishing number of people still watch cable news, you know which cable news channel you know you, you you watch

And you know, basically, it's it's like you know, Red team versus Blue Team culture, war stuff, right then?

Then I guess the question is, are you ever going to get the kinds of systemic changes that would really help people to do a lot of the things we just talked about right?

Like have like?

You know, be able to, you know, for example, like lots of people can't spend very much time with their families

You know 'cause, 'cause 'cause they have to work all the time

You know lots of people can't do the things they want to do in their life because

You know they can't go to school, you know, because you know like higher education because you know they they can't

You know they can afford it or they they don't want to be like saddled with decades

You know of of debt about it, and and so the question is like how are you going to achieve?

Those things, and if you're if there's somebody standing in the way, who who is it actually right?

Is it somebody who's a member of you know, the elite who has like genuine power, right?

And who's whose interests might not let coincide with with your interest, right?

Because like there are, you know, like if you had a union at your workplace, or if you had like

You know, then their profits would go down, or if you tax them more to pay for some of the things we're talking about, you know like that, you know, like that would be bad for them

Is it them or is it like your uncle who, like you know, whatever like like you know, voted for Trump or something, right?

Like like is is which?

Which one of those people should should you get mad about?

And I think that the problem is that a lot of people are trained to just like fixate on this

Whatever, just passing ******** is going on in the news cycle

You know that like what are people mad about?

This minute you know it's it's going to be something else in 12 hours, right?

You know, but like there there there's this sort of constant

Outrage cycle that I think is fed by the profit incentives of of media companies because they have to hold on to the audience they

Have left well

Joe Rogan

Also, they have advertisers

A lot of those advertisers you know brought to you by Pfizer

They have these ideas that you have to subscribe to, and if you don't subscribe to those ideas

Then they don't want to support your program, and this is like either

A said or unsaid thing

It's like I was listening to this thing where these people were talking about people in positions of power

Like how do you get these like sort of cookie cutter politicians?

Are they told what to do or are they the kind of people that will do what they think and say what they think?

Other people want them to say, and I think there's a lot of that

There's a lot of they don't really necessarily have these principled positions

Ben Burgis

Yeah, yeah

Joe Rogan

What they're doing is they're saying the thing they think that people want them to say they they're saying the thing they believe people want to hear and that that's going to advance them in their career

And there are these, you know, we don't have to name the names, but we know these people

These cookie cutter type politicians we know are full of **** but they say things that are the right things to say given the current political or social climate

Ben Burgis

Yeah, I mean look, remember and and they'll also say what they think they have to say, like at a given point

And then it's like completely forgotten six months later, sometimes right? Like that. Like, think about the 2020 election

Like all of those Democrats who some of them said at the beginning of the primaries that they agreed with Bernie about Medicare for all but even the ones who didn't, right?

They would all say, oh, we at least think there should be this public option

Where everybody should be able to like maybe

Buy into some sort of public health insurance, whatever

And that was like the entire debate. There were like 100, you know whatever I don't, I don't know how many democratic debates there were

It felt like a million, but they have like however many there were

This was always at least like 20 minutes like every single one of those like they would go on and on about this

But then like somehow now

That's just disappeared, right?

Nobody is like like like now Biden President

It still says on his campaign website

You know that that never got taken down, right?

That he wants there to be this public health insurance option

Kamala Harris, who said at one point that she agreed with Bertie about Medicare for all, is the vice president

A lot of these other people are, you know, Pete Buttigieg, you know, said he wanted at least Medicare for all who wanted

And like he's you know, he's in the cabinet

There are all these people who are back to being senators

And it's it's like, well, that's what they you know when they had to position themselves to win that primary, they said that they cared about

Like all you know, the millions of Americans who don't have health care or they like 1,000,000 more who maybe even do have health care

Joe Rogan

But they said they were going to decriminalize marijuana and release everybody that

Was in jail for it

Yeah, once that

Happened exactly

It's all ******** like it's all ******** with that

That is the sort of stuff that we're talking about that they don't really believe these things

They're saying these things because they believe this is what people want to hear, and that gets those people out to the polls that get

That's get to get those people out to the booths and get them to vote, and this is unfortunately where we find ourselves as a culture until we can read minds and Elon Musk

Hurry up with that technology. We need to be actually able to read people's

Minds bring it back to you

Ben Burgis

So yeah, I don't, I don't, I don't know that I want

A lot to be able to read my mind, you're gonna read it

Joe Rogan

You can read his mind too though, and you're going to see, Oh my God

Why did you write?

Ben Burgis

This book, yeah, I wrote this book because I was ****** *** like I think more than any other books that I've read and it came out of like intense frustration that I was feeling at that time because I saw a lot of people who I think like

On paper you know they agree with me about like most of what I've said tonight, maybe not the, you know, maybe not the free speech part, but like you know, most of the rest of it, like who were doing all of these things that seem to me like they were either feeding into these absolutely ridiculous sideshows that like stop people from actually focusing on these issues that we're talking about

You know, like you know the the title, right?

The title example you know canceling comedians

You know people who would like

Freak out, you know about like what Dave Chappelle says in a stand up special, as if like the things that you say in a stand up special or like an editorial that you're writing for the New York Times about like exactly what you want to happen, right?

Like then like every every sentence you know, Dave Chappelle has said in the stand up special is literally what he thinks


Ben Burgis

And you know, and I think that like one to anybody, you're trying to appeal to, like, actually

Build some kind of like political program to actually accomplishing the stuff we've talked about, like what does that make you look like that makes you look like an overgrown hall monitor, right?

Nobody is going to want to follow that person anywhere, nor should they write like that

They 'cause, 'cause that's that's just

Incredibly damaging and unappealing and and I and I wanted like, I mean it's funny because I I think that like

When I sort of use that as the example in the title, right?

Like I was kind of trying to come up with like the most ridiculous example that I could come up with, right?

Like you know that like people would be like

You know, in terms of like ridiculous priorities or sort of people being like weird, moralistic scolds like

You know what would be the biggest example?

Not getting mad at like corporate CEOs who bust unions not, you know, not getting mad at like you know politicians who commit war crimes but you know or or you know like maybe you get mad at those people too

But like somehow

You know my my friend

I disagree with him about a lot

A lot of things, a lot of things, but the but he is my friend Dave Smith, you know, heard him talk

About the outrage budget right, you know?

Joe Rogan

How dare you disagree with Dave Smith about anything?

Ben Burgis

Well, I'm pretty sure that he disagrees with a whole lot of things

You agreed with us that earlier, but

Joe Rogan

No, it's awesome, I'm just

Ben Burgis

Joking, yeah, but no

I mean like probably I think he is a

I think he is a good guy and he's you know

I mean I've I've been

You know, I've been on this show several times and he's well, he's yeah he has, he has

Joe Rogan

It's thought out perspectives

You may agree or may not agree, but you can see where where he's coming from

Ben Burgis

Yeah, I could see where it's coming from and the other thing that I I really respect about him is that I think that like a lot of a lot of libertarians

Like, even though they'll like agree on paper, you know like that like with you know, yeah, we shouldn't be fighting

You know we shouldn't be fighting these wars, you know we

We should like

There shouldn't be all these people in prison or whatever

It seems like in practice what really gets them excited is like tax cuts, right?

And I think that

And I think Dave is genuinely not like that

I think that he actually like like devotes way as far as I've ever been able to see

He actually devotes way less time to stuff like that than to like the United States backing this genocidal sat in war in in Yemen like

Joe Rogan

That's the big thing with Dave

It's it's interventionist foreign policy and the corporate backing of these horrible regime change wars

That's that's the thing that he hates more than anything, and the actual cost of human lives and suffering

You know he's a deeply compassionate person, he really

Firmly opposes these things and he wants to talk about them whenever he can

And it's

It's one of those things where I mean he talked on my podcast about how that got him kind of booted off of those political talk shows on cable

Ben Burgis

Nobody wants to hear about dead kids in Yemen like what they're what they want to

Joe Rogan

Exactly exactly

Ben Burgis

Hear about is like whatever culture war thing people are screaming about each other, you know



Joe Rogan

Whether that Upenn swimmer should be able to compete with women, yeah

Ben Burgis

Yeah yeah

Which way?

By the way I love the thing that I love most about that example is whatever you think about it, right?

Like and I you know

I mean look if if I had to like actually think about it pressing or whatever, let them

You know I don't care, right, you know

But like that whatever you think about it

Like the idea that everybody is going to get this excited about something happens in Ivy League swim meet


Like that they had, like it's like, really, that's what you care about

Joe Rogan

Very odd

Ben Burgis

Like rich kids like swimming like that

That's that's not really what I care about, right?

Like I know, it's not what I want people to care about, so so I mean whatever

Joe Rogan

But it's a

It's also, but it's it's a lightning rod for this discussion of like what is a woman?

And but this is a new part of the ideology

This is a new discussion, like what makes a woman?

Is it biology or is it how you identify is how you feel?

Or is it your chromosomes and?

This when it comes to sports sports, is where the rubber heats hits the road and that's why it's this sort of it's like see we told you there's a difference when someone is lapping people and they're they're identifying as female, but they're a biological male and they're destroying the competition

But when they competed as a biological male, which

Was just a little while

Ago they were not very good

They were OK, but they weren't

They weren't nowhere near the top ten, and now they're dominant


Joe Rogan

The number one in the country like this is a it's a

It's a very interesting discussion of where the rubber meets the road in terms like what defines

Who you are and and also like are we talking about how you treat a person or are we talking about competition and so there's a reason why men can't compete with women like as a biological male?

You who identifies the biological male you are not allowed to compete in the women's division. There's a reason why there's a division between men and women so

When we make this distinction, what?

What is the criteria that we allow someone to cross that distinction and be a female or be a male?

And this is nothing to do with cruelty or bigotry or discrimination

This is just a discussion about what is a woman and what is a man and sports

Or a great way to sort that out when it comes to this particular aspect of it

The physical aspect of being a female or a male another is birth

You know, like can you get pregnant?

Can you give birth?

I mean, if there's a competition like who's going to create the most babies and it's males versus females and it's people who identify versus?

As a female versus people who are biologically female, well the biological females are going to dominate that competition

I know, right?

Ben Burgis

No, I'm saying no

Joe Rogan

Well, you know I'm saying it's like it's where the rubber meets the road in in terms of like these ideological discussions, which are valid discussions, they're valid discussions

Ben Burgis

I I know what you're I, I know, yeah

Joe Rogan

'cause I've I've met a lot of trans people that like I had Blaire, White white on the podcast recently

I mean when you meet Blaire White you there's not a ******* doubt in your mind like this is someone who for whatever reason

The nature and genetics have given the wrong sex to a person that is distinctly female

Ben Burgis

Yeah, I mean as far as like the actual rules for like sports leagues, I I know, I'm sure you know way more about this than I do

But like I have a I know different like sports have handled it differently in terms of the requirements that like it's not necessarily an absolute thing like

You know trend, you know?

Trans women can or can't you know, compete?

Like sometimes you know there are like hormone requirements and stuff like that

You know that there are there are different ways of trying to

Joe Rogan

You know what the hormone requirements are?

Ben Burgis

Though no, no, I've I have, I have no

Joe Rogan

That's where it gets weird

Ben Burgis

Idea, right? That's the threshold

Joe Rogan

Old, for many sports it means handled differently in different places, but this guy named Derek

He's got a website called

It's a silly name or website

It's called more plates, more dates

It's like something you create a long time ago, but he's

He doesn't

I don't think he necessarily has a degree in chemistry in biochemistry, but he has a deep understanding of it and the way he was breaking down the amount of available testosterone that a biological female has like the threshold versus what's acceptable for a trans woman to compete

Against biological females, and it's substantially more like it's on the outskirts of like physiological normality

Ben Burgis

Yeah, I mean again, I don't

I don't know what like if there's a good compromise here that would like help like you know that would maintain a reasonable level of fairness

You know, without without you know, without just saying like you know, I think there are like legitimately a couple different

Joe Rogan

Yeah, I don't know what it is either

Ben Burgis

You know couple of different values that you have to balance to like try to figure that one out

I would say that I think like most contexts like you know, most of the things that trans people

You know who are like advocating for you?

Know more anti discrimination laws etc

Talking about are not going to be nearly as hard as like this kind of like edge case about you know about sports right?

Joe Rogan

Right, yeah no, I agree with that

Ben Burgis

Because you know 'cause like?

I think it's mostly like

Can you be like you know, like employment and housing and you know and and all of that stuff?

And and I think it is like I think it is important that you know that you have

You know that you do you have you know civil rights laws that you know that that cover everybody

Now I do think that because of some of the

Weird dynamics of this particular issue, right?

Like you know, you're going to get like things that are harder calls, right?

You know, like like this, like sports

Yeah and I I again I just like in terms of like what some sports league should require in terms of you know hormones or whatever

Like I have absolutely no idea, but again, I I think that it's

This is

This is not like

In terms of things that I'm going to get like mad about, right?

You know, on a on a day to day basis, right?

Like well

Joe Rogan

Well you would if you had a daughter that was competing against that person

Ben Burgis

Yeah, maybe you know

Joe Rogan

Someone who had been training their whole life to be an elite swimmer in a dedicated massive amount of time and someone came around that had a a massive biological advantage

Ben Burgis

Yeah, although of course if I had a trans daughter you know then then I'd want to make sure that whatever the rules were, we're going to be fair to her too, which is why, like again, you know, like what the right sort of

Exactly where the rules should be set

Joe Rogan

Do you think if you had a trans daughter and your trans daughter competed as a male for many many years and was just sort of mediocre and then all of a sudden competed as a woman and started dominating?

Don't you think you'd feel a little bit of guilt?

Ben Burgis

I mean, I guess it depends how much like how much she was

You know, like how much we're talking about, right?

Like 'cause like I think in that in that swim meet case the the Upenn, the Upenn thing that you mentioned earlier

If I'm remembering right like and maybe you can correct me on this like like what I know about this is like

Scrolling through Twitter, you know, like you know what I saw

But like, I don't think that she even won by that much

Did she or did she?

Giant amount giant amount?

How much?

How much did she?

How much did she win by?

I thought it was

Joe Rogan

OK, let's find out she's breaking records

I mean, she's breaking records in in multiple meets

Ben Burgis

Oh yeah, yeah, I mean

Joe Rogan

Again, I mean, this is what The thing is like

There's a video of her literally lapping the other female swimmers

And this is again, this is when we're talking before one of the things we brought up is the Lakota culture has this term, and this term is called the heyoka, and the heyoka is the sacred clown

It's a part of their culture where someone makes fun of everything and it's like a sacred part of their culture

Where they subject everything to mockery and anything that can't stand up to mockery

Anything that like viciously defends itself against mockery

That's an illegitimate thing

Yeah, another thing that Lakota people had was

What their version of a transgender person was, and it was also a sacred part of their culture because it was a wise person that understood both genders and this person

Ben Burgis

Spirit or something?

Joe Rogan

You could come to and they had a deeper understanding of what it means to be a woman and what it means to be a man

Because they

Essentially were both

And so there they had a deep amount of respect for people who were trans in their culture and

I think that's a great way of approaching it that

Whenever you have these unique circumstances, someone who is biologically male but clearly is much more of a female, sometimes more of a female than a lot of biological females who are much more biologically female

You know much more oriented towards male thinking and male behavior

I mean this all of this

Is good for everybody

It's it's good for us to accept

And it's good for us to learn from these perspectives of these people that have very unique and and and different, but also common in terms of like when you have giant numbers of people like hundreds of millions of people, you have quite a few people that have these experiences and we can learn from them

And instead of

Discrimination, and I mean, I don't necessarily think sports is a discrimination, though that's where it gets weird, because like there's again, there's a reason why we make a distinction

Why males compete against males and females compete against females?

And I think we need to sort that out and

Ben Burgis

That, but you don't

You don't think like

Like, do you think that there is some sort of reasonable compromise to be arrived out there or what's?

Your position with physical sports

Joe Rogan

It's a problem because there's so many benefits to being a biological male

There's so many benefits the size of the lungs, the size of the heart, the physical strength, the fact that you're going through puberty, and that's the difference between someone who goes through puberty and maybe someone who doesn't

Ben Burgis

Right, the transition before that, yeah

Joe Rogan

Maybe someone would be right there

So and then there's the ethical dilemma about that

Like should you do that?

Because there's a great deal of people that have not done that and wound up becoming gay men

And so is that what it like

What's the right choice and who can make that choice?

And when do you have the ability to make that choice?

Should you be able to make that choice as a child?

Should you wait till you're an adult, you know we we we there's a lot of decisions that we don't allow people to make until they're of grown age

Like tattoos, you can't get your face tattooed when you're 4, but you can. When you're 24, you know it's it's it's

I mean, I'm not saying that they're the same thing, but what I am

Saying is that we

Ben Burgis

But it's so hard it's hard issue, right?

We are

Faced with we're

Ben Burgis

Because yeah

Joe Rogan

Faced with many dilemmas that require discussions and

Comprehensive discussions and the only way you can do that is

Ben Burgis

Without censorship, well yeah

I mean, obviously I completely agree on that, I mean

I think that the

You know youth transition thing, you know

Again, I think that this is like this is a a little bit of a hard case because I think that

On the one hand, yeah, you're absolutely right

I mean, the idea, like you know, no sane person thinks that like little kids should have complete medical autonomy and just like get to like do whatever they want

That would be

Ridiculous, but at the same time like not getting a tattoo when you're a kid isn't going to like have some like really bad effect

You could just wave and that's fine

Right like?

Whereas like with something like this

If that's not dealt with

Joe Rogan

We can only imagine

Ben Burgis

You know, yeah, exactly like I, I literally don't know, but it sounds like it

Joe Rogan

Neither of us know

Ben Burgis

But I I think that like then like having to go through what, from your perspective, is the wrong, is the wrong puberty, right?

I mean, like the stakes are higher that two thing right now

What does that mean in terms of like what level of medical gatekeeping there should be or like what the clinical practices should be?

I'm like the last person to to say, right?

Joe Rogan

Yeah, I'm the last person to say too. I just think it has to be something we can discuss. The problem is when people want to suppress people's ability to make choices, and when people want to suppress people's ability to discuss these things

I don't think that's good for any of us

I mean, these are very complicated human issues, and by human issues I put them in the same category as a lot of

Other things that are very messy

They're complicated to talk about their human issues, you know

And this is one of them

Ben Burgis

Yeah, no

I mean, it's

It's certainly it certainly is

And I also think that again, it goes back to like one of the big points in the book, which is that I don't want

Like people who might be like if you've thought about one of these issues, we're talking about a lot, right?

Like and and you and you

You think like you have

And you might get very impatient right with people who who you think are, you know, are wrong about them

You think that they they have?

You know they haven't thought about it as much as you

Maybe then and you know you think that they're not like sensitive enough to like what people might need then

Like if you're just sort of writing somebody off, right?

You know that like they're done because because they're not like you know, they haven't evolved to exactly where you think they should evolve to yet

I think that that's bad on a human level

That's just a bad way to interact with people and, and I also think that it's I think it's bad politically because

You know somebody could like on some like incredibly messy, sensitive issue, right?

You know, like like they could

You know, like they could, they could land somewhere different from you on that, and I'm not saying that like there wasn't a bottom line like I think there is a bottom line, I think like nondiscrimination laws, stuff like that, right?

Like I think that's

Incredibly important, but I think that if you're writing people off based on that stuff when it could be that there are all these other things where you could actually get them on board with what you want

Right, and instead of saying, like

You know when you when you said in 2020 that you were probably going to vote for Bernie and there were people who?

There are people who freaked out about it and a lot of that was like bad faith

It was like ginned up by supporters of other candidates, but there were people who were like

You know real leftists who who were like mad that like Bernie that Bernie campaign like put out that like video where they were like you know clipping that

And then

And that seemed crazy to me, right?

Like like Michael, Michael Brooks and I wrote an article for Jacobin about it at the at the time

And like like it

Just seems to me like you know, whatever like

The idea that instead of being like oh, hey, good like here are all these things we could agree on

We think ration of healthcare and you're willing to like support this

And by the way, like if you you know if you really care about you know trans people

I mean like I think you know, Bernie Sanders would probably your guy, right?

It made like that they use the, you know he wanted to fund, you know, transition costs

You know part of Medicare

For all you know, like that

That would be, that would be the most you know pro trans position

But like if you're going to say

Like you know somebody you know

Like if you think, oh Joe Rogan is wrong about like exactly how like sports

You know the sports issue should be and it should play out

So I don't care that there are all these other things right that he that he agrees with us about

I don't care if he's willing to support this thing, that would be incredibly beneficial

You know, like we just need to like cast him out, right?

Say like say like no, we just want nothing to do with you or maybe like once you agree with us on 100% of everything. And like you know, repent right? You know then maybe

Then maybe we'll have something to do with you

I think that that's I think that's a I think that's a stupid, and I think it's a self defeating way to like

Try to do politics and I I think it's I think it's also just a

Bad way to live your life

Joe Rogan

Well, I agree with you that writing people off because they don't share all of your opinions is ridiculous

And it's not the way you get people to

To take your position, it's the opposite. They're going to push back. They're going to push back, and you're going to reject people because they don't agree with 100% of your positions they're going to

They're going to dig their heels in

That's a natural thing with human beings

It's not

They're not going

To go woo Orguss will change

Now, that's not what they do man

They they ******* dig in

Ben Burgis

Yeah, nobody has ever said like you know, like nobody has ever been in like an argument on you know whatever Facebook where you know somebody you know like

Somebody says you know, somebody says that they're a terrible person and they're you know, whatever, they're, uh

You know they're a fascist or Stalinist or whatever it is they're being accused of being right, you know and said

Oh, you know?

What you're right, you're right

Good point, good point, good point right, you know like that now I get it right

Joe Rogan

Yeah yeah I did, yeah

Ben Burgis

You know, like that's that's not actually how you, how you appeal to you know to human beings at all


Joe Rogan

At all

Ben Burgis

I mean, like anybody who knows like that's like that's something that like I think and

Alien within like 10 minutes of interacting with people would recognize is not going to work right

I mean like I think if you talk to people like their people like you

You know, like you're taking what they're saying seriously, like if you, if you think they're wrong, you can like

Try to explain why you think you think they're wrong and you can show them how the things that you want might actually help them

I mean, it's not always going to work

There's no guarantee 'cause that's just life

You know there's no guarantee, but I mean like

Sometimes it'll work and the other thing is just not

Joe Rogan

Going to work

So what positions did you take in your book that you got pushback from?

Ben Burgis

Oh boy so

Yeah, well there were

There were a few, although I will say most people who got mad at the book didn't read

It, like most people you know

Joe Rogan

Of course, why would they bother reading him when they could?

Just get mad, yeah?

Ben Burgis

I mean there

Were like, you know

Joe Rogan

What if I read it clouds my judgement, because now I agree with you on some things

I'm trying to say **** you

Ben Burgis

Yeah, exactly like there were

There were so many like the number of people who got mad about the book before it came out

Just based on the title or the description about this

Joe Rogan

Wanna have another drink before you talk?

Ben Burgis

Yeah, absolutely yeah yeah please

Joe Rogan

You're out, you're out of booze

Might need a refill

Ben Burgis

This is really good

Thank you Buffalo

Yeah, it's good stuff

So yeah, the number of people who got mad about it before it came out versus the number after I think is really revealing, but but


Ben Burgis

It's hilarious

I mean it

It's literally true, but I think the people, the people who did read it who got mad which is not

Most people who read it, but the people who did read it who got mad

I think there were a few things. One of them was about the the Andino incident from 2019. You remember this

Joe Rogan

Gianti for thing when they milkshakes at him and stuff

Ben Burgis

Yeah through Yep Yep that they

That, and in general the part of it where I was criticizing

You know, Antifa, that they that like I think that they

I think there are a lot of people you know who at least maybe not a lot of people in the world as a whole, but a lot of people within a certain kind of subculture who have

You know, convince themselves that that, like I don't know, it's really important that people be using these kinds of like

You know St tactics to like because they think in their heads that it's always like Germany in 1933 and like you know Nazis are about to take over or something which is delusional

But they you know I, I think if you you know one of the points that I make about that in the book is that if you think about like what was actually going on in, you know Germany in the early 30s

When you had

You know, like Nazis who are like going around and like smashing up like trade union halls and like you know and and and fighting with people and like socialist and communist parties and stuff

Why would any, like you know?

Would corporate America have to bother with any of that now, right?

They're already winning, you know, just fine

You know, without it, right?

Like so, OK, so sorry, let me sorry, let me

Joe Rogan

I don't know what you're

Saying I'm not confused

Ben Burgis

Let me back up like try to be clear about this

So I think the idea that fascism is what's like on the horizon

In America, I don't think makes sense

'cause I think that arose under very different circumstances than the than than what we've we've got right now

I think that the rule

That, like the things that the things that fascists were doing in like Germany before they took over there or Italy before they took over, there were in response to the perception that the system was under threat and there would be like

Maybe even like communist revolution, and this was like the only thing that you know

The only thing that like

You know, the wealthy elites could kind of turn to to to stop that from happening

You know would would be like allying with with the with, you know, the German entry business interests allied with Hitler

And that's just such a radically different situation than the United States

Now that I think the idea that you'd be obsessed with, like

Street fighting with you know with like the few people who like you, know the Richard Spencer types or whatever

Just seems I, I think that's I think that makes no sense

I think that it's it's a

I think it's a diversion

I mean, I think it's a distraction, honestly

You know from things that actually matter more, and I think that it's really dangerous when people would make excuses for

And behavior like attacking and you know, because it's

Because if you think about that, like the things that here's the thing that most disturbed me right when that happened that I would see people who would be defending that

Online, who would say, well, you know he's not like really a journalist you know, because like whatever they would say about him, right?

You know he's like a propagandist or he's like really siding with like the proud boys or one of these groups

Or you know whatever

And it's like the misinformation thing, right?

Like who gets to decide, right?

What counts as a journalist?

And I certainly don't want that decision to be made by like individual vigilantes

Right, you know?

Joe Rogan

Well, the problem with Antifa is the name

Calling it Antifa, like anti fascist like you're

Like, well of

Course or some anti fascist?

Ben Burgis

Yeah, right, right?

Who wouldn't be?

Joe Rogan

That's the problem

It's but like let's define fascism

Put put up the definition of fascism and this is part of where the problem lies

Like when we discuss fascism, whether we're discussing the connection between the corporate interests and the government or like

What is the?

What is the technical definition of what a fascist is so like?

Where where would you press Wikipedia?


Just Google it

Joe Rogan

OK yeah, here fascism, a form of far right authoritarianism

Ultra nationalism characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition, and strong regimentation of society and the economy that rose to prominence in the early 20th century of Europe

There's other definitions of that though

That's the Wikipedia definition

The problem

Wikipedia is sometimes it gets ideologically captured

A political philosophy, movement or regime

That exalts nation and often race above the individual, and stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader

Severe economic and social regimentation and forcible suppression of opposition

I don't see that in our country

Here's the other one, though a tendency towards

Or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control

The problem with that is when you're trying to

Control by violence and St action and throwing milkshakes at people you're trying to control

The way they behave, and they think

And that's a form of fascism

It's a kind of fascism which you're doing is

In a sense, you're intimidating people into not opposing your perspective

You have large groups of people, they incite violence

They lit the ******* apartment building of the the Portland Mayor, Portland

One of the great things about is it's the least fascist place on Earth

It is literally


The most open minded progressive city on the entire continent, the


United, you know?

Ben Burgis

You don't think Nazis are about to

Take over Portland, there's

Joe Rogan

Not a ******* chance and yet that's the stronghold of Antifa, and that's the place where they find the most fascism

They have to combat against

It's a form of bullying

It's a form of gangs

It's a they're trying to enforce their ideology, and unfortunately, they're ******* mayor

Has let them go so far with it that even he's pushing back now he's calling for greater police protection and they're they're trying to enforce laws now and arrest people

And because he was being targeted so much that he turned it around and is like we have to do something about these people like now you

Think now you think like it's

It's like a gang man

It's like they they get they're they're into this ideology and they're into this whole community of like stopping these fascists and they're looking for them when they don't even exist

The technical definition of fascism is not running rampant in ******* Portland

Ben Burgis

It's just not no

No it's not

And I think that like if you want to say like there are like far right groups who might commit hate crimes etc, then like first of all I actually don't think that a lot of people who do stuff like this would be like just

I'm I'm skeptical that like they're really going to be the ones who are who are going to, you know, do something there

But like if

Joe Rogan

Do something there in what way?

Ben Burgis

Oh that like that like that like if you have like actual fascists who are like showing up with guns, right?

You know that like you know, yeah, I mean like what like I don't think

Joe Rogan

They're gonna run out of dodge

Ben Burgis

I don't think most people who sign up for stuff like this

This is a point Michael Brooks made to me like after the

In Michigan in 2020 there were there was, uh, like some protests at the state Capitol over lockdown stuff where like lots and lots of people actually had guns there he was, like, oh, where's where's Antifa? Here, right? You know, like like?

You know why not, right and?

Joe Rogan

Is that when they were trying to kidnap the governor?

That's the FBI red LED operation

Ben Burgis

Yeah, that was that was before that, but that was that was like that

Was related, yeah, it was the same kind of stuff, so I mean like the protests were like real the the governor plot

Joe Rogan

Same kind of stuff

Ben Burgis

Seems like that was just the like equivalent for this stuff and like

Joe Rogan

It was ginned up by the

Ben Burgis

Yeah it was. It was like one of those. It was like one of those cases, like with the Post 911 security state where you have some like

You know mentally ill Muslim loner who like the FBI spends like 2 years convincing them you know to join their fake fake fake terror plot

You need to blow your

Joe Rogan

Shoes up

Ben Burgis

They finally say yes and they arrest them

You know, like like it seems like way too close to that for comfort

But I guess I guess the thing that's

That might connect to something we were talking about earlier about Antifa

I think that the reason one reason why people end up like obsessing with like about like marginal far right groups like they they proud boys are not about to like

You know March on Washington and like you know and and install, you know whoever is

Joe Rogan

Well, the also that guy the ******* head of the proud boys was in the FBI too

That's true

Joe Rogan

That was the craziest thing when, when that turned out there was the one guy who was

What was his name Enrique?

Something or another?

Who turned out to be an FBI informant that he was the the head of the proud boys, that they were always interviewing him on television after Gavin McInnes, who started as a LARP, he started literally as a joke like it was

Ben Burgis

Yeah, it's like yeah, it's like, uh?

Joe Rogan

It was based on a Broadway musical

That's why they called it proud boys

They were joking around

And then it became a thing and then a bunch of people

Once you created an organization, then a bunch of people can join in

Then they infiltrate it and then they decide to radicalize it

Yeah, proud boys leader Enrique Tarrio was an FBI informant

Like what in the **** man?

Ben Burgis

Yeah, it's like and they turn the McCarthy period when like half of the people at like some like little local Communist Party meeting would be FBI agents because they were devoting so many resources to like trying to

To stop this, like very marginal, you know this very marginal group you

Joe Rogan

Know so people were upset at you because of the Endino thing that you didn't think that was I mean

Ben Burgis

People, people were up

Joe Rogan

And obviously it's just not a way to treat a

Person like no no it's

Beat him up and and he's the if you ever met Andy

He's just tiny Asian gay man

Ben Burgis

Right, yeah, right

Joe Rogan

The idea that this guy is this jackbooted thug that's there to take down, you know, democracy is ******* preposterous

No, no, it is

And and I think that the

Ben Burgis

And I think that like the problem is like when you make an obvious point like, hey, there's absolutely no justification for like physically attacking this guy

Joe Rogan


Ben Burgis

You know that they that like

That that's that's that's insane behavior that, like this, is

This serves no good purpose

You know whatsoever that like a lot of the things that people said about at the time when they're trying to justify it were, you know, turned out to be ******** Which is also true that

Also, you know and also, by the way, I don't want to set the precedent that like we're going to have St violence where people who like you know somebody, decides they don't count as a real journalist and and that they're like helping bad people or creating dangerous effects or something

And they could just attack them like I mean

Why you know?

I mean, I'm sure of you know

I'm sure I've written lots of stuff for Jacobin that

People would say that about right, but what is it like like?

You know?

Joe Rogan

Journalist, this is the other thing, like what defines a journalist like?

How do you decide who is and isn't a giant?

Do you have to be connected to a specific organization?

Because there are many people that are connected to specific organizations that are propagandist

Do you have to have a degree in journalist journalism?

'cause there's many people?

That have a degree in journalism that are liars

And they work for gigantic corporations and they spew out all the nonsense that this corporation wants them to say

Like what is a journalist?

No, absolutely

Should rigid criteria for what is I mean?

Couldn't you not be a person who believes in the truth?

Who decides to dedicate yourself to discussing things and researching things and doing it in a very honest and like?

Doing it as a person in good faith and putting out the information as you've discovered it, like isn't that journalism like who decides who's a journalist?

Ben Burgis

Yeah, I mean certainly nobody at Wiki leaks had a journalism degree, and I'm really glad that that exists, right, sure

Joe Rogan

How about Edward Snowden?

Does that was what he did?

Does that count as journalism?

Yeah, I've heard people say that Glenn Greenwald is not a journalist like

Ben Burgis

I mean

Which is which is ridiculous

Joe Rogan

That's preposterous

Ben Burgis

I mean he broke, I mean

You know he like whatever you think about Glenn or his politics or any of that stuff

I mean, just from a journalism perspective like first with the the NSA revelations and then again in Brazil

You know with you know with the material that like helped free the former president, you know who's who was, who was unjustly imprisoned

Like that that's, I mean that's the most important stuff

Journalism can do, right?

So if that's not journalism, you know

If that's not journalism, right?

Like I don't know why journalism is is important

Joe Rogan

But yeah, what is journalism?

Once you go to stub stack, you're not a

Ben Burgis

Journalist anymore yeah

And and I think that the and I think that's incredibly dangerous because you could imagine

I mean look, you don't have to imagine you could just look at what actually has happened with Julian Assange, right?

That they that like that, you know, like the the government says, like you know that, oh, there's no freedom of the press issue here

'cause that's not really journalism

He's just like some kind of you know enabler of terrorism

You know, because he, he did this

That's certainly not a road that I want to go down

But the problem is you as obvious as so many of these points are that like

It's there's absolutely no good justification for physically attacking a non combatant you know, like somebody who isn't like going and you know, like

Joe Rogan

Right and mocking and laughing when you hit him in the head with a ******* milkshake like what it was that

Ben Burgis

No, it's you know, it's terrible behavior

You so like you make that obvious point

You make the point

We're just making about journalism and it's

It's like on the face of it

You think, OK, this is like this is all obvious, but the problem is it's that like

Team, like rooting for your team, behavior that like

Joe Rogan

You're willing to accept horrible behavior as long as it's enforcing your ideology

Ben Burgis

Yeah, and then if and then if somebody like me said, you know, says that, I think that you know, like you know that that I think this is bad then

Oh see so you're not being loyal to the team, right?

Like you're siding with Andy, know who's on the other team and you know you're you're siding against people who are, you know

Or on your team you know

So like they'll just have a reaction to that

That's not actually about like the thing itself, or like showing what's wrong with the argument

Joe Rogan

Yeah, and I should be really clear I'm

Not like I had Andino on my podcast and I was skeptical of a lot of things

He was saying one of them that he had traumatic brain injury

From that I was like what kind of brain injury do you have from that?

Like what are you talking about now?

Ben Burgis

Yeah, I know originally they like there was these reports that there was like concrete

There was like mixed the milkshakes somehow and that just sounds like

Joe Rogan

No listen man, I watched him get hit with that

That's like that's not what gives you brain damage

Ben Burgis

Yeah, it's it's

Joe Rogan

I know what gives

You brain damage

You gotta get you gotta get hit like if that guy got hit with a ******* piece of concrete he would go down

OK, he's not gonna take it on the chin and keep walking and get a traumatic brain

Injury from a milkshake

Yeah, it's silly, no

And look and I think that

There were some other shots that he took that

Weren't on camera

Ben Burgis

And I think I think Andy know like as somebody like the issue is not do I like Andy?

'cause I actually don't right?

I mean like I think don't you like so?

He wrote an article

That was, I think it was for quelette

I'm not sure about that part, right?

Might have been somewhere else, but he wrote an article about visiting Britain where he was claiming basically that there were, like, you know, parts of London that were like under Sharia law, or that you know like it, and his evidence was that

Was that there were like no drinking signs that like it's it's been pointed out that like other like non Muslim neighborhoods they have the same things, right?

'cause you're just not allowed to drink in certain places

You know, under generally applicable laws, I think that he's you know and and I think that I think that probably in general, right like that

Joe Rogan

He's a provocateur

Ben Burgis

Yeah, I think I think he's a

I think he's a provocateur and I think that he's

I I too have a lot of questions you know about about

The honesty, or at least the commitment to sort of checking things you know before you before you go into print with them and and my sense is that you know his his politics are completely different from mine

But none of that matters for this right?

Like none of that is the point, right?

I don't want just like you know, if we're talking about like

You know, should we have a taboo against like physically assaulting journalists, you know

Joe Rogan

Yeah, physically assaulting people you disagree

Ben Burgis

With you know then like, yeah we should and it should be anybody, right you know

But like also, I think that you know it shouldn't depend on whether you think they're honest

It shouldn't depend on any of that stuff, right?

You know that that's that

That should is not something that should be happening, and I think it's a bad door to

I think it's a bad door to open up

And but I you know, I think that that's something in the book that people a lot of people

I shouldn't say a lot of people, most people who got mad at it never cracked it open

But like you know, but like it's a lot of some of the people who did get mad at it, you know, because they read it had a problem with that

I think some of the Dave Chappelle stuff in the first chapter because, you know, they thought I was like defending a transphobe

You know, like I think that that was

You know that that was an issue with some people

You know trying to you know, I think that this stuff in later in the you know in the book

That just in general, I think a lot of people who got mad about it sort of misinterpreted the sort of main claim in a crazy way, right?

That, like you know, in other words that they thought that the main thing that I was saying

Was that like online?

Cancellation is like the the most important part of problem in the world

Or you know something like that

And that's not what I think

You know what I think is that this is not a way that you should act towards people one because on a human level it's just a toxic way to to operate

And two, if you actually want to win people over to ideas that you think are important so you can accomplish something that's important in the real world

Then getting bogged down in all of this kind of, you know, online **** throw in and you know trying to get people fired and all of that stuff for all the reasons that we're talking about, I think it's the I think it's like the worst, most counterproductive thing you could

Joe Rogan

Do I think there's also a real issue with communicating through social media?

It's such a

You know?

It's a way of communicating that takes away so much of what it is to be a human to be a human is to look at a person to have a conversation with them, look them in the eyes, to talk about things in depth, to recognize their perspective

Allow them to talk so you give them

There's a a sense of camaraderie your your

Two human beings expressing ideas

With social media, you're just printing something out and you're throwing it out into the ether

Ben Burgis

Yeah, of course

Joe Rogan

And then the other person responds

And then you don't see each other

You don't like trying to be biting and nasty, and you don't

The way you win is through vitriol

It's a ****** way to communicate and one of the best ways to get attention is to be the biggest CTT like

That's that's how people get attention online

To say the most mean the most

Vicious thing that you can and it's like a fun little game

Ben Burgis

Yeah yeah, and you get

Totally and you get validation for being like the first person to like throw

You know throwing the first stone right like the

Joe Rogan

And people like support you because they wish they had said it or they don't want to be the person to stick their neck out, but they'll

Like it because the

Yeah, go get him

Ben Burgis

Yeah, or get him Ben

Go it

Ben Burgis

Yeah, or they just don't like or or

They just like you know they like the tweet, right?

You know that like we got that guy and then they just never think about it again or sometimes like if they thought about it in the 1st place like like I gave

You know there's a

There's a guy who I am

Wendell Potter

You know who this is

OK, so Wendell Potter used to be a health insurance executive and he would like lobby

You know Congress, on behalf of health insurance companies and then at some point in the past, like I think like maybe 15 years ago or something, I'm not sure about the timing

He he decided, you know, like he had a crisis of conscience about doing that and he he he left the industry and he he you know he

He started like what he's done since then

Is he just campaigns for Medicare for all right?

So this is this is a

This is a really good person and

He had

Uh, I remember back in with this. This was like spring 2021. Maybe Wendell Potter tweeted out something like the fact that people don't understand how much Medicare for all would help us even during this time when people were losing on health insurance. You know, because of

You know the economic disruptions

All this stuff shows

How many people bought the lies that I used to tell, you know, when I was a health insurance executive and this guy who I'm not going to name 'cause I don't want to like, you know, shame, this guy

That's not the point, right?

You know, but like is

This guy quote tweeted that right? Like he just probably saw it on his feet and you know, he didn't really know him from he quote tweeted it and said, and I quote, Oh my God, this ******* ***** ** **** actually admitted it and that got like 20,000 likes before enough people like told him who Wendell Potter was that he finally like took down the tweet and what gets me about that example

Is that?

If whoever if the guy who originally tweeted that had literally just clicked on Wendell Potter's name on the top of the tweet, that would have taken him to their pro, you know his profile picture, where he would have seen like all these, you know, like names that like have like for Medicare, for all the title, and he would have realized, like what point he was making when he tweeted that

But why would you do 5 seconds of research about somebody before denouncing them when you can get that little endorphin rush from, like, you know?

You're a ***** ** **** on Twitter or then you could get all those likes and RT tweets

Joe Rogan

Do you know who Alan Levin events is that he's a writer?

He's got a very interesting perspective on this and he calls

Twitter and social media processed information the same way processed food is bad for you that processed information ultra processed where it's down to instead of a conversation with someone, it's down to quote tweeting a thing completely out of context and trying to rule with them

Oh my God, this ***** ** **** just admitted it like that kind

Of thing that's an example of like

Cultural process information and when he said that it was like one of those aahe movement moments where it's like that's what it is

That is the thing that separates human beings and normal human interaction between social media interaction

It's too easy to do, it's too simple

It's like basically like fast food or like some sort of

Process ******* snack

It's terrible for you

It's terrible for your brain

And people engage in it easily

Ben Burgis

Yeah, and much like those other examples, the profit incentives of the companies that run it you know, are

All in favor of people doing all this stuff, because the more people are doing that, the more the more minutes per day their eyeballs are on Twitter, sure, but I think you know

Or they're

Joe Rogan

Almost a simplistic version of because I don't think they meant that

I don't think they created it in order to get people to do it that way

I think they created it like when you go back and look at Twitter what it initially was

It was like you had put at and then your name is like is going to the movies

Like you would even talk about yourself in the third person you know, like at Joe Rogan's going to the gym like that's how people did it and then slowly but surely it became a way where people espoused opinions and then it became Arab Spring

And then, like it became all sorts of different ways that people express themselves

They like this idea that it started out with this insidious notion

Ben Burgis

I I don't

I don't think it necessarily started out with an insidious notion, but I do think that the ways that it's changed over time are ones that like just just the fact that like that, like you know, likes and retweets and all that stuff are are part of it, I do think

It's a kind of feedback mechanism

Like you know, Jon Jon Ronson book, so you've been publicly shamed

Yeah, like he talks about that at the end

He uses the analogy of

Those, like electronic speeding signs that will show you as you like, drive by like what the you know how fast you're driving and you know what the and what the speed limit is and he points out that on paper there's no reason that should work because they're not giving you any information you don't already have, right every car has a speedometer in it that like tells you you know how fast you're driving a normal low tech speed sign would tell you what the speed limit is

But just that moment of validation that you get from driving past and see the two numbers come together actually does seem to get people to drive more slowly and it reduces accidents

Tons of studies about this that show that it does that

And in that case it's that kind of like immediate feedback loop of validation is a good thing, but in social media that kind of immediate feedback loop of validation that, like you're going to get, you know 10,000 people who you know like and retweet you know, because you said you know you said somebody is a ***** ** **** or you know whatever is is incredibly toxic. I think it it makes it

Harder for you know, harder to communicate with people

It makes it harder to even listen to what somebody who disagrees with you

Thanks for long enough that you could think about how to convince them

You know that to try to persuade them of your point of view and it makes us even more atomized than than we are already, right?

You know, like if you spend

You know, if you spend all of your time scrolling, which again, maybe it wasn't the original intention, but I think that like the more time people spend scrolling through their social media feeds, right?

You know the better it is for the bottom line of these companies when you agree with that

Joe Rogan

Oh for sure

Yeah, and it's

Also hugely addictive with the likes and the retweets and all that stuff

They just made things incredibly addictive and the numbers when people look at numbers they want to look at how many likes they get for something and then when they find certain things they get more likes

They gravitate towards those things you see in the

Social dilemma documentary

Ben Burgis

I actually haven't seen it, but I I

Joe Rogan

Know what it is

It's really good

It's really good, and it it, it highlights a terrifying future because they're essentially saying like this leads to like this massive polarization of these perspectives in this country

And it's like it's, like, almost like setting us up for

A civil war

Ben Burgis

Yeah, I mean, I don't think there's going to be a civil war, but I do think that I

I do think that you're going to get a lot of more people who get all of their sort of

Emotional connection to politics is about like getting mad at people who are on the other team and not even getting mad

At people with power

Who are who are on the other team?


Ben Burgis

But just like getting mad at whoever right like like like the way that after the 2016 election, something that

I felt like I hadn't seen before was the amount of time that people were spending talking about

You know Trump voters just like ordinary people who voted for Trump

That seems crazy to me because I mean especially after 2020. You know, we're like the, you know the turn out was ridiculously high in both, both both sides

So like you've got like 70 however, million people that you're just going to like write off, right?

Like they're just like unredeemable, you know like that they're they're

Of deplorables, yeah, they're just

They're just irredeemable deplorables like I don't know how you think that you're going to accomplish anything right?

Like like if you if

Joe Rogan

They're not thinking like that, though, and that they're not thinking in this like broad perspective

They're not like looking at like what's best for the human race

What's best for the community of the United States or my city or my my country?

No, they're not thinking like that

I'm just thinking like what feels good

What feels good is like **** you Trump supporter

Ben Burgis

Yeah, no, exactly like, not like

Look, I mean one of the, you know, like one of the reasons I always thought that Bernie Sanders would have won the 2016 election if he'd been the nominee. Is that there are?

I'm not saying all of them, I'm not even saying most of them, but I think there's a chunk of people who voted for Trump in two

1016 who absolutely?

Joe Rogan

Would have voted for Bernie I think so too

Yeah, I I don't have any doubt in my mind

I think there's a lot of people who want a person that has like a legitimate like a really well thought out perspective that they have been consistent with their entire career

That's Bernie Sanders like, and he really does look out for the working person

It really does look out for working families

Ben Burgis

And if you go back and like see clips from him from like the 1980s, right? It's all the same stuff. So this

Joe Rogan

Yeah all the same **** so this why why comedians like what about comedians that made you?

Ben Burgis

Yeah, so I mean, I think that's an example of a larger thing, but I think it's a really interesting example, right?

So I think the larger thing that it's an example of is that when people, this is my claim about why a lot of people on the left get sucked into this, right?

You know, when people feel like they have no real power to

It changed anything like big and structural that actually matters

They they get sucked into picking fights that they think they can't win, right?

If you can't win what the ones that matter, right?

You know like like, then find a way to care about you

Know the stuff that is not going to change

Change the world for better but you know, but you derive some kind of satisfaction from so if it's like

You know, yelling at Dave Chappelle, you know then like, that's that's something that that's something that can can scratch that itch

You know, if it's if it's Antifa, right?

Like look the things that actually create like misery for working people in the United States

Or big structural things that can't be solved by punching anybody in the face, right?

You know that that that's not going to

That's not going to work

But you know, you can get diverted to to, you know, to finding someone finding someone you know you can punch and you know you get like that sense of of satisfaction

And I think that I think that what the comedy example really shows is the way that people get sucked into this way of viewing the world

That's all about individual moralism, right?

Is this person a good person or a bad person?

Is that person a good person or a bad person and it becomes just this like constant?

Inventory at the soul

And I think that we're doing that so much that we almost don't even notice that we're doing it

It's just almost like goes without saying that like that's how you would interact with this stuff

And so I think that

Comedy, you know as a form of entertainment and when it's really good as a form of art you know as as something that can

You know help us kind of look at, you know, look at the world around us and it's slightly different angle

You know than than we would in the normal course of things

You know, 'cause it kind of holds things up in a, you know, in a different way

I think that that can only work if it's operating in a space where people aren't constantly thinking about like oh, is this, you know?

Is this guy a good guy or a bad guy?

Is is this?

Is this joke that I'm about to tell, you know, like something that is is morally?

Acceptable or not right?

You know, like like if you're in that space, I don't think you're going to be able

To, I don't think you're going to be able

To to do it right?

Joe Rogan

That's an interesting thought that people will attack things that they think that they can have an impact on

Instead of going after these big impossible problems that seem insurmountable

Ben Burgis

Yeah, I mean look perfect example. Think about the summer of 2020 after the murder of George Floyd there was this

Wave of protests and riots and unrest that was like without precedent in a very, very long time if ever right and

All of that was originally about police violence, but how much has actually changed in terms of how policing works in the United States since then, there were some cities that cut budgets for a while most of

Them have put it back, they you know, but in terms of things like how?

Easy, it is to hold a police officer accountable, you know if

If they you know if they use violence in unjustified way, I don't think that's I don't think that's gotten much, much better

Joe Rogan

Well, it's changed in New York City in New York City police officers can be civilly liable now

Ben Burgis

Yeah, and that's a good step, you know

I think that I think that I don't think it's a complete solution because for one thing I think a lot of people who are most likely to end up in these situations

Are not into good position to afford you know good civil right?

You know good legal representation

I know sometimes in a high profile case he'll get people doing IT pro bono

You know who are good lawyers, but you know, I again, I think it's a good step

I don't

I don't think it

I don't think it addresses

Most of the problem, but I think it's it's something that support for sure, but here's the thing

I think that much more than people like you know, actually changing how policing works in America is really heavy lift

But what's really easy is you know getting you know every you know corporation in the world to like

Put out some sort of Black Lives Matter thing right?

Like that's that's easy

'cause it doesn't cost them anything like why?


Ben Burgis

Wouldn't they just do that?

Joe Rogan

It's also good for business

Ben Burgis

Sure, yeah

Org capitalism

Yeah yeah yeah

You know, I

Joe Rogan

Mean that's the thing like this woke signaling that you know that your business is a part of the good side and that you should support this business

Ben Burgis

Yeah, no, absolutely it again like it, it doesn't

You know, like like it earns them some goodwill

It doesn't cost them anything

Why wouldn't they do that right like that?

Doesn't that does very little to solve

Like anything that any of this stuff is supposed to be about

But but again, it's it's it's easy, right?

Or like when you know people like knocking down statues which don't get me wrong, I don't think there should be statues of Confederate generals

You know, in in, in cities you know?

I mean, I don't think that's something we should glorify, but I also saw a lot of like after the really bad statues came down

People started going after Gray area statues and

You know it's

Joe Rogan

George Washington statues

What's interesting about the civil war

The civil War statues is, many of them actually came up

They were put up during the civil rights demonstrations of the 1960s, and they're really cheaply made. These like ****** responses to the change that was happening in the country

Ben Burgis

Yeah, right, so again, I think that like

Should you have like?

Should there be a statue?

Strawberry Lee, Robert E

Lee no, I don't think so

But I also think it's revealing that people end up getting

Spending this much time on these purely symbolic things, right?

You know, like we've got rid of all of the really objectionable statues, and now we'll say, well, how about George Washington?

How about you over right and then you you search for things that you know you can change the name of it, right?

Joe Rogan


Ben Burgis

You know, like my, you know, my mom has gone really into to bird watching in her retirement and she told me that there's like some kind of warbler that's named after a Confederate general

And people are like trying to

Like get that changed

It's like OK, you're really like, you know

Joe Rogan

But digging deep

Ben Burgis

They're digging deep, right?

Right, so you know

Joe Rogan

This is kind

Of weird though, you know like if

You have like a Hitler warbler like

******* weed celebrating

Ben Burgis

Like yeah no and like whatever I mean

I guess if T shirt is that sure I

Guess if I if I were in the

Joe Rogan

He had a warbler with a ******* wing up in the air like a Nazi like

Hey hey

Saying yeah but but again, why did you?

Why comedians in the title and like?

Ben Burgis

Yeah, yeah so so I think that I think 'cause I think it's an example that makes it really dramatic because

Comedians don't and really can't exercise political power

They might, you know, influence to a certain extent

The way that people think about certain things, but

Uh, nobody is. You know, nobody who's who's doing comedy is is making decisions. You know that that directly directly impact people's lives so

So if you were actually trying to to do that, you know, like if you're actually trying to affect real change

This doesn't make any sense

What I think it is is it's a symptom of how extreme this kind of moralistic approach to politics

Can get right that like you're this concerned with like constantly, you know testing, you know whether somebody is a is a good person or a bad person or they ever said anything that you know that might show them to like to really be a bad person and nothing could ever just be a bad moment, right?

That you know that that it has to be like this is the moment where you really revealed

The you know how toxic your soul was or something you know rather than just like you said something stupid because sometimes people say things that are stupid

You know that, like I think that that kind of moralism, when it's applied to comedy?

I think that that's I think that that's like maybe the most extreme symptom of of what I'm talking about

Because it's one thing even to get mad at somebody because

Of something they wrote, like in an editorial, right?

That they're they're telling you like exactly what they think should happen

You know that, like if I

You know, if I write, you know, if I write something for Jacobin and you know some people get upset about that, OK, at least its Jacobin article

I'm literally saying exactly what I think, right?

If you're doing, you know a account like so so that last Dave Dave Chappelle, special at Netflix, you know that that people people got mad about

And which, by the way, I, I, you know, hadn't even watched

But since I had written this thing, you know people kept asking me what I thought, and I finally watched it

And I thought that the way that it was portrayed as if it were this like just festival of transphobic, you know hatred was ridiculous, that in fact

The overall theme of the special as far as those issues go was about him, like moving towards a place of greater understanding and you know

Joe Rogan

And and like and it's also kind of a love letter to his friend that committed suicide for supporting him was attacked for supporting him

And then she jumped off a ******* building and committed suicide

This is like

In an homage to this person's life as long part of like I worked with Dave during the entire time he was piercing that together because we started doing shows in Austin like

November of 2020. I mean, it might have even been earlier than that and we were working together while he was putting it together

And he was responding to this idea that he was transphobic and he was saying like this is so crazy like this is who I am and this is about this person

Who when I was accused of being transphobic, this person defended me and was dragged by people and there's been some talk of whether or not like how much of that was creative license because like people have tried to find like what the tweets were like, how many of them were DMS like?

We don't know

I mean I don't think you could dismiss that or how many of them

Or people who actually knew her personally but then committed suicide and like this is like trying to make it's the highest form of comedy in a lot of ways, because you're trying to take this like socially sensitive issue and extract laughs from it, which is very difficult to do

But in no way was it transphobic

In no way was it hurtful or cruel or or mean well

Ben Burgis

I mean, I mean actually, he's like he spent a couple minutes of the special explaining why the bathroom was in North Carolina were cruel and like

At the end, like when he's talking about his dead friend, like one of the crucial moments comes when he's describing there like back and forth

You know, when he he had her open for him and and

Yeah, which is a hilarious thing

But there is this like really moving part of it right at the at the end where you know he you know she

She tells him you know like

I want you to recognize that I'm going through a real human experience and like and and like

It really sinks in and that, and the idea that watching this would make somebody more transphobic just just seems absurd to me, but what people did right is they literally quoted individual sentences that he says in it

Like like there's one point in the special where he says

I'm a turf right turf standing for transitioning, you know?

Joe Rogan

Team turf, yeah

Ben Burgis

Joke yeah, it's like OK, but

Literally within like 2 minutes of him saying I'm on team turf

He says I'm not saying that I don't think transwomen are women

It's like, well, hold on right

Like you know, if if you take both of those literally right, those those two, those two don't go together, but of course, that's not how comedy works

That's like thinking that like somebody who writes a novel

That, like every sentence of the novel, is like what they actually personally think is is is true, but

Joe Rogan

Of course, of course, yeah

Ben Burgis

I, I think, and I've got to think, that a lot of people who write articles like this

Must understand that on some level, right that they that like this is not how comedy works, but I think that

You know, sometimes it's like bad faith, they're you know they're just being dishonest

They're definitely some of that

But like

Also, I think that

Like sometimes if you get this invested in like

Making these, like moral indictments of people over those cultural war battles, then you're just not even pausing to think about that like you're just like trying to find evidence like you're just like like sifting through it to like

Find like it's like you know Freddie Deboer, the commentator

OK, so Freddie Deboer is a is a writer

He wrote a really good book about the education system called Call to smart

And he has this essay from a few years ago called Planet of Cops, where he says that it seems to him that like increasingly everybody you know in the culture is is a is a cop now, right?

What he means by that?

And you know he develops the metaphor

He says things like

You know, oh, there's the new movie that people getting excited about you know? Well, give me, you know, give Me 2 hours and 500 words and I'll find your indictments right

You know that it's it's like it's sort of constantly sifting through things like find evidence that people who have committed some kind of sin or or or infraction

And and I think that like that's how people are approaching that like when they wrote these articles you know about, you know how, Oh my God, you know, the Dave Chappelle said that he was on team Turf

You know that special like look there?

There's a mission, right?

You know you gotta, you gotta get those indictments right

So you just have to sort through all of it until you can find something that you know that looks like a a smoking gun of of evidence and, and I think that it's like it's a

Obviously it's a terrible way to write about

Anything but I think what what's interesting to me about the example of comedy

Is that it's sort of the most absurd possible application of of doing that, because I mean just just to be like simplistic about it for a second, right?

Like if you're saying something in standup special, like generally speaking, not every sentence, but like you're saying it because you think it's funny, right?

But that's which is just a different thing from saying something 'cause like oh, you know, here is exactly what I think, right?

Joe Rogan

It's like the example that we were talking about before the podcast, which I'm I'm not gonna do 'cause it's actually in my act now that someone put a quote that I said in an article

Ben Burgis

You know

Oh yeah, yeah

Joe Rogan

About what a ***** ** **** I and I'm like

Hey you gotta put the whole quote because there's like a lot more to that and it's clearly joking, but it's that thing that they do is also because someone is getting a disproportionate and exorbitant amount of attention

And when someone is like a Dave Chappelle

Or myself, who's got a disproportionate amount of attention?

There's so many people that want to look at that and go flaws

Holes peppered keg throw rocks like and it's a normal thing to have this sort of reaction to someone who you feel

Either their take on things isn't valid, or it's not

This it doesn't align with your own, or there's a reason why your moral morally superior to them, because your position is better

Ben Burgis

You know, yeah, no, I I think there

I think there's a lot of that, you know, and and it's also, I mean it

Kind of goes back to where saying earlier

About the

The you know, BLM protests in the aftermath and all that stuff like if you get somebody like if I mean obviously in a case it's high profile is like Dave Chappelle like Netflix isn't going to dump him because like why would they do that?

Like that would just be putting

Like a lot of money on the on the table

Joe Rogan

Well, not only that, but there's no reason to write


Joe Rogan

Here's the thing

It's like if Dave Chappelle was saying all trans people who would die should

Sure, and we they're not human

OK, yeah, get rid of them


Joe Rogan

Everybody would agree to that like you shouldn't put that on your network, but you cannot look at any of the things that he said and rationalize any of these accusations that people have towards him

He is not that guy, he's a lovely guy

If you meet him, he's one of the kindest

Ben Burgis

Nicest, sweetest guys

That's who he really is and it's really striking too, because if you remember when all this was going on there was like a week of the news that was all about how there's going to be this huge walkout of trans employees at Netflix remember this?

Joe Rogan

Yeah, they took a like a

Lunch break it was like 5

Ben Burgis

Of them, yeah there were like 5 people at it's not even clear that they

All worked at Netflix

Joe Rogan

Most of them didn't, and then the one of them that was there

They found a whole bunch of racist **** that she had put on Twitter, and they're like

Hey and then not even jokes

Just like racist stuff, it's like

Goddamnit, I I get what's going on


You know?

Joe Rogan

These are like they're humans, humans

Flawed and you know just because they said a thing that was incorrect doesn't mean that their whatever position they have

They can't have a good perspective on something

Ben Burgis

Yeah, and what and what kills me about that example is at that very moment that that was going on right that there was this like

Super hyped up, you know, walkout that like got all this attention

There was like, you know, two people on their lunch break or whatever, like at the same time there was the John Deere strike going on and that was that was, you know, thousands of people you know, we're we're, we're out on strike for to, you know, to get better, you know wages and working conditions

Joe Rogan

John Deere the tractors

Ben Burgis

Yeah Yep, Yep the the workers

I heard that

Ben Burgis

Yeah yeah if you go if you go back, yeah

Joe Rogan

I believe you, but I mean I've never heard a peep out of that

Ben Burgis

Yeah, well, that's the thing, right?

So like you compare the scale of the two things and then you compare the scale of the coverage

Joe Rogan

Right, one of them is jokes, but it's also jokes from the greatest living comedian that's part of the problem

Ben Burgis

Yeah, well

Joe Rogan

It's like you and also a a guy who you you sort of associate with left wing values and progressive values and you want them to fall in line

And I think that's part of the blowback

Is that you know they they they want to shame him

Into falling in line with their ideals and one of the things that he said, like when he we talked about the special and this is we did a show together and he did this speech at an arena and he's like like I am not going to comply with the way you, you know, want me to think and want me to behave

That's not what I'm doing

Ben Burgis

Yeah, and and again like what's his response going to be realistically like?

He's he's just going to like

Joe Rogan

**** that's what he's gonna do, right?

Ben Burgis

I mean

Joe Rogan

It's gonna be funnier and funnier


Ben Burgis

You know, but like he like the idea that like saying like he's a terrible person, he's a transphobe like is going to get him to like see things more from your perspective

In fact he talks about this in the special right that like he

You know he has the thing about the woman who like followed him out to the parking lot or whatever to you know to to give him a hard time

And the point is that, like all of that, like his reaction was just **** you, right?

You know, like, of course, it is right, you know

But like then like actually meeting this trans woman and like having this, you know, like like you

Know like you

Know having the interactions that they had and like having that mean something to him, right?

Like that that

Like that did way more probably to get him to see things the way that people were yelling at him

Wanted him to see them

Then like people, just like saying you know that like 'cause if if you say like if somebody wants to like shut you down or silence you, or like berate you until you you know you stop thinking what you think

Then I I mean maybe like if somebody is powerless enough, they'll just shut up because they don't want to deal with it, right?

You know, but like otherwise, like one thing that's not going to do is to get them to say OK, now I see you're right


Joe Rogan

Especially if you're distorting their perception

Ben Burgis

Like like they might say that

They might say the words if they think they have to, right, but

They're not going to think it

Joe Rogan

Now, when you wrote this book like

What what inspired you?

Ben Burgis

Yeah, so I think there were a few things that that had been that had been going on and it kind of all started to to build for a for a while that I was I was getting frustrated that a lot of people who

I align with on most things were getting sucked into what I, how the way I see it in the book right that there that like that these these kinds of what I call pathologies of powerlessness, right?

You know that you're because you know that you can't, you know, accomplish things that actually matter

You end up getting sucked into all of this nonsense

You spend all of your time trying to prove yourself to other people you already agree with

You know and and to, and to denounce you know people for for not agreeing with you in ways that are not going to

You know lead to a single person getting health care or a single workplace being unionized

You know any of those

Any of those things?

And and I think there are a few examples that like were really starting to get to me at the at the time. So one of them was what happened. I remember in 2019

The Democratic Socialists of America, which is not you know, organization I'm a member of, you know, I think it's I think it's flawed, but I think it does

Good stuff, you know, I encourage people to do that, but

They had this convention actually in Atlanta where I live and in which

You know, I didn't, you know

I mean, I I was there for like a minute 'cause I was like meeting with my editor

But like I didn't, I didn't go to the thing itself

I kind of hate sitting through meetings like in general and life, you know, but in

But there was this montage of clips that came out afterwards that, like you know, Tucker Carlson, you know, played on Fox News and stuff like that of people announcing all of these bizarre like rules that like you weren't allowed to, like clap at the Convention because there might be people with like rare noise sensitivities and and

And just things like this, and of course you know they're like right wingers who compiled that

We're cherry picking like the worst, most ridiculous moments from a weekend

Joe Rogan

But is that what the one where this person is like?

Point of privilege is that you were a part

Ben Burgis

Of that, I wasn't part of that, but I have

Joe Rogan

You were in that room while that was going down

Ben Burgis

Yeah, I I wasn't in the room at that minute that

Joe Rogan

Come on, man, that is ridiculous

Ben Burgis

No, that's it is ridiculous

Here's what gets me about this right?

It's like OK

Granted the worst moments are being cherry picked, but also

It's not

You know they're not being made up right like this stuff actually happened, and also

It's not even like there was somebody in there with like a hidden camera right?

To get this footage right, they were streaming it to the

Joe Rogan

No, they know that

I mean, it doesn't mean it's not still ridiculous and also the lady calling everybody comrads

Ben Burgis

I mean, you know

Joe Rogan

Yeah, like what?

What do you, what is what's going on here?

Ben Burgis

I mean, I mean, I think that like

What's going like?

What gets me about this is that knowing that this is the face you're showing to the whole world, right right, that like anybody in the world who wants to tune in and watch

This can do that

You're still doing this stuff like was it somebody?

Yeah, the point of privilege thing I think was

Joe Rogan

Yeah, please stop using gendered language

Yes, yeah

Joe Rogan

Come on man, it's hilarious because it just shows like what are we ******* concentrating on your your mad that people are

There's chatter because you're easily distracted

How about get the **** out of here?

Then why are you in a large crowd of people?

What do you do at the movies?

What do you do at a bus station?

Shut the **** ** like you want everybody to comply

Ben Burgis

Yeah, and as you've got some weird tick right, and why are people doing that?

Because like you said, they can't be

I assume they're not going through their entire lives, right?

You know trying to to get people to do this stuff like

Joe Rogan

Maybe they are, maybe they're activists at work too

Ben Burgis

They are

Joe Rogan

Maybe they're just really annoying

Ben Burgis

Yeah, I mean if so?

If so, they're probably winning over a lot of new converts all the time, but the but you know by doing that, right?

Joe Rogan

Was that the most annoying time in that meeting, or were there more annoying times during that?

Ben Burgis

Conference yeah, I mean the stuff

The stuff that I saw you know which was which was not you know, which was not that much of it, but the stuff I saw like that the things that made it into that montage were the most annoying things that I saw but like

I guess what gets me about this is that knowing that everybody in the world can see this

If you're still acting this way right, then what that shows me is that you do not

Care at all?

Like how any you know normal person is going to react to seeing this and I know there are people who will get this twisted when I say normal person

All I you know it's like oh do you just mean people who are you know whatever right?

You know, like fit some demographics or something

Now when I say normal person I mean like

People who aren't like bathed in this political subculture, so like stuff like that starts to seem normal to them, right?

Like just anybody who's you know of any background, any you know?

Any race, sexual orientation, whatever?

Who doesn't like you know who doesn't spend all day

Everyday thinking about politics, right?

Is going to see this and say wait what?

Joe Rogan

But I don't even think that's a politics thing

I think it's just a a social issue

It's and I don't think they're thinking at all that everyone is going to see it

I don't think that was even a consideration at all

I think in that moment they were very self indulgent and they had the access to a microphone and they couldn't wait to yap

And that's part of the problem with people who just can't wait to as a person who yaps professional

Yeah, sure

Ben Burgis

I mean look, that's why I think

I mean I

I said earlier that I hate meetings

This is one of the reasons why I write that they have that like it's it's always

Every every time I've ever had to go to a meeting for anything, you know there's there's always there are always people who talk just because it's important to them that they like

Hear themselves talk

About it, like it's awful

Joe Rogan

Oh yeah

Ben Burgis

You know?

Joe Rogan

That's why it's funny

It's why that video is funny

I mean, that's a version of that

Ben Burgis

No, I mean it's

Joe Rogan

That's like the the Super Ultra progressive version of

Ben Burgis

That yeah and and it's and you know, I get that it's funny

It's it's also like

Like seeing you know, seeing people who are supposedly fighting for all the things that that I am like act that way is also like painful

It's like what what's wrong with you, right?

Like why, why would you?

Why would you do this right like?

Joe Rogan

But don't you think you need someone there to go calm down Francis?

Ben Burgis

Yeah, I think


I mean, that's I think you

Ben Burgis

Do right and that's part of the problem

That's part of why I wrote the book because

I guarantee you, however many hundreds of people who were there in that that hall, right, you know where

That was happening

There's a lot of eye rolls

There's a lot of eye rolls

There's no way there weren't tons of eye rolls around like like like like I you know, I actually think they're very limited amount of time that it was around that weekend

Joe Rogan

Yeah, I'm not sure

Ben Burgis

I think I heard a few people, you know, do the verbal eye rolls to be right?


Did you know point of privilege?

Joe Rogan

By the way, my friends say that sometimes

Just for a

Joke we're having a conversation like point of privilege

And they'll just spit out something

Ben Burgis

Yeah, right at and it's like

I, I think

But The thing is

People most you know, most everybody who's who's who's rolling their eyes

I mean, I think I actually think my friend Cal Brooks was there might have

He might have

Actually he might have actually like

I had a like I think somebody came actually came over to his table and they were, you know and like told him to like not clap and you know they're like that's what's what's

What's wrong with you and look at

Joe Rogan

Why are you clapping your ruining life?

Ben Burgis

You know they actually did have a little thing

About that, but they

Joe Rogan

Is he supposed to do this?


Supposed to snap fingers

Ben Burgis

Yeah, I I, I think so or

That was a thing they used

Joe Rogan

Likes to do in the jazz day

It's like a beatnik thing, right?


Yeah, that's

Ben Burgis

And and like, but most people who are going to roll their eyes aren't going to say anything because you don't want to be the guy who say anything

Joe Rogan

Right, you don't be an ******* You're not there to

Ben Burgis

Yeah, exactly

Be an ******* right?

Like you're there because, like you actually care about the issues that the organization is about

You didn't sign up for this, so you could spend your time arguing with crazy people about whether clapping is OK

So I think it's a very understandable impulse, but I think what what I started to realize when I was thinking about examples like this

Is that?

For a long time, like it's not like I didn't know that there were a lot of people who were ridiculous in ways like this or a lot of people who were like

Unhelpfully moralistic, you know, and in ways like that

You know what I was talking about in the comedy chapter of the book

Or you know who would would excuse things that shouldn't be excused, like in the end you know you know part

Like, but I think what I always told myself was look

None of this matters that much like some people

Some leftists are idiots, but whatever, like in the greater scheme of things, it's not that you know like we live in a world where there are, you know

Imperialist wars and union busting and et cetera, et cetera, et cetera

Then, like why spend time talking about and thinking about it?

But then at a certain point, my perspective started to change because

I actually think that the fact that there are all of those other issues that are more important is a reason to try to get people to stop acting like this, because if you actually care about doing something about those bigger issues, then if you look to like any like just you know, working class onlooker

You know who you might be trying to?

You know who like

Ideally you'd want to reach out

To right if

You look like this lunatic who's like getting mad at people because they're clapping instead of doing whatever they're supposed to do with their fingers

You know, then they're not going to have anything to do with you

And who can blame them?

Joe Rogan

You gotta weed out the freaks

Yeah, it's like some people, just they can't see the forest for the trees, right?

That's they're

They're concentrated on this one thing when what you're trying to accomplish is this

More inclusive view of socialism and with how socialism could fit into our modern culture and instead they want they want you to not clap or not talk or no, please watch your idle chatter and the noise you make

I'm easily distracted like

Oh my God self indulgence

It's like it's a real problem with any group and when whenever people are trying to be like ultra sensitive and ultra progressive and ultra open minded you open the door for annoying people

You open the door for

People that just need a tremendous amount of

Ben Burgis

Attention, yeah, and there's there's got to be a way that you can

You know, square the circle of saying like OK?

Look are there

Obviously you know

Should there be more accommodations for disabled people and like society as a whole than there are sure, right?

But anything that you could call a disability should, like you, crank the dial of accommodation up to 11 like at like all times you know no, right?

Like like like should should you, should you care about like you know not, you know, discriminating against trans people absolutely, absolutely yes

Does that mean that like you need to be constantly on guard?

For like anything that somebody says in a comedy set, that could be like interpreted

If you look at in just the right light, no right?

And I think that if you think especially that the things that should be the biggest priorities

Are about the actual distribution of of material resources

You know who who has

You know who has healthcare?

You know how much inequality do we have?

You know how how's you know?

Like like have we like built up the labor movement?

All you know all of these things and trying to get the United States

To not have this like kind of imperial world policeman, you know foreign foreign policy, which by the way

As we've been like in this, we're talking about earlier, right in these last weeks, while people have been, you know

Freaking out about, you know whatever is going on in the news about

You know things that Joe Rogan said 15 years ago, or about what Whoopi Goldberg said on the view, or whatever, like

Joe Rogan

We're about to go

Ben Burgis

To war, yeah, exactly right like this is you know

I mean however slim the chance like the fact that there's the standoff with with the with Russia that like that has the potential if that happened right?

I mean that would be

And absolute like

Human catastrophe, right?

Even if it stayed conventional that that?

That would be like that would be ridiculous

And by the way, is one of many, many reasons that I wish Bernie Sanders were president right now 'cause he put out an article in the guy in the op Ed about how important it was to in the Guardian to about how important it was to, you know, negotiate to like stop this, you know from

From from escalating

And I'm not, you know, I'm not sure that I don't know what's going to happen, but like when I see like Biden canceling, you know the meeting with Putin

You know, like I I get

I get nervous and and I think that like given how destructive that would be, right?

Like that's that's got to be

You know like that's gotta override almost everything else right now, just in terms of like how important it is

That we that we stop acting like this

I don't know why the United States has to have the kind of role in the world where we're, you know, negotiating about what happens in Ukraine at all, right?

Like like why is it important that the United States have this?

You know, be like present in everything that happens

It's a weird

Role everywhere on the planet, you know

But they that that you know when you know when the United States invaded Panama, I think that was totally unjustified

But you know, like the you know, Gorbachev, you know what wasn't like involving himself

You know in in that right, you know 'cause the Soviet Union didn't didn't have that that role in the world

Not rather than we didn't either

I'd rather that like instead of having

Like however many hundreds of military bases the United States has all over the entire, you know, like every part of you know, every part of the world right now and constantly fighting these like low level drone wars that, like most Americans, have like forgotten that they're even happening

You know, in in distant countries like

I think that I think that if we redirected the kinds of resources that we spend on having this role in the world to taking care of of people's material needs in ways that

You know it wouldn't fund all of it, but it would do a lot

It would do a lot

Joe Rogan

Well listen man, I really enjoyed our conversation

Thank you for

Doing this, it was a lot of fun, yeah?

Ben Burgis

Thank you so

Joe Rogan

Much for having me my pleasure enjoy

Ben Burgis

I'll be thanks

Thanks for the Buffalo trace, it's awesome

Joe Rogan

Enjoy the whiskey and tell everybody where they can find you on social media and where they can get your stuff

Ben Burgis

Sure, so I have a show called give them an argument which you can find on YouTube and all the usual podcast

Places I write for Jacobin magazine

You can find me there

And as far as all the links to everything in this book and other books and everything else, just go to benburgess.com. That's probably the easiest way

Joe Rogan

To find everything social media as well, it's on there

Ben Burgis

Yep, social media

You know

Twitter at Ben Burgess

But all the links

Joe Rogan

Around there alright alright thanks Brent

Ben Burgis

Thank you so much

Joe Rogan

My pleasure alright bye everybody