217: A Smorgasbord of Topics With Dan Carlin


A long-awaited and frequently-requested discussion with Dan Carlin, the host of the Common Sense and Hardcore History podcasts. Dan was one of the first podcasters I ever listened to on a regular basis.

Some of what we discussed:
-What happened to the media?
-Dan's transition from radio to podcasting, how did that happen?
-The process for producing Hardcore History
-Is history shaped more by philosophy/prevailing ideologies or by accidents/wildcard events?
-The dreaded Nazi questions: could happen here? Is it happening here?
-An American way to fascism?
-Civil Libertarianism vs total libertarianism (personal and economic)
-Can we expect to maintain civil liberties with stricter economic controls?
-What kinds of people are attracted to political power?
-The problems with and politics of American schooling

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Dan Carlin's Site - http://www.dancarlin.com/

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  1. Really good interview Brett. I’m glad you were able to get Dan on the show.

    I think there was only one time where I found myself shaking my head at something he said. I think it was regarding everyone being made to pay for everyone’s schooling choices…uuugghhh…

    I get the impression, and tell me if you think I’m wrong about this, but I get the sense that whenever he does these interviews the conversation is always contained within a very small box, with very definite boundaries that he’s comfortable with. He doesn’t seem willing to seriously entertain alternate ways of thinking, or considering other ideas that would conflict with his constitutional/political view of the world. Which can be very frustrating since he seems like a very smart and knowledgeable guy.

    As I mentioned when I requested him as a guest, he so often goes right to the edge of seeing the state as the problem and moving past it, but then at the last minute turns a 180 and falls back to the ideas that he’s comfortable with.

    I wonder if he’s just invested so much of his life studying government and politics that at this point he can’t let that paradigm go?

    • I think Dan Carlin just isn’t a radical. He’s a pragmatist, in the sense of Benjamin Franklin (he’s admitted it several times); he just doesn’t have a consistent philosophy when it comes to government.

  2. I heard this podcast yesterday, and as a Scandinavian I just couldn’t help but laugh at some of the things he said. First of all Brett is right about the 85% being happy because they are somehow supported by the state. But the question is – are the Scandinavians happy? Denmark comes out as the “happiest country in the world” year after year.. But I think it is important to look into some of the metrics behind this title – because AFAIK social sequrity and sense of social sequrity is one of the parameters. Also – the Danes are one of the countries in the world with highest use if anti-depressants pr capita. As to the economic “wonder”… I’d look at Stefan’s video on the subject, but also the fact that Denmark and Norway are oil-producing nations, and Sweeden has stayed out of all wars the last 100 year – but they have a huge military industry (some conspiracies theories revolve around this and the death of Sweedish pro minister Oluf Palme in 1986). The Scandinavian countries are all experiencing a brain drain, ie younger people like me, with a STEM back-ground are leaving the country faster than people with the same back-ground comming back. Like-wise National-socialism and Rascism is on the rise – in all of these countries (look at the schooling on Utøya in Norway a few years back). The middle class are tired of paying for a health-system where the lower class is being treated for life-style diseases, so they are increasingly trying to control these lower classes – school lunches, health care visitors, bans on sugar etc etc. also 40% of parents with small kids would like for one of them to stay home, yet 95% of all kids between 1-3 is in daycare, 99% between 3-6 is in kindergarten and less, way less than 1% is home schooled – and home schoolers are often harassed by the social authorities in spite of home schooling being a constitutionally secured right.

    But most Dane accept this because “free school and medical aid”, no further thought about it…

    I live in Spain, and comming to Denmark is always a stressful experience!

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