Why Talk Show Host Dave Rubin Walked Away From the Left
Dave Rubin, the host of “The Rubin Report” on YouTube and BlazeTV, was a liberal for many years before he realized the political left no longer represented him or his political views.
“For me to tell you that I’m not a conservative at this point doesn’t really make sense,” Rubin said. “It was a long … journey to get there, but I don’t mind saying it now.”
Rubin began to question the political left when he saw that the same people who preached tolerance were not willing to accept those who did not embrace the radical ideologies the left was promoting.
Rubin, who is also the author of Don’t Burn This Book: Thinking for Yourself in an Age of Unreason, joins “The Daily Signal Podcast” to discuss how wokeness infiltrated progressivism and why he chose to walk away from the left.
We also cover these stories:
- President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson meet to confer on a new Atlantic Charter, which details eight different areas of collaboration between the U.S. and U.K.
- Byron Donalds, R-Fla., is seeking to join the Congressional Black Caucus, but Democrats are reportedly blocking his membership.
- House Democrats call out Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., for saying the U.S. and Israel are similar to Hamas and the Taliban.
Virginia Allen: I am so pleased to be joined by Dave Rubin, host of “The Rubin Report” and author of the book Don’t Burn This Book: Thinking for Yourself in an Age of Unreason. Dave, thanks so much for being here.
Dave Rubin: It’s my pleasure. It’s good to see you again. You just reminded me, we saw each other last about a year and a half ago.
Allen: It was a long time ago.
Rubin: At a Turning Point [USA] event, but you know, in this last year and a half, that was right before COVID, it’s like, time feels like it has stretched and pulled and shifted. It feels very, very weird to just be around people again. I mean, I’m very excited to be here actually.
Allen: Yeah, no, it does. It’s a bizarre feeling and you kind of feel like you’ve aged about five years in the past year and a half since we’ve all been inside.
But you have since, even since we had our last conversation, we had talked about in that last interview we did, we talked about cancel culture and this kind of woke mob arising. … We’ve only seen that increase. And Dave, I know for you really seeing this extreme far left arise was one of the reasons that you politically started to move away from the left. Talk a little bit about that.
Rubin: Yeah. Well, it’s one of those things where when you see something early, people kind of think you’re crazy. And then you go five years later and everyone’s just repeating the things that you were saying five years ago, which is kind of nice at some level. And in another way, it’s like, “Ah, I wish more people had just listened,” even though I know a lot of people were listening, obviously.
It’s been interesting for me because when I was, say four or five years ago, going to college campuses as a liberal, not sort of, I don’t think … even when I was with the Young Turks years ago, I don’t think I was really sort of a crazed lefty, like running around, calling everyone racist and everything else.
That being said, I was a Bernie [Sanders] supporter. I admit it, you can judge me accordingly. I had a fundamental misunderstanding of the issues, but I would say I was fundamentally liberal in a JFK sense of liberalism and I would go to these college events and I’d be talking usually with other liberals.
I would have philosophy professor Peter Boghossian with me or Christina Hoff Sommers, first-wave feminist, people like that. These were liberal people and we’d go on stage and they’d be screaming at us that we were homophobes and misogynists and racists and all of these things. And I couldn’t believe it.
I kept saying to people, I mean, I would literally say to them, “Hey, if you just listen to us give our talk, when we do the Q&A, if you disagree with us, come up first, let’s talk it out. Let’s see what’s what.” And there was never an argument to be made. It was always to shout us down, to scream all those things.
What happened was I would go back, I’d come home, I’d go on my show, and I tell people what happened. And a lot of people would say, “Oh, Dave, you know, these are college kids. And when they get out into the real world, well, then they’ll find out what the truth is.”
And what’s happened clearly over the last four years is that the real world just folded. The real world basically was like a wet paper bag and they just punched right through it, it just had no resistance. And now wokeism, Marxism, intersectionality, all of these buzzwords that we can now link together in a sense, a new racialized collectivism, it has basically taken over all of our institutions.
Now there’s a couple of us that are fighting it and I think we’re making some headway, but it’s a weird thing for sure, when you’re warning about something, because there were times where I was like, “Yeah, maybe I’m exaggerating this. Maybe I’m not seeing something that other people are seeing.” And sadly, I guess I was correct.
Allen: That is sad and a little frightening when you’re like, “Wait a second, I thought we were on the same page,” and then all of a sudden, those are the people that are shouting you down. Why do you think there has been this folding so quickly? Where did this wokeism come from? And gosh, how has it taken root so quickly?
Rubin: … It’s an important question, and it’s a tough one for me to answer because I think that I can’t disconnect a weakness in liberalism with what has happened with wokeism.
What I mean by that is that liberals pride themselves on being open-minded, being tolerant. We will talk to people, we love open inquiry and all of these things. And they love tolerance, that’s the main thing. Liberals love tolerance more than anything else, but at some point you cannot be tolerant of intolerance.
And I think what the wokesters saw, the progressives who were basically like liberals on steroids, they saw the soft underbelly of liberals, mostly at educational universities, things like that. And they were just like, “Let’s just get in there and say all of this crazy stuff; men are not men and women are not women, and we should have equity instead of equality,” which is completely counter to the American dream and ethos, all of these things.
And the liberals were just kind of like, “Oh, well, they’re just different than us. They just say things. And they’re so passionate. They’re so gosh darn passionate that they must be right at some level.”
Then what happened was, well, I would say wokeism is a mind virus. And a virus, think about COVID, a virus is very easy to catch and very hard to get rid of. It becomes something where young people are just suddenly like, “Oh, yes, the system is evil, racism is here, 1619 project.” They just … link all of these very bizarre things together and it basically becomes an entire worldview.
I would say that that is not disconnected from a purely secular liberalism, which is actually why in my book, I make a pro-God argument, because I think the missing piece, unfortunately, for liberals is that they didn’t want to make an argument for God.
And then next thing you know, everybody’s arguing everything all the time and everything’s equal and … there’s no actual truth. There’s no empirical truth.
So I think the wokesters, to their credit—as you know, I toured with Jordan Peterson and he would always say, “You got to give the devil his due.” And it’s like, to their credit, they saw that weakness in liberalism and they went at it.
And we’ve watched all of our liberal institutions crumble. The conservative ones are fighting, which is why I’m happy to be here with [The Heritage Foundation] because it’s like, the conservatives — who maybe at this point, I have some marginal disagreements with, I’m not even sure anymore — it’s like, they’re fighting, they’re fighting and they’re not letting this stuff in. So they have a chance, but the liberal institutions are done.
Allen: I have a lot of empathy for classical liberals who are stepping back right now and they’re saying, “Whoa, what happened to my party?”
Allen: Gosh, that’s got to be hard for those people.
Rubin: Well, they’re conservatives now. I mean, that really is the truth. For me to tell you that I’m not a conservative at this point doesn’t really make sense. … It was a long journey to get there, but I don’t mind saying it now.
Actually, I think if I’m going to help with anything in the next year or two, it’s that I do want to help fix the word “conservative.” Because a lot of the old-school liberals, they know that at this point they’re conservatives. They know that liberalism in that sense has been destroyed. They know that the left has just run … over all the things that they cared about. But they’re very, very worried about being called conservative.
The C-word to them is the worst thing you could possibly be called. And yet what I’ve tried to say to them is conservatives are now trying to conserve American values.
If you believe the Constitution is a good document and the Bill of Rights and the founding of this country, if you want to conserve 250 years of a pluralistic, multicultural — in the best sense of multicultural — society, then you’re a conservative. Does that mean we all have to agree on the marginal tax rate? Obviously not.
I actually think that even on the conservative side there’s a wide tent on all sorts of issues. So you could even take an issue like abortion, which for conservatives is usually thought of as the one that you must be pro-life. Well, look, there’s people like Rudy Giuliani, who’s obviously a conservative, who obviously worked for President [Donald] Trump, he’s pro-choice. He’s begrudgingly pro-choice, but he wants very specific limits on it and things like that. No one’s running around saying he’s not a conservative.
So I want to show people that conservatives actually, in many ways, are acting much more liberal than the lefties. Conservatives are open-minded: “Hey, let’s talk about this stuff and at the end of the day, if we agree to disagree on some issue, well, we both want to live in the same country.” That’s not how the left is operating anymore.
So I want to be the Moses for those liberals that are like, “Oh, no, we got to leave Egypt, we got to leave the Democratic plantation, but we just, we’re afraid. We’re afraid.”
Allen: Yeah. And I think what you’re saying essentially is a theory that I have, which is that a lot of people are actually conservative, they just don’t know it.
Rubin: They don’t know it.
Allen: They’ve been told all their life here, “If you care about people, then you’re probably liberal,” and like all of these things. And, no, that that’s not accurate. And we need to be able to communicate the ideas to them in a way, like you’re saying, that they can understand and not be scared off by the terminology or whatever it may be.
Rubin: Yeah, well, that’s why I think I could play an interesting role in this because that is interesting to me that I think people, especially that are your age, which is younger than me — I’ll be 45 in a couple weeks. That’s not that old, but I’m not 20, right? And I think for young people, it’s like, … nobody wants to be 19 and like, “I’m a conservative.” It doesn’t sound right, it doesn’t really make sense. …
And there’s a reason for that, in terms of age and in terms of wanting to change the world and wanting to understand that there are time-tested traditions that are true. And that family means something and continuity means something, but it doesn’t sound cool for a 19-year-old to be like, “I’m a conservative, and this is why.”
But what we have to show conservatives, and especially young conservatives, is actually the things that conservatives are now fighting for, fighting for freedom and liberty and choice and family and tradition and all these things, these actually are cool.
They really are the cool things. They may not feel like it because that’s not what the celebrities are showing you, but I don’t even know who thinks celebrities are cool anymore. I mean, they’re a bunch of whiny, preachy, pathetic—I’m trying to be nice, I’ll leave it at that.
Allen: Well, I so appreciate the platform that you have, Dave, on “The Rubin Report.” You have such a skill for meeting people where they’re at. You’re willing to talk to anyone. Is that something that’s always come naturally for you? Or did you have to kind of train that muscle?
Rubin: I would say we’re all wired a little bit differently. I think I’m wired somewhat cool, so it takes a lot to really get me to be outraged about something.
Over the last couple of weeks, as the news has gone sort of crazy and riots in the streets and people being attacked, there were a couple of days where I was doing my show where I was definitely like a little hotter than I normally would be. But I would say my wiring’s kind of cool.
And because of that and because of, actually, my good liberal roots of tolerance and decency, I don’t mind if you said something to me that you had a deeply held political or religious belief that was different than me. Like, I don’t mind that. I actually enjoy that. It’s like, oh, there’s 350 million people here, it’s OK, it’s OK, I’m not God. It’s OK. We can disagree on some stuff. That’s just fine.
So I would say it was a little bit just sort of how I am and then a little bit, it was a little bit just learning it. I didn’t go to class to learn how to be an interviewer. You just start doing it, you know this. You just start doing it and then you kind of just figure what your thing is.
But, as far as you know, I’ll talk to everybody. I would say the caveat to that is I won’t talk to people who have relentlessly and sort of mercilessly personally attacked me.
I see this with a lot of these lefties, they’ll attack me for weeks, call me all the worst things in the world, then say, “Ah, see, he won’t debate me or he won’t talk to me.” And it’s like, well, actually, if you would’ve just reached out to me and said, “Hey, Dave, I have some differences with you, let’s talk,” that would have been fine. But if you’re going to call me a sellout and God knows what for weeks, it’s like, no, I don’t need to do that. So even my tolerance has its limits.
Allen: For sure, for sure. That makes sense. It has to. Now, as you began to shift more to the right, politically, what was the response from your audience? From your listeners who are with you from the beginning, who knew you as being a liberal?
Rubin: Yeah, it’s interesting, because I saw it happening. And I saw some people were like, “Oh, this is amazing.” Some people are like, “Oh, you’re selling out to the dark side.” I saw sort of every version of that.
But I always felt that if I did what I thought was right, that it wouldn’t fail. Something like that. Like if I just said what I thought was true and I was honest about what I was thinking, … wherever it was going to get me, [there] was going to be something decent in the distance. And I guess that is how it turned out.
Look, I’ve definitely lost fans, for sure. I would say my more lefty fans at the beginning. People will send me messages every now and again, it’s, “I used to love you five years ago and then you supported Trump.” All right, yeah, I did. And I’ve explained why a million times, but it’s like, OK, you don’t have to like me anymore. That really is OK.
And then I would say that the new people, I think … for a lot of them, it’s very validating. Because I think a lot of them were watching me as more of a liberal and then they saw me eventually get closer to their position. So for them it was like, “Oh, this is kind of cool. This guy actually took that full journey across the way.”
But I think the most important thing you can do as someone that does what we do is you must do what you think is right. Really, you can’t do it any other way. You can’t — well, you can, but it won’t be authentic. And it really won’t work ultimately because people will see through it.
If you do what you think is right and say what you believe, the audience that should find you, will find you. And the people that you lose along the way you probably shouldn’t have had in the first place.
Allen: Yeah. I really applaud you for that. … It does take a level of courage to say, “OK, even if I have to change my views, I’m going to always speak what I believe to be the truth and stand by that.”
Rubin: Yeah. Well, one of the funny things is when the show started really becoming successful and I was making more money and things like that, I would see the lefties saying, “Oh, he’s such a sellout, he’s a sellout.” And it was like, … first off, my show is fan-funded, mostly, but putting that aside, if I was going to sell out, I actually don’t know which way it would be more profitable to sell out. Even right now at this very moment, would it make more sense to sell out to the right?
I also live in LA, so I should just be hated by everyone that I’m around and I’ll sell out to the right, or wouldn’t it make an awful lot of sense if I was going to sell out—I mean, the social justice grift, the [Black Lives Matter] grift, this is the greatest grift in the history of the world. There is an insane amount of money and corporate backing and all of that stuff. You want to sell out, that’s the way you sell out.
So I always thought it was funny that they’re like, yes, I sold out to move to LA to be hated by all of the intelligentsia here so that I can go to Heritage events in Texas. … It’s just completely bananas.
Allen: It doesn’t quite add up.
Allen: Do you think that we’re going to continue or see a greater shift of individuals like yourself who maybe have been liberal all their life, identified with the left, start to say, “Hmm, nope, I don’t think I fit in that box anymore”?
Rubin: I hope so, I hope so. I think it’s happening. You know, I think that the success that I’ve had is an indicator that it’s happening. We need more and more people to do it.
I think one of the challenges of the next couple of years is as we watch the mainstream media just completely collapse at this point, just completely collapse — I saw a tweet this morning from CNN about a study. They were quoting a study that said that right-wing people are more susceptible to fake news and following lies.
And it’s like, well, wait a minute, CNN, you guys pushed the Jussie Smollett hoax, you pushed the Russia hoax, you pushed the Covington kids hoax, you push the very fine people on both sides hoax. It’s like, who’s fallen to what now?
So, I would like to see, as mainstream sort of collapses, more and more people just, I mean, it’s the subtitle of the book, but think, just think for yourself, you don’t have to come to every single conclusion that I came to in my book.
And by the way, to your earlier question, my more conservative-leaning audience, when I took a position in the book where I said first-trimester abortion, and I’m not denying that it’s a life, and all of these things, a lot of my conservative audience, they said, “Dave, love the book, disagree with you on that and look forward to continuing hearing you talk about it.”
That is very fundamentally different than if you were to take one position counter to the woke. I mean, what position are you allowed to take as a lefty that’s non-woke without them destroying you? I don’t know. I don’t think there is one. And that’s a fundamental difference right now.
Allen: Yeah. And I know that you have that passion to have dialogues across the aisle for unity. This year or this past year, I was really hoping at the start of the pandemic, I think like so many Americans were, that it would actually be an opportunity for us to kind of come together.
Rubin: Yeah, we didn’t do that at all.
Allen: We didn’t do that.
Rubin: There was the hope in unity and the healing when they said healing, H-E-A-L-I-N-G, they really meant H-E-E-L.
Rubin: They meant heel, heel, bow in effect, yeah.
Allen: Yeah, yeah. So talk a little bit about that. I mean, how do we actually start to encourage Americans to block out the noise of the media that’s driving us apart and start to have these positive dialogues where we can say, “Hey, maybe we disagree here, but we agree here. Let’s, let’s talk about our things”?
Rubin: Yeah, well, first of all, I think most people are doing it. Actually, at the kitchen table or within their local communities, whatever that is, I think most people are doing it.
It really is, this is just about the woke. This isn’t about conservatives arguing with libertarians about states’ rights or something like that, or taxes. This isn’t about conservatives arguing with liberals about any old issue that we would have argued about 20 years ago, right? This is about a horrific set of ideas that has infected the system that is telling you … it’s here to destroy the system.
There was a moment in the Democratic primaries when Pete Buttigieg turned to Bernie [Sanders] and he said, “You want to burn down the system, I don’t.” And that was probably the most honest thing that Pete’s ever said. Now, I suspect he actually kind of does want to burn down the system, but what he meant was, … “Bernie, you’re here to burn it down.” And that’s what the progressives are here [for], they’re not here to fix the system.
Do you think [Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez] or [Reps.] Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib are here to marginally take a good system and what can we do to slightly change it? No, they want to tell you the founding principle of America was 1619 Project, was racism. They want to tell you it’s systemically racist. They’re the ones actually injecting racism into the system with all of their laws.
Do you know that every single Senate Democrat basically voted to continue to allow Harvard to discriminate against Asian people? Every Republican voted for it, meaning we’re going to stop discrimination at Harvard, at universities, but it’s specifically happening at Harvard. … The Democrats said, “No, we’re going to actually allow these universities to continue to discriminate.”
So they love … systemic discrimination. They’re going to continue to bring it, by the way, even the COVID relief bill. If you’re black, you get certain benefits. It’s completely counter to the American experiment.
It’s everyone versus the woke. And I think that is a huge swath of people. Unfortunately, it’s a swath of people that are afraid, especially the ex-libs that you’re talking about, or the liberals that are waking up, they’re really held hostage by these things. They love The New York Times. They love CNN. They love Harvard. They can’t believe that these things are as evil and corrupt as they are. But they are.
So we have to just show those people, hey, … there is something over here and it’s wide and it’s open and it’s decent. And I always tell people, it’s like, all you have to do really is just be a little bit better than them. And that’s actually not that hard.
Allen: Yeah. Well, I really respect you for the fact that you’re very comfortable in saying now, “Yeah, I’m conservative.” You don’t agree with everything, though, that many conservatives agree with. … You and I have differences of opinion—
Allen: … but you’re still comfortable with that.
Allen: How did you get to that point?
Rubin: Well, I’m okay with that. I mean, I guess I would say that that is a liberal principle, actually. To be OK with someone else’s opinions in many ways is a truly liberal principle. So I would say I haven’t let go of that.
I would say, really, the main one I think that I would disagree [with], it’s not even a disagreement with conservatives. The position that I take on abortion is, I know not the main conservative position, however, a lot of conservatives privately will say that they actually are OK with something similar to what I’ve laid out, in certain circumstances at least.
I know we could talk about this for hours, but I go into it in the book, if people want a little more of the specifics. But what I found is, when I talk about this with conservatives—and by the way, I’ve debated this on my show with Dennis Prager and with Ben Shapiro—there’s an agreement sort of at the end, that again, we want to live in the same country.
So, … I’m not here at a Heritage event to get up there and say, “Conservatives should be pro-choice.” First off, it’s not one of the main things, if I was looking at my top five issues, it’s just not one of those, for me, personally. But what I want conservatives to say is, “Hey, there’s room for people like you.” And I think conservatives have done that.
For example, at the Turning Point [USA] Student Action Summit last year, they had an Atheists for Liberty group there. I thought that was pretty extraordinary. It doesn’t mean that concern that the atheists should overtake the party or that they should be railing against God or trying to confuse traditional religious conservatives about religion or anything.
But what it showed me was, oh, here are Republicans, or conservatives, whatever you want to call it, saying, “Yeah, here are some people. They believe in liberty, they believe in freedom, they believe in the Constitution. They don’t happen to be believers. Perhaps most of us are, but they’re welcome here. They are welcome here.”
That is what a wide tent is. That is what America is.
So there’s just more room there. There’s more, it’s just obvious to me. It’s like if you’re just looking down the road and it’s like, you got a fork in the road and it’s like, man, scorched earth, scorched earth over there. Or I don’t know, these guys, maybe they’re a little scary sometimes, but they’re not that scary, actually. And you just go down there and then next, you know what? They treat you nicely. And it’s all OK.
Allen: Yeah, room at the table.
Rubin: There’s room at the table, yeah.
Allen: I love it. So let’s talk a little bit about the book, “Don’t Burn This Book.” I love the title.
Rubin: Yeah, yeah, yeah. You’re going to like the second title, but I haven’t announced it yet.
Allen: Yeah, excited for the new book that’s coming out. So talk a little bit about the decision to, OK, I need to put a little bit of my journey, my beliefs on paper.
Rubin: Yeah. Well, I was on tour with Jordan Peterson when I got the call from my agent who said, “There’s a bunch of publishing houses that want to do a book with you.”
Playboy had just written a piece about me that I think got them all interested. And I had sort of been thinking about it for awhile and Jordan actually had been nudging me that I should be writing something. And we got, it took a couple of days, the deals sort of got put on the table and then I was like, all right, I’m going to do it. And I signed a deal.
And then once you sign it, then you really got to write. And I have to say, I loved writing it. I didn’t know that I was going to love writing it, but I would basically wake up, … I would walk the dog, I’d have my coffee, and then I would go into my office, shut the door. And I found that I could just write and write and write and write and write for hours and hours.
Sometimes it would be like 3 p.m. I hadn’t even eaten. And then when I was done, I was done. So if it was like 3 p.m. and I got to where I needed to get, closed my computer, and that was it for the day.
Sometimes I didn’t make it all the way to 3. Sometimes I would sit there for two hours and I couldn’t really get much going, but I love the process of it. … The book did well and all that, but I would say what I’m more pleased about is that it really helps you make your thoughts fully concrete.
… It’s one thing when we sit here and talk about these things and there could be a little gray area on what specifically we’re talking about or something like that, but when you put it in book form and you see it on the paper, it’s like, … I want to be clear about these things. I want to really be clear about what I think about these things.
So I think it’s made me a better speaker as well, because I really had to refine the thoughts that I put out there. And it was a little bit personal and it was, obviously, political in nature, but I felt it was the right sort of first foray into that world.
Allen: Yeah. And as you have talked with individuals who have read it, what are the stories you’re hearing from them and what do you hope that people really walk away with?
Rubin: I would say the walkaway would be that I want people to think for themselves. Just don’t accept the mainstream narrative just because it’s the mainstream narrative. Don’t just accept that because CNN says something that it’s true. In most cases, we learned three months later that it’s not true, whatever they’re telling us, right? So I want them to walk away with that.
And what most people say to me usually is, “I’ve been on a similar journey.” Even more conservative-leaning people because even though the journey that I went was, say, from left to right, more conservative people usually have some liberal beliefs or some lefty beliefs. And then they either shed them or whatever it is. But they appreciate, “Oh, this is why a liberal thinks what they think,” something like that. …
And I like more than anything, I liked the fact that people laughed. I mean, I liked the people that … got the references and some of the silly stuff.
Allen: Yeah. That’s important to include, that makes a read much, much more enjoyable
Rubin: Those were the comments that I liked more than any else. Some people, “Oh, you changed my political leanings, blah, blah, blah.” But if it was like, oh, if I made you laugh, that that seemed more fun to me.
Allen: And you have a background in comedy. That comes naturally for you.
Rubin: Yeah, I used to be funny a long time ago. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Allen: And you toured with Jordan Peterson and that really started from you being funny.
Rubin: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Allen: You kind of opened for him during one of his talks. Talk a little bit about his influence on you personally.
Rubin: Well, he had a huge influence on me and Chapter 9 of the book is about finding a mentor. And it wasn’t that Jordan sat me down like Padawan, in a Jedi-like, “Oh, I’m to be your mentor here,” like Obi-Wan and Anakin, but it was really that after a year-plus of traveling with him and seeing someone at the top of their profession, what I would say the most influential public intellectual that we have on Earth, even right now, to see that night after night, to see him expand his knowledge base every night—
So on some nights he would talk about something and then he would say at the end, he’d say, “You know, I think I’ve taken that as far as I can take it tonight,” but then I would watch him the next night take it a little bit further because he would think about it after. To watch that it, it completely seeped into me.
I remember sitting there, actually, one night, we were about halfway through the tour and I had the best seat in the house every night, because basically I was on a chair on the side of the stage. So … I was sort of behind Jordan and I could see the whole crowd. I mean, it was an incredible view that I had. And I remember sitting there and thinking, “Man, if I can’t take something powerful from this, then something is really wrong with me.”
Like, here’s this guy changing thousands and thousands, actually millions of people’s lives through his words, through his beliefs. I’m on the ride. So something has to change in me throughout that. And I think he did help me crystallize some of my thoughts around belief, which I get into in the book, and around family and some other things.
Allen: That’s so neat. Yeah, that is such a gift to night after night be listening.
Rubin: Yeah, it was a gift.
Allen: Yeah. Wow, that’s incredible. Who are some of the other leaders who have influenced you, whether it be authors or thought leaders?
Rubin: Well, it’s interesting. I would say now Dennis Prager has definitely become a … good friend of mine, but also a mentor in a certain respect. I think in many ways now, he sort of sees me as a younger version of him. Now that he’s seen my evolution, let’s say, I think he now sees that, “Oh, here’s someone that is fighting for the things that I’ve been fighting for all of these years.”
It’s also extraordinary what they’ve done, obviously, with PragerU. … Dennis is 72, but it’s his project, really, that has been able to wake up millions and millions of 18-year-olds. That’s pretty awesome. So I would say Dennis has really affected me. My one chat with Thomas Sowell, which, like, caught the internet by fire.
Allen: It’s an excellent conversation, yeah.
Rubin: That was like, I knew in the moment, I was like, “I know this is important and great and seminal.” I’m going to give you one or two others.
I would say chatting with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who’s also become a friend. Someone who just has lived through such brutality to now move to the West, to fight for freedom, and to look at us and say, “Guys, you’re missing the boat here. Something bad is happening. I’ve seen it before.” I just absolutely adore her and respect her.
And then, well, I would say Larry Elder also. There’s the famous moment where Larry and I got into it and I said, “Well, what about systemic racism?” And he pointed out that it does not exist. And really that was one of the moments where the crack in the ice got a little bit bigger.
Allen: Yeah, yeah. Dave, thank you. I want to encourage all of our listeners to check out “The Rubin Report”; go on Amazon, buy your book Don’t Burn This Book: Thinking for Yourself in an Age of Unreason. Dave, thank you for your time.
Rubin: It was my pleasure.
Virginia Allen is a news producer for The Daily Signal. She is the co-host of The Daily Signal Podcast and Problematic Women. Send an email to Virginia.