I just finished reading Dave Rubin’s, "Don’t Burn This Book: Thinking for Yourself in an Age of Unreason."
Rubin is the host of The Rubin Report, which is a long-form interview program.
His show provides a platform for conservatives and liberals to discuss issues in a respectful and thoughtful way. It is a highly successful program, with the YouTube channel registering over 1.2 million subscribers and more than 265 million views.
According to the book, Rubin’s political awakening began when he moved from New York to Los Angeles in 2013.
He took a job with "The Young Turks," an influential far left opinion show.
In doing so, Rubin observed how the program’s hosts would try to silence conservatives by calling them bigots for the temerity of having a different opinion.
As Rubin wrote, "Simply put, no matter what the conversation was about, there was always a smear on hand to shame someone into silence."
According to Rubin, there were three particular incidents that forced him to re-think his politics and finally leave "The Young Turks." The first incident occurred in 2013, when co-host Cenk Uygur personally attacked his friend, David Webb, on his show.
Webb is both an African-American and a conservative. Uygur called him the "Uncle Tom of the conservative movement." While Rubin was outraged at Uygur’s behavior, it was only the beginning of Rubin’s transformation.
The second incident occurred in October 2014, when Sam Harris and Ben Affleck got into a heated discussion on HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher."
Rubin had never heard of Sam Harris, but he agreed with Harris’ proposition that liberals should be able to criticize Islamic doctrines without being perceived as attacking all Muslims. As noted by Rubin, Affleck “shouted Harris and Maher down and called them racists, which has now become a standard debating tactic for most progressives."
This debate made such an impression on Rubin that he dedicated his book to Ben Affleck (as a joke). Rubin was a big fan of Bill Maher and thought it was outrageous for him to be called a racist. Rubin would also come to respect and admire Sam Harris.
Cenk Uygur, on the other hand, sided with Ben Affleck against Harris and Maher. On October 23, 2014, Sam Harris and Cenk Uygur had a three-hour conversation and debate on YouTube.
After the debate, Rubin could no longer stomach Uygur’s attacks on Sam Harris’ character.
At the time, Rubin said, "The way he became the leader of the group just relentlessly lying about Sam, and then to sit there for three hours with the guy and just double down on every lie — it showed just such a flaw in character."
As Rubin was looking for a new job, the Charlie Hebdo shooting occurred and led to his third wake-up moment. Instead of seeing unequivocal condemnation of the Islamic extremists that carried out this heinous terrorist act, Rubin was stunned when some leftist commentators argued that criticizing the gunmen was Islamophobic.
For years, conservatives have known that they are not welcome on college campuses, in Hollywood studios, and in most media organizations. More recently, online social justice warriors have been trying to make it impossible for people to freely express themselves anywhere, at least if that expression does not comport with liberal orthodoxy.
This is why Dave Rubin’s book — and his show — are important to both conservatives and even liberals like Cenk Uygur.
In December of 2019, The New York Times falsely accused Cenk Uygur of defending David Duke when he interviewed him. Towards the end of the interview, David Duke said, "I am not, what you call a racist."
Cenk Uygur sarcastically replied, "No, of course not."
For the record, I watched the entire interview and I believe Uygur was being sarcastic. Here is a link to the entire interview. I do not believe that any good faith actor can watch that entire interview and believe that Cenk Uygur is a supporter of David Duke.
Cenk Uygur, and his online allies, were able to use their combined platforms to generate a progressive backlash, which forced The New York Times to issue a half-hearted correction.
They claimed that the original article "referred imprecisely" to Cenk’s sarcastic remark against David Duke.
If Cenk Uygur is not safe from these types of attacks, then no one is safe.
Uygur has a large base of fans to fight back. Most people don’t have the online presence to recover from such an attack.
The great lesson from Dave Rubin’s book is that people can only pursue happiness when they have the freedom to express themselves. Before Dave came out at twenty-five, he was depressed to the point where he needed therapy and medication.
Later on, when he came out as a libertarian, a third of his hair was falling out from all the hateful messages he was receiving. Things changed when he refused to surrender to the online mob.
In the final chapter, he tells the story of Bronnie Ware, a palliative nurse who treated terminally ill patients. These patients told her their final regrets often revolved around living a life that conformed to other people’s expectations, and not spending enough time with their loved ones.
For anyone who has ever felt the pressure to conform, this book will teach you the importance of being yourself.
Robert Zapesochny is a researcher and writer whose work focuses on foreign affairs, national security and presidential history. His work has appeared in a range of publications, including The American Spectator, the Washington Times, and The American Conservative. For several years Robert worked closely with Peter Hannaford, a senior aide to Ronald Reagan, as the primary researcher on four books and numerous columns. Robert has also worked on multiple presidential, national and statewide campaigns, including as a field office staffer for the Bush-Cheney campaign. Due to his own Russian-Jewish heritage, Robert has a keen interest in the history of U.S.-Soviet relations. In 2017 he was the co-organizer of an effort that erected commemorative statue of Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev in Moscow. Robert graduated with a major in Political Science from the University at Buffalo, and received his Master’s in Public Administration, with a focus in healthcare, from the State University of New York College at Brockport. When he’s not writing, Robert works for a medical research company in Rochester, New York. Read Robert Zapeochny's Reports — More Here.
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