Few have been as instrumental in the rise of the so-called intellectual dark web of strange alliances than Dave Rubin. This elite group of thinkers, diverse in ideology and ultimately uninterested in political pettiness, have revolutionized the media industry, providing respite from the shallow nonsense offered by cable news. Using long form podcasts and lectures that feature extensive question and answer periods, thinkers such as Ben Shapiro, Sam Harris, Bret and Eric Weinstein, Steven Pinker, Joe Rogan, and of course, Rubin, have given their viewers and listeners a deep analysis of topics ranging from politics to culture to philosophy and beyond.
On his show, The Rubin Report, Rubin gives his guests a platform for a civil, rational discussion. There are no ratings-driven shouting matches that accomplish nothing, replaced instead with long, considerate conversations designed to inform and expand upon ideas and philosophies. As a result, Rubin has enjoyed fiercely loyal support among those who have been starved of genuine, productive conservation in the political sphere. He has attracted followers from across the ideological spectrum, but often acknowledges that he receives the warmest welcomes from conservatives, and the vast majority of hate from liberals.
Why is it that an openly gay, self-proclaimed liberal has become the hero of so many conservatives and drawn the ire of his supposed liberal companions? As Rubin himself predicted, strange political times have led to strange political alliances and rivalries. He is good friends with fellow intellectual dark web staple Ben Shapiro. In the past, one might never have expected a friendship to blossom between an Orthodox Jew and an agnostic, gay liberal. However, this is 2018, and the only things that make sense anymore are those that defy all traditional logic and norms. Rubin has recognized the increased radicalism among those who self-identify as “liberal”, and the paternalism they seem to crave. He hasn’t quite abandoned liberalism, rather, it has abandoned him.
This phenomenon is becoming increasingly common as we undergo the most radical political shift of recent history. Conservatives who feel as if the GOP has left them for the more populist pastures of Trumpism, Trump supporters who feel as if the GOP hasn’t sufficiently supported them, liberals who feel that Bernie Sanders’ socialist revolution has led their movement off the rails, socialists who feel that Hillary’s people-pleasing nomination was a slap in the face—they have all remained constant, while the world has spun out of control all around them. Rubin might be the penultimate example of this phenomenon—a classical liberal who has come to recognize perils of progressivism and value the virtues of a laissez faire approach to government intervention. As a gay man, he supported Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop’s right to freedom of association, and he does not subscribe to the identity-driven politics of progressivism, which dictate that he must support strictly the pre-approved leftist talking points.
In order to move beyond the maddening news cycle in which we seem to be trapped like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, the world must recognize and appreciate the rare talent and dignity of people like Dave Rubin. He is not interested in devolving his show into a cage match, despite the ratings that might follow. He is not interested in blindly the following the partisan talking points that the old guard of identity politics prescribe. He is interested only in providing a crucial public service that has otherwise almost completely disappeared—true, thoughtful information on big ideas that are almost entirely removed from the political fray. In the age of the Trump obsession and hostile polarization on both sides, we must insist that more follow in Rubin’s mold. America would be well served to engage in the kinds of thoughtful conversations modeled by the Rubin Report.
Special thanks to Nick Briscoe and Daniel Bruce for their help in writing, editing, and researching this article. Nick is my law firm manager and a graduate of the University of Alabama. Daniel is my chief consultant and a Political Science and Economics student at Auburn University. Both plan to attend law school in 2019.
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