Dan Carlin (@hardcorehistory) is the host of the wildly popular Hardcore History and Common Sense podcasts, and author of The End Is Always Near: Apocalyptic Moments, from the Bronze Age Collapse to Nuclear Near Misses.
What We Discuss with Dan Carlin:
- Do tough times make for tougher people? How do we define what “tough” means?
- Will war ever become obsolete, or will we always need to be prepared to engage in military force on some level?
- Why do the people who are best qualified to lead rarely get elected, and how does this hurt us all (even if “our” candidate wins)?
- How denying the cultivation of skills, talent, and opportunity to the poorest members of the population underserves society as a whole.
- Is a de-escalation of our current political polarization possible, or have we passed the point of no return?
- And much more…
Like this show? Please leave us a review here — even one sentence helps! Consider including your Twitter handle so we can thank you personally!
Philosopher George Santayana once said that “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” And if there’s anyone who’s brilliant at getting us to remember these lessons of the past, it’s today’s guest: Dan Carlin, host of the Hardcore History and Common Sense podcasts, and author of The End Is Always Near: Apocalyptic Moments, from the Bronze Age Collapse to Nuclear Near Misses.
On this episode, we ponder whether tough times make for tougher people (or if “toughness” is a concept that changes with the times), we wonder if war will ever become obsolete (or if we’ll always need to be prepared to engage in military force), we discuss how leaving the poorest among our population out of the process of skill cultivation is bad for civilization overall, we look to the past to see if de-escalation of a politically polarized society is possible (or if current technology makes us too “smart” for our own good), and much more. Listen, learn, and enjoy!
Please Scroll Down for Featured Resources and Transcript!
Please note that some of the links on this page (books, movies, music, etc.) lead to affiliate programs for which The Jordan Harbinger Show receives compensation. It’s just one of the ways we keep the lights on around here. Thank you for your support!
Sign up for Six-Minute Networking — our free networking and relationship development mini course — at jordanharbinger.com/course!
This Episode Is Sponsored By:
- Burrow: Get $75 off your first order at burrow.com/jhs
- Nuun: Get 25% off your first order with code JORDAN
- Miro: Go to miro.com/jordan to start your free account today.
- Scribd: Get 60 days free at try.scribd.com/jordan
- Progressive: Get a free online quote at progressive.com
- LifeLock: Get up to 25% off your first year at lifelock.com/jordan
Miss the show we did with Moby — musician, singer, songwriter, producer, animal rights activist, and author? Catch up here with episode 196: Moby | What to Do When Success Makes You Miserable!
Thanks, Dan Carlin!
If you enjoyed this session with Dan Carlin, let him know by clicking on the link below and sending him a quick shout out at Twitter:
Click here to thank Dan Carlin at Twitter!
Click here to let Jordan know about your number one takeaway from this episode!
And if you want us to answer your questions on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Resources from This Episode:
- The End Is Always Near: Apocalyptic Moments, from the Bronze Age Collapse to Nuclear Near Misses by Dan Carlin | Amazon
- Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History Podcast
- Dan Carlin | Website
- Dan Carlin | Twitter
- The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas | Amazon
- Spartan History — The Agoge and Homoioi | The Art of Manliness
- Obscenity Case Files: Jacobellis v. Ohio (“I Know It When I See It”) | Comic Book Legal Defense Fund
- Stalingrad, the Turning Point of World War II in Europe | OSU
- Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth | Amazon
- Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y, Gen Z, and Gen A Explained | Kasasa
- Star Trek: A Taste of Armageddon | Memory Alpha
- 10 Facts About the Libyan Genocide | The Borgen Project
- Predecessor: The League of Nations | United Nations
- Russia Warns It Will ‘Have to React’ If Bosnia Moves to Join NATO | Reuters
- U.S. Neglect of Bosnia Allows Russia to Fan Ethnic Flames | Foreign Policy
- The Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, August 1945 | National Archives
- Duck And Cover (1951) | Nuclear Vault
- The Day After Trailer (1983) | CinemAmbiente
- Why Reagan’s ‘Star Wars’ Defense Plan Remained Science Fiction | History
- American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America by Colin Woodard | Amazon
- Chinese Culture: Core Concepts | Cultural Atlas
- Iraqi Culture: Core Concepts | Cultural Atlas
- Iraq under Saddam Hussein | Britannica
- Godwin’s Law: What the Creator Thinks of Hitler Comparisons | Time
- Project for the New American Century (PNAC) | Wikipedia
- Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces, and Resources for a New Century | PNAC (via The Wayback Machine)
- Nicole Perlroth | Who’s Winning the Cyberweapons Arms Race? | Jordan Harbinger
- Richard Clarke | Defending Ourselves in the Age of Cyber Threats | Jordan Harbinger
- Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
- The Right Kind of Crazy: My Life as a Navy SEAL, Covert Operative, and Boy Scout from Hell by Clint Emerson | Amazon
- Clint Watts | Surviving in a World of Fake News | Jordan Harbinger
- Whataboutism: When People Counter Accusations with Accusations | Fallacy In Logic
- Al Franken | Twitter
- Ben Shapiro | Twitter
- McCarthyism and the Red Scare | Miller Center
- Harvey Weinstein Found Guilty in Landmark #MeToo Moment | AP News
- McCarthy: “Have You No Decency?” | American Experience, PBS
- Mick West | How to Debunk Conspiracy Theories | Jordan Harbinger
- Ray Dalio | The Changing World Order | Jordan Harbinger
560: Dan Carlin | Apocalyptic Moments in Hardcore History
[00:00:00] Jordan Harbinger: Coming up next on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:00:03] Dan Carlin: There has never been a period in human history where average people have had voices like they have now. In one level of my brain, I've always thought that that would be a great thing to give everybody a voice. I'm watching what it's like when everybody has a voice. And I don't know what I think of it. I just know that we're easily exploitable. And I think that that's a problem. So then if you're easily exploitable and turned into a position, that's — let's just say not even a truthful one, right? You're living in a fantasy world. And then I give you the power to talk to other people who also believe we're living in a fantasy world and together you can create a narrative that we live in a fantasy world. I mean, we live in interesting times. We really do.
[00:00:41] Jordan Harbinger: Welcome to the show. I'm Jordan Harbinger. On The Jordan Harbinger Show, we decode the stories, secrets, and skills of the world's most fascinating people. We have in-depth conversations with people at the top of their game, astronauts, entrepreneurs, spies, psychologists, even the occasional extreme athlete, neuroscientist, or drug trafficker. Each episode turns our guests' wisdom into practical advice that you can use to build a deeper understanding of how the world works and become a better critical thinker.
[00:01:08] So if you're new to the show, or you want to tell your friends about the show, and of course, I always appreciate that, we've got these episode starter packs that we threw together for you. These are collections of your favorite episodes, organized by popular topic. That'll help new listeners get a taste of everything that we do here on the show. Just visit jordanharbinger.com/start to get started or to help somebody else get stuck.
[00:01:28] Today, Dan Carlin, if you're into podcasts, man, you probably know who Dan Carlin is. Just a darling of the podcast world, I don't know how many people would use that to describe him, but I'm going to do it. We started podcasting around the same time. He started his show, Hardcore History around 2006. And it just — exploded isn't even the word for it. I think it's just been hands down for a decade and change, one of the most popular shows anywhere in the podcast universe. His episodes are epic. They're like four-plus hours long, all history told in a fascinating way. And you know, it's stuff like how the Romans conquered their empire, Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, et cetera. If you've heard an episode or two of it, you're probably obsessed with it like everybody else. This today is a wide ranging conversation on the state of the world. Why history says we might implode and how that might happen as a civilization, of course? Also some fun ones, like could our generation beat that of our grandparents in a war, the process of creating great content in audio format, authoritarianism in the rise of China, internal and great power conflict, and the breakdown of empires and a whole lot more.
[00:02:28] And if you're wondering how I managed to book all of these great authors, thinkers, creators every single week. It's all about that network folks. I'm teaching you how to build your network for free over at jordanharbinger.com/course. And by the way, most of the guests on the show, they subscribe to the course. Come join us, you'll be in smart company where you belong.
[00:02:45] Now, here's Dan Carlin.
[00:02:50] And, you know, I noticed you barely do social media, Instagram and stuff like that.
[00:02:54] Dan Carlin: I don't like anything Facebook related, and Instagram is owned by Facebook. There was one of those, you know, I think there's been many, but one of those, you know, leave Facebook days or whatever. And with one of the first ones, we just said, "You know, screw this. I used to — you know, listen, there's a lot of things I could do better. If the conversation starts with that, we've got a good 40 minutes I could do on the money. I'm leaving on the table or the promotion I'm leaving on the table. I don't know. You're right. I don't do much of that. And if we had more options that weren't Facebook related, I think I'd probably do more of it. I've never done Instagram at all. And I have two teenagers, so I should know better.
[00:03:30] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, you know, I got sucked into do this, promote this, do all this. You got to have these clips on there and all this, but you know what? I'm not entirely convinced that somebody who's going to sit down and listen to an hour-long, two-hour long, or in your case, 3, 4, 5-plus-hour long show is going to find it by scrolling through something on the toilet that has a 12 second or whatever minute long time limit and a video. It's just, I'm not convinced that those are the same people all the time. There's definitely overlap but I don't know, man, especially with TikTok. I've got 400,000 followers. They're cool. How many of them now go and consume your six-hour audiobook? One out of 10,000.
[00:04:08] Dan Carlin: I think there's a critical mass thing too. I think when you're really trying to stand out from what's a very crowded field now I think you've got to do everything you can, but I do think that at a certain point, you don't have to push it as hard because the audience is out there pushing it on those same things for you. Does that make sense?
[00:04:26] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:04:26] Dan Carlin: So I think once you reach a critical mass that doesn't mean you can't do better and that it's not important. I just think it's not as vital. I hope I'm right about that.
[00:04:35] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. I mean, look, if you and I are worried about leaving money on the table, I think that's a losing battle, right? Because we've all seen the people that pick up every spare cent that they can.
[00:04:45] Dan Carlin: Yeah.
[00:04:45] Jordan Harbinger: And it always affects the final product. It's the show with 16 ads in it.
[00:04:49] Dan Carlin: Yeah.
[00:04:49] Jordan Harbinger: It's television or radio is what it is.
[00:04:51] Dan Carlin: And you hire staff and you get a burn rate and you get investors. And I think it turns you into human resources manager when you need to be doing what you're doing. Because — I don't know about you, when my name's on it, I'm not going to let some guy manage it or some person manage it for me without my oversight, but I can hardly answer all the emails right now, so, I mean, what time is that coming out of? So I think you leave it on the table, figuring that recouping those costs is actually not worth it.
[00:05:16] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. It comes at a time with your kids.
[00:05:18] Dan Carlin: Or the show.
[00:05:19] Jordan Harbinger: Or the show, yeah. Hey, I didn't finish reading the book for my guest tomorrow and I didn't pick up my kid from school and go to a soccer game, but man, I've zero inbox, my tweets I got all my Instagram DMs handled from total strangers that wanted to sell me promotion services.
[00:05:34] Dan Carlin: This is also a marathon, not a sprint. And if you're going to be doing it for a long period of time, you've got to somehow integrate it into a pace you can handle. I do think when you're starting up and just getting going, you have to act like a startup company and sleepover nights and seven days a week. But after a while, you got to figure out how to live with this long-term and that requires, like you said, some time with your kids, some days off, some creative time. You know, I've been doing this since 2005, so I figure we're in the marathon stage. I hope we're in the marathon stage by now.
[00:06:04] Jordan Harbinger: I want to switch topics here to something that the whole audience can really dive into, which is no one thinks their civilization will end, right? We don't. And it doesn't matter where in the world you live right now, even as you live in North Korea, you don't think your civilization or your particular nation is going to end. The pharaohs didn't think their civilization would end. And that's an interesting thing to think about when we're looking at everything that's wrong. Because on the one end of the extreme, there's people who are like, "Tomorrow's doom's day and the sun's going to melt everyone and it's Armageddon." And then there's the rest of us, which are like, "Well, we'll get through this." But history says, "Hold on. Not necessarily," right?
[00:06:42] Dan Carlin: I kind of look at it this way and I feel like it's a fork in the road question. And that either path that we go down is fascinating. And the fork in the road is either everything's going to happen the way it always has, which is what you just talked about or it's not. And either one of those outcomes is fascinating to me. I mean, our global civilization now, could be the first civilization that doesn't have to go through that? That's fascinating. Could we follow in the footsteps of all the ones that came before and that fizzled out? Yeah. And that's fascinating too. So either way I find this, the outcomes, possibilities really intriguing and scary.
[00:07:16] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, it is scary. Yeah. You mentioned in your work that there's two ways to learn, or I've heard you say there's two ways to learn, right? One, put your hand on a hot stove or two, you read books and learn from people who have done that and find out how it's worked out for them. And is that why you've written this latest work here about us blowing ourselves up, literally or figuratively?
[00:07:35] Dan Carlin: Well, I mean, to be more honest about it, I could have done this as a podcast. I was approached to do a book and when we sat down and said, you know, they were like, "Well, what do you want to talk about?" I actually went back and looked at the shows that we'd done in the past and tried to find if there were any connecting threads. And you know, it's almost like looking at one of those inkblot tests that the psychologist shows you. You find out a lot about yourself. Because I don't know about you, but I don't go back and listen to the old shows. I don't pay any attention to them. They're in the rear view mirror. But when I had to lay them out on the living room floor and look at them all in sort of a group, I go, I'm inordinately interested in the fall of civilizations and these kinds of — so I think it was a logical thing to use as a book subject because I'd explored it in depth and I'm obviously pretty interested in it. And I think there are valuable things that if we examine the concept that we as a society or certainly individuals in the society, I think we can glean some interesting stuff from it. There are no answers. It's simply, because who knows, right? But it's a book of questions and the most important questions, maybe, you could, as a group ask.
[00:08:32] Jordan Harbinger: You don't go back and listen to any shows from 10 years ago or anything like that, just to see what they were like.
[00:08:36] Dan Carlin: I don't listen to any from any, I mean, and I know why, because I would want to redo all of them.
[00:08:41] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. I hear you.
[00:08:42] Dan Carlin: I just pulled my hair out over this mistake or that thing I don't like, or matter of fact, when people say, what's your favorite show? I always go, "The one I'm doing next," because that's absolutely the truth.
[00:08:52] Jordan Harbinger: The book starts off pretty harsh. It dives right in—
[00:08:55] Dan Carlin: I suppose everything else we do.
[00:08:57] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I was thinking, I was thinking, well, that really just sets it aside. It dives right into some parenting topics and some crazy abusive previous societies. The children were just, "You didn't stand a chance, right? If you were like, in Anglo-Saxon you got, what was it? You train the kids from the military if you're a Spartan, right? But the Anglo-Saxons were just beating kids so that they would remember specific trial evidence. This was just like—
[00:09:19] Dan Carlin: That's an old line, that's an old — and you know, I'm not sure other societies didn't do that too. And it's not a big thing. It's not like an abuse thing—
[00:09:25] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:09:25] Dan Carlin: But they were trying to figure out a way to make something that they wanted you to remember memorable. Well, you can think of all kinds of ways to make it memorable, right? Give you some fantastic gift that you never forget, whatever it might be, but in some of these cases, and then that's a good way to put it because a historian would say, "Well, you know, generally—" but in some of these cases, one of the ways they did it was give them a good beating because you'd remember that. And that way they'd sort of in their minds solidified, this event, this memory that you have to have for the future, with something you wouldn't forget,
[00:09:53] Jordan Harbinger: I suppose that makes sense. It kind of reminds me of The Count of Monte Cristo. You ever see that movie? Where every day on the anniversary of them getting into this horrible prison, the warden whips you or something like that. He beats the nuts out of you.
[00:10:03] Dan Carlin: It's the same kind of thing. Yes.
[00:10:05] Jordan Harbinger: Getting soft can wipe us out though, right? You give the example of Sparta, I think versus Persia, it's been a while since I've gone over that particular piece of content but the Spartans were maybe overly preoccupied with, "Hey, if there's any sort of weak link in our chain, it's over for us."
[00:10:22] Dan Carlin: I think a good way to put it is I think, you know, first of all, we talk about how we're to term toughness is because what does toughness even mean? And it almost becomes like what the Supreme Court had basically said about pornography—
[00:10:34] Jordan Harbinger: Pornography, yeah.
[00:10:34] Dan Carlin: That they can't define it, but they know it when they see it. But the thing is, is I think toughness matches the times, right? You don't need Spartan level toughness today. You might argue that you would be better off taking whatever time and effort you needed to cultivate that, to cultivate something that we do need in the society. Now, I brought those subjects to the fore of the book though, because I was trying to sort of establish how we might respond to some of the challenges that we're going to talk about later in the book, because obviously, if you're living through either a civilizational collapse or a near civilizational collapse, that's going to change you.
[00:11:08] And I would assume it's going to change the way you raise your kids and the kind of kids you have. And I think we compared it to the difference between raising your kid in, you know, say Germany or Britain before the Second World War versus raising them in Stalingrad after the battle of Stalingrad. I mean, you need different sort of survival skills in those sorts of situations. And so that's kind of what we were talking about, trying to figure out, do tough times, make tougher people? What is toughness? When do you need it? If you decide to not be tough enough, can society do anything about that? So I was examining that basic issue because you kind of read about it, especially before the pre-modern era all the time in the sources, but nobody ever takes the time to define it or say what it means or tell you how you could determine that this is more or less tough than something else. So we played around with that issue for a while because I find it interesting.
[00:11:56] Jordan Harbinger: I'm more curious about your opinion here. It almost seems like physical and mental toughness is coming back more than it was in the '90s. And that could just be, maybe I'm older and I notice it more, but now it seems like young guys and I mean guys in their 20s and 30s, they have an obsession with, "All right. I got to be awesome at jujitsu. And I want to shoot things with a bow and arrow and hunt more." And it's like, this is almost like a cycle that my dad and his brothers were doing in the '60s. And then in the '70s, '80s And even '90s, I don't remember anybody trying to be that tough. At least not where I grew up. It just didn't really matter. It was about working hard and getting good grades, but I'm also a nerd. So there's that.
[00:12:31] Dan Carlin: Yeah. But we'll take you down that same road. Is that tough? Does that meet a definition of tough? Look, I mean, there's also the difference between physically tough, mentally tough. Another word you might use for some of this is resilient. And I think, you know, simply having — I mean, you know, we've got people out there listening to our voice right now that may be, have a small child they're taking care of an elderly, disabled parent. They're trying to work a job or two. I mean, that's tough. You don't have to have a bow and arrow. That's a different kind of resiliency that, that builds up.
[00:13:00] So I think it's an amorphous, not quantifiable issue, but something — I mean, if I put two people in front of you and show you their whole lives, I bet you could say, "Well, by my standards person A is tougher than person B," but again, I think what you need to be tough changes. I don't think you need to have a bow and arrow today to be tough. So would you call that like the equivalent of having an elective in college, right? That you don't have to have a bow and arrow to be tough in modern times, but it probably doesn't hurt.
[00:13:27] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. I think what I meant was more along the lines of, we see, I see, or I'm casually observing almost a resurgence in overt symbols of things that are considered physically tough. It's very much so all about like there's more of a dominance vibe. I think I could just be using too much social media. That's also very possible that I'm just seeing — or it's just like Joe Rogan effect. What do I know?
[00:13:50] Dan Carlin: No, I actually think though that you're exploring something that could have a lot of legs in terms of being interesting and intriguing. I'm not sure it's toughness — so for example, the dominance thing, that's an interesting word. I don't think there's anything to do with toughness, but I think it's interesting. And why would we — you know, I'm thinking back to the 1960s where a lot of the complaints from the old timers back then was that society was becoming soft and the words that they used to like to use were effeminate. Men and women were becoming androgynous, you had all these things. And I think these things go in cycles though, right?
[00:14:21] I think the same thing with body types that are attractive. Sometimes you want really skinny and waify people. Sometimes you want to be more beefy and muscular. I think some of this might just be cyclical. I am intrigued by the impact and you've just brought up social media. I'm intrigued by how things like social media and the fact that we're all so much more in touch with each other and influencing each other on a daily basis. That to me is a wild card. Because I look at the past always and I try to put everything into some sort of relation to everything else but that's different.
[00:14:51] I mean, I think you could say before about 1900, the world was pretty — I mean, the fastest speed you could travel on land was the speed of a horse. Probably, you'd say a railroad, but I mean, somebody said once that you could better understand Jesus's time up to about 1900. They were using that as a reference than after, because life is so different for us now. And the variable I keep looking at is the social media/Internet one, because that is such a wild card. And we were in such the early stages of this still that I don't have any historical analogy that I can look at to try to make sense of it.
[00:15:25] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. I feel like we're in a little bit of a generational blip right now, before we get into whatever the next thing is, which is very possibly our grandkids just existing, primarily in a virtual space. They don't have to look at their phone. They go to work wearing the modern equivalent of an Oculus headset.
[00:15:41] Dan Carlin: Yes.
[00:15:41] Jordan Harbinger: They're interacting with people in a virtual space. Your house can be a complete freaking dump because who cares? It's just like this physical space that keeps the rain off of you or whatever, and regulates temperature. It's just—
[00:15:50] Dan Carlin: Fascinating, yes.
[00:15:51] Jordan Harbinger: —non-issue. And then people will be like, wait, so you used to have this little ass sh*tty terminal where you and Dan Carlin are like seeing a two dimensional image of one another and you're talking synchronously, what a weird thing. And you're typing emails like these written letters back and forth to schedule the time. It just seems ridiculous. It's the equivalent of I'm giving a letter to the pony express guy to have him run 10 miles away. And people just go how quaint and inefficient and silly and something that would never get used. But this time that we're in right now almost seems like the shortest version of this, right? There's just a very nascent Internet and nascent remote work. People are blown away that we're able to do work from home. And it's like, well, of course, we're able to do work from home, going to work in a hive bubble office building. That's what's weird.
[00:16:35] Dan Carlin: I think that's theoretical. My teenage kids already think I'm a dinosaur for typing emails to people. My younger one goes, "Why aren't you just snapping them?"
[00:16:44] Jordan Harbinger: Oh gosh.
[00:16:45] Dan Carlin: Here's what's interesting to me about that though because for so long and it's an arbitrary distinction, but how long does a generation last, right? So officially, I guess, I'm a Generation X person, but if you look at the people that are Generation X people, they travel all the way into like the '80s or the Baby Boomers is, I'm just not a Baby Boomer, just barely. But what I always look at and go, "How could I possibly be a Baby Boomer? If you're born in 1946, are you telling me that someone born in 1965 has anything in connection with them," but they're long generations. The point of the story is I got two kids who are three years apart and the technology is changing so quickly and it has such an impact on their generation that I see generational differences between my two kids who are only three years apart. So it might be somewhat connected to the pace of change and the pace of change is speeding up.
[00:17:36] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, that's a good point. It's almost like for me being born in 1980, if I'm talking to somebody who's born in 1975 or 1986, It's kind of the same, but now if I'm talking to somebody who was born in 1990, okay, there's substantial similarity, but you're right. When you look at kids, it's like three years apart, five years apart, they've never heard of the people that they follow on YouTube. They've never heard of the people that they — or they just don't use YouTube because they're 25 and not like 15 or 20, it's a completely different thing. And even the media are different, right? You did say, "Oh, did you watch that TV show when you were young, Sesame Street?" "Oh no, we had Teletubbies." Now, it's like, "Television? I don't ever watch television because I have an iPad that I have grafted to my face," right? If you're six or seven years old now, depending on your parents.
[00:18:24] Dan Carlin: If you look it up, there's the 20 years that, that they have — you know, these are stupid things, but they classify the Baby Boomers, I think 1945, 1964. That's 19 years. Can you imagine a generation lasting 19 years now and having anybody even pretend that they had anything? I mean, I don't think people in 1964 had much in common with people born in 1945, but you couldn't even pretend that today and not get laughed out of your sociology class or whatever.
[00:18:50] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. I think you're absolutely right. The pace of changes is accelerating so quickly. It makes me wonder what the limit of human adaptation is. Kids are doing fine with the new tech theoretically, right? I mean, I guess we need to catch up with things like mental health and social media. But we're still able to use these things and adapt quickly to them and have our younger generation adapt quickly to them. I guess it seems like there's got to be a limit to that, but maybe the limit of adaptation is faster than the limit, the speed of creation.
[00:19:17] Dan Carlin: It's actually accelerating a trend that's been going on for a while, which is how long your knowledge is applicable. So, I mean, I'm actually fascinated about this now. I've, I'm toying with doing a show on it at some point, but for a very long time in human history, if you learned something that skill was good for your entire life, right? I mean, if somebody taught you how to make something in the middle ages, that was probably a skill that when you're 65 years old, which would have been a decently old person in those days, that still makes you valuable because that skill is still applicable. These days, faster than ever, we get sort of outmoded where already — as I said, a parent of teenage girls, I was on the Internet when the Internet first became something regular people started using and I got to have my kids show me things now. In other words, they just roll their eyes at me and I'm already outmoded in their minds.
[00:20:11] So where once upon a time, one's life experience was probably good in almost every area for their entire life as probably the 19th century but certainly by the 20th century rolled around, all of a sudden, really old people started becoming really outmoded. And I think that as the technology changes even more quickly, that's going to happen at younger and younger ages. Can you imagine being 28 and already having 14 year olds correcting you, showing you the latest stuff, and trying to help you navigate your way through something that you just — why can't we do it the way we did it when I was 14 with regular apps, as opposed to these virtual reality ones. So I guess to me, that's a fascinating thing about how long your experience is viable.
[00:20:55] Jordan Harbinger: It sort of makes me a little bit nervous. My parents are here visiting right now and they say something like, "Wow, you're doing so well. And you're only 41 and you have all these years left to work." And I corrected my dad and my mom, both who said something similar. And I said, "No, no, no, no. I've probably got like 10 more years where I'm relevant." And what I say is falling in this nice window where lots of people like it and consume it. And then I've got a few years after that, maybe a lot where more or less narrow portion of my audience is still like, "Eh, I like the way this guy does audio-only podcasts or whatever it is."
[00:21:30] And then it's just sort of a fall-off whereas somebody like Larry King, for example, almost all the way up until the end is just relevant on television, doing radio. Everything is there. And now that the pace of change is so rapid. I wonder how quickly I'm going to lose relevance to the majority of the world. And thankfully, I can make a living, not worrying about that and just having relevance to like a fractional percentage of people. But it seems to be happening very quickly if you don't jump from one medium to another, and you're not willing to do that. Guys like you and I who create long-form audio, people always go, "Why don't you do videos of this whole thing?" Well, I don't want to do a hundred times the work and hate every second of it. That's one reason.
[00:22:08] Dan Carlin: You what's funny though, if you look at it the right way, I would suggest that Larry King in his later years was not doing programs for 15 year olds.
[00:22:16] Jordan Harbinger: That's true.
[00:22:16] Dan Carlin: I think the audience aged with him, and I think that if you continue to want to, and you continue to operate at a high level and you don't get bored of the people that already like you, you all grow up together. My parents were watching people on television when I was a kid and I would just go, "Why are you watching this guy?" And they said, "He's great. What are you talking about?" But that's how those things go. I think for me, you know, a guy who wrote a book called The End is Always Near, I'm looking at like health and things like that. That can throw you off your game.
[00:22:47] I figure if you have the energy, you're mentally alert and those kinds of things, then I think you can pivot. I mean, look, we all know that there are people who are much more flash in the pans in terms of what they have to offer talent wise. Maybe the reason they're well-known is because they're physically beautiful. Right? They are 22-year-old, they're very attractive. Okay. That's not something you can build for the very long-term because someday you're going to be 60. But if however, you're appealing to someone in a more mental sense, something that has longer legs is maybe a deeper sort of an attraction and pay off, I think your audience can age with you. Now, you may be a guy doing an Internet show for 60 year olds when you're 60.
[00:23:24] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, that's fine.
[00:23:25] Dan Carlin: But look, 60 year olds have a lot more money to donate to a podcast. So it all works out, in certainly.
[00:23:30] Jordan Harbinger: I suppose you're right there. Yeah. And going back to what you mentioned about the generational thing, usually I hate questions like this, but you're one of the only people who I think can answer this. Do you think we could beat our grandparents or our parents in a war, right? Not like in the state that they're in now and that we're in now, we're all the same age, same military capabilities and technology. Do you think from like a sort of mental toughness standpoint or an attitude standpoint we could do that? Or do you think that we—?
[00:23:56] Dan Carlin: That's my question, right? I did it in a podcast and we started off one of the chapters that you referenced that.
[00:24:02] Jordan Harbinger: Ah, that may be why I thought I'm so smart for thinking of this because I wrote it.
[00:24:05] Dan Carlin: No, no, no, I love the concept because it forces you to think what that means. And it's a double-edged sword because if you say something like, "No, we would never have the guts to drop an atomic bomb on civilians." Well, I mean, is it a virtue to be a person who could do the more cold-hearted thing. It's certainly going to win you a war over people that wouldn't. But I think there's a case to be made that there's advantages — and this was the toughness question too. There's advantages on both sides of it, because the opposite of toughness isn't necessarily weakness. It might be empathy. It might be a sense of understanding.
[00:24:43] I mean, there's ways to look at this as let's call it an emotional zero sum game. And if you're not taking up space with toughness, what are you making space for? And so I think the idea of beating your grandparents in a war is interesting because if you say, "No, they would kick our rear ends because they'd be more brutal. They do what it took." Okay. But is there a downside to being that way? I mean, do we have advantages because we're not that way that allow us to do things they couldn't do. So I use the war example because it's so blatantly something that requires this idea of, you know, going to the nth degree. But there's a lot of other things in our society that don't require that or require different sorts of skills for us to get to the nth degree. And so in answer to your question, I don't think we could beat our grandparents in a war with the same kind of material. I would hope that being a generation that feels the need, maybe to have less existential wars, maybe we could avoid war with our grandparents, make peace with our grandparents.
[00:25:39] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. That's a comforting thought kind of although it does get me a little bit worried about what other, you know, there are other cultures that are in a different place on whatever timeline or spectrum that we might find ourselves. This is a bit of a deep one, but do you think violence or military force will always exist?
[00:25:55] Dan Carlin: Yes, I do think in some, so start with force. I was once contemplating the whole question of force and whether or not you could get by with no force. There was a great Star Trek episode in the original series where some advanced group of people had decided that there was going to be no violence for any reason. And that anybody who started to be violent, they would just be cut off at the past. And it was interesting to try to imagine all of the things in society that keep society running that require force. So when you get to military affairs, that's a whole different level of force. I do think that there's going to be some level of fighting all the time, because I think some of the low levels of fighting are akin to whatever the next level above policing is. But when we talk about like full scale thing, I don't know, I tend to think there's going to be one more full-scale thing. And then when we see what that means, that'll be the last one. Because I think the scariness of atomic and thermonuclear weapons, I think that's worn off a little bit.
[00:26:54] So maybe, you know, humankind often needs a refresher course on how nasty some of this stuff is. But I don't think if we ever have a war where it's a full all-out war between first rate powers, I don't think we'll have another one after that because I think the great grandchildren will still be picking up the pieces. I mean, I think the lesson will last a lot longer and the scars will be a lot deeper. I think that you still might need low-level stuff if only to protect civilians sometimes. I mean, sometimes you have to go into a place to stop a genocide. It's a tough thing because I remember when the whole Libyan thing was going on and we were debating when I had a current events podcast about the rightness or wrongness or moral high ground in that situation.
[00:27:32] And I think the question of having an agency, you know, I think the two World Wars showed us that there's a need for someone who can step in and do something like that in the situation where you're going to have massacres. But whose job that is? I think it got caught up in the same old power politics that we had had for thousands of years, without really recognizing that the day of those power politics rules being applicable were over. But I don't think we've actually, I mean, you know, you have a league of nations after the First World War, you have a United Nations and multiple military alliances like NATO after the Second World War.
[00:28:07] But those things haven't acted in the way that the really high minded people after the World Wars had hoped they would, they devolved much more into tools for regular old standard power politics things, but the need that was identified in the first place that, that created the incentive and the impetus to create those kinds of agencies, those aren't going away. So I think eventually what'll happen is it'll just be something that either some major power has to step in and do it themselves, which I think is the worst possible way to do it. Or somebody going to recreate some sort of global police force entity that can operate in situations where it's not a major war. It's not a third World War, but it's something where somebody has got to have guns on one side to prevent some terrible tragedy occurring somewhere.
[00:28:51] Jordan Harbinger: You're listening to The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest Dan Carlin. We'll be right back.
[00:28:56] This episode is sponsored in part by Burrow Furniture. Burrow is setting a new standard in furniture with easy to move modular designs, timeless American mid-century, and contemporary Scandinavian styles, and premium durable materials like responsibly forested hardwood, top grain Italian leather, reinforced metal hardware. So think like cool Apple Store, but also for your house kind of stuff. And easy to move is key because, you know, you might have to walk it up some stairs, especially if you live in a city. There's a lot of pressure when it comes to picking the right furniture for your space. So you might have an eight floor walk-up. You might have a narrow or awkward room. Burrow has tons of options for you no matter what your space is like. And instead of warehouse stores and showrooms with weird dudes breathing down your neck to sell you stuff, Burrow's got a website. You create, you customize your own furniture without even leaving the house, which is the way everyone likes these days. Free shipping on every order, no matter how small or large. And the Burrow team is always available to lend a hand from custom orders to rescheduling a delivery.
[00:29:51] Jen Harbinger: Thanks again to Burrow for sponsoring the show. Listeners can get $75 off their first order at burrow.com/jhs. That's Burrow, B-U-R-R-O-W.com/J-H-S for $75 off, burrow.com/jhs.
[00:30:05] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is also sponsored by Nuun. When you work up a sweat and you're working on that fitness, or if you're like me running after my two-year-old kid, you lose vital electrolytes and minerals that your body needs in order to keep moving and recover efficiently. Nuun Sport is optimized for hydration and mineral replenishment before, during, and after a workout. Just drop a fizzy tablet into your water bottle to support your hydration, anytime, anywhere. My friends love taking Nuun to festivals. I take it on planes or on hikes, long bike rides. Nuun Sport is made with only one gram of sugar and carefully sourced premium ingredients that are certified non-GMO, gluten-free, and vegan. Available in 13 delicious flavors, including fan favorite cherry limeade, which has an extra boost of caffeine for those hard workouts or extra fast toddlers.
[00:30:44] Jen Harbinger: To get your game-changing hydration, visit N-U-U-N.life/jordan and enter code JORDAN for 25 percent off your first order.
[00:30:52] Jordan Harbinger: Thank you so much for listening to and supporting the show. It's your support of the advertisers that keeps the lights on around here. Of course, I appreciate anything you could do. If you live overseas, I get it. But to learn more and get links to all the great discounts you've heard, so you can check them out for yourself, we put them all in one place. jordanharbinger.com/deals has all the codes and links that you need. Consider supporting those who support us.
[00:31:13] And don't forget, we've got worksheets for many of the episodes you hear on the show. If you want some of the drills and exercises talked about during the show in one easy place, that link is in the show notes at jordanharbinger.com/podcast.
[00:31:25] Now back to Dan Carlin.
[00:31:28] What do you think of the push towards authoritarianism in many places? Because that's, in many ways, one of the reasons we don't intervene in a lot of places is because there are countries that say, "You know what? I'm going to veto this, or I'm not going to allow this because we should let everybody handle their own internal affairs," which in authoritarian speech means, "I don't want them to say it when we do it to our people. So I'm not going to say it when they do it to their people," and they stand in the way of a lot of this.
[00:31:54] Dan Carlin: That's a deep question and there's several different avenues we could explore. The first one is I think authoritarianism is in one sense or another, the default position. I think in the post-Second World War, you know, the triumph of democracy, all these sorts of things that people thought we were entering into a new age. I think those are the outliers. So I think the default position is much more to have a society where it's a very rigidly structured hierarchy, pyramid shaped with one person at the top of the apex or some oligarchy at the top controlling things. And I think you can see that in places like Russia right now, China right now, certainly.
[00:32:31] At the same time though, I'm not sure any country, regardless of governmental type, is all that open to having people from outside criticize their actions and whatnot. I mean, during the Civil Rights Era in this country, late '50s, a lot of the 1960s, communist Soviet Union was slamming the United States for the second rate status of African-Americans and all this kind of stuff. So in a very weird sense that actually falls into the power politics stuff, and it becomes political propaganda to use against your opponents. And I think all the major countries do it. There's a lot more similarity than we like to admit between government types.
[00:33:10] Jordan Harbinger: Definitely.
[00:33:11] Dan Carlin: The authoritarians are much more open about it. It's a lot less disguised. Ours is much more of a velvet, gauntlet kind of thing. And certainly, sometimes it has to back off in ways that Putin doesn't ever have to back off, but I think the authoritarians are the way it normally is. We're the outlier. And I think even though we are the outlier, we react in similar ways sometimes too. And we do a lot of the same things, the same spying, the same propaganda. I mean, I'm absolutely sure the Russians are on message boards pretending to be Americans and trying to pull the United States apart. But are we going to be so naive as to think we don't do things like that? And so, I'm a little bit cynical when it comes to that stuff. I don't think any nation state is falling down on the job of pushing in all those same areas. I just think the authoritarians are a lot more fine not disguising it.
[00:34:01] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:34:02] Dan Carlin: We have to be careful how we do it.
[00:34:03] Jordan Harbinger: I agree. Except then your earlier point, that doesn't bode so well for an international police force that says, "Hey, we shouldn't be committing genocide," right? Like the US will pay lip service to that. The West will pay lip service to that. But how many years did it take us to get into Bosnia? And then did we ever do anything about Rwanda or did we just wait until everybody was dead on one side? I mean, nobody was in a rush, falling over themselves to get to Yugoslavia or Rwanda.
[00:34:28] Dan Carlin: Yeah. Different situations, certainly. And the problem — see, this is what I meant when I said earlier that eventually you're going to have to come up with some agency that really does the job. But when you decide that there's going to be a United Nations and you're going to have multiple countries on the permanent UN security council and each one of those countries is going to have a veto. Well, you're basically saying in the design of the organization that it's not really going to be this majority rule, fair. All those countries who have a veto on the security council are going to use that veto for their own national interests, and it would be weird if they didn't.
[00:35:01] But I think in a place like, Bosnia is a perfect example. I mean, that was an area that the former Soviet Union, I think it was transitioning to the Russian Federation at that time. That's in their backyard as far as they're concerned. And they have historic ties to one group of people that was in that conflict, the Serbian folks. And so it was natural for them to push back in ways where the rest of the so-called civilized powers were pushing in the other direction. After a while, at least to them, it almost seems like it's standard Machiavellian politics being sort of rose colored glasses through the lens of the Bosnian crisis, but the same sort of jockeying for position in Eastern Europe that you saw happen after that too, with the expansion of NATO and a bunch of places, which looks like progress and democracy moving forward. To us, it looks like being surrounded to the Russians.
[00:35:50] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. How does this usually end up for authoritarian societies? Because aren't systems built around one person just more fragile?
[00:35:59] Dan Carlin: I don't think — well, I think we could argue whether or not these are built around one person.
[00:36:03] Jordan Harbinger: Sure. I guess a small group of people, a smaller group of people is probably a better way to phrase that.
[00:36:07] Dan Carlin: There are people who would say that the United States itself is a sort of an oligarchy with a larger group of people.
[00:36:13] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. I'm not necessarily arguing against that either. I mean, I'm not a conspiracy theorist or anything but if you look at who really has the power in society—
[00:36:22] Dan Carlin: I think in Russia, when Putin goes away, I do think it's going to be a time when the deck might get reshuffled and all kinds of things might happen. In China, I think it's a different situation. I think they kind of have a well-oiled leadership machine there. And when the current leader goes away, they'll operate as a kind of a permanent oligarchy there to put forward another candidate. And they've done this now a bunch of times, whereas really, since Putin made all these changes to Russia, we haven't had another person who wasn't a puppet of Putin's. So it'll be a whole new experiment when he goes away to see how it functions without him.
[00:36:56] Jordan Harbinger: I think you're right. I know that Jinping wants to be chairman for life and that's maybe a little bit of a change on the term limits, but you're right with Putin, it's more like here's an entire remix of the constitution. Whereas with Xi Jinping, it was more like, "All right, I'm staying," but then the Communist Party knows, "We've got to make this smooth, we've got to be business first. We've got to keep the people in power who have power to keep things from sort of escalating or becoming chaotic." Whereas you're right, I think in Russia, there might be a few camps fighting for control.
[00:37:30] Dan Carlin: In China, they've done it before. I mean, that's the other thing they've done it before, right? So Putin, we don't know what happens. China, it probably happens just like it happened last time.
[00:37:39] Jordan Harbinger: Exactly. Yeah, you've studied societal and empire breakdown throughout history. And now, you've done it with 20/20 hindsight, but I'm wondering what vulnerabilities you might see in our modern society, the United States, let's say if we have to narrow it down, that you think other people either don't see generally, or that we're just not paying enough attention to, that might lead to the downfall of either United States or Western civilization, as we know it, if you want to zoom out a little.
[00:38:04] Dan Carlin: Well, here's the thing, as you get closer to that moment, things that people saw, you know, you had Nostradamus 30 years ago, warning about — it becomes more obvious. It's like when you're getting closer to an iceberg, more and more people can see it. I think there's a bunch of challenges right in front of us that are clear to anyone paying attention. You don't have to have some specialized knowledge in political science or anything like that to see. I also think there's some things that have been threatening us for a long time that we've become complacent about and forgotten about.
[00:38:32] So in terms of what threatens us that everyone sees, I mentioned it earlier, it's these variables that we've never had to deal with before, the pace of change. And some of the changes that we've seen, social media is perfect. You know, so many of the things that we looked forward to as these giant liberators and levelers. I used to do capital pitches to investors about what we called amateur content, before there was a YouTube, before there were any of those — before there was an iTunes, before there was podcasts. And what we were trying to tell them was it's going to be great. You're not going to have any gatekeepers. Everyone's going to be able to broadcast their opinions, all these things. It looked like a relentlessly positive future but they—
[00:39:11] Jordan Harbinger: It will never work, Dan.
[00:39:12] Dan Carlin: Well, but it's not that — they did say that. But if you had told me back then, if I could go visit myself back in those days, 1999 And tell myself, "Well, listen, it may be isn't as relentlessly positive as you were suggesting it might be." Because I wasn't looking at the downsides. If you'd said to me, everybody's going to have a voice, I would have said fantastic, but who would have known that this is how we might use our voices, right? So I would suggest that that's one example. That to me is the iceberg. Everyone sees what this is doing to us and the destabilization it's causing and the lack of knowledge about where this goes from here. Everybody gets that.
[00:39:46] What we've forgotten about, I think, is the nuclear thing. And I've done a bunch of shows on this and talked about it extensively. When we did one on the development in early history of nuclear weapons, I had a theme running through the show and the theme was, if somebody's pointing a gun at your head and they do it long enough, you forget it's there. And if you were born with the gun pointed at your head, do you even notice it? Because we've had this gun pointed at our head the entire time you and I have been alive. It's part of our existence.
[00:40:15] Now, when I was a teenager, early 1980s, they came out with a couple of made for TV movies. One was called The Day After, and it used the modern film techniques of 1980s to show you what a nuclear war might be. It was so upsetting for people to see that in a form that got through to them. You could talk to them all day long about Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but show them what a thermonuclear weapon would do. Ronald Reagan himself was so heavily impacted by that movie. It's considered to be one of the reasons he pushed for a meeting with Gorbachev to deal with the nuclear weapons issue. It may have influenced the Star Wars development idea because simply being reminded of this sort of Damocles that hangs over our head is enough to sort of recalibrate our senses. But we've forgotten that the most dangerous thing in the world, the most dangerous human caused and controlled thing in the world in the middle of a pandemic — you might have to make a distinction like that —
[00:41:08] Jordan Harbinger: Put an asterisk next to it.
[00:41:10] Dan Carlin: —is nuclear weapons. And we are way too blight — I mean, I think we've just, like I had said earlier, the longer you get away from one of those traumatic civilizational learning moments, teachable moments, the less we remember it. It took that movie The Day After to remind people, you know what this might be like. We haven't had even a day after, I think when you make a movie like this now, it looks like a horror movie. It just looks like a thriller.
[00:41:34] No one takes the lessons to heart that, no, you don't understand. These weapons are all still out. And if you look at how the First World War, for example, ramped up, it's a wonderful example of how quickly things could get out of control and progress in a direction that will make your head spin. And 20 days into it, you'll go, "Oh my God, can you believe we're really facing a nuclear war." 20 days ago, we weren't even thinking about this. It can sneak up on you quickly.
[00:41:58] Jordan Harbinger: I'm surprised the movie did anything given how many pandemic movies we've had and everyone went, "Eh."
[00:42:03] Dan Carlin: Well, I think it's early days, right? And I also think when you get the first day after, it makes a big impact. If you get three nuclear war movies after that, that effect is lessened with every movie, same thing with the pandemic thing. So I think it's a little bit like you get shocked with the first one and it becomes blasé and light entertainment by the third or fourth.
[00:42:21] Jordan Harbinger: I've heard you say, "I trust people individually, but less so when we get into groups." That makes a lot of sense, but I'm wondering why that is from your perspective.
[00:42:30] Dan Carlin: Because we devolve to the mean, we become a herd. If you take the best human beings out there, and that changes depending on the subject, right? You may be the best human being in category A and not the best human being, because we all have different skills and strengths and weaknesses. I think if we pick for example, leadership from the most qualified and that's not always the people we think are most qualified, depends on your criterion, but I think if you were to pick the best leaders amongst the human race, I think we've got the potential to work our way out of any problem. Right. But I think that we don't pick the best people from the human race. And I think that when — and this is a crazy thing for me, because one of the things we used to talk about on our political current events show, and this also gets to the social media thing, was the idea of democracy about having the people involved in things.
[00:43:17] And I'm not as confident anymore that I trust my fellow man. Now, my problem is, is I don't trust putting anybody else in charge of my fellow man. So I don't have an alternative, but this is what we were talking about, about getting devolving to the mean, look at how we are. I mean, look at how we are on anything — vaccinations, pick any subject you want to right now, and you look and you just go, "Holy cow. Some people really think that way." And that's what I mean about devolving to the mean. At that point, I don't think they're really special people. And when I say that, that's every category, there are people that are special at singing on stage in Broadway. We all are gifted in different ways, but I don't think we're having the really gifted people, unless it's gifted at fundraising, gifted at demagoguery, gifted at pandering to specific groups and extremists.
[00:44:03] I don't think the people that are the ones that can help us out of this mess. The word I'm looking for is not there because there are no better people overall, but there are people who would be better leaders. And I don't think a person who has the qualities we want in a better leader could get elected today. Right? I mean, the first thing you're going to want is someone that would speak the truth to you. Okay. Well, right there you're gone, right?
[00:44:25] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, disqualified immediately.
[00:44:26] Dan Carlin: My stepfather said years ago, he says, "Do you want to see why we don't get better people running things?" He goes, "Divide a piece of paper in half and list the pros of running for office on one side and the cons on the other side." He goes, "Anybody with the kind of judgment that you would want in that situation are going to look at that and go, 'Well, there's a thousand cons and two pros,' right? And one of the pros is it's an ego trip." So if that's the pro that wins out over all the cons, you don't want that person anyway.
[00:44:51] So to get back to your point, I believe humanity has incredible capabilities across the board. I don't think that the people who we would want to see, I'm not necessarily sure the great Broadway stars are even getting on Broadway. My point is, I think this is across the board. Problem humanity has is we're not getting our best people in the best positions. And I think we all suffer because of that. And I think when we devolve to the group, you can see what happens. The loudest people get the attention the most. We get very panicky, we're very brave individually in a lot of cases, but we get very panicky in groups.
[00:45:22] You ever owned a horse? I had a horse once.
[00:45:24] Jordan Harbinger: No.
[00:45:24] Dan Carlin: They are the most panicky darn animals you ever saw in your life. I got thrown from one of them because they saw their shadow in a puddle on the ground. Right? Okay. Well, that's how people get. Oh, you scare a horse in a herd, the whole herd moves in another direction quickly. They don't even know why they're scared, but one horse got scared, everybody followed. I feel like that's where we get as a group. We turn into a herd. And yet, if you were to single out the individual horses, in this case, the individual humans, we have a ton of gifted people across the board in so many different ways with so many different qualities that are just so beneficial, but we don't have a meritocracy. We don't have any of the things that would allow. I think we actually, as a society, produce everything we need, but the people that are the production that can get us out of a million different messes, don't end up where we need them.
[00:46:10] And this almost sounds like some totalitarian society's view on things, does it? Like, "Let me, the great leader, put all the proper people into the proper places and we will be greater than the sum of its parts." You know, you would hope and as a free guy, I always hope that it works out that way, that people have an inclination. You have a skill set, you have talents, you start to maximize those talents, the people that hire you or give you opportunities, reinforce that, and that down the road, you end up in the place where you're not just the most beneficial to yourself, but to the rest of us. That's a pipe dream. Clearly, it's a pipe dream.
[00:46:43] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:46:43] Dan Carlin: But in my head, when I say what we're missing out on, it's the ability to be able to take advantage of all the talent that's out there in our society.
[00:46:52] Jordan Harbinger: You're right. And for those of you who don't know what the totalitarian reference was, for example, in North Korea, they will say, "Oh, this first grader, they love playing with cars in their tech. They can fix things." So then they go to a technical school and it might not be that young. But I wondered when I was there, I went to North Korea a few times on a tour and running a business that dealt with them. And I asked, "How do you find comedians? Because our comedians make fun of politicians a lot of the time." And they don't do that there. Surprise, surprise, not even a little bit. And they say, "Oh, the teachers find funny kids from the class and then they put them in the comedy school." And I said, "Oh, so like in high school?" "No, no, no, when they're young." So basically if you have any sort of outlier personality at all, you get taken out of your class and you get put into a comedy school or another type of theater school in North Korea and they just develop you in that way. And they do the same thing for technical occupations and other things like that as well.
[00:47:46] Dan Carlin: Well, the Olympics are going on right now. So why not point out the Soviet Union would find you—
[00:47:50] Jordan Harbinger: There you go.
[00:47:50] Dan Carlin: —in the first couple of grades and say, "Wow, you're really flexible. We're going to turn you into a gymnast." So those societies, the idea was that they were going to find the talent in their societies and put them in positions where that talent could help. That's absolutely from an American standpoint, and from my standpoint, as a freedom guy, that's a worst case scenario. And yet I can see the beneficial side of it, theoretically.
[00:48:15] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:48:15] Dan Carlin: I just wish we ended up there our own way. I would love to have someone smarter than myself, do some sort of study and figure out if that's even possible. And if it is possible, you know, what have we created that's an impediment to that? I certainly think that we have a hard time taking advantage of naturally gifted people who are born into poverty. Right?
[00:48:35] Jordan Harbinger: Definitely.
[00:48:35] Dan Carlin: I mean, like if you're in a position where you could send your child to a ballet class, when they're — you know, I've got girls, so it's ballet classes — so you send her to a ballet class. And the first thing you do is you turn around and you go, "So what do kids who would be great ballerinas but whose parents are struggling to put food on the table, they can't afford a ballet class, what happens to those kids?" And so, I mean, that's another example about where we may be leaving a lot of, not just the talented people, but the gifted people who could help us out of some of these problems, we may be leaving a lot of that on the table underutilized in our system. I wouldn't want it any other way in a freedom sense, but I think we should understand that, as a person who believes in merit and talent, we're leaving a lot of talent underutilize.
[00:49:14] Jordan Harbinger: I absolutely agree there. It is a shame but, of course, the answer is not to put everyone in the category in kindergarten or first grade, and then take them away from their family.
[00:49:21] Dan Carlin: You get burned out.
[00:49:23] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:49:23] Dan Carlin: You get burned out.
[00:49:25] Jordan Harbinger: Exactly. Do you believe that civilizations in society naturally pull themselves apart or polarize automatically, somehow? Is that something that you've noticed in your research?
[00:49:35] Dan Carlin: I think it differs from society to society. It depends on what's holding them together in the first place. So I think ours does, but there's a great book — I forgot what it is. American Nations or something like that, where the author tries to show you why that is in the United States. And his basic contention is that if you look at the United States before it was the United States, it's about 11 different countries and they all have sort of different temperaments and personalities and attitudes on what the United States should be. And that when there isn't something actively pulling us together, that that's a natural divider because the people are different.
[00:50:07] And I think you can look at the United States now and point to regions and go, "Well, these are vastly different places with different values and different views." And so what's holding the deep south to the West Coast or or New York? Seriously, if you asked people in those places, would we be better off without those other guys? I'm not sure what the results would be, but I don't feel like there's a lot of people going in the south, "Oh yes. We really need San Francisco," or people in San Francisco going, 'We really need to be more like Mississippi." So I think in the United States, I think that is a tendency. I think there are other countries that are held together by different sorts of bonds and that they may be more immune to that kind of a feeling. In other words, if our entire country was more like San Francisco or more like Mississippi, well, then is it pulling itself together all the time apart all the time? I don't know.
[00:50:56] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:50:57] Dan Carlin: But I do think in our country specifically, I do think the tendency is to pull apart. And then there were things that happened that occasionally throw us back together and remind us of sort of our common interest, if you will.
[00:51:09] Jordan Harbinger: I don't want to insult Mississippi, but as somebody who's lived in San Francisco, I wouldn't want either of those places to be.
[00:51:14] Dan Carlin: Yeah. You know what? That's great, that's a great point. I picked the two most different places I can think of.
[00:51:19] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:51:19] Dan Carlin: But that's what that guy was talking about with 11 or something different nations. I mean, we have partly, this is a big country problem, right? I mean, China has great differences. You go to the west of China, it is a very different place and they have very different issues with people like the Uyghurs or the Muslim Central Asian areas of China, which are so different than the Han areas. Right? I think smaller countries probably deal with this less, although look at a place like Iraq. Iraq had three major divisions and a ton of minor ones. I mean, you had Shiites, you had Sunni's, you had Kurds. And before Saddam Hussein was deposed, they used to say about him that it may take an iron fist — you know, you hear that about Yugoslavia too — an iron fist and sort of regime to keep these people from killing each other, which is what they, they would say at the time and they naturally want to do so. I don't know. I think all I can talk about with even a semblance of a view is our country. And I do think we naturally pull ourselves apart. I think you're seeing that now. And to tie this all in a bow, I'm wondering if the social media aspect of it isn't accelerating and amplifying the whole thing.
[00:52:20] Jordan Harbinger: I think you're right. I think you're right. I want to clarify my earlier statement because I kind of cut myself off.
[00:52:24] Dan Carlin: Wait, we're clarifying statements. I have about six I'd like to clarify.
[00:52:29] Jordan Harbinger: I just want to make sure that what I said — look, we don't want the United States of San Francisco, but we also don't want the United States of Mississippi. I think I only said half that. And I think a bunch of people were like, "This guy, he hates the south and loves San Francisco." I just went to San Francisco. We don't want the people who run that place, running the whole country, but neither do we want it.
[00:52:45] Dan Carlin: I would say that there are a few things about San Francisco I wouldn't mind having and a few things about Mississippi I wouldn't mind having.
[00:52:52] Jordan Harbinger: I like that. I like that.
[00:52:53] Dan Carlin: But the food in both places is extremely, has a lot to recommend itself. Great restaurants in San Francisco.
[00:52:59] Jordan Harbinger: We can leave it right there for that particular line of thought. Right? I know you did talk radio and you have to see this. Now, when you consume media political hacks and talk show hosts, they love to misuse historical examples, right? They'll say like "This situation we're in right now, it's the same as...Hitler in 1938." And it doesn't even matter what they're talking about. It's always Hitler in 1938. Where do you see this kind of thing happening now, this sort of blatant misuse of history?
[00:53:27] Dan Carlin: It's everywhere.
[00:53:28] Jordan Harbinger: Everywhere. Do you have a few examples in mind or was it too broad?
[00:53:30] Dan Carlin: Well, here's the problem. The problem is that there's an assumption built into it that's wrong. The assumption is that somehow — let's take the example you use the 1938 example. It's all based on Munich, appeasement of dictators. It all goes back to, "If we'd only been tougher on Hitler during his early moves, we could have avoided the Second World War." I mean, Churchill had called the Second World War, the unnecessary war because he had wanted to do, you know, he said, it be tougher on Hitler during the early years. The mistake is in assuming that Hitler in 1938 is representative of any other person in any similar situation, because we heard it with Saddam Hussein, right? Where they'd said, because I brought him up a little while ago, "We know not to appease dictators." This is how the saying goes, "We know not to appease dictators because we learned this in 1938." No we didn't. We learned in 1938 in a very specific German sort of situation that you can't appease that particular dictator at that particular time. In other words, this idea that history teaches us lessons that you can then plug in X for Y in another time period is wrong. And there are almost no historians believe that.
[00:54:31] And so when they start to use history as an example of what to do or not to do when in a current or future situation, that is a misuse of it right there. Now, you can learn certain things you can say to yourself, okay. We should be careful here because this might happen. Right? But to sit there and go, "No, we learned an ironclad lesson from that circumstance that's applicable in other circumstances with a thousand different variables," is wrong. And so when you talk about misusing history, simply using history as a tool to guide future actions in a rigid way is a fallacy to begin with. So in my opinion, when somebody starts doing that, I instantly know they haven't read much history or don't know much about it.
[00:55:07] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. I think that's probably the majority of people, honestly. Political hack or not, not necessarily having looked at history in a nuanced way.
[00:55:15] Dan Carlin: It's a problem though. It's a problem though, because if you're going to make an argument with somebody, a political argument, what do you use to bolster your case? Once upon a time in an era where we had basically agreed upon facts and they may have been fallacies, but even if they were basically agreed upon fallacies, you could use them as a talking point, right? You can make an argument with them. In this post-truth era where the first thing the other person's going to say to you is, "Well, I don't buy your facts. And where'd you get that information?" In other words, you never get past questioning the sources. In a situation like that, you're left trying to figure out, "Okay, how do I bolster my case if I'm in a post-truth society?" And a lot of times people will go, "Well, look at historical examples." I will do that myself, but it's the way you use those historical examples that determines whether or not it makes some sense to apply it in this case or whether or not it's a bunch of crap that you're just using, because usually it's because they heard somebody else use that argument and they think it sounds valid.
[00:56:11] The 1938 one is the one that drives me the craziest, because it is literally applicable to that situation only. And to think otherwise is to pretend that everyone who's ever been in the authoritarian in any country in the world is going to act like every other authoritarian. I mean, like somehow they're robots and that they have programming and that the programming requires them to act this way. It's ludicrous when you really sort of break it open and examine it. I think the fact that it continues to work shows you that nobody really does that.
[00:56:41] Jordan Harbinger: Can America unpolarize in your opinion? Well, maybe a better question is, are there examples, historical examples of societies depolarizing that you think might apply?
[00:56:49] Dan Carlin: I think about this all the time. I absolutely think about this all the time. So I'm going to give you an answer somebody else gave, and I don't even like the people that gave it, but there was a group called Project for New American Century a while back and before the 9/11 attacks, they had put out a paper, it was more of an internal thing, but it was on the Internet. It was taken down after 9/11, but somebody saved it on like the Wayback Machine or something like that. I'm paraphrasing from memory here, but the Project for New American Century group in sort of laying out the document that they were going to show had tried to say, "Okay, this is the lay of the land." And one of the things that they had said was the lay of the land is that the United States naturally pulls itself apart in normal times. And that it is certain incidents which pull it together. So Pearl Harbor in the Second World War was an example that they used.
[00:57:37] And the reason that the document is controversial and was saved, and the people still point you to it today is it almost looks like they're asking for a 9/11, the way that they phrase it. In order to contradict the normal forces that pull the United States apart. And they even said something like a Pearl Harbor or something. So you can see why, especially if you're a little bit conspiratorial minded, you go, "Aha, well," but their point is well taken in the sense that everything left to its own devices, we'll pull ourselves apart, but periodically something happens like a Second World War or something that contradicts the normal lay of the land, pulls us together again for a while. And then the process begins anew once we return to normalcy.
[00:58:16] So I'm trying to incorporate all these kinds of ideas as I try to figure out myself, do we really have to go through some sort of cataclysm that all of a sudden puts all Americans on the same team against a common opponent? Is that really how far we have to go? And so I'm trying to find an alternative to that at the moment. So that's the lay of the land though, as I'm looking at it.
[00:58:41] Jordan Harbinger: This is The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest Dan Carlin. We'll be right back.
[00:58:46] This episode is sponsored in part by Miro. Miro is a collaborative, white boarding online platform created to help people visualize, discuss and share work. Basically, Miro is just like the whiteboard that hangs in your office where you never go anymore, or you and your team can write, draw, use videos, sticky notes, diagrams, or audio to conceptualize your vision. So we used Miro to collaborate with our web designer who was helping us improve the UI on several pages on jordanharbinger.com. You've probably seen the new site. He created a Miro board to map out changes, suggestions, and ideas using images, text, flow charts. So it was really easy to visualize how everything would come together. So if you need a platform that organizes all the creative intricacies of your mind into one space, Mirois definitely the solution there for that.
[00:59:28] Jen Harbinger: Miro is creating a revolution in how we create and collaborate. So join over 20 million users today, you can sign up and use Miro today for free. Go to Miro. That's M-I-R-O.com/jordan to start your free account. Sign up today and take advantage of three free whiteboards with this exclusive offer. Go to Miro, M-I-R-O.com/jordan and start using Miro today. There's no reason to delay.
[00:59:51] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is also sponsored by Scribd. I read a ton y'all know that, not just to prepare for the show, but also sometimes for fun. I prefer to read through my ears because I can power through at least two books a week through audio. I really wish I had Scribd back when I was a teen, because I might've actually liked to read all the time back then too. With Scribd, you get instant access to millions of eBooks, audiobooks, magazines and more. You also get curated picks and smart recommendations based on what you've already read. So you can discover new books and authors, which makes choosing your next book that much simpler. I really like Scribd. They've made listening to audio books, easy and affordable access to the world's largest digital library, all for just 9.99 a month, which is less than the cost of a single book in most other places. With the amount of books I read, I would have saved a fortune with Scribd.
[01:00:33] Jen Harbinger: Right now, Scribd is offering our listeners a free 60-day trial. Go to try.scribd.com/jordan for your free trial. That's try.S-C-R-I-B-D.com/jordan to get 60 days of Scribd for free.
[01:00:47] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is also sponsored in part by Progressive. Progressive helps you get a great rate on car insurance even if it's not with them. They have this nifty comparison tool that puts rates side-by-side so you choose a rate and coverage that works for you. So let's say you're interested in lowering your rate on your car insurance, and who isn't? visit progressive.com to get a quote with all the coverage you want. You'll see Progressive's rate, and then their tool will provide options from other companies, all lined up and easy to compare so that all you need to do is choose the rate and coverage that you like. Progressive gives you options so you can make the best choice for you. You could be looking forward to saving some money in the very near future. Money for say a pair of noise-canceling headphones, maybe a few audiobooks, maybe a new mattress, whatever brings you joy/sleep, get a quote today at progressive.com. It's just one small step you can do today that could make a big impact on your budget tomorrow.
[01:01:34] Jen Harbinger: Progressive Casualty Insurance Company and affiliates. Comparison rates not available in all states or situations. Prices vary based on how you buy.
[01:01:40] Jordan Harbinger: And now for the conclusion of my conversation with Dan Carlin.
[01:01:45] It's scary to think about that because one, you know, nobody wants a sort of catastrophic event, but two, I can see something like, look, if we had 9/11 now or Pearl Harbor right now — let's do Pearl Harbor, it's a little less emotionally charged. I can see the Internet getting flooded with the "Democrats did it, Donald Trump did it. It's an inside job," which is what they said about 9/11 in the first place. And then there'd be a whole bunch of people that said that never happened. It's a hoax. Pearl Harbor is still there. My friend's friend, he just was there. He just said he was there.
[01:02:16] Dan Carlin: Let me take it to the next level. What if a bunch of the people online making that case, going back to your Pearl Harbor example where Japanese and what if they were the Japanese military and intelligence services, being the ones who, you know, paying thousands of people to go onto US message boards and spread that information. Somebody said to me that a lot of what's pulling this country apart is disinformation from other country's intelligence services.
[01:02:42] Let's take Russia because they're the number one country that gets blamed for this. My answer to that is if this is true. And if they manage to pull us apart through the use of social media, pretending to be other Americans and starting fights with — I mean, that would be the greatest intelligence coup in all human history.
[01:03:02] Jordan Harbinger: Definitely.
[01:03:02] Dan Carlin: And yet you do not have to be some sort of conspiracy believer to think that that might be happening because this is standard operating procedure. We know that countries around the world have groups of people that operate that way. And I'm pretty sure we do some of this ourselves. I mean—
[01:03:17] Jordan Harbinger: We do.
[01:03:17] Dan Carlin: Isn't this modern day social media equivalent of what radio free Europe was back during the Cold War. Although it's funny because when you see how much the Soviets got freaked out over one Clandestine radio signal, piercing their iron curtain. Well, look at what we have now, it's a wide open space. And at least radio free Europe, you knew who was broadcasting it. You knew who was buying — nowadays, the guy you're talking to on the message board about football, whose name is Ben might be a guy in the Soviet Union who works for their intelligence services. His deliberate job is to make a friend of you and then explain to you how your liberal neighbors are ruining America.
[01:03:55] Jordan Harbinger: This isn't a conspiracy theory. I've done tons of shows about this. Renee DiResta, I don't know if you've heard of some of these folks, but if you search jordanharbinger.com for disinformation or things like that, I mean, there are, there's a ton of evidence. There's another guy Clint Watts who talks about Russian bots and disinformation. The reason that Russia does it more as the KGB has been doing this since the beginning of the KGB. They spend the majority of their budget on information warfare, whereas the CIA is more sort of like technical stuff. I mean, this is not a conspiracy theory at all. We know they're doing it. We know they're doing it to us. You just don't know if Ben in Chicago is Ben in Chicago or Vladimir in a suburb of Moscow. And the other problem is — and I don't want to, I don't like to villainize anybody. They're doing it to Russian citizens too, right?
[01:04:38] Dan Carlin: Oh sure, yeah.
[01:04:38] Jordan Harbinger: So this isn't just like they hate America. And I think Russian people are some of the smartest and —talk about a civilization that if their government would just stop shooting them in the foot would just be amazing, it already is an amazing civilization. It could be untethered. One of the greatest world powers that adds value instead of just constantly trying to figure out how to stop themselves from getting robbed by it, the next oligarch. But this is another show, but yeah, these types of things are clearly happening. The disinformation stuff is one of the things I'm constantly fighting against and trying to teach people how to think, instead of telling them what to think like everyone else. This is the stuff that keeps me up at night because people go, "Well, if our nation can fall just because people are arguing on social media then so be it." And it's like, "Well, wait, wait, wait. People's minds have the biggest weapon," You know, the public, the mind of the public is the biggest weapon, the biggest cudgel that anyone can wheel.
[01:05:28] Dan Carlin: Not just that, I don't know what it's reasonable to expect people to be able to do. So I'll give you an example. My background is in news and back before there was an Internet that anyone was using, I mean, there was always — going back to the late '60s, there was an Internet, but an Internet that anyone was using. Part of my job was to read five newspapers a day when I got to work and I considered myself to be a pretty savvy guy when it came to news judgment. I actually could name most of the reporters whose by-lines appeared in the paper by name. So after a while you start to know their tendencies, you become a real savvy news consumer. It took time, but you could.
[01:06:03] Okay. So fast forward to now, as a savvy news consumer as I am, and like you said, I went in to talk radio after that I was doing, I mean, I've never stopped being a news consumer. I was just about to say it takes me everything, but I'm not even sure I'm successful at it to try to separate the wheat from the chaff, the information from the disinformation. And if I'm having a problem, when this is a 24/7 gig for me with 30 years of experience, how is somebody else who has a different life, you know, who has to go to their accounting job or their acting job or whatever it might be, they can't spend all the time and they don't have years of experience, if I can't figure it out, what are they supposed to do?
[01:06:38] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[01:06:39] Dan Carlin: And so this becomes a basic building block of disaster in a free society, because if you don't have information, like I said earlier, I'm not so naive to believe that we ever had truthful information being disseminated, honestly, but I'm not sure that you have to, for things to function. If back in the days, when we believed that the New York Times was telling you the truth, and you could have an argument around the water cooler at work and cite the New York Times and 90 percent of the people in the office would accept that whether the facts were true or not, you could actually — I mean, it's funny that you don't have to have truth to plug in for truth to have it work like truth.
[01:07:17] But I mean, to not even have that destroys the ability to have conversations across different political groups. And then you're just talking to people in your own bubble. The most extreme of those people are able to whip everybody up into farther and farther fetched ideas, question motivations of people that might be completely benign and turn them into evil. I mean, that's the part that blows me away now is how much the equivalent of the word evil for our countrymen is thrown around out there. There is no compromise with evil, right? When everyone's either a Nazi or a Marxist in our country, there's no room to get together and solve things. Right? So that to me is the provenance, the death of objective truth or the death of things that look like objective truth, they're throwing a monkey wrench in our ability to work our way out of this.
[01:08:04] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, now you can't even engage in these discussions, otherwise you're a collaborator and become the enemy too.
[01:08:09] Dan Carlin: That's my problem is that or you know, if you try to see both sides, the word that they use for me all the time is whataboutism.
[01:08:15] Jordan Harbinger: Right, yeah.
[01:08:16] Dan Carlin: And I'll say, okay, but whataboutism might be just trying to bring people together, but if you must condemn the other side, otherwise you're an evil person or someone that is enabling evil. Okay. Well, it's the same thing. If everybody's a Nazi or a Marxist, then if you are trying to see the Nazi side of things or the Marxist side of things, you might as well be a fellow traveler. I think that's partly what kills us is that not only do we not acknowledge the validity of a middle ground, we actively turn it into evil itself. Simply being in the middle is evil when moral times call for, you know, people to choose sides.
[01:08:51] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Pick a team.
[01:08:52] Dan Carlin: Yeah.
[01:08:52] Jordan Harbinger: Pick a team, Jordan. You can't have it both ways.
[01:08:54] Dan Carlin: Yeah.
[01:08:55] Jordan Harbinger: And then people go, "You're just doing this because you don't want to alienate those on the right in your audience. So those are your left." And I'm like, "Yes, but not for the reason you think. It's not because, oh no, I'm going to lose ad dollars." It's because if I say, "Hey person who believes in this thing, you're a freaking idiot." Then they go click and they turn it off. But if I say, "What about this? And what about that?" Then some of the people who are on these polls go, "You know, maybe not everything is black and white," and then people start to gravitate towards the other side or get pulled towards the center. And you can't do that if you pick a side, right? You can't do that. If you can't have these conversations. You can't do that if you do, like you said before, you're forced to pick a team or everything is — it's amazing to see how little discussion is even allowed sometimes.
[01:09:34] I get this message every day from somebody on the left and somebody on the right, the extreme poles, "You know, you're turning a lot of people off with your bias," and I go, "Oh, okay." And I have to ask what bias, because it's always something new. It's, "Well, you said this about vaccines," or, "You had this person on, so you must support what they say," and I'm thinking, "Do you literally think that every person — do you support every person who's having a conversation with you? Because if so, that's got to be exhausting," or every piece of content that you consume has to be a cheerleader for something you already believe in. And they'll always say no, but then it's like, why are you playing that standard to me? And you see that happening all, all across the board, especially online. It's like, you can't even talk to somebody. Like you can't even have Al Franken or Ben Shapiro on, because if you do the other side's like, "You know, de platformed, you shouldn't even be talking to that person." Why? Because they disagree with something and usually they can't even point to exactly what they disagree with. It's just a feeling or it's just that person's on the wrong team, the opposite team.
[01:10:33] Dan Carlin: I think that might eat itself.
[01:10:34] Jordan Harbinger: It's unhealthy.
[01:10:35] Dan Carlin: I think it might be cyclical and I think it might eat itself. I mean, take for example, just picking out one little thing that's going on right now. The inability of people to speak freely, I think as you limit the space more and more for people to speak their minds, even for unpopular things, eventually you're going to affect the very people that are the biggest supporters of such things, right? And they're not going to be able to speak their mind. And then it becomes something where eventually it becomes the cool rebel thing to do to push against that. You know, the same way that younger people always want to upset their parents. That's a dynamic. That's not going away.
[01:11:13] Look at, for example, the 1950s during the McCarthy era where it looked like the United States went temporarily insane for seven or eight years. Right? And then the funny thing is the minute it went away, it was like everybody realized, "What the hell just happened?" But while you're in the middle of the insanity, it's hard to get perspective on. Anything that keeps people from freely speaking their mind or creating or performing, I think something like that has a natural lifespan because like a terrible fire I think it burns itself out. Here's the funny thing though. I'm not sure that it hasn't done some positive things at the same time.
[01:11:52] So let me give you an example, the Harvey Weinstein, Me Too Movement. My wife and I were talking about that. At one point, something had happened where she said, "Well, I think this is maybe going too far now." And I said, "Hon, when you have something that is as deeply rooted as the casting couch in Hollywood, just doing enough, but not too much to get rid of it may not scrape the soil deeply enough to have a lasting effect." And you see this over and over in human history in every way, sometimes the pendulum almost has to swing too far for it, one, to be effective but two, for it to break the spell, like the McCarthy era. What was the line that the guy being questioned by Joseph McCarthy said, "Sir, at long last, have you no decency?" You know, and everybody woke up. Edward R. Murrow did a thing where he basically said, "How long is this going to continue?" and everybody woke up. I think some good things have come out of all of this, including us understanding a little bit more, just how hurtful and damaging things like words.
[01:12:51] I grew up bullied like a lot of people did in my generation. I always felt like it made me a stronger person, but you know what? How would you have loved to have been the most unattractive girl in high school? Do you know what that must be like? And I think this whole movement has taught us a little bit, how do you think about those people? And how is what you're saying that just seems, you know, sort of harmless basically to you, how could this be contributing to destroying another person's world? So in the same way, I think the me too movement would have had to scrape the soil a little bit deeper than most of us would have liked in order to be permanent. I like to think that there's going to be something good that comes with it. I don't think we can continue to focus on it with the level of intensity we do now without impacting all of us in ways that we don't like.
[01:13:36] And I think that's normal withz movements. I think normally nothing is a hundred percent positive all the time, but I think at a certain point, you're going to see a snap back from some of this that I hope takes us to a level where we can not make that trauma of that high school girls experience any worse. But at the same time, have some freedom where for example, creative artists can go out there and push the boundaries and the envelopes of creative artistic expression and not be destroyed for it.
[01:14:02] Jordan Harbinger: In closing here, let's say in 40 years, you're still going strong doing hardcore history or a hundred years, you're going strong. You're never going to retire. And you've got some amazing vitamins or whatever—
[01:14:11] Dan Carlin: Sure. Okay.
[01:14:12] Jordan Harbinger: What episode of hardcore history are you doing about this time that we live in right now? You know, what are you talking about during that episode that is just bat sh*t crazy. Can you believe that in 2020, 2021, this happened and this set us on this path for the future? What's that episode about?
[01:14:27] Dan Carlin: It depends on what happens in the interim, right? Because that's going to determine exactly how you sort of evaluate this.
[01:14:34] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[01:14:34] Dan Carlin: I mean, for example, if it goes the way I was just talking about it, and we look at this period, like an insane era, like another McCarthy era, or we have a lot of insane periods in the world you can look at, then it's one sort of an evaluation. If however despite everything I just told you, we kept doubling down and doubling down and doubling down and amplifying all these trends that you and I have been talking about that have some negative ramifications. I'm not even sure we're doing a show in that case, but I mean, my point is that we would evaluate it differently. It sort of depends on where things go. I do think this is probably going to be one of those areas that in 10 years we analyze pretty intently and we figure that we've learned some lessons from, but look to tie everything, as I said earlier, with another point into a bow, I don't know where the Internet's going to take us and people's communications.
[01:15:21] And I mean, there has never been a period in human history where average people have had voices like they have now. In one level of my brain, I've always thought that that would be a great thing to give everybody a voice. I'm watching what it's like when everybody has a voice. And I don't know what I think of it. I just know that we're easily exploitable. And I think that that's a problem. So then if you're easily exploitable and turned into a position, let's just say not even a truthful one, right? You're living in a fantasy world. And then I give you the power to talk to other people who also believe we're living in a fantasy world and together you can create a narrative that we live in a fantasy world. I mean, we live in interesting times. We really do.
[01:15:58] Jordan Harbinger: You're right. When you're thinking democratization of content, you're thinking, "Hey, I can do hardcore history and make a living doing it.
[01:16:03] Dan Carlin: Gatekeepers. Yeah. Nobody can tell you, you can't perform in front of an audience anymore. I mean, I was selling this stuff to investors.
[01:16:09] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[01:16:10] Dan Carlin: But you know, you're not selling to investors, "Oh, but let me warn you. It might be bad when everybody can broadcast their—"
[01:16:15] Jordan Harbinger: 5G causes COVID and the Jews are lizard people. Like you left that out of the proposal, right?
[01:16:20] Dan Carlin: I didn't get any investors anyway. That really would've killed the mood.
[01:16:23] Jordan Harbinger: I think so. Yeah. And people think I'm joking when I give those examples. There's one guy that gives those specific examples, very famous guy in the UK. That's where I get this. So people always go, "Where did you come up with this?" Real actual conspiracy theorists who have humongous followings online, really. And you're right. I asked you to try and predict the future. I know that that's tough. I'm actually, I guess, asking you to highlight what you think is most important about the present, what you've done. And I know we're in the middle of the storm right now, so it is really hard to do. This was dark, but it was fun. You know, you're a great creator and a podcaster. It's always a good time rapping with an OG.
[01:16:57] Dan Carlin: Wait, this was dark, man, this is dark. We can go a lot darker than this.
[01:17:01] Jordan Harbinger: I think you're right. I think you're right. I think the next one that's going to be like, oh gee. All right. So, well, you know what, you're good at keeping the dark interesting or making the dark interesting, but you're right. I think we can, we can do much darker. Hopefully, we'll be looking for something to darken up our bright moods in 10 or 20 years, because there'll be just nothing. We'll have solved all of these big problems. We'll be looking for something to spice the mood up a little bit. I don't know.
[01:17:23] Dan Carlin: Let's hope we're all retired and in a happy place by then.
[01:17:26] Jordan Harbinger: That's right. That's right. Thanks so much.
[01:17:28] Dan Carlin: Thanks for having me. I appreciate it.
[01:17:32] Jordan Harbinger: If you're looking for another episode of The Jordan Harbinger Show to sink your teeth into, here's a trailer of our interview with Moby, iconic musician and producer. This was a super real conversation about creativity, fame, mental health money, and what really makes people happy and fulfilled. Moby was really open with this one. And even if you're not a fan of the music, I guarantee you will dig this episode.
[01:17:54] Moby: I grew up in arguably the wealthiest town in the United States, Darien, Connecticut, but my mom and I were on food stamps and welfare. My first punk rock show was to an audience of one dog. And my first electronic music show was to Miles Davis.
[01:18:08] Jordan Harbinger: I wanted to stop the show on patiently explained to the movie stars and the beautiful people that they've made a mistake. They were celebrating me, but I was in nothing. I was a kid from Connecticut who wore second hand clothes in the front seat of his mom's car while she cried and tried to figure out where she could borrow money to buy groceries. Now, it was 1999. I was an insecure has-been, but we kept playing and the celebrities kept dancing and cheering.
[01:18:30] Moby: The weird thing is things started to go wrong when I stopped feeling that way. 1999, I thought that my career had ended. My mom had died of cancer. I was battling substance abuse problems. I was battling panic attacks. I had lost my record deal and I was making this one last album. And I was like, "Okay, I'll make this album. I'll put it out. I'll move back to Connecticut. I got a job teaching philosophy at some community college." And then all of a sudden, the world embraced me. I handled fame and wealth really disastrously. It was so humiliating. I wouldn't trade any of it.
[01:19:12] Jordan Harbinger: For more from Moby, including how he bounced back from a 400-drink-per -month-booze habit, check out episode 196 of The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[01:19:22] This was a fun one. We had a lot more we could have done, but, you know, we both had to get back to staring at the wall of our living room as one does during the pandemic. Studying history gives you a really good glimpse at a timeline sometimes literally, and for me, whenever I think I'm not moving forward or I'm stuck in neutral, I always try and zoom out on the timeline and you realize that we don't progress at a linear speed. Our development can speed up or slow down both as an individual or as a civilization. When we're young, it's hard for us to see that, right? As I get older, I realized that seeing this knowing this is a huge advantage and it keeps me from going and saying something.
[01:19:58] More importantly, right now we are a very divided society. And I know we must have historical examples of this. I don't think they ended well. So I wonder can the United States, can the west as a whole come back from the brink. Are we even on the brink to begin with? Ray Dalio and I talked about this on the show before his cycle of the changing world order and where we are on that cycle in his estimation. That's episode 491 if you're interested in my conversation with Ray Dalio, so will the boat right itself or will it capsize? That is the question. We all have a vested interest in seeing the majority of the country and the majority of our society do very well because otherwise, according to history, outcome the pitchforks.
[01:20:37] Big thank you to Dan Carlin. His newest book is called The End Is Always Near: Apocalyptic Moments, from the Bronze Age Collapse to Nuclear Near Misses. Links to all his stuff will be in the website in the show notes at jordanharbinger.com. Please use our website links if you buy books from any of the guests on the show, it does help support us here. Worksheets for the episodes are in the show notes. Transcripts are on the show notes. There's a video of this interview going up on the YouTube channel, jordanharbinger.com/youtube. We also have a brand new clips channel with cuts and clips that don't make it to the show or highlights from the interviews that you can't see anywhere else. jordanharbinger.com/clips is where you can find that. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on both Twitter and Instagram, or just hit me on LinkedIn.
[01:21:17] I'm teaching you how to connect with great people and manage relationships, using systems and tiny habits over at our Six-Minute Networking course. And that course is free. It's over at jordanharbinger.com/course. Dig the well before you get thirsty. Most of the guests on the show, they subscribe to the course. They contribute to the course. Come join us, you'll be in smart company where I know you.
[01:21:35] This show is created in association with PodcastOne. My team is Jen Harbinger, Jase Sanderson, Robert Fogarty, Millie Ocampo, Ian Baird, Josh Ballard, and Gabriel Mizrahi. Remember, we rise by lifting others. The fee for the show is that you share it with friends when you find something useful or interesting. If you know somebody who's interested in history, if they love Dan Carlin and Hardcore History Podcast, or you think this discussion would appeal to them, share this episode with them. I hope you find something great in every episode of this show, please share the show with those you care about. In the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on the show, so you can live what you listen, and we'll see you next time.
[01:22:11] This episode is sponsored in part by LifeLock. Researchers have determined that email phishing attacks and brute-force attacks are the two most popular and successful methods cybercriminals use for ransomware and extortion attacks on corporate networks. These attacks are simple to attempt, difficult to detect, and come with big rewards for cybercriminals. Y'all probably heard about these. It is important to understand how cybercrime and identity theft are affecting our lives. Every day, we put our information at risk on the Internet and in an instant, a cybercriminal could harm what's yours, your finances, your credit. That's one reason we use LifeLock. LifeLock helps detect a wide range of identity threats, like your social security number for sale on the dark web. If they detect your information has been potentially compromised. They'll send you an alert.
[01:22:52] Jen Harbinger: No one can prevent all identity theft or monitor all transactions at all businesses but you can keep what's yours with LifeLock by Norton. Join now and save up to 25 percent off your first year, by going to lifelock.com/jordan. That's lifelock.com/jordan for 25 percent off.
Sign up to receive email updates
Enter your name and email address below and I'll send you periodic updates about the podcast.