This week, political commentator Dave Rubin of “The Rubin Report” released his second book, titled “Don’t Burn This Country,” a follow-up to 2020’s “Don’t Burn This Book.”
I had the opportunity to speak with him about the contents of the book, including finding faith, wokeness as a parasite, tech addiction, the need to create, the virtues of capitalism, and more.
Listen to the full interview via the SoundCloud embed, or read the text below:
Q: You talk about your journey to faith, or journey of faith rather, early in the book. Why was it important for you to have that in there?
RUBIN: Well, it was something I was coming around to at the end of my last book, which was published quite literally two years ago this week. And as you know, the publishing world can be quite slow. So, you write a book and it sort of sits on the shelves for about a year before it’s published. So, these were ideas and thoughts that were rattling around in my head for a couple years before my first book. And it felt like this book was really an extension of that. So, “Don’t Burn This Book” really was about an explainer of my classically liberal values and why I think they’re the best ideas for Western civilization to flourish. And this book is more, well okay, if those ideas — while they may be the right ones — if they haven’t been fully able to defend against this onslaught of authoritarianism that we’re seeing, then how can you, yourself, how can you save yourself in the midst of all this? As I say in the subtitle, how can you survive and thrive in this time of this woke dystopia?
Part of that, I think, is related to faith. I think what we’re seeing, sort of, at the end of leftism right now, at the end of purely secular liberal democracy, which in many ways is a very lofty goal and something that America did quite well for 200 some odd years, the endless and necessary pursuit of quality as opposed to equity. Unfortunately, liberalism doesn’t seem to have the guardrails to stop a lot of the bad ideas. Hence it’s the modern liberals who are ushering in “two plus two equals five,” and “boys are girls and girls are boys,” and “non racism is now racism,” and the rest of it. And I think one thing that can help defend you from those things is a belief in something more than yourself.
So, I don’t take the position that you have to believe in the Old Testament specifically, or in the New Testament specifically, or you don’t have to convert to being a Mormon. But in essence, you have to believe in something, and you have to at least look back on the generations before you that have churned through ideas and been through far worse times than we’re going through in American in 2022, and understand that there’s a reason that certain civilizations survive; there’s a reason that certain ideas survive. And in some ways, I don’t think liberalism can work outside of a set of some sort of belief.
Q: When you’re speaking about wokeness, you compare it to the parasite from “Alien,” which, as you say, and as happens in the film, destroys its host like many parasites. How, in your opinion, will the woke parasite go down if it does destroy itself?
RUBIN: Well, I don’t know that it will destroy itself, but I think there are things that we can do to push it in that direction. First off, the reason I use the story about “Alien” is that you have to give the devil his due, which is really what that is all about. That in the movie “Alien,” the doctor on the ship, I mean, the alien’s killing everybody, one at a time. It’s just slaughtering everybody on the ship. But the doctor sort of admires it. He admires its ability to be merciless, and be remorseless, and go after what it wants. And that’s an interesting position to hold, that you may not like what it’s accomplishing, but you have to acknowledge that it is accomplishing what it seemingly has set out to do — and that’s exactly what the woke are doing right now.
I don’t like anything that they’re doing. They’re destroying all of our cultural institutions, our political institutions. They are indoctrinating our children; they are destroying basic truths that we all knew — that there are differences between boys and girls and that two plus two equals four. I don’t like anything they’ve done, but I do have to sit back and go, man, you guys really did it. You are a powerful force, the same way that the doctor felt that about the alien. That being said, I think that whether they will destroy themselves or not is almost sort of irrelevant. What we have to focus on, those of us that are not woke, is how to separate from them, and how to build a society that can not just survive, but thrive as they [bring] all this destruction.
So, one thing that we’re seeing happen right now is, you know, we are seeing a return to states rights. If you live in Florida, where I live now, you live in a very, very different place than California, which is where I lived when I wrote the book. That’s what the Founders intended. The woke have sort of destroyed California in many sense. The parasite is in the system there. They’re talking about doing reparations now, they’re constantly trying to raise taxes, crime is rampant, homelessness is rampant. The parasite is in the system, and I don’t see any way it doesn’t basically fully destroy the host. I don’t know exactly what that means in a real politics sense. I mean, California will probably go broke, crime will continue to rise, cities will continue to crumble, but eventually they will come back. Everything is cyclical. New York City was a crime infested, drug infested, homeless, disgusting crack den in much of the 80s. And then a guy by the name of Rudy Giuliani came in and fixed it up.
So, things do come back. But in essence, I don’t think we can do anything really once the parasite is in the system. I think what you can do is separate. So, Florida does not have a parasite right now. That’s not to say there aren’t some woke ideas that are floated around Florida, but we have a strong government, we have people who know why they’re here. I’m very much, as I say every day, I’m here to keep Florida Florida. I think we have a spirit of individualism and freedom, and we will be an organism that survives. California, to a lesser extent New York, will be organisms that, who knows how long they’ll be — just let the parasite suck off the host and [where] that [ends], I don’t know.
Q: You talk about tech addiction in the book. And you say, “If the propagandists and censors can put a painted screen where there should be a window to the world” — what is the impact of not seeing the world as it is, but as we’re told that it is?
RUBIN: Yeah, well, this is a huge thing because I’m always more worried about the things that we don’t know that big tech is doing rather than the things that we do know. So we know about shadow banning, meaning you follow people on Twitter and then you don’t see their tweets. We understand some level of algorithmic manipulation. So, you know, if you subscribe to someone’s YouTube channel, you just don’t see their videos for whatever reason, even if you tap the notification bell. But what I’m more worried about is things that they’re hiding and ways that they’re hiding it. And their completely seemingly arbitrary — although obviously not arbitrary — decisions on who gets banned for what, who’s allowed to say what, why you get suspended, et cetera, et cetera.
So, the Hunter Biden laptop story is a great example of this because before the election, Twitter said you cannot share this story. They suspended the verified account of the New York Post, the newspaper that had been founded over 200 years ago, that whether you like them or not, most people would say was a perfectly fine place of journalism. A little bit tabloid heavy in a New York sense, but they were obviously a place of journalism. There was a level of journalistic ethics there. They reveal this Hunter Biden laptop story, and then Twitter says, not only are we going to suspend your account, we’re going to suspend other people’s accounts who promote it. And if you try to privately message the story to people — meaning within your direct messages, your private messaging, not even publicly on Twitter — we’re not even going to let you post that link. And then Facebook followed suit, et cetera, et cetera.
And then it isn’t until a year and a half later that we find out the laptop is totally legit; The New York Times has verified it; the 51 intelligence officers who claimed it was Russian misinformation, they’ve all disappeared. Nobody’s claiming that anymore. And that’s a problem because we have a filter on us that lets us see certain things, doesn’t let us see other things. And thus, what happens is we all end up living in very, very different worlds. I live in a very different world than someone who reads The New York Times, The Washington Post, that watches CNN. I’d like to think that my world is far more based in reality, but I’m pretty sure that they would say theirs is. That’s a huge problem.
Q: In the book, you urge readers to create rather than simply stand by and consume, and to be self-reliant, which I think go hand in hand. Why is creation and self-reliance vital to a good life? And why is it vital in combatting the current leftist ethos?
RUBIN: Yeah, it’s a great question because, I mean, the short answer is that they don’t create anything. They are really good at destroying things. They are good at destroying America. They’re doing a heck of a job of it. They are good at destroying our cultural institutions and our educational institutions. They’re great at getting shows canceled and people fired. But what have the woke created? What did BLM ever create? What did Antifa ever create other than violence on the street? How many young black men did BLM send to college or give some sort of education, to learn a skill, to go do something? None, as far as I know. They’re great at destroying, and it’s much easier to destroy than create. The reason creation is so important is because it’s what separates us from the animals. You have a mind, and you can learn, and you can find something you’re passionate about, and you can build something, whether that’s a physical tool, or a computer, or a network, or you can sew clothes, or you can share new ideas, or you can write a book, you can make music or pottery.
This is the beauty of being human. That is the antidote to what they are trying to do. They are trying to control us by depressing all of us, in essence, by breaking us down into not our individual attributes that give us value, but into our collective identities that are nothing more than what they are. I don’t think a black person, I don’t think their thoughts have anything really to do with the fact that they’re black. You could be black and believe anything related to the marginal tax rate, or to foreign policy, or abortion, or anything else. But they’ve whittled us down to those things, and once they whittle you down to those things, you’re very, very easy to control.
So the way you counter that is build better things. I’ve built businesses where there’s — wokeism is not in my company. I would never hire — first off, I would never hire someone based on the color of their skin or sexuality. So, I’m only hiring based on skills. So, I’m going to hire a better set of people. That’s number one. And number two, I know that I’m not going to bring in people who are going to be here to undermine the goal of my company, and that allows me to build things that are thriving and doing really well.
Q: It was sort of in the same vein, you write on the virtues of capitalism, the free exchange of goods and services, in contrast to socialism, which enslaves and creates dull, reliant people. Can a greater understanding of the virtue of capitalism bring people to the free side?
RUBIN: Yeah, I think so because we all sort of inherently know it. We all inherently know it. Once you get a paycheck, you look at that paycheck and you go, man, why did the government take all this money? The government took almost half my money. Why did they take that? What is it that the government’s doing that’s really that great? What we all want to do is exchange things for value. You want to buy a video game, you save up some money and then you buy that video game. Hopefully you enjoy that video game. And then what you might do with that video game after is sell it to a friend or trade it back to the store for another game. And then they sell that one cheaper. It’s the lifeblood that allows us all to — it’s a language in a way, it allows us to communicate with each other and say, what’s valuable? And can I use my skills to — if I’m a really gifted craftsman, I can go and build something. My friend wants to build a tree house. Well, I can build them a tree house. They’re going to pay me for that. They’re going to get a tree house, a great tree house out of it. Then I can take that money and do the thing that I care about, et cetera, et cetera. It’s something that always builds. It allows more and more people to get involved, as opposed to socialism, which is this very bizarre notion that somehow we imperfect beings can create this big system above us. And if we just give that system enough power and enough money, it will give back to us something better than we put in in the first place. It’s just a completely crazy notion, but it sort of sounds right because you don’t have to think about it. And that’s what the Left is very good at doing.
Q: So, basically your whole book is a call to be a self-sustained person, to embrace individualism, but also to be a neighbor, and someone who lives life with the people they care about. You contrast this with people who act as a collective and not as individuals, and those values are obviously fully inverse to each other. Do you anticipate a renewal of this individualist spirit?
RUBIN: I do. Well, if America’s to survive, there will be a renewal of the individualist spirit. There will be a renewal of a true community spirit as opposed to a collectivist spirit. I mean, a community spirit is based on shared goals and actually embracing differences of opinion. So, a community spirit is, hey, I’ve got my family with my values and my kids, and we like these sports or these activities. And I live in a place that some people believe somewhat similar things, and we all want to live in a place that celebrates some sort of true diversity and put some tax money towards having nice parks and paved streets and things of that nature. But we don’t really care about the identity politics version of this. We’re not basing our commonality on the color of our skin or our gender. That’s the reverse of what the collectivists do.
If you’re black, you should think these things. If you’re gay, you should think these things. How deeply offensive and anti-human that is — and that, again, goes to why they cannot create. You cannot create — just okay, I’ve got a whole bunch of black people here, I’ve got a whole bunch of gay people here. Well, that doesn’t mean anything. What I would prefer is a community that’s, hey, based on let’s build something really great. We want to live in a place that’s safe with the respect for law enforcement. And we want clean streets, and we want to make sure there aren’t too many homeless people. And maybe we want to help people that need some help, but maybe that doesn’t have to come directly from the government. If you can kind of do that at the local level, that’s where you can start building up. We’re doing something very backwards in America, where we seem to think that the presidency should really be a king. And Joe Biden is not a king, nor should ever be a king, nor is he even really in charge of the government. I don’t know who is, but I don’t think it’s him. But either way, even if you had Ron DeSantis — who I think is our best living, breathing example of the ideas that I’m selling in this book — even if you had him as president, you wouldn’t want him to have all the power over all the people. You would want someone who would free as many of the people as possible and say, here’s how I can constrain government so more and more people can do what they wish to with their lives.
Q: And my last question is, you say early on in the book that “truth is a time release capsule.” Just like you moved from leftist many years ago to a non-leftist, do you think that under all the pressure that we’re facing from the Left, enough people will come to that same realization and the decision-making process that you did?
RUBIN: It is my hope. I am not exactly sure that I think it, but it is my hope. It is my life’s mission. It’s why I do the show that I do and wrote the book that I wrote. I believe that humans yearn to be free. I believe that you, Frank, are a reporter because there was something in you that made you want to write stories and do it honestly and forthrightly. And that’s why you’re good at what you do. I think there was something in me that led me roughly to doing what I want to do, and whether someone else wants to be a musician, or they want to be a carpenter, we all know that there’s something in us — and it doesn’t mean you’re going to get the exact thing that you want to get, but if you go towards it, you might get something else that’s pretty damn good, or pretty surprising, or pretty close to it.
And life may change in all sorts of different ways. We are selling — the ideas of freedom are a much, much better set of ideas. Yes, it’s a little bit messy. It is messy. And we’re not over-promising. We’re not saying there is a utopia, but I don’t think there is a utopia. Humans are imperfect, so we cannot create something perfect, but I would much rather live in something that was honest, and real, and based in the human experience, and our desire to exercise those God given rights, than the promise that everyone will be perfect, and equity will reign supreme, and the government will take good care of us, and you’ll never have anything to worry of that, and your whole totality will be based on your skin color, and your gender, and your sexuality. Deeply depressing. It’s the stuff of sci-fi movies. And I don’t think most people want it. I think actually we just need to be a little bit better than them, show them that we’re going to build while the other guys burn, and we’ll be okay.
Q: And what is the book, and where and when can people get it?
RUBIN: The book is “Don’t Burn This Country: Surviving and Thriving in Our Woke Dystopia.” You could get it at Daverubin.com/book. It’s out on April 12th. And I am going on tour with all sorts of people, including Megyn Kelly, and Donald Trump Jr, and Glenn Beck, and Larry Elder, and Dennis Prager, and many others, and ticket are available.