Has the Joe Rogan Podcast Gone From Defiant to Compliant?

to listen to a podcast version of the below article, click here or on the above image. however, please note that the below article contains some nuanced clarifications of my views not espoused in the above video.

Normally, I just go about my own business and do not comment on how other people run their own businesses, primarily because I’m a huge believer in that the best way you can change the world is just to lead by example and to become a better version of yourself every year. In doing so, more and more people will eventually start to follow you. In fact, in more than fifteen years of writing and publishing news articles on educational, learning and financial topics here, you will find that this is the very first one I’ve written in critique of any business or person outside of giant financial institutions that clearly deserve such criticism. In light of the many leaked memos after the 2008 crisis that exposed rampant systemic criminality in the financial industry and dozens of trials the followed in which dozens of bankers have now admitted in court, guilt of their systemic criminality, I believe my critique of these banks and executives were well deserved.

The reason I’m analyzing the JRE Podcast is that even though there are many more great things about it than are negative in my opinion, such as offering access to numerous diverse people of different occupations that discuss a wide spectrum of topics, I’ve noticed that increasingly his guests make many comments as if they are fact when they indeed are not, and of which I’m sure that millions of his listeners unfortunately absorb as fact. Thus, you may say that I’m criticizing Joe’s guests more than Mr. Rogan himself, but the fault I find is with Joe’s noticeable shift in how he conducts his podcasts as his podcast has grown from a respectable number of listeners over the years to now being the podcast with the largest audience in the world. Perhaps only five or six years ago, I would hear Joe questioning his guests’ claims far more frequently, especially when claims were made without an abundance of evidence in the face of the existence of contradicting evidence. However, Joe’s stance as a host has become far more mainstream than his stance from many years ago. Today, Joe offers little resistance to regularly faulty claims passed off as fact by his guests. Consequently, whether you disagree or agree with me, it is of my opinion that his interviewing style has migrated from a much more critical thinking and intellectual perspective towards a much more unthinking, hive-mind, mainstream perspective.

For example, since this is the topic that has been in the US media 24-7 for weeks now, let’s discuss some claims made by either Joe himself or his guests regarding the handling of the coronavirus by the US government administration. I’ve heard either Joe, his podcast guests, or both at times, state that the US government did not handle the pandemic poorly because no one had good information at the time and China was definitely censoring real data about the number of infections and deaths they had suffered within their border. However, these two statements are not mutually exclusive. And that is the problem I have with the devolution of critical thinking exhibited in Mr. Rogan’s podcast today versus many years ago. At first listen, many of his points sound completely valid. It is only when one marinates on his comments or those of his guests for a New York minute does the deception become apparent.

While I agree, given the findings of my own personal research into this matter, that China definitely withheld information about the severity of the virus at first, and then after it exploded into a full-blown pandemic, further withheld data about the real number of infections and deaths, this does not preclude that facts that the severity of the disease and its highly contagious nature of transmission were well known and clearly understood for weeks before real measures were taken In the US to warn US citizens to wear medical face masks (which the CDC by the way, still has not done) and to warn citizens to actively engage in socially distancing measures. So, while I don’t dispute the fact that China was less than transparent about the data about this virus, which definitively hindered the response in Western nations, it should not have hindered the response to the point of inaction, which was what occurred, and it did not negate the fact that enough factual information was available to formulate a quick and aggressive action plan to prevent the spread of the infection in America many weeks before such a plan was actually put into action. Thus the link Mr. Rogan and his guests have made at times that the lack of transparency about the viral spread in China hindered an intelligent response in the West simply is not true.

For example, being on the ground in Asia, I discovered, through reading research conducted by independent journalists on the ground in Asia, readily available online and on YouTube, two indisputable facts about the pandemic. The first was that the virus was easily transmitted between asymptomatic humans and that it was far more serious than the regular flu, and the second was that social distancing and self-quarantine was an extremely effective means to slow and stop the spread of the virus. All this information was readily available at a time when Joe and/or his guests have claimed that nothing substantial was really understood about the virus. Despite potentially severe underreporting of deaths in Wuhan by Chinese authorities, once deaths in Wuhan surged into the hundreds, all of the above facts that should have compelled swift action in the US to prevent viral spread were known in Asia. Consequently, just because the information was not readily available in the United States does not mean it was not readily available in Asia. In fact, one can even check my skwealthacademy podcast #61, released on 26 February 2020, in which I stated that because the US and the West were severely underestimating the severity of the viral outbreak and ignoring known facts about the virus already established in Asia, I was not 80% sure, or 90% sure, but 100% sure a viral outbreak would hit America. Furthermore, all the information I discussed in podcast #61 was already known for at least two weeks and I was compelled to make that podcast simply due to all the wrong information I had heard on US media being reported as facts. On the very same day I released my video stating there was a 100% chance a big viral outbreak would afflict America in the future because of unfortunate inaction, the POTUS stated that with only fifteen infections in America out of a population of 330 million people, the number of infections would soon drop to zero. In fact, I followed up my 26 February video a week later, when it was apparent my earlier warnings were ignored, with skwealthacademy podcast #64, in which I stated that a big outbreak would likely happen in New York if they kept ignoring the gravity of the viral pandemic, again well before anyone in New York took the situation seriously, including the governor, Andrew Coumo, who to my shock, is now being lauded for doing a “great job” in his handling of the pandemic.

I made the above predictions based upon facts of how the virus spread, the seriousness of the virus, and the prior dozen times I had been in New York that granted me an understanding of how quickly the virus would spread in NYC given the fact that without proper social distancing measures, millions of people come in close contact with one another on a daily basis. While some have said it does no good to look back and call out mistakes that were made and that we should just smile and be positive and look forward and do the best that we can now that the damage has already been done by an inept response that unnecessarily endangered the lives of hundreds of thousands, this is the exact attitude that ensures no accountability and responsibility among a nation’s leaders and virtually ensures that the next time a crisis hits, that the consequent outcome will be as similarly poor or even worst amongst the same false claims of “no one really knows anything”. The public needs to know the truth and people need to be held accountable not just in the US, but all over the world for the inept response at a governmental level. The truth is that in Asia, all the facts that could have led the enforcement of proper social distancing could have happened in early February, and obviated the need for much more draconian nationwide lockdowns later. It is unfathomable that the Joe Rogan I listened to after 911 that demanded accountability from the people that failed to prevent 2,977 Americans from losing their lives that day and countless others from dying in the aftermath of breathing toxic air, is the same Joe Rogan that now demands no accountability from a subsequent crisis, using the false excuse that nobody had any good information about the virus.

If I could dig up this information as a part time independent journalist with very little time to research such topics, then it is inexcusable for someone political leaders whose very job is to get the best, correct information to the residents of their individual cities, states and nations not to have done the same. Furthermore, if a nationwide policy of social distancing was enforced in America with the threat of $500 fines for anyone found gathering in large groups over spring break, in clubs, in bars and in public spaces for non-essential activities by early February, as could have been carried out given the available known factual information about the virus at that time, I 100% believe that the US could already be on the downside of the infection curve now, with total deaths nationwide limited to just a few hundred versus the 10,000 and growing figure. Furthermore, there would not be food lines at the current time that dwarf the soup kitchen lines seen during the Great Depression happening in Chicago and Pittsburgh at the current time, there would not have been 3.3M people that lost their jobs in March, most of whom likely desperately need their job income and now have been pushed into the realm of the food and home insecure, and we wouldn’t have to have discussions of how our civil rights are being violated by these lockdown measures. While some people may argue that such fines are draconian as an infringement on our freedom, I would have been okay with such laws as long as they were immediately removed as soon as the threat subsided with a low risk of ramping up again. And we also wouldn’t have to have ridiculous blame for the economic misery caused by Central Bankers blamed on the viral pandemic, which I warned was going to happen way back on 24 February in skwealthacademy podcast #60, as Central Bankers sought refuge from the economic destruction around the world for which they are responsible under the cover of the pandemic. Do I believe that TPTB created this virus as a cover for the economic destruction they knew they were bringing to the world? No. But do I believe they are parlaying a crisis to their advantage to avoid blame for the economic destruction of financial markets, that has just gotten started (yes, there will be no “V” shaped recovery)? Absolutely, and I stated as much in my podcast #60.

To falsely state that everyone in early February thought it was just like the flu and that only old people would get severely sick from it is simply not true, whether this message was conveyed by politicians or “journalists”.  That may have been the message in the US mass media, but certainly, by early February, there had already been numerous reports of adults under 50-years, and even under 35-years of age becoming severely ill and even dying from the virus. And even if most of them had an immunocompromised system because of an additional ailment they possessed, the obvious cost and burden of the virus upon the general population of any city experiencing an outbreak should had been enough to compel all political leaders, whether at the city, state, or national level to take the virus seriously and immediately mobilize all resources to contain it. Again, my criticism does not just pertain to American politicians, though they seem to have been among the slowest in the world to respond correctly. This same criticism extends to many Asian government leaders who severely fumbled the ball as well, and in their ineptitude caused widespread and unnecessary economic misery and suffering for the poorest in their nations, many of whom comprise the majority of the nation’s citizens. By failing to act for weeks on end in face of readily available information about the virus, many top politicians of Asian nations caused unnecessary lockdowns and misery for their citizens as well.

While there has been a very vocal opposition to the lockdown of nations as an overreaction to the severity of the virus, I only begrudgingly agree with some of the lockdown measures being taken by some nations’ leaders in response to this pandemic, only because what should be entirely unnecessary may be a last resort to stop the viral infection from spreading. The lockdown, and massive negative economic impact would have been absolutely 100% unnecessary if government leaders had done their job and made quick, decisive actions to curb the spread and rate of viral infection at the time the factual information was already sufficient to make such decisions. Weeks of inaction are likely going to be the difference between single digit and double digit deaths, double digit and triple digit deaths, and triple digit deaths and deaths in the tens to hundreds of thousands in nations around the world. And even if the disease is overhyped as some still claim, which is hard to argue with nearly 15,000 deaths in America attributable to the viral outbreak now, unless you believe 15,000 deaths is inconsequential, it still would have been better to act a week too soon rather than six weeks too late. However, I 100% am opposed to surveillance measures being employed, like everyone being tracked with QR codes in China now, but in reality, to those that think such surveillance measures are draconian and specific to “totalitarian” China, if you own a smartphone, Google, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and countless other companies in bed with intelligence agencies are already tracking you 24/7 and you would be extremely naïve to believe that you are exempt from the exact same measures being deployed in China that you may condemn. Just take a look at this video and ask yourself, ‘How are news stations retrieving data about American citizens’ movements throughout the nation as visually displayed in that video unless every single citizen was being tracked by the government through their spy phones?’

Furthermore, while many warn that various nations throughout the world, including the US, are using the pandemic to pass draconian laws to restrict more freedoms, while I also share this concern, government leaders could provide leadership and reassure its citizens that any freedom restricting laws implemented to curb the spread of the virus will immediately be removed once the threat of viral spread significantly subsides by putting such clarifications into law. This is how a responsible leader would address such concerns, which does not seem to be happening in any nation around the world at the current time. However, with strong leadership in his manner, a very large percentage of a nation’s citizens could be compelled to exercise their civic duty, thereby eradicating the viral threat more quickly and allowing the disenfranchised, poor and even portions of the middle class that live paycheck to paycheck to return to work as soon as possible. These would be the only conditions under which I believe it to be acceptable to enforce such lockdowns that are creating the type of massive scrambles for food in America that make soup kitchen lines during the Great Depression pale in comparison. Furthermore, if you watched the above link, you will notice thousands of people, most of whom are not wearing facemasks, wait in line for food handouts. How does this make any sense whatsoever and what is the logic behind causing such economic suffering? For government leaders to shut people out of their economic lifelines of work to prevent the spread of the virus, and then force them to stand with thousands of others in close proximity to one another under conditions in which they are likely to spread the virus makes zero logical sense. But these are the kinds of “solutions” we receive from our government leaders.

As a second example of how Mr. Rogan’s podcast has moved aggressively to the middle over the past few years, Mr. Rogan has also spoken out against US Presidential candidate Joe Biden’s obvious lapses in cognition and awareness.  Recently, Mr. Rogan stated that he would vote for just about any competent candidate that ran against Biden were Biden to win the Democratic nomination as he wouldn’t want to have to rely on Biden’s cabinet to run the nation. Again, this statement sounds extremely valid on the surface, but again, like the above situation, the problems only surface with deeper critical analysis. Mr. Rogan’s rationale of not supporting Mr. Biden because his cognitive incompetency would require other people besides the President to really run the country is inconsistent with his past questioning of the identities of those that really run governments around the world. In years past, Joe Rogan spoke of many powers above the President and Prime Minister, like the military industrial complex and even other policy institutions like the Council on Foreign Relations, the Bilderberg Group and the Trilateral Commission, but essentially stated that if he voted for Biden, he would be essentially voting for Biden’s cabinet members, which is something he just does not want to do. He voiced this position, even though he acknowledged in the past that every President was essentially controlled by people behind the scenes more powerful than the President. This too, was a stance on governments fully endorsed more than eleven years ago by the Chief Economist of the International Monetary Fund, Simon Johnson, who penned an article titled the “Quiet Coup” in which he stated that all governments around the world, in congruence with his observations, had been overrun by powerful bankers.

So, if Mr. Rogan’s not fine with Biden being President not for Biden’s policies and his political views, but simply because a Biden government would mean it would have to be run by his cabinet members, why was he fine with the Obama and Bush administrations essentially being run by thier cabinet members? And just to be crystal clear, before I continue, as a lack of critical thinking prevails in modern society today and many will mistake my criticism of Mr. Rogan’s stance as my support for Joe Biden as the future President of the United States, there is zero correlation between my criticism of Mr. Rogan’s stance and support for Joe Biden, so no, I do not believe that Mr. Biden is a viable strong candidate for POTUS. And the fact that I have learned I need to make such clarifying statements is an indictment for how poorly the global academic system develops critical thinking skills among young adults. If you agree with this statement, you may want to watch my skwealthacademy podcast #76, Six Flaws in the Way We Think, that highlight all of the cognitive mistakes we make that convince us to embrace lies over truth.

In any event, returning to the topic at hand, I wonder if Joe was aware that Obama’s entire cabinet was essentially picked by a Citigroup banker, facts there were revealed by an October 6, 2008 leaked memo by Wikileaks between Citigroup executive Michael Froman and co-chair of President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team John Podesta. I believe he was, because I’m fairly certain I can recall a previous guest disclosing this fact to Mr. Rogan, though I cannot be positive of this. But if he was, and I’m fairly certain he is, did Mr. Rogan actually think that Obama, who was given a Nobel Peace Prize before doing a single thing of substance as POTUS, was the driving force between airstrikes and military raids in at least these following seven countries that marked him as definitively a war President and not a President of peace: Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan. Though Obama reduced the number of US troops in war zones drastically from 150,000 to 14,000, he expanded military bases in Africa and the Middle East, added troops and warships in the western Pacific, mobilized troops and military equipment to eastern Europe in provocation of Russia, and by far, used drones to kill more non-combatants than any other US President in history –  ordering 563 drone strikes compared to 57 ordered by Bush and killing way more innocent civilians than officially reported by the US government, with the number of murdered civilians as consequence of drone strike estimated at 384 to 807 by the painstaking process of collecting date on the ground by independent humanitarian organizations, a far more accurate data collection process than government estimates most often quoted by US mass media.

In fact, the Obama administration’s intervention in Libya was so disastrous that it became a base for radical Muslim insurgents on the African continent that was non-existent prior to the NATO invasion, and repugnant open human trafficking within the nation arose soon after. So who were pushing all these misanthropic, genocidal wars – Obama or the neoconservatives that run the military industrial complex? It is my personal observation that the high level of questioning and critical thinking that used to be commonplace in Joe Rogan’s podcast has regressed toward the below average level of critical thought exhibited in mass media. And that is the shame of this development. What was once a forum for critical thinkers has been pulled right back to the center line of all other mass media channels, and as I’ve explained in this article, it has been achieved under a much more subtle context, and therefore much less noticeable context, than displayed in the mass media.

One of Joe’s most recent guests, Congressman Dan Crenshaw, at one point in the podcast commented that he only retweets well-known people or authoritative sources, as if well-known people are more likely to be correct than people that are not well-known. Besides already proving this not to be the case in this article, given the specious tweets released by the WHO and the CDC regarding the current pandemic, including the most recent advice from the CDC for Americans to wear masks, but non-medical masks, such a rule is simply non-intellectual. Before I continue, I want to point out that the most recent CDC recommendation for all Americans to wear masks, but only non-medical cloth masks that do not prevent the virus from passing through the mask, makes zero sense and is in fact, outright dangerous advice. What is the point of advocating a behavior that provides people with a false sense of security and is non-effective? I feel that in the past, Joe would have stopped Congressman Crenshaw in his tracks, and asked him, “Why would you think that information disseminated by well-known people is accurate and that everyone else has nothing worthwhile to say because people unknown to many have a lot of worthwhile knowledge to give?” But instead, the new unquestioning Rogan endorses this blind compliance to authority by allowing non-intellectual behavior to proliferate in an unchallenged manner on his podcast.

In the end it is not that Mr. Rogan actively disseminates disinformation on his podcasts or even has stopped asking questions. To run an engaging two hour podcast requires asking a lot of questions. And in instances in which he disagrees with his guest’s perspective, he may aggressively push back against his guest’s views. But it is that he only asks, for the most part, the same types of questions posed by mass media, and we all know that if you don’t ask the right questions, you will receive the wrong answers. Consequently, the act of being inquisitive is not enough to inform people that foolishly may trust all information disseminated on podcasts as truth. Secondly, the act of not challenging podcast guests and calling them out on non-intellectual behavior, which he used to do with regularity in the past, is a form of supporting the mass media narrative through silence. To Congressman Crenshaw, who stated that he will only retweet well-known people, I ask the following: do you know who are Vindana Shiva, Raj Patel, Patrick Chamusso and Yoshinori Ohsumi? If you do not and would refuse to forward their work just because you don’t know who they are, then you would be missing the opportunity to enlighten millions of people and turn them on to their work. And finally, I am not stating that Mr. Rogan never asks enlightening questions that clarify false information presented as facts by his guests. Of course he does. Furthermore, I think that his podcast is amazing and engaging in a lot of ways, given the diversity of his guests and the various perspectives they offer, it would be far easier to pen an article about the numerous positive aspects of his podcast. Mr. Rogan’s podcasts that vomit a wealth of interesting information about various topics are duly appreciated. However, I’m merely focusing on this one deficiency in the hopes that he returns to the more independent format he used to run in past years because I miss the podcasts that were conducted with a much more critical eye. I’m merely stating that it has been my observation that this behavior is now carried out a far less significant rate that in past years, which is a shame, given the massive reach of his podcast.

It was said that Zbigniew Brzezisnki, a powerful US policy advisor to multiple US Presidential cabinets, once said, “Shortly, the public will be unable to reason or think for themselves. They’ll only be able to parrot the information they’ve been given on the previous night’s news” and “it is infinitely easier to kill a million people than to physically control a million people”.  The latter statement is of great irony given that the viral pandemic today that validates Brzezinski’s opinion. And the controllers will continue to opt to kill a million of us versus having to bother with the annoyances necessary to control us unless we hold those that influence the opinions of millions to a higher standard to rout out all intellectually lazy narratives falsely promoted as truth. Regarding the first quote, as I could not find its source, I do not know if Mr. Brzezinski really stated it or not, but regardless if he did or not, it still is true in that many among us merely parrot what we’ve been told to believe as our own beliefs without any true effort to discover the veracity or mendacious nature of our parroted beliefs. Please comment below and let me know what you think below. Is this marked change in Mr. Rogan’s podcast from years ago in which he much more frequently challenged his guest’s statements to a much higher standard all in my imagination or have you also noticed this marked change as well?

Other recent skwealthacademy content:

7 April Will Surging Gold, Silver, US Stock Prices Continue?

5 April Six Critical Flaws in the Way We Think (that Prevent Us from Reaching Our Goals)

2 April The Authenticity Delusion

31 March The Rise of the Fact Rejecting Society

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