The Joe Rogan Experience: 'You don't know when to stop,' with Douglas Murray

Almost from the first minute of the The Joe Rogan Experience, Episode #1538, I could understand why it was so urgent for thinkfluencers at major media outlets to warn people against listening to it, to find something in it that could be called “dangerous” and warn audiences away.

Late in the episode, Rogan accused leftists of starting fires around the Portland area. It’s an aside, not dwelled upon, in a litany of complaints about extremists in the protest scene, but he does say it and he later apologized for falling for misinformation.

Here’s the recap in The Washington Post, The Daily Beast and then Rogan’s apology in Vanity Fair.

He screwed up and said so, because he’s a person with self-confidence.

It’s part of a broader conversation about crazy people who have been drawn into world of temporary autonomous zones and Antifa-orbited protests. If someone wanted to make a complaint about the episode, they could have critiqued how his guest Douglas Murray and he jump to a lot of conclusions based on mugshots that were released by Portland police. It’s weird.

I looked up the mugshots. They seem fine. Lots of mussed hair and surly eyes and yes one very, very blue-haired human, but I didn’t see a lot of face tattoos or anything especially indicative of true chaotic evil. I don’t think you can learn a lot about people from mugshots.

So that part wasn’t great.

But the even larger point: that the TAZ or the CHAZ or the JIZZ or whatever it was in Portland doesn’t sound like it went great. Lawlessness got its test run and it was not, in the view of most sane people, an optimal outcome.

A part of me does sort of wish that the world governments would pick a hunk of land and just set it aside as reserved for the lawless. Like: the world governments would enforce no government there. If anyone started trying to set up any kind of order, external forces would exercise a crack down. But otherwise? Folks could cut loose.

Let all the nutbags have a place to flock to, you know? It could do a lot for world order.

But I digress.

At the very beginning of the conversation Murray points out that it was brilliant for the Antifa types to use the name “Anti-Fascist,” because they are in fact behaving as fascists do. They want people to comply. Not only do they want them to comply, they want strangers to pantomime compliance.

If I sound like I’m being alarmist here, it’s worth checking out the video of a mob surrounding a woman out to dinner in Washington, DC, and demanding that she raise her fist in solidarity. They scream at her “Silence is violence” as she sits there and refuses to be bullied into participation.

It turns out that the woman has been a supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement, and she wrote beautifully of her decision not to comply in The Washington Post (the video of her confrontation is there as well). She writes:

“If you want my support, ask it of me freely. That’s what we do in a democracy.”

But also:

“The video looks scary, and, in fact, I felt fear at that moment. But as I scanned the crowd, I also felt great hope and appreciation. This was a group of mostly young people of many racial backgrounds working together to sustain a movement to uphold Black people’s civil rights. There are worse ways to spend a Monday night.”

So, this story is basically where Douglas Murray and Joe Rogan begin, and I can see why this podcast felt scary to managers of groupthink, because from the jump Murray is laying out a cogent argument for why the present moment has gone far beyond challenging racism and has moved to an agenda of social control.

Remember: Fascism is rule by one set of ideas. It doesn’t matter what the ideas are. I’m not the first to say (any of) this but it is worth repeating: Every utopia is someone’s nightmare.

Later in the episode Murray makes a joke: he said that when people accuse people like him and Sam Harris of being racists, they should counter by accusing their accusers of being pedophiles.

Then, as he put it, when the pedo-accused flip out and ask what proof Murray or Harris had, either one could answer: “Oh I thought the game we were playing was one of spewing baseless charges and seeing which ones we could make stick — my apologies! Isn’t that what you’re doing?” (not a precise quote).

But, he said, he doesn’t meet baseless charge with baseless charges, because Harris and he both know that bad faith as a weapon always leads to bad places.

Murray said, “If you’re given the tools to wield and you wield them dishonestly, you don’t know when to stop.”

Yes, I can see why it’s best that people get warned away from this program.