Dan Carlin is a former radio host and journalist who has become one of the most popular podcasters in the country. Although not libertarian or classical liberal, Carlin is outspoken on issues like state surveillance, foreign intervention, concentrated power, free speech, education reform, the problems of a two-party system, and civil liberties. On his podcasts he refers to himself as a “radical,” “neo-prudentist,” “pragmatist,” and “political martian.” He doesn’t follow any partisan line, and his fans love him for it.
His educational podcast Hardcore History had been downloaded more than 70 million times, making him one of the most prominent history educators in the country. He humanizes the past by telling lively and detailed stories. But he doesn’t have a PhD and refuses to be called a “historian.” Instead he always calls himself a “fan of history.” He sees himself as a “popularizer” who uses his regular-guy status to his advantage. “I can go places that real historians who worry about their standing can’t,” he said. “I can play the medieval king’s fool.” His carefully researched episodes cover everything from Ancient Greece (“The Macedonian Soap Opera”) to World War I (“Blueprint for Armageddon”).
Dan thinks the way history is typically taught is boring and instantly forgotten, so we have a huge problem where people don’t know their history. He thinks we should ditch most exsiting history curricula and try a different approach. In this blog post, he advocates letting kids explore history through the interests they already have.
On Dan’s other podcast Common Sense, he discusses the news, politics, and current events. While very popular, it has a smaller following than Hardcore History, though it was actually the first podcast he started, back in 2005. It grew out of his local talk radio show in Eugene, Oregon, and now reaches a worldwide audience. It’s on this show where his criticism of state surveillance, NSA, CIA torture, etc. has been most apparent.
Dan was a guest on our partner channel The Rubin Report in February 2017. The full interview can be seen here.