Joe Rogan Schools Magazine Mogul Who Says Government Must ‘Regulate the Internet’

(Jon Miltimore, Foundation for Economic Education) The Oracle of Delphi famously said that Socrates was the wisest man in all of Greece because he alone understood how little he actually knew.

The anecdote reflects the intellectual humility of Socrates, who had a knack for getting to the nub of things by asking good questions, which is a largely lost art today.

One person who does possess the skill however is Joe Rogan. One of the attributes that makes Rogan such a popular and influential podcaster—the Joe Rogan Experience averages 11 million listeners per episode, estimates suggest—is that he’s an extraordinarily skilled interviewer. Unlike many famous TV and radio hosts, Rogan actually listens closely to his guests, and he uses his skill of listening to ask just the right questions at just the right moment.

A case in point can be found in Rogan’s recent interview with Jann Wenner, the 76-year-old magazine magnate who co-founded Rolling Stone and owned Men’s Journal. In Rogan’s lengthy conversation with Wenner, who spoke at length about legendary Rolling Stone writer Hunter S. Thompson, the subject of censorship eventually popped up.

“Do you want the government to regulate the internet?” Rogan directly asks Wenner.

“Absolutely,” Wenner responds.

Rogan, who himself has been the target of censorship attacks, doesn’t immediately say he disagrees. Instead, he first asks Wenner another question—and it was a good one.

“You trust the people who got us into the Iraq War on false pretenses to regulate the internet?” Rogan asked Wenner.

Wenner struggles to answer, and after some cross \talk, he responds with his own question: “Who else is going to regulate it?”

Rogan, unlike Wenner, offers a clear response.

“If they’re gonna be in power and they’re regulating the internet, they’re gonna regulate the internet in a way that suits their best interest. The same way they do with the banking industry, the same way they do with the environment, the same way they do with energy, the same way they do with everything.”

Wenner is still not convinced. He says the internet must be regulated.

“[And] there’s no way to do that except through the government,” Wenner says. “There’s no way that you can do that except through the government… Human nature’s not gonna change.”

Rogan answers that the government is not going to change either.

This is the lesson Joe Rogan grasps, yet it evades Wenner, who concedes to Rogan that human nature is flawed, but then argues that “government is capable of change,” implying that the worst instincts of human nature magically disappear when humans enter government service.

In reality, the opposite is true. History has shown again and again that even seemingly well-meaning and idealistic people can become monsters when they are given power over their fellow man.