Before the man of the hour, Dave Rubin, took the stage, Danube Institute President John O’Sullivan greeted the audience with a few remarks. He cited 19th-century English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, who famously said that ‘poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world’, referring to the fact it’s these artists who can change the hearts and minds of the public most effectively. In Mr O’Sullivan’s opinion, it’s stand-up comics who serve the same purpose today. Mr Rubin also started his career as a comedian. He, along with two other comics who are willing to break from the mainstream narrative, Greg Gutfeld and Adam Carolla, was highlighted by Mr O’Sullivan for their important work. On this subject, he also stated that
‘humour is the last line of defence’.
Deputy Director Melissa O’Sullivan spoke up next. She thanked Mr Rubin for his participation in the Danube Institute’s 2021 Cancelling Cancel Culture event, which, unfortunately, took place via Zoom during the COVID lockdowns. She also noted his move to the alt tech video sharing platform Rumble, which she thinks is a great way to avoid the censorship of YouTube.
After the greetings and introduction, Dave Rubin took the floor at last. True to his stand-up background, he went for the handheld mic, then mentioned how he had recently been to Israel, and lauded what he experienced there. As he put it, the Israelis are simultaneously building their history and their future there. Roads, bridges, and skyscrapers are being built, but in the meantime, plenty of effort and funds go into unearthing history through archaeological research.
Dave Rubin on Moving From Left to Right
Rubin is well known for changing his political association. His video on PragerU’s YouTube channel titled ‘Why I Left the Left’ has amassed over 15 million views over the years.
At the event, he spoke of the old, moderate liberalism of the Democratic Party he grew up supporting in New York City in the 1980s. However,
he could no longer get behind the progressive activism, especially ‘the trans craze’
his former party of choice started pushing in the 2010s. This drove him to talk to conservative media figures, such as Ben Shapiro, Larry Elder, or Dennis Prager. He found them intelligent and kind, so Mr Rubin eventually made the decision to throw his support to the Republican Party. He did not vote for President Trump in 2016, but he did so in 2020.
The American show host lamented the fact that the left has the huge advantage of controlling the mainstream media and big tech. He then outlined another, less-talked-about advantage the left also has: a mob of activists devoting their lives to far-left causes, who are ‘hell-bent on demolishing the goodness of the West’, as Mr Rubin described them. Unlike these zealots, conservatives tend to have jobs, he went on to say.
On the issue of next year’s Republican primary’s two biggest challengers, Former President Donald Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Mr Rubin showed his clear preference for DeSantis. While he believes Trump was a good President, he also stated:
‘As much as I really supported Trump the first time around, I sense we really need change right now. We need a shock to the system, the way that Trump was a shock to the system the first around, and no one thought it could happen, and all of the excitement of Twitter, and the trolling, and all those things…I’m sensing we need that again, but a slightly different version of it.
What I’m sensing right now is we need a shock to the system of competency. We need a shock to the system of someone’s getting up there and doing exactly what they say are gonna do, and doing it right, and lining up an agenda, and basically, like dominoes, knocking those things down. And that really is what Ron DeSantis is doing.’
When the same topic came up during the audience Q&A, Mr Rubin also concurred that he does not believe Donald Trump has a good chance of defeating President Joe Biden in 2024.
Dave Rubin on Hungary’s Child Protection Law
Right as the panel discussion got started, the fire alarm went off. This used to be a common tactic by the aforementioned progressive activists in Western countries, pulling the fire alarm to disrupt the speech of a conservative speaker. Luckily, this turned out not to be the case, the alarm was shut off soon, there was no fire, everyone remained orderly, and the panel discussion could start. The line-up featured Mr O’Sullivan, Danube Institute Executive Director István Kiss, and columnist Rod Dreher.
The issue of trans propaganda being pushed on children in schools quickly came up. Mr Rubin lauded Hungary and its Child Protection Act, and contrasted our country with California, a state that is trying to establish itself as a ‘sanctuary’ for underaged trans people. Thus, they are allowing their residents to make life-altering decisions at an unreasonably young age. Mr Rubin also gave the advice to avoid using the term ‘gender affirming care’, as there is nothing affirming about chopping one’s genitals off, as he put it. Instead, he wants us to use the term ‘gender reassignment’.