Dan Carlin

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about the political commentator Dan Carlin. For the American doctor, see Daniel Carlin.

Dan Carlin is an American political commentator, amateur historian, and podcaster. Once a professional radio host, Carlin eventually took his show to the Internet, and he now hosts two popular independent podcasts: Common Sense and Hardcore History.


Carlin obtained a B.A. in History from the University of Colorado Boulder.[1] He broke into the television news business in Los Angeles in the late 1980s. He has worked as a television news reporter, an author, a columnist, and for the last dozen years, a radio talk show host. No longer broadcasting on terrestrial radio, Carlin has achieved recognition in internet radio, podcasting, and the blogosphere. Currently, he hosts two popular podcasts, both of which are frequently among the highest-ranked podcasts on review sites such as podcastalley and iTunes.

Carlin is the son of Academy Award nominated actress Lynn Carlin and film producer Ed Carlin.


Carlin believes the two main political parties in the United States are a large part of the problem, rather than the solution to the country's governmental and societal dilemmas. His main areas of focus in many of the political podcasts are increasing government corruption and the erosion of civil liberties. He frequently discusses the invasion of personal privacy by the NSA and other government agencies, and what he believes to be an unhealthy level of secrecy and unaccountability in Washington. Carlin also uses history to help analyze societal and governmental problems and propose solutions.

Common Sense[edit]

Common Sense is similar in scope to several Carlin-hosted radio programs that aired between 1994 and 2004. The shows highlighted his independent political views, his sense of humor, and unique communication style. The podcast riffs on current events and US politics. All sides of the political spectrum are subject to blistering criticism (and occasional praise). He has described his political philosophy as "Neoprudentist" taking a skeptical approach to evaluation of the current political trends and forces. He fosters discussion by developing and presenting self-deprecating ("Martian") but innovative thought experiments on solutions to current problems. The podcasts are said to be broadcast "almost live from the end of runway two here at the Emerald International Airport."

Among his main complaints about US political culture are corruption and money in government, the growth of the federal government and the powers of the President, and partisanship preventing real problems from being addressed. He supports some form of nationalization of health care. In a 2010 Common Sense show titled "Flirting with the Berserk Line," Carlin announces that the only two politicians in the US he believes are most likely to help fix the US political system are Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul.[2]

"Common Sense" was nominated for a Podcast Award in the Politics/News category in 2012 and 2013.[3]

Hardcore History[edit]

Carlin’s podcasts are hardly reminiscent of the dry history lectures you might remember from school.
Carlin puts the “hardcore” in Hardcore History by focusing his narratives on the most violent and dramatic moments in
human history, filling his show with colorful anecdotes that were most likely left out of your high school history class.

–Christopher Matthews[4]

Hardcore History is Carlin's forum for exploring topics throughout world history. The focus of each episode varies widely from show to show but they are generally centered around specific historical events and are discussed in a "theater of the mind" style. New episodes are released approximately every two to three months.

In 2012, Hardcore History was nominated for a Stitcher Award in the Best Educational & Learning Podcast category.[5] In addition, Carlin has received the Best Classic Podcast in iTunes’ Best of 2014 awards with more than 3 million downloads.[6]

Hardcore History Topics[7] Description Release Date
1. Alexander Versus Hitler Dan compares the way the modern world sees Adolf Hitler with the way history views Alexander the Great and wonders if the two men weren't more alike than different. 7/26/2006
2. Guns and Horses The West is Mike Tyson and the East is Muhammad Ali in this episode as Dan mixes Art Bell with Hans Delbruck in this look at a possible reason for the military decline of the near East. 9/26/2006
3. The Organization of Peace The early 20th century League of Nations stood for peace, cooperation, disarmament and international understanding. What happened? 10/4/2006
4. Romancing the Tribes Native American chief Tecumseh and Gallic king Vercingetorix both tried to unify their tribal peoples to face overwhelming foes. Dan examines the romance of their lost causes. 10/24/2006
5. Meandering Through The Cold War Dan meanders through a conversation about causes and effects of the Cold War without ever talking much about the actual events of the conflict. 11/14/2006
6. Shield of the West Spartans, Athenians, Persians and references to Star Trek all make appearances in this look at the dramatic and extremely consequential Greek and Persian wars. 12/8/2006
7. The X-History Files Napoleon is supposed to have said that “History is a set of lies agreed upon”. With that in mind, Dan looks at some of the alternative and pseudo history ideas that many people embrace. 12/27/2006
8. Scars of the Great War Dan looks at the shock and awe caused by the First World War and marvels at how connected we still are to the empire-shattering effects of the conflict contemporaries simply referred to as The Great War. 01/27/2007
9. Darkness Buries the Bronze Age What was the cause of the collapse of the Bronze Age? War? Famine? Natural disaster? Sauron, The Dark Lord? Dan looks at all the potential villains...except for Sauron. 02/16/2007
10. The What-Ifs Of 1066 How might history have been changed if the events of the momentous year 1066 had turned out differently? Dan examines Normans, Vikings, Saxons, Bastards, Conquerors, Confessors, Godwinsons and Hardratas. 03/13/2007
11. Thoughts on Churchill Dan takes a look at various elements of the dramatic life and career of the great British leader. 04/11/2007
12. Steppe Stories Blood-sucking Scythian warriors, tattooed ice mummies, Amazons killing so they can mate, pot smoking head-hunters, scalp-taking, koumiss-drinking Mongols, Turks, Huns, and Aliens. What's not to like? 05/08/2007
13. Bubonic Nukes What would happen if half the population died in a short period of time? Dan looks at the Black Death and other plagues that created almost apocalyptic conditions in the past...and maybe in the future. 06/13/2007
14. The Macedonian Soap Opera When Alexander the Great bequeathed his empire "to the strongest" he set off a funeral contest that shook the world for decades. Murder, marriage, intrigue,and drama all feature prominently in the story. 07/18/2007
15. Desperate Times The tough economic climate after the First World War fostered the growth of radicalism around the world. Did it also create tougher people? Dan looks at the connection between tough times and the "Greatest Generation". 08/30/2007
16. Nazi Tidbits What accounts for the fascination people still have with Adolf Hitler and the Nazis? Dan looks at some of the ideas of the German National Socialists and examines the demonic, charismatic Nazi Führer. 10/17/2007
17. Judgment at Nineveh Will our modern society ever decline and fall? Dan uses that idea as a backdrop for a look at the first great empire in history, the biblical-era Assyrians. Were they ancient Nazis, or the guardians of civilization? 12/14/2007
18. A Fly on James Burke's Wall In this episode, Dan discusses history with famed television host, author and science historian James Burke, the man the Washington Post called "one of the most intriguing minds in the Western world". 01/02/2008
19. Apache Tears A traumatized people who traumatized their neighbors, the Native American tribe known as Apache were among the last Indians to surrender to the U.S. Government. 03/14/2008
20. (BLITZ) History Under The Influence This first "Blitz Edition" of the show looks at the hidden side of history, the impact of drugs and alcohol on past events. Dan has a whole list of historical figures he wants to drug test. 05/06/2008
21. Punic Nightmares I Was it geopolitics or simply bitter hatred that fueled the ancient bloodbaths known as "The Punic Wars"? Dan highlights the unimaginable things people experienced during this intense face-off between Rome and Carthage. 07/27/2008
22. Punic Nightmares II Darkness, horror, war and carnage dominate Part 2 of the Punic War trilogy as Hannibal rampages across Italy and pushes Rome to the brink of doom. 09/18/2008
23. Punic Nightmares III In one of the great displays of resiliency in all history, the Romans refuse to buckle under murderous Carthaginian pressure. Instead they recover, defeat and destroy Carthage, and conquer most of the Mediterranean. 10/30/2008
24. Classic Hanson Dan discusses history with famed historian, political commentator and classicist Victor Davis Hanson. 11/21/2008
25. The Dyer Outlook Dan discusses the past, present and future with influential Canadian historian, broadcaster and columnist Gwynne Dyer. 01/20/2009
26. (BLITZ) Addicted to Bondage Is slavery a natural feature of human societies? Dan looks at this timeless, evil institution and wonders if we have made as much progress freeing ourselves from its influence as we think we have. 02/03/2009
27. Ghosts of the Ostfront I Part One covering the conflict between the Germans and the Soviet Union in the Second World War. Dan gives an introduction to the subject and discusses the causes and opening moves of Operation Barbarossa. 04/19/2009
28. Ghosts of the Ostfront II In Part Two of the Ostfront series covering WW2 on the Eastern Front, Dan looks at the attempt to take Moscow and the many compelling stories surrounding the momentous 1941 German offensive. 06/17/2009
29. Ghosts of the Ostfront III In Part Three of the Ostfront series covering WW2 on the Eastern Front, Dan looks at the situation in the U.S.S.R. during 1942 and early 1943, including the dreadful Battle of Stalingrad. 08/10/2009
30. Ghosts of the Ostfront IV In Part Four of the Ostfront series covering WW2 on the Eastern Front, Dan looks at the German retreat from Soviet territory and the retaliation by traumatized Soviet soldiers and civilians on their former tormentors as Berlin falls and the Nazi high command commits suicide. 10/10/2009
31. (BLITZ) Suffer the Children Dan's exposure to the idea of "psychohistory" gets him thinking about how children were raised in the past. Could widespread child abuse and bad parenting in earlier eras explain some of history's brutality? 12/09/2009
32. Globalization Unto Death Ferdinand Magellan is the lead character in this episode about the collision between the Old and New worlds and what Dan calls "Globalization 1.0". 2/27/2010
33. (BLITZ) Old School Toughness Does the toughness of peoples play any role in history? How can historians deal with such an amorphous human quality? Historiography, boxing, barbarians, philosophy and wisdom are among the subjects touched upon. 4/27/2010
34. Death Throes of the Republic I The wars which elevate Rome to superpower status also sow the seed for the downfall of its political system. Money, slaves, ambition, political stalemate and class warfare prove to be a toxic, bloody mix. 6/28/2010
35. Death Throes of the Republic II Disaster threatens the Republic, but the cure might be worse than the disease. "The Dan Carlin version" of this story continues with ambition-addict Marius dominating the story and Plutarch dominating the sources. 8/29/2010
36. Death Throes of the Republic III Rome's political violence expands in intensity from riots and assassinations to outright war as the hyper-ambitious generals Marius and Sulla tear the Republic and its constitution apart vying for power and glory. 10/31/2010
37. Death Throes of the Republic IV Sulla returns to Rome to show the Republic what REAL political violence looks like. Civil war and deadly partisan payback will pave the way for reforms pushed at sword point. Lots of heads will roll...literally. 01/28/2011
38. Death Throes of the Republic V The last great generation of the Roman Republic emerges from the historical mists. The dynamic between Caesar, Cato, Cicero, Crassus and Pompey forms the axis around which the rest of this tale revolves. 04/01/2011
39. Death Throes of the Republic VI In a massive finish to the "Dan Carlin version" of the fall of the Roman Republic, conspiracies, civil wars, beatniks of antiquity and a guy named Caesar figure prominently. Virtually everyone dies. 06/30/2011
40. (BLITZ) Radical Thoughts Using the two 20th Century "Red Scare" eras as case studies, Dan looks at the fear that can be generated by potentially dangerous ideas and examines the way such powerful mass emotions can cloud human judgment. 10/13/2011
41. Thor's Angels What started as a standard podcast episode morphed into an audio book on what used to be called "The Dark Ages" in Europe. Dan gets into many areas he should probably avoid...gods, Germans, bikers, Jesus... 01/19/2012
42. (BLITZ) Logical Insanity After many listener requests, Dan examines the issue of the morality of dropping the Atomic Bombs in the Second World War. As usual, he does so in his own unique, unexpected way. 03/31/2012
43. Wrath of the Khans I In one of the most violent outbursts in history a little-known tribe of Eurasian nomads breaks upon the great societies of the Old World like a human tsunami. It may have ushered in the modern era, but at what cost? 06/14/2012
44. Wrath of the Khans II The Mongol leader Genghis Khan displays an unmatched level of strategic genius while moving against both Northern China and the Eastern Islamic world. Both civilizations are left stunned and millions are slaughtered. 07/31/2012
45. Wrath of the Khans III The expansion of Genghis Khan's conquests continues, with locations as far apart as Europe and China feeling the bloody effects of Mongol warfare and retribution. Can anything halt the carnage? 09/23/2012
46. Wrath of the Khans IV The death of Genghis Khan, the founder of the Mongol Empire, should have slowed the momentum of Mongol conquests, but instead it accelerated it. This time though, all of Europe is on the Mongol hit list. 11/13/2012
47. Wrath of the Khans V Succession issues weaken the Mongol Empire as the grandchildren of Genghis Khan fight over their imperial inheritance. This doesn't stop them from dealing out pain, suffering, and ironically good governance while doing so. 01/13/2013
48. Prophets of Doom Murderous millennial preachers and prophets take over the German city of Munster after Martin Luther unleashes a Pandora's Box of religious anarchy with the Protestant Reformation. 04/22/2013
49. The American Peril Imperial temptations and humanitarian nightmares force the United States of the late 19th Century to confront the contradictions between its revolutionary self-image and its expanding national interests. 07/25/2013
50. Blueprint for Armageddon I The planet hadn't seen a major war between all the Great Powers since the downfall of Napoleon at Waterloo in 1815. But 99 years later the dam breaks and a Pandora's Box of violence engulfs the planet. 10/29/2013
51. Blueprint for Armageddon II The Great Powers all come out swinging in the first round of the worst war the planet has ever seen. Millions of men in dozens of armies vie in the most deadly and complex opening moves of any conflict in world history. 01/30/2014
52. Blueprint for Armageddon III The war of maneuver that was supposed to be over quickly instead turns into a lingering bloody stalemate. Trench warfare begins, and with it, all the murderous efforts on both sides to overcome the static defenses. 04/24/2014
53. Blueprint for Armageddon IV Machine guns, barbed wire and millions upon millions of artillery shells create industrialized meat grinders at Verdun and the Somme. There's never been a human experience like it and it changes a generation. 08/17/2014
54. Blueprint for Armageddon V Politics, diplomacy, revolution and mutiny take center stage at the start of this episode, but mud, blood, shells and tragedy drown all by the end. 12/30/2014
55. Blueprint for Armageddon VI The Americans are coming, but will the war be over by the time they get there? Germany throws everything into a last series of stupendous attacks in the West while hoping to avoid getting burned by a fire in the East they helped fan. 05/06/2015


  1. ^ Dan Carlin (8 June 2014). "Common Sense Archive: Show 276 - Past Transgressions". http://www.dancarlin.com/ (Podcast). Event occurs at 16 minutes. Retrieved 10 June 2014. 
  2. ^ Calin, Dan. "Common Sense 182 – Flirting with the Berserk Line". Dan Carlin. Orator LLC. Retrieved 5 May 2015. 
  3. ^ "The People's Choice Podcast Awards". The Podcast Award. PodcastAwards.com. Retrieved 5 May 2015. 
  4. ^ Matthews, Christopher (August 29, 2013). "Despite Being Oh-So 2005, Podcasting Is Drawing Listeners and Advertisers Alike". Time (Time Inc.). Retrieved May 5, 2015. 
  5. ^ "The 2012 Stitcher Awards". Retrieved November 21, 2012. 
  6. ^ CIPOLLE, ALEX V. (December 24, 2014). "Q&A with Hardcore History’s Dan Carlin: Print Edition". Eugene Weekly. Retrieved May 5, 2015 – via EUGENEWEELY.COM. 
  7. ^ Dan Carlin's Hardcore History Archive

External links[edit]