The Optimistic American

Paul Johnson

The past, present, and future of the United States are full of promise. A promise sustained by the efforts of brave individuals and organizations who champion the pursuit of technology, improving the human condition, free markets, and a belief in who we are. We are losing the fact that we are a nation of dreamers, a catapult for those who have the heart to dare, a place that rewards ingenuity and innovation. This country, more than any other, succeeded by making possible the release of the human spirit. We need to put in the work to bring the actual narrative of abundance forward. We need to make it consumable for everyday Americans. It is how our conversations will pivot towards the positive. Our mornings will begin with promise and faith rather than fear and despair. If you’re willing to help others feel better about tomorrow, join us. Weekly shows are coming very soon. Follow us to stay notified of new episodes.

The Power of the Individual
Sep 17 2022
The Power of the Individual
In an age when Americans seem to be divided, Paul Johnson and Dr. Basha, focus on the important idea that, “It’s we, not me.” Service and belonging are connected! They help answer the question, “with all the things I have going on, with everyone else seemingly looking out for themselves, why should I focus on giving anything back? What is it for me?”    They examine what makes being an American special, and why owning who we are, being proud of our past, and giving back is a key part of your path to owning your own agency. The discussion starts with why the wealth and prosperity in the USA is second to none, then it goes to the individual vs the collective.   The power created when our founders decided to break from the monarchy and to create a “more perfect union”, not promising to create a Utopia, but instead to prioritize the individual. This results in the benefit to the greater good over time.   Individuals have the innate ability to determine their own destiny, however, so many Individuals put the collective over their own interest. Fire fighters, police officers, teachers, people who serve in our military, and ordinary people, who struggle to pay their bills, keep their kids in schools, but who work hard to make ends meet. Lastly, the entrepreneurs who test the standards, who challenge the status quo, who push the thinking to cure cancer, extend human life, and create cars that drive themselves.   The idea of self made men is a myth.  No one has made it alone. How do we repay these great debts? By being kind to other Americans! We pay it back through service in our jobs, to our friends, families, to our customers.
Why Nations Fail - James A. Robinson
Sep 10 2022
Why Nations Fail - James A. Robinson
This episode explains why gut-wrenching poverty exists, which leaves 1.29 billion people in the developing world struggling to live on less than $1.25 a day.  And in what could be a depressing subject, Professor James Robinson, gives a very hopeful, ambitious prognosis on how the US is leading the world moving forward the human condition.    The interview is based on the two internationally acclaimed, masterpiece books, “Why Nations Fail” and “The Narrow Corridor,” written by him and MIT Professor, Daron Acemoglu, both widely respected development scholars.  The books start with how, even in today’s economic climate, the average American is seven times as prosperous as the average Mexican, 10 times as prosperous as the average Peruvian, about 20 times as prosperous as the average inhabitant of sub-Saharan Africa and about 40 times as prosperous as the average citizen of such particularly desperate African countries as Mali, Ethiopia and Sierra Leone.    What explains such wild disparities?  The books take you on a journey, with nations today, and throughout history, showing not only why Nations Fail, but why they prosper.  A journey based on facts and data. The interview gives a wonderful recap of the basic conditions for why we are so successful and what we need to do to stay successful.    Professor Robinson argues that when you combine rotten regimes, exploitative elites, “vampire capitalists” and self-serving institutions with frail, decentralized states, you have something close to a prescription for poverty, conflict and even outright failure. “Nations fail,” the authors write, “when they have extractive economic institutions, supported by extractive political institutions that impede and even block economic growth.”   This hopeful interview, by experts who have studied most major economies on the planet, and a number that are long gone, give Americans reasons to be grateful, and other nations the information regarding the stuff that can make them prosperous.   To learn more about Why Nations Fail, find it on Amazon today!   We are The Optimistic American, and we are in the business of promoting what is going right in our country. Every day, there is tremendous progress being made in America — across technology, public policy, science and medicine, and much more — that will set current and future generations up for success. Our goal is to highlight these advancements and tilt the scale of news and information from pessimism towards optimism. This episode reflects the best themes of The Optimistic American, that our best days lie ahead.
In Defense of The American Free Market - Robert Robb
Aug 27 2022
In Defense of The American Free Market - Robert Robb
Robert Robb & Paul Johnson discuss Communism, Socialism and benefits of American Capitalism. The discussion covers how American Capitalism has done more to improve the quality of life and improve the human condition than any other system in the history of the world.   If you hate capitalism, you might want to skip this one, but if you are open to the idea that free markets have actually made the world better, there is much to learn here.    The discussion begins with Robbs recent articles, regarding Kyrsten Sinema, a United States Senator from Arizona, one of the few pro business senators left in either party, and how her revisions to the draconian tax increases may have saved the country from a deep recession.  The discussion is a full throated defense of prioritizing the individual above the collective and also covers economic theory, time both presenters spent in communist countries, and predictions of the future of capitalism.   The Wall Street Journal once called Robb the “dean of Arizona political journalists.” He has been published by the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, USA Today, RealClearPolitics.com, and other Gannett newspapers across the country. In 2000, Robb was a media fellow with the Hoover Institution. In 2009, he was awarded a fellowship for study in Japan by the Foreign Press Center Japan. Robb has been a guest on PBS’s The NewsHour, MSNBC, BBC Worldwide, CNN’s American Morning, C-Span, and several shows on Fox News. Robb served as a judge for the Pulitzer Prize in 2013 and 2014. In 2015, he placed second in the Bastiat Prize, an international competition for economic writing sponsored by the Reason Foundation.   Robert Robb writes about politics and public policy at the links below:   robertrobb.com  robertrobb.substack.com    We are The Optimistic American, and we are in the business of promoting what is going right in our country. Every day, there is tremendous progress being made in America — across technology, public policy, science and medicine, and much more — that will set current and future generations up for success. Our goal is to highlight these advancements and tilt the scale of news and information from pessimism towards optimism.   This interview reflects the best themes of The Optimistic American, that our best days lie ahead.   Learn more about The Optimistic American by checking out our website!
This is an Extraordinary Time to be an American - Peter Zeihan
Aug 13 2022
This is an Extraordinary Time to be an American - Peter Zeihan
In this discussion with Paul Johnson and Peter Zeihan you will gain an understanding of the changing global order, and why you can be optimistic about the future of America. Many Americans have surrendered their agency to the negative nightly news, candidates, political parties and social media, who prosper from “if it bleeds it leads.” This has created a view of the world and America's position that is distorted, and conceals America's true strength.   Learning the truth about America’s position in the world will make you a lot more optimistic. Peter is a world renown Geopolitical analyst whose background in economics, energy, and demographics. His work indicates significant problems for Russia, China and other world powers, and major advantages for Americans as globalism is replaced by regionalism. Millennials and American workers will benefit from the re-industrialization of the United States and this will be one of the best decades for job and wage growth.   Peter talks about America's leadership role in the world over the last 80 years, possible recession, inflation, the Ukrainian war, advice for policy makers, and advice for American workers on how to benefit from the new world order.   We are The Optimistic American, and we are in the business of promoting what is going right in our country. Every day, there is tremendous progress being made in America — across technology, public policy, science and medicine, and much more — that will set current and future generations up for success. Our goal is to highlight these advancements and tilt the scale of news and information from pessimism towards optimism.   This episode reflects the best themes of The Optimistic American, that our best days lie ahead.   We post new content every week so make sure to follow us and like our podcast! Please leave a review and let us know what you think!   Learn more about The Optimistic American by checking out our website!
Learning to Talk with Those you Don’t Agree with Makes you Stronger!
Jul 23 2022
Learning to Talk with Those you Don’t Agree with Makes you Stronger!
Dr. Emily Bashah, a psychologist focused on trauma and related challenges, and Paul Johnson, host and founder of The Optimistic American podcast, discuss the “7 Codes” designed to help listeners/readers successfully navigate this divisive world.    Their 7 Codes: Make Space for Optimism Begin Anew and Start with Love We Not Me – We Belong to Something Bigger Strength Over Safety Real Power is Within Us –We are Not Victims Exit the Box We Build for Ourselves – Stop Labeling/Comparing Others Building a Better You   In Episode 3, Dr. Bashah and Paul discuss putting strength over safety. Strength means resilience, courage, bravery. All of us need to face our fears, at times confronting others with difficult conversations yet looking others in their eyes and humanizing. The American founders created a country that remains a work in progress, designing America to progress towards a “more perfect union.”   Dr. Bashah and Paul note that in America we share fundamental truths binding each other. And while our founders focused on individual rights and freedoms, they created a “social contract” enabling the power of the collective, to solve together seemingly intractable problems. Every one of us needs to control their individual “agency,” their individual rights and powers.   We are The Optimistic American, and we are in the business of promoting what is going right in our country. Every day, there is tremendous progress being made in America — across technology, public policy, science and medicine, and much more — that will set current and future generations up for success. Our goal is to highlight these advancements and tilt the scale of news and information from pessimism towards optimism.   This interview reflects the best themes of The Optimistic American, that our best days lie ahead.   You can listen to this episode on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or Google Podcasts!    Spotify:   Apple Podcasts:   Google Podcasts:   We post new content every week so make sure to subscribe, turn on notifications, and like our videos!    Learn more about The Optimistic American by checking out our website!
Reclaiming your Authentic Self by Letting Go of Addictive Ideologies & Negative Perspectives
Jul 16 2022
Reclaiming your Authentic Self by Letting Go of Addictive Ideologies & Negative Perspectives
This is a new series focusing on helping you reclaim your sense of "agency". Agency refers to the human capability to influence one's functioning and the course of events by one's actions. You may not be able to control your destiny but you can control your fate. There are three forms of Agency one can influence others: Individual - You bring your influence on what you can control Proxy - You bring your influence on others who have knowledge or resources Collective - You pool knowledge, skills and resources to work with others Our Theory: To own your agency, you must be able to use the neo-cortex portion of the brain where you can access rational thoughts, creativity, innovation, optimism. Without this you are doomed to serve a master other than yourself. You can lose your sense of agency through fear, despair, depression. These can be effected by others who manipulate you and your negative bias to steal your agency. The goal of those groups is to make you afraid so you will not think, you will only react. In this series we will be going over ways to get it back! We are The Optimistic American, and we are in the business of promoting what is going right in our country. Every day, there is tremendous progress being made in America — across technology, public policy, science and medicine, and much more — that will set current and future generations up for success. Our goal is to highlight these advancements and tilt the scale of news and information from pessimism towards optimism. This interview reflects the best themes of The Optimistic American, that our best days lie ahead.   Watch the episode on our YouTube, The Optimistic American!
The World is Better then you Think and the US is Better Then you can Imagine! - Dr. Emily Bashah
Jul 9 2022
The World is Better then you Think and the US is Better Then you can Imagine! - Dr. Emily Bashah
This is a new series focusing on helping you reclaim your sense of "agency".   Agency refers to the human capability to influence one's functioning and the course of events by one's actions. You may not be able to control your destiny but you can control your fate. There are three forms of Agency one can influence others: Individual   - You bring your influence on what you can control Proxy - You bring your influence on others who have knowledge or resources Collective - You pool knowledge, skills and resources to work with others   Our Theory: To own your agency, you must be able to use the neo-cortex portion of the brain where you can access rational thoughts, creativity, innovation, optimism. Without this you are doomed to serve a master other than yourself. You can lose your sense of agency through fear, despair, depression. These can be effected by others who manipulate you and your negative bias to steal your agency. The goal of those groups is to make you afraid so you will not think, you will only react. In this series we will be going over ways to get it back!   We are The Optimistic American, and we are in the business of promoting what is going right in our country. Every day, there is tremendous progress being made in America — across technology, public policy, science and medicine, and much more — that will set current and future generations up for success. Our goal is to highlight these advancements and tilt the scale of news and information from pessimism towards optimism. This episode reflects the best themes of The Optimistic American, that our best days lie ahead.   Check out this series on our YouTube, The Optimistic American!
Optimistic About America’s Future, Although Time to Take a Breath - Larry Summers
Jun 18 2022
Optimistic About America’s Future, Although Time to Take a Breath - Larry Summers
Larry Summers, the 71st US Secretary of the Treasury (under President Clinton) and President Emeritus and professor of economics at Harvard University, sees more than most that America’s best days are ahead. Dr. Summers predicted America’s current tussle with inflation, the highest profile person to so. He observed excess liquidity, high savings and low interest rates likely would pressure prices and he was right. Now, America must raise interest rates and print less money. For individuals concerned today he suggests we (1) take a deep breath and look around, (2) note we are in a world of abundance not shortages, and (3) recognize that while America current challenges are tough, we live in the most tolerant times ever. Americans should focus more on their strengths than weaknesses and be cautious about short term spending until this inflation phase ends, which it will. We live in a great time and country. A simple test is to ask, where do investors want to invest and where do talented people want to live? The answers are mostly America, not China or other nations. We have numerous advantages, including great universities, inventions of drugs and vaccines and clean energy tech, and cultural factors that other countries desire. Many predict America’s doom, but few countries actually use such predictions to improve – we do! Listen to and watch one of the world’s financial experts opine optimistically about America!   Watch the full episode on our YouTube channel, The Optimistic American!