Surprise! Joe Rogan said some dumb stuff again. Just months after he dipped his toe in the anti-vaxxer water before backing down, he is now expressing his skepticism about the importance of paternity leave.
On the most recent episode of The Joe Rogan Experience, the host was speaking with comedian Bridget Phetasy about Pete Buttigieg taking parental leave to care for his newborn twins with his husband Chasten. Rogan was dismissive of the idea of men needing to take leave, citing a “back-in-my-day” line of thinking that puts him in the esteemed company of Tucker Carlson. (Who, last week, went on a homophobically-tinged rant about Buttigieg taking time off to figure out how to breastfeed.)
“Isn’t that supposed to be for the person who gave birth?” Rogan asked before saying that the idea that “parents should get maternity and paternity leave at the same time is a little weird.”
Phetasy somehow managed to push back against this airtight logic, noting that having both parents take time off helps the non-birthing parent provide support to the one who gave birth as well. The research is clear: when men take paid leave, the whole family reaps the benefits of bonding, relationship satisfaction, health, and more.
Phetasy also pointed to the fact that almost every other wealthy country in the world has some form of paid parental leave. But rather than actually wanting the government to provide some support to parents who are already overloaded with the responsibility of raising a human while working full-time, Rogan remained skeptical to the idea that this was really necessary.
For whatever reason, the idea of a dad getting to spend extra time with his newborn baby really pisses people off. (Research shows that nearly all men take some time off work when their child is born, however, much of the time, it is unpaid.)
The flimsy arguments about the dangers of giving people “free money” and people not doing their jobs have always been a key component of people criticizing welfare plans (for the record, a federal paid leave plan would only apply to people who work). Detractors point to the tough constraints a plan would put on small businesses to deal with coverage gaps and to pay out leave.
These arguments have little basis in reality, and many major companies have urged Congress to pass a paid leave plan. Most research actually finds that countries that provide paid parental leave actually experience a higher rate of productivity, less turnover, happier and healthier workers, and no or a positive effect on the bottom line. Unfortunately, in the United States, we remain committed to working hard rather than working smart, which has been shown time and time again to not be an effective strategy for getting quality work done.
Whenever Rogan faces some criticism for the dumb things he says, his defense seems to be that he is not an expert and should not be treated as such. While it’s hard to imagine anyone mistaking Rogan for an expert in anything besides loving the sound of his own voice, the fact is that he has a podcast that is listened to by millions of people and his platform does matter. And by spewing out uninformed archaic takes about things like paternity leave, he is just adding fuel to the fire of these false narratives and making life more difficult for American parents.