I was honored to host at my home a celebration for my dear friend and mentor, Leonard Peikoff, on the occasion of his 86th birthday. It was a delightful evening. Leonard’s close friends engaged warmly, and a dinner was served in an elegant surrounding.
Several guests, including Lisa VanDamme, Andrew Lewis, and myself, expressed our profound gratitude for Leonard, his books, courses, and advice that has impacted our lives so greatly. It was an evening to be remembered.
Video and photographs of the celebration can be viewed here.
Gates also said he would not have retired as soon had it not been for the U.S. government case, which began in 1998. Gates started the company with Paul Allen in 1975, then stepped aside as CEO in 2000, letting Steve Ballmer take the reins as the antitrust case was at its peak.
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”
Philosopher Aaron Smith mulls over the famous Serenity Prayer, noting that, “…to benefit from the perspective suggested by the prayer we need to know what things (if any) are in our power to change, what things are not, and how to tell the difference…” in order to bring attention to Ayn Rand’s essay “The Metaphysical versus the Man-Made.”
Krishnamurthy wants to chart a different path from Jeff Bezos’. Amazon is all about service: selection, price, and speed. Flipkart wants to play on value. “We pivoted the company over value versus service, which was a difficult proposition, but we did it,” he said, without commenting on Amazon, or any other competitors.
His conviction to do things comes from a book he read when he was young – Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. “I was influenced in my early days, and even now by that book. Do what you think is right. If you think about what that book is all about, its conviction,” he said.
One essential condition of fulfillment and happiness is the philosophic conviction that your life belongs to you. But it is only a condition. A truly fulfilled and happy life requires a sense of meaning. How to achieve that meaning is a question for which we have few tried-and-true, culturally established answers. Thankfully, one resource we do have for answering that question, or even knowing how to go about considering it, is great art. This talk explores how classic literature can contribute to the vital quest for meaning.
Recorded live in Cleveland at OCON 2019 on June 26, 2019
It was around this time that I read Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. Rand preached a philosophy of radical individualism that she called Objectivism.
While I didn’t fully accept its tenets, her vision of the world made more sense to me that that of my left-wing friends. “Do your own thing” was their motto, but now I saw that the individualism implicit in that phrase was superficial and strictly limited. They thought, for instance, that it was going too far for a black man to do his thing by breaking with radical politics, which was what I now longed to do.
I never went along with the militant separatism of the Black Muslims, but I admired their determination to “do for self, brother,” as well as their discipline and dignity. That was Daddy’s way. He knew that to be truly free and participate fully in American life, poor blacks had to have the tools to do for themselves. This was the direction in which my political thinking was moving as my time at Holy Cross drew to an end.
The question was how much courage I could muster up to express my individuality. What I wanted was for everyone — the government, the racists, the activists, the students, even Daddy — to leave me alone so that I could finally start thinking for myself.
What follows is an excerpted and annotated version of the FTC’s “Stipulated Order” representing its “Settlement” with Facebook. It’s dated July 24. I’m giving you the lowlights, as I see them, plus my “translations.”
Some nuggets from Amy’s offhand analysis:
“Defendant agrees that the Department of Justice shall have the same rights as the Commission to engage in compliance monitoring as provided by Part XV of the Decision and Order set forth in Attachment A, as well as the same right as the Associate Director for Enforcement for the Bureau of Consumer Protection at the Commission provided under Part VIII.B to approve the person(s) selected to conduct the Assessments described in Part VIII of the Decision and Order set forth in Attachment A, subject to any applicable law or regulation.” (page 4)
Translation: Anything the FTC can get or do as a result of this “settlement,” so can the DOJ. This becomes particularly relevant when you see some of the last paragraphs of the order, the ones which inspired the title of this blog post.
“If a User deletes an individual piece of Covered Information but does not delete his or her account, nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to require deletion or de-identification of metadata (e.g., logs of User activity) that may remain associated with the User’s account after the User has deleted such information.” (page 6)
Translation: All your metadata are belong to the DOJ, unless you delete your entire account in time. (And will that really work anyway, or is it already too late?) Deleting individual pieces of data is inadequate to protect your privacy.
Amy also writes that she is applying for non-profit status for an organization to fight this power-grab by the FTC and DOJ:
“Would you like to help me do whatever is possible, using my unique theory of the proper legal protection of privacy, to fight this power-grab by the FTC and DOJ? If so, your donations are most welcome here. Make sure to add “FTC” in the optional comment field, and it will be earmarked appropriately. I’m in the process of applying for non-profit, 501 c(3) status, and so I’ll do everything possible to ensure your donation is tax-deductible, and will keep you posted about the status of the application.”
Hazony presents a conception of nationalism with soft edges, one that is supposedly compatible with some measure of liberty. And therein lies part of the book’s danger. It is calm, erudite, and theory-heavy. The book attempts to provide a serious, intellectual case for embracing nationalism.
Hazony repudiates the Enlightenment view of individuals as sovereign and capable of using reason to attain truths about the world.
What really happens in societies where reason and individual rights are dropped out of the picture, where each tribe/nation is left to do its own thing? At least two things are clear: First, such societies are highly tribal. People define themselves primarily, if not exclusively, by their tribal or racial identity, while viewing outsiders as less-than-human, because they were born to the “wrong” tribe/race. Second, and crucially, the door is left wide open for disagreements and enmities to be resolved through brutality, not persuasion, because outsiders are seen as innately inferior, wrong, unreachable. For example, consider the tribal wars that have decimated Africa. A notorious example is Rwanda’s tribal war in 1994, which claimed upwards of 800,000 lives. Or look at the repeated eruption of tribal/nationalist wars in the Balkans. There, during the early 1990s, we witnessed the return of “ethnic cleansing” and concentration camps. These are manifestations of tribal/national groups jockeying for collective self-determination.
To unpack Hazony’s argument is to see that his conception of nationalism is fundamentally opposed to the ideal of freedom.”
In today’s age of a return to nationalism, Journo’s insightful analysis is a must-read.