Why are so many in Silicon Valley, from the cubicles to the boardrooms, likely to be libertarians, or technolibertarians, as some have called them? What do these technolibertarians believe about the role of government and entrepreneurship? How will they use the massive wealth that’s been created in Silicon Valley during the past several decades? Are they promoting the public welfare or shirking responsibility by not participating in the political process?
Peter Robinson: Welcome to Uncommon Knowledge. I'm Peter Robinson. Our show today, The Culture, The Libertarian Culture, of Silicon Valley. We shoot this show in the heart of Silicon Valley on the campus of Stanford University. Now consider this. Stanford was founded by a 19th Century railroad magnate, Leland Stanford. Toward the end of his life, Stanford decided to use his fortune to "promote the public welfare." Other 19th Century magnates were, like Stanford, public-spirited. Andrew Carnegie made his fortune in steel. He used his fortune to build Carnegie Hall and to establish museums and libraries across the country. John D. Rockefeller. He made his fortune in oil. Then he used his fortune to found Rockefeller University, the University of Chicago, and the Rockefeller Foundation which has given away billions.
Yet today in Silicon Valley, where new magnates, high-tech magnates are arising, you're much less likely to hear a reference to Rockefeller, Carnegie, or Stanford, than to Rand, Ayn Rand, the thinker who many would say founded libertarianism. Her credo, simple, "The highest good is not the public good, but the pursuit of self interest." Why? Why is it that the culture of Silicon Valley at least seems to favor self-interest over the public good?
With us today, three guests. Two of them are, themselves, Silicon Valley magnates. T.J. Rodgers is the CEO of Cypress Semiconductor. John McCaskey is a co-founder of E.pIphany. Our third guest, Paulina Borsook is the author of Cyber Selfish. She takes a critical view of the culture of Silicon Valley.
Title: The Hero's Journey
Peter Robinson: George Gilder, philosopher of the New Economy on high-tech Entrepreneurs, listen to the quotation: "Bull-headed, tenacious, creative entrepreneurs solve the problems of the world even faster than the world creates them. Confronting the perennial perils of human life, the scientific odds against human triumph, the entrepreneur finds a higher source of hope than reason, a deeper well of faith than science, his success is a thrust beyond the powers and principalities of the established world to the transcendent sources of creation and truth." Rate those words on a scale of one to ten. One is complete and utter piffle. Ten is truth and beauty, on akin to the Sermon on the Mount. Paulina?
Paulina Borsook: A four and a half.
Peter Robinson: Oh, four and a half, not one?
Paulina Borsook: Four and a half.
Peter Robinson: Why do you give them-why do you rate them that high?
Paulina Borsook: Well, this is going to sound very measly, the word entrepreneur has morphed to mean something different from what it used to. These days a lot of times entrepreneur means, "I've come up with an idea that will appeal to the investment community and we can have the culture of flip and flee, it's not about actually creating something." And we use the word entrepreneur to refer both to the person who actually invented something, and I will give some credence to what Gilder is saying, and to, you know…
Peter Robinson: So the entrepreneur is or can be a heroic figure?
Paulina Borsook: Can be.
Peter Robinson: John?
John McCaskey: Absolutely, can be a heroic figure. I'd give it a nine or a ten.
Peter Robinson: T.J.?
T.J. Rodgers: Seven and a half. I'm an entrepreneur. I like what I do. I make things that people want, therefore, they give our company money for that. But to glorify to the edge of religious status is a little bit much. It's-it's a, it's a very good life of freedom that I enjoy and-and that's a, that's a high thing. But we're not special and different from everybody else.
Peter Robinson: Okay, so to the extent that George leans here toward describing some kind of high priesthood, that's a little over the top.
T.J. Rodgers: Yeah.
Peter Robinson: Okay. T.J., you have written, and I'm going to give you a quotation from T.J. and a quotation from Paulina and then I'll ask you to adjudicate, okay. T.J. has written as follows: "The collectivist notion that drives policy making in Washington D.C. is the irrevocable enemy of high-technology capitalism." The irrevocable enemy of high-technology capitalism. Paulina has written: "Without government, there would be no Internet, there would be no microprocessor industry, there would also be no major research universities cranking out qualified high-tech workers." Now first I want to-just explain what you mean by that. You're talking about government funding of all these.
Paulina Borsook: Right. Right.
Peter Robinson: So the Internet, the-the crucial inventions are funded by the Department of Defense and so forth?
Paulina Borsook: Well historically, but also that there is continuing, you know, there's work-study jobs. We have land grant universities. There's a lot of indirect subsidy and regulation that makes this a fabulous place to make money.
Peter Robinson: Okay. So he says government's the irrevocable enemy. She says without the government you don't have the high-tech industry, and John says? And the answer is?
John McCaskey: Without the government, we would not have industry. We need the government to protect property rights. We need the government to do a lot of things, many of which you point out in the book. Would we-do we need the government to spend money on investing in these other things? No, and we would have a lot of great things even without the government spending money on it.
Peter Robinson: As a historical matter, would we indeed have a high-technology industry right here in Silicon Valley without government funding of certain crucial inventions, of the great universities in this area? What do you think?
T.J. Rodgers: Okay, first answer, the government has to set the basics, property rights, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, assuming that's a given and we're really talking about government in the post-1900 sense of the meddling, taxing group that takes your money and does better things with it. In that case, saying that Silicon Valley and high-tech comes from the government reminds me of a show I watched, a cartoon when I was a kid, called Rocky and Bullwinkle. They used to have Bullwinkle's history, if you would remember, and he would come across things like, you know, Winston Churchill was a boy from Wisconsin who saved France during World War I. Well that the government invented Silicon Valley is Bullwinkle's history. I've been here. The government has been a breaking force and the fact that they throw mostly useless money at mostly bad projects doesn't given them any credit other than they took it from somebody in Wisconsin and should have kept it.
Peter Robinson: Paulina?
Paulina Borsook: I think that's a rather reductive view of what government does because one of the things that I rant on about the book is that one of the things that government ensures let's say is transparency and financial transactions makes the banking system relatively fraud-free. It makes it possible to make money off of your intellectual property. There's a lot of things the government does…
Peter Robinson: All that stuff you'd agree with, right?
Paulina Borsook: Right. Right. And so therefore the fact that…
Peter Robinson: So government is referee for…
T.J. Rodgers: …pork barrel politics…
Peter Robinson: Okay.
Paulina Borsook: Oh, I don't think anybody here would be in favor of pork barrel politics.
Peter Robinson: Next question. To what extent are the high-tech libertarians just ignoring government contributions to the success of Silicon Valley?
Title: DARPA Diem
Peter Robinson: There's a point-place in your book where you contrast Silicon Valley with Route 128.
Paulina Borsook: That's right.
Peter Robinson: And you do make the point that one reason the high-tech industry happened here and not as much certainly a-a-around Route 128 in the Boston Corridor, is in part because the Department of Defense expenditure's right here.
Paulina Borsook: It was-it was the microprocess industry in the-in-in the 70's but…
Peter Robinson: And you don't buy that?
T.J. Rodgers: I was there when the microprocess…
T.J. Rodgers: …and it wasn't a government invention. That's ridiculous.
Peter Robinson: Why did it happen here T.J.?
T.J. Rodgers: Because Intel invented it and Intel…
Peter Robinson: Because of the entrepreneurial culture here?
T.J. Rodgers: Of course. Ask Ted Hoff who was paying a salary at the time he invented the 4004 which was the original microprocessor.
Paulina Borsook: But it's the government creating markets for that stuff. And people forget as recently as 1991, Lockheed was the single biggest employer in Silicon Valley. Now I realize…
Peter Robinson: Most recently as what year?
Paulina Borsook: 1991.
T.J. Rodgers: It's more Bullwinkle's history. You know, the fact is we had an aerospace industry here and if you want to talk about rockets in space, it is a very socialized science. She makes the point in her book, and I-I agree with it that the government created that industry and look what a colossal flop it is. But with regard to electronics and high technology, the government did not create that industry. They were not the major customer for it and they were not the major funder for it, and I was here and I worked in the companies. It's simply not true.
John McCaskey: And I was in Boston and the money was coming there. And…
Peter Robinson: Government funding was going to Boston?
John McCaskey: …absolutely go to Boston. Internet, BBN, MIT, etc.
Paulina Borsook: Wai-wai-wait. I di…
Peter Robinson: Go ahead.
Paulina Borsook: …I didn't say that Silicon Valley grew and-and-and Route 128 failed because of government funding, that's not what I was saying at all.
Peter Robinson: No?
Paulina Borsook: No. What I was saying is that, and this is the point Annalee Saxenian makes in her book, "A Regional Advantage", which is about how Silicon Valley rises Route 128 tanks. Is that-there were complex networks both professional and personal. There was endless, sort of private-public sector cooperation, trade schools, San Jose State, junior colleges, a lot of things where the government was doing a bunch of stuff to make it possible for Silicon Valley to happen, yet when people started to make it in Silicon Valley in the 70's and 80's, they thought they did it on their own and they didn't see these networks they were enmeshed in. That's my point. It's not saying the government funded Silicon Valley and it didn't fund 128, that-that's not at all what I'm saying. And again, I'm always interested in…
Peter Robinson: So there's a lack of gratitude…
Peter Robinson: …or a lack of circumspection or understanding…
Paulina Borsook: …understanding yeah, yes.
Peter Robinson: …the larger environment that made…
Peter Robinson: …guys like you to flourish?
T.J. Rodgers: You want to talk about the existence of the FCC rationalizing stock markets and contributions to schools. The government has a valid role and did do that. Nobody's going to argue with it. I'm-I'm against the great welfare state, pork barrel society we currently have. That's what I think is destructive. And, yes, I understand that the schools were an important part of Silicon Valley. I went to Stanford and I'll tell you, just truth in advertising, that DARPA at that time, actually funded part of my Ph.D. degree. So I have…
Peter Robinson: DARPA was the Defense…
Peter Rodgers: Right. I pay, hey I pay-I pay-I pay a million dollars a year in taxes and I don't say the government shouldn't exist. I just say that blaming-claiming that the government is responsible for this is junk. And the fact is now…
Peter Robinson: T.J. doesn't say the government shouldn't exist, so why doesn't he want any part of politics?
Title: Valley Guerillas
Peter Robinson: Paulina writes, "In high-tech political libertarianism, takes the shape of a convenient obliviousness," you gentleman are being called conveniently oblivious, "to the value of social contract in governance however imperfectly and stupidly enacted." A word or two of explanation?
Paulina Borsook: There's all different flavors of the techno-libertarianism and even within the political techno-libertarianism, there are those that go, "I don't care about government, it's all bad, I don't want to think about it, I just want to make my money," that's fine…
Peter Robinson: But that's roughly the T.J. position.
Paulina Borsook: Well, and they're other, they're people that have a more nuance position which is they're, what they want is no regulation, to be left alone, but they still can see the value of a government in certain ways.
Peter Robinson: And that's the John position.
T.J. Rodgers: That's actually where I…
John McCaskey: The reason the government has some things it should do and some things it should not do…
T.J. Rodgers: Shouldn't do which is a lot of what it's doing now.
Peter Robinson: Okay. Go ahead.
Paulina Borsook: Right. And-and so when I say the convenient oblivious to the lack of social contract, I mean a lot of times what I-what I will, when I get into arguments with libertarians about it, they believe in property rights but they don't necessarily believe in anything else. And then I say, "How do you enforce the property rights?" That's the courts or sometimes if you have a regulation, that means you don't have to take someone to court to solve whatever the problem was if you have sort of in a sense prior restraint. So in some sense it's a matter of how do you think it should be implemented. Should it be a regulation or should it be a lawsuit?
Peter Robinson: Okay.
T.J. Rodgers: I think that's unfair. And the reason it's unfair, I-I think she's trying to have it both ways. If you read the introduction of her book, it's we're selfish, we don't give any money to charity…
Peter Robinson: You are pretty rough…
T.J. Rodgers: …not too much-not too much data support. We live-we live in ugly houses. We have bad architecture, and then-and then when the position is brought out then it's, I believe in the Supreme Court. I believe in courts. I believe in certain regulation to prevent everything going to-to court, and the-the fact is, she's-she's in support of a much broader, more pervasive government than that. And, yes, everybody's going to sit here, we all believe in the basics of government. I carry the Constitution and the Bill of Rights in my briefcase all the time. I can actually talk about it cogently. But I don't think, for example, government ought to be regulating food color. I don't think the government ought to be taking money away from my mom in Wisconsin out of her retirement fund and building parking lots with Senator names on it. And that's what I'm against.
Peter Robinson: Do you make contributions to political parties or to candidates?
T.J. Rodgers: Rarely. About $1000 a year, $2000 max.
Peter Robinson: That's penny-ante stuff for a guy whose paying a million dollars in taxes.
T.J. Rodgers: I-I am not what, conveniently oblivious. I actively ignore it. It's a conscious decision.
Peter Robinson: Okay. Let me quote T.J. to you again, John. Let me see if you follow, see, what I'm trying to figure out is whether you're the range of opinion here is A to A prime or whether you're some kind of kinder and gentler T.J. Okay. So T.J. writes this…
John McCaskey: I may be able to help. Go ahead.
Peter Robinson: … "The media wants Silicon Valley," I'm quoting you now. "The media wants Silicon Valley to become more engaged in the politics of Washington. We could make no bigger mistake." What do you think? Is he right about that?
John McCaskey: I agree.
Peter Robinson: You agree with it. Okay. Now let me put it this way. You guys sit here and say the government ought not to be doing this, the government ought not to be doing this, the government ought not to be doing that. You have a range of political candidates. There are two great political parties, either you don't like those political parties, there's a libertarian party, you ought to become involved in politics. What you have here is, you carry the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution around with you, and what you have is the political system, the actual concrete political system that we have inherited from the founders. You ought to be involved in that. What do you think? You have no right to carp about politics if you drop out of the system as completely as the Amish have dropped out of modern life. You drop out of politics that way?
John McCaskey: It depends what you mean about drop out of politics.
Peter Robinson: Well, I mean…
John McCaskey: We absolutely have an obligation to explain the way it should be. I mean, he's doing it, I'm doing it, and sometimes, we're being in politics right here today by making a point and-and actively pursuing that point. I think T.J. and I both work actively toward that. That's different than, go to Washington to get some…
Peter Robinson: What about writing a check for Steve Forbs' campaign? He was pretty, as libertarian a candidate as was ever plausible in this last election cycle? Right?
T.J. Rodgers: Yeah, and he drove his daddy's 150 foot boat in the Silicon Bay and said, "Come on and board and give me some money," give me a break. Neither of the above.
Peter Robinson: Okay.
Peter Robinson: Let's ask Paulina what sort of political involvement she'd like to see from people like T.J. and John.
Title: Who is John Galt?
Peter Robinson: Describe for me a politically-responsible, a civic-minded entrepreneur. How should these guys be engaged politically?
Paulina Borsook: Well let's see. I mean, there's everything from getting involved, you know, in county politics, and there's a guy that's in, Carl Gardino(?), at the Silicon Valley Manufacturers Association and he, sort of, you know, his organization is explicitly set up to try to deal with regional and local politics because what we're seeing now (?) Silicon Valley with the housing issues, the transport issues, and a whole bunch of other issues, high-tech has had a huge impact on the local, you know, what do you call it, police, I guess, and that-and that-and you need to think about political. You know, it's hard stuff trying to figure out transit and housing and all this kind of stuff that are deeply political issues and they are going on at local levels.
Peter Robinson: And these two guys just ignore it?
Paulina Borsook: Well, that's-their focus is more on the big bad government in-in D.C. which is easier to focus on because I think they are a lot sillier.
T.J. Rodgers: It would be interesting for-for the person complaining about my lack of involvement to have some data. I happen to be a sponsor member company of the Silicon Valley Manufacturers' group. And the last time I talked to Carl Gardino(?) on a political issue was when he and I testified against Bart-I testified against Bart and he disagrees with me, last week. So, yes there are political issues, yes you do need to get involved and no one's saying anything about that. The point is, the political machinery, the buying of candidates, the invasion of the government in every aspect of our life, that's what we're complaining about and I don't think we're alone at that. And I don't have to say that's okay. I don't have to give up the local courts and local politics and the Supreme Court in order to feel the government is too big and too pervasive right now.
Paulina Borsook: There's also an issue here which is we have T.J. who is eminently, he's high profile, he's eminently respected, he's a CEO of a well-known established company, you know, you-you've taken your company public. In some sense I'm less concerned about what these estimable guys are doing than what the rank and file people in Silicon Valley think about and how they don't…
Peter Robinson: The rank and file people in Silicon Valley are spending every waking hour trying to turn themselves into T.J. and John.
Paulina Borsook: Exactly. Exactly. And so their engagement which is allottable, in some sense is not, since it's the focus of what my book is about, or the attitude or mindset that I'm describing.
Peter Robinson: Well let me put it this-let me put this to you. Couldn't you just cut these people a little life cycle slack? By the time you get to be T.J. or John, you have enough money and time to become, but if you're in Silicon Valley and you're twenty-five years old or thirty-five years old and just trying to meet-make the mortgage on your, the-the million and a half dollar house…
Paulina Borsook: There-there's some of that but I-I-I think T.J. and John may be more exceptions that the rule.
Peter Robinson: Oh really?
Peter Robinson: Next question. Doesn't the techno libertarian respect for individual ability demonstrate a fundamentally positive view of humanity?
Title: How Greedy is My Valley?
Peter Robinson: Let me give you a T.J. Roger's, another T.J. Roger's statement. This is dueling quotations here, because you're talking about a lack of human connection. T.J. writes: "Silicon Valley knows the adage that money makes money is false, we know that people make money, thus Silicon Valley considers people an asset, not a liability," he's talking about immigration here, but he's making a point about the view of human beings, "so when we see an immigrant, we see not a potential welfare case, but someone with an intellect." So the libertarian culture, using his term, that is arising and so powerful here in Silicon Valley, is actually centered on human beings.
Paulina Borsook: Ah, in a certain way. I mean…
Peter Robinson: In a commendable way.
Paulina Borsook: Wai-wai-wai-wait.
Peter Robinson: In a thrilling way.
Paulina Borsook: Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. I mean, because part of what the-the libertarian attitude is very much it sees people as, mostly as rational economic actors. And most people are much more complex than that. And there is a (?) messiness in-and complexity to human affairs to that. And Silicon Valley sees people as they're useful, you know. The immigrants, one of the things people talk about, the-the diversity of Silicon Valley and people come from all over the world and isn't this really great. And I say, yeah, it's about as diverse as Harvard Law School. Because people with the same attitudes, the same values, the same education, the same goals, so you're getting sort of a monoculture of a certain kind. And so Silicon Valley sees certain kinds of immigrants in certain kinds of ways and that they have value and, you know, other people are kind of like a higher form of insect like. And you certainly see this happening in San Francisco these days.
T.J. Rodgers: Well maybe Paulina considers people to be insects, I don't.
Paulina Borsook: I don't.
T.J. Rodgers: She maybe needs to come down to my company and walk through it to find out what diversity is about. It's-it's as diverse as the most diverse part of San Francisco and New York. And…
Peter Robinson: But it's all smart, capable people?
Paulina Borsook: Of a kind.
T.J. Rodgers: Well if…
Peter Robinson: What do you do with poor people…
T.J. Rodgers: No, I-I-I don't people in boxes, I don't accept that. Basically, they're people who want to pursue their career, who want to be paid fairly for it and who, if they work for a company that-that gets to be very valuable, want to be part owners of their company. Those are all allottable and commendable goals and-and to say they're little ants working in a box and everybody's treated the same is malarkey. They would quit.
Paulina Borsook: I wasn't remotely saying that. I wasn't remotely saying that at all. I was saying just the opposite which is that people outside of being either the MBA mentality, the engineer mentality, are regarded as a higher form of insect life by people within the technology community. That's what I was saying, I wasn't saying Silicon Valley treats it workers like ants.
Peter Robinson: Here it is. I think what she's saying is that you guys view human beings as homo-economicus, that is to say you make no provision for a soul, for…
John McCaskey: She misunderstands.
Peter Robinson: She misunderstands.
John McCaskey: Of course not.
T.J. Rodgers: Obviously in Silicon Valley where somebody can look at me if I offend them and tell me to screw off and have another job in eight minutes, if I don't deal with the whole person, their needs, their daycare, their this, their that, their human quirks and everybody's different, and if I don't make allowances for that, you know, they just say adios, they'll go somewhere else.
Peter Robinson: See capitalism forces you to be sensitive to the needs of other people, to view them in the whole.
Paulina Borsook: Capitalism, in T.J.'s case, may be very enlightened benign thing, but it isn't always and that is not necessarily the stories I hear of other people working at other companies in Silicon Valley.
Peter Robinson: Last, let's get our guests view on a public policy issue that affects Silicon Valley directly, education.
Title: The School of Hire Earning
Peter Robinson: Paulina writes that techno-libertarians refuse to-to participate in the political system and then they whine, whine, whine because they can't find good talent because the schools are bad, the public schools are bad or they can't hire people because the people they want to hire to bring here to California, the public schools aren't good, so the techno-libertarians ought to darn-well put up or shut up, try to improve the schools or keep quiet about it. Do you want to spend more money on schools?
John McCaskey: No, improve the schools by getting the government out of them.
Peter Robinson: Voucher programs?
John McCaskey: Well, voucher programs is a step toward final complete privatization of education.
Peter Robinson: There you go. Apply market forces to the public school system. Are you in favor of vouchers?
Paulina Borsook: Yeah, but what do you do with the kids who aren't best of breed?
Peter Robinson: Who aren't best of breed, that is to say those who are unfortunate, those who come from disadvantaged families, or those kids who just aren't that smart?
Paulina Borsook: There's many things wrong with the public school system and we could probably devote forty hours to talking about it. But one of-I think the failures-the difficulties of the public school system these days is they take the kids from parents let's say who aren't necessarily engaged, who have learning disabilities, have a whole bunch of stuff, and there isn't infinite money and public schools have to take care of all these different kinds of kids. The kids of parents who either are really concerned about education or, you know, their kids are more mannerly or whatever, they will often take advantage of this. So, you know, I am very uneasy about vouchers though I have, you know, neighbors that put their kids in charter schools and, you know...
Peter Robinson: T.J.?
T.J. Rodgers: The standard excuse for lack of performance of the public schools. They're-they're badly run and that's why they don't produce a good result because they're not accountable because they're monopolized by the government. It's the post office versus Federal Express, just one more time. By the way, the average private school in California spends half per pupil what the average public school does and does a better job educating kids. So the argument they don't have enough money or somehow having to take care of disadvantaged children is-is doubling the cost and then they still do a lousy job, just isn't right.
Peter Robinson: You're confident the market can do a better job even of taking care of disadvantaged kids?
T.J. Rodgers: Absolut-think about it this way. Suppose I take East Palo Alto.
Peter Robinson: Right.
T.J. Rodgers: Okay, and suppose I calculate how many dollars, tens of millions of dollars, by the way, the government spends, and I go to an entrepreneur…
Peter Robinson: Educating the kids in East Palo Alto?
T.J. Rodgers: A-and I go to a couple of entrepreneurs and I say, "Look, you will set up two competing or three competing school systems in Palo Alto. We will take competitive bids. You're going to be graded on performance period. And you get, you know, thirty million dollars. Would any of you like the job?" And once they have the job, they'll do the job. They'll hire good teachers. They won't deal with teacher's unions and seniority. The best teachers will prevail. They'll compete against each other and things will get better. It's just obvious.
Peter Robinson: You see how simple it can all be?
Paulina Borsook: Oh totally. Well you know the Edison School in San Francisco which is one of these private, you know, for-profit schools, I mean, the results are in a year later and it's not that pretty. There's…
Peter Robinson: But there's charter schools by the way, they're only doing charter schools…
T.J. Rodgers: She makes-she makes my point.
Peter Robinson: All right, go ahead.
T.J. Rodgers: She makes my point. This school was a private school and it didn't do a good job, so what, you know. Therefore it's going to go out of business. The only difference between public and private schools is public schools do a lousy job and they don't go out of business because you can't put them out of business.
Paulina Borsook: I want to bring up a notion…
Peter Robinson: It's television. It's television, we have to close it out.
Peter Robinson: It's television. It's television. I opened with George Gilder, one of the-one of the bards of the new cyber world. Let me close with John Perry Barlow, much loved to Pauline, another cyber bard. Congress passes the Telecom reform act of 1996. John Perry Barlow thinks it's lousy legislation and does something which is now famous. He issues a declaration of independence of cyberspace, I read you a few words, "Governments of the industrial world," reads this declaration, "You weary giants of flesh and steel. I come from cyberspace, the new home of mind. On behalf of the future, I ask you of the past to leave us alone. We have no elected government nor are we likely to have one. You have no moral right to rule us." A quarter of a century from now, will college kids look back on that statement as the words of a prophet, or the words of a jerk? John?
John McCaskey: I-I don't think they'll know them.
Peter Robinson: College kids won't look back on that?
John McCaskey: They won't look back on that. This is the, this…
Peter Robinson: We put it in front of them and force them to look at it.
John McCaskey: They'll say, those were the libertarian anarchists and they never went anywhere. They're not, that's not a principled capitalist there. That is an anarchist in this big tent called libertarianism.
Peter Robinson: T.J., what do you think?
T.J. Rodgers: They-they won't be put to the test because I never heard of the guy and they will never have heard of him.
Peter Robinson: You never heard of John Perry Barlow?
T.J. Rodgers: He-he's not a libertarian that I associate with and, like I said, I-I'm …
Peter Robinson: He's a famous guy, T.J.
T.J. Rodgers: He is, huh? Okay. I'll take your word for it.
Peter Robinson: Okay, but you're not impressed. What do you make of these words? Silly.
T.J. Rodgers: It-it's an anarchist, but again, I-I don't want to paint principle libertarian thought that we should be free, that-that politics and government is okay, and we ought to be free in socially and politically. I don't want to paint that libertarianism which is what we're about in Silicon Valley with kook boy here.
Peter Robinson: Kook boy. Kook boy?
Paulina Borsook: Well, definitely kook boy, but also, I think what he's not addressing there, and he's particularly talking about what goes on on-line. He's not necessarily talking about the culture of high-tech like you guys are, and, is that what Larry Lessig talks about in his book, "Code" which is that, you know, you can build social principles into codes. So if you have countries like China or whatever that are basically building into the technological architecture of their internet, that you don't have access to certain kinds of information, this stuff is laughable, I mean, he's sort of pretending that you can always route around censorship and I'm not so clear that that's the case.
Peter Robinson: But these two guys are not laughable.
Paulina Borsook: These two? No.
Peter Robinson: You find them commendable.
Paulina Borsook: Totally.
Peter Robinson: Oh, really.
Paulina Borsook: I'm sorry. (?) mean, sorry.
Peter Robinson: Okay. The next edition will be subtitled, "How I learned to agree on TV."
Paulina Borsook: No, I still believe what I believe.
Peter Robinson: Paulina, T.J., and John, thank you very much.
Paulina Borsook: Thank you.
John McCaskey: Thanks very much.
Peter Robinson: Stanford University, Carnegie Hall, The University of Chicago and, well, time will tell whether the libertarian followers of Ayn Rand leave behind anything as significant. I'm Peter Robinson. Thanks for joining us.