Life Lessons from Mario Savio: What A Conservative Contrarian Learned From Berkeley
Tuesday, January 17, 2023 | Room 105, Berkeley Law
The Public Law & Policy Program and the Federalist Society, Berkeley Chapter, presented on January 17th, from 12:50 – 2:00 p.m., in Room 105 their first event of the spring semester. Jeff Ogar, General Counsel of Stand Together, speaks about free speech, his journey from growing up in Berkeley to graduating from Berkeley Law, and his role at Stand Together, which is the Koch Foundation’s charitable giving arm.
[STEVEN HAYWAD] Welcome. I’m Steven Hayward, a fellow of the Public Law and Policy Program, here at Berkeley Law. I’m a fellow at the Institute of Governmental Studies, down the hill. I want to welcome all of you to the first in our series of guest speakers through the semester. Uh, the other speakers are posted on the Public Law and Policy website. Uh, I forgot what dates they are, and forgot to write them down before I came in here, but you can find them all over there. I didn’t [unintelligible] today’s, uh, really fun topic, I think.
Uh, I’ll do it the following way. The title you can see on the screen – the life lessons learned from Mario Savio. Now, my opinion is that it is not an exaggeration or a matter of self-congratulation to say that the 1960s started about 600 yards from this spot, in September of 1964. A lot of historians will say, well really it should be the Port Huron state in ‘62, or maybe the Kennedy assassination, but I think it really is a good case that the – the world and certainly university life changed, perhaps forever, starting in September of 1964.
What happened in the middle of September of 1964, beginning of the semester? The administration suspended five students for violating university policy about political advocacy on university grounds – is that what I should do – okay, uh, and suspending students for doing what – exercising their free speech rights, and having tables with literature, for ‘64 Civil Rights was obviously on people’s mind that year. And, uh, that started a wave of student protests that carried on for two months, uh, where it followed a series of administration blunders and mistakes trying to suppress the student agitation and finally capitulating.
Um, one of the prominent faculty members at Berkeley, at the time, was the great sociologist Nathan Glaser, who later left early for Harvard. But he wrote at the time – and he was one of the principal faculty members trying to broker a deal – he wrote at the time, Berkeley was one of the few places in the country where in 1964 one could hear a public debate between the supporters of Khrushchev and Mao on the Sino-Soviet split. There’s a relic of the Cold War, there, where he said organized student groups behind both positions, but he then went on after was all over to say one fears that the future of American higher education may be foreshadowed here, a great wave of energy has been released.
I’ve written extensively about this episode, including an article – five or six years ago – in the Weekly Standard, about tracing out the story arc between the Free Speech movement of ‘64 and the van correcting our mind disaster over Milianopolis event in February of 2017. Here, it did not go well. Two of the key figures in 1964. One of them was Jack Weinberg – he was the first person arrested on October 1st by campus police, whereupon students surrounded the car for the next 36 hours so the police couldn’t take him away to jail. And that simply spread till there were thousands of students out in Sprout Plaza and around the central part of the campus.
Jack Weinberg is the person who came up with a famous brace from the 60s you all ought to learn about if you never have he’s the one who said don’t trust anyone over 30. that’s often an attribute to Bob Dylan or the Beatles it was Jack Weinberg and the other key figure the spontaneous leader of the students protesting for free speech in 64 was a young man named Mario Savio who is no longer with us – he passed away in 1996. Interesting guy, by the way. I share this because I’m sure most of you – this is 60 years ago now – don’t know much about this period, or the figures involved, so I’ll be – it was an interesting figure. Among other things, he had a stutter in ordinary conversation, with the way we talked to our fellow human beings, except when he was agitated and in front of a crowd. When he became frighteningly articulate, an interesting little wrinkle just from a human study point of view uh at halfway point between them. And today, our guest [unintelligible] a Berkeley – Navy – a Berkeley Law graduate, uh, arrived here to take his degree in law, and eventually he went on from Berkeley Law.
Having grown up in Virginia – Berkeley High School graduate, that’s sometimes like a joke, the only thing possibly worse than UC Berkeley has to be Berkeley High School, but I don’t know about that but suspicion. I have, anyway, uh, Jeff went on from his education to become one of the premier antitrust lawyers in the United States, which is saying something today, is general counsel for Stand Together, which is the operating foundation for the Charles T. Koch Foundation and Koch Industries and he will share with us what he learned from Mario Savio and the wider movement with which he’s associated.
[JEFF OGAR] Yeah, thank you. First, I want to thank Professor Yoo, uh, for inviting me here today. This – we had this idea a couple months ago, and uh thanks Steve for for the kind introduction and, and thanks to all of you for for being here. I did the math; it’s been 23 years since I set foot in this building, which is nearly half my life, so I guess to take some advice from Jack Weinberg, don’t trust anything I say, but, uh – it – half my life, which is nearly hard to believe, so I want to ask this: When you guys got admitted – do they still send around the document of what to expect when you get to Berkeley? Did you get that in your admissions? So, when I enrolled, they sent a document – it was like, here’s all the the weird stuff about Berkeley. But for me, I just read it and said, well this is sort of silly. Everybody knows this. You know People’s Park is strange, don’t be surprised to see naked people going down the street, um, but I mean this – this was my home. I was born and, um, I’ve been home dozens of times since graduating; going to Cal football games, visiting my mom, coming out for other reasons. But I’ve never been back in this building until this day – and so again- really, thanks for the invitation. And to be honest, when I graduated in 1999, I was bitter about this place. I really did not have a good time here. I enrolled at Berkeley as a transfer. I felt when I got the admission, like I’d gotten Willy Wonka’s golden ticket. So let me see show of hands – who here could not muster a three-point in either high school or college?
I am the least academically qualified person to have been admitted in my class. Berkeley High 2.9, Sacramento State. 2.9. The idea of becoming a student here was laughable to a lot of people, but I finished my first year of law school at Baylor. I did well enough to transfer. One of the great things, I think, Berkeley Law does is this transfer program. It’s not just, oh we lost seven students from the 1L class, we’ll bring seven students in. What is the best predictor of who is going to do well in law school – who just did well in law school. And, so I remember they told us 20 transfers – make Order of the Coif, as opposed to 10 of the student body overall, so I was here. I was excited. I remember, uh, getting the call July 1st of 1997. The deity admissions period closed. Edward Tom called me, told me I was admitted. I thought it was a joke – one of my friends pranking me, and I was really excited. And then after two years of being hissed at, shouted down, literally asked in one class – quote who let you in, we don’t want you here. I just had enough, and I was like, I’m done with this place. I don’t want to come back, and to be clear, I think a lot of my disdain was rightfully earned, but I think a lot of it was also my own doing.
I was like many people in their 20s, a lot more of a Firebrand. I was a lot more concerned about making a point than persuading anybody. That I just I knew I was right. I just wanted to make a point, uh, but then you learn as a lawyer that you can yell at a jury all you want – they’ve got to agree with you. It was one of the great points our trial practice professor made was, you know, if they don’t get them to agree with you before you tell them what you’re thinking, and then they’ll think they convinced you, or they figured it out before you did. So, over the years, I’ve had a lot of great mentors benefit of [unintelligible] wisdom. I’ve changed not so much in my fundamental beliefs. Some of the things I believe have changed over time.
But my north star really remains the same, but it’s how I approach interacting with people I disagree with, and who I agree with. So, I think this talk is going to be a lot different than it would have been if it had been 20 years ago say so I was first going to ask by a field of hands who here has heard of Mario Savio and then give a history lesson but Steve you did far better a job then I possibly could have I will say there’s one person in the room my mom was here when that happened my parents moved out here in the 60s my dad was enrolling in various graduate programs to avoid going to Vietnam they defended People’s Park they bought little red books from the Black Panthers on Sprout Plaza we watched a documentary where Bobby CL said, oh these suckers they would buy these things by the dozens we were just raising money we’d never even read it I grew up all around this place and the other interesting fact is the first job that my mom had on this campus was in the math department working with a young Professor named Ted Kaczynski – the Unabomber – so Berkeley is a weird place, and I remember, uh, she told me a story the FBI called her they were interviewing everybody and they said do you remember him being particularly weird and she said it was the math department at Berkeley in the city not even the top three in weirdness um so if you spent most of her time in the School of Public Health here I spent countless hours on this campus before becoming a student I mean this place is in My DNA, so it’s it’s sort of a dichotomy I’ve always been frustrated with Berkeley but I’m also just Barry Berkeley to the core, um, and if you think about the irony of it – and Steve you alluded to it 60 years ago.
Mario Savio and Jack Weinberg and others were rallying for the Civil Rights movement on the Berkeley campus and they got canceled by the University and they spoke up five years ago being a conservative on campus could get you violently canceled by students or community members and in some cases by the university itself. The reactions from the establishment Right, in the 1960s, and the progressive Left, today, are eerily similar; and so I think it’s a sign of the danger of pure majoritarian rule when two wolves and a sheep get to argue and vote on a cruise for dinner. That’s not a good outcome for the sheep, it’s why our civil liberties are so important. If you think differently, if you look differently, if you act differently, if you dissent, if you stand up – those are the people who find themselves on the short end of stick in this world, and it doesn’t matter if it’s the lawful use of force by the government or the unlawful use of force by the mob to have a functioning society. We all have to band together to make sure that being different doesn’t make you a second class citizen that our civil liberties are that important.
So I want to kick off with the first quote from Mario Savio that – that I think really speaks to me: Freedom of speech is something that represents the very dignity of what a human being is if you cannot speak. I mean that’s what marks us off. It marks us off from the stones and the Stars you can speak freely it is almost impossible for me to describe it as the thing that marks us as just below the angels I don’t want to push this beyond where it should be pushed, but I feel it I mean I I hope all of you in this room I mean like do you think he was pushing it beyond the boundary or I mean I think he was spot on I mean all those things the very dignity of who we are what marks us off just below the angels that is how important freedom of speech freedom and expression, freedom of association, the other freedoms guaranteed in our Bill of Rights. I think those things are just critically important to who we are. And when you think about the governments that most restrict those freedoms – Nazi Germany in the 1930s, the Soviet Union, Cuba, China, North Korea, Venezuela, suppressing free expression is the first step toward totalitarianism. Speech is a threat to those dictators, to those authoritarians.
When Lech Walesa helped topple the Polish Communist Party he did it with words baklava and Czechoslovakia. The students at Tienenmen Square, speech has power, and the power to control speech allows you to consolidate more power. And only speech and expression are free and we all be free. So that’s why I think it’s – defending – it’s such an important thing to defend.
Well, I remember when Milo Yiannopoulos’s speech at Berkeley was canceled in 2017. I will say I have no real interest in hearing from him. I – I agree with what then-Chancellor Dirk said, he’s a troll and a provocateur, who uses odious behavior in part to entertain. That’s the way you get clicks – that’s where you get audiences. I don’t really want to hear what he had to say, but he had a right to say it, and the best way to show that he’s full of bad ideas is to counter them with a bunch of better ideas. If you silence him, you just make him a martyr, and you make him more important and more powerful. The other thing – this – I was very disappointed in the university. The university needs to fight – that is his first priority fighting – to protect that speech. You cannot say: oh, you’re welcome to bring speakers on, but you have to cover the security costs because that just tells the mob [unintelligible], drive the security costs up and then you can effectively silence speakers. And the university is effectively complicit. But I think after 2017 – and you all can tell me better than I know – but I feel like the reaction to that was swift.
Ann Coulter had her event pulled later that year. Again, I don’t particularly want to listen to a speech by Coulter, but she has every right to say it. But I think after that, and then Ben Shapiro came on campus, and I think the university actually covered six hundred thousand dollars in security costs to make sure that he could speak. But I don’t know if you all have any thoughts, but do you feel like the university is doing a better job of defending those rights and fighting for your right to speak out? I have a different idea – or is it still kind of, you know, keep your head down? Um, I think the sad fact is that it’s just freedom of speech is under attack across the country, and it’s not just here. I’ve actually joked with people – everything you see that you think is crazy across the country today, I had a front-row seat, too. 25 years ago, when Iowa State banned speech that the university deemed “not necessary.” Insane. Who are they to determine what speech is necessary at North Carolina State to speak on campus? You need advanced written permission and these are public universities…
Uh, just today, I saw an article about a Pennsylvania county banning political discussion in a public park. Pennsylvania, one of the original 13 states, um, you know, home of the Liberty Bell, and you can get arrested for passing out a – a petition in a public park. And even [unintelligible] a lot of these speech codes end up being embraced by the students – 40, according to one poll, say hate speech is not free speech, and then define hate speech is anything they disagree with 20 are okay with using violence to stop objectionable speakers so we see headlines like Michigan College arrest kids for handing out constitutions, lines about being vilified when students sue. I mean that’s just an incredible headline to me – they’re handing out pocket-sized copies of the US Constitution on Constitution Day. Let’s go back to what I said – my mom bought little red books from the Black Panthers on this campus in the 1960s and they had every right to sell them and she had every right to buy them and both of them had every right not to read it, as I’m sure they didn’t. But to give away the U.S Constitution on Constitution Day and to have the university say, well, look what what did we do wrong? Just file some paperwork, get a permit. What’s the big deal?
I’m pretty sure the people at that college needed to read the pocket Constitution and not take it away, or there was a case before the Supreme Court – a Nigerian student had recently become a Christian and wanted to uh share a testimony with people. The campus security said no, no, you have to go to the Free Speech Zone, it’s a small little patio uh you have to sign up uh you have to get a permit you have to you just designate a time where we’ll let you speak so he went and then security came back and they said we’re sorry you quote Disturbed the peace and comfort of the students and faculty and so he shut up he was silent the rest of his time on campus 8-1 the Supreme Court held that this was flagrantly in violation of the First Amendment Justice Thomas wrote the opinion justices Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan joined when you get that coalition, you know you have made a mistake. As an aside, does anybody know who dissented and why?
So, it was Chief Justice Roberts, and it was purely on a procedural point, uh, the student had graduated, the policy had been repealed, and so he said look: this is moot – you shouldn’t be awarding nominal damages simply to get the case to judgment. so it’s not like it was really 8-1 on the question of the First Amendment violation so then I think the question becomes where’s the ACLU and I think as the New York Times wrote they’re having a quote identity crisis it’s a far cry from 1978 when they defended the right of Illinois Nazis to Martin Skokie Ira Glasser a devout Jew is defending the right of Illinois Nazis from March and Skokie even The Blues Brothers hate Illinois. Nazis, everybody – nobody wants to hear from Illinois Nazis in Skokie, but they have a right to. But then after Charlottesville, the ACLU announced they would balance representing right-wing groups whose values are contrary to our values against the potential such a case might give offense to marginalized groups. But that misses the point. Bill Maher said look: Nazis are a hateful bunch, but that’s what the First Amendment is all about. It doesn’t mean shut up and agree with me. Now, to be clear, the ACLU is still a partner in the fight. They’ve been a good partner with us in two of the cases I’ve worked on, but I think this has left a little bit of a gap. So what do we do? Well, one of the groups that I work with, Stand Together Trust – and I’ll just correct a little bit since it’s going on YouTube. We’re actually not part of Koch Industries, uh, we are, uh, we were founded by Charles Koch, but his goal is for us to be a movement where people look for bottom-up solutions. He wants to, you know, you guys go run your shop.
I’m a supporter – I’m a fan, uh, but we are our own independent organization. But we’re a proud partner in fires 75 million dollar expansion from going – from being a campus-based Free Speech group. The one that’s going to fight for free speech any place, any time, by anyone. So they rename themselves the Foundation for Digital Rights and Expression. Their executive director spoke at one of our events, and one of our donors asked a question, he said: you know, you made this passionate statement about how you know you have leaders from across the political spectrum and you’re obviously the conservative who’s kind of your liberal counterpart and he says I am the liberal counterpart. I’m – he’s like, I’m liberal. I just strongly believe in Free Speech, but I think that speaks to the group that you don’t know what his politics are, because they’re irrelevant to the fight. They’ll defend free expression no matter who the speaker, and they’re actually the ones who sued in Pennsylvania saying it’s absurd that you can have a public park where you can’t actually speak more directly.
I’ve gotten to work on a couple of really great Free Speech cases in my time with Americans for Prosperity and Americans Prosperity Foundation. The first one was a New Jersey law and passed in 2019. It seemed on its face relatively benign, it said: if you engage in political advocacy, then you have to disclose your donors. One thing you should just keep an eye on, as you go through your careers – there’s a lot of times people will say: hey, here’s a law and it’s going to solve this problem over here. And everybody will say yeah, that’s a problem. But ask yourself – is there already a law that solves that problem, and is this law really trying to get to something else?
There is already a lot. If you got involved in elections in New Jersey, you had to disclose your donors, so that was already the law. They were redefining what “political” meant. Pure issue advocacy, if you want – if your group wanted to say: please tell legislator ‘so-and-so’ to vote for or against ‘such-and-such’ a bill. Political, so it was so vague that we actually had a mailer we had put out, and we put – we said look: we can’t tell whether this is political or not. How can we be expected to speak if we don’t know the consequences of our speech? So the judge asked – said okay, is this mailer political or not political? And the Attorney General’s lawyer said, I don’t know, at which point I thought well, we clearly won the case because you imagine being told you have to publicly disclose your donors if you anything political. But then we won’t tell you what political means – that it can mean anything.
So the judge, who was appointed by President Obama, um, one of the most prepared judges I’ve ever seen – he got up on the podium – he stood the whole time. He just immediately went into questions. He clearly read the briefs, clearly dug in. wrote a great opinion – agreeing with us. Enjoining the law, and my favorite passage from that is dicta, but I think it really is compelling. He said, because one of the issues we were able to have it in joint faithfully. But we said also as applied to us it should be enjoined, and he said in a climate marked by the so-called Cancel or Call-out culture that has resulted in people losing employment, being ejected, or driven out of restaurants while eating their meals, and where the internet removes any geographic barriers to cyber harassment of others in addition to AFP’s list of threats already experienced against those AFP stakeholders whose identities have become known.
A reasonable probability standard strikes a core to the left burdens defendants maintain I thought it was great he said look it’s not less important now it’s more important you could have somebody who gives to an organization who lives in California who has no idea what that organization is doing in New Jersey who ends up on a list and then loses their job because that organization took a position the donor didn’t know about didn’t make it it was just it was it was incredibly over broad law and thankfully was enjoying the second case uh was a little more exciting I went to the Supreme Court in 2020 called Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Ponca that was a 6:3 opinion authored by Chief Justice Roberts and it affirmed a principal in a line of cases beginning with NAACP versus Alabama that the government cannot compel an organization to disclose its members – donors – unless the government meets an exacting scrutiny standard substantial relation between the disclosure requirement sufficiently important governmental interest narrowly tailored to the government’s assertive interest.
The fact that NAACP v. Alabama were pretty jarring it’s Jim Crow Alabama the NAACP is setting up shop and the Attorney General says well we’d like to see your member list just to you know send out a welcoming basket just to know who’s doing business here I mean nobody believed that’s what the Attorney General of Alabama the NAACP is setting up shop and the Attorney General says well we’d like to see your member list just to you know send out a welcoming basket just to know who’s doing business here I mean nobody believed that’s what the Attorney General of Alabama was looking to do fast forward I thought the facts of our case were pretty clear-cut do California Attorney General’s office collected these Form 990 Schedule B’s list of donors that you send to the IRS – they wanted every charity registered in California – 60,000 of them – to send their Schedule B’s into the Attorney General’s office when we went to trial. We asked can you point to a single example where your pre-investigation collection of a schedule B helped you bring a case. It couldn’t not – one years and years and years of these documents and not one case where they can say, yeah, by having this document in advance, as opposed to just saying, hey, we’re sending a subpoena, you need to send us your donor list. Not one example of advancing the Attorney General’s office. Worse, thousands were inadvertently disclosed Planned Parenthood schedule view is disclosed. Imagine being a donor to Planned Parenthood and your name is thrown out there, or if you’re a donor to a right-to-life group – you’re assured your gift will remain confidential.
It’s a controversial issue. Where you see violence and now your name is thrown out there, your privacy is violated because the state is careless. In fact, during trial, the State said, oh yeah, it was a mistake. We fixed the problem so we went and we figured out that you just when you looked at the Schedule B’s there was a backslash – page equals one backslap, page equals three, and you did backslash, page equals two and Schedule B came up. So he said, oh you’re on, they didn’t fix it. So we won a trial. Uh, the case went to, um, the Ninth Circuit back to the trial court, back to the Ninth Circuit, up to the Supreme Court. I think what’s most remarkable about the case is not beholding all it really did, I think, was reaffirmed versus Alabama Shelton v. McKinley. It wasn’t about political speech or advocacy speech. Chief Justice Roberts said exact name scrutiny applies to every disclosure requirement, electoral or otherwise. Even the Biden Administration said the Ninth Circuit got it wrong, but what’s incredible about the case is how ideologically diverse the coalition that came together to defend for speed was.
So there was one politician who who likes to talk a lot about right-wing flotillas of amicus briefs; well here’s some of the groups that were on our side: the ACLU – not just the state chapter the national ACLU David Cole signed the brief NAACP legal defense and education fund the Human Rights Campaign, because the Human Rights Campaign knows damn well that if it weren’t for donor privacy, the gay rights movement would have been squashed into infancy – that it was critical when homosexuality was something you didn’t talk about, something you were openly discriminated against for.
For those donors that have the right to privacy, and I’m proud that they joined our break council for Islam American Islamic relations – PETA – one brief at naral pro choice North Carolina and Wisconsin Right to Life, on the same brief, like these two groups agree about nothing: a southern pro-choice group and a Midwestern pro-life group, and they’re on the same brief supporting the principle of free speech. I think it was one of the things I was proudest to ever be involved in – not just because we won, but because the way we won and any opinion even referenced it. This was not a case about conservatives or liberals or progressives or Republicans or Democrats, this was a case where everybody came together and said: look there is value in being able to participate in society anonymously, so I’m really proud of that, so we’ve established it’s important to let others speak – not just if you disagree with them, but especially if you disagree with them.
Those are – that’s the kind of speech you need to stand up for. But that’s not enough; you need to seek out the people who you disagree with, let them challenge your paradigms. Hopefully they’ll let you challenge theirs, and that brings me to the next quote from Mario Savio: The university is a vast public utility which turns out future workers in today’s [unintelligible] the military industrial complex – they’ve got to be processed in the most efficient way to see to it that they have the fewest dissenting opinions, that they have just those characteristics that are wholly incompatible with being intellectual.
This is real internal psychological contradiction people have to suppress. The very questions which reading books raises. So does anybody here think that any university today is doing a great job getting people to consider or even adopt dissenting opinions to the status quo? And college used to be about going and having your entire world view challenged, and now it’s about having the entire world view that you got in high school confirmed. The times in politics may have changed, but I think students and people generally are far too eager to just avoid dissenting opinions. We get very tribal – I got tribal – when I got out of here. I wanted to – I went to Orange County, California. It’s like I am getting out of Berkeley and getting with my kind, but here’s what I found growing up in Berkeley: I’m just a contrarian, so when I’m around very conservative people, I like to just poke at the things I think are inconsistent about what they say. So the beauty of being a Libertarian is everybody hates me a little bit. So what can we take about this – it’s not enough to just defend freedom of speech and express – and we need a pluralistic society where people don’t just tolerate ideas that make them uncomfortable. We seek them out.
There’s a lot of talk about you know we need to believe the science we need to follow the science – that’s the scientific method. That’s the whole premise behind the scientific method. There was a time when everybody knew the Earth was the center of the universe, and the sun rotated around, because we also [unintelligible] up in the morning and go around in the evening. Galileo challenges the Church – they called him a heretic and sentenced him to house arrest. It’s insane, right, nobody that just seems crazy – there are a dozen things that you and I believe today that are dead wrong, that will know we’re dead wrong in a generation. You have to be willing – that’s what the scientific method is about. I have a hypothesis, and now I want to disprove it. I remember when I did antitrust law, we were trying to show that something in the airline industry had changed, and there was a professor who had written a study that showed that airline alliances were good for competition. And our hypothesis was they were, but now they’re bad. And I asked them – I was like, hey can you take your model and rerun it with today’s data and see if the world has changed? And he goes, well I don’t want to. I said what do you mean you don’t want to? Well, I might just prove my hypothesis. It’s like, what kind of junk sign, like, I know that economics is not the most scientific of sciences, but come on. Like, falsifying your hypothesis is the greatest thing you can do as a scientist.
Even physical science can be really instructive here. Can anybody tell me what the second Law of Thermodynamics is? There’s probably a science major in here, is going to embarrass me when I say… but, so quick statement it is essentially this any isolated system left is spontaneous evolution always trends towards entropy – a state of disorder. Randomness. Uncertainty. If you leave an ice cube out on the counter and your room is at room temperature, the ice cube will melt. The room will get slightly colder, you won’t notice it, but everything will trend towards equilibrium. To keep it frozen, you need to apply energy. The only thing that keeps things ordered is energy, so what’s the point in this? Well, entropy applies to people and societies as well, unless we’re consistently learning, constantly expanding the sources of our knowledge, constantly challenging what we believe. Our intellect will melt like the ice cube, and you can’t do that just by surrounding yourself by a bunch of people who agree with you. You have to find people who challenge you -who disagree with you; otherwise you’re going to take intellectually lazy positions and defend them with bad arguments.
When I was at Georgia Pacific, that was a fundamental – like anybody could challenge anybody about anything as long as it was focused on the issues, respectful and constructive. And it helped us make better decisions, and it’s at the core of becoming a lawyer. When you write a brief, do you just find the cases that support your argument and file your brief? If you want to get a bad grade, or lose your case, that’s what you do but when I wrote my first brief, I spent more time trying to refute my arguments. I actually wrote a whole brief and then I destroyed it and then I rewrote it again with better arguments. That’s the best way to find the best answer to a question. I like to read the entirety of a case, not just a snippet that I think supports the point I’m trying to make. I have made a living off of finding cases in other people’s motions, reading them in their entirety, and then finding something in that case that supports my argument. And it’s pretty hard when you say to the judge, well your honor, I disagree. It’s like, well that’s your case counselor, you cited it. You can’t exactly run from it, so how do we do that and stand together? One of the key things we do is we try to create these pluralistic coalitions, and I think our work in fighting for the First Step Act is a great example.
In 2018, at a time of great partisan division, the first step back passed 87 to 12 in the Senate, and we were proud to be a part of that coalition. You had Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, who’s now the Democratic leader in the House, Senator Mike Lee, the ACLU, the Trump Administration. Everybody was behind this bill, and it was a good bill. It was the first step towards really reforming our federal criminal justice system. One of the best examples of the unlikely alliance: Van Jones, an Obama administration alum, CNN commentator and editor, for years criticized us in what we do. Mark Holden, who for years our organization that criticized what banned Jones. Did they did not like each other? They had many disagreements, but then they discovered Van Jones figured out Mark Holden used to be a prison guard and was passionate about criminal justice reform, so they found common ground. Now they still disagree like about 90 percent of things. Who cares? It was one of Ronald Reagan’s great quotes: Someone who is 70 percent in agreement with you is not 30 percent your enemy.
So you got to come together if it’s one thing you agree on. Frederick Douglass – and it’s a quote our our executimain ve conference room where we have all of our meetings with the CEO and the different leaders of capabilities. I mean, this is the conference room that is our our north star. We named it after Frederick Douglass. We have a first edition of his book in there, because our core principle is unite with anybody to do right. Nobody to do one of the the new members of Congress. I’m really proud that AFP action supported [unintelligible] South Carolina conservative Republican co-sponsored and passed a bill with Congressman Takano, from here in California. I am pretty sure that their disagreements span volumes, but they found an area where they agreed. They worked together, they passed a bill, it was signed into law. We need more of that. So I was hoping that Professor Alper would be here today. I call him Ty, because I went to high school with him. He was another board graduate of Berkeley High School. I will say Berkeley High School had its moments, uh the Berkeley House High School also helped make me who I am, so it’s frustrating, much like this flight. But I think it helps form you and make you better, so if you don’t know Ty or Professor Alper, he runs the Death Penalty Clinic, here at Berkeley. He and I do not agree on a lot of things. I was going to ask him how many things we agree on. He wasn’t feeling well today, but – or at least that’s what he said. Maybe just didn’t want to come, but but you know, he is vehemently opposed to the death penalty. I support capital punishment, in concept. I’m skeptical about how we apply it, but we agree on at least two things: number one, and I hope everybody here can agree on these two things – number one, executing an innocent person is perhaps the greatest offense against humanity; that a government, number two, cruel and unusual punishment violates the Eighth Amendment.
How do I know that? Because it says cruel and unusual punishment has been in violation of the Eighth Amendment. If you don’t agree with that, read Just Mercy. Try not to throw it across the room in anger, uh in the middle of it. It is a very eye-opening book. But one of the things I never understood about capital punishment was you keep moving the goal posts on what’s cruel and unusual. I understand the arguments about why the gas chamber, or the electric chair is cruel and unusual. Those arguments seem easy to follow, but like who here has had to put a pet to sleep? I had to do it in 2018, and it seemed peaceful and humane. It was loving, it was the hardest thing I’d ever had to do, but it was the right thing to do. And it was peaceful and humane, so if we could do that why can’t we make a lethal injection humane? So I thought, you know, I could just sit there and you know agree with myself. But I knew Ty would disagree with me, so you know I was like – hey how can you argue this? He sent me a paper that he wrote and it talked about the three-drug cocktail and the history of the paralytics, like yurari and the issues there. It was well reasoned, it was persuasive. I did not agree with every word in there, but a lot of it changed the way I thought about the issue. I don’t just tolerate Ty’s progressive, left-wing beliefs – I seek them out, because he’s one of the smartest Lefty people I know from Berkeley. And he’ll actually talk to me, so those two things together make him an incredible resource. His wife Tamar is great, too; she’s big in drug policy. She and I, again, don’t find a lot of overlap, but on drug policy we are completely in agreement. So even where we have those disagreements with people, we need to do it with civility.
And that to me what was most heartbreaking about what happened here in 2017. I disagree with lots of things Milo Yiannopoulos had to say, probably most of the people going to it would have disagreed with things, but we have to do it peacefully. You can’t set the whole house on fire – and that was probably my greatest feeling when I was younger. I just sort of believed I’m right, everybody else is wrong. And if you even take a wit of an uncivil tone with me, I’m coming at you. I did it with people from the Left, when I thought they were wrong. I did it with people from the Right. I even got thrown out of a College Republicans meeting for disagreeing with them in a disagreeable manner. In fairness, they started it, but I got tossed out. And looking back, my first two years of college I spent at Whittier, which was Richard Nixon’s alma mater. Not usually the best thing to heed life advice from Richard Nixon, but there’s a quote from him that I think is really, really wonderful: Those who hate you don’t win unless you hate them, and then you destroy yourself. And that was his downfall. Iin full disclosur,e I still struggle with it. I’m not on Facebook or Twitter – it’s too easy to take the bait, so I just was like I’m getting out.
So free speech is important pluralism, is important. The last quote – I won’t go through the whole thing, but it’s his most favorite one. He talks about you’ve got to put your [unintelligible] upon the gears and upon the wheels and upon the levers, upon all the apparatus. And you’ve got to make it stop. It’s a little intense, certainly not a metaphor anybody should follow too closely, but what can we take from that? And I’ll give you a little context about how I got here today to help explain it. If you told me when I was in bartending school in Arlington Virginia in 1995 a College Dropout who went to go work on Capitol Hill very quickly learned I didn’t want to work on Capitol Hill I had no idea what I was going to do with my life did not have the grades to do anything like come to Berkeley for law school and you if you told me I’d graduate from this place order of the koi and end up leading the legal capability for a philanthropic community that Advocates against top-down approaches to complex problems and tries to empower a wide range of people that innovate and Tackle tough challenges you told me that was where I’d be in 25 years hey I’d have said you were crazy and be out or signed up in a heartbeat it’s an issue I’ve been passionate about my entire adult life and somehow I ended up in that role but you wouldn’t have guessed it in 2018 when I got the job I didn’t join the Federalist society when I was at Berkeley I just sort of kept myself accepting I would say things in class um there would be three kinds of people the people who would yell at me and hiss at me the my favorite people who which were the the left-wing people who said I disagree with what you have to say but at least you make class interesting because at least I’m hearing something different and then there were the people who would quietly say like I agree with you I just I don’t want to speak up so I didn’t join the parallel Society I just decided to go be an antitrust lawyer go to the big law route did the law firm thing for a while then went in-house American Airlines Georgia Pacific other than running for City Council in 2009 you never would have known that I had any interest in what I do today so what did I do to get prepared for this role because on paper I didn’t seem like a good candidate for it and I’m gonna impart a little bit from the life lessons from Mario Savio and you’re going to get a little bit of the life lessons from me on how to be successful as a new lawyer um first be principle I can honestly say I’ve never Advanced an argument that I didn’t believe was a fair application of the law to a set of facts I’ve never withheld a requested document because it would harm my case I produced documents that I know would harm my case because it’s the right thing to do we have a duty to zealously advocate for our clients but we are officers of court and the system doesn’t work if we bend that rule you don’t have to agree with the result of your argument it doesn’t mean that somebody can’t have a different interpretation of the law it doesn’t mean you can’t Advance long-shot arguments that you still think are supported by the law just don’t make it up out of thin air I’ll give you an egregious example of how to lose a case by doing that first case I ever handled start to finish we’re doing summary judgment briefs I I get the opposition and I read this passage from my best case and it’s devastating and I’m thinking to myself how did I miss this like if this is devastating right so I surfboard it was from The Descent and I didn’t know it was in The Descent because they didn’t put dissenting in the parenthetical uh to say a pounced on that would be an understatement I probably overdid it only time in my career I’ve ever written a sentence in bold I pallets and under one Lina failed to disclose this was from The Descent so we get to the court and the the judge uh says you know I want to talk about this issue of trying to mislead the court first so if the normally you’re the moving party you go up first and then the non-moving party comes up next life lesson here if you’re going to be a litigator if the judge ever calls up the non-moving party like and you’re the moving party shut up just say to the judge what I said your honor if you have any questions I’m happy to answer them but otherwise I’m content to rest on my brief she saw a 27 year old he was very excited to do his first oral argument in federal court who just basically opted out got a big smile on her face and said I have no questions counselor case is submitted so they blew up their credibility and I still think we had a winning case but when you’re the judge and you see they’re willing to lie about that now you apply a more skeptical lens to everything else so be principles stick to this principles second related point this is a profession and not a job and you need to act like it it’s there’s a need for work-life balance and no you should not neglect your family in the search for the next available hour but I don’t think I’m successful because I’m smarter and I’m certainly not more successful because I work more hours than anybody else but my client knows that when they need me I’m there they’re confident that when they need me to help them I’ll be by their side no matter what and that’s what they respect I can be trusted to follow through and when you’ve got that reputation you can get that work-life balance good example for that one month before my wedding it’s crazy I have two major class actions that I was managing two big transactions one in a doj second request which is a big deal in any trough the other one was headed to a second request I literally worked from the moment I woke up until 2 am every day for a month I think we had to track our hours and uh I think I got close to 400. even the law firm Partners I was working with were like wow this is like you need to slow down and it was the month before my wedding Again full disclosure this was a convenient way for me to get out of wedding planning so I did not play too hard but when it came time for my honeymoon my boss rallied and said Jeff you get out of here for two weeks things have slowed down a little bit I’ll hold the ship down check your email once a day get on calls if we need you so you can have the work-life balance it’s not about working more it’s just about being there when you really need here’s the other part of professionalism be professional never make it personal never name call never demonized if you write something that felt good throw it away I have written especially in my younger years many many many letters to opposing counsel that ended up in the trash stick to the issues Fight Hard keep the effective to a minimum go through whatever you write find you know if you can search for adjectives just take them out uh give you an example of how that pays off when I was at American Airlines we would do a lot of fighting with our competitors in the Department of Transportation dockets I put together a really long brief it was quick I forgot to adapt a couple of references to confidential information 100 my fault honest mistake but inexcusable United Airlines could have rightly taken us and me to task but they didn’t my mentor’s reputation for professionalism was Sterling he’s the only lawyer I’ve ever met who nobody’s ever had not even a neutral word to say about but everybody loved him he was so respected by our opponents that they quietly called us and they said hey we know you didn’t mean this but we got to figure this out D.O.T respected him so much that they quietly substituted in a new page because the problem was if you file a motion to withdraw the public filing everybody’s going to say oh what’s in there that’s interesting so they didn’t want to call more attention to it so if you’re a professional if you never let things get personal it’s going to pay off third piece of advice it’s not about you and if you want it to be about you start a business start a non-profit become a client I took a class here called lending transactions I didn’t understand it at the time but I understand it now he said if you want to get rich become a client lawyers sell their time we are service providers we serve our clients it’s not about you it’s hard to realize that at a law firm because of the law firm it is about you the law firm exists for you but when you go in-house it becomes really clear we’re a supporting past we’re a cost center we’re part of a team whose job it is to make the organization better not to be the center of attention if you walk into a room thinking you’re the most intelligent or important person there you are wrong my CEO at Georgia Pacific had a bachelor’s degree from Cal State Hayward he was smarter than me and could run circles around me on just about any issue including the law which was very frustrating as a lawyer usually you feel like hey I’ve got three years of training at least I can no he could he could run circles around me on that fourth be a lifelong learner biggest mistake I made was I got specialized really quickly again this mindset I had like I know it I know everything I’m always right I did not I don’t think I ever spoke to Professor you hear about like hey this is my mindset we’re very what should I do nope I know what I’m doing I’m keeping my head down I’m just going to be arrogant and do that I want to be an antitrust lawyer that’s all I’m going to do I’m going to be any interest lawyer well it was great I I did a really good job as an Anti-Trust lawyer and I had a wonderful practices in Andy trustler and the only thing I was qualified to do is it was being a nanny trust lawyer but in-house you can have opportunities to take on new things and I jumped on it when I had the chance at American slot regulations noise ordinances other regulatory matters a GP they asked me to take on International Trade which I had no interest in and I I resisted it a bit but my boss said it’s like look be a lifelong learner it may be boring but that you should be able to learn it quickly um without those skills as a lifelong learner I never would have gotten a job I have today I had never managed a single person in my entire life I was an individual contributor from the day I walked out of here until the day I took my current job and then they asked me to manage a team of a dozen people and actually create that team from three separate groups I knew about antitrust law and a little bit about a few other areas none of which were relevant to stand together now I had to do tax law contract law political law lobbying law intellectual property law so go back to my point about entropy the minute you stopped learning you start dying keep learning if you’re dead set on being a litigator take a course on transactional work if you think litigation purifies you I don’t know if they still do trial practice here best class I took while I was here if Professor masanti still does it definitely sign up for his section taught me more than anybody else here if you can self-actualize by being a lifelong learner you will see the dividends pay off and the last bit of advice is be humble and surround yourself with people who make you better now I’ve struggled with this at times particularly in my younger years I know it’s easy for me to say boy if you’d only know me then you’d have really thought I was a head case and it’s true but I’ve been called cocky I’ve been called arrogant it was true but I look back at the people who out make me the lawyer I am today it’s much more about what they gave me than any innate talent that I have when you look at the intellectual Firepower of the people here like if you think you’re the smartest person here well one person may be right but the reality of it is we’re all smart and different things in different ways it’s really what they helped me develop so I hate losing I like I hate losing more than I like winning and that’s what drives me but I just I try to make sure that I never assume I’m entitled to win if you have imposter syndrome embracing imposter syndrome is the best thing you can ever have I walked into our CEO’s office about six months into my current role and she said something nice about my work and I said oh I’m glad you said that I feel like I’m bombing out in this role I feel like I’m terrible and she’s like oh hey welcome to the club and just like she opened up the door and I got the jacket and like we all have imposter syndrome we all think we stink at our job and as I started to manage people I realized something the people who think they’re the best at their job often are the people who are actually the worst the people who think they’re the worst at their job and are constantly challenging themselves or working harder those are the people who I think really succeed and when you get old enough even though nobody will trust you give back that’s been my favorite part of my current role that I’ve got a team of now 15 people most of them are significantly younger than me seeing them develop helping teach them the lessons that so many other people taught me over the last 23 years and then to see them turn around and start teaching me some of their own lessons one of the people on my team uh and I’ve told them I was like I want you to challenge me I want you to tell me when I’m being you know I’m being dumb and I I did something and he said look yeah I think this is totally wrong and here’s what I think you should do and then he sort of he’s got a military background so he’s sort of like was ready for I was like that’s awesome man thank you thank you for saying because you’re dead right yeah I’m completely wrong on this and I never would have figured that out on my own so let’s bring it back to the original topic though stay involved even if you go the big law route or the in-house route or any other route stay involved if you’re in this room you’re probably passionate about these sorts of issues look for opportunities pro bono to represent clients on cases you believe in look for opportunities to apply the law in your everyday practice in a way that helps up build the rule of law and a textualist approach to applying it be a professional serve your client well stay committed to the ideas of free speech and pluralism I think those are the things that will really Drive success and um if there’s anything they say it’s that just keep an open mind and you know support free speech and pluralism no matter what the cost so thanks for your time today and I’ll open it up for any questions that you have or might have thank you Jeff that was a wonderful it was a wonderful blend of analysis of the general seed and lessons from personal experience um I want to turn over to people who got asked your questions in a minute I want to have already I’ll do I’ll introduce the microphone holder in just a second I want to go back to something you said earlier in your talk that wouldn’t apply perhaps a little quickly in this work uh expanding a little bit and connect you also to the two quotes you gave from Mario asabio which I think are extraordinary looking back from right now the only thing she pointed out was um I’ll rephrase it this way if you go back to the 50s and McCarthyism you have people then defending free speech and academic freedom that was mostly the people that uh either reflective communist sympathies or members of the Communist party right and uh uh and right it was conservative seeing ought to be limits to academic freedom you know William F Buckley famously said that can’t be an unlimited concept okay today the shoes on the other foot right that’s an argument now coming more from the left and from the right how did we change places what how did this happen I’m still troubled by this and the fact that most people don’t recognize how the two sides have changed places because now it’s regularly on off he didn’t say his name but he used to have a fire although he’s a former ACLU person he’s very much of a Libertarian persuasion on free speech and now it’s the the camps of Swiss places yeah I mean my personal opinion is that it’s you know power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely um if you were to look at the political persuasion of professors on this campus in the 1950s and the political persuasion of the people the professors on this campus today very very different in my opinion and so when you have when you become the majority when you have the power to control speech then that is the Temptation oh sorry go ahead one of the things I think is most dangerous is you’re exactly right in the 50s it was the left wing who was fighting back against censorship from the right and now it’s it’s flipped what I see that’s really scary is it hasn’t just flipped now you see you know progressives on the left and nationalists on the right both so now you’re seeing people saying oh we we need to force Twitter to do certain things um now I mean call me crazy but the first amendment applies to government if Twitter wants to de-platform somebody that’s Twitter’s right um I’ve had some great arguments with with folks on our team about it where I said look under prune yard I think the state of California or you know other states would have the right to say that hey this is the Public Square and you can’t censors feature I think Bruno is a strongly decided I think if you’re a private actor you have the right to do what you want with your property that’s sin and Greg Luciano talked about this in the event I was at there’s the First Amendment issues which are the I mean that’s the head of the pin okay but there’s a whole other world out there that we need private actors who aren’t subject to the First Amendment to also Embrace free speech not because and so I think it was you know first it was the left that was being persecuted then it was the right now whoever gets in power I think you’re going to see efforts to suppress speech from these people yeah so um one of the things that uh that the this is for lost in the midst of time and you brought it back with a second quote from Mario Savio about how I distribute down the universities as he’s looking at the 1964 were conceived as a public utility some of the language actually used by people like Clark Kern and the president of the University of California was we need to be training this modern Workforce and your mother will probably remember this very well in those days when you can’t we have computers right when you came to campus to sign up for classes you were handed a number and a computer punch card an instruction sheet and big bold letters that would say Do not fold spindle or mutilate and one complaints of people like Savio and others were in order for the ideological or even left necessarily was there’s this vast conformism here it’s part of the part of the post-buttoning moment where we’re trying to train your Workforce through the technological Society well the point is that’s still continentality of universities today and it’s all gotten confused and jumbled um but uh so it took the reform sorry it took the form of rebellion from the left of the 60s primarily there were libertarian groups by the way on campus before we were all they were all marching side by side with Weinberg and Savio um but today the I think the ideological Conformity that skewed so much further to the left is now muddied all that and so the resistance comes from the right say in other words if you’re student Rebel today you’re probably on the right yeah and again I think you know on this campus yeah if you’re on the right you’re the rebel but one of the things I learned was I can be a rebel anywhere so I’ll give you a story from uh living in Denton County Texas uh Denton County Texas is to the right what Alameda County is to the left not in the big city very very politically to one side um so I’d run for city council I had it was actually one of the greatest experiences in my life there was uh uh a guy who’s running who was going to win he should have won he did win uh but I remember he called me early on he’s like hey let’s grab lunch and I immediately thought all right what’s your name gonna do like why are you we became friends and we had sworn to each other like no matter what happens where a were coming out of this as friends and B whoever loses the winner is going to endorse that person in two years for one of the other Open Seas and that’s the way it worked out and I moved to Atlanta he was one of the first people to call me and said he ruined it but after that election I was really proud I didn’t win I came in second of three which people were surprised by but my precinct I got record turnout and I got 90 of so the Denton County Republican party said hey you should be a Precinct chair I was like all right whatever it’s a good way to stay involved so they hand me the Texas Republican Party platform and they asked me to read it and then they’re uh I was saying interviewing was more of an interrogation there were rumors around that I was one of these weird libertarian guys and um I I think when I I said that I supported a non-discrimination ordinance for the City of Carrollton because the government can’t discriminate against people it’s the production Clause is pretty simple uh Whispers and rumors started uh so they handed it to me and then they asked me do you agree with 100 of this document and I said one anyone who answers that question yes is a liar or issue nobody who thinks for themselves would agree with 100 of a 50-page document and I said two I would guess I’m at about 40 percent I said I do not agree with your views on homosexuality I do not agree with your views on separation of church and state I do not agree with a wide range of your Social positions I do agree with you on the role of government on the need to be fiscally restrained on a whole list of other issues and again like Reagan said maybe we’re just 40 in agreement but that doesn’t mean we need to be happy um they tried to keep me so there were like three other people uh two of them got you know appointed by acclimation and they said they’d run out of time and they would reconsider me next month um and I just I thought that was just insane so that the executive director went to the county party chair and he said what’s what’s the end game here Jeff just got record turnout in his Precinct and he got 90 are we going to run somebody against him in the next primary for a Precinct chair do we really think we’re going to win why are you just why don’t we Embrace him and the 40 of the things he agrees with us on instead of driving away and so I think it’s it’s the case if you’re here you feel like it’s it’s skewed against you I guarantee you there’s parts of the country where it’s the exact opposite uh when I was a Baylor I saw it when I lived in Texas I saw it um there is just this tribalism that we feel um we surround ourselves with people who look like us one of the great questions I’ve ever heard was think about the 10 people closest to you how many of them have a bachelor’s degree or better for most of us it’s all 10. the odds of that statistically are zero no not actually zero but they’re essentially zero we’re traveling we surround ourselves with people we look like we we have to find ways to surround ourselves with people we don’t yeah I think the I think the statistic is still right now the the power population I think the numbers around 30 35 have a college degree go back to the street maybe we can’t figure yeah okay so take 0.35 to the 10th power that’s the obviously your ten closest friends at bachelor’s degrees I want to open up the floor to any questions or comments from students uh raise your hand and I’ll send the microphone your way uh to uh I always like to say we follow we tried to follow the Jeopardy rule which is make your statement in the front of the question do I see any hands uh well someone’s waiting for the Department related question you know one of the you mentioned officers of a Texas county in 1964 uh the deputy district attorney in this County was a guy named ed meese which you know what may not mean a whole lot to some of the younger people here he was Reagan’s Attorney General Ryan yeah it was a very different County then and again the way these things sort of spill out uh you’re not doing research on this the Auckland Tribune which these days I imagine is a conventional political newspaper I don’t know but no one reads it was famous anymore but their big banner headline over the first couple days with ruckus on campus were a big 64-point full type was Reds on campus what a relic of uh really almost the 50s right because it really wasn’t bad as I you look closer but that’s the way it fell out and caught on more popularly right um anyone want to ask Jeff the question yes please bring them up wait for the microphone please so that we have your Olympus voice recorded for posterity in bits and bytes and whatnot and share your name if you care if you don’t have to uh yeah my name is Milton um so as as you mentioned uh the Free Speech movement it was not just liberals but also their Libertarians their big Goldwater supporters and sometimes I wonder would that kind of Coalition have been possible near let’s say five years later with divisions of that era and a lot of people don’t think that kind of Coalition behind free speech on campus would be possible today so what do you think of that moment in time 1964 made that possible that’s a great question yeah because if I I mean I’ll tell you at the outset I don’t know because if I knew I would start doing it because we need it like we need that moment back um but you know if I had to guess it was you know I think this country fundamentally is in the middle and at that time I think if you look at which side was right right like who who was in the right in that fight not on the right but who’s you know who was fighting for the side of right yeah it was Mario Savio it was the Free Speech movement and they came together because there was this group in the middle that moved over one of the the folks we work with in a group called populus as rendered it’s a great book called Collective Illusions his name is Tom Rose um he’s done a lot of research he’s another guy his grades are even worse than me and he ended up being a professor at Harvard so that that’s how talented he is but he’s got this theory that we’re all afraid to say what we really mean and one of the great examples he has of it is there is no way that in the like three years you know if you take a year and a half before a burger fell in a year and a half after a burger fell and you look at sport for same-sex marriage there is no way the public opinion shifted that fast what shifted that fast was people’s willingness to say it right like it’s funny there was a guy who lost his job because he donated to The Prop 8 Committee in California which was about initiative to to ban city-spect marriages it was 2008 I think other people in 2008 publicly opposing gay marriage Barack Obama Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden like it was you know do you anybody really think that was their position at the time so we all have these privately held beliefs but there’s such a desire for Conformity it’s hardwired into our brain that if we thank everybody in the room believes something we will then just say like all right we’ll go along um so oh good no no please uh so so I I think that that’s probably part of it that as we become more polarized that group of people in the middle they’re willing to say hey I’m gonna go hang out here with these left-wing people and then on another issue hey I’m gonna go hang out here with these right-wing people that group is getting incredibly small and we need to find ways but I think it’s not getting small because people believe that because I think if you test their privately held beliefs there are more people who are willing to have that open mind that are willing to admit it so I think we just need to find ways to break that Collective illusion so that you know like the polls that say that 40 of students don’t believe in the first time I don’t think they really truly believe that I think they’re just saying it because they think it’s what needs to be said to get along and go along so that’s my hypothesis at least no one else if not I’ll ask and still time to get it in I’ll ask an active question here so it’s almost out of time uh it recently with these spectacular implosion of Sam bankman free of FDX we learned a new term that’s been around a while but I’ve missed it it’s effective altruism and and to take those words into some literal plain meaning never mind whether he might admit but it does strike me that that’s what Stan together is about and I don’t know if you Embrace that term or not or if you don’t Embrace that term how do you summarize or you want to give it one summary but invite you to expand on the uh more capacious about it so I’m a texture list so I believe in effective altruism however the way that it’s defined unfortunately I don’t necessarily agree with I think one of the flaws in the reasoning behind effective altruism is this and there was somebody at one of the first events I went to when I was at San Diego who said this he said I’m sick and tired of people who run businesses talking about their philanthropy as giving back when you say it’s giving back what you were effectively saying is that the way you got your wealth was by taking and that is a fundamental misconception life is not a zero-sum game now government can take because government has a monopoly on Force but the only way that you get rich in business if you have a truly free market is by creating the goods and services that people value and value enough to trade their money in exchange for your own so you don’t get written by taking you can again you can do that through the government and cronyism and I think too much of the market today is defined by cronyism but in a true entrepreneurial world you create value for others and that’s how you succeed and so I think that’s the the issue I take with effective altruism the idea is not I’m going to do evil so that I can accumulate the wealth to do good and the good that I do will surpass the evil that I’ve done I think your business should be creating long-term value for society that is good you should then take the resources that you’ve been blessed to get and be a philanthropist because that too is good and so that I think is my quibble with it it’s not doing wrong to do right you need to do right to do right yeah I think I think I think I know the person who made that speech about stop using giving back is your language right uh please join me in thanking Jeff.