During Tulane University’s commencement ceremony last Saturday, Apple CEO Tim Cook confessed to the graduating class, “In some important ways, my generation has failed you.” He’s right, but for all the wrong reasons.
Cook told the students he regrets that his generation “spent too much time debating,” a strange lament in a democratic republic. How does Cook wish his generation had behaved? “We’ve been too focused on the fight and not focused enough on progress,” by which he meant climate change. Our nation’s deliberative processes might suffice for trivial political questions, but when it comes to important issues like “climate change” — or global warming, or global cooling, or whichever pseudo-scientific term the politicians parrot this week — we must suspend our nation’s system of self-government in favor of whichever policy progressives deem necessary.
Cook’s anti-democratic tone struck a sharp contrast with the advice his predecessor Steve Jobs offered to graduating students at Stanford in 2005. “Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking,” Jobs explained. “Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.” In 1997, the recently rehired Jobs rebranded Apple with the slogan “think different.” Two decades later, his successor advised students to think the same.
“Human civilization began when we realized that we could do more together,” recalled Cook, for whom doing “more” means growing the government. “It’s worked before,” he insisted. “In 1932, the American economy was in a free-fall. […] Franklin Roosevelt refused to wait. He challenged the status quo and called for action.” Indeed he did. As UCLA economists Harold Cole and Lee Ohanian demonstrated in a four-year-long study, FDR’s actions likely prolonged the Great Depression by a full seven years.