Steve Jobs, ‘conservative.’ No, really.
This is fascinating stuff, from the new Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson, as reported by HuffPo:
Jobs, who was known for his prickly, stubborn personality, almost missed meeting President Obama in the fall of 2010 because he insisted that the president personally ask him for a meeting. Though his wife told him that Obama “was really psyched to meet with you,” Jobs insisted on the personal invitation, and the standoff lasted for five days. When he finally relented and they met at the Westin San Francisco Airport, Jobs was characteristically blunt. He seemed to have transformed from a liberal into a conservative.
“You’re headed for a one-term presidency,” he told Obama at the start of their meeting, insisting that the administration needed to be more business-friendly. As an example, Jobs described the ease with which companies can build factories in China compared to the United States, where “regulations and unnecessary costs” make it difficult for them.
Jobs also criticized America’s education system, saying it was “crippled by union work rules,” noted Isaacson. “Until the teachers’ unions were broken, there was almost no hope for education reform.” Jobs proposed allowing principals to hire and fire teachers based on merit, that schools stay open until 6 p.m. and that they be open 11 months a year.
How arrogant, to expect the president of the United States to ask you for a meeting. Still, this is fascinating stuff.
UPDATE: I love this comment, right out of the box from reader Harper Ree:
Fascinating but unappealing. And not just for the arrogance toward the president. Did Jobs understand that it’s easy to build a factory in China because the PRC government doesn’t give a rat’s a$$ about environmental protection? Or because slave labor is allowed? Did he understand that education policy is overwhelmingly decided at the state and local level?
UPDATE.2: I’ve put “conservative” in quotes in the subject line, because it occurs to me that it might not be clear that the tone I’m taking towards Jobs, as well as the claim that his greed and arrogance makes him a conservative (as opposed to simply, well, greedy and arrogant) is snarky. If you have the idea that Jobs’s attitude is confined to right-of-center businesspeople, I could disabuse you of that notion by telling you some stories from my time writing about the movie business. You will find no more liberally correct people than Hollywood producers, directors, moguls, et al. And in many cases, no more cutthroat and swinish. It’s not a function of left or right; it’s a function of basic human decency.