I organized an event for Peter Schiff at my house, some difficulties ensue… (with Photos and Video!)
Whoa man, my house has been packed before, but never like this! Last week I held a cocktail party with a short talk from Peter Schiff. About 300 people came over, and most of them piled in my living room all at once to see Peter speak. It was so tight that the photographer actually had a hard time lifting his arms to take pictures. I was honestly terrified by the sheer number of people I knew would show up that I’ll somehow fit in one room; but hey, we made it work! And it was a great time!
Everyone looked amazing. Check out all the pictures below:
(Many more photos below at the end of this article)
As many of you know, I’m a massive fan of Peter Schiff, he’s had a significant impact on my economic understanding, and I watch all of his videos that get posted online. I even named him “Man of the Year” in a previous article. To say the least, I was extremely excited to have him over to speak at my house. I know I was warned a thousand times by many people that he can be difficult to deal with. Still, I was surprised that for a moment even I was pissed with the guy.
The night before my event he spoke for 2 hours at UCLA to a sold out paying audience of about 500 people. His talk was extraordinary, one of the most powerful, insightful and entertaining talks I’ve ever seen anyone give. He was brilliant and on fire. That talk came quickly after an hour long 3 way debate that was full of fireworks with opposing established economics professors. The night before that, he gave a 2 hour talk at UC Irvine.
After witnessing the extraordinary UCLA talk he gave, I was excited to impress all my friends with Peter’s brilliance. Hopefully he can carve out about 20 minutes of pure insight and wit and follow it up with an engaging Q&A. This is going to be great!
When strong personalities are involved, things don’t always work out as planned…
About 25 minutes after he arrived at my house and after about 3 drinks, Peter tells me, “Judd, this is a good party, everyone’s having a good time. Let’s just have a party, I don’t want to speak.” I look to my left and I see a couple hundred people. I look to my right and I see a couple hundred people. “Um… dude!” “Judd, let everyone have a good time. I’m Dr. Doom. If I talk it’s going to ruin the night.”
I suddenly saw something I hadn’t seen before in Peter Schiff. He didn’t want to be the one with the bad news. I was SHOCKED. After all that loud scolding on TV of anyone who’s remotely optimistic about our current economic situation, I can’t count how many times he’s said that the party is over for America; and now he REALLY doesn’t want to be the one to ruin this party.
Every 5 seconds people came up to Peter and introduced themselves, telling him how excited they were to hear him speak, and that bastard told each and every one of them that he’s not going to talk, he’s just here for the party.
I got Peter to do a Q&A. And it was fine. He was a little bit drunk by that point, but he was still pretty insightful and entertaining and pulled it off well. He was worried that what he has to say would ruin the party, but it definitely didn’t, people enjoyed it. In fact, I think Peter Schiff has unwittingly created a new form of comedy as a stand-up economist. He wasn’t at the same extraordinary level I saw from him just the night before, but I understand he is human after all, and after all his recent exhaustive speeches and media appearances and his 2 hour daily radio shows, I guess we should let the guy relax a bit one night and enjoy a decent party. And the good news is, as was clearly very obvious to everyone who was here and hung out with him, Peter Schiff definitely had a great time at the party ;)
I posted the first 5 minutes of his Q&A on Youtube. Check it out:
The most noteworthy thing about the whole event actually had nothing to do with Peter Schiff. Not only was the legendary Nathaniel Branden here, but Yaron Brook also came by. And they talked! And everything was cool and friendly!
For those of you that don’t know why this is historically significant: Nathaniel Branden is my greatest hero alive. It’s impossible to know how many millions of our lives have been significantly impacted by him. Since the 1960s, he revolutionized the field of psychology as the Father of the Self Esteem movement. I’ve told him that I feel like I was raised more by his books than my own parents. I was honored to host his 81st Birthday Party at my house this last April. Check out his reviews on Amazon.com to get an idea of how significant he is.
Long before his career in psychology gained international prominence, he was the protege to one of the most controversial philosophers of all time; Ayn Rand. As an arrogant 28 year old who was determined to teach the world about how it all works, Nathaniel launched the Objectivist movement back in the late 1950s with his philosophical lecture series that wildly spread around the country into a large movement whose ideas have gone on to reshape the political discussions of our day, and all of our facebook comment debates. After many successful years together, Nathaniel and Ayn Rand eventually had a messy split over a personal matter. Many students of Objectivism took different sides, eventually developing subtle differences of opinion and approach among a large group of intelligent, opinionated and stubborn people. Unfortunately this schism between like minded people has been maintained for several decades through the personalities involved. No one has really budged and nothing has been mediated well, while attacks have been thrown between sides that have further entrenched opposition with each other, when they should be allies. The “situation” regarding Nathaniel Branden is dead center to all of this fire and controversy. If this sounds silly, it’s because it is.
Yaron Brook is President of the Ayn Rand Institute, the organization that has been unwaveringly faithful to the life, ideas and memory of Ayn Rand. Yaron is a brilliant thinker, a great communicator, and in my opinion has done amazing things to open the Ayn Rand Institute to better cooperation with other liberty organizations. While many on both sides of the schism are hung up on harbored resentment for each other, most people in the Objectivist and wider Libertarian movement are simply far more focused on promoting liberty. Despite what many believe, I feel that way about Yaron as well.
To those of you who have said that it’s simply not possible to get Nathaniel Branden to meet with Yaron Brook and have a friendly chat, let alone begin a more cooperative alliance, this picture above is worth at least 2 words:
Oh, and my friend Shirley Husar from HipHop Republican TV surprised me with a totally ridiculous and hilarious movie trailer she made out of the event. Check it out:
UPDATE: Reason.tv has posted a video of the event here: