Amy Gajda, a former journalist, and one of the country’s top experts on privacy and the media shares information about her own dossier – her background check. This is an example of how deftly Ms. Gajda weaves her own experiences into a fascinating book. “Despite a placid life”, she writes, “no criminal history, no bankruptcies, no foreclosures, no evictions, nothing that would stand out should someone really want to have a look at what I’m about” she continues, “the private detective I hired to see what he could find, came up with more than two hundred pages of data”.Amy Gajda goes on to tell the reader that there was the mundane information, like her current home address and the sort of information not protected because it’s public record. Then she says, “My dossier swerves into unnerving territory”, and she lists in extraordinary detail, facts that most of us would be shocked to learn are readily available to anyone who decides to probe into our backgrounds. The battle between an individual’s right to privacy and the public’s right to know has been fought for centuries. The founders demanded privacy for all the wrong press-quashing reasons. Supreme Court justice Louis Brandeis famously promoted First Amendment freedoms but argued strongly for privacy too, and presidents from Thomas Jefferson through Donald Trump confidently hid behind privacy despite intense public interest in their lives. Today privacy seems simultaneously under siege and surging. And that’s doubly dangerous, argues Amy Gajda. Too little privacy can mean extraordinary profits and power for people who deal in and publish soul-crushing secrets. Too much means the famous and infamous can cloak themselves in secrecy. By the early 2000s, we were on our way to today’s full-blown crisis in the digital age, worrying that smartphones, webcams, basement publishers, and the forever internet had erased the right to privacy completely. Should everyone have privacy in their personal lives? Can privacy exist in a public place? Is there a right to be forgotten even in the United States? Is it too late to get control of data privacy? Amy Gajda shows us how the answers may not be what you expect, or hope, how technology makes these issues more complicated than ever before, and how we can learn from the mistakes of the past as we try to balance privacy and First Amendment freedoms in a modern age.
Despite the Russian invasion of Ukraine or the fear of another American civil war, most of the time wars don’t happen, and of the millions of hostile rivalries worldwide, only a fraction erupt into violence. At this moment of crisis in world affairs, this necessary book from a seasoned peacebuilder and acclaimed expert in the field lays out the root causes and remedies for war and explain the reasons why conflict wins over compromise; and how peacemakers can turn the tides once conflict threatens to or becomes war. Its message could not be more urgent right now. Why We Fight draws on decades of economics, political science, psychology, and real-world interventions to lay out the root causes and remedies for war, showing that violence is not the norm; that there are only five reasons why conflict wins over compromise; and how peacemakers turn the tides through tinkering, not transformation. From warring states to street gangs, ethnic groups and religious sects to political factions, there are common dynamics to heed and lessons to learn. Along the way, through Blattman’s time studying Medellín, Chicago, Sudan, England, and more, we learn from vainglorious monarchs, dictators, mobs, pilots, football hooligans, ancient peoples, and fanatics. What of remedies that shift incentives away from violence and get parties back to dealmaking? Societies are surprisingly good at interrupting and ending violence when they want to—even gangs do it. Realistic and optimistic, this is a book that lends new meaning to the adage “Give peace a chance.”