How dangerous is Peter Thiel? – Mother Jones

Tech billionaire Peter Thiel’s speech on free thought and dogma in October was inconsistent and dangerously ultra-nationalist. Visual China Group / Getty

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new York Times Columnist David Brooks recently stunned. Last month, I attended the National Conservatism Conference held at the Orlando Hotel, and informed of In the Atlantic That this confab demonstrated that that authority—which he used to be a high official in good standing—has become a cauldron of end-times paranoia posing as populism. The animating theme of this shindig did not arise from policy prescriptions or principles to deal with the country’s economic or social welfare challenges, or from foreign policy to follow in this confused century. It was a belief that conservatives face extermination at the hands of satanic leftists. As Brooks writes, “The idea that the Left controls absolutely everything—from your smartphone to the money supply in your third grader’s curriculum—explains the tone of the apocalypse that was the dominant emotional register of this convention. “

And the politicians there helped turn the event into a monstrous orgy. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) Barked, “The ambition of the Left is to create a world that is beyond belonging. Their grand ambition is to rebuild the United States of America.” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) whispered, “The Left is attacking America. The Left hates America. It is the Left that is trying to use culture as a tool to destroy America.” ” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) Grold, “We are now faced with a systematic attempt to destroy our society, our traditions, our economy and our way of life.” The same authority used to say about the red under our beds.

Brooks was particularly intrigued by a speech given by Rachel Bovard, senior policy director at the Conservative Partnership Institute. They described him as a lovely person – happy, amusing and a lover of wine. Still, he said, she was now a blatant extremist living in a strange reality. She told the attendees, “Wok Elite” want to “destroy us.” “Not only will they use every power at their disposal to achieve their goal,” but they have been at it for years, “dominate every cultural, intellectual and political institution.” He warned of a “totalitarian cult of billionaires and bureaucrats”. And for this he got a standing ovation.

Brooks was right to be apprehensive about this grudge-on-steroid festival and the Orban-like culture war of conservatives in which they would deploy state power to defeat evil, godless leftists. But his article left out a part of the convention that gave me chills: Peter Thiel’s keynote speech (which I watched) courtesy of youtube,

Thiel, as you probably know, is a Silicon Valley billionaire superstar who co-founded PayPal and Palantir Technologies, a controversial software firm that specializes in big data analytics and derives most of its revenue from government contracts. He is a big supporter of Trump. And his message to these angry conservatives was that there was now a brutal battle going on between the forces of free thought and dogma. In a belligerent speech, he offered his “reflections” on the incredible divergence of ideas, political life, various forms of scientific life in this country over the years and what we might possibly do to counter this humiliation. As he turned from one half-thought to another, he presented three examples of what he had in his mind: COVID-19, Afghanistan, and the Federal Reserve. Each of these themes, I have explained, dissent. and demonstrated the dominance of misled leadership and applied consensus over individual thinking. (I’m being more vocal than they are.) And what was terrifying about his talk was how simple his supposedly sophisticated analysis was. Was.

With COVID in mind, Thiel observed that science “has largely fallen on the side of dogma, not enough skepticism … you see it with all the genuflections of science with a capital S.” His proof? Here it was: “Masks first ineffective, then necessary.” That is, at the beginning of the epidemic, public health experts did not recommend wearing masks, yet they did. Of course, that switch happened as more data came in on this new disease. Yet Thiel found this suspicious or cynical. Similarly, he said, about a change in attitude towards the theory that the coronavirus originated in the Wuhan lab, a theory initially widely dismissed. “Now that’s probably right,” he said. uh, maybe not, Thiel was billing himself as a brave dogma-buster, but he was pushing his dogma.

On Afghanistan, he referred to the chaotic retreat and argued that the real problem was that, for 20 years, the policy did not allow for any dissent. He said the Democratic and Republican administrations lied to the public and pushed a consensus away from the ground reality. (I just It explained.) but there were plenty of attempts to challenge the dogma along the way. Presidents simply ignored him. And Thiel demonstrated that while he held a specific example of “an unsatisfactory personal voice”, he himself was more interested in promoting a political talk, not a thoughtful examination of a worrying policy matter. [on Afghanistan] Which expressed the choice in very clear terms”: Donald Trump. What did Trump do to challenge conventional wisdom on Afghanistan? Thiel explained: “He said that Afghanistan was fundamentally and irrevocably a ‘shithole’ country.” Damn it, that really changed things, didn’t it? And when Trump made this comment, he was mainly discussing Haiti and African countries in relation to US immigration policies. This was not an example of Trump calling BS BS over the years of false claims and faulty assumptions that led to a messy return to Afghanistan. It was Trump dumping on black immigrants.

As for the Federal Reserve, Thiel, the first outside investor in Facebook, raided this “deepest state institution” without detailing the problem with it. He suggested that Fed fans were denying inflation. But this is not true. And noting that one of his “incredibly big omissions of the last decade” was “not buying enough bitcoin”, he predicted that “fiat money” – the currency created by governments – “is heading towards some crisis point”. Is.” (By the way, Thiel, an anti-tax champion who supports the idea of ​​creating floating nations that would have no income tax, exploited a middle class tax break To get a windfall of $5 billion.)

After outlining these areas where dogma allegedly reigns, Thiel stressed that “nationalism” is part of the solution to the problem. Referring to his 2013 visit to the World Economic Forum in Davos, he argued that globalization creates the “worst crowd” of threats to freedom of thought. And he called nationalism “a remedial to the homogenization of the brain-dead one-world state that is totalitarian and where no dissent and no individualism are allowed.” He spoke of a “global future in which individuals would not exist. It would be some kind of brain-dead Borg.” Thiel’s nightmare is a star trek Movies.

Thiel appeared to advocate for disbanding the Fed, relying on crypto, and increasing nationalism. And it’s no surprise. His biographer Max Chafkin recently done inspection, “There has always been a lot of liberalism in Silicon Valley, but there are aspects of Thiel’s politics that are not liberal at all; they are closer to authoritarianism. It is ultra-nationalistic, it craves a more powerful chief executive of sorts. is, or, you know, a dictator, in other words.”

Thiel concluded his talk with “I had an idea of ​​what victory would look like.” Please don’t try to guess. He continued, “I wish we could go back to a county where we have ticker-tape parades for single individuals. In the 21st century, we didn’t have ticker-tape parades like that. And individuals are not just sports stars, nor are individuals.” The only people who could even be Americans, who would also be doing things that are changing society, asking dangerous questions, inventing things.” Is Thiel angry that New York City has the most The most recent ticker-tape parade was for essential workers Who helped the Big Apple overcome COVID? according to this List Of the parade, the last ticker-tape celebration in NYC to honor a man was for Nelson Mandela in 1990. But he was not an American. Who wants to be the first person to be covered with Thiel confetti? Satoshi Nakamoto. This is the pseudonym used by the still unknown person who essentially created bitcoin. But there’s a catch. that person could be a Group Of the people oh well

There is nothing wrong with discussing whether a culture allows thinking that challenges the status quo. A thoughtful and concrete speech on the importance of disagreement is always appreciated. But this was not him. Thiel’s keynote speech was important only because he is a man with a lot of money that he could use to underwrite right-wing groups and candidates. I have funded a magazine which has published articles rejecting climate change and development, and in late 2016 Donation At least $1.25 million to support Trump, he recommended Two climate change denials to appoint Trump as their science adviser. (In his speech, Thiel made a derogatory remark about climate change: “When you have to call things science, you know they are not. Like climate science or political science.”) finance the lawsuit who was destroyed Gawker. And this year, Thiel is committed $10 million To help JD Vance, once an anti-Trump Hillbilly Elegy The author and venture capitalist who has become a pro-Trump troll and is running for senator in Ohio. Without all that core, it would be easy to dismiss Thiel’s quasi-ideas.

Boward’s speech was really intimidating. It was full of poison, anger and baseless paranoia. Thiel’s presentation was far more disturbing… for a billion reasons.

You can see for yourself:

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