Peter Thiel: the "libertarian" who loves mass government surveillance, monopolies, and censorship


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2017/12/27/moral-flexiblity.html


#2

What really grinds my gears isn’t his all-too-common survivorship-bias thinking, it’s that our country is so poor at countering the bad ideas and ignorant whining of the uber-wealthy if some not-nearly-as-smart-as-he-thinks-he-is fellow manages to luck their way into wealth and power.

Also looking at you, Trump.


#3

It’s a measure of Thiel’s toxic sugar-daddy influence on current American conservatism that even Libertarians avoid pointing out that he’s Not a True Scotsman. Liberals and progressives are left to do that on their behalf.

And the conservatives who’ve spent 35 years underfunding public K-12 schools and villifying teachers say: “Mission Accomplished.”


#4

Why the quotes? This is the end result of libertarian just-world/meritocracy delusions.


#5

And Thiel sues Wired to get them to shut down in 3, 2…


#6

Nah, he doesn’t get mad if you make him look scarier or more powerful, just if you embarrass him.

On a side note, I always found it weird that Thiel, Libertarian Jesus, do-as-thou-wilt champion of the elite, was closeted. And that when he got outed, he actually seemed to swear vengeance against the offending outlet.

You’d think that he’d just say “Yep, I’m gay, who cares?”, but maybe it was bad for business when dealing with all these authoritarian countries where anti-gay sentiment tends to be very high? But that just sounds hypocritical, the more I think about it, although that’s nothing new for the Limousine Libertarian sect.


#7

inigo-montoya-word-gif


#8

Could be he had some other agenda in targeting Gawker, and that was just the most convenient story that he could point to that gave him some sort of legitimacy.


#9

Could be, but I think it really was for “outing” him.

Like I said, it’s most likely because having a gay CEO / owner / whatever may have cut off business with some of the more insane regimes around the world, what with there seeming to be a huge overlap between “Psychotic oligarchic dictators” and “Not liking non-cis-het individuals, and often wanting to murder them”.


#10

People like Thiel are scary because they always come off as the kind of person who would declare themselves a god if they were Roman emperors. They just can’t be satisfied with “hey, I’m rich, lets get wasted at some club in Ibiza!” It never seems wealth is ever enough for him. He wants immortality and probably wants to control the lives of billions as a deity would. Frankly, the sooner entropy takes him away from his dreams the better we’re all off.

Edit: Also being a former libertarian (ancap) I kinda know these folks too well. It’s just weird looking back at what they’re doing now and realizing half of their promises would mean the death of folks like me. There’s not much else I can say on the matter other than don’t drink the libertarian koolaid.


#11

You know, ancaps have always had a special place in my heart. It takes a strange kind of earnestness to believe that if all government disappeared tomorrow, people would just sort of get along with each other and all religiously adhere to the NAP, and that somehow they would all become business/economics savants where every downstream and upstream effect of every move you make is carefully accounted for and everyone behaves with only their super-ultra-great descendants’ best interests in mind.


#12

Well I’m an anarchist but I don’t believe that keeping capitalism is sustainable. Capitalism is what leads to the antagonisms in our civilization. When you make it a winner-take-all situation when it comes to one’s labor then you’re setting up a situation which leads to violence (one could argue it’s violence of some kind to deprive others of the fruits of their labor at the start). Capitalism isn’t necessary in my opinion to even have a market economy. And a market economy need not be monopolistic. That’s basically why I became a mutualist these days. It’s odd how ancaps over enough time either become diehard fascists/feudalists or mutualists. I’ve yet to find a former ancap that is something else entirely.


#13

Democracy isn’t supposed to be efficient. It is supposed to be resistant to violent revolution. We’re approaching a concentration of wealth that tends to lead to a big change in government. A democracy allows that to happen relatively peacefully.


#14

From what I’ve read of him, he’s thin-skinned enough to get upset over an open secret about him (one that no-one in Silicon Valley gave a damn about) being “exposed” by a tabloid. That Gawker was a left-leaning one owned by an openly gay man only made it a more inviting target he could use to demonstrate his power.


#15

Peter Thiel believes that he can stop aging by receiving transfusions from teens.


#16

I don’t usually go around telling people what to believe, but with respect to any form of anarchism-as-reaction-to-capitalism, I’ll just say this:

Be careful that your criticisms of the current system can’t be reformulated as criticisms of human nature in general, because you should only focus on things that are fixable. Just replace “Capitalism” with “Most humans”. If it still makes a lot of sense, you’re not criticizing capitalism, you’re criticizing people.

Examples:

“Capitalism is usually callous and insensitive to the needs of others” -> “Most humans are usually callous and insensitive to the needs of others”.

“Capitalism isn’t interested in taking care of the poor and underprivileged in society” -> “Most humans aren’t interested in taking care of the poor and underprivileged in society”.

“Capitalism values stupid things like iPhones and other status symbols over things that really matter” -> “Most humans value stupid things like iPhones and other status symbols over things that really matter”.

…Well, shit.


#17

I’m fairly sure that telomeres don’t work like that.


#18

I don’t think it’s that simple. It’s more that capitalism incentivizes the actions that lead to exploitation. It’s inherent to the system by design when you say that one person can have access to the means to transform their labor into a product but another cannot. That’s the essence of capitalism. It’s the enclosing of productive forces to be held by a few rather than by the many. There’s not much else to it, really.


#19

Not in my experience

Not in my experience


#20

In turn, you’ll want to be careful not to inadvertently feed into the “End of History” narrative that posits capitalism (specifically the neoliberal variety) as the default natural order of things.

Speaking as a pretty cynical guy, none of those examples are true of humans in practise. Certainly conservative politicians, pundits, and apologists for the excesses late-stage capitalism would like us to believe those things are true, and many of their marks are happy to do so. In the end, though, your average human person displays less sociopathy than your average corporate “person.”