Jacob Weisberg vs. the Libertarians, Round LXIX


A Jacob Weisberg article is like a poverty-row B movie with hammy acting and a tired storyline: You can't take it seriously on its own terms, but it's a wonderful document of the time, place, and mentality that produced it. Consider the columnist's sneer at the libertarian entrepreneur and philanthropist Peter Thiel:

Jacob Weisberg's message to the kids: Stay in school!

Thiel's latest crusade is his worst yet….The Thiel Fellowship will pay would-be entrepreneurs under 20 $100,000 in cash to drop out of school. In announcing the program, Thiel made clear his contempt for American universities which, like governments, he believes, cost more than they're worth and hinder what really matters in life, namely starting tech companies. His scholarships are meant as an escape hatch from these insufficiently capitalist institutions of higher learning.

Where to start with this nasty idea? A basic feature of the venture capitalist's worldview is its narcissism, and with that comes the desire to clone oneself—perhaps literally in Thiel's case. Thus Thiel fellows will have the opportunity to emulate their sponsor by halting their intellectual development around the onset of adulthood, maintaining a narrow-minded focus on getting rich as young as possible, and thereby avoid the siren lure of helping others or contributing to the advances in basic science that have made the great tech fortunes possible….This threatens to turn the risk-taking startup model into a white boy's version of the NBA, diverting a generation of young people from the love of knowledge for its own sake and respect for middle-class values.

Click through Weisberg's own links, and you'll find Thiel's actual argument for the program: "From Facebook to SpaceX to Halcyon Molecular, some of the world's most transformational technologies were created by people who stopped out of school because they had ideas that couldn't wait until graduation." In other words, Thiel says he's trying to better the world by helping good ideas get off the ground. If Weisberg wants to convince the rest of us that this is a dumb argument, he should start by engaging the argument itself, not some strawman in which the fellowships exist only for "getting rich as young as possible" and the motive is merely Thiel's narcissistic need to breed mini-mes. (Thiel, incidentally, has a graduate degree, so the dropouts who receive these grants will not "emulate their sponsor." Not unless they decide to return to school later—which of course they'll always be free to do.)

So as a critique, this is shoddy stuff. But as a window into the Weisberg worldview, it's very valuable indeed. Count the assumptions:

1. Intellectual development halts when you leave school.

2. Entrepreneurs do not "help others" or "contribute to advances in basic sciences."

3. Launching a startup is a "white boy" thing.

4. Respect for middle-class values and the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake are inconceivable if you avoid the higher-education path that Jacob Weisberg followed. But Thiel's the guy who wants to clone himself.

NEXT: Why I Am Not a Conservative, Chapter XXIII: Because Small Government Stalwarts Hate on the Gays, Single Womens, & Push Drug Tests

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  1. “puerile libertarianism, infused with futurist fantasy”

    That sounds like heaven to me.

    1. Jacob Weisberg needs to kill himself. Preferably today; tomorrow is okay, too; definitely by the end of the week.

  2. Hyper-libertarian

    That’s a pretty cool thing to get called, but I hope that someone calls me a hypno-libertarian some day.

      1. To be pedantic: HypnoToadLibertarian would not command you – he’d just make suggestions and reccomendations then blaze one with you.

      2. I dunno, hypnolibertoadian has a better ring to it, to me.

        1. I even previewed that to check the link, but obviously not the spelling. Back to the drool bib and helmet for me.

    1. Hey, whats going on in ALL GLORY TO THE HYPNOTOAD!

    2. moncler jackets definitely understands your need to impress during those cold cover-up months. This season, though, moncler jackets gives you the chance to go with the warmer option while still looking perfectly put together.

  3. Why are pretty much all of libertarianism’s critics stupid?

    1. Because they’re idiots who think we fill their need for a bogeyman, and because they’re idiots.

      1. Shameless idiots. “thereby avoid the siren lure of helping others or contributing to the advances in basic science that have made the great tech fortunes possible….” Isn’t that exactly what Thiel is doing with these young people?

        1. Weisberg thinks “helping others” and “making huge profits by creating things people want” are opposites.

          He thinks the advances in basic science are an end, rather than the means to making fortunes and thus improving people’s lives.

          1. “avoid the siren lure of helping others”

            I should hope so. The Sirens, after all, lured men to their deaths.

        2. Advances don’t count unless they come from the government.

    2. Because criticizing people who advocate leaving people alone, freedom, and not wanting to control how people live their lives is fucking stupid.

      Also, Warty has enemies of inferior quality, because he’s a big jerk.

      1. I kill all my enemies who are worth killing, you toad. Luckily for you, you’re not capable of rising in my esteem.

        1. Being held in low esteem by you is the highest praise I could ask for; it’s like having Inspector Clouseau thinking little of you.

          I’m also disappointed in how blase $#*! My Dad Says is, and I blame you. Though Shatner singing “I’m Too Sexy” at the karaoke bar was pretty funny.

          1. You watched a network sitcom? That’s just…sad.

            1. I don’t have to justify watching something with Shatner to you, you cretinous barbarian. I have every pay channel there is, just so I can watch Entourage, Boardwalk Empire, and Bullshit! whenever I want.

              Besides, NutraSweet told me about your secret love for Two and a Half Men. I’d be disgusted if it wasn’t so pitiful. I mean, sure, if you want to see Charlie in Wall Street or Men at Work, I can understand that. Even Platoon. But a show with Jon Cryer? It’s not like it’s Hiding Out, for fuck’s sake.

              1. Get a room, bitches!

              2. And as much as it pains me, I agree with Epi about $#*! My Dad Says.

                I give every new show one courtesy look in the pathetic hope that one of them will be worth wasting 30-60 minutes on from time to time.

                I remain mostly disappointed, but hopeful.

                Boardwalk Empire is kicking ass, and Rubicon (on AMC) is good. The rest? Good material for growing tomatoes.

                If Warty really names Two and a Half Men as a guilty pleasure, it’s a clear sign that he’s in the closet, with his hand on the knob (pun intended).

                1. If Warty really names Two and a Half Men as a guilty pleasure

                  If people really start believing Epi’s slander, I’m going to have to undo him.

              3. I have every pay channel there is, just so I can watch Entourage

                Oh dear …

            2. You watched a network sitcom? That’s just…sad.

              Cougar Town is Teh Awesum. So =P to you.

            3. The new Shatner show is pretty good. Granted, the viewpoint character, his youngest son, is the weak link; it’s a big question mark who they were going for in terms of who he is suppose to relate to, but the rest of the cast is pretty strong. It is still finding its place but it is almost as good as How I Met Your Mother and Cougartown.

              I was hoping in that episode Shatner would find a way to get that pretentious ‘tough old broad’ to cry. Writers missed a golden opportunity to turn that shit on its head.

              1. It’s bad enough when SNL alums turn 5 minutes of good sketch material into shitty 90 minute movies.

                A 30 minute SITCOM based on a (admittedly funny) twitter feed is fucking DOOMED.

                A twitter feed? Really? How could even a bottom-feeding twit of a network exec fail to say, “Get the fuck out of my office” when they heard that pitch.

                Prepare to feel an instant of intense pressure as we are engulfed by the singularity.

                1. but dude, it’s The Twitter! Betty White’s on there.

                  Coming next: Things my kid sez: based on the collected writings of The Facebook.

                2. See the TV execs’ explanation for how Police Cops made it to air.

    3. Why are pretty much all of libertarianism’s critics stupid?

      Probably because you only read about the critics that Reason wants you to know about.

      1. I’ve been perusing the Huffington Post every day, so’s I know it ain’t just what we see here.

        1. Perhaps I should “recalibrate my words”. Just because you don’t find serious, smart criticism of libertarianism at Huffpost, Kos, DU, and in the NYT doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Just like failing to find intelligent criticism of leftism at FoxNews, Red State, LGF, or on Hannity or Limbaugh’s talk shows doesn’t mean that any criticism of leftism is stupid.

          1. So……..Where does it exist???

            1. Here is a good start.

              Obviously I don’t believe he’s right about this stuff, but the arguments are well-framed if ultimately unconvincing to me.

              1. If that’s the best that they got, then I think we’re going to be okay.

                It is a shame that he had to spend so much time constructing those pretty strawmen just to destroy them.

              2. Ugh, I couldnt get very far into that. Its horrible.

                The condo/nation analogy is so brutally wrong that I had to stop reading.

                capitol l is dead on right.

              3. “Property is theft”

                This argument tends to fare poorly against people who have won life’s lottery and, somehow, managed to accumulate property of one sort or another.

                1. “Property is theft” only holds meaning with those whose daddies already have plenty of same, and who have no interest in acquiring some of their own.

                  The “proles” are too busy trying to get some of their own property to pay any attention to that shit.

                  The other day, a friend was pining over the loss of John Lennon, and kept posting his songs. She cued up Imagine.

                  I told her one my foundest wishes: Lennon, playing that song live, gets to the “no possessions” line; someone snatches the guitar from his hand and casually walks away. LOL

                  1. I recall when George Harrison died thinking, shouldn’t this be a bigger deal? and two weekends ago news reports were going gaga over Lennon turning seventy, thinking what’s the big deal? Lame-os love them some Lennon.

                    1. The day Ringo dies, that’s the day I’m going to be grieving. I still say he’s the coolest motherfucker on the planet.

                2. Just like the argument that “taxation is theft” doesn’t work with government officeholders and state employees. That doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

              4. Well-framed? When I looked at that years ago, there was nothing but sneering caricatures of libertarians. Besides, anyone using Usenet for anything besides child porn is not to be trusted.

      2. Actually, what I see is knee-jerk partisanship and close-mindedness. I suppose that is a form if stupidity, though.

      3. Like yourself.

        1. That wasn’t ‘knee-jerk’.

        2. If I’m partisan please let me know to which party. I’d like to know.

      4. Tulpa, you mean if reason is my main source of news and opinion I might have a biased worldview? Bollocks!

      5. Tulpa, you mean if reason is my main source of news and opinion I might have a biased worldview? Bollocks!

        1. Tulpa, you mean if reason is my main source of news and opinion I might have a biased worldview? Bollocks!

    4. This is the person who resuscitated Dave Weigel’s job at Washington Post Inc. Nuff said.…..late-19634

    5. Why are libertarianism’s critics more adolescent than libertarians?

      Seriously. They could engage us on the merits, but instead they prefer to fling epithets, call us children, purile, blah blah.

      It’s like they don’t have a serious argument.

      Like serious adults are supposed to outgrow all that resistance and get in line. Like not outgrowing it and actually taking it seriously makes you threatening and disturbing in a way that provokes an irrational response.

    6. No I’m don’t!

  4. Jesse,
    Interesting read, thanks! I generally agree with your take-down of Jacob’s “analysis”, though I’m somewhat of a mixed mind about the concept Thiel is promoting. For some people, dropping out of school to startup a company is totally the right move. But in some cases, a formal education can also be really valuable, even to an entrepreneur.

    FWIW, I’m in the process of starting my second aerospace startup right now (Altius Space Machines), and I was previously a co-founder and the lead propulsion guy at Masten Space Systems (the guys who won the NASA-sponsored Lunar Lander Challenge last year). I have to say that for me, personally, I think I’m a much better technologist and entrepreneur form having stuck through a bachelor and masters degree in engineering (and cherrypicking the most entrepreneurially relevant MBA classes I could manage). Some of the core people in my new company also have a fair deal of formal education. While I know a lot of people with similar levels of academic credentials who aren’t anywhere near as good of a fit for a startup, I don’t think that getting a good college education is actually detrimental for entrepreneurism. I’ve also known people who “dropped out of college to do the startup thing” who probably should’ve stayed, and some who were quite competent without finishing a formal education.

    As I said, it’s a mixed bag.

    All that said, there probably really are people out there with the drive and talent to jump into a startup in their late teens and make it work. And for them, Thiel is offering a pretty amazing opportunity.

    Don’t know if that contributed anything worth contributing, but once again, thanks for the interesting read.

    ~Jonathan Goff

    1. I basically agree with you, but I love Thiel’s offer because it’s eccentric, politically incorrect, and an expression of one guy’s doing what the he’ll he wants with his personal wealth. At least Thiel is making people think.

    2. Not every student who applies will get the grant, and as many are likely to apply and Thiel knows a thing or two about good ideas, the ones who get the opportunity have a good chance at succeeding. Even if they don’t, they can easily go back to school and finish their degrees with some handy dandy real world experiences under their belt.

      Nobody loses in this situation.

  5. Obviously, the hackocracy feels threatened by libertarians to spend so much time attacking us. I only wish I thought we were as threatening. Maybe they know something we don’t? Nah.

    1. They know how dangerous ideas truly are. And how doubly dangerous TRUE ideas are. The Borg Collective must contain us at all costs.

      1. And yeah, I’m not a Star Trek geek. I just like the metaphor. ;^)

      2. Apparently, we do have influence but our ideas sink in really, really slowly. If you’ve checked out liberal blogs in the last few weeks, you’ll see some influential pundits saying things like “maybe we have been overpaying public employees” and “maybe teacher’s unions have a bad side, too.”

        1. 3 years ago Rick Perry mandated the HPV vaccine be given to all girls 14 and over attending public school and Democrats lauding him for increasing public safety. Within the last few months, Democrats have been attacking him for forcing this possibly cancerous drug on children! Party politics of course but still a good thing if they end it.

        2. They sink in very slowly, and are forgotten at the first convenient moment.

          They’re only regretting paying public employees so much because it’s going to cost them the election.

  6. I think Thiel’s idea is a pretty good one. Most of modern education is just a zero-sum signalling game for the rich. Throwing in the “quit school” thing just gets the program lots of free publicity.

    1. Stop spoofing me!

    2. Oh, and you are not fooling anybody, Azazeal. I know it is you.

    3. Just because it’s signalling doesn’t imply that it’s zero-sum. However, it does imply that the value of getting an education isn’t the education itself, but that it shows you’re willing to work at something.

      Still, we’d be better served if the education were also valuable as more than just a signal to potential employers that we can work hard.

      1. Read some senior theses and see how hard these students are working.

        1. I don’t know which way to take this, since I have read some and occasionally I find a good one. But for the most part, they are trash.

          But do employers read them? I never said college students work hard, only that they send the signal that they do.

          1. I misread; what you’re saying is it makes them look willing to work hard and signals to employers that same thing. It’s too bad employers rely on that but it’s one of the few ways to get possibly consistent information which is pretty scarce in the way of applicants.

  7. I bet Weisberg loves forced conscription of teenagers.

    1. LBJ did. It ended under Nixon.

      Just sayin’.

  8. The first thread on Peter Thiel’s idea really didn’t interest me. His money, other people’s lives to decide what they may. I did not even see it necessarily as a libertarian idea. However, reading Weisberg amused me. Is there anything that a doctrinaire progressive like JW doesn’t feel threatened by? Their reactionary tendencies must be an overwhelming experience to constantly endure.

    1. “Is there anything that a doctrinaire progressive like JW doesn’t feel threatened by?”

      Yes. A bigger government that takes away even more of our freedoms!

  9. Jesse, you needed to address the overt racism from Weisberg. When he says, …..This threatens to turn the risk-taking startup model into a white boy’s version of the NBA, diverting a generation of young people from the love of knowledge for its own sake and respect for middle-class values., one can’t help but wonder what the hell he could be saying other than blacks are inferior to whites. He says it will be a white boy’s version of the NBA, implying that only white boys can be smart enough for this program and that only black youth go into the NBA before finishing college.

    I’m not even gonna get into the whole boys thing. I have no idea what % of the students applying may be female, but Weisberg seems to think it will be zero.

    What an asshole.

    1. Alternately, Weisberg believes that Thiel is the sort of person who will only award these prizes to white males. Which is also an offensive assumption, though of a different kind.

      1. I take it back: Rereading the paragraph without the ellipses, I think the comment is aimed at a target that’s bigger than just Thiel. More important, you’re right that the statement is too egregious not to call it out in the post itself. I’ll add a line. Thanks for the push.

    2. Good catch. That “white boy” reference was wholly gratuitous, as race has nothing to do with his larger point.

      Giving two shits about “respect for middle class values” is another laugh line.

      1. Don’t you see that the reference to “white boys” is an oblique way of referring to that old chestnut of the Left: that capitalism is inherently racist and sexist, and that any reference to succeeding in business — especially venture capitalism — is by definition for “white boys” only.

        So deeply is this stereotype built into the mindset of the audience that Weisberg is writing for that he needed to offer no explanation for the seemingly gratuitous comment.

        1. Good point. These knee jerk hacks should get a clue and learn a little something about history. The life of S.B. Fuller is a testament to capitalism:

          1. And besides, we already have a “white boy’s thing.” It’s called the staff at the Yale Writing Center , where Mr. Weisberg learned to ply his trade.

            That said, maybe his is wishful in his thinking, seeing as he seemed to learn everything from a staff that employs one Asian women, and a bunch of northeastern white establishment types.

            I guess it’s not surprising that he seems to be writing that the NBA is the only way out for blacks, seeing as the path he took wasn’t exactly accessible to them

      2. It’s true. Capitalists hate niggers.

        1. It’s Shrike, the all I know about Wall Street I learned from the TV series Billionaire’s Boys Club, and now I try to pass myself off as a Big Swinging Dickus.

    3. At the end of 2007, 18% of businesses were owned by minorities. From 2002-2007, the number of minority-owned businesses doubled. If that trend continues it won’t be a “white boy” thing much longer. 28% of businesses are owned by women (I think this is a 2010 stat).

      So yeah, this guy is retarded if he thinks it’s just white boys who are going to jump at being entrepreneurs instead of useless college students with humanities degrees.

    4. What’s so awesome about “respect for middle class values” anyway?

      1. S’what I said. I mean what the hell are Middle Class Values these days? Buying a big fucking house you can’t afford and driving big ass American made vehicles because that is the patriotic thing to do? Working some bullshit government job so you can consume whatever the hell you want without a care, not planning for anything? If the middle class acted a bit more like the stingy rich bastards who still get $20 haircuts, the economy might not have been slagged. Then again, can you blame a bunch of public-schooled Zombies for rabidly accepting cheap (read government subisdized) credit?

  10. So, let’s see, a kid “drops out” (read: doesn’t apply to college directly) to start his own business. If it fails, he can still apply, and he’ll probably have a recommendation letter from a notable alum. I know schools and employers who would be salivating over a young entrepreneur who spent two years being funded and mentored by tech legends. If you’re too retarded to understand this, die in a fire.

    Also, only young white men are capable of starting business — itself a wholly dishonest activity — and intellectual development only occurs in school.

    1. Right because if you?re Black, you just irresponsibly go into the NBA and irresponsibly not go to college,because the NBA is an easy way to make money.

      1. Don’t forget the rap and jello puddin’ pops.

  11. Weisberg is a creepy weirdo that’s been obsessed with smearing libertarians since the 90’s.

    Here he is declaring it’s “death” after the financial crisis.

    Why would he want libertarianism to go away? Who would be left as bogeyman for him and the busybody “ruling class” Left to rail against?

    1. Oh, they’ve got plenty of bogeymen. As does the right.

  12. Yes, YES! Build me a quantum processor, dropouts. LOL


    1. I’d be in favor of a kid dropping out of third grade if they could pull off a working ‘Mr. Fusion’ and I could power my house with banana peels.

      1. I’d give that kid his own university.

  13. Looking at a PPM raise with another family member and friends I am compelled to let this gentleman, Jacob Weisberg, know he can go fuck himself. Just what the world and entrepreneurs need more of, another elitist Ivy League fucktard who thinks that anyone looking to make money is evil incarnate.

    Here’s a nasty idea. Clean tech is driven by more coerced funding than just about everything else outside the military industrial complex. And that all so altruistic philanthropy works just as well as a tax shelter.

    Yet another well educated idiot, a perfect example of why dropping out of school could potentially be a good idea if you have a good idea. Kind of ironic, huh.

  14. Drop out of school for wads of cash? Like strippers?

    1. Hey, I’m saving money for school!

      1. Actually, all you need to do is frequent strip clubs to get rich. Didn’t I read a story on Friday about Warty getting $650k for being poked in the eye during a lapdance?

        1. He catch an errant boner at teh gay bar?

  15. Up until recent history, people 18 (or even younger) participated fully in society, marrying and working. Franklin is a remarkable example of this, but the notion that we should spend year after year in school is a pretty new one and, lo and behold, not necessarily a good one for everyone.

    1. I completely agree. The people I know who are in school for grossly extended periods of time are just as incapable of taking care of themselves (without Mommy’s help) than the ones who dropped out pretty early. I’m a little disgusted by the huge amount of grad students here who parade around like adults when their parents are still adding money to their debit cards.

      1. Grad students are generally just annoying.

        1. As a grad student, I really can’t disagree with this.

          1. Seconded. My first day of grad school we went around the room stating our previous work experience, out of 150 I was in a serious minority that had actually spent some time in working between undergrad and grad school. I was in an even smaller minority of people who had to work to support myself while taking classes as well. Most of my classmates are pathetically incapable of supporting themselves outside of academia.

            1. As a grad student … well, I worked before going back to school.

              But, I have to say most of the grad students I know are foreign nationals who are just here to get visas.
              The want easy degrees so they can get into the EB-2 category.

        2. As a former grad student, I really can’t disagree with it either.

      2. In future commentary, please distinguish between history/poli sci/English/wymyn’s studies/African dance grad students and the ones doing real research and teaching work. Thank you.

        1. Agree.

          I was googlin’ around to find out what humanities grad school students get paid and found this excellent article telling those in the humanities not to go to grad school.

          Never did find out if they get paid or not.

          1. They can get paid measly amounts to grade hundreds of freshman composition papers a week. Or if they’re very lucky they get paid a little bit more to teach freshman comp, where they stand in front of a hundred freshmen who aren’t paying attention and have no respect for them three hours a week, and then grade those hundred papers.

            My office-mate in grad school was dating an English PhD student who conditioned their sex frequency on how many papers he graded for her. I kind of understand.

            1. And to think most folks think pros only take cash.

              1. When people hear about “sex for grades”, that’s probably not what they think of. But in reality I’m sure it’s more common than the porn trope of the same name.

            2. Basically they are looking at a workstudy type T.A. gig? Dang, in engineering you can do this as a junior. Also, I know that in chem you can be a lab T.A. and get paid along with class credits.

              Do they have to pay for the schooling too?

              1. Probably, unless they get an outside fellowship.

                I’m a bit surprised by your engineering comment…I would think TA positions for engineering classes are hard to come by. It’s not like math grad students TAing calculus which everyone at the school has to take.

                1. They don’t teach the class, but do grading and have office hrs to help students. I don’t think a lot of people are interested in doing it, as the pay isn’t that great, and junior engineering students probably value any spare time they have more.

                  Also, to get the job I think you needed to get an A in the class, which for some courses might be just one or two people.

            3. Just give them all B’s.

            4. All of that is by choice…

              Which means I have a hard time feeling sorry for them.

          2. depending on the institution, a tenure-track english position can range from 45-65k.

            and if you don’t think trying to teach generation veal how to use proper grammar is “real work” you’re probably retarded.

            1. You don’t not need an PhD to don’t that.

              1. You don’t need a GED to do that.

              2. of course. there’s all the other stuffo involved with trying to get a tenure track position that does, mind you.

        2. In future commentary, please distinguish between history/poli sci/English/wymyn’s studies/African dance grad students and the ones doing real research and teaching work. Thank you.

          In future commentary, please shut the fuck up about this “Two Cultures” bullshit. Not everyone in the world has Asperger’s Syndrome like you do.
          Thank you.

          1. I’ll think about this when I’m writing a program in and figuring out algorithms while my friend writes a one-page critique on some film about 1900’s Appalachian folk in her Cinema class.

            1. Wasn’t it already proved over 10 years ago that Al Gore has no rhythm?

            2. I’ll think about this when I’m writing a program in and figuring out algorithms

              You write that like I’m supposed to be impressed.

              1. It’s not meant to impress you; it’s meant to show you the difference between having to use a small part of your brain and not having to use any at all–which is what the vast majority of humanities classes employ. You seem pretty good at bullshitting and being offended though, so I’mma guess you’re humanities.

            3. VB.NET? You sicken me almost as much as Tulpa does. Use a language with braces.

              1. It’s my first programming class, you cunt. I’m learning Javascript on the side if that’s any better (from what I understand it’s not, but next week I start my C++ class, eeeeeeeeeeee!)

                1. C++, huh? Enjoy hunting down those memory leaks.

                  1. I doubt I will.

                    1. Well, VB .NET is a far cry from VB6. Most of what you can do with C# you can do with VB at this point, and they share the Common Language Runtime. VB got a bad rep because it had a fucking awful object model, DLL hell, weak typing (i.e. a lot of overhead for unnecessary “Variants”), etc., but those aren’t huge issues now. And, of course, a lot of less serious programmers cut their teeth on VB, so you had some really ugly coding. But frankly, VB’s come a long way, even if you reflexively rage whenever you see If … Then … End If instead of if (…) { …; }. I say this as someone who deals with C++, C# .NET, VB6 (mostly in the form of VBA), and VB .NET regularly in my work.

                      Also, braces are unnecessary if you have a working tab key.

                      JavaScript is not “any better,” but it’s the single-best introduction to the horrors of debugging and cross-platform (er, browser) compatibility. Do yourself a favor and use jQuery once you’ve got the basics down, though.

              2. If God had meant for us to use braces and dynamic memory allocation, he would have put them in FORTRAN 77.

                1. I hate you programing people, or maybe it’s just the programing I hate. I’ll just hate both to be safe.

          2. Someone has a Women’s Studies degree.

          3. Wow, you are heroic. Though being diagnosed with Asperger’s by a poster with a racial epithet in their name is particularly insulting.

        3. Sorry, Tulpa. I’ll be better next time.

          1. I trust you will. It’s nice that we can talk like this without hard feelings.

        4. Nope, they’re all annoying. Every one of them and especially the ones who think they aren’t annoying.

          1. The only reason I’m in grad school is cause the state decided I had to go in order to grant me a license to practice architecture.

            1. Design your own building for some established, talentless hack of an architect, and when he inevitably fucks with the design, blow that shit to hell.

  16. This guy wants to use his fund to create a bunch of intellectual/ideological “clones”? Sounds like projection to me. Isn’t that basically the reason Weisberg wants people to stay in school — to get a few more years soaking in the progressive views of the academics there?

  17. “This threatens to turn the risk-taking startup model into a white boy’s version of the NBA, diverting a generation of young people from the love of knowledge for its own sake and respect for middle-class values.”

    The only way to demonstrate a love of knowledge is to pursue sheets of parchment in a rigid, formal setting? A bit pretentious, are we not?

    Formal education is nice , but it is not for everyone and would be a waste of energy if everyone must do it.

  18. Bill Gates?

    1. There’s a long list in silicon valley of dropouts or people who could have dropped and started a business, but waited due to conventions of society.

      Oddly enough education doesn’t seem to be a major factor in raising capital from investors these days. A good idea, proof of concept, and not being a moron or unethical seem to top the list. Either you are the talent and have the idea or you have the idea and hire the talent, either way people are willing to through money at good ideas, especially ideas surrounding a few key areas. It seems like some of the money running out of Wall Street is running to LLCs and start-ups.

      Did I mention this elitist assclown, who I’m guessing has never started a business in his life, cut a payroll check, or done anything other than write a column, needs to stick to things he has a clue about.

      1. hmm|10.17.10 @ 10:32AM|#
        “…never [….] cut a payroll check,…”
        I’d say it’s odds-on that the guy can’t even tell you what the various deductions are on his *own* paycheck.

      2. The worst part,IMO, is JW won’t criticize Gates simply because he (Gates) hangs with the ‘right’ crowd. If Gates was a staunch Cheney guy, JW would hold him on high as the ultimate puppy drowner.

      3. “Did I mention this elitist assclown, who I’m guessing has never started a business in his life, cut a payroll check, or done anything other than write a column, needs to stick to things he has a clue about.”

        Hmmm…sounds a lot like something applicable to the current administration…and a lot of past ones too.

      4. needs to stick to things he has a clue about.

        My ass itches. When can Weisenheimer get around to that?

  19. A basic feature of the venture capitalist’s worldview is its narcissism, and with that comes the desire to clone oneself

    But those altruistic college professors would never do that.

    What a hyperventilating ignoramus.

    1. I wish I could clone myself. It would sure cut down on this midterm exam grading bullshit.

      1. You’re the one who likes to cram a bunch of 8th grade algebra into calculus exams*.

        It makes the task of test taking tedious, not to mention the grading of the taken tests.

        *I hate the word ‘midterm’, as it seems to be describing something other than what it aims to describe.

        1. Actually, this time around it’s the adding fractions that they seem to have trouble with. So we’re down to what, 4th grade math now?

          I took one point off for arithmetic mistakes on the last exam, but the clever little ratfuckers have now decided to just leave these hideous fractions-within-fractions unsimplified as coefficients of the equation of a tangent plane…a strategy that I plan to punish severely. DON’T FUCK WITH DR TEABAGGER!!!!!1!!!!

          1. Actually, one point is pretty tame. I have seen one point taken for the arithmetic mistake and then subsequent points taken because the answer deviates because of the mistake. My current prof is opposite though; you’ll lose the point if the mistake is non-trivial, but the rest of the answer must conform to the mistake or you lose more points i.e. you don’t get the correct final answer from an erroneous start. I like this method better.

            1. That’s a good-sounding practice, but it gets unmanageable when you have to come up with an alternative final answer for every other test.

              Also, sometimes a “lucky” mistake in the beginning of an answer makes the rest easier. For instance, if a problem is to find local minima and maxima of a function, and if you find only one critical point of a function when there are really six, the second part is much easier than it should be.

              1. He told us of this while doing an application ode problem on the board. I think he was trying to tell us that on the test the final answer for these particular problems was secondary to the set-up and methodology.

            2. Except I was taught, by the best Physics teacher I ever had, that I should know the constraints on the answer plus a rough idea of at least the magnitude of the answer before even starting.

              1. That is the smart thing to do. Some math application problems I have no idea whether the answer is close to what it should be.

                Looking at one problem(electrical circuit) from my last exam the correct answer that I got was:

                Q= e^-t(10*cos(2t)+5*sin(2t))

                Knowing fuck-all about electrical circuits means that I have no idea if this equation, which looks about right, gives a meaningful answer.

                1. Joy, it’s from the damped, unforced harmonic oscillator equation for RLC circuits.

                  L q” + R q’ + q / C = V(t)

                  Lovely memories.

                2. The damped harmonic oscillator equation for RLC circuits. Lq” + Rq’ + q/C = V(t).

                  1. Tulpa, did you post that just to show that you knew it?

                    1. Why else does anyone post anything here?

            3. On some tests we had to write all that stuff down at the top of our work.

              1. Apparently, back in the slide rule days, engineers always knew the order of magnitude of the expected answer. Otherwise, they wouldn’t even know how to read the numbers off the slipstick.

                1. I don’t allow any accursed machines to be used on exams or quizzes, so that’s not even a concern. They should be able to do every bit of arithmetic I put on an exam in their heads.

  20. Jesse, like what Brian got from Wonkette, expect another “libertarian hack” rebuttal — the only type of argument the modern left engages in.

    1. Trucknutz!

  21. I’ve been perusing the Huffington Post every day, so’s I know it ain’t just what we see here.

    *hunts for sympathy cad to recycle*

  22. r

    insert where needed

    1. so much for my joke about units and dimension labels…

  23. Well, duh – because of course the world is a much better place because Weisberg fully matriculated and got a job writing masturbatory articles re-enforcing group think.

    It’s THE reason I get of bed in the morning.

  24. Ugh. Went to Slate and read some comments.

    Now I need a shower.

    1. Reading comments at Slate is one sure fire way to become a Malthusean zealot.

      1. Being cool never felt so good.

    2. Well according to the comments libertarianism is the great fountain of youth, as we are all “19 year old males”(sorry ladies?).

      It feels good to be 19 again. Think I’ll get drunk and punch a hole in my wall.

      1. That’s why I prefer pot to alcohol. Less drywall work involved.

        1. Good to know I’m not the only one who measures his maturity by the wall-hole count.

        2. Please convince my boyfriend of this. He drinks because he thinks pot makes him stupid. I would think that having to spackle a hole in your girlfriend’s apartment wall would make you stupid, but apparently not.

      2. 19? My wife, mother, coworkers, and friends will be glad to hear that I am regard so highly. I usually get accused of acting like a 10 year old. Of course, these accusations are well earned.

      3. liberal: they’re all a bunch of 19-year-old males and 22-year-old females!*

        *adjusted for sexual difference in maturity levels

        1. Oh wait, I did that wrong.

          1. Don’t be so sure…

            1. I knew one of you immature libertarian males would say that.

      4. Not all drunks are violent. Some are jolly. Others are sleepy.

        1. Are pukey.

  25. Anyone want to help list “middle class values” for me? I’m at a loss to think of even one “value” that people with average incomes have that others don’t.

    1. being a union member

    2. breeding. caring for a lawn. owning a minivan. hating the person you’re married to. Apple Pie.

      Wholesome American Shit, yo.

    3. The ability to dely gratification.

      1. Dangit, delay.

    4. Banging your neighbor’s wife after dropping the kids off at catechism class?

      No, wait, that crosses clas lines…

    5. Banging your neighbor’s wife after dropping the kids off at catechism class?

      No, wait, that crosses clas lines…

  26. Thiel fellows will have the opportunity to emulate their sponsor by halting their intellectual development around the onset of adulthood, maintaining a narrow-minded focus on getting rich as young as possible, and thereby avoid the siren lure of helping others or contributing to the advances in basic science

    These sound like the words of a man desperately trying to convince himself his course of action was the right one.

    1. Also sounds a lot like someone who has a firm belief that his way is the only way and all other modes of action smack of heresy. Obviously since that is the case, all other modes should be prohibited.

      1. Too bad there aren’t enough Ivy League grads available to write all the needed regulation.

  27. This guy sounds like a jealous, envious hack, who isn’t satisfied with his own accomplishments, and must deride anyone with an original idea.

    1. That, and he rarely gets to take his dates to nice restuarants. No sheep allowed.

  28. I have a Master’s degree, and graduated with a GPA high enough to get some fancy Latin words added to it, and it was the single stupidest mistake of my adult life — waste of time, waste of money, lost opportunity costs — the only good thing I have to say about the experience is, the academic twits I met there helped me lurch out of the misanthrope’s closet a year or two earlier than I otherwise might have done.

    1. It’s nice to see people with the humility to admit they made a mistake, and refuse to rationalize/defend it. I’ve a Master’s degree myself (in a worthless Engineering Offshoot), and although I didn’t pay for it, it was still a waste of my time. Now the Bachelor’s degree on the other hand, that was a waste of time AND money. Alas, with no time machines (Masheens for you Idiocracy fans) readily available, that ship has sunk. But, inspired by that show Hung, I’m considering the gigalo business as a viable alternative to paying off student loan debt while playing Russian roulette with a chinese manufactured pistol.

  29. Just imagine if Michael Philip Jagger had stayed in the London School of Economics instead of trying to make a fast buck in the music biz.

    He could have gone far.

    1. Are you suggesting that Mick Jagger is less competent an economist than, say, Paul Krugman?

      1. I’d much rather hear what Mick has to say about the economy than Kruggie. Even if I don’t agree, it will still be more thoughtful and interesting than the tired opinions of Paul.

        1. Mick is way richer, a better businessman and gets a lot more pussy than Paul.

          1. Not to mention warmed-up Mars bars.

      2. That loosely-coiled stool I left in the toilet this morning is a better economist than Paul Krugman.

    2. Mick, being a rocker, a group of people almost uniformly leftist, might be almost as bad a theoretical economist as Krugman.

      As an applied economist (you know, someone who actually can make huge piles of money), though, Jagger is WAAAAAY more competent than Krugman.

      1. “As an applied economist (you know, someone who actually can make huge piles of money), though, Jagger is WAAAAAY more competent than Krugman.”

        Judging by the lack of scalpers, I’d say he has a good grasp of the market clearing price for Stones’ concerts.

    3. Don’t you know everyone in the humanities are worthless leeches?

      1. That’s not true. They make excellent customer service desk attendants.

        1. Thanks, Tulpa. I know I am sub-human because I could not pass calculus in college, but I wasn’t sure what to do with my non-functioning brain in order to support myself. To the CSD it is!

  30. “maintaining a narrow-minded focus on getting rich as young as possible, and thereby avoid the siren lure of helping others”

    He is absolutely right. Professors, columnists and other more noble minded people like himself give so much more to charity than rich entrepreneurs.

  31. The tide of the comments has changed from agreeing with Weisberg to supporting Thiel’s fellowship.

    1. I never agreed with the douche nozzle. I hope his genitals are infested with the fleas of a 1000 camels while the camel is having its not so mutually consensual way with him.

    2. The issue wasn’t really whether or not Walker supports Thiel’s fellowships, but how snide and condescending Weisberg was to anyone who has different priorities than him.

  32. Well, Weisberg has to find something to do, now that he’s run out of GWB quotes.

  33. Psychoanalyzing one’s political opponents is the laziest way of filling column inches.

    1. “In the end, libertarians always resort to calling their critics ‘lazy’ – why is that? Well, first you need to get into the mind of a libertarian, if that’s possible.

      Blah blah blah blah blah…”

      Tee time!

  34. Government, corrupting those who don’t understand the consequences of their actions.

  35. “Thus Thiel fellows will have the opportunity to emulate their sponsor by halting their intellectual development around the onset of adulthood, maintaining a narrow-minded focus on getting rich as young as possible, and thereby avoid the siren lure of helping others or contributing to the advances in basic science that have made the great tech fortunes possible…”

    “A man with the genius of a great scientist, who chose to be a commercial inventor? I find it outrageous. He wanted a motor, and he quietly performed a major revolution in the science of energy, just as a means to an end, and he didn’t bother to publish his findings, but went right on making his motor. Why did he want to waste his mind on practical appliances?” – Robert Stadler, from Atlas Shrugged

    Didn’t people used to say that Rand’s antagonists were unbelievable caricatures and nobody really thought like that?

  36. Jacob Weisberg amply demonstrates the value of higher education in the U.S.


    It has occurred to me that “progressives” (leftists), having doscovered that they are smarter than religious fundamentalists, assume that they are smarter than everybody.

  37. the PayPal Mafia don’t need no stinking education.

    “The difference between Google and PayPal was that Google wanted to hire Ph.D.s, and PayPal wanted to hire the people who got into Ph.D. programs and dropped out,” says Roelof Botha.

    The PayPal-ers who didn’t possess Thiel’s anti-establishment streak as new hires had it by the time they left. The PayPal culture wasn’t just antigovernment. It was anti–mainstream thought.”

  38. Fuck you, Weisberg. You’re just pissed because a capitalist is helping people out, voluntarily.

  39. He took our jerbs!

  40. The idea that not everyone benefits from staying on at college until your 30s is obviously alien to this bozo. Another reason, of course, why the vast sums of tax moneys spent on college need to be cut. Drastically.

  41. Intellectual development halts when you leave school.

    In my experience, intellectual development is stifled in school, and it’s very difficult to restart it when a kid gets out into the job market.


  42. gsdNice post.It’s all in the eyes and where they are looking~

  43. the woman asked “do you love me?” Man answer “I like you.” The man ask “why don’t you accept me?”

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