Peter Thiel

Peter Thiel Explains the New 'National Conservatism'

In short, it's using the power of the state to punish his enemies and make the world the way he wants it to be.

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A group of conservatives mostly dedicated to removing the stain of individual liberty from their brand met this week for a "National Conservatism Conference." Superwealthy tech-industrialist Peter Thiel gave one of the keynote speeches. Contemplating his remarks is helpful in assessing what these "national conservatives" are up to.

Thiel used to be roughly identified, including, at times, by me, as a libertarian. One reason was his decision to fund what started as a libertarian-rooted wild idea, Seasteading. Another indicator was his big-money support of an ultimately feckless Ron Paul-oriented SuperPac. These decisions made his warm embrace of Trump back in 2016 confusing, but he has now made it clear he has, and wants, nothing to do with the idea that human liberty is overall good and enriching.

Instead, Thiel has some interests and some enemies, and he wants to use the power of the state as a weapon to help one and harm the other. The main enemies are Google, China, and the U.S. university system. He advocated vigorous police actions against the first and third, and a trade war (at least) against China.

The general focus of his talk is that we should run all decisions through the following prism: Is this policy good for the United States? Not for free individual citizens, not for the human race, but for the United States. Thiel's answer, at least when it comes to big tech, the current system of higher education, and free trade, is no.

Why he's attacking Big Tech: Thiel is mad because Silicon Valley imposes a monoculture of political correctness. He didn't get too specific here, but I think his audience and most of the world gets what he means. Silicon Valley is leftist-progressive, culturally and socially, and accepting—at least in word, if not always deed—of the "identity politics" and "cultural marxism" that Thiel believes are some of America's biggest problems.

He also thinks it's notable that Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.) is getting the most political donations out of the tech sector. However, given the ideology he promoted at the conference, it's not entirely clear why Thiel doesn't consider Warren's promises regarding health care reform as "good for America," particularly since he doesn't seem to think government spending or free-market economics have much relevance to "national conservatism." In fact, nowhere in his long speech did Thiel decry government spending or praise free-market economics, and nothing he actually did say suggests that either idea is an unspoken underlying presumption of his ideology.

He is also mad at Google—a rival in some ways to Facebook, on whose board he sits and off of whom he made a chunk of his fortune—and he played to the crowd with a hat tip to the fact there were "reasons you might understand" he was "picking" on Google.

"Picking" is putting it mildly: Thiel suggested that the FBI and CIA should visit Google executives, who should then be "asked in a not excessively gentle manner"—a hint of violence which got laughs and claps from the crowd—about the "seemingly treasonous" behavior of not keeping the Chinese government sufficiently far from Google's research into artificial intelligence.

Thiel pal President Donald Trump gleefully tweeted that he was going to follow Thiel's lead on this and look into Google's "treason." Will this lead to the deaths, by capital punishment, of Thiel's opponents at Google? I sure hope not.

Using his wealth and influence to conquer his enemies certainly motivates Thiel, as seen in his murder-via-defamation suit of the news and gossip website Gawker. It is more than likely that the site's exposure of scurrilous and embarrassing facts about people and institutions, while not pleasing to the exposed, have probably on balance been good for America, although Thiel clearly disagreed.

Thiel insists he wants to deal more with "concrete particulars, not abstractions," when he jabs at free trade: He didn't say out loud that globalization has been bad for enough people in a significant enough way to end free trade altogether. He also did not talk about decaying industries or bringing American jobs back. He may believe that stuff, but he mostly criticized free-trade ideology because he thinks it keeps us from being tough on China.

He has a litany of complaints about the Chinese government and corporate behavior, and he thinks the proper way to deal with them is to punish any American company or citizen who wishes to do business with the Chinese. He wants tariffs of 25 percent and said that should just be a starting point.

While it's unlikely the National Conservatism audience is all that worried about global warming or carbon in the atmosphere, Thiel suggests punitive tariffs on Americans who wish to do business with China should or could be sold as carbon taxes, since China is a heavy polluter in that regard.

Chinese companies and governments are certainly committing crimes. American companies and individuals and the U.S. government can and should consider the financial and moral implication of doing business with them, but without trying to punish the rest of America. Some things—like Chinese production practices, how they treat workers, their own internal subsidies, and intellectual property theft—aren't things we can likely stop, tariffs or not.

Raising tariffs is more likely to harm the Americans who wish to have their products than to change the entire way China runs its economy, but again, Thiel's vision of conservatism is that we (as in, he) should use government to punish enemies. He thinks it is vital that no one who believes strongly in free trade should be part of making U.S. trade policy.

Taxing and managing American companies' and citizens' production and consumption decisions in pursuit of what Thiel calls a national interest is fundamental to his "national conservativism." In this case, the "national interest" is really the specific interests of the people and industries who can get the government to create trade policies that will benefit them. Managed trade and protectionism are not good for everybody, and nationalist talk is merely a way of disguising personal and sectional interests as somehow good for an entire nation.

Pointing out that we never thought trade barriers between U.S. states made life better for Americans is a cliche, but it's also an important thing to remember, especially since anti-free-trade sophists are essentially in favor of using state force to help some Americans at the expense of other Americans but feel they can get away with it when it isn't as blatant as saying "this state wins, and this state loses."

Framing decisions about the economy and liberty in "national" terms is a cover for those who are best able to manipulate the machinery of the state to get what they want at the expense of others. Thiel's Palantir makes money providing services that harm innocent humans to the techno-industrial state. It's not surprising that he encourages that sort of thing, but it might be less valuable as a principle for a political movement.

National conservative types and Trumpers enjoy either appealing to, or teasing, libertarians who don't like Trump with the declaration that Trump is great for libertarians because he's so anti-intervention: Thiel ups the ante on this by claiming, with zero evidence, and indeed by bringing up his "libertarian friends," that Trump has been better on the anti-intervention front than even Ron Paul would have been. He doesn't elaborate on this, and what Ron Paul would or could actually have accomplished as president will forever remain unproven.

While it is a vital moral imperative that America not blow people up, Trump continues to do just that and has not stopped doing so anywhere. While there have been positive signs here and there, and he has not opened up any completely fresh fronts, I have to call bullshit on Thiel's unsupported rhetorical outreach to old libertarians that Trump is the most libertarian possible person on war issues. Sanctions and tariffs and immigrant detention camps are all forms of aggression. Trump may not be bombing places that Obama didn't bomb, but he is hurting innocent people all over the world.

Thiel certainly didn't help shore up his antiwar bonafides, or those of the "national conservative" movement, when he said the Iraq war might have passed his litmus test had U.S. oil companies been allowed to plunder Iraq's oil. Most libertarians, including Ron Paul, object to modern war on the grounds that it is bad to commit mass murder and turn homes and cultural legacies into rubble, not because doing those things failed to enrich companies based in the U.S.

While Thiel isn't quite clear about why American colleges are his other great foe, a case could be made that student debt is holding back the nation as a whole: Then again, it might just be part of his general neo-reactionary sense that universities are the core of the "Cathedral" of progressivism, and hitting them in the purse is the best way to undermine American higher education's broader progressive influence.

He's been using his money to encourage the bright to not go to college for years, and good for him. He said outright that he wants to "stick colleges with the bill" for the burden of student loan debt, and coincidentally (or not), another person at the conference, Sen. Josh Hawley (R–Mo.), wants that idea to become law. 

Thiel also called for criminal prosecutions against colleges on the grounds of fraud, which is further evidence that unleashing state violence against people and institutions he doesn't like or agree is the core of his own brand of "national conservativism." Thiel is confident they will actually win the battle against higher education, and soon.

Thiel ended his speech with a declaration that the right has retired the notion of "American exceptionalism." The next day, Trump called on people who think anything is wrong with America might want to leave, which seems to come from the same spirit of "American exceptionalism" Thiel believes Trump has helped kill.

Was there anything good in Thiel's speech? He began his lecture by repeating an old, and likely valid, complaint that the world might be better off with more changes and improvements in the offline realm, not just the things we see and process on our computers or smartphones. To the extent regulations or taxes are slowing up physical innovation, he could be a useful voice in trying to prevent this, but he didn't mention either obstacle.

He also seems to have more confidence in the imminent possibilities of matter teleportation, if only Google would get out of the way or concentrate on the right things. What he doesn't say is that, even if it only has to do with bits and bytes, what Google has given us all for free is, as evidenced by the fact so many of us use Google products, making our lives better, no matter how it affects macroeconomic productivity statistics.

Contemplating a mass movement on the right arising around this speech is depressing. That the forces of the "right" might coalesce around plutocratic power to harm U.S. businesses and citizens via attacking the "abstraction" of free trade shows that libertarians have, as usual, difficult and vital work to do. Thiel's speech and its enthusiastic reception show with clarity that liberty—yours, mine, American—is no longer particularly meaningful to the "national conservative."

 

NEXT: New York Passed Sweeping, Progressive Rental Regulations. Now It's Getting Sued.

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  1. If the end result is we can finally destroy Facebook Twitter and the rest I will be happy. They are a cancer and deserve excessive government regulation.

    1. we can finally destroy Facebook Twitter

      Have we been at war with them for long?

        1. And I confess I really have no idea what these people are talking about.

          But Fincher defended his and Sorkin’s veteran status. “I think the film is probably a pretty good meatloaf of good old dramatic values held together with some 2.0 extender.

          1. a pretty good meatloaf of good old dramatic values held together with some 2.0 extender.

            Sounds like the last time I tried to cook dinner.

        2. Can you PLEASE stick a warning in before a f%€$&?! Guardian link?

    2. we have always been at war with TwitterBook

    3. Let’s call this new conservatism what it really is: fascism. Jeffrey Tucker called it back in 2016.

      1. Well it is definitely on the “fascist continuum” so to speak.
        If you take a look at these 14 items:
        https://ratical.org/ratville/CAH/fasci14chars.html
        I would say that about a third of them qualify.
        They’re certainly working really hard on item #3 that is for sure.

        1. Good link, thanks, Jeff. I would say other than 6, 9, and 14, they got the other points covered.

          1. “Good link, thanks, Jeff”

            Huh? Isn’t Chemleft your other sock? Self-congratulations?
            Also, that list in the link is the prog wing of the DNC’s time-tested playbook, so how does that have anything to do with “conservatives”?

            1. It’s a complete mystery, isn’t it?

        2. Holy shit. I did what you never do and went and perused the top page at ratical.org..

          Holy fuck what a loon cite. This explains everything about you. Your use of them to back up your argument speaks wonders.

          You really are a fucking idiot. It’s a retarded hippy ecowarrior cute that hates capitalism and blames it for earth’s destruction.

          Good work proving once and for all you’re a joke jeff. Bookmarking your use of this cite anytime you ask for a link.

          1. We all know, Censor Jesse, in your world, it’s all tribalism all the time.
            Someone from outside your tribe makes an argument? Then the argument must be wrong! Because wrong tribe! Who cares what the words on the page say. Wrong tribe = incorrect argument. That is about the level of the depth of your thinking.

            It is probably also why you have twisted yourself into supporting Hawley’s state censorship bill. Because Hawley = right tribe = correct ideas, amirite?

          2. This is what a tribalist mind does, Jesse. It looks at information that causes cognitive dissonance and quickly seeks some reason to dismiss the information to protect itself. One of the quickest ways to do this is to seek solace in the genetic fallacy, by dismissing the source of the information as being from the other tribe.

            1. Neither eunuch nor chemjeff have any dignity or worth.

        3. Thank you for the link. It seems that the 14 characteristics overwhelmingly apply to Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and Castro etc. with the exception of religion. I’m not seeing a clear distinction between fascists and any other totalitarian. Perhaps there isn’t one.

        4. Ya know, if we consider Confucianism/Communism for #8 and no elections for #14, perfectly descibes Red China.

    4. So Peter Thiel has a great libertarian idea, which is to focus on the US and not other’s interests (China’s), and reason decides to do a hit piece on him. I’m just completely suprised by this whole article, and it makes me wonder whether to even visit this site anymore. Thiel is a great patriot, not whatever horribly negative picture you attempt to paint.

      1. he’s a crank whose one project, seasteading , went tits up
        he is not the first, they just buried H. Ross Perot who didn’t do much but get a museum or 2 built and enrich his son. Wasn’t’ even Carnegie level philanthropy but just a couple of hi end deals for the deprived aristocracy of Dallas.

        thiel give your money to someone or something who is already rolling. maybe I dunno Habitat for H. or Nature Conservancy. Maybe a few HBC’s.

    5. So Peter Thiel has a great libertarian idea, which is to focus on the US and not other’s interests (China’s), and reason decides to do a hit piece on him. I’m just completely suprised by this whole article, and it makes me wonder whether to even visit this site anymore. Thiel is a great patriot, not whatever horribly negative picture you attempt to paint.

  2. OT UhOh! Brown people don’t like browner people, Who’ll break the news to Shika?

    1. Probably that evil Light Brown Nationalism rearing its ugly head

    2. More than 6 in 10 Mexicans say migrants are a burden on their country because they take jobs and benefits that should belong to Mexicans. A 55 percent majority supports deporting migrants who travel through Mexico to reach the United States.

      Those findings defy the perception that Mexico — a country that has sent millions of its own migrants to the United States, sending billions of dollars in remittances — is sympathetic to the surge of Central Americans. Instead, the data suggests Mexicans have turned against the migrants transiting through their own country, expressing antipathy that would be familiar to many supporters of President Trump north of the border.

      I again raise the Mexican Flag in protest!

      1. Gee, a society that takes distinct pride in its own ethnonationalism doesn’t want outsiders coming in and settling where they’re not welcome? Imagine my shock.

      2. Der takin arr juhb

        1. Aging hippie liberal doosh. Haha

      3. I can’t resist. Mexican immigration is 0. same # in as out.

        because

        they now build all the things we used to, at a much lower price point.

        ergo they have a pretty good employment picture for a 2nd world country.

        BTW who cuts your grass?

      4. there is an adage in military studies.

        Roman Empire

        the 3rd Riech

        USA hegemony 20th century

        and Mexican’s conquered the world with frijoles and rice.

    3. No problem.

      “It’s only racist when Whitey does it.”

  3. This piss stain of a magazine trying to lecture Peter Thiel on libertarianism is beyond fucking hilarious. The state of shock and horror you find yourselves in at the mere suggestion that the totalitarian state you cheered for as it was erected be turned against you is literally the most deliciously satisfying brand of Schadenfreude that has ever existed. The only thing better will be when you actually get lined up against the wall by the state you created. I hope I can be there to jack off with the blood oozing from your head wounds.

    1. How dare he! the very idea that China does bad things to us and we may not benefit long term from our status quo arrangement is in direct conflict with Econ 101 idealism where militarism, regional hegemony, and 100 year plans aren’t contemplated

      1. China does bad things to us

        I know right? Some dude in China sold me a big TV at a great bargain. I feel harmed already.

        1. Are you an importer? Because literally no one else in the retail supply chain would deal directly with a Chinese merchant. You must have a pretty big garage to fit the 40 gross minimum order.

          Also, LCD panels are manufactured primarily in Japan, Korea and Taiwan. If you’re going to cocksuck a totalitarian communist regime while whinging about how Trump is a totalitarian without even a hint of irony, at least try to get the details right. Fuckwit.

          1. Someone took my response far too literally.
            Chill out dude.
            Watch this, it will lower your blood pressure.
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gw_xvtWJ6q0

            1. Lol. God you’re precious. You pedantically nitpick every fucking word that is said to you in an attempt to derail and red herring every argument you ever get into here. But when you get called out for spouting absolutely retarded rubbish that you can’t defend then your opponents needs to chill out and not take you so literally.

              The actual country of origin of your cheap TV is less important than your rampant hypocrisy in supporting the world’s single most oppressive authoritarian regime. It’s just fun to rub your nose in your abject stupidity. Don’t ever mistake it for anyone actually taking you seriously.

              1. Dude, you’re going to stroke out if you don’t take it down a notch.
                Watch the puppy video and chill. Smoke a bowl.
                If dogs aren’t your thing I can see if I can find a kitten video instead.

                1. *Claims something retarded*
                  *gets called on the stupidity*
                  “Dude, you’re going to stroke out… Watch the puppy video and chill.”

                  Oh wow! That’s the most dishonest reply I’ve seen in a while.

                  1. Dude, you have completely and utterly missed the point.

                    Or, you completely understood the point, didn’t like it, and decided to bleat on about irrelevant details, or launch ad hominem attacks, to deflect, instead of arguing the actual point.

                    Because trying to rationalize how producers in China and consumers in America come to a mutual agreement that benefits both parties, is somehow “doing bad things to us”, is kind of a difficult thing to do.

                    Much easier to just act like a total troll about the whole thing, right?

                    1. Because trying to rationalize how producers in China and consumers in America come to a mutual agreement that benefits both parties

                      Hitler and Stalin also came to “a mutual agreement that benefited both parties”. I guess they must have been libertarians!

                    2. Let’s see your Chinese TV, Jeff. No really. I want to see it. I want to know the brand and where all the components were manufactured and sourced. A lot of “libertarians” very quickly kowtowed to the world communist supergovernment you hope the Chinese Communist Party eventually manages to achieve. So what if they have a state-run monopoly on shipping in that part of the world? So what if you can get goods cheaper? You get what you pay for. Chinese manufacturing has no minimum standards and is famously opaque with regard to practices. A world flooded with poor quality Chinese crap churned out by state-subsidized manufacturing concerns to flood the market and undercut the West is not one I want to live in. We’re already there? Yeah maybe so but fuck going down without as many huge FUCK YOUS to President Pooh and his thugs as possible. Too protectionist? Well that’s my choice. You make your own.

                    3. I respect your right to buy your TV from wherever you choose.
                      Do you respect my right to buy my TV from wherever I choose? Oh, no. You’ll happily use the power of the state to make it more difficult, and/or outright forbid me, to buy a TV where YOU think I ought to buy it from.
                      So, screw you. Get your hands out of my wallet.

                  2. Go look at the ratical.org website jeff cited earlier. It explains his retardation.

                2. Seriously, fuck you Jeff. You straight up got called on your nonsense and that’s your response? I guess I will go and “have a stroke” as well. Project much, Jeffy?

                  1. I respect your right to buy your TV from wherever you choose.
                    Do you respect my right to buy my TV from wherever I choose? Oh, no. You’ll happily use the power of the state to make it more difficult, and/or outright forbid me, to buy a TV where YOU think I ought to buy it from.
                    So, screw you. Get your hands out of my wallet.

                    I’ll buy my Japanese* TV, assembled in Korea with some components manufactured in Taiwan, Japan, and quite possibly your beloved PRC.

                    *a relative term in such a heavily globalized world

                    I don’t care where you buy your TV from, Jeff. I’ll be damned if I won’t say a few words on how the Chinese Communist Party has spent decades subsidizing all it’s manufacturing concerns even at a loss just to undercut Western economies and watch Western industry collapse. What happens when it’s all gone? Thanks to the so-called “free” market we now have poor quality everything made in China by slaves to a communist regime who’s only goal is to bring the West to it’s knees by buying out the whole world. All this supposedly principled “but free markets” from you is entirely dishonest and refuses to look at the big picture. We all now to some extent put money into the pockets of PRC bureaucrats and can now hold ourselves responsible for building all those artificial islands in the South China Sea, the warships, the fighter jets, etc. Also, as I’ve said, all this “but free markets” talk ALWAYS conveniently sidesteps the plain old fact that Chinese manufacturing has no minimum standards and the product is generally of poor quality. Jeff’s great leap forward.

                    1. One things many idiots can’t seem to comprehend is that there are some things MORE IMPORTANT than economics into the next business quarter.

                      People used to plan literally generations out into the future for things… Because that shit DOES matter too. In economics it surely can. But also in other ways. Like not doing something that serves your interests now, because a foreign nation that hates you will have your kids by the balls. Silly considerations like that.

                      It really just shows how shallow minded and short sighted a lot of people are.

        2. The technology Red China obtained from the west to make your TV is used to enforce oppression and upgrade its military.

      2. There is no possible downside to enriching Emperor Xi.

        Reason proved that with a supply demand graph once upon a time. I didn’t see it, but they’ve told us hundreds of times that they did. Weren’t you listening?

      3. There’s no such thing as free trade with unfree nations. Red China uses the artificial intelligence software it gets from Google to maintain oppressive totalitarianism. It uses the technology it obtains from the west to upgrade its military capabilities, necessitating upgrades in free world military technology.

        Those are hidden costs of Red Chinese goods, not relected in their price. Stiff tarriffs on Red Chinese goods will ensure that the true costs will be reflected in the price so that the free-market can work and consumers can choose the best value considering the true costs.

        1. Fixed spelling – relected ->> reflected
          tarriffs ->> tariffs

          There’s no such thing as free trade with unfree nations. Red China uses the artificial intelligence software it gets from Google to maintain oppressive totalitarianism. It uses the technology it obtains from the west to upgrade its military capabilities, necessitating upgrades in free world military technology.

          Those are hidden costs of Red Chinese goods, not reflected in their price. Stiff tariffs on Red Chinese goods will ensure that the true costs will be reflected in the price so that the free-market can work and consumers can choose the best value considering the true costs.

    2. I have to admit, this Jack Johnson person sounds certifiably insane, and like the kind of person who would go shoot up some gathering of people he dislikes. It gave me a little chill to read this post. the venom leaps off the screen. I hope you seek help sir.

      1. I hope he shoots chemjeff and eunuch

      2. The love child of Hihn and the Good Reverend.

      3. I agree, this post is disturbing. Jack needs to take a break from news and go for a walk.

      4. The amount of “I disagree with your politics and hope you have a very painful death” posts around here are creepy.

        1. They sure are. There is a weird strain of “win at all costs” that has emerged here and I’m not a fan. It’s like the mirror image of the radical left.

          1. +1

            I guess it’s the “postmodern right’s” version of virtue-signaling – “no I hate the left even more than you do, I’ll prove it by stating an impotent demand that they be summarily executed!”

            1. I don’t know about virtue signaling, but it is interesting how some here think that espousing certain political beliefs is cause for deportation, imprisonment, or execution. I guess the college leftists are right after all…speech is violence!

          2. Yes, but I’ve been assured by a few of the posters in question that the radical left are Evil, whereas they are Good. They’re just acting in self-defense, after all.

            1. “Waaaaaaaaah!”

    3. Wow Jack, are you sure you don’t have a head wound?

    4. Someone needs to lecture you on libertarianism

    5. This same site that lavished praise on Jeff Fucking Flake’s “libertarian bona fides” is bashing Thiel?

      Seriously?

      1. What should a libertarian think about the nationalist ideology that Thiel is advocating for?

        1. Well, I know Reason thinks as long as the wealthy can hire and underpay darker-skinned help, it’s all good. But it is a terrible policy for the country.

          Why Reason doesn’t want free trade is lost on me. They want managed trade as long as somebody claims it is free.

        2. “What should a libertarian think about the nationalist ideology that Thiel is advocating for?”

          Thiel’s thinking overlaps a lot with positions Reason has given voice to. (See “Going to College is Selfish” in the April 2018 issue and “Why Do So Many Modern Jobs Seem Pointless?” in February 2019.) It also overlaps a lot with David Brooks’ Bobos in Paradise. His argument is that US leadership relies too much on rent-seeking and needs a ‘kick in the pants’ similar to what Thatcher did to British unions and nobility. I agree, and I’m not sure why you call it ‘nationalism.’

          Is it because he wants to shift the tax burden off of productivity and onto consumption?

          Or is it because of his criticism of universities? (Remember that accredited universities already answer to the fed, and research universities live on NSF/NIH/DARPA grants. They also work with regulators to control who can practice law, work in a police drug lab, become a judge, testify as an expert witness at a trial, serve as an officer in the US military, apply for most white-collar jobs, and carry a gun and a badge in some jurisdictions. A lot of innocent people are in prison or dead because of that monopoly.)

    6. Just to be clear: Are you saying you’re going to be jacking off by using the blood from the head wound as lube or that you’re going to jack off while their head wounds bleed?

      I mean if you’re going to write ultra violent, right wing extremo porn you could at least be clearer about it.

      How am I supposed to jack off to your comment if I can’t picture it clearly?

      Also: You’re wrong! Hazelnut Schadenfreude is clearly the best one!

    7. It’s a libertarian website, Jack, but it’s still bad form to hoover up a few rails before posting. Try to keep it clean and sober next time.

    8. He is irrelevant to everyone anywhere else but here.

      isn’t he responsible for the hologram on my Visa card or some other great industrial feat?

  4. Imagine the impudence of a billionaire suggesting that the full force of the total state be turned towards policy objectives that don’t benefit billionaires instead of supporting the status quo where the full force of the total state operates exclusively for the benefit of billionaires. I bet the Koch bros will need some extra nitroglycerin just to beat their wives tonight.

    1. I’m more and more certain this is a bot

    2. “Superwealthy tech-industrialist Peter Thiel”

      It is hilarious to watch Reason come after Hank Rearden.

      1. By what stretch of the imagination is Thiel equivalent to Hank Rearden?

  5. Contemplating a mass movement on the right arising around this speech is depressing.

    Get used to it bitch. You probably should have thought about that when you were sitting your flaccid, doughy ass at your keyboard churning out propaganda for the pathetic bike lock wielding “enforcers” of what you thought was your own popular uprising. Your flaccid, doughy ass will still be behind that keyboard when the blood actually starts flowing the streets, but what will you do when the Koch welfare checks stop rolling in?

    1. Spectrum-inhabiting, bigoted right-wing malcontents who talk big while getting stomped in the culture war are among my favorite to-be-replaced faux libertarians.

      1. Lol. Yeah what does Peter Thiel have on an intellectual and economic heavyweight like you who spends 14 hours a day regurgitating the same copy and paste bumper sticker slogans on a poorly trafficked pop culture website. Kill yourself faggot.

        1. > same copy and paste bumper sticker slogans

          Jack, clearly, is a scholar and a gentleman. Who wouldn’t want to talk to a fine specimen like him?

          > Kill yourself faggot

          Who *doesn’t* want to see more deeply considered wisdom?

          1. It’s not like the post was inaccurate.

          2. I’ve never seen someone defend Kirkland. Congrats on being that idiot.

            1. When did Snorkle mention Kirkland?

          3. faggot as I recall is either a cigarette or a bundle of sticks.

  6. It’s unfortunate that conservatives are wishing for a government solution to this corporate censorship problem… which IS a problem by the way. They should really know better. It’s a lot like the gamer issue with loot boxes. People hate them with such passion that they’re willing to let the post office design their video games if they think it will stop loot boxes.

    1. I’d just like to see Daddy Gov get out of the way and let people take Big Tech to court.
      Let a jury hear their cases.

      1. But you can now.
        You can sue any company at any time for breach of contract.
        Moreover you can sue any other user on any social media platform for defamation, etc.
        Section 230 doesn’t stop either of those.

        1. You just can’t sue the publisher for… you know… publishing.

          But you could sue them for OSHA violations! So it’s really the same thing!

          Fuck you’re stupid

          1. What would you like to sue Twitter for?
            How has Twitter allegedly harmed *you*, specifically?

            1. I have never had a Twitter account or accessed the Twitter service. Other people who do access the Twitter service would like to sue Twitter for publishing false and defamatory information about them and cannot. Laura Loomer, for example, is currently attempting futilely to pursue one such lawsuit.

              1. Similarly, I’ve been having a *terrible* time suing AT&T over the false things someone said about me over a cell phone.

                I wonder what might be the common element there?

                1. Does AT&T selectively block calls?
                  If not, they’re a platform.
                  If so, they’re making editorial decisions and publishing what they choose.

                  1. Platforms like Facebook are more like a library.
                    If a library refuses to carry a book, is the book’s author’s rights violated?
                    When the librarians decide which books to put on the shelves, are they “publishing what they choose”?

                    1. One of the dumbest examples I’ve ever seen. Congrats jeff.

                      But maybe you dont know who the ACLU is.

                      https://www.aclu.org/press-releases/utah-school-district-sued-removing-childrens-book-about-lesbian-parents-library

                    2. Jeff is getting absolutely stomped in this comment section, damn.

                    3. Analogizing Facebook to a library is a lot better analogy than to a mere platform, or to an actual publisher.

                      Facebook isn’t creating the content that users put on their site.
                      Facebook isn’t editing the content that users put on their site.
                      Facebook is selectively hosting content on their site.
                      Like a library, selectively hosts books on its shelves.

                    4. Except a library can be sued and we make sure that our billionaires are protected.

              2. If Facebook really did defame Laura Loomer, then she’s perfectly within her rights to sue the pants off Facebook.

                What does this have to do with being a publisher or not? Why does it even matter? If I defame you, you are perfectly entitled to sue me, whether I’m a publisher or not.

        2. Jeff you’re a fucking idiot. Meagan Murphy case proves you wrong. Her contract claims got dismissed on 230 grounds. You fucking idiot.

          1. You mean this lawsuit?

            https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20190618/08315742419/self-described-feminist-loses-lawsuit-against-twitter-banning-her-account.shtml

            Section 230 allows Twitter to moderate content, and that is what they did. What specifically is the breach of contract that is alleged? Seems to me there wasn’t one.

            But hey if you have more information to add, please, provide some links of your own and we can have a discussion about this.

            Or, you can just call me names, throw out propaganda, and poison the well. Your call.

        3. But you can now.

          And they are. See: Youtuber Law. one of the most interesting things going on in the world of Big Tech Censorship that I’m shocked Reason hasn’t covered.

      2. And whose courts would that be?

    2. I get the feeling that many conservatives feel like they are being victimized and oppressed, and that is why they are turning to the government in an attempt to relieve them of their oppression. Like blacks in this country, after Reconstruction, were still very much oppressed, so civil rights leaders eventually turned to the government to relieve them of their oppression. And government obliged by passing anti-discrimination laws, fair housing laws, affirmative action laws, etc., etc. I have the impression that most at the time did this because they thought it was the only way that they were going to see justice. Fast forward to today, and I think many of the same parallels are at work.

      This TED Talk got me thinking about it:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FdHJw0veVNY

      It’s about a black guy who went undercover online and posed as a white supremacist and infiltrated their forums. He said that he shockingly saw a lot of parallels between his own oppression narrative and what the white racists were saying about themselves.

      *I’m NOT saying conservatives are all white supremacists, btw.

      1. Of course we know that they aren’t really being victimized and oppressed like the sanctified negro, on account of they’re white. The sanctified negro, it should go without saying, was fully justified in bringing to bear the total state to free him from the oppression of bad lunch service. If whitey gets fired from his job, can’t access banking infrastructure, can’t access social media, can’t access web hosting, can’t access payment processing, can’t access business services, can’t access lodging, can’t access transportation services, well he can just stop with the goddamn persecution complex and go fuck himself.

        *I’m NOT saying conservatives are all white supremacists, btw.

        Just because that’s what you literally said in the preceding 5 paragraphs and have consistently said throughout your entire time here, including when you went by your original cytotoxic handle. Don’t worry bro, everybody knows you’re a pathological liar, and you’re far too stupid to take seriously so it doesn’t really matter.

        1. Jack, you’re a living New Yorker comic-strip punchline.

        2. “sanctified negro”? lol

        3. Wasn’t cytotoxic the Objectivist with a war boner? That doesn’t seem like chemjeff.

          1. I have no idea who Cytotoxic is.

        4. “you’re far too stupid to take seriously”

          Which is obviously why you keep responding to him…

      2. That was a great TED talk. The best aspect of it was how he seemed to have an real sympathy for the humanity of those people even though he disagreed with them.

        1. I know, isn’t it?
          What he says is really spot on:
          “Why should I be hated for who I cannot help but be?”
          That is a universal complaint, not limited to race or anything else.

      3. *I’m NOT saying conservatives are all white supremacists, btw.

        That’s a relief! You’re such a political authority that people just couldn’t live with themselves should you identify them as “white supremacists”!

    3. It’s unfortunate that conservatives are wishing for a government solution to this corporate censorship problem

      Conservatives want to limit Section 230. It’s not as good as striking it, but it’s a start.

      I’m not sure how liming a crony capitalist law amounts to a “government solution”.

      1. Jeff is an idiot. He believes once a benefit is given away it becomes a right.

        1. Oh look it’s Censor Jesse here to spread disinformation according to the propagndist’s credo:
          “It doesn’t have to be true – it just has to go viral”

          1. “It doesn’t have to be true – it just has to go viral”

            That’s your motto, Jeff, and you Alma Mater has it emblazoned around its seal.

          2. I’ve never seen Jesse defend or call for censorship.
            You, on the other hand, vociferously defend censorship and even join in on Brandybuck’s request for it.
            Fuck off and literally die

        2. Actually Jeff is most certainly not an idiot. I think he is wrong on his absolutist open borders stance , but I agree with him here. Section 230 is a good thing.
          His answers are more reasoned than the majority of the replies he elicits here.

          My 2 cents

          1. That doesn’t speak well for your analytical abilities.

      2. “I’m not sure how liming a crony capitalist law amounts to a “government solution”.

        This is Reasonlandia, where the ratchet only works in one direction. Try to move it the other way and you are clearly a fascist enemy of the free market.

    4. Government created the corporate censorship problem with the crony capitalist CDA.

      End big tech’s legislated exemption from publishing liability, and they’ll go common carrier the next day.

    5. I’m hoping loot boxes wont cause government regulation of video games. But then again, if video game publishers don’t want to be regulated, they should probably stop putting gambling in their games and marketing them to kids.

  7. To paraphrase the genius duo Matt Stone and Trey Parker “We hate conservatives. But we FUCKING hate liberals”

    1. I guess the order depends on where you live.

      1. ^ This is certainly true

    2. Eh, the conservatives are catching up fast.

    3. Love those guys. True geniuses.

  8. “Thiel pal President Donald Trump gleefully tweeted that he was going to follow Thiel’s lead on this and look into Google’s “treason.” Will this lead to the deaths, by capital punishment, of Thiel’s opponents at Google? I sure hope not.”

    Fear mongering and hyperbole are great substitutes for real journalism, just ask CNN and MSNBC.

    1. You probably can’t but try to imagine how fast Obama would have been thrown out of office and probably arrested if he had done and said the a 10th of things Trump has said and done in office. Whether it’s threatening people, paling around with dictators, using the public office to enrich his businesses, spending $100 million dollars playing golf, putting his children in positions of authority, lying everyday, inviting foreign help in his election, engineering a disaster on the border for political gain, encouraging police to beat people up, encouraging his supporters to commit violence, the obstruction of the special counsel investigation, the attempt to rig the census, singlaling out certain states for punitive attacks such as withholding disaster aid or writing a tax law designed to damage states that didn’t vote for him and more. I can’t help but chalk up the double standard to racism but maybe it’s partisanship which probably comes from the same place in the brain as the racism. Anyway one day a future generation is going to look and this time from a detached perspective and they will recoil in horror at the madness of it all just as we do so now at the madness that existed in our past.

      1. As long as it pisses you off, it’s all good.

        1. I know, right?
          The only principle that matters here is “make the libz cry!”

          1. The only principle that matters here is “make the libz cry!”

            Stop lying. Democrats and progressives abandoned any vestiges of liberalism long ago.

            1. And no one ever uses “libs” to refer to them despite it not being terribly accurate?

              1. Plenty of people do, and I correct them, more gently (when it is out of ignorance), and more harshly (when talking to a liar and propagandist).

      2. Neat, a wall of text made entirely of deranged, extreme-left lies and demagoguery.

        1. Fancylad, where are you from?
          I get the impression that you are from Britain. Is that correct?
          What part, if you don’t mind me asking?

          1. You just want to know if he has connections with any South Asians from Rotherham to hook you up with.

          2. Pretty sure he’s Canadian.

            *checks secret tracking database of all Reason commenters*

            Yeah, he’s Kanuckistani.

      3. Yah? Well even Trump isn’t so evil as to use run-on sentences. The lack of paragraphs has destroyed your literary masterpiece.

      4. You probably can’t but try to imagine how fast Obama would have been thrown out of office and probably arrested if he had done and said the a 10th of things Trump has said and done in office.

        Obama literally got away with murder, not to mention all the other unprecedented crap he pulled.

        Anyway one day a future generation is going to look and this time from a detached perspective and they will recoil in horror at the madness of it all just as we do so now at the madness that existed in our past.

        As a lifelong Democrat, I looked back in horror at the Obama presidency and Sanders and Hillary’s candidacy and left the Democratic party for good.

      5. “You probably can’t but try to imagine how fast Obama would have been thrown out of office and probably arrested if he had done and said the a 10th of things Trump has said and done in office. ”

        Wow this is delusional.

        The Obama Administration was more corrupt than all other administrations in the history of America combined.

        Meanwhile, Trump put up with a coup of Obama Administration Deep State holdovers for the first 2 years of his term.

      6. The double standard would also include the media worshipping Obama anyway, and rolling their eyes at paranoid republicans over their “conspiracy theory” about “Russian attacks”, instead of treating it like it’s practically Pearl Harbor.

  9. This article is almost all spin rather than substance. Of course it’s possible the subject himself is mostly spin, so I don’t know where the blame lies.

  10. Progressivism is an existential threat to the American Republic. It is an existential threat to liberty worldwide. It is an existential threat to reason itself.

    With no other country on earth having enstantiated liberty into the very institutions of society the way our Republic has, the loss of liberty here will inevitably entail the loss of liberty worldwide. When that happens there will be a global dark age. During that dark age our species will likely face several near extinction events (we are overdue for two right now) which will most likely delay us from becoming an interplanetary space faring species by thousands of years. If that delay lasts long enough it may never happen. Our star will sterilize our planet entirely in less than a billion years as it heats up and expands due to it’s age. Progressivism therefore is an existential threat to the existance of humanity itself. Threats of this magnitude were dealt with using violence when our society still valued manhood and had faith in itself. We deserve our coming extinction now.

    1. So… genocide the progressives, otherwise we’ll never get to go to Mars? Is that your argument?

      1. It’s not like we need any more good reasons to genocide the progs, but I’ll be happy to add it to the list just for the sake of completeness.

        1. So far we have Sheldonius, Nemo, Jack Johnson (probably), Nardz and Shithead all on the “pro-genocide-the-progs” position.

          Anyone else?

          1. No need for genocide if you and your ilk cease to be artificially protected from personal responsibility and the consequences of your actions.

          2. I’m on the fence here.

    2. “Progressivism is an existential threat to the American Republic”

      The threat of the Rule of The Deep State was what was lacking from Thiel’s presentation.

      They’re actually the biggest danger to freedom in the western world.

      1. I’m sure Q will get right on it!

        1. #LibertariansForTheDeepState

    3. Considering that after several centuries of unprecedented freedom, Americans have seen fit to turn their country into the the Jerry Springer Show writ large, I’m not entirely convinced that an absence of freedom is their biggest problem today.

    4. What he said

    5. That may be true. If it is, we’d better be damn careful that the response to the threat of progressive/socialism also does not create a threat to liberty. When societies collapse, it’s usually not because good guys and bad guys are fighting but because different groups of assholes are fighting.
      Which is tough when you value individual autonomy, rights and tolerance. How do you tolerate the people who aren’t themselves particularly tolerant and protect the rights of people who don’t believe in rights?

  11. This is nothing but Bill Kristol’s old faction, “neocons”, changing their name to hide the fact that they’re long since discredited. They never were conservatives, of course — unless you believe people can be “trans-political”.

    1. Betcha the Neocons pour on the hate for Thiel.

      Meanwhile, have you failed to notice how Reason has been fellating the Neocons lately?

  12. Instead, Thiel has some interests and some enemies, and he wants to use the power of the state as a weapon to help one and harm the other. The main enemies are Google, China, and the U.S. university system. He advocated vigorous police actions against the first and third, and a trade war (at least) against China.

    Translation:

    (1) He wants to abolish Google’s crony capitalist protections against lawsuits.

    (2) He wants the US to stop indirectly subsidizing Chinese made products via “free trade” with a regime that uses slave labor.

    (3) He wants to stop using tax payer dollars to support neo-Marxist indoctrination camps.

    Thiel used to be roughly identified, including, at times, by me, as a libertarian

    Well, your opinion on what constitutes a “libertarian” is pretty much irrelevant, given that you write for an increasingly illiberal, leftist rag that stopped being libertarian years ago. As for Thiel, I’ll withhold judgment.

    1. I like the cut of your jib.

    2. (1) He wants to abolish Google’s crony capitalist protections against lawsuits.

      lol, you all continue to dishonestly frame CDA 230 as some type of cronyism.

      “It doesn’t have to be true – it just has to go viral”

      In reality, CDA 230 is about holding tech platforms harmless for defamatory content that they had no role in creating. Is it a “crony capitalist protection” if I am not charged for the crimes of my neighbors?

      1. Depending on what you were doing with your neighbor, yes, you might be implicated in the crimes of your neighbor. For instance, if you’re driving a car with your neighbor in it, and you neighbor gets out and murders someone, you might be charged too.

      2. In reality, CDA 230 is about holding tech platforms harmless for defamatory content that they had no role in creating. Is it a “crony capitalist protection” if I am not charged for the crimes of my neighbors?

        But you are still liable “for the crimes of your neighbors” under various legal doctrines; Section 230 only applies to “interactive computer service providers”. That is why it is crony capitalist.

        And crony capitalist regulations like Section 230 frequently result in monopolies; Facebook and Google arguably wouldn’t be possible without it.

        1. The wealth of Big Tech was largely built on the crony capitalism of the SALT exemption, and the CDA publishing liability exemption.

      3. They had a role in *publishing*, not creating.

        It’s the exemption from *publishing* liability law that is the crony capitalism.

    3. Is it crony capitalism if it applies to everyone? I don’t see how it really gives Google in particular a competitive advantage.
      I’m not quite sure what I think of section 230, but I feel like it is the right way to treat internet platforms. The question is, when does a company stop being simply a platform. To my mind, it takes more than simply removing certain content or banning/demonetizing certain people. I don’t see a problem with a platform that takes a certain point of view. And while I agree that Google does some bad shit, they have hardly removed all right-of-center content or anything like that. Look at YouTube and you can find tons of it.

      1. Is it crony capitalism if it applies to everyone?

        Sure. Most crony capitalist legislation “applies equally to everybody” but implicitly favors established players.

        Other examples are anti-discrimination requirements, accounting requirements, licensing requirements, reporting requirements, etc. Many increases in “wasted” operating costs (costs that don’t actually provide any benefit to customers) and limits on liability tend to favor big, established companies. On the other hand, shifting operating costs onto the tax payer or other companies also tends to favor big established companies (hence Google and Facebook’s preference for “net neutrality”). All of those “apply equally”, but they are much more beneficial to large, established companies, they often create barriers to entry, and they maintain market dominance for existing players.

        I don’t see how it really gives Google in particular a competitive advantage.

        Google and Facebook dominate the market right now. Section 230 likely helps them with that. Without it, they would be big, juicy targets for more lawsuits, something smaller companies are not.

        1. So, would it not be better to change regulations to make it easier for new players to enter the online market rather than fettering the existing platforms?

    4. Conservative != Libertarian . I think conservatives agree

    5. J W perhaps the best comment on the thread. I’ve thought since the 2016 election that the mainstream media aggressively promoting a global government, push further and further to state run totalitarianism communism. Oh the lovely cuddly People’s Republic of China. *China’s system for the entire world*. I’ll leave y’all with a Tyler Cowen quote on how libertarians went wrong on globalism with the recent Hong Kong protest. I’m sure those protesters will just ‘disappear’, always do, always will– under communists.

      “Hong Kong still ranks near or at the top of several indices of economic freedom. But that may be a sign these indices have lost touch with the nature of liberty. In Hong Kong, the notion of a credible commitment to the future ceased to have meaning some time ago. Not only is there the specter of Chinese intervention, but there is also a broader understanding that the rules of the game can change at any time, including of course when it comes to extradition procedures. Meanwhile, many Hong Kong residents know their behavior is being monitored and graded, and they know the role of the Chinese government will only grow.

      Thus is revealed a deeper lesson still: Freedom is not merely the ability to buy and sell goods at minimum regulation and a low tax rate, variables that are readily picked up by economic freedom indices. Freedom is also about the narratives people live by and the kind of future they imagine for themselves. Both of these are greatly affected by the legitimacy and durability of their political institutions.”

  13. ” Instead, Thiel has some interests and some enemies, and he wants to use the power of the state as a weapon to help one and harm the other. The main enemies are Google, China, and the U.S. university system. …
    The general focus of his talk is that we should run all decisions through the following prism: Is this policy good for the United States? Not for free individual citizens, not for the human race, but for the United States. ”

    I love how the mask is coming off at Reason.

    Who do these “libertarians” rise to the defense of?

    The Global Panopticon.
    The World’s Most Powerful Totalitarian State.
    The Seminaries of the Postmodern Marxist Theocracy.

    Thiel has accurately identified most of the enemies of freedom in the world.

    He left out the Deep State, both national and international. Maybe next time.

    Meanwhile, Reason defends these enemies of freedom, and proves themselves ideologically opposed to the basic premise of representative government, that it represents the citizens of the country that incorporated it.

    When the ruling class rejects representing *you*, and instead insists on representing the Greater Good “for the human race”, you know you have a government of the ruling class, by the ruling class, and for the ruling class.

    1. When we’re talking about companies like Facebook and PayPal colluding to deplatform, say, gun people, from social media, we might want to ask ourselves why the founder of PayPal (Thiel) is sitting on the board of Facebook. Last I checked, Zuckerberg owned the overwhelming majority of Facebook’s voting shares. No one sits on Facebook’s board unless Zuckerberg says so. IF IF IF there were any collusion going on between Facebook and PayPal (which I understand deplatforms everybody who uses their service to buy ammo or gun accessories), isn’t that the kind of relationship where we’d want to look into? Don’t let the hatred of your enemies blind you. Just because someone says they hate our enemies, that doesn’t necessarily make them our friends. If Google comes out swinging against Facebook next, the fact that Facebook is shit-weasel won’t make Google the friend of liberty either.

      1. I’m discussing the arguments Thiel put forth, not him personally. Could be he’s a false flag nationalist, secretly in cahoots with the globalists, but I doubt it.

        I assume Thiel still sits on some boards such as Facebook because he was one of the early big investors.

    2. How about representing the fundamental rights of individuals first?
      Libertarians don’t want a government that respects the will of the people primarily, they want a government that respects people’s rights. The two are often in opposition.
      I think you have the basic conflict wrong in terms of where you disagree with Reason. It’s not nationalists vs. internationalists. It’s nationalists vs. individualists. The United States doesn’t have a single set of interests. It is made up of lots of people with many different interests that are often in conflict.

      1. Because the responsibility of American legislators is to represent Americans.

        If their job is to protect the rights of everyone in the world, it’s time go invade the world to impose American law across the globe.

  14. General tenor of National Conservatism Conference bothers me. Trade war escalation, proposed government regulation of social media platforms, jingoistic foreign policy proposals, preference for governments over markets, cultural allusions that sound like a right wing version of identity politics. Trump years probably better so far than what Hillary years would have been. However this is a time more to be endured than savored.

    1. They are right-wing nationalistic reactionary statists.
      Trying to use the state to impose by force their view of “American Greatness”.
      You know what would really make American great? Let people have the liberty to fulfill their own goals without bullshit encumbrances by the state. And if you don’t like your neighbor’s goals? Unless your neighbor’s actions violate your rights in some way – FUCK OFF SLAVER.

      But no, the MAGA version of “American greatness” is to bully, deride, cajole, and if necessary, force people to accept THEIR version of America as “the correct one”.

      It really is no different in principle than what the left-wing progressives do – they want to bully and ultimately force people to accept THEIR version of America as “the correct one”, which involves government-run health care, schools, you name it.

      1. I suppose the right is finally mimicking what the left has been doing for years now.

        1. Which is unsurprising but sad. I hate politics.

      2. They are right-wing nationalistic reactionary statists.

        And you are a leftist open borders socialist. So what?

    2. I agree. While there have certainly been some good things from Trump, and he’s certainly preferable to Hillary, I feel like a lot of conservatives have decided to give up on all the good stuff about American conservatism and focus on the worst most statist parts. That’s probably overstating it, but I don’t like the direction the Republicans are moving in very much.

      1. Or maybe that’s all you focus on

        1. Which makes you a good target for Reason and progress uber alles

    3. “bothers me”

      Muh feelz!

  15. Why he’s attacking Big Tech: Thiel is mad because Silicon Valley imposes a monoculture of political correctness. He didn’t get too specific here, but I think his audience and most of the world gets what he means. Silicon Valley is leftist-progressive, culturally and socially, and accepting—at least in word, if not always deed—of the “identity politics” and “cultural marxism” that Thiel believes are some of America’s biggest problems.

    Uh… do libertarians disagree here?

    I mean, are there actually libertarians who are saying “yes, it is a good thing that the major hub of technology companies in America is becoming dominated by a progressive / SJW mentality that punishes dissent and seeks to push this intolerant progressive ideology outward through their products and services.”

    Not wanting to grant the federal government additional powers and mandates to deal with something is not the same thing as denying the existence of the problem.

    1. The asshole tech companies have the right to be assholes with their property.

      Sure they are in many ways assholish but that doesn’t mean nationalizing them or government censoring them is the correct answer.

      1. They don’t have the right to commit fraud though. The last time I checked, fraud was still illegal.

        Yes, they can have a service that only caters to and accepts left-wing jerks like you, but they have to be clear and up front that that is what they are.

        If they are falsely claiming to be an open service and stating terms of use and service while in reality they’re secretly enforcing a completely different terms of service (and lying about it), that’s fraud, plain and simple.

        1. Okay. So sue them for fraud. CDA 230 doesn’t prevent that.
          The TOS says that Twitter can ban accounts for “any or no reason”. From their own TOS, sounds like they don’t need a good reason to ban people. It’s hard to see how banning someone for “no reason” constitutes fraud, when that is what is in Twitter’s own TOS.

          But hey, go right ahead and try.

        2. Which platform only accepts left-wing jerks? I see plenty of jerks of all political stripes on Twitter (on the rare occasions I look at it) and on Google properties.

          I don’t deny that these companies are doing things I don’t think are good with censoring and removing people. But I remain very unconvinced that government action is desirable. There are competitors to Google. Use them. Encourage other people to do the same. If they are really as bad as all that, there should be plenty of like minded people ready to dump Google too.

      2. The asshole tech companies have the right to be assholes with their property.

        The asshole tech companies are in bed with the government: the state massively subsidized the research that they are monetizing, the state gives them large amounts of money, and the state can crush them anytime they want through regulations. The state dictates to these companies what markets they can and cannot enter (Obama had a stick up his ass about crypto), what information they need to give to spy agencies, and how to manage their content.

        The idea that they are private companies acting according to their private interests is ludicrous.

        It certainly isn’t fair that the state first blackmails and bribes these companies into doing the state’s bidding, and then goes on to regulate them as extensions of the state, but that’s the kind of system we live under.

        It’s best to think of the fight over Section 230 as the fight between different factions of the government and different cronies. It’s not a fight over private companies vs. state regulation, since the companies in question are in no way private companies anymore.

      3. So what are you disagreeing with?

        I stipulated the difference between having the state mandate a solution and thinking everything is hunky-dory…

        So are you tacitly saying that you approve of this private censorship of the marketplace of ideas? I mean, why else would you post in opposition to my statement? It certainly doesn’t sound like you are simply restating my point… the tenor is that you have a disagreement with it.

        So what gives? Are you all-in on the new progressive policy of excluding disagreeable ideas from public spaces and taking action to ensure that those who are thought to hold them are the new “untouchables”, unable to find work in a hostile world?

  16. Libertarians always find a way to take something good so far to its extreme that they actually become more retarded than everyone else. In this case, did the author seriously just defend Gawker? They were one of the most un-Libertarian sites out there and their reporting ruined lives and spread disinfo for years. The Hulkster bodyslammed them into the stone age and with good reason.

  17. I have to call bullshit on Thiel’s unsupported rhetorical outreach to old libertarians that Trump is the most libertarian possible person on war issues. Sanctions and tariffs and immigrant detention camps are all forms of aggression. Trump may not be bombing places that Obama didn’t bomb, but he is hurting innocent people all over the world.

    1) Sanctions. Ok, they’ve been used much less under Trump. But still used. And because Trump is a doofus their use seems incoherent. But you really think his use of them is less libertarian than anyone else who could have gotten elected? Hillary? Bernie? Jeb? Who was standing there with a big groundswell of popular support to take that mantle, sans Trump?

    2) Tarrifs. Definitely getting more of that. It seems to be a part of a carrot and stick strategy – to what end is hard to say though. I’m not sure why these foreign governments have not figured out that all they need to do is praise Trump and offer up a deal that gives him a fig leaf and they can get pretty much whatever they want. From a libertarian perspective, this one is really complicated. If you stop at “tariff bad, free trade good” then, yeah. But there’s a ton of government interference in the market coming from places that are not the US government. And the Tariffs are, at least ostensibly, aimed at doing something about that. So definitely more complicated than you imply.

    3) Immigration Detention Camps? Wait, what? Did I miss something? Other than a sudden spate of news coverage, what has changed about our immigration detention camps since Trump got here? That he ended the policy (from the Obama years) of separating families? That’s the “big evil” here? Or maybe is it that we now have tens of thousands more asylum seekers each month because of a boom in illegal immigration? A booming economy and an explicit invitation from the prior administration will do that. So what’s the deal with detention camps? That the Democrats refuse to allocate sufficient money? Yeah, you’ve lost me on this one. Not changing policy to immediately having open borders is not really an “other people would have been more libertarian” moment.

    4) Dropping bombs – you know, that is an interesting one. You really haven’t seen too many attacks from the left on this one. Why is that? Did Obama successfully kill the anti-war left? Or do we just need a generation to go by before we can go back to that status quo. But who would have been “more libertarian”, which is the requirement he set forth. Not “actually libertarian”. Just “More libertarian.” So let’s see: Hillary? Yeah, don’t make me laugh. Bernie? Possible. He seems pretty anti-war. But would he have us in other wars? Would we have troops in Venezuela propping up the government? What about Jeb? Yeah, don’t make me laugh. Who else could have won in 2016 and been better on the topic of war?

    What you seem to have missed in your zeal to call Theil out is that “Most Libertarian Possible” is a very, very low bar. When everyone else is “none libertarian”, even a tiny dose of accidental libertarian counts as “more”.

    1. Well said. All of it.

    2. Was having a group discussion the other day, and one of the lefties deeply intoned a warning that, if Trumps wins re-election he’ll start a a war.

      Fuck. Even if he did start a war (which I frankly doubt) that still leaves him a full term free of war-starting. Which is one Hell of an accomplishment compared to his predecessors.

      I, for one, cannot wait for the “Libertarian Case for Biden/Harris/Warren/Bernie” (or whichever leftist/progressive gets the nomination) articles. Because, since he/she isn’t a 100% totalitarian that’s totes more ‘libertarian’ than Trump.

      1. Those articles are generally pretty far from an endorsement and usually make it clear that the case is very weak. We’ll see what they do.
        They should be more even handed and make the libertarian case for Trump too. But I think a lot of people misread the “libertarian case for…” articles as some kind of endorsement which they are clearly not.

        1. My problem is people keep opposing Trump in the most idiotic ways. Which induces me to criticize their critique of Trump. Which makes them assume I’m on Trump’s side. Which is gonna drive me nuts.

          My wife is suffering a full-blown case of TDS. She used to love him on The Apprentice. I couldn’t watch it because he was such an idiot and a blowhard. But now her TDS has had her rewrite history – she always hated Trump and never watched that show. (Just like she never watches “The Bachelor(ette)” shows… except for a few episodes a year and then the final few each season…) Today she was arguing that Trump should be impeached for lying to congress just like Clinton was. (so much to unpack in that one) Her news source is Today and CNN, so go figure.

          Please people, just criticize the president for the things he actually does. Tweeting that he hates the biased press isn’t the same thing as abolishing the free press and killing journalists. So just stop it. He’s been miles better on access from the press than his predecessor, and this is despite the > 90% negative coverage he’s received. So stop it.

          Every time he says anything about immigration or some politician who is even obliquely related to some minority status you don’t have to run out and claim he’s a white supremacist. You sound like an idiot. So just stop it. Having something negative to say about Antifa isn’t the same thing as advocating rounding up people of color and putting them in death camps. So just stop it.

          You could fill a book with valid critiques of this president or genuine policy disagreements. So pick some of those things to critique and quit playing the “my opponent is a demon from hell” game.

          1. My problem is people keep opposing Trump in the most idiotic ways. Which induces me to criticize their critique of Trump. Which makes them assume I’m on Trump’s side. Which is gonna drive me nuts.

            I definitely find myself in the same position fairly often. That people are still going on about Fascism and white supremacists is nuts. There is plenty to criticize about Trump. But it’s not that fascists and racists are taking over the country.

    3. Maybe he should have said “most libertarian that can plausibly get elected president”?

      Sanctions and tariffs and immigrant detention camps are all forms of aggression.

      That is true. But so is absolutely everything else that government does.

  18. “Gawker. It is more than likely that the site’s exposure of scurrilous and embarrassing facts about people and institutions, while not pleasing to the exposed, have probably on balance been good for America, although Thiel clearly disagreed.”

    My understanding was that Thiel was outed by Gawker. Not pleasing to the exposed is putting it mildly if one of the exposed ultimately destroyed them.

    1. And since that ultimately resulted in the destruction of Gawker…. probably on balance good for America?

  19. >> Silicon Valley is leftist-progressive, culturally and socially, and accepting—at least in word, if not always deed—of the “identity politics” and “cultural marxism” that Thiel believes are some of America’s biggest problems.

    This is largely a myth. It’s true for the megagiants like Apple and Google and Facebook. But smaller firms are just ordinary firms that are, by the nature of being a firm, apolitical.

    There is a bit of a California culture going on where being gay is not seen as inherently evil, and where tattoos aren’t a mark of moral degeneracy, but to extrapolate from a tiny handful of companies into a claim that all of California technology is out to destroy the fabric of Republicanism and White Bread is utter bullshit.

    Those handful of companies are yuuuge only because of government tax and regulatory structures that encourage yuuuge-ness. And no time in the past several decades has the Republican Party ever been for dismantling the cronyist and corporatist structures erected by their conservative forebears. Some firms that Thiel himself helped financially.

    But head to the smaller firms. Firms as small as 50 people. Firms still making waves in technology, and you won’t see lockstep radical progressivism. They’re just ordinary people running a business.

    Yes, being in California, one has to keep quite about non-orthodox ideologies. But it’s not the tech firms doing that. It’s the universities and the culture they create in their graduates. Thiel’s anger is grossly misplaced.

    1. It’s true for the megagiants like Apple and Google and Facebook.

      And let’s be clear why that is. These companies started out fairly diverse and classically liberal.

      What changed is that over the last decade, the federal government started threatening these companies over diversity and content, and those companies had to react. Threats included regulatory action, audits, legislation, taxation, and bad press.

      But it’s not the tech firms doing that. It’s the universities and the culture they create in their graduates. Thiel’s anger is grossly misplaced.

      Well, yes, it is the tech firms now. Companies like Google and Facebook aren’t the same companies they used to be; their management, their new hires, and culture have changed to comply with leftist demands. Google and Facebook have had a new brain implanted in their heads, and it is reasonable to blame that new brain for its actions and choices.

    2. “But smaller firms are just ordinary firms that are, by the nature of being a firm, apolitical.”

      The Left practices relentless in group preference and out group attack. The smaller you get, the more you have to be concerned about making money, but tech tends toward lock in that simply prints money, leaving Leftists free to put Leftist power over profits.

  20. My argument has nothing to do with Thiel.

    The Higher Education Industry (indeed all ranks of education) are now part-and-parcel of the Left. They provide its arguments and cadres, and propagandizes at the widest possible level. They’ve seized control of the endowments of their institutions, and are further subsidized by the public on a massive scale. This industry is the #1 enemy of liberty in America and 1), should no longer be subsidized by the public and 2) be attacked on every front possible.

    Partition The Country.

    1. Citation please.

      1. I’m not sure that’s not self-evident (except for the “attacked on every front” part, and speaking only in general) at this point. But, I’ll let Lucius defends his post.

        1. I’d be happy for a start if someone would explain what “the Left” is.

          Do we have meetings? Ecstatic orgies? Am I missing out on orgies?

          1. No, yall are just a hive mind

    2. Universities are the seminaries of the Postmodern Marxist Theocracy.

      #MoldbugWasRight

  21. Why is it so hard to understand that getting government involved is a bad idea? Has it ever been a good idea, logically or historically speaking?

    If you don’t like what these companies do, then COMPETE against them.

    And don’t make “conservative” YouTube, or “libertarian” YouTube, make “apolitical” YouTube. Or, better yet, find a company that’s already done this (cause it’s already out there), and use/support that one. At the very least, YouTube will see this and slow down or stop their political censorship.

    You know, or just give the government more power. That’s a great idea!

    1. That’s a great argument.

      And they did that.

      You know what happened? The Progressive cartel came after their ISP. And their banking partners. And their hosting company. So they couldn’t connect their servers to the internet. And couldn’t put them in a colo facility. And couldn’t accept payments from their supporters.

      Contrary to popular opinion and public claims, this isn’t about individual companies policing their platforms. This is about a political cadre who are following a strategy of applying pressure to prevent anyone from doing business with people they oppose. It is a much bigger threat to free speech in our country than Trump tweeting about “fake news” when he doesn’t like his coverage.

      1. Yeah, source that. I’d love to see that.

        Which “cartel” did that? Why haven’t we heard of this?

        1. Maybe because you have had your fingers in your ears?

          Here’s an article in the Washington Times that details all of those things happening to one alternative. That was just the first search result.

          But I suppose you are right… this hasn’t been covered much in the mainstream media, although it has been mentioned here.

          So far they have been targeting individuals. So when Alex Jones tries to roll his own, they come after his hosting company. So then he tries to put up his own servers. And they come after the ISP. And the payment processors.

          Maybe they’ll run out of steam. Maybe it will only be a few dozen people who get silenced and then this will blow over.

          But it doesn’t feel like that. They are already using their market position to threaten or cajole unrelated businesses into following suit. They have the big social media platforms, the payment processors (paypal, etc.), the crowdfunding sites, a couple of big banks, and a couple of the biggest hosting and ISP companies. They are working hard to keep advertisers in line ( The NYT calling businesses like Target to ask if they have condemned Trump yet?).

          So no, this isn’t conjecture. This is literally what they are doing – and they are not doing it in secret. They talk openly about this as a strategy now. It was secret when Facebook was quietly hiding content. Now they are open about “deplatforming” people. They say it is in the name of fighting “hate”. But it is kinda amazing how that “anti-hate” is so unidirectional.

          1. Fair enough, you proved that happened. But, again, that appears to be a “conservative alternative”, rather than just an alternative.

            The main reason why YouTube is successful is because they were first, but secondarily because they make NSFW content basically impossible to post there. People don’t want their kids to see that, or they don’t want to access it at work on accident (or… not on accident).

            Yes, there are things that will try to stop them, whether pay services or ISPs. But, that can be worked around. The point is, if you make a better product, you will get noticed. Making it political at step one is a good way to get pigeonholed into obscurity. Most of my internet usage is NOT political, and most people don’t want that.

            1. “It’s ok because the competition was guilty of wrongthink.”

              Where you gonna move those goalposts next?

  22. Conservatives realize that actual smart people don’t buy their ideas, so instead of figuring out how to be smart themselves or, god forbid, critically examining their ideas, they want to stop people from becoming educated and assault institutions of education.

    Most of you are guilty of it too, of course.

    1. In what way do I want people to not become (actually) educated? I don’t mind if people are fed lies, as long as they are also fed truth. For instance, I got a degree in Economics from a State University while simultaneously learning real Economics from Mises.org. Guess which one actually answered questions and is logically consistent?

      Also, Tony, that’s one of the least self-aware comments I’ve ever seen on the entirety of the internet. So, congrats, I guess?

      1. You didn’t learn real economics. I’m sorry if I’m the first one to break this to you.

        Consider how a complex, even chaotic, system such as the global economy might not be perceptible as “logically consistent” if examined with a rational and skeptical approach.

        Consider that you’re trying to impose logical consistency on a complex system because it’s easier to think about simple things than complex things.

        1. “Consider how a complex, even chaotic, system such as the global economy might not be perceptible as ‘logically consistent’ if examined with a rational and skeptical approach.”

          Humans act in order to satisfy their most urgent wants. That’s a self-evident truth, from which comes many, many more truths. That some humans act differently than others given the same (apparent) stimuli simply shows that humans are different and value things differently.

          “Consider that you’re trying to impose logical consistency on a complex system because it’s easier to think about simple things than complex things.”

          I’m not trying to say that humans are logically consistent. I’m saying that actual Economics is logically consistent. Things that aren’t logically consistent are called “wrong” (ask a physicist, mathematician, or philosopher if you still don’t believe me)

          1. But the Austrian school explicitly rejects empirical approaches (i.e., mathematics and statistics), which is why it’s considered “heterodox” by real economists. It’s a moral system, not a logical one.

            That in itself is not logically consistent.

            1. It rejects useless statistics that treat decision making (value differing) humans as equations.

              It’s a logical system, not a mathematical system. https://mises.org/library/how-mathematics-can-make-smart-people-dumb

              Humans act. It’s a true statement. Any attempt to disprove it actually proves it.

              That you only accept statistics (worse than “damn lies”, according to some) shows just how little you know.

              Do you not understand that logical consistency can be found outside mathematics?

          2. Just one important point of fact:

            Countries with high taxation and public spending have better social outcomes than countries with low taxation and public spending.

            Does that matter to you? Do actual outcomes matter? Or is it more important that some weirdo theory be perceived as logically consistent by dupes? I’d rather have the outcomes, if you ask me.

            1. “Countries with high taxation and public spending have better social outcomes than countries with low taxation and public spending.”

              For someone who loves statistics, you ignore the obvious problems with them that any teacher will tell you off the bat. You can’t compare any given country against any other country because there are lots of differences between them. These are called “confounding variables”.

              In this case, you are dealing with countries rich enough to support big government, verses those that aren’t. Which means you are mainly comparing developed countries against less developed countries.

              If you want to find out whether high taxation and spending is a “good” policy, you’d have to see what would happen to a country that went from one to the other in a short period of time, without confounding variables.

              Then you’d have to be able to compare which “outcomes” matter the most, GDP (which is impossible to measure), life expectancy, happiness? But, considering that humans are different and value things differently (another self-evident truth), you’d have to find out which ones were most preferred among the inhabitants of that country, which is completely impossible without the free market’s prices. You see, that’s where you actually find out what someone prefers, apples, oranges, cars, leisure, etc.

              So, the only way to measure if a big government is “good”, you’d have to have the free market’s prices. So, what you propose to do is basically impossible.

              1. He’s worse than that. To think that higher taxes and generous benefits in largely homogeneous Scandinavian countries of 30 million people is comparable to the same approach here is worse than disingenuous. It’s red herring nonsense.

                1. Maybe, maybe not. What it isn’t, however, is evidence that the Austrian approach works, anywhere, any time.

            2. Tony,
              Countries with generous social welfare programs that are rich became rich BEFORE they implemented those programs.
              https://www.google.com/amp/s/danieljmitchell.wordpress.com/2014/09/24/a-two-question-challenge-for-supporters-of-intervention-and-big-government/amp/

              I know I’m wasting my time arguing with you. The post was meant for others who may happen to be lurking.

              1. And now that they’ve implemented strong public sectors, they’re on the inevitable downward spiral to economic collapse, right?

                All we want is some evidence for the stuff you are trying to sell. Yet Austrian school explicitly rejects the very concept of evidence in favor of a sort of deontological approach. How convenient.

    2. Universities are institutions of indoctrination as much as education. For many majors, more indoctrination than education.

      1. Have you sat in on a lot of liberal arts classes? Or perhaps there is some actual data to back up your claim?

        Or perhaps you’re being a mindless marionette flapping your mouth thing with anti-intellectualism just like the politicians pulling your strings want you to.

        Who benefits from people rejecting higher education?

        1. Everyone benefits from the rejection of Marxist indoctrination.

  23. Does Thiel present real issues for liberty?
    To be free trade means it is symmetrical, bi-directional, is that the case with China? no
    Do universities crank out more and more debt laden grads with no useful real world skills and trained to be victims wanting other people to pay for ever increasing entitlements, calling them a “right”?
    Have silicon valley tech firms morphed from transistors and software tools, to now control mass media content – who and what the general public see? Yes. Do the elites in silicon valley want to see anybody but Trump in the white house in 2020?

    Does Brian’s (Reason’s) Trump derangement syndrome result in a “no useful ideas here” reaction consistently? Doing a ping pong between Thiel says “blah blah blah” and then bringing up a Trump anecdote (IE – go back where you came from) as a counter argument does not discount importance of the core issue.

    How about a dispassionate look at issues, the issues relative importance, and some reasoned pro and con for solutions?

    1. Free trade is good, even if unilateral. Those in the free country get to benefit more than anyone, and get to enjoy their increase in purchasing power.

      The problem with [blank] State action is the initiations of force inherent in the action. The solution to these is never more initiations of force, it’s fewer.

      1. There is no such thing as unilateral free trade. That is managed trade.

        1. You can still choose to participate, you are simply agreeing to do so under someone else’s terms. As those terms do involve force, then you are complicit in that use of force as well.

      2. Where is there free trade?
        Not in the US, with our payroll taxes, income taxes, thousands of regulations, zoning, and so on.
        And certainly not with progressive political pressure that result in things such as VPs of diversity making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year

      3. Free trade with Slavemaster Xi is a contradiction in terms.

    2. But we are never going to have free trade in that sense. Not anytime soon, at least. So it’s a false choice.
      If the aim is to respect individual rights, in the US, then we should allow each individual (or company) to decide for themselves whether it’s to their advantage to trade with China or anyone else. Free people get to engage with less free economies if they want to. I’ll always favor unilateral free trade because it most respects individual autonomy and choice. The alternative is government picking winners and losers.

    3. “To be free trade means it is symmetrical, bi-directional, is that the case with China?”

      Reason’s “free” trade means offshoring your slave holdings to tyrants like Emperor Xi.

  24. IIUC Brian supports Big Business, especially Big Tech Business interfering in our elections.

  25. Yeah, right.
    As if the “new liberalism” doesn’t go out of its way to punish their enemies.

  26. “Using his wealth and influence to conquer his enemies certainly motivates Thiel, as seen in his murder-via-defamation suit of the news and gossip website Gawker. It is more than likely that the site’s exposure of scurrilous and embarrassing facts about people and institutions, while not pleasing to the exposed, have probably on balance been good for America, although Thiel clearly disagreed.”

    So Reason is coming out AGAINST the concept of privacy. Good to know. Tres libertarian.

  27. “The main enemies are Google, China, and the U.S. university system.” If not entirely accurate, close enough.

  28. It seems to me, the current libertarian divide is between those who believe in Popper’s Paradox of Tolerance, and those who do not.

  29. So in other words these guys want to take back the conservative moniker, and go back to classic conservatism. Get rid of all these damn classic liberal types just like the conservatives did with progressivism when taking the liberal moniker. Maybe America will wake up and decide it is time we have multiple parties and not just two classic conservative parties.

  30. This is the theme of Michael Malice’s new book “The New Right.” The right has woken up to the fact that Conservatism is Progressivism driving the speed limit and is starting to adopt the tactics of the left to fight back in the culture war.

  31. This cuckfest of an article shows why libertarians will never run anything…

    In the real world pure libertarianism CANNOT FUNCTION at any scale. Maybe some place like Switzerland could piggy back off the defense spending of everybody around them, and hope political tides don’t turn and they get conquered… But other than that, real countries have to deal with real shit.

    In a world where most other nations will do immoral shit to hose you and your people down, you have to play dirty a lot of the time just to survive.

    I think the USA could be more libertarian than we are in 1,000,000 ways… But we should also be LESS libertarian in other ways that are harmful. Thiel, like myself, eventually grew up and got smarter about his libertarian inclinations. I find it highly amusing that so many older folks here have never been able to make that leap!

    People who believe in shit like open borders, never being willing to pressure other nations to get them to do shit, etc are every bit are retarded, gullible, and naive as true believers in pure communism. Both have different inherent flaws in them that can never make them work well in the real world. The trick is a 99.5% libertarian world with a dash of reality thrown in there would make for as close to utopia as possible.

  32. […] borrowers extra – income statement and a copy of the work book. (Not to be confused with Peter Thiel!). It is also possible the other option. Suppose the borrower wants to buy a car, but lacks the […]

  33. […] However, one never knows what lies behind this "low price". Learn more about this with Peter Thiel. So you should consider and analyze service offerings and keep in mind the following: Reliability […]

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