The Phenomenon of Peter Thiel’s Political Alignment

One of our commenters, DeriKuk, left a link to a clip of Peter Thiel’s speech to the National Press Club. To say the applause was lukewarm is putting it politely. Those inside-the-bubble people in Washington didn’t like, still don’t like, his firm support of Trump. Given his credentials as a gay Silicon Valley billionaire, coming out for Trump was a much bigger deal than his public outing as a gay man. Thus on several levels, Mr. Thiel is the ultimate outlier when it comes to Trump supporters.

The speech was given a week or so before the election. Listening to him speak in this clip, you’d think Trump had already been elected. Remember back then when all the ‘smart’ money was on Hillary?

Obviously, not all of the smart money was put on Hillary. Among other surprises, this endorsement by Mr Thiel was/is a biggie. He’s now a Trump advisor, which is extremely fortunate since Trump makes no bones about his techno-illiteracy. It’s a skill he needs in his staff, though. The ethos of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs is rarefied. While Trump is obviously quite smart, he’s a bricks-and-mortar kind of guy. Too bad; Trump possesses a rapid learning curve for things that draw his attention. Being less a technophobe would widen his horizons.

Meanwhile Thiel has moved from being a cool gay Silicon Valley billionaire to being a demonized billionaire in the Trump camp. He probably doesn’t lose any sleep over the ignorance of those who impugn his motives and intelligence for coming out in favor of Trump. Some of the weirder parts of the West Coast bubble have suggested that Thiel’s “gay tag” be removed since he’s a traitor. The rigid herd mentality on the left is something to behold.

Thiel, like Trump, is fairly agnostic when it comes to politics. He appears to be mostly a politically conservative libertarian; they can be difficult to pigeonhole. The left/right, red/blue alignments have been overturned with this American election.

If you’d like to watch the complete NPC program, including the obligatory after-talk interview with submitted audience questions – including the by-now-expected queries into his post-litigation thinking regarding that infamous Gawker lawsuit – it can be found here.

His wiki is here. Be sure to check out his ideas on philanthropy.

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It’s always informative to read what the super-rich do with their money; what they pay attention to is an important indicator of their character. The supreme example remains Andrew Carnegie’s phenomenal libraries across the country and around the world:

A Carnegie library is a library built with money donated by Scottish-American businessman and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. A total of 2,509 Carnegie libraries were built between 1883 and 1929, including some belonging to public and university library systems. 1,689 were built in the United States, 660 in the United Kingdom and Ireland, 125 in Canada, and others in Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, Serbia, Belgium, France, the Caribbean, Mauritius, Malaysia and Fiji.

Carnegie ended up giving away most of his wealth during this on-going endeavor.

Have we outgrown the town library concept? I don’t think so. Carnegie himself would have been in the vanguard of re-purposing his magnificent buildings. They were and remain a brilliant part of our heritage.

President-elect Trump is half-Scots via his Scotland-born mother. Carnegie was fully Scot, moving to America with his parents. They both share the impulse of philanthropy, and no doubt Trump would agree with the majority of “Carnegie’s Dictum”:

Man does not live by bread alone. I have known millionaires starving for lack of the nutriment which alone can sustain all that is human in man, and I know workmen, and many so-called poor men, who revel in luxuries beyond the power of those millionaires to reach. It is the mind that makes the body rich. There is no class so pitiably wretched as that which possesses money and nothing else. Money can only be the useful drudge of things immeasurably higher than itself. Exalted beyond this, as it sometimes is, it remains Caliban still and still plays the beast. My aspirations take a higher flight. Mine be it to have contributed to the enlightenment and the joys of the mind, to the things of the spirit, to all that tends to bring into the lives of the toilers of Pittsburgh sweetness and light. I hold this the noblest possible use of wealth.

From Carnegie to Trump to Thiel, America has a rich history of philanthropy. I don’t know about Thiel (he was born in Germany), but for the self-made Carnegie and Trump, there is a strong streak of Scotland’s Covenanters in their public speech and actions.

Scots moved to America in appreciable numbers early on and fought in our Revolutionary War. Without them, the victory might have gone to the British.
After the birth of the United States, these Covenanters would move in great numbers to America’s first “highland”. Smaller than the further west Rockies, the Appalachian Mountains is where their descendants remain today: suspicious of flatlanders, their cultural virtues sadly fragmented by the dole.

When The Turmoil comes, it is the Highlanders who will welcome it as an opportunity to regain their true character.

23 thoughts on “The Phenomenon of Peter Thiel’s Political Alignment

  1. “From Carnegie to Trump to Thiel, America has a rich history of philanthropy.”

    Please remind me again of what great acts of philanthropy Donald Trump is know for.

    If you want a 21st Century philanthropist I have two words for you: Bill Gates.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m hoping that Trump becomes a great American president and if Peter Thiel helps that happen I’ll be grateful for his help. This presidency, Trumps presidency, can set us on a whole new course; it can keep us from going over a cliff. It can, if done well, save us from becoming 2nd or 3rd world for quite a while longer, at least another 50 years.

    • Uh, I hate to break it to you, but Bill Gates’ philanthropy has a massive leftist agenda behind it.

      • Thank goodness you said that. I almost had a splodie head moment there. What Gates does with his money is not philanthropy in the true sense of the word. He is investing in Globalism. Investing in the NWO and at the expense of the rest of the free world. He speaks of vaccines eliminating 20% of the worlds population in talks about overpopulation. He is not a good man.

        I’ve done my homework on Gates. His donations to education are merely contributions to the dumbing down of America’s students. Put tablets in the hands of the children, with imbedded software leaning far left, and take away the textbooks so the past is gone. The snowflakes are a direct result of this. I retired from public ed early because, like John Taylor Gatto, I didn’t believe that what they wanted me to do was right anymore. Teaching math was no longer the point, bending minds was the goal now. Social justice the curriculum.

    • Try looking up St. Judes Hospital, to which one of Trump’s charitable foundations has donated a substantial amount of money.
      This has now been canned by “those who know better” because we all know how corrupt all foundations are… In other words, the Clinton Foundation is now the measuring rod with which to judge all foundations, no matter what the facts are.

    • I’m sure size matters to some people, but what drew me to Thiel’s philanthropy are the possibilities and new directions that flow from it.

      The Thiel Foundation [How do I embed links here?]
      . . . is what caught my attention. It explores an alternative to our dead, ossified universities and accreditation mills; opportunities to explore exciting, useful technologies and ideas that are not bound in chains of correctness, petty politics and homage to orthodoxy. It is difficult to judge its success; we need more time for that. Thus far, the loudest detractors have, predictably, come from the hallowed halls of academia.

      • Great wiki. It says, among other things,

        In December 2013, Lora Kolodny wrote an article for the Wall Street Journal reviewing the Thiel Fellowship, where she wrote: “64 Thiel Fellows have started 67 for-profit ventures, raised $55.4 million in angel and venture funding, published two books, created 30 apps and 135 full-time jobs, and brought clean water and solar power to 6,000 Kenyans who needed it.”[10]

        A press release announcing the June 2015 Fellows noted that there were a record 2,800 applications for the Fellowship this year. It also reported that the 80 current and former Fellows had raised a total of $142 million in venture capital, generated $41 million in revenue, and created 375 jobs. The press release also noted changes to the program: the number of applicants admitted yearly was increased to 30, the age limit was increased to 22, and applications could now be made on a rolling basis throughout the year, so that people who wanted to build something great did not need to wait for a year to do so.

        A stroll through the endnotes is revealing.
        I asked the Baron to see if he could find the directions for using our template to embed links…he’s checking.

      • Here’s an HTML template for an embedded link:
        <a target=”_blank” href=””>Link Title</a>

      • Obviously, ‘vested’ interests have the most to lose. They might have to get real jobs instead of sloughing the hard work off onto their slaves, the grad students.

  2. When Carnegie died, he left an estate of about ten million dollars, as I recall. John Rockefeller exclaimed something along the lines of, “To think if it, when Andrew Carnegie died, he was not a wealthy man.”

    Grrr- that was back in the day when ten million was real money. Anyway, some here may recall the day when, “The smart money is on Liston”. You see, Sonny Liston, the reigning heavyweight champ, was facing a fight with an up and coming boxer named Cassius Clay.

  3. Trump possesses a rapid learning curve for things that draw his attention.

    Tsk, tsk. Trump does not possess a learning curve, rapid or otherwise. He may need to follow or mount one.

    A recent email sent to subscribers to the inimitable Elizabeth O’Brien’s mailing list was pertinent to today’s nitpick from your self-appointed staff grammarian. Elizabeth has developed a superb program for those wanting to master English grammar:

    Full Disclosure: Other than as a customer and follower, I have no relationship with Ms. O’Brien.

    • Hmph. Ms. O’Brien and I differ in our opinion as to what constitutes a desire to master new material. I consider that desire to be characterological, perhaps inborn. All human beings are born with the desire to connect with others and the concomitant desire to explore their world.

      America was founded by misfits who were deeply curious. The Enlightenment culture permitted exploration in all areas of scientific endeavor. Thus, the desire to explore was not a horse they mounted, it was existential, part and parcel of how they perceived the world. Those waves of early immigrants to America were possessed of that same restless curiosity. Those not so inclined tended to stay home in the old country.

      Thus, curiosity – and its satisfaction in exploration – is characterological. It’s not a horse to ride. But I can see her point; we Irish have a tendency toward a love of horses. And *that* is also characterological. Various cultures display distinct characteristics.

      • Wow, Dymphna-

        A masterful response, one that I will have to ruminate on- ‘scuse me, on which I need to ruminate. I should have made clear that my nitpick derived in part from my understanding of Elizabeth O’Brien’s grammar instruction, not from Ms. O’Brien herself.

        In any case, you are both estimable ladies. In the future, I need to make sure I have my ducks in a row before I tangle with you!

        • Not much on which I’m willing to “tangle” (sounds like a dance), especially with someone with a nic like yours.

          I may have mentioned that I love Liatris in all its various forms. The hybrids can’t grow here as voles, moles, etc., eat them with gusto. The smaller, wild variety grow in our “lawn” – that collection of green weeds here at Schloss Bodissey meant to resemble a green sward. They are all currently covered under a nice thick layer of snow. The latter is mercifully killing off some of the more noxious insects, e.g., Japanese beetle grubs that didn’t burrow deeply enough.

  4. Amen to everything Mr. Theil said. And that he is, as a gay man, fighting the system is a cherry on top.

    • It’s just a shame he couldn’t have been left alone with his own inclinations without being forced to discuss them publicly because of orgs like “Gawker” – he calls them “sopciopathic bullies”…I knew there was *some* reason I avoided that site.

    • The Gawker case is an obvious red herring. See how the plant . . . err. . . umm . . . interviewer keeps returning to it.

  5. I have a lot of respect for Mr. Thiel because he has achieved such a high level of success in many different fields.

    The fact he prefers to be intimate with other men is incidental. He is not trying to use his position to trumpet his lifestyle as superior, or trying to tell me that I should be living a similar type of lifestyle.

    I applaud his support of Hulk Hogan and others in crushing Gawker, a disgusting muckraking website that added next to nothing to the public discourse.

  6. Thiel’s personal orientation does not mean” scheisse ” in a world of people who judge others by their character and deeds. Tagging Mr. Thiel as either this or that , is a disservice to people who need no inspection of their private lives. Thiel is smart….clear headed…and clever enough to have earned enough […] money to do anything he wants. God Bless the man who has a brain big enough to recognize the reality of the real world…..not the dreamy nonsense a good portion of the narcissistic silicon valley fobs believe is true.

    • I believe he was motivated to help the man Gawker had ruined because Gawker “outed” him, that is, Thiel himself.Though Thiel never hid his homosexuality, he resented having it be a ‘thing’ to be discussed publicly by – as he called the group – a bunch of “sociopathic bullies”. One chilling observation he made: a ‘single-digit millionaire’ like Hulk Hogan didn’t have enough wealth to go up against an org like Gawker. That’s scary.

      I’m glad he took them on, and I’m glad he won this lawfare case. It should never have happened to begin with…i.e., no one’s privacy should be so severely invaded. Now, the unscrupulous sites that specialize in sleazy revelations (click bait) to build their audience will be far more cautious.

      • Dymphna-

        I want to highlight a terrific point you brought up in your comment.

        This point is the fact that, if you are below a certain net worth in the USA, you are a legal non-entity. I would put this limit in the $20-50 million range.

        Below that limit, citizens are at the mercy of the “just us” system, wherein the police, attorneys, judges, and other hangers on collude to benefit themselves and their system at the expense of citizens.

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