Peter Thiel in the Hour of Chaos

Peter Thiel in the Hour of Chaos

Peter Thiel in the Hour of Chaos

Weigel
Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Feb. 21 2012 10:58 AM

Peter Thiel in the Hour of Chaos

My new piece takes you inside (deep inside!) a libertarian college convention as it is addressed by the futurist billionaire Peter Thiel. Of all the tycoons who're backing presidential candidates, Thiel -- who has sunk seven figures into a pro-Ron Paul Super PAC, Endorse Liberty -- loves to expound at length about his political and economic theories. Over an hour, and in a very short interview, Thiel explained that he was investing in the classic sense, hoping to advance the greater cause of libertarianism, not betting on Paul to become president.

“What I think is true of the way we negotiate with terrorists is also true of the way companies negotiate with governments,” says Thiel.
WOO!
“Yeah: You never compromise, except in every specific instance. So, when you look at PayPal or Amazon, or VISA, or all these people, the question you have is: Were they doing this because it was a deeply felt ideological thing, that they had to do this? Or was it because the government had its screws on them? There’s sort of this liberal/libertarian argument: Companies are bad, and not to be trusted. I tend to think we need to put it against the background of insane regulation.” How insane? “The average American commits three felonies a day.”

I left plenty of material on the cutting room floor, because Thiel has talked about these ideas so frequently and publicly. Still, read on.

David Weigel is a reporter for the Washington Post.