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The Libertarian Logic of Peter Thiel

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Adrian Bray
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In return for his prime-time endorsement on the final night of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, as well as $1.25 million in contributions to Trump’s campaign through affiliated super PACs and direct contributions, Thiel was rewarded with a place of privilege when president-elect Trump met with tech leaders during the transition, and an important advisory role in the next administration.

Indeed, Thiel has become an almost toxic spokesman for the tech world, so much so that his close friends and business partners, like Zuckerberg and Hoffman, have felt obligated to defend their relationships publicly.

In his pursuit of limited government, he has given substantial financial support to seasteading, which encourages political experimentation through the development of floating communities in international waters, presumably outside the reach of governments.

He is unusually obsessed with his own death and sickness, a condition he traces back to the disturbing day when he was three and learned from his father that all things die, starting with the cow who gave his life for the family’s leather rug.

Thiel supports a range of potential life-extending innovations, including cryogenics, which involves keeping a body alive by cooling it; genetic research to fight diseases; and, most resonantly, a treatment based on cycling through blood transfusions from young people in the belief that the vigor therein can be transferred to the older recipient.

Those peers may privately worry that democracy isn’t the ideal way to choose our leaders, but Thiel will write straightforwardly in a 2009 essay for the libertarian think tank the Cato Institute that “the vast increase in welfare beneficiaries and the extension of the franchise to women—two constituencies that are notoriously tough for libertarians—have rendered the notion of ‘capitalist democracy’ into an oxymoron.” For these reasons, Thiel names the 1920s as “the last decade in American history during which one could be genuinely optimistic about politics,” though presumably 2016 restored his faith in the electoral process.

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