Peter Thiel’s vision for America is logically flawed and completely refutable.
When Silicon Valley billionaire, Peter Thiel spoke at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. The speech made international headlines; not because of what was said, but because Peter Thiel is an openly gay man endorsing a political party that has a long history of taking anti-LGBT sentiment, endorsed by Right-wing Christian theocratic advocates, and converting it into legislation. But that’s only significant on a superficial on level.
The true significance of Peter’s speech is the Right-wing double speak used to justify electing Donald Trump and embracing the reactionary-laden nostalgia for an America that never existed in the first place.
Peter Thiel points to Silicon Valley as a prime example of what America can be. In doing this he fails to point out the staggering inequality that shapes Silicon Valley and the entire San Francisco Bay Area.
If the economic situation in The Bay Area is something that Republicans want to recreate all over the nation, then be very afraid. The standard of living for the working class in Silicon Valley/SF Bay Area is miserable as a result of the outrageous cost of living. These prices are pushing people further away from job centers to find affordable housing, resulting in longer commutes and a reduced quality of life.
“Where I work in Silicon Valley, it’s hard to see where America has gone wrong. My industry has made a lot of progress in computers and in software, and, of course, it’s made a lot of money. But Silicon Valley is a small place. Drive out to Sacramento, or even just across the bridge to Oakland, and you won’t see the same prosperity. That’s just how small it is.”
Taking a jab at these two cities is a calculated move. Oakland is a city that has a long history of leftist movements creating contempt and fear among conservatives. And Sacramento is the capital city of California, meaning it’s not only a government city, but the the political nerve center of California, the largest state in the union and one completely dominated by the Democratic Party. Peter fails to mention that one of the biggest challenges these two cities face is the rising cost of living forcing people out of their homes and onto the streets. That problem, completely overlooked in his speech, is directly related to the proximity of these cities to Silicon Valley.
Peter is a Libertarian. The Libertarian base of the Republican party has pushed for less restriction when it comes to outsourcing jobs, economical globalization and lowering tax rates. If you want to see what Libertarian policies get you, just take a sobering look at the state of Kansas.
I also found it strange how during his speech he continually mentions Cleveland with an enthusiastic tone. I know that he did it to pander to the city that the convention was taking place in, but the irony is irresistible. The city of Cleveland is in complete economic disrepair thanks to pro business policies that have allowed corporations to move blue-collar, manufacturing jobs to low-wage countries, most notably China.
The oddest part of the speech is when Peter talks about what government used to be able to do. He mentions the government’s role in the creation of the internet, space exploration and other technological advancements that came as a result of government programs. He conveniently forgets that these programs need funding, funding that is generated by tax revenue. The quickest way to stifle the government’s ability to innovate is to lower tax revenue. I was completely baffled by the applause these kinds of statements received because there are completely devoid of logic.
Peter then frames Hillary Clinton as the one of the sole architects of the war in Iraq; while Hillary did vote yes on the war, the agenda was presented and aggressively pursued by George W. Bush and his Republican administration. The destabilization that the war caused in Iraq was one of the key events that led to the creation of ISIS, but I imagine that wouldn’t be a popular talking point at the RNC.
The speech reaches a climax when Peter exclaims to the crowd that he is proud to be a gay man and a Republican, even though the Republican platform clearly states that it intends to rob the right of marriage from millions in the LGBT community by overturning the supreme court decision on the Obergefell v. Hodges case. It also states that the government should allow businesses to openly discriminate against members of the LGBT community on religious grounds, but I don’t think this concerns Thiel, his billionaire status assures him access to any service imaginable. His presence at the convention, in conjunction with the Republican platform seems to suggest this message to the gay community: If you’re going to CHOOSE to be a homosexual, please, at the very least be astronomically wealthy.
After the Orlando attacks, Republicans have had to really think about which group they detest and fear more, Muslims or Gays? I guess that Peter Thiel being a guest speaker there rather than a Saudi oil tycoon answers that question.
The rhetoric goes on and on and Peter doesn’t appear to be phased by how ludicrous or contradictory any of it is, he just seems happy to be there.
With Donald Trump as the president-elect, and the inevitable discrimination against the LGBT community that will surely transpire as a result of Republicans owning all branches of the federal government, will Peter feel shame for endorsing the closest thing America has had to a fascist in recent memory?