Oh my God. Where to start in this over-long article about why Peter Thiel claims he won’t donate to any politicians this election cycle?
Well, I’m a huge fantasy and sci-fi nerd so the lessons Thielforatu took from the Lord of the Rings leapt out at me. It encapsulates the depth of this schmuck’s ignorance and why, despite his massive wealth, he’ll always be a misery guts.
Thiel grew up reading a great deal of science fiction and fantasy—Heinlein, Asimov, Clarke. But especially Tolkien; he has said that he read the Lord of the Rings trilogy at least 10 times. Tolkien’s influence on his worldview is obvious: Middle-earth is an arena of struggle for ultimate power, largely without government, where extraordinary individuals rise to fulfill their destinies. Also, there are immortal elves who live apart from men in a magical sheltered valley.
I assume the reporter has seen the movies but not read the books. It happens. I try to ignore it.
But the lack of a central government was considered the source of many ills, as is sort of hinted at in the title of the last book of the trilogy. Also, would a sweeping fantasy saga be improved by a few chapters on bureaucracy?
And really, would it kill reporters to do a little research for once?
Sorry. I’ll stop.
Anyway, Thiel has read the books so doesn’t have that excuse. And there’s no way he sees himself as a hobbit.
Did his dream of eternal life trace to The Lord of the Rings? I wondered.
Yes, Thiel said, perking up. “There are all these ways where trying to live unnaturally long goes haywire” in Tolkien’s works. But you also have the elves. “And then there are sort of all these questions, you know: How are the elves different from the humans in Tolkien? And they’re basically—I think the main difference is just, they’re humans that don’t die.” “So why can’t we be elves?” I asked.
Thiel nodded reverently, his expression a blend of hope and chagrin.
“Why can’t we be elves?” he said.
Are you fucking kidding me? Here we have a grown man, filthy rich and allegedly some sort of genius. And he is sad. Why is he sad?
Not because life doesn’t imitate some fantasy novels.
Not because life doesn’t imitate his misunderstanding of the imaginary creatures in some fantasy novels.
Because his life doesn’t imitate his misunderstanding of the imaginary creatures in some fantasy novels.
The rest of the article is a similar litany of weh. Life won’t do exactly what Thiel wants even when he throws lots of money around. How dare it? Doesn’t life know who he is?
Remember when seasteading was going to be the hot new thing? And how sorry us commoners would be when Thiel and his pals went Galting off to repurposed oil rigs? LOL.
Thiel told a room full of believers at an institute conference in 2009 that most people don’t think seasteading is possible and will therefore not interfere until it’s too late. “The question of whether seasteading is desirable or possible in my mind is not even relevant,” he said. “It is absolutely necessary.”
But not that absolutely necessary. In fact it is the sort of absolutely necessary that everyone should forget about because it wasn’t and shows that a rich man is full of shit.
And what about his support of tRump?
“Voting for Trump was like a not very articulate scream for help,” Thiel told me. He fantasized that Trump’s election would somehow force a national reckoning. He believed somebody needed to tear things down—slash regulations, crush the administrative state—before the country could rebuild.
He admits now that it was a bad bet.
“There are a lot of things I got wrong,” he said. “It was crazier than I thought. It was more dangerous than I thought. They couldn’t get the most basic pieces of the government to work. So that was—I think that part was maybe worse than even my low expectations.”
Destroy the government. But only the parts I don’t like. No, not that way.
But if supporting Trump was a gamble, Thiel told me, it’s not one he regrets.
Or maybe he’s just saying that.
The first time Thiel and I spoke, I asked about the nature of his disappointment. Later, he referred back to that question in a way that suggested he felt constrained. “I have to somehow give the exact right answer, where it’s like, ‘Yeah, I’m somewhat disenchanted,’” he told me. “But throwing him totally under the bus? That’s like, you know—I’ll get yelled at by Mr. Trump. And if I don’t throw him under the bus, that’s—but—somehow, I have to get the tone exactly right.”
The topic of this post is Peter Thiel. People who post off-topic comments are mad because I don’t recognize and worship Thiel’s enormous intellect.