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In Opposition to Liberty and Progress
Edward Miller   Feb 11, 2011   Embrace Unity  

You may have heard of Peter Thiel, the right-wing “libertarian” co-founder of Paypal and early investor in Facebook. He seems to be a magnet for controversy and intrigue, with his penchant for casual misogyny and exotic philanthropic endeavors. So, who or what is he really?

Despite his attempts to label himself a libertarian, it should be clear that Thiel is anything but. His ideology seems neoconservative or worse if you trace some of his other “philanthropy.”

For instance, he donated $75,000 to the far-right Institute on Religion and Public Life, gave $25,900 to Meg Whitman’s failed gubernatorial campaign, and provided the funding to the smear group that attacked ACORN.

I wish that were all. He has a long history of this sort of thing. What kind of libertarian would fund anti-immigrant groups? All the real libertarians I know are so pro-immigration that they can even make lefties uncomfortable.
Thiel
But what you may not know about Thiel is that he was a founder of Palantir Technologies, a company that provides analysis and informatics tools to governments and large corporations. Palantir was in the news this week for its role in waging cyber warfare against WikiLeaks and its supporters at the behest of Bank of America.

Also, through different sources, it has been learned that Palantir and other firms were hired by the US Chamber of Commerce to “develop tactics for damaging progressive groups and labor unions, in particular ThinkProgress, the labor coalition called Change to Win, the SEIU, US Chamber Watch, and StopTheChamber.com.”

Libertarianism as a philosophy can be a very noble thing, and fighting for market freedom can also be a noble thing. But these actions of Palantir Technologies were neither noble nor in support of free markets.

The Chamber of Commerce lives for only one thing: corporatism. The last thing they would want is to have to compete on a free market without the aid of subsidies, economic rent, barriers to entry, regulatory capture, patents, limited liability, corporate personhood, and the many other market interventions on behalf of centralized wealth.

[UPDATE: After being exposed, Palantir says they are now very sorry for what they have done to WikiLeaks. No word on how they feel about supporting the Chamber.]

Disturbingly, the latest post on Palantir’s Twitter account was to advertise a company event with Silicon Valley Robotics, makers of military robotics. The event appeared to promise an up close and personal look at the “killer robots” of the future. Not surprisingly, Palantir’s other big investor was In-Q-Tel, the investment arm of the CIA.

People of conscience, consider this your warning before undertaking any relationship with Mr. Thiel.

Edward Miller, a former intern of the IEET, is the Chief Information Officer of the Network for Open Scientific Innovation. He is a passionate advocate of Open Source development models. His blog, EmbraceUnity, deals with democracy, humanism, and sustainable development.



COMMENTS

Had to come back for another comment, this piece is chock-full of info. Thiel mostly comes across as being terribly confused, perhaps confused as to what the difference between patriotism and nationalism is—but who knows what is going on in his littered mind. Thiel wants sincere, genuine causes to believe in, he naturally wants wealth, and he wants to be a political wheeler dealer. From what you write above Thiel appears to be a maverick looking for a belief system to hold fast to.
Your article was illuminating because though I do not listen to hate radio any more, one can’t avoid the slant in the newspapers, plus on the six o’ clock News. It is difficult to separate the rumors from the facts, and now it is more confusing than ever; no wonder Thiel’s mind is an ideological crazy-quilt. Thiel’s worldview is neoconservatism combined with libertarianism and far-rightwing religiosity. Thiel is no Buddhist vegetarian syndicalist—at least not the last time anyone checked.
IMO the worst single thing going on is how not only Obama but also his wife Michelle is being demonized. Michelle is accused by Rightists of being a “food-cop” for promoting healthier meals for children via her LetsMove and other organizations.
Now I know what blacks have to go through: not so much racist criticism, no; rather a hypercriticality in many cases. No matter what Obama does the far-Right doesn’t appreciate it much. If Obama brought Jesus Christ himself back to Earth, the wingnuts would say Obama was only doing so to ‘triangulate.’
A personal observation concerning Islam: I don’t know what the situation is at all like in the Mideast; however Islamics in America are in my experience kindly disposed, unlike certain Xian groups such as Campus Crusade For Christ.

Good timing, I recently wrote to Mr. Thiel about the looming crisis between libertarianism and socialism/utilitarianism. I’m not surprised by the lack of response…

 

I suggest relevant information on actual world Libertarian or Libertarian interested leaders at the Libertarian International Organization, at http://www.Libertarian-International.org

“I recently wrote to Mr. Thiel about the looming crisis between libertarianism and socialism/utilitarianism. I’m not surprised by the lack of response…”

Thiel is all over the road—libertarianism, far-rightwing Catholicism, plus everything else Mr. Miller mentioned. With all the possibilities, it is hard to concentrate, very hard, yet there comes a time when someone has to make up their mind; in Thiel’s case attempting in some way to mesh libertarianism with rightwing Catholicism is trying to square a circle. It might be far more complicated than that, though. Thiel may be trying to bring people together on certain issues, unfortunately he winds up CONFUSING the issues instead. Thiel seems to be a powerhouse, so possibly he could be won over to h+, which is more solid than his worldview; it might give him the framework he is surely casting about for.
However from what Dave wrote above, there is no way to approach him. Same old discouraging story: an inability to communicate with a talented but headstrong person.

Thiel is H+, that is why I wanted this article posted here.

How blunderful: a big wheeler-dealer, who can’t quite differentiate Catholicism from libertarianism, is h+.
Curiouser & curiouser.

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/259099/bush-2012-rich-lowry

Forget about Thiel, he’s a minor threat.
The link is to the worst, so far, news all year: the Republidoofuses are starting to promote Jeb Bush, hoping if they repeat the same mistake they made in 1988, 1992, 2000, and 2004, that 2012 will somehow be different. Rich Lowry isn’t a janitor at National Review, he is Editor, and NR is the most
important “conservative” rag in the world. Two Bush administrations aren’t enough for Lowry; 12 years of Bush are not enough, he wants to try for 16- 20?

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