overregulation and politicized risk aversion | freezones | sclerotic stagnation | disruptive investment | ocean colonization | oceanic business alliance | quest for freedom | quest for deregulation | quest for fast development | wrecking ball for establishment |
Why Peter Thiel Really Supports Trump
#Trump expands the boundaries of the sayable. His existence lights a fuse under the status quo.
By Holman W. Jenkins, Jr.
July 22, 2016 6:33 p.m. ET
For a Trumpian nonbeliever, the most interesting speech of four days was always going to be technology superinvestor Peter Thiel’s.
The Silicon Valley wunderkind and early Facebook backer is known for his singular diagnosis of American ills. The undersea cities, flying cars and three-star restaurants on Mars we promised ourselves in the optimistic early ’60s haven’t materialized. Outside of infotech, the rate of American innovation and progress is very much less than we like to tell ourselves it is. In the world of bits, deregulated entrepreneurialism prevails. In the world of atoms, not so much, thanks to overregulation and politicized risk aversion.
Six years ago, Mr. Thiel explained why this was a disaster for Americans: “In a world where wealth is growing, you can get away with printing money. . . . In the ’30s, the Keynesian stuff worked at least in the sense that you could print money without inflation because there was all this productivity growth happening.” In today’s world where technology is failing, printing money is “not going to work” and “you probably have to get rid of the welfare state.”
Mr. Thiel at the time foresaw a “grim Malthusian politics,” a period of “long-term stagnation,” leading to a “near revolutionary situation” in the U.S. It’s a view (increasingly shared by secular stagnation theorists) that he has continued to elaborate in speeches and interviews ever since.
So if Mr. Thiel this week gave himself the job of speaking for a candidate whom many of his Silicon Valley friends and peers frankly revile, one readily supposes the reasoning went like this: The Valley sees Trump as anti-trade, anti-immigration, and nothing in Mr. Thiel’s speech suggested Mr. Thiel is anti-trade, anti-immigration. But Mr. Trump is a wrecking ball at a time when Washington needs a wrecking ball. It needs a candidate whose very existence forcibly disrupts its ways and patterns.
Even Mr. Trump’s vulgarities, his reprehensible impulses (kill the innocent family members of terrorists), his dangerous suggestions (decide when the time comes whether to uphold NATO’s guarantee of the Baltics) might seem virtues, in a sense. They expand the boundaries of the sayable.
Of course, making so counterintuitive a case in a convention speech isn’t practical, especially when doing extra duty as a representative of gay outreach. So Mr. Thiel contented himself with saying that he supported Mr. Trump because Mr. Trump “is a builder.” He harked back to the 1960s, when government was competent—it got us to the moon in less time and for less money than it takes today to repair a bridge. Every industrial city was a Silicon Valley, because businesses everywhere were innovating and investing. We need to recover that spirit. Today’s fights about gender-bathroom assignment are a distraction. “Who cares!”
You had to know where Mr. Thiel was coming from to know where he was going with his support of Mr. Trump. Few voters did. Yet the job Mr. Thiel gave himself is an important one. The Republican convention has now wrapped up. Those immune to histrionics and heavy breathing have only one question: Will Mr. Trump mount a fall campaign equal to the task of returning a Republican majority to both houses of Congress?
Even voters sensitive to the many ways that Donald Trump has given lip to an agenda that likely would do more harm than good can see him as a gift of providence. He’s here to scare the bejesus out of the establishment.
Mr. Trump fulfills this role even if he loses by a smidgen to Hillary Clinton. Mrs. Clinton and the GOP House and Senate leadership of Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell will be left acknowledging a near-run thing. Mrs. Clinton will have no second term, no legacy; Mr. Ryan will have no hope of the presidency; Mr. McConnell will finally fall to the Tea Party types who have been gunning for him so long—unless they make the deals that begin America’s renewal.
Thiel is donating $1.25 million to Trump’s campaign… | more or less the same as to Seasteading | this sheds light on his priority ranking…