For those who are into outrageously inappropriate and even evil comparisons, we have a new champion.
A writer named Joe Mathews, who writes the Connecting California Column for Zocalo Public Square, wrote a piece for The Sacramento Bee in which he compared billionaire Silicon Valley investor Peter Thiel to the recently-deceased monster Charles Manson, theorizing that as California united to fear and hate Manson, now Thiel’s complete evil can generate the same unity of hostility.
Mathews writes, “When I asked Bay Area people to nominate a true villain from among their number, one name kept coming up: Peter Thiel.”
What were the sins Thiel has committed that would warrant such an odious comparison, according to this modern-day Diogenes? Come, let’s think hard about what a leftist would decide is the equivalent of being the catalyst for gruesome mass murders.
Here’s the list, according to The Gospel of Mathews:
Attacking our institutions. Mathews writes, “Thiel is a graduate of San Mateo High and Stanford who rails against government-backed schools and encouraged people not to go to college.”
You mean Thiel, a genius who scored first in a California-wide mathematics competition in middle school, is a U.S.-rated Chess Master and was one of the highest ranked under-21 players in the country, founded The Stanford Review, which championed conservative and libertarian viewpoints, got his law degree from Stanford, launched PayPal, which gave citizens worldwide more direct control over their currencies, and put his money where his mouth was in 2010 about students skipping college by annually awarding $100,000 to 20 people under the age of 20 in order to spur them to drop out of college and create their own ventures, is some sort of hypocrite? How much money has Mathews given to help students start their own businesses?
Thiel supported Trump. Yup, that’s the equivalent of urging your followers to murder slews of innocents.
Bought himself citizenship in New Zealand. Now there’s a crime against humanity.
Mathews rises to his premature peroration: “Worse still, he has railed against democracy and called women’s suffrage a mistake, writing that people can’t govern themselves: “The broader education of the body politic has become a fool’s errand.”
Those words, taken from an essay Thiel wrote in 2009, were in reference to the difficulty of keeping libertarianism alive when its opposition was “facilitated by a government that insured against all sorts of moral hazards — and we know that the response to this crisis involves way more debt and leverage, and way more government.” Thiel was lamenting a bygone era, the 1920’s, when, for the last time, the economy was allowed to recover from a depression without massive government intervention and a consequent growth of government.
Mathews writes, “This is monumentally villainous. A man who helps create technology to reach deeply into our personal lives betrays utter contempt for us. Like so many villains, he’s a false prophet, claiming to liberate people with technology while promoting authoritarianism that would enslave us.”
That’s a total misread of Thiel’s governing libertarian philosophy, but hey, Mathews is on a roll, noting that Thiel is vitally interested in efforts to prolong life, concluding:
Thiel also writes that he “stands against … the ideology of the inevitability of the death of every individual.” The notion of eternal life for a favored few is tyrannical, but also useful. When it’s so hard to find a durable villain, aren’t we lucky to have one who intends to live forever?
And aren’t we lucky to have The Gospel Of Mathews to compare a libertarian investor to one of the great monsters of the 20th century?