Peter Thiel – a venture capitalist whose mentor at Stanford was none other than Girard lui-même – soon spotted the commercial potential of a social networking site based on mimetic desire. In fact, the whole concept of viral, word-of-mouth marketing follows Girard’s principle according to which the strongest desires are those influenced by an admired third party. The gods haven’t withdrawn: they have gone online and their name is Legion. What the venerable Académicienmakes of this exploitation of an “ontological disease” he has been denouncing for half a century is anyone’s guess.
When I ask him if he can explain to Mr. Trump that climate change is not a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese, he offers a Chinese box of an answer: “Does he really think that? If he really thinks that, how would you influence that? If he really thinks that and you could influence him, what would be the best way to do it?”
One could have predicted Mr. Thiel’s affinity for Mr. Trump by reading his 2014 book, “Zero to One,” in which he offers three prongs of his philosophy: 1) It is better to risk boldness than triviality. 2) A bad plan is better than no plan. 3) Sales matter just as much as product.
.. “There are reduced expectations for the younger generation, and this is the first time this has happened in American history,” Mr. Thiel says. “Even if there are aspects of Trump that are retro and that seem to be going back to the past, I think a lot of people want to go back to a past that was futuristic — ‘The Jetsons,’ ‘Star Trek.’ They’re dated but futuristic.”
.. “One of my good friends said, ‘Peter, do you realize how crazy this is, how everybody thinks this is crazy?’ I was like: ‘Well, why am I wrong? What’s substantively wrong with this?’ And it all got referred back to ‘Everybody thinks Trump’s really crazy.’ So it’s like there’s a shortcut, which is: ‘I don’t need to explain it. It’s good enough that everybody thinks something. If everybody thinks this is crazy, I don’t even have to explain to you why it’s crazy. You should just change your mind.’”
.. “You know, maybe I should be worried but I’m not that worried about it,” he replies. “I don’t know. People know too many gay people. There are just all these ways I think stuff has just shifted. For speaking at the Republican convention, I got attacked way more by liberal gay people than by conservative Christian people.
.. “I don’t think these things will particularly change. It’s like, even if you appointed a whole series of conservative Supreme Court justices, I’m not sure that Roe v. Wade would get overturned, ever. I don’t know if people even care about the Supreme Court. You know, you’d have thought the failure to have a vote on Merrick [Garland] would be a massive issue. And somehow it mattered to Democrats, but it didn’t matter to the public at large.”
Venture capitalist Peter Thiel successfully pushed to give commercial space companies a stronger voice within President-elect Donald Trump’s NASA transition team, the result of an internal tug of war over policy directions and future decision makers at the agency.
.. Mr. Thiel has argued forcefully inside the transition that the original team sent to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration was skewed toward appointees closely identified with legacy space projects run by Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp., the people said.
.. These critics have complained in conversations with transition officials and others that Messrs. Thiel and Musk, longtime friends and business associates, are working together for their own financial benefit, these people said.
Founders Fund, one of Mr. Thiel’s companies, was an early and significant investor in SpaceX. As a result, these critics argue that Mr. Thiel stands to personally gain from enhanced federal support of commercially run space programs at SpaceX.
“The Advocate, a magazine that once raised me as a gay innovator, even published an article saying as of now I am, and I quote, ‘not a gay man’ because I don’t agree with their politics,” he announced. “The lie behind the buzzword of diversity could not be made more clear. If you don’t conform, then you don’t count as diverse. No matter what your personal background.”
.. Moving on with examples, Thiel stated that “free trade has not worked out well for all of America.”
“All of our elites preach free trade. Highly educated people that make public policy preach that cheap imports make everyone a winner, according to economic theory. But in actual practice, we’ve lost tens of thousands of factories and millions of jobs to foreign trade,” he declared. “The heartland has been devastated. Maybe policy-makers really believe that nobody loses, or maybe they don’t worry about it too much because they think they’re among the winners.”
.. “The sheer size of the US trade deficit shows that something has gone badly wrong. The most developed country in the world should be exporting capital to the less developed countries,” Thiel claimed. “Instead the United States is importing more than 500 billion dollars every year. That money flows into financial assets and distorts our economy in favor of more financialization, and it gives the well connected people, who benefit, a reason to defend the status quo.”
“But not everyone benefits and the Trump voters know it,” he concluded.