Economics/Class Relations


The Man and His Pyrrhonian Skepticism

Some things in the world are certain – one thing is that one day you’ll die; another is that nobody visits The Hebrew Conservative for happy news.

And yet what is life if not a local equilibrium between warring contradictions? And so within the boundaries of such an equilibrium, we shall diverge from our regular practice of the vituperative arts to make an attempt at some very measured optimism. Or optimistic pessimism, let’s not get too excited.

Peter Thiel is likely already familiar to our readers. He’s one of the few “good” billionaires. Having founded PayPal with Elon Musk, he continued on to making clever investments in Facebook and other companies, cultivating a fortune of about $7B. Apparently, he still has a Roth IRA account, perhaps from the days prior to his apotheosis, only it has about $5B. Stars! They’re just like Us!

In any case, Thiel is an extremely cerebral person, both deeply and broadly educated. He had me at Pyrrhonian skepticism. Politically, he famously supported Donald Trump through both money and speeches, and most recently he contributed to the senatorial campaigns of MAGA-supporters J.D. Vance of Ohio and Blake Masters of Arizona (Oh, Blake, we were all rooting for you so badly. Resurgeas!).

And yet Thiel is not EXACTLY a conservative. He’s a kind of techno-futurist reactionary, if anything.

Among the many interesting points he makes, the most salient one is his theory of stagnation. Despite his technology-based fortune, Thiel believes we are stagnating across most meaningful parameters: economically, technologically, and scientifically. THEREFORE, Thiel believes, we are also facing cultural, political, and societal pathologies.


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