Sunday, July 03, 2016

Are Freedom and Democracy Incompatible? Peter Thiel thinks so

Peter Thiel is the creator of PayPal, also the first major investor in Facebook and he sits on the Facebook board.
Peter Thiel
Peter Thiel wrote, on April 13, 2009, in the Libertarian 'Cato Unbound' blog, “Most importantly, I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible.” In the same article, he also wrote, "Since 1920, the vast increase in welfare beneficiaries and the extension of the franchise to women — two constituencies that are notoriously tough for libertarians — have rendered the notion of “capitalist democracy” into an oxymoron. (emphasis mine) Wikipedia
How does Thiel define "freedom"?
"I remain committed to the faith of my teenage years: to authentic human freedom as a precondition for the highest good. I stand against confiscatory taxes, totalitarian collectives”   Peter Thiel - The Education of a Libertarian
Thiel thinks his freedom is incompatible with democracy. How is democracy normally defined?
democracy ‎(plural democracies)
  1. (uncountable) Rule by the people, especially as a form of government; either directly or through elected representatives (representative democracy).
  2. (countable, government) A government under the direct or representative rule of the people of its jurisdiction.
  3. (uncountable) Belief in political freedom and equality; the "spirit of democracy".
"Democracy" then, means the rule of the "demos". Who are the "demos"?
demos ‎(plural demoi)
  1. (political science) The common populace of a state, the people. Wiktiionary
Where and how is Democracy incompatible with Peter Thiel's freedom?

It's all quite simple, let Bernie Sanders explain:
This is an economic model developed by the economic elite to benefit the economic elite. We need real change.(...) We need to end the international scandal in which large corporations and the wealthy avoid paying trillions of dollars in taxes to their national governments. Bernie Sanders - New York Times
Where is Thiel-style freedom leading?
McAfee, associate director of the MIT Center for Digital Business at the Sloan School of Management, (...)despite his obvious enthusiasm for the technologies,  doesn’t see the recently vanished jobs coming back. The pressure on employment and the resulting inequality will only get worse, he suggests, as digital technologies—fueled with “enough computing power, data, and geeks”—continue their exponential advances over the next several decades. “I would like to be wrong,” he says, “but when all these science-fiction technologies are deployed, what will we need all the people for?” (emphasis mine) MIT Technology Review Magazine
Obviously. from Peter Thiel's personal point of view, democracy and his freedom are incompatible.

In Thiel's defense we should be grateful for his forthrightness, because Peter Thiel is rather innocent in his sincerity. The crafty Koch Brothers, for example, would never come right out and express themselves so frankly, but everything they actually do expresses the same view of democracy as Thiel's.

And they are not just sitting on their hands, they are up and doing something about it.
The House approved a bill Tuesday that would bar the IRS from collecting the names of donors to tax-exempt groups, prompting warnings from campaign-finance watchdogs that it could lead to foreign interests illegally infiltrating American elections. USA Today  
USA Today’s Fredreka Schouten reported that the bill is openly supported by Charles Koch, the older of the two “Koch Brothers,” fossil fuel billionaires whose deep pockets hold a notoriously outsized influence on American politics. Kit O'Connell - Mint Press
This is nothing new. The democratic state, (government of the people, by the people, for the people) has always been the only possible defense of "the People" facing the powerful, who wish to dominate and exploit them.

Again, knowing who the Thiels and the Kochs of this world are, who are "the People"?
The mass of a community as distinguished from a special class (elite); the commonalty; the populace; the vulgar; the common crowd; the citizens. Wiktionary
How long has this struggle between the "Thiels and Kochs" and "the People" been going on?
Aesop: A Lion used to prowl about a field in which Four Oxen used to dwell. Many a time he tried to attack them; but whenever he came near they turned their tails to one another, so that whichever way he approached them he was met by the horns of one of them. At last, however, they fell a-quarreling among themselves, and each went off to pasture alone in a separate corner of the field. Then the Lion attacked them one by one and soon made an end of all four. Moral: United we stand, divided we fall.
This struggle is nothing new and it has no end. DS

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