I stumbled across an interesting background article on Peter Thiel over the weekend (and I do mean stumbled, I'd actually googled 'Jamethiel'), which I'd already been meaning to flag up for people, but another article I came across today was on Steve Bannon, and they really do synergise with each other into something seriously scary.
Here's the Thiel piece, it's a general 'who is Peter Thiel' article, useful for giving a better feel for the man - German-born naturalised American gay techno-geek-financier/ultra-libertarian who co-founded Paypal. (Basically think Rabid Puppy in a $10,000 suit). This is someone who took the money from Paypal and didn't use it to build rockets, but used it to co-found Palantir Technologies, and that name is no accident, it's a seriously high end government surveillance tools company that explicitly uses the corrupted Palantiri of LoTRs as it's identity/mission statement, so fighting for Truth, Justice and the inevitable triumph of Sauron. But then the article starts digging into his politics,and things get even darker.
"I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible," he wrote in a 2009 essay; he believes in monopolies but denounces multiculturalism as "exist[ing] to destroy Western culture".
In that 2009 essay, "The Education of a Libertarian", published by the Washington-based Cato Institute, Thiel writes: "The 1920s was the last decade in American history during which one could be genuinely optimistic about politics. 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."
But if Thiel sounded hopeless or resigned in 2009, he sees Trump as a bridge to somewhere - possibly to his sense that to protect capitalism the democracy must be shrunk; get the vote back from those damned women and welfare recipients, and capitalism has a better chance in a tighter democracy of more sympathetic voters.
Thiel's argument against democracy as we've known it reads like the web-based Dark Enlightenment or Neo-reaction movement, sometimes abbreviated to NRx, a key element of which is described as a post-libertarian futurism – it touts authoritarianism, even some kind of monarch-and-subjects rule, as preferable to democracy because libertarians are unlikely ever to win democratic elections."
The Bannon article isn't nearly so deep a study, Trump’s Chief Strategist, Stephen Bannon, said he’d prefer it if only property owners could vote, but the similarity in views comes screaming through:
Now, though, a former Bannon colleague, Julia Jones, who worked alongside him as a partner on a Ronald Reagan film project, revealed to The New York Times that he not only spoke on issues of “genetic superiority,” but that he “once mused about the desirability of limiting the vote to property owners.”
When Jones offered the rebuttal that such a plan “would exclude a lot of African-Americans,” Bannon allegedly quipped back in return that “maybe that’s not such a bad thing.”
So that's two of them, both racist authoritarians who think only people like them should have the vote, and both whispering in Trump's ear. Maybe that Palantir analogy is even closer than I thought.