Jan 12, 2017

Peter Thiel's 5 juiciest quotes from Maureen Dowd interview

Ben Margot / AP

Maureen Dowd's interview with Trump's tech whisperer and the financier behind the Gawker lawsuit is worth an entire read. Here are some golden nuggets.

On Trump and the "apocalyptic" election: "Everyone says Trump is going to change everything way too much," he tells Dowd. "Well, maybe Trump is going to change everything way too little. That seems like the much more plausible risk to me."

There was a way in which Trump was funny, so you could be apocalyptic and funny at the same time. It's a strange combination, but it's somehow very powerful psychologically.
Normally, if you're a C.E.O. of a big company, you tend to be somewhat apolitical or politically pretty bland. But this year, it was this competition for who could be more anti-Trump. 'If Trump wins, I will eat my sock.' 'I will eat my shoe.' 'I will eat my shoe, and then I will walk barefoot to Mexico to emigrate and leave the country.' Somehow, I think Silicon Valley got even more spun up than Manhattan. There were hedge fund people I spoke to about a week after the election. They hadn't supported Trump. But all of a sudden, they sort of changed their minds. The stock market went up, and they were like, 'Yes, actually, I don't understand why I was against him all year long.'

Conflicts and corruption: In response to a statement that the Obama administration was relatively corruption-free, he responds: "But there's a point where no corruption can be a bad thing. It can mean that things are too boring."

I don't want to dismiss ethical concerns here, but I worry that 'conflict of interest' gets overly weaponized in our politics. I think in many cases, when there's a conflict of interest, it's an indication that someone understands something way better than if there's no conflict of interest. If there's no conflict of interest, it's often because you're just not interested.

On being PC: Thiel says the Billy Bush-Trump tape was "offensive" but he wonders about whether Silicon Valley is too politically correct about sex.

I worry there's a part of Silicon Valley that is hyper-politically correct about sex. One of my friends has a theory that the rest of the country tolerates Silicon Valley because people there just don't have that much sex. They're not having that much fun.

He won't be moving to D.C.:

One of the things that's striking about talking to people who are politically working in D.C. is, it's so hard to tell what any of them actually do," he says. "It's a sort of place where people measure input, not output. You have a 15-minute monologue describing a 15-page résumé, starting in seventh grade.

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