- The Washington Times - Friday, July 27, 2018

Speaking to a raucous crowd of conservative teenagers Wednesday evening, Silicon Valley mogul Peter Thiel lamented that the United States is turning into an authoritarian state like North Korea due to rampant political correctness that is stifling the sharing of ideas.

Mr. Thiel, a conservative libertarian who founded PayPal and Clarium Capital, said at Turning Point USA’s High School Leadership Summit in Washington that coastal elites have turned into a “lemming-like herd” where politics have become overwhelmingly one-sided.

“I supported [Donald] Trump for president in 2016,” Mr. Thiel said, prompting a wave of applause from the young audience. “And it was in some ways both, perhaps, the least contrarian and the most contrarian thing I’ve done in my life. It was the least contrarian, because how far off can something be if half the country agrees with you?

“And then in certain contexts like in Silicon Valley,” he continued, “it feels like an incredibly contrarian thing where it’s like you’re the only person [supporting Trump]. It’s like you against everybody, and you always have this sense [of] ‘How can someone who’s in such a small minority ever be right?’”

Mr. Thiel stressed the dangers of political and cultural “unanimity.”

“If you get to unanimity, if you get to 99 to 1… You’re not getting closer to the truth, you’re getting to something like North Korea or a totalitarian one-party state,” he said. “And it’s certainly in a lot of the contexts that we find ourselves in. What’s very odd is that we’re living in something where the politics is this overwhelmingly one-sided, and it’s not an indicator that people have figured out the truth, it’s an indicator that there’s an incredible amount of political correctness and people can’t talk about the truth.”

“Silicon Valley has become a one-party state in which we can’t debate some of the most important foundational issues we have as a society,” he added.

Mr. Thiel said the Trump presidency has opened the door for debates on issues that weren’t addressed before he came into office, like trade and how much money countries in NATO are contributing. It’s also called into question the “sacred ideas” of presidents’ past, like globalization, Mr. Thiel argued.

He said globalization seems great “in theory,” but hasn’t worked in practice in the last decade. “The tide has really gone out on is and it has been going the other way for some time,” he said.

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