Mark Zuckerberg is right about Peter Thiel

Posted on: Wed, 10/19/2016 - 15:40 By: Tom Swiss

I believe this is the first time I've ever said this: Mark Zuckerberg is entirely right.

Some in the tech world are in a moral panic about the fact that zillionarie tech baron and Facebook board member Peter Thiel is a major donor to the campaign of the vile Donald Trump. Now, there are many reasons to want to keep as far from possible from Thiel; this is a guy who actually said, way back in 2009, "I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible"and spoke of the extension of the franchise to women as a negative development. He's also one of the founders of Palantir, a primary contractor of the "national security" deep state -- a hell of a thing for a self-described "libertarian" to be involved with. So his politics are awful, contradictory, irrational, and inhumane. In that realm, anyone paying attention concluded "fuck Thiel and the horse he rode in on" long before Trump became the GOP nominee, and his support for Trump is actually kind of low on his list of sins.

But the idea that a company should purge itself of board members based on ideological purity, on political opinions and affiliations outside their corporate role, is exactly the sort of self-sorting and silencing of dissent that is taking us down the spiral of partisanship.

In any sort of sane world, if you're going to kick a Trump supporter off your board because Trump is a vile criminal (which he is), logically you would also have to kick Clinton supporters off your board because Clinton is also a vile criminal -- roughly equal in magnitude of vileness, though in a different direction. (Vileness is a vector quantity.) You're then going to have a hard time finding people to work with.

Zuckerberg is right that diversity doesn't just mean having people of different genders and races around. (Though it does mean that, and Facebook needs to do better.) It means having having people from the other side of the blue/red divide around. As Scott Alexander recent put it, "[I]f you’re part of the Blue Tribe, then your outgroup isn’t al-Qaeda, or Muslims, or blacks, or gays, or transpeople, or Jews, or atheists – it’s the Red Tribe.".

VERIFIED Mark Zuckerberg defends Facebook's association with Peter Thiel (Boing Boing)

In what appears to be an internal Facebook post, Zuckerberg defends his company's ongoing association with Peter Thiel -- Facebook investor/board member and major donor to white-supremacist/pro-rape presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Zuckerberg's defense echoes that of Y Combinator boss Sam Altman, who said that a truly inclusive business can't afford to write off a candidate supported by millions of Americans.