Libertarian inadvertently argues for 90% marginal tax rate
Peter Thiel wrote this bizarre lament about how rich white men aren’t “free” to deprive the rest of us of our basic rights a couple of weeks ago, but it’s only now that it’s getting linked all over the place. Once it was out, it was no wonder that it took off—Thiel is one of the co-founders of PayPal and a major investor in Facebook, and he’s a complete wackaloon and apparently a misogynist besides. Which is to say, he’s a libertarian. And his essay really drives home how much libertarians shouldn’t own the word “liberty”, because they are actually modern day feudalists who object to any government functions that don’t involve taxing the middle class to create an army to ransack other nations and take their wealth.
What’s attracting so much attention to his piece is that he pretty openly states that he’d like to disenfranchise women and “welfare” recipients, which I guess is a way of saying that voting is only acceptable if the franchise is limited to the landed gentry.
The 1920s were 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.
I wouldn’t blame women for the dramatic change in politics that happened in the early 30s. There was, if I recall correctly, some sort of economic event that happened in 1929 that caused the public, male and female, to consider whether or not they would use the government to protect all citizens or continue to allow capitalist monsters to treat the people of this country like disposable cogs in what amounted to a slot machine. If women were instrumental in that change, then women are a solution, not a problem.
But focusing on just his hostility towards the vote of women, non-white people, and people who aren’t rich—while fun—means that you miss out on the many layers of fail inherent in this column. The piece works as an effective argument for a 90% marginal tax rate. Thiel comes across as a depressive who drowns his misery in alcohol, and what he needs is some good, old-fashioned, sleeve-rolling-up work. There is nothing like having something to do with yourself to keep the blues away, as well as fantasies of punishing them all by robbing most people of the vote and turning the vast majority of the nation into wage slaves and housebound sexbots. If Thiel had useful work, he also wouldn’t have a few drinks and write, as if in all seriousness, about how he is going to take his ball and escape this land of the fleshbound non-libertarians.
[A]nd for this reason I have focused my efforts on new technologies that may create a new space for freedom. Let me briefly speak to three such technological frontiers:
(2) Outer space…..
No need to quote at length—I think we all know what a combination of watching too many sci-fi movies (plus “Waterworld”) and being completely shielded from reality by your money can do. You become either Kim Jong Il, or you become Peter Thiel. We can’t reach Kim Jong Il, but what we can do to help Thiel is to tax away most of his wealth. While that doesn’t initially seem like it’s helpful to take 90% of what someone makes over X million a year, what it would do is force Thiel to get out there and actually work for his money if he wants to be stinking rich. Right now, he’s obviously not getting out of the house much, and all that sitting around counting his money and not associating with the real world is breaking his mind. He needs something to do, and needs to associate with people. Ideally, he’d be in a situation where he had occasional exposure to people who don’t indulge his crazy fantasies. And with the amount of money shielding him from the world, that’s not going to happen. For his own good, that pile of money he’s sitting on needs a dramatic reduction.