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View Full Version : Notable People 1: Peter Thiel


Porpoise101
August 15th, 2016, 04:45 PM
This is a new thing I've been thinking about for a while. The premise is simple: I list a famous person, we debate their actions. Feel free to put conspiracy theories, because they are fun to read and I am mostly thinking about discussing contemporary elites. With this out of the way, let's start.

Peter Thiel. He is a billionaire who earned his fortunes from his early days at PayPal. He founded some tech firms and backed companies like Facebook when they were still young. Nowadays, he has a presence as a large stakeholder in many of Silicon Valley's biggest companies as well as smaller startups. Some personal details: he is German, he is gay, and he has a legacy of libertarianism (aka ROTW's main enemy) and conservatism. He studied philosophy at Stanford where he founded what is today the conservative newspaper. Even nowadays, he backs conservatives and he spoke at the 2016 RNC in Cleveland.

This isn't why he has been in the news. The main reason is that he holds grudges, and is not afraid to use his money to get back at others. His target, Gawker Media. If you don't know, Gawker was originally a gossip news site. It grew by exposing others, and one of the exposed was Thiel. Gawker Media expanded into a large media company with many sites. Personally, I found Gawker to have low ethics in journalism, but I did like Lifehacker, a tech site. Anyways, Thiel has been secretly funding lawsuits against Gawker, its president, and its editor, which resulted in the editor and Gawker Media itself to go bankrupt.

This event has sent shockwaves in media circles because it sets a precedent where rich people can attack and take down media groups that they don't like. It encourages people to stay silent when things are going wrong and discourages investigative journalism. However, Thiel wrote this piece (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/16/opinion/peter-thiel-the-online-privacy-debate-wont-end-with-gawker.html?_r=0) for the NYTimes.

This all leads me to ask: Is Thiel justified? Is attacking the press the right thing to do? What is the limit of privacy in today's world?

dxcxdzv
August 15th, 2016, 06:59 PM
This reminds me of Martin Shkreli who acquired Daraprim (a medication with multiple uses, one being part of several treatments concerning AIDS) and raised its price by 5,450%. No pressure.

I must admit some parts of the power money gives are pretty scary.

Atom
August 16th, 2016, 02:00 PM
Right by might, anyone?

Vlerchan
August 16th, 2016, 03:58 PM
I am still considering this one.

I can't be against funding legal cases that one has no legal interest in, since I support private legal-aid institutions (like FLAC, in Ireland). It's unethical, however, to fund litigation that one has no legal interest in, but at the same time, personal interest in (but, even then, before I finished typing that, I'd found examples that breach that rule.)

Good thread, anyways. I like the idea.

Porpoise101
August 16th, 2016, 04:02 PM
This reminds me of Martin Shkreli who acquired Daraprim (a medication with multiple uses, one being part of several treatments concerning AIDS) and raised its price by 5,450%. No pressure.

Yeah, I was thinking of talking about Shkreli in another thread :D. He is a scumbag, if not for milking a critical product, but for his disregard for society and law. He is also notable because he is a Twitch streamer, so he has a pack of followers who try to emulate him. To me, he is a bad example if not a greedy person.


I must admit some parts of the power money gives are pretty scary.

Yeah, it gives great power. It is nice to see when it goes right, because it has massive power to change the world for the better. One good, world-shaping organization is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. They have used their fortunes to combat disease. But money can be used for just as much evil and to satisfy darker personal desires.

Update on the Thiel-Gawker Battle: Gawker Media has started the bankruptcy auction today, it's assets are going to be bought off. It is important to note that the subsidiary sites (Lifehacker, Jezebel, etc) are still very profitable. After this ordeal, the main Gawker site will probably never return.

dxcxdzv
August 16th, 2016, 04:48 PM
Gawker is one example but having a huge capital can be of a major threat for the market, like, imagine you have an amount x as x being holy fuck I have a manor on Mars.
You own multiple companies, you take your capital (independent from the one you own in those companies, I say companies but it can be other stuff) and divide it by the number of companies, let's say 20.
Those 20 companies will buy at an exponential rate on a given time period shares of one precise company. The time period depending of the strategy.
If the invested capital is big enough the market position on the share will tend to be Buy and other investors may follow.
This fooling everyone as you are in a sense controlling the market.
Though there are regulations to prevent that (as well as penalties if I remember well), it's still theoretically plausible...

One example being the Black Wednesday, basically George Soros (a rich son of a bitch) bet in 1992 on a fall of the Pound Sterling (which was at the time not in real good form), and when I say bet I mean he bet billions and billions. Other investors followed him and well... I think you already figured out what happened to the Pound.
The UK literally had to withdraw the money from the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (that was aiming at stabilizing exchange rates within the... Proto-EU).
Soros made approx. 1 Billion out of this and the UK lost several billions.

Porpoise101
August 16th, 2016, 07:16 PM
Gawker is one example but having a huge capital can be of a major threat for the market
Well here's another thing about Thiel. He has a lot of influence in Silicon Valley. If you are a tech company, there is a chance that you are either courting his money or he is investing in you. So this means that these companies are not really able to criticize him or go after him if he is doing something against their beliefs. If you are a company, especially a public one, you will place profit above ideals. And if a rich man gives you money, you will be more than willing to ditch your ideals.

ThisBougieLife
August 17th, 2016, 10:53 AM
Part of me feels that Gawker is simply reaping what they have sown. Freedom of the press does not entail an unrestricted license to violate a person's right to privacy.

Of course they are facing bankruptcy because Thiel is wealthy, and I'm sure there are others who's privacy has been violated by a media outlet, but they lack the funds to do what Thiel has done here. But I still can't say that I find anything wrong with what he's done.

Sometimes it costs you to be an unethical journalist.

Voice_Of_Unreason
August 17th, 2016, 11:36 AM
I find Thiel's motives to be questionable, but as far as I know, he has the legal rights to do such. His money gives him power, but it seems like he is using that power is an entirely legal, though questionably ethical way.

Also, Gawker Media does not have a very good reputation when it comes to privacy and journalism. There are numerous cases against the company, unrelated to Thiel's case except that Thiel is funding them. Thiel is not using his power alone to attack Gawker, but instead using it to help others who have been violated by Gawker. I don't feel like this is entirely a money is power issue, but just a whole problem with Gawker.

That and Thiel really doesn't know how to let go of a grudge.

phuckphace
August 17th, 2016, 12:06 PM
lol at Gawker, nothing of value was lost

anyway I don't trust lolbertarians in general, but especially not lolbertarians with shittons of money. that's like lolbertarian Nirvana. it's bad for a lot of far more serious reasons than Thiel being able to bankrupt a couple of blogs.

for some reason when I hear "gay libertarian", I get a spookyscary visual of said libertarian in the Gulch buying a pound of heroin from the heroin vendor and splitting it with his 12-year-old boyfriend

StoppingTom
August 17th, 2016, 02:22 PM
I think they got what they deserved in the Hogan trial, but Thiel is a thin-skinned pantspisser who throws money at lawsuits against people who say mean things about him.

Porpoise101
August 17th, 2016, 03:41 PM
But I still can't say that I find anything wrong with what he's done.
You can blame this on unethical journalism, but to me it shows the weakness of the press. If a news outlet publishes something a billionaire doesn't like (say an expose on them or their company), the billionaire can just find a legal case and pit their money against the news company. I find libertarian Thiel hypocritical, as he is using his money to silence the press while saying he is supporting freedom. It also begs the question, how free from threats is the press in the US?

Falcons_11
August 17th, 2016, 04:16 PM
Just demonstrates the "new" Golden Rule:

"THEY WHO HAVE THE GOLD MAKE THE RULES"

Uniquemind
August 18th, 2016, 12:13 AM
You can blame this on unethical journalism, but to me it shows the weakness of the press. If a news outlet publishes something a billionaire doesn't like (say an expose on them or their company), the billionaire can just find a legal case and pit their money against the news company. I find libertarian Thiel hypocritical, as he is using his money to silence the press while saying he is supporting freedom. It also begs the question, how free from threats is the press in the US?

Remember their position as libertarians is freedom from government, not freedom from other citizens/people/companies more powerful or richer than you.

A battle was had in a theoretical "equal" court, and usually the less financially powerful entity loses.

Equality at it's finest according to them.

-

I don't miss gawker, I really don't but the precedent of this does concern me, and it's a situation that's becoming akin to almost 1920's robber-barren culture.

candorgen
August 20th, 2016, 07:45 PM
It's not justified that arguments can be won and lost through the magnitude of wealth that one owns.

This can be applied in many areas.

ThisBougieLife
August 20th, 2016, 07:49 PM
This is not the question in the OP, but it's another question I'm interested in: I think we can all agree that money should not be able to buy justice. But how do we solve this issue? We often acknowledge that wealthy people can take advantage of the legal system, but at most many people will admit "that's the way it is" and stop there. Does it have to be "the way it is?" Perhaps this a problem that some politicians or presidential candidates would claim to be able to fix, but to what extent can it really be fixed?

I don't mean to take away from the OP's question, but I think this question naturally follows from this discussion.

Voice_Of_Unreason
August 20th, 2016, 08:00 PM
What really annoys me is when people who have no positive stake in a matter use their power to change it. Thiel had no reason besides spite to support those lawsuits against Gawker. Do I believe Gawker got what it deserved and was eventually going to get? Yes, but there are plenty of cases where power will not result in a positive or at least deserving result.

This view can be applied to politics as well, not just monetary power. Countries using embargos to get trade deals, companies refusing to service certain areas due to petty disagreements, Federal government bargaining towards the states, all cases where power isn't always beneficial.