By Nathan Worcester
In his keynote address to the National Conservatism Conference Oct. 31, billionaire tech entrepreneur Peter Thiel argued that false consensus has silenced debate on important questions, including COVID-19, the U.S. presence in Afghanistan, and ongoing inflation in the American economy.
Thiel spoke to the conference about examples of what he called “the incredible derangement of various forms of thought,” including ways of political and scientific thinking.
He highlighted the experience of Stanford professor Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, whose skepticism about masks culminated in anonymous posters of his face plastered across his university’s campus that, in The Federalist’s words, “[linked] him to COVID deaths in Florida.”
Thiel criticized what he characterized as excessive dogmatism in science, as epitomized by lawn signs proclaiming a household’s belief in “science.”
“When you have to call things science, you know they aren’t—like climate science or political science,” Thiel said.
That same dogmatism, Thiel argued, led the United States to pursue failed policies for over two decades in Afghanistan.
Thiel went on to claim the United States is experiencing “runaway, non-transitory inflation” and “the complete bankruptcy of the Fed” as a result of a similar inability to brook differing opinions, even if they are unpopular.
“If there’s a misinformation problem, it’s a centralized misinformation problem—and it’s the misinformation coming from the Ministry of Truth,” said Thiel.
“We think of nationalism as a corrective to the homogenizing, braindead, one-world state that’s totalitarian,” he later added. “It is an all-important corrective at this point.”
Thiel urged speakers at the event to debate each other vigorously and avoid such “a fake consensus.”
“I hope they will not agree with each other,” he said.
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