Yesterday, Thiel spoke at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. in support of Donald Trump's presidential run. It provided us insight into Thiel's real thinking:
At one point, he argued for a government that isn't broken and remarkably said this:
[Voters] know the government wasn't always this broken. The Manhattan Project, the Interstate Highway System, and the Apollo Program — whatever you think of these ventures, you cannot doubt the competence of the government that got them done.Government big spending programs and government killing machines as examples of the competence of government? Well, I guess if you are looking for competence in delivering top level evil The Manhattan Project counts.
But as far as the Interstate Highway System and the Apollo Program, how can he claim competence? In what sense does he mean this? Mises and Hayek both taught us that without free market signals we can not understand what is efficient. Government programs by definition can not be "efficient" in a free market sense since these programs have not emerged as a result of free exchange.
Government can build a bridge to nowhere and see to it that the bridge meets all correct engineering criteria but do we really want such "competence." Such a bridge would just be wasteful government central planning.
Thiel appears to a horrific degree to have fallen into the trap Hayek called the fatal conceit. Thiel sees a role for government as a central planner in sectors. And he is doing this under the guise of being a libertarian!
And do not think for a minute he is a lite planner. He even attacked conservatives for claiming government doesn't work:
Voters are tired of hearing conservative politicians say that government never works.And chew on this comment from him for a minute:
[W]e cannot let free market ideology serve as an excuse for decline.He then went on to hail Donald Trump's mercantilist trade positions:
Free trade has not worked out well for America.And he said we are in a "trade bubble":
The sheer size of the trade deficit shows you something is wrong...
A normal country doesn't have a half trillion dollar trade deficit.In other words, Thiel has no fundamental understanding of trade and the danger of a focus on a trade deficit.
I hasten to add that Theil does appear to be anti-war, which is a plus. But it appears to be the only plus. Other than that plus, he appears to have no grasp of why central planning is the great danger.
It would be nice to see some free market support coming from a Silicon Valley billionaire or, even better, libertarian support, but Theil is not that billionaire.
We can hail his positions against war but he must be called out for his hugging of the state.
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