Silicon Valley columnist Michelle Quinn of the Bay Area News Group has panned venture capitalist Peter Thiel’s speech to the National Press Club on Monday, calling on tech leaders to “attack” Thiel for being white, male, and wealthy.
“Thiel represents a Silicon Valley of the past — before diversity of race, ethnicity, class and gender began to matter to the industry and its bottom line,” Quinn writes.
Quinn offers no answer — none — to the substance of Thiel’s remarks, in which he defended his decision to support Trump, against intense opposition from the rest of Silicon Valley, because millions of Americans outside Washington, D.C. and San Francisco “judge the leadership of our country to have failed.”
As examples of that failure, Thiel cited low household savings, high drug costs, soaring student debt, rising trade deficits, stock market bubbles, and wasteful foreign wars.
He was careful to say that he, like many of Trump’s supporters, disagrees with some of the things the candidate says, but that voters “don’t pull the lever to endorse a candidate’s flaws.”
Quinn’s answer to that is simply to complain that Thiel is trying to play the role of “heroic outsider”; and to assert that he is insensitive to those who “feel Trump’s candidacy represents an existential threat,” which is meant to be self-evident.
She says she prefers Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s approach to the world, which she describes in laughably cliché terms as an”inclusive vision of technology as an industry that has to do more to make the world a better place for everyone.”
She concludes: “Yes, tech falls way short of that goal. But its leaders are trying. If they want to try harder, they need to do more to attack Thiel as not what they represent.”
“Making the world a better place” is literally the humorous tagline mocked by the HBO comedy series Silicon Valley.
As series creator Mike Judge explained to National Public Radio in 2014, “[W]hat’s interesting to me is [that phrase] always seems to me to be this obligatory thing that they have to throw in there, and that’s why we made fun of it in the series.”
Quinn says that Thiel’s version of Silicon Valley, which prizes “outsiders, the disruptive free-thinkers, the crazy ones,” is out of date because it is not “inclusive.”
Ironically, Quinn proves Thiel’s point about the intolerance of the left, and the limits to their “inclusive” posturing.
As Thiel said at the National Press Club on Monday: “If you don’t conform, then you don’t count as diverse.”
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. His new book, See No Evil: 19 Hard Truths the Left Can’t Handle, is available from Regnery through Amazon. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.