What Do You Believe That No One Else Here Does?


Peter Thiel is well-known for asking this question in interviews:

PETER THIEL: The intellectual question that I ask at the start of my book is, “Tell me something that’s true that very few people agree with you on.” This is a terrific interview question. Even when people can read on the Internet that you’re going to ask this question to everybody you interview, they still find it really hard to answer. And it’s hard to answer not because people don’t have any ideas. Everyone has ideas. Everyone has things they believe to be true that other people won’t agree with you on. But they’re not things you want to say.

He himself was unforthcoming when asked the question, though:

TYLER COWEN: Peter, tell me something that’s true that everyone agrees with you on.

PETER THIEL: Well there are lots of things that are true that everyone agrees with me on. I think for example even this idea that the university system is somewhat screwed up and somewhat broken at this point. This is not even a heterodox or a very controversial idea anymore. There was an article in TechCrunch where the writer starts with “this is going to be super controversial” and then you look through the comments — there were about 350 comments — they were about 70 percent in my favor. So the idea that the education system is badly broken is not even controversial. You know, the ideas that are really controversial are the ones I don’t even want to tell you. I want to be more careful than that.

So what do you believe that puts you at odds with everyone else? What do you believe that puts you at odds with Ricochet, in particular?

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  1. user_3467 Thatcher

    Line drawing would be a challenge. First we agree on the principle, then tackle the details.

    • #481
  2. Ricochet Member

    Someone asked:  Why would a 20th century chronicler mention L. Ron Hubbard?


    • #482
  3. Ricochet Member

    Solon JFlei:I’m the only one that I know of on Ricochet that still thinks civil unions for gay couples is the way to go.

    Nope.  Me too.

    • #483
  4. Ricochet Member

    Eiros:By birth and nature, the human being is 100% selfish for himself and immediate family, and his first resort to settle conflict is with violence, unless conflict doesn’t affect him directly. Then he does nothing.

    He must be TAUGHT to think and behave in civilized way. If he does not dedicate self to morality from outside of his violent selfishness, he (or she) is just talking monkey who kills.

    Words such as these … well, they just make me feel sad that someone actually thinks so low of human beings.  We are more than just animals.  Can’t you feel it?  Inside yourself even?

    • #484
  5. user_650824 Inactive

    Titus Techera:


    You might wish for an elected monarch if you wish for the full powers, reputation, & long-term perspective in the executive.

    You might consider, too, that throwing the legislature out of office en masse frequently means no one really knows procedure. Also, no one would have any reason to respect it–it cannot bind him for long. Also, the party would be in absolute power, as the individuals are entirely too replaceable.

    Let me tell you an old Chesterton story–he says, our reformers see a fence, see no reason for it to be there, want to tear it down. But I prefer a reformer who first finds out why the fence is there & then decides whether she knows it or no-


    No to the elected monarch bit; we didn’t have that before presidential term limits were enacted and I don’t think we would have that in the future. I think the weaknesses imposed on the presidency by term limits seriously weakens our country if we were to, God forbid, find ourselves in a protracted World War.

    I wouldn’t necessarily put the term limit at one term but I’d probably give congressmen more terms than senators due to the different lengths of terms for senators and congressmen. Our legislators might not be geniuses but I think they’ll be able to muddle along with the procedures. If understanding the procedures proves too difficult for them then we’re doomed anyways because compared to the issues they pass legislation on the procedures are comparatively simple.

    By enacting term limits for legislators I believe that will reinvigorate our Founders’ original intention to have the legislators be citizen legislators.

    The party aspect is interesting but I fail to see how the party would, or perhaps I should say could, have less power than they have now. Let’s suppose that 1/3 of the Blue Dogs during the Obamacare debate were going to be term limited out of office in 2010; I think they would have been less likely to vote for Obamacare because the Democrat party wouldn’t have been able to use campaign fundraising as a cudgel.

    As far as fences go I think my reforms would lead to little paint being doled out most of the time. But, when there is an existential threat to the fence we would have a Commander in Chief who could see it through to the end. (Admittedly, as I write this there is this little voice in the back of my mind saying “Beware the ides of March” but then another voice responds “But think of the ratings bump C-SPAN would get!”.)

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  6. Ricochet Contributor

    Mr. T:

    Before term limits, presidents never served more than 8 years; when the younger Roosevelt did, the term limit followed. The elder Roosevelt had wanted to do it as well, which might have hurried events. They ruled in the age when the presidency first started assuming new powers.

    As for the war business, you are as likely to find an FDR in office as a Wilson. How are you to find more advantage without term limits than with them?

    Restore rather the might of the legislature. A man who has been Senator since God & he decided on the layout of Eden is not easily impressed or cowed by coming & going presidents or the changes in popular passion reflected in the House elections. That is part of the old design; take from that man the possibility of 30 years in office & you have taken from him any reason to look at himself as statesman. What you want for the executive–lasting influence &, more to the point, authorized power, to carry out, to see through his designs–is properly the work of Senators & some Representatives–they should be so long-lived to think of themselves as born into office, as if their nature was all of politics. Without that, you just have people coming & going, vaguely citizen & no way legislator. How would they get re-elected? What would they be able to once elected, unless they obey older, more organized & experienced men? But in your plan, there are none such.

    • #486
  7. Ricochet Contributor

    Mr. T:

    In your fantastic future, the president would be running the country with place-holder legislators never long enough in office to counter him! Because you have national parties that might find the nation too binding, as some of your parties have before, such a man could acquire enormous powers, unchecked because there is no power to check him. There is only one man who looms over everyone else, united where they are divided, long-lived where they transient, ephemeral, able to summon enormous powers, seen & unseen, where they can only debate, if they can even do that, able to act without them whereas they are unable to act without him, ruler of a party that rules them, & elected by a constituency far beyond their most daring dreams. That man is alike to a god. Every other politician in the country would come to power under his rule & leave while he is still ruling. FDR got himself elected to a third term not because of a war, but because he was so extraordinary a man & persuaded the people to fear his adversaries. Some similar awareness haunted TR as well. Wilson, without his crippling weakness, would have wanted to rule until death as well–except if the nation threw him out of office. Perhaps Truman would have wanted to rule for more than eight years; how about LBJ–would not he have wanted at least nine?

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  8. listeningin Inactive

    Mike Hubbard:Claire, I think Freud was both brilliant and mostly wrong, rather like Marx. Both men excelled at identifying problems, but their solutions were ghastly.

    I’m probably in the minority here in opposing the death penalty for Tsarnaev, thinking that deep frying food is revolting, and believing that the biggest problem with schools is neither the teachers nor the students but the parents.

    I agree on all counts

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  9. Misthiocracy Member

    Christianity was devalued when it became Rome’s official religion.

    • #489
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