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. FightinInPhilly Coolidge
    FightinInPhilly
    @FightinInPhilly

    It is far more important for each of us to convince one or more middle/left friends to vote for our side in 2016, than it is to convince a fellow Ricochetti to vote for our favorite candidate.

    • #31
  2. Claire Berlinski Editor
    Claire Berlinski
    @Claire

    Tom Meyer, Ed.:

    1. There should be a concerted effort to change the common name of Asian elephants to “tropical mammoths” (besides being taxonomically more accurate, it’d also be massively more awesome).

    “Charismatic megafauna” isn’t awesome enough for you?

    • #32
  3. Claire Berlinski Editor
    Claire Berlinski
    @Claire

    FightinInPhilly:It is far more important for each of us to convince one or more middle/left friends to vote for our side in 2016, than it is to convince a fellow Ricochetti to vote for our favorite candidate.

    Agree completely, but is that controversial?

    • #33
  4. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @GrannyDude

    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.

    Deep frying food is revolting but, unfortunately, yummy. Otherwise, I’m with ya.

    Obama is not an evil maniac bent on the destruction of America, and history  (even if written by conservatives) will not even be able to judge him the worst president we’ve ever had.

    • #34
  5. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    It’s hard to find a unique belief – there are too many people in the world for this to be likely.  For Ricochet, however, I believe:

    • Australia’s single payer health insurance system is awesome, and every place should have one like it.
    • The creation of Israel at the expense of the Palestinians was a deep injustice; denying that makes the issue harder to resolve than it has to be.
    • Life begins at conception but women have an absolute right to have an abortion at any time during pregnancy.
    • Islam, Christianity and Judaism are all pretty similar once you scratch the surface; the Muslim world will get more tolerant as it gets more sceptical.
    • Culture shapes religion more than religion shapes culture – in fact dialectical materialism is a limited but really useful analytical tool.
    • #35
  6. Claire Berlinski Editor
    Claire Berlinski
    @Claire

    Barkha Herman:Not unique thought among Hindus, but I believe that world is an illusion.

    Does that have practical implications for you in your daily life?

    • #36
  7. Spin Inactive
    Spin
    @Spin

    1. There is intelligent life out in the universe somewhere (besides us).

    2. Not everyone should be allowed to vote.

    3. Women are better at raising young children, and so should stay at home until the kids are school age.

    4. The Pacific Northwest + British Columbia should secede from the US and Canada and form their own nation.

    • #37
  8. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Tom Meyer, Ed.:

    While the metric system is vastly superior intellectually, standard units such as inches, feet, and miles are more intuitively-sized. Ideally, I’d like to use a decimal system based around them (i.e., increase the size of an inch slightly so that there are ten in a foot, etc.).

    You could call it a dinch.

    • #38
  9. FightinInPhilly Coolidge
    FightinInPhilly
    @FightinInPhilly

    Claire Berlinski:

    FightinInPhilly:It is far more important for each of us to convince one or more middle/left friends to vote for our side in 2016, than it is to convince a fellow Ricochetti to vote for our favorite candidate.

    Agree completely, but is that controversial?

    I get the feeling from reading over the past few months that many believe the question is about picking the right candidate who will do the hard work, rather than us who have to do the grubby work of knocking on doors and convincing friends at barbecues. But maybe everyone does agree and I’m confusing “yes, and” with “either, or”.

    Hope  I am.

    • #39
  10. Ricochet Inactive
    Ricochet
    @KermitHoffpauir

    The Jeb Bush/Clint Bollich immigration reform plan is the best solution.

    At the same time as enforcing the border, provide a pathway to legalization but not citizenship for most illegal aliens living in the U.S. and change the immigration priorities while expanding the guest worker program.

    • #40
  11. Songwriter Inactive
    Songwriter
    @user_19450

    Mike Hubbard: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’m with you on two out of three.

    Tsarnev should rot in prison and not be martyred for the crazies.

    Good schools have good parents.

    Deep-frying food? Well… Agree to disagree.

    • #41
  12. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Tom Meyer, Ed.:

    3. While the metric system is vastly superior intellectually, standard units such as inches, feet, and miles are more intuitively-sized. Ideally, I’d like to use a decimal system based around them (i.e., increase the size of an inch slightly so that there are ten in a foot, etc.).

    The adoption of decimeters would go a long way towards that. I don’t know why they don’t use them.

    • #42
  13. Jason Rudert Inactive
    Jason Rudert
    @JasonRudert

    Jethro Tull (the band) sucks, has always sucked, and always will suck.

    • #43
  14. Cato Rand Inactive
    Cato Rand
    @CatoRand

    Claire Berlinski:

    Cato Rand:

    Claire Berlinski:

    Cato Rand:I believe that the existence and nature of God is both unknown and unknowable. Not sure that makes me unique, but it makes me a distinct minority on Ricochet.

    P.S. Claire, Paris in October, we’re looking for a not too outrageously priced but charming B&B type place for our tenth anniversary. Four or five nights. Any thoughts come to mind? Mr. Rand has never been, so we’ll probably do the sights, so proximity to the center would be nice, though not necessarily critical if its metro convenient.

    Any place you’d want to stay will be close to the metro. What’s “not too outrageously overpriced?”

    Let’s say under $300/night. Under $200 would be ideal.

    How does this site look to you? It seems to have good reviews, and the prices look about right for what’s being offered.

    Thanks Claire!  We’ll take a look.

    • #44
  15. Cato Rand Inactive
    Cato Rand
    @CatoRand

    David Knights:Freud was a quack, or nuts. (I guess a fair amount of people agree with that.)

    The current political system is pretty indistinguishable from Soviet or Chinese communism. (You’ll hear people says this, but I am not sure how many believe it.)

    The world might be a much better place if the Germans had won WW I.

    The US should withdraw from NATO.

    I was afraid for a moment you were going to say WW II.  I was looking forward to the defense of that view.  :)

    • #45
  16. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    anonymous:I believe it is more likely than not that we are living in a computer simulation.

    Sounds like that “brain in a vat” stuff we had to talk about in college philosophy class.

    Anyway, if you talk to the programmer, ask him to throw a little more money my way and if he could reprogram my body back to the one I had 20 years ago that would be nice as well.

    • #46
  17. Cato Rand Inactive
    Cato Rand
    @CatoRand

    Kate Braestrup:

    Deep frying food is revolting but, unfortunately, yummy. Otherwise, I’m with ya.

    Obama is not an evil maniac bent on the destruction of America, and history (even if written by conservatives) will not even be able to judge him the worst president we’ve ever had.

    I would go with “clueless naive buffoon” before “evil maniac.”  As far as “worst president” goes though — I think he’s in in the running.  Granted, there’s competition.  But he’s definitely in the running.

    • #47
  18. Claire Berlinski Editor
    Claire Berlinski
    @Claire

    1. An excessive enthusiasm for organized sports is the mark of a culture in decline;

    2. Factory farming is an obvious moral abomination;

    3. Our alliance with the Saudis is every bit as antithetical to our values and interests as an alliance with Iran.

    • #48
  19. Claire Berlinski Editor
    Claire Berlinski
    @Claire

    Cato Rand:

    er $200 would be ideal.

    How does this site look to you? It seems to have good reviews, and the prices look about right for what’s being offered.

    Thanks Claire! We’ll take a look.

    If you see one you especially like the looks of, I’d be happy to check it out for you and report …

    • #49
  20. Spin Inactive
    Spin
    @Spin

    Claire Berlinski:1. An excessive enthusiasm for organized sports is the mark of a culture in decline;

    You only say that because you didn’t watch the Seahawks beat the Packers last year.

    • #50
  21. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    The territory that consists of the United States will cease to exist as a single nation within the lifetime of my children. I just don’t know if it will be peaceful or not.

    • #51
  22. Cato Rand Inactive
    Cato Rand
    @CatoRand

    Vance Richards:

    anonymous:I believe it is more likely than not that we are living in a computer simulation.

    Sounds like that “brain in a vat” stuff we had to talk about in college philosophy class.

    Anyway, if you talk to the programmer, ask him to throw a little more money my way and if he could reprogram my body back to the one I had 20 years ago that would be nice as well.

    Sign me up for that as well if you would John.  :)

    • #52
  23. Concretevol Thatcher
    Concretevol
    @Concretevol

    Claire Berlinski:1. An excessive enthusiasm for organized sports is the mark of a culture in decline;

    2. Factory farming is an obvious moral abomination;

    3. Our alliance with the Saudis is every bit as antithetical to our values and interests as an alliance with Iran.

    Well you are right on the last one….GO VOLS!

    • #53
  24. Jason Rudert Inactive
    Jason Rudert
    @JasonRudert

    Obama’s handling of the ebola outbreak was a masterwork of Coolidgean minimalism.

    • #54
  25. Concretevol Thatcher
    Concretevol
    @Concretevol

    “Immigrants (legal and illegal) do work that Americans don’t want to do” is a true statement, not an excuse to pay lower wages.

    • #55
  26. Cato Rand Inactive
    Cato Rand
    @CatoRand

    Here’s two new ones:

    I believe the decision to label members avatars with “Thatcher” and “Reagan” is an effort to shame the rest of the regulars into ponying up.

    I believe the re-imposition of the word limit might succeed in doing just that.

    • #56
  27. Spin Inactive
    Spin
    @Spin

    Concretevol:“Immigrants (legal and illegal) do work that Americans don’t want to do” is a true statement, not an excuse to pay lower wages.

    It is absolutely an excuse to pay lower wages.  A company will only pay you the least amount it would cost to replace you.  If someone will do what you do for less, the company is well within their rights to pay that someone instead of you.

    • #57
  28. Cato Rand Inactive
    Cato Rand
    @CatoRand

    Spin:

    Claire Berlinski:1. An excessive enthusiasm for organized sports is the mark of a culture in decline;

    You only say that because you didn’t watch the Seahawks beat the Packers last year.

    )-

    • #58
  29. Spin Inactive
    Spin
    @Spin

    Cato Rand:Here’s two new ones:

    I believe the decision to label members avatars with “Thatcher” and “Reagan” is an effort to shame the rest of the regulars into ponying up.

    I believe the re-imposition of the word limit might succeed in doing just that.

    <breaths on finger nails, polishes on front of shirt, leans back on his heals, like a smug son of a biscuit eater>

    • #59
  30. user_32335 Member
    user_32335
    @BillWalsh

    On metric, for practical purposes, having a unit divisible by twelve is much handier than by ten. You can compute many more fractions evenly because it’s got more prime factors. I actually think the hybrid U.S. system—metric for science (where huge and tiny numbers come up a lot and convertability is key) and customary for daily life—is superior than either one alone (as long as everyone knows what size bolts they’re supposed to be using).

    Unusual belief? I dunno. That The Empire Strikes Back is inferior to Star Wars and where Lucas’s probably cannaboid-addled thought processes start messing things up?

    • #60
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