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. wmartin Member
    wmartin
    @

    Claire Berlinski:

    Marion Evans:

    Claire Berlinski:Happy to go first, I just didn’t want to steal the limelight. Among other views that put me in a distinct minority among members of Ricochet, I think Sigmund Freud is a great genius.

    Your turn, everyone.

    Not exactly going out on a limb though, right?

    I thought it was. I’m glad to know everyone agrees with me.

    Maybe more people agree with this than about Freud, but John Maynard Keynes was also a great genius.

    • #61
  2. wmartin Member
    wmartin
    @

    My unpopular opinion (in addition to revering Keynes): the problem with our schools is not teacher’s union, or bad teachers, but bad students. The “achievement gaps” that we see among different racial/ethnic groups are not due to teachers or racism or “the Democratic plantation” but intractable differences in inherited cognitive ability.

    California, for example” does not have “third-world schools,” as Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan said. It has an increasing population of third-world students.

    • #62
  3. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @GrannyDude

    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.

    Good lord. Just noticed that.

    • #63
  4. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte
    @Charlotte

    It is not at all difficult to eat well, often, and nutritiously (if not always creatively) for an absolute pittance. The abundance, variety, and affordability of food in even a lower-end supermarket is one of the miracles of our time.

    This fills me with such wonder every time I buy groceries that it takes twice as long as it should; I spend more time marveling than actually shopping.

    • #64
  5. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    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.

    I don’t know if the USA will go away altogether, but I do think her best days are behind her.

    • #65
  6. user_189393 Inactive
    user_189393
    @BarkhaHerman

    Claire Berlinski:

    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?

    Absolutely.

    It puts things in perspective.  It allows me to create a life of abundance and not live from a place of scarcity.  It puts suffering in perspective.  It puts injustice in perspective.  It allows me to be creative, in all things.

    • #66
  7. Tommy De Seno Contributor
    Tommy De Seno
    @TommyDeSeno

    I believe yoga pants should never be worn outside of yoga class.

    I believe men over 40 should not wear blue jeans unless they are a cowboy.

    I believe men who wear blue jeans with a blazer are broadcasting their indecisiveness.

    I believe no one ever asks why there has never been an Italian US President because Italians have completed their assimilation into society as “white people” much like the Irish have.

    I’m a libertarian who believes being one does not require a relinquishment of the right of self defense, so America should be intimately involved in the politics of every country on earth and use money for influence when needed.

    • #67
  8. user_157053 Member
    user_157053
    @DavidKnights

    Claire Berlinski:

    2. Factory farming is an obvious moral abomination;

    I thought your belief in Freud was shocking.  However, this is beyond the pale.  “Factory farming” and the techniques used by such operations have fed the world and led to more people having more access to more food than at any time in human history.

    • #68
  9. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    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.

    Where you see “Thatcher” and “Reagan”, I see “I Overpaid” and “I Grossly Overpaid”.

    • #69
  10. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Barkha Herman:

    Claire Berlinski:

    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?

    Absolutely.

    It puts things in perspective. It allows me to create a life of abundance and not live from a place of scarcity. It puts suffering in perspective. It puts injustice in perspective. It allows me to be creative, in all things.

    That art thou, o Barkha : – ) You kill not and neither are you killed.

    • #70
  11. Claire Berlinski Editor
    Claire Berlinski
    @Claire

    Vance Richards:

    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.

    I don’t know if the USA will go away altogether, but I do think her best days are behind her.

    Alas, I don’t think that’s a minority view at all.

    • #71
  12. raycon and lindacon Inactive
    raycon and lindacon
    @rayconandlindacon

    I believe that God is either as He describes Himself in the Bible, or life is pointless.

    If He isn’t a benevolent Creator Who loves His creation, then we are all doomed.

    In all the vastness of His universe, He can count each hair on my head, and guide each step along my path in life.

    I believe that if the above is true, then it is necessary to live every moment of my life seeking to please Him by my every thought, word and action.

    And, I believe that the above is true for every person on Ricochet, whether you believe the above or not.  And, further, God’s love for you will not be altered by your willingness to accept Him.

    His Son, Jesus, came to this world to reconcile us to the above truths, and make it possible to live the life He wants for us to have.  His message is simple enough for a small child to understand, and that until we accept Him in that simplicity, we have missed the point.

    The point is that He is our Father and we are His kids.  That simple idea explains the vastness of His plan for His creation.

    Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.

    • #72
  13. user_280840 Inactive
    user_280840
    @FredCole

    Anybody who can convince themselves that the Constitution that James Madison wrote grants the President the power to torture people and/or the federal government the surveillance powers it has claimed for itself
    can rationalize anything.

    • #73
  14. user_280840 Inactive
    user_280840
    @FredCole

    I’m also having serious doubts about the historicity of Jesus.

    • #74
  15. user_245883 Member
    user_245883
    @DanCampbell

    Brandon Shafer:I doubt this would be controversial on Ricochet, but I get disagreement even from somewhat conservative friends: I believe there is a lot of upward mobility in the United States even for the poorest among us. In other words, I believe the “Rich are getting richer, and the poor are getting poorer” meme is a lie and a complete misunderstanding of what the stats on that issue imply.

    I’m with you on this one.  The raw numbers and percentages may not be showing that there is a lot of upward mobility, but if you look at the individuals attached to those numbers, it shows that the same people are not always below the poverty line.

    The US keeps having massive influxes of poor people over time, but the percentage of poor remains more or less constant.  That means individuals are upwardly mobile while more poor individuals come in to replace them.

    Sure, there are many people in the US who are consistently poor over time, but there are many more who move up.  This does not seem to be true world-wide.  In most of the rest of the world, the poor stay poor and the rich stay rich.

    • #75
  16. JustmeinAZ Member
    JustmeinAZ
    @JustmeinAZ

    I believe that the TSA would catch more terrorists by profiling only Arab looking men rather than randomly checking everyone. (Just home from a trip where Mr. AZ – 73 year old pale face redhead-was wanded for gunpowder).

    BTW I treat all people I encounter with courtesy until they prove themselves unworthy.

    • #76
  17. user_138833 Inactive
    user_138833
    @starnescl

    Current immigration and labor debates are largely misplaced.

    Through the next 10 years we will face a massive labor market transformation as virtual native work becomes prevalent and increasingly predominant and overseas peoples provide it at rates, due to cost differentials, not possible in the US.

    Spending levels on such services will reach more than 5% of GDP.

    At an individual level we will uniformly find these services desirable and beneficial.

    Not including India, there are over half-a-billion people in English speaking countries that over the last twenty years have linked up with the global economy and have effective internet connections for prices equal to ours.

    The average per capita GDP in these countries is uniformly under $5,000.

    Large populations in these countries will have effective US high-school level educations and will be willing to do virtual native style work for $1.50 to $3.50 an hour.

    That is about $8 to $20 income per day extrapolated to 2,000 hours per year.  These will be entry level middle class jobs in their home countries and highly desirable as they go over the top of of any ineffective domestic government interference they face.

    These services will encompass a myriad of personal services such as education, healthcare, wardrobe management (styling), meals planning and management, personal financial management, etc.

    This will completely upend current debates around immigration, health care, education, and “jobs automated out of existence” debates.

    • #77
  18. Cato Rand Inactive
    Cato Rand
    @CatoRand

    Tommy De Seno:I believe yoga pants should never be worn outside of yoga class.

    I believe men over 40 should not wear blue jeans unless they are a cowboy.

    I believe men who wear blue jeans with a blazer are broadcasting their indecisiveness.

    I believe no one ever asks why there has never been an Italian US President because Italians have completed their assimilation into society as “white people” much like the Irish have.

    I’m a libertarian who believes being one does not require a relinquishment of the right of self defense, so America should be intimately involved in the politics of every country on earth and use money for influence when needed.

    I will fight you on the blue jeans (which I wear all the time), but can we agree on Speedos?

    • #78
  19. Boisfeuras Inactive
    Boisfeuras
    @Boisfeuras

    Rugby is a much better game than American Football.

    Similarly, Cricket (particularly a good, keenly fought, 5-day test) is far superior to baseball.

    • #79
  20. Tommy De Seno Contributor
    Tommy De Seno
    @TommyDeSeno

    Cato Rand:

    Tommy De Seno:I believe yoga pants should never be worn outside of yoga class.

    I believe men over 40 should not wear blue jeans unless they are a cowboy.

    I believe men who wear blue jeans with a blazer are broadcasting their indecisiveness.

    I believe no one ever asks why there has never been an Italian US President because Italians have completed their assimilation into society as “white people” much like the Irish have.

    I’m a libertarian who believes being one does not require a relinquishment of the right of self defense, so America should be intimately involved in the politics of every country on earth and use money for influence when needed.

    I will fight you on the blue jeans (which I wear all the time), but can we agree on Speedos?

    Agreed.  We should wipe out Europe just because of all the guys wearing speedos at the beach.

    • #80
  21. Tommy De Seno Contributor
    Tommy De Seno
    @TommyDeSeno

    Boisfeuras:Rugby is a much better game than American Football.

    Similarly, Cricket (particularly a good, keenly fought, 5-day test) is far superior to baseball.

    You communist heathen.

    • #81
  22. Boisfeuras Inactive
    Boisfeuras
    @Boisfeuras

    Tommy De Seno:

    Boisfeuras:Rugby is a much better game than American Football.

    Similarly, Cricket (particularly a good, keenly fought, 5-day test) is far superior to baseball.

    You communist heathen.

    Heh. (We can agree on a mandatory death-penalty for Speedo wearers outside of competitive swimming though.)

    • #82
  23. Mark Belling Fan Member
    Mark Belling Fan
    @MBF

    Medicare should be cut before (Blind and Disabled) Medicaid.

    College football was better before the playoffs and BCS.

    Baseball should use computers to call balls and strikes.

    Current domestic automobiles are every bit the equal of Japanese imports in both quality and reliability.

    Katy Perry is a 7, tops.

    • #83
  24. Matty Van Inactive
    Matty Van
    @MattyVan

    Obviously Barkha’s right. None of us see the same world, Which means we’re all seeing an illusiory world. Well, I guess one and only one of us could theoretically be seeing the real world, but I know it’s not me!

    I’ll add two things to Barkha’s excellent list of what this understanding can get you: It helps keep you less cocky and less judgemental.

    • #84
  25. Matty Van Inactive
    Matty Van
    @MattyVan

    I just liked MBF for putting the strike zone in the hands of computers. Umps, too, see an illusionary world.

    • #85
  26. user_2967 Inactive
    user_2967
    @MatthewGilley

    Texas barbecue is nothing more than a failed attempt to make beef jerky.

    • #86
  27. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Getting Big Bird off of welfare is vitally important (where vitally is not a synonym for “very”).  If we can’t get that done, the rest doesn’t matter.

    Agricultural subsidies are the root of all evil.

    The difference between industrial capitalism and industrial socialism is largely one of degree.  (I prefer industrial capitalism as the lesser of the two evils, and would like it a lot more if it didn’t always morph into socialism.)

    Subsidiarity is important to the extent that we should be supportive when local county and township governments assert their powers to block fracking in their jurisdictions.

    The issue of income inequality is very important, and we should use it to wage class warfare on the ruling class.

    • #87
  28. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    I believe that public executions, for a variety of reasons, are a good thing.

    • #88
  29. Claire Berlinski Editor
    Claire Berlinski
    @Claire

    The Reticulator:

    The issue of income inequality is very important, and we should use it to wage class warfare on the ruling class.

    Now that’s a sufficiently minority view for Ricochet that I’d be curious to see the full argument …

    • #89
  30. ctlaw Coolidge
    ctlaw
    @ctlaw

    wmartin:My unpopular opinion (in addition to revering Keynes): the problem with our schools is not teacher’s union, or bad teachers, but bad students. The “achievement gaps” that we see among different racial/ethnic groups are not due to teachers or racism or “the Democratic plantation” but intractable differences in inherited cognitive ability.

    California, for example” does not have “third-world schools,” as Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan said. It has an increasing population of third-world students.

    Here’s the problem with your logic.

    I’ll accept your premise that you have a bunch of  have a high cognitive ability “first world” students and a low cognitive ability “third world” students.

    In some characterization of performance, let’s say a first world student is capable of achieving a 100 on a 0-100 scale; whereas a third world student is capable of achieving an 80.

    The problem is that the school system ends up teaching the first world student to a level of 50 and the third world student to a level of 40 on that scale. That is the fault of the teachers unions and other leftist interests.

    • #90
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