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_348375 Inactive

    I firmly believe that the cold war never really ended, that the Communists were merely forced to change tactics due to economics.  They play the long game and are nearly finished subverting our country from within.  All of our major institutions are conquered now, stocked with narcissistic “useful idiots”, and the communists will be ready to pick at our carcass, and Europe’s, after we slide into anarchy.  Power and force will soon be dominant, not individual freedom and rule of law.  Buy more ammo, and hope that the power of Christ may yet save us.

    • #91
  2. user_348375 Inactive

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

    I’m quite sure that violates all codes of conduct.  Blasphemy.

    • #92
  3. Ricochet Contributor

    Kate Braestrup: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.

    Ma’am, it’s very kind of you to say that maybe history will be written by conservatives–really touching, &  I bethank you for it, it’s a rare occasion any of us receive such consolation.

    As to Mr. Obama, he’s safe as houses–the country has the damned presidents who allowed the Civil War to happen. What possibly could a man do in these latter days to earn the comparison? I’m not sure if even whistling while NYC turns to fairy dust would compare…

    • #93
  4. MarciN Member

    I’m very radical on the subject of public schools. I believe they do more harm than good and can’t be fixed. I have always wished I could take the case to the Supreme Court to abolish the “compulsory” part of public education. I believe it is unlawful detainment.

    We need to make it so good that it will attract most people. And set up separate places for kids who need to be confined. I wouldn’t force anyone to go to school.

    This would fix a lot that’s wrong in the modern classroom, which today is a mix of kids who want and need to be there with those who don’t.

    This issue combines in my head with the complete lack of justice for juveniles. I worked on a book years ago on juvenile justice, the main point of which was that while there are laws that do protect children, there are no rights per se guaranteed them as there are for adults. This is made worse by our lack of a consistent age at which children become adults in the eyes of the law. When does childhood end?

    And this is going to really lose me some credibility on Ricochet forever: in my heart, I believe children as a group exhibit all of the signs of an oppressed minority.

    Wow, that took courage to admit out loud.

    Next time I turn on my computer and try to open Ricochet, I will see a closed door. :)

    • #94
  5. Casey Inactive

    Tommy De Seno:

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

    I feel the same way about sweatshirts and shorts.

    • #95
  6. CuriousKevmo Member

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

    Dude!?!?!?!  WTH?

    • #96
  7. Jason Rudert Inactive
    Jason Rudert


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

    Dude!?!?!?! WTH?

    Yeah. I said it. ‘strue, too!

    • #97
  8. Ricochet Member

    (1) I believe that the US should pull out of the UN and set up an alternative organization in which only the US has a unilateral security council veto and Russia and China are not permanent security council members.

    (2) I believe that demon possession explains many unbelievably horrific news stories (e.g. a mother killing her children, a man murdering his family and then committing suicide, the German copilot flying his plane into a mountain in the Alps).

    • #98
  9. Jason Rudert Inactive
    Jason Rudert

    Ask me how I feel about Foreigner, Styx, 38 special, Journey, Kansas…

    I may need to bump up my membership.

    • #99
  10. Jason Rudert Inactive
    Jason Rudert

    Another one:

    A lot of people on Ricochet don’t always read the post before they comment.

    • #100
  11. Casey Inactive

    Claire Berlinski:

    Casey:Liberalism and Conservatism are dead.

    To be replaced with what?

    I suppose I owe an answer to that question.

    • #101
  12. Misthiocracy Member

    Ginger Ale is simply Sprite and Pepsi mixed together.

    • #102
  13. Casey Inactive

    Jason Rudert:Another one:

    A lot of people on Ricochet don’t always read the post before they comment.

    That’s ridiculous.  Cats are better.

    • #103
  14. Casey Inactive

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

    Words mccatchen

    • #104
  15. Gödel's Ghost Inactive
    Gödel's Ghost

    In some sense similar to John: I believe the Omega Point Theory is our best physical theory of the ultimate future of the universe, and implies God, or, as I usually put it more colloquially, I believe there is nothing supernatural about God.

    • #105
  16. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator

    Claire Berlinski:

    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 …

    I’ve talked about it here and there on other forums over the past decade or so, but have never put together an organized article on it.  I suppose I should.  Now that I’m on Ricochet I no longer have the excuse that I don’t have a good place to do it. I’m outlining some thoughts on the matter, but likely won’t post anything today yet.

    • #106
  17. Misthiocracy Member

    If you’re able to sit through the entire thing, David Cronenberg’s movie “Crash”, is actually pretty brilliant in hindsight.

    (Not to be confused with Paul Haggis’ movie “Crash”, which is still drivel.)

    • #107
  18. iWc Coolidge

    Cato Rand:

    Claire Berlinski:

    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.

    Have not read more comments, but I use AirBnb in Paris, and it is superb and not expensive.

    • #108
  19. Hartmann von Aue Member
    Hartmann von Aue

    That the two forms of Fussball/Football can be enjoyed equally. I’ll be back with something non-trivial later. It’s shaping up to be one of those days.

    • #109
  20. DocJay Inactive

    A lot of people from Ivy League colleges are full of crap. They also frequently make poor doctors.

    • #110
  21. DocJay Inactive

    Military service =voting rights.

    • #111
  22. user_357321 Inactive

    That free trade is bad.

    • #112
  23. user_521196 Member

    I believe that we shouldn’t be treating our bodies as medical time bombs. If there is not a strong family history of early problems we should just lead healthy lives and forget all the dubiously useful screening.

    • #113
  24. user_521196 Member

    P.S. It is amazing that there are so many replies already when it is only mid-morning here.

    • #114
  25. Metalheaddoc Member

    Anabolic steroids are no more dangerous than oral contraceptives and should be removed from the controlled substances list and be available by prescription as easily as contraceptives. The largest users of “steroids” are women seeking to impair their normal fertility, not treat a disease. Men should have the same opportunity to do a risk/benefit analysis regarding their bodies even if it is for cosmetic purposes.

    • #115
  26. user_189393 Inactive

    DocJay:Military service =voting rights.

    Starship Troopers

    • #116
  27. Ricochet Contributor

    Barkha Herman:

    DocJay:Military service =voting rights.

    Starship Troopers

    Well, there is a similar story in Gulliver’s travels. In the kingdom of giants, war has been banished, but military service is mandatory.

    • #117
  28. Ricochet Reagan

    That Canadian Football with its larger fields, and 3 downs is truly superior to the NFL with its 4 downs, which makes the US game incredibly boring to watch.  ( I know few will agree with this).

    That during Dunkirk the Germans did not pause, but did in fact do everything possible to try and defeat the BEF and still failed.  (Few understand what Im talking about here)

    That there is no liberalism or conservatism.  Liberalism is conservatism.  That Progressivism has stolen the name of Liberalism from us. (I think this is becoming more accepted by us)

    • #118
  29. Ricochet Member

    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.).

    What’s the big deal about ten?  Mathematically, its a very inconvenient number, divisible only by 2 and 5.  You can’t even divide it evenly into thirds.

    There is an excellent reason that our system of time measurement is in base 60, which is conveniently divisible by 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.  Likewise, systems in base 12 (like the foot and the 12-pack) are divisible by 2, 3 and 4.

    The wondrous mile (5280 feet) is divisible by 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 11, 12, 15, 16, 20, 25, 30, 32, 33, 40, 44, 48, 55, 60, and 66.  I’ll take that over a kilometer — divisible only by 2, 10, 20, and 100 — any day.

    It’s a shame that our standard numbering system is base 10.  Base 12 would have been far, far better.  The only advantage that I can see to base 10 is that it allows us to count on our fingers.

    • #119
  30. Cato Rand Inactive
    Cato Rand

    DocJay:A lot of people from Ivy League colleges are full of crap. They also frequently make poor doctors.

    And poor lawyers.  Yale law is regularly rated in the top 1-4 law schools in the nation, and yet you almost never run into Yale grads in practice.  Harvard, Columbia, Cornell — all the time.  But the Yalies seem to either slither into comfortable sinecures in academia or move to Washington to, um, “share their wisdom” with the rest of us.

    • #120
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