In his keynote address to the National Conservatism Conference on Oct. 31, billionaire tech entrepreneur Peter Thiel argued that false consensus has silenced debate on important questions, including COVID-19, the U.S. presence in Afghanistan, and ongoing inflation in the U.S. economy.
Thiel spoke to the conference about examples of what he called “the incredible derangement of various forms of thought,” including ways of political and scientific thinking.
He highlighted the experience of Stanford professor Jay Bhattacharya, whose skepticism about masks culminated in anonymous posters of his face plastered across his university’s campus that “[linked] him to COVID deaths in Florida,” according to The Federalist.
Thiel criticized what he characterized as excessive dogmatism in science, as epitomized by lawn signs proclaiming a household’s belief in “science.”
“When you have to call things science, you know they aren’t—like climate science or political science,” he said.
That same dogmatism, Thiel argued, led the United States to pursue failed policies for more than two decades in Afghanistan.
He said the United States is experiencing “runaway, nontransitory inflation” and “the complete bankruptcy of the Fed” as a result of a similar inability to brook differing opinions, even if they’re unpopular.
“If there’s a misinformation problem, it’s a centralized misinformation problem—and it’s the misinformation coming from the Ministry of Truth,” Thiel said. “We think of nationalism as a corrective to the homogenizing, braindead, one-world state that’s totalitarian. It is an all-important corrective at this point.”
He urged speakers at the event to debate each other vigorously and avoid such “a fake consensus.”
“I hope they will not agree with each other,” Thiel said.