Co-Founder of Paypal donates $2.5 million to Ron Paul SuperPAC. Still think Ron Paul is off base?
May 19, 2012
In the race for the Republican presidential
nomination, only one candidate remains to challenge presumptive nominee
Mitt Romney: Texas Rep. Ron Paul.
Even Paul has said
he will no longer campaign in states that have yet to hold their
primaries. And Paul has always been considered a long shot to win. But
that hasn't deterred many of his hard-core supporters, including the
Silicon Valley billionaire who has bankrolled the superPAC backing Paul.
Thiel is a venture capitalist, entrepreneur and co-founder of PayPal.
He hit the jackpot again when he gave Mark Zuckerberg the money to
Thiel's half-million dollar
Facebook investment is now worth more than $1 billion. His success and
his smarts have made him a virtual rock star in Silicon Valley.
More than two dozen people or groups have donated at least $1 million each to the new superPACs.
A Contrarian View
a recent day at Stanford University, the lecture hall is full long
before Thiel saunters in — light blue business suit, open collar, a Diet
Coke in his hand, his eyes shifting nervously as he scans the crowd of
mostly adoring undergraduates. He's come to argue a contrarian view:
that technological progress is decelerating.
we look at transportation, energy, commodity production, food
production, agro-tech, nanotechnology — that with the exception of
computers, we've had tremendous slowdown," he says.
acknowledges that computers are getting faster, cheaper and better. But
he says that's the virtual world of bits and bytes. In the real world
of stuff, Thiel insists, there's been a slowdown.
believe we are in a world where innovation in stuff was outlawed. It
was basically outlawed in the last 40 years — part of it was
environmentalism, part of it was risk aversion," he says. "And all the
engineering disciplines that had to do with stuff have basically been
outlawed one by one."
In other words, he says government regulation stifles innovation and, without innovation, there is no economic growth.
In technology circles, Thiel's libertarian views are well known.
As a law student in the 1980s, Thiel co-founded the conservative Stanford Review, and he co-wrote a book critical of political correctness and multiculturalism on that campus.
more recent years, he's argued that higher education is failing America
and that some of the brightest students are probably better off not
going to college at all.
That's why he
created the 20 Under 20 Thiel Fellowships — a program that gives
promising young entrepreneurs $100,000 to skip college for two years and
create their own business, as he explained on All Things Considered last year.
think anything that requires real global breakthroughs requires a
degree of intensity and sustained effort that cannot be done part time,
so it's something you have to do around the clock, and that doesn't
compute with our existing educational system," Thiel said. "Had the
people who started Facebook decided to stay at Harvard, they would not
have been able to build the company, and by the time they graduated in
2006, that window probably would have come and gone."
Betting On The Future
a conservative, Thiel has donated money to a variety of Republican
lawmakers. He's also Christian and gay, and he's a major donor to
GOProud, a gay conservative group based in Washington, D.C.
contribution of more than $2.5 million to the Endorse Liberty superPAC,
which supports Paul, makes him the fund's largest donor — in spite of
the fact that the two men have never met or communicated in any way.
declined to comment for this report. But his spokesman, Jim O'Neill,
says Thiel believes Paul is the best candidate to beat President Obama.
a great opportunity to reach out to people who are concerned about
civil liberties on the left, people who are concerned about deficits in
the middle, people who are concerned about taxation on the right, people
who are opposed to bailouts and bubbles," O'Neill says. "And so I think
Paul would do really well against Obama."
that sounds like a long shot, keep this in mind: That's exactly what
Thiel invests in. He's given money to a variety of long-term projects,
from anti-aging research to "seasteading" — an effort to build
communities on platforms in international waters. And he has said his
support for Paul is the best bet for now to encourage a libertarian
See Votes by State
News & Politics