Last week, Politico reported that “New Right” billionaire Peter Thiel drops another $1.5M for Blake Masters as campaign feels cash pinch:
Billionaire Peter Thiel’s support for Arizona Senate candidate Blake Masters has now grown to $15 million as the venture capitalist and tech entrepreneur continued this month to pour money into the race to boost Masters’ cash-strapped campaign.
Thiel made an additional $1.5 million donation to the pro-Masters Saving Arizona super PAC on July 7, according to a Thursday filing with the Federal Election Commission. Masters’ own campaign has been significantly outspent on television by Republican primary opponent Jim Lamon, but the super PAC and other outside groups have spent heavily on his behalf to make up the gap. Masters has surged to the lead in public polling of the race for the GOP nomination with the help of Thiel’s super PAC funds and an endorsement from former President Donald Trump.
Masters [appeared] at a rally with the former president Friday night in Prescott Valley, an event designed to boost several Trump-endorsed candidates who follow his false claim that the 2020 election was stolen.
Lamon, a solar power executive, has loaned his campaign more than $14 million while Masters has relied heavily on support from Thiel, his friend and longtime employer. Masters earlier this year stepped away from his job at Thiel Capital.
Just to be clear, Lamon is also a big promoter of Trump’s Big Lie. He is one of the fake GQP electors from Arizona that the January 6 Committee and the department of Justice are investigating, and he helped finance the Arizona Senate’s GQP sham “fraudit” – which failed to produce any evidence of massive voter fraud, and extrapolated that Joe Biden actually won by a larger vote than the official certified vote.
Again, to be clear, neither one of these “Big Lie” election deniers should be a candidate for office.
FEC filings this week showed that as of mid-July, Masters’ campaign had $1.5 million in cash on hand — but most of that sum, $1.3 million, can only be used in the general election because it came from donors who had already contributed the maximum amount for Masters’ primary campaign. In a final sprint before the primary, Masters has loaned his campaign more money, putting in $639,000 in the past three weeks.
Lamon, meanwhile, has also plowed through his funds, now reporting $437,894 in cash on hand this month.
Lamon to date has spent more than $9 million on television ads, including a series of advertisements attacking Masters’ ties to the tech world. The latest in Lamon’s series of attack ads opens with a recently uncovered 2008 satirical video of Masters rapping — lamenting how rappers “get no hoes” — and features a clip of Masters earlier this year touting Ted Kaczynski, the “Unabomber,” as a “subversive thinker that’s underrated.” The ad ends by calling Masters a “California liberal.”
Saving Arizona, meanwhile, has dropped $7.8 million on ads to boost Masters — far exceeding Masters’ $1.4 million on television, according to the ad tracking service AdImpact. Thiel similarly spent $15 million to support J.D. Vance, another young business associate, who won the Republican Senate nomination in Ohio in May.
Masters also has the backing of Club for Growth and its aligned Crypto Freedom Fund, which have collectively spent nearly $3 million on ads in the race. The groups have attacked Lamon for his business ties to China.
Calling your Republican opponent a “liberal” has become a standardized attack line in GQP primaries. It is meant to signify that “I am the most radical extremist in the race” to the radicalized GQP crazy base.
Blake Masters is NOT a liberal by any stretch of Jim Lamon’s vivid imagination. He is Peter Thiel’s “New Right” puppet, and Peter Thiel is a fascist.
John Ganz explains The Enigma of Peter Thiel: “Peter Thiel is a fascist. There’s really no better word for what he is. For some reason, people have a lot of trouble grasping this or just coming out and saying it.”
In a recent piece by the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent about Thiel’s support for populist candidates like J.D. Vance in Ohio and Blake Master in Arizona, he writes:
At first glance, it’s hard to discern why Thiel is heavily investing in them. Thiel is sometimes described as a radical libertarian, while Masters and Vance represent a form of conservative populism that is supposedly hostile to libertarianism and envisions the robust use of state power to fight liberal cultural enemies wherever necessary.
Where to begin? First of all, yes, Thiel’s libertarianism is about freedom—freedom for him and people like him, the entrepreneurial elite of the capitalist class. He’s openly antidemocratic. In an essay for the Cato Institute, Thiel once wrote, “I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible…” Why? Because if you empower the demos, they will eventually vote for restrictions on the power of capitalists, and therefore, restrictions on their “freedom.” He continues, “Since 1920, the vast increase in welfare beneficiaries and the extension of the franchise to women — two constituencies that are notoriously tough for libertarians — have rendered the notion of ‘capitalist democracy‘ into an oxymoron.” In that 2009 essay, Thiel imagines a kind of futurist program of utopian projects “beyond politics” in cyberspace or “seasteading,” but it’s clear now he’s returned to believing in politics, or at least an anti-political form of politics.
The brand of radical libertarianism favored by Thiel and his crony Curtis Yarvin has long looked to crackpot authoritarian solutions that would enable unalloyed capitalist domination. In the ’90s, Murray Rothbard, who took his primary political inspiration from the America First movement, conceived of a “Right-Wing Populist” strategy that envisioned a Trump-like figure who could “short-circuit” the political establishment and smash the remnants of the New Deal order. He also made common cause on occasion with holocaust deniers. Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Rothbard’s protege, has advocated monarchism and “covenant communities” organized on essentially totalitarian basis. His book Democracy: The God That Failed divides humanity into producers and subhuman, parasitic “pests.”
But being anti-democratic is one thing, but how could the libertarian, the defender of individual freedom, the believer in the market ever really be a fascist, an ideology that celebrates the collective masses and the state? I think part of the problem is that there is still a very cartoonish notion of what actually-existing fascism looked like.
It’s important to remember that fascism, especially in its original incarnation in Italy, was never a fully coherent ideology. Like the symbol of the fasces itself, it was a bundle of things bound together, a syncretic and cobbled-together system of politics that encompassed several ideological tendencies. As the Madonna song goes, it brought together the bourgeoisie and the rebel. Mussolini’s party began with avant-garde futurists and radical syndicalists in the cities, but within a couple years attracted the most conservative sections of the bourgeoisie in the countryside. The historian Alexander de Grand calls this intrinsic fragmentation hiding behind consensus “hyphenated fascism”: so, you had conservative-fascism, nationalist-fascism, technocratic-fascism, syndicalist-fascism, Catholic-fascism etc. Not all fascists ticked every box: some were more interested in the idea of squads of thugs beating up socialists, some more in the idea of labor integration with industry, some more in a technocratic program of revitalizing national infrastructure. These tendencies and factions viewed each other as rivals for the overall direction of the fascist ideal. But each saw in the fascist movement and state the possibility of realizing their own program. This was made possible because of the excessively abstract terms of fascist pronouncements and the tactical flexibility and mercurial nature of fascist leaders. The focus was put on being opposed to common enemies like liberalism and Marxism while at the same time “restoring national greatness.” Everybody had their own idea about what that looked like. But all would gladly replace tiresome and frustrating regime of democratic political contestation with the rule of competenze, or, what the sociologist of fascism Dylan Riley calls the “a technocratic rejection of politics as such.”
Much of the industrialist class might have preferred to stick with the laissez-faireliberalism of the 19th century and their own industrial associations, but they acknowledged times had changed, that they needed fascist techniques of mass control, and so “reluctantly” made their accommodation with the fascist regime, looking forward to the promise of labor peace and the business possibilities created by the military-industrial complex. It was the most pragmatic option and they found fascism’s elitism, the promotion of the idea that were special groups born to rule, to contain some flattering notions that jibed with their own self-conception. While some capitalists embraced fascism instrumentally, as preventing the worse fate of socialist revolution and dealing with pesky strikes, many began to identify with the movement more closely, albeit often with a low public profile, and helped to fund fascist parties. In France, one, the champagne magnate Pierre Taittinger, even attempted to start his own.
Ludwig von Mises, the Austrian economist and godfather of the type of radical libertarianism professed by Thiel, wrote in 1927, “It cannot be denied that Fascism and similar movements aiming at the establishment of dictatorships are full of the best intentions and that their intervention has, for the moment, saved European civilization. The merit that Fascism has thereby won for itself will live on eternally in history. But though its policy has brought salvation for the moment, it is not of the kind which could promise continued success. Fascism was an emergency makeshift. To view it as something more would be a fatal error.”
It would be easy to beat up on von Mises, but he’s just performing his ideological role as spokesman of the capitalist class: this rationalization of a “limited” fascism as a sort of “custodial dictatorship” that would fix things up for capitalism and “civilization’s” sake was virtually a commonplace among the interwar bourgeoisie. In fact, this was basically what the ruling class in Italy thought they were acceding to when they helped bring the fascists to power. And, while Mussolini’s regime still retained some constitutional trappings and moved toward conservative normalization, that still seemed like a plausible-enough outcome. It’s worth noting that it’s this sort of “emergency-fascism” that predominates in the thinking of Michael Anton and Curtis Yarvin, both Thiel cronies. (Thiel helped Anton, the author of the “Flight 93 Election” essay, get a job on the National Security Council.)
Borrowing his own terminology of going “back to the future” or doing “retro-futurism,” Thiel is a throwback to the era of the fascist industrialist. Some, like Fritz Thyssen, came to regret their association with the regimes they helped bring to power and had to flee, but others stuck around and took advantage of lucrative government contracts and slave labor.
But Thiel’s politics participates in fascism among several other hyphenated axes, as well. Looking at his biography, on consistent strand that he has a deeply elitist worldview and he’s obsessed with fantasies of power and control.
[P]alantir, his company, is a surveillance platform deeply involved with the national security state. Thiel may now back isolationist candidates, but in his business dealings he’s a partner of the national security state and was once an enthusiastic backer of its wars, particularly when they appeared to be against the “civilizational threat” of Islam. He also fantasized about a kind of global network of imperial control operated from within the secret police apparatus:
Thiel…also argued that the United States should try to use extrajudicial and extralegal methods—finding, as he put it, “a political framework that operates outside the checks and balances of representative democracy as described in high school textbooks”—to deal with terrorism. “Instead of the United Nations,” he wrote, “we should consider Echelon, the secret coordination of the world’s intelligence services, as the decisive path to a truly global pax Americana.”
The reference was to a Cold War‒era intelligence network in which the United States—with Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the U.K.—used satellites to spy on Soviet communications, but it also called to mind the Patriot Act, the anti-terrorism law hastily passed by Congress and signed into law by Bush after 9/11. Among other things, the law allowed government agencies to amass enormous troves of data—phone and electronic records from suspected terrorists and, as it would turn out, U.S. citizens.
Under the Trump administration, Palantir would receive massive contracts and he would try to weasel his way onto the president’s Intelligence Advisory Board.
If this all doesn’t sound fascist enough for you, consider his network of political and social connections. In the White House, he was allied with Steve Bannon’s ultra-right populist wing. In 2016, he addressed the Property and Freedom Society, a group founded by the economist Hans-Hermann Hoppe, that brings together radical libertarians and white nationalists. His associate and former employee Jeff Giesea is a funder and organizer of alt-right causes, so much so he is purportedly the author of “How to Fund the Alt-Right.” In Chafkin’s biography there are dozens of points of contact with the far right from dinners with VDARE contributors to a meeting with Milo Yiannopoulis. Then, of course, is his primary court philosopher Curtis Yarvin, who I’ve discussed many other times. Let’s look at his political vision once again:
Curtis Yarvin, the neo-reactionary intellectual and Thiel’s longtime friend….He published an essay that claimed that voters in “urban communities” had, through some mix of manipulation by organizers and actual voter fraud, stolen the election for Biden, or “China Joe,” as he called the president-elect, referring to Biden’s supposed deference to Beijing. Then Yarvin suggested that Republicans execute what he called a “very legal coup” to “steal the election back” by getting Republican-controlled state legislatures to invalidate the vote, and then having Trump claim emergency powers, ignoring any interference from Congress or the judiciary and using the National Guard to enforce his orders. After that, Yarvin argued, Trump could “liquidate the powerful, prestigious, and/or wealthy institutions of the old regime, inside and outside the formal government,” which, he said, would be followed by the achievement of “a singular vision of utopia.”
If that’s not the product of a fascist imagination, I don’t know what possibly could be.
So, let’s sum up. Peter Thiel believes he belongs to an elite group, often understood in implicitly or explicitly racial terms, that is entitled to set aside democratic governance in favor of pursuing a program of technological progress and national restoration. He believes the political means to accomplish this is through a charismatic leader with manipulative, populist appeals to past national glory and against parasitic immigrants and culturally decadent liberalism. For him, even the most milquetoast, reformist liberalism is “tantamount to communism.” He’s obsessed with romanticized fantasies of absolute power, domination, and control. He dreams of wielding the the national security state against enemies both foreign and domestic. He envisioned a kind of imperialist world-state controlled not through deliberative bodies like the U.N. but directly by the intelligence and secret police bureaus. He combines the ideology of white collar, petit-bourgeois intermediary class with its emphases direct management techniques and closely-held ownership with the grandiose, world-spanning designs of an industrial titan.There’s really no contradiction within Peter Thiel’s politics, they are quite consistent. He’s just realized, more clearly than his opponents often, that there’s ultimately a contradiction between the rule of capital and democracy, and the way to deal with this contradiction, as far as he’s concerned, is to do away with democracy.
What else do you really need to know? The man is a fascist, whether he fully admits to himself or not. He’s probably the most clearly fascist prominent figure in the U.S. today, including Trump. I suspect that he’s actually fully self-conscious about it, but knows that it would be politically counter-productive to come out as such and he probably views his ideas as some new, updated “Fascism 2.0.” In any case, we should not deceive ourselves or beat about the bush any longer.
Peter Thiel doesn’t invest $15 million each in his his former employees and not expect to own them, lock, stock and barrel. J.D. Vance and Blake Masters are his puppets through whom Thiel can wield influence and power, as he did with Donald Trump.
And if Peter Thiel is not creepy enough for you, the truly creepy Winklevoss Twins Team Up With Peter Thiel To Support Arizona Senate Candidate Blake Masters:
Peter Thiel isn’t the only billionaire supporting Arizona Senate hopeful Blake Masters. Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, the 6-foot-5-inch twins who parlayed a $65 million settlement with Mark Zuckerberg into a multibillion-dollar cryptocurrency kingdom, have donated $50,000 apiece. Texas banker Andrew Beal also threw in $75,000.
[A]ll four billionaires put their money into a group called Saving Arizona PAC, which operates as a super PAC, meaning it can spend money on ads supporting Masters — or opposing his competitors — but cannot coordinate directly with his campaign. Saving Arizona had raised $10.6 million as of March, according to the most recent filings with the Federal Election Commission. Ninety-six percent of that money came from Thiel, Beal and the Winklevii.
These anti-democracy billionaires who believe that they are “masters of the univeverse” and entitled to be ruling elites are dangerous, and an existential threat to American democracy.
Do not vote for their puppets running for office.