Libertarians such as Peter Thiel dream of escaping society, and they’re tearing society apart to do it.
Hari Kunzru at Harpers:
If freedom is to be found through an exit from politics, then it follows that the degradation of the political process in all its forms—the integrity of the voting system, standards in public life, trust in institutions, the peaceful transfer of power—is a worthy project. If Thiel, the elite Stanford technocrat, is funding disruptive populists in American elections, it’s not necessarily because he believes in the wisdom of their policy prescriptions. They are the tribunes of the “unthinking demos.” If the masses want their Jesus and a few intellectuals to string up, it’s no skin off Charles Koch’s nose. Populism is useful to elite libertarians because applying centrifugal force to the political system creates exit opportunities. But for whom?
Fueled by the pandemic and the crypto boom, such exit schemes have multiplied. Bitcoiners look for an escape from financial oversight and transhumanists look to escape their bodies, while rich preppers design personal lifeboats to escape from social collapse. Some exit evangelists, such as the investor Balaji S. Srinivasan, are still touting the project of a new nation of “cloud first, land last.” Others are just making sure that in the great supermarket sweep of life, they get to fill their shopping carts before their neighbors do.