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Technology Politics

Rand Paul and Silicon Valley's Shifting Political Climate 533

Posted by Soulskill
from the businesses-going-into-protection-mode dept.
SonicSpike sends this story from NY Magazine: Rand Paul appears to be making a full-court press for the affections of Silicon Valley, and there are some signs that his efforts are paying off. At last week's Sun Valley conference, Paul had one-on-one meetings with Thiel and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. ... Next weekend, Paul will get to make his case yet again as the keynote speaker at Reboot, a San Francisco conference put on by a group called Lincoln Labs, which self-defines as "techies and politicos who believe in promoting liberty with technology." He'll likely say a version of what he's said before: that Silicon Valley's innovative potential can be best unlocked in an environment with minimal government intrusion in the forms of surveillance, corporate taxes, and regulation. “I see almost unlimited potential for us in Silicon Valley,” Paul has said, with "us" meaning libertarians.

Today's Silicon Valley is still exceedingly liberal on social issues. But it seems more skeptical about taxes and business regulation than at any point in its recent history. Part of this is due to the rise of companies like Uber and Tesla Motors, blazing-hot start-ups that have been opposed at every turn by protectionist regulators and trade unions, in confrontations that are being used by small-government conservatives as case studies in government control run amok.
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Rand Paul and Silicon Valley's Shifting Political Climate

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @05:22AM (#47464915)

    Rand Paul's not libertarian, he's Republican.

    Rand Paul is also about "state's rights" which is a dog whistle for allowing a simple majority of a gerrymandered state legislature to bust unions, make it harder for minorities and poor to vote, to hold jobs, and to eat.

    He also believes lower taxes (no floor on that) will increase tax revenues. Always. Use your science degrees and do the simple math, it doesn't work. It's a corporate giveaway.

    And ladies, if you like no access to birth control, having rape blamed on your clothing, and being subjected to a state-sanctioned rape called "trans-vaginal ultrasound" before you're even allowed to consider an abortion (if you can even get to a clinic), then Rand Paul is your man.

    A vote for Rand Paul is a vote for lunacy.

    Stop giving the lunatic a podium.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @05:33AM (#47464945)

    versus "government, please steal that guy's money and give it to me"

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @05:39AM (#47464959)

    It's people like you who enable that mayhem.

    The idea that small government is a substitute for good governance is a koch dream. Small government means less oversight. So your dollars go to companies like Shell who destroy ecologies and societies. [amnesty.org]

    Things like regulatory capture happen because people don't pay enough attention to their government, not because it is too big. Money chases power wherever it is. At least with government the money has to put in some work to get what it wants instead of getting it served up on a platter.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @05:41AM (#47464963)

    Do you really think that article is believable when it said Rand Paul is libertarian and not Republican?

    The author threw in some tech companies and lied about their persecution. Tesla's had a lot of help from the government. They're fighting the dealerships mainly, and Tesla's winning.

    Uber's legal in almost all of the cities it operates in, and the only thing they are fighting is the fees to pick-up and drop-off at certain airports, something even the regular cabbies have to pay. Uber is basically fighting for special treatment, not for equal treatment.

    Republican in libertarian clothing to draw the lunatic and paranoia votes. And then Rand Paul will continue voting Republican.

  • bullshit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by meglon (1001833) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @06:06AM (#47465013)

    Part of this is due to the rise of companies like Uber and Tesla Motors, blazing-hot start-ups that have been opposed at every turn by protectionist regulators and trade unions, in confrontations that are being used by small-government conservatives as case studies in government control run amok.

    ....except....

    http://insideevs.com/uaw-looks... [insideevs.com]

    CEO Elon Musk says Tesla is union neutral, so that’s the automaker’s stance.

    Then there's the whole "government run amok" thing... where it should really say "state government run amok." The protectionist policies adopted haven't been federal, they've been state level. Texas, Arizona, Virginia, Maryland, and New Jersey have outright bans; Georgia and Colorado have severe restrictions on selling; and Ohio and New York have legislation pending. Musk has said, if the states keep fucking with him, he will use the federal courts to deal with the issue.... so again, the problem isn't the federal government, it's the states.

    With Uber, again the problem isn't unions, and it's not the federal government.. it's city governments.

    Perhaps this should be a case study on smaller governments causing more problems than they should, and those that promote "small government" lying and trying to blame "big government" and unions.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @06:09AM (#47465019) Journal
    Unless I managed to draw entirely the wrong impression from every budget spat I've been old enough to be conscious for, I'm pretty sure that 'defense' is not the area that tends to feel the loss of a given dollar until a fair few alternatives have been tried...
  • by meglon (1001833) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @06:21AM (#47465055)
    Every single day of life you and everyone else in this country has gained benefits and used services provided by the government. The social compact that this country has survived on, at least up till 1981, was that each generation invests in the future so that this country will provide a better life for future generations.

    In 1981 that changed. You had elected someone who loudly proclaimed that people no longer had to invest in the future, and everything would smell like flowers and look like rainbows.

    Since that time, there has been a large segment of the population who, while still gaining the benefits, and using the services of this country, have actively refused to live up to the basic responsibility of living in this country. They have acted like leeches, sucking the life out of this country, using up it's resources, and driving the future generations into massive debt. They can't be bothered to pay for the government they use, because they're greedy, self centered, egotistical, myopic assholes, who don't give a damn about this country... just about themselves. They are nothing more than thieves, stealing from the future to ad their pockets in the present day.

    In the 1940's, during the war, millions of men were called up to fight, with hundreds of thousands paying the ultimate cost for this country. The top marginal tax rate was over 90%. Now, we are paying close to the lowest rates in 60 years, and there's no requirement to submit to a draft for military service... yet we still have a segment of the population who bitch and whine like little toddlers with shit in the diapers that taxes are too high. These people are THE problem in this country. They undermine everything that this country has ever done, and spit on the graves of those who gave their lives making this country a better place... all because they're greedy little bitches.

    No one likes to pay taxes, but taxes are the cost of living in society. As for the ones stealing.... those are the worthless little bitches who don't support this country, even after using everything this country offers every day.
  • Re:bullshit (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @06:38AM (#47465103) Journal
    As with so many political labels, there are at least two distinct schools of thought that use the term 'small-government conservative'; plus a large swath of opportunists who adopt the label if they suspect that it will poll well with their target audience.

    You've got the 'small-government' segment primarily worried about the feds doing things without constitutional basis. Then you have the ones who are 'small-government' in that they want as little as possible (and think that 'as little as possible' is very, very, little).

    The former flavor would likely prefer to avoid really embarrassing exercises of 'state's rights', like protecting car dealers; because fuck those guys; but would theoretically be obliged to be hostile to any federal intrusion on the matter. The latter flavor doesn't care nearly as much about the origin of the laws, so they'll oscillate between using and attacking federal power as the situation dictates. If a bunch of state legislation is bothering them and looks like it will be difficult to cut through, bring on federal supremacy to supersede all state regulations with federal equivalents that are as toothless as possible. If the feds look like they might regulate something that at least some states have hitherto ignored, it's all aboard for state's rights and reigning in federal abuses of the interstate commerce clause and similar.

    Once you get into the realm of the pure opportunists, of course, absolutely anything goes, without the slightest requirements for honesty, internal consistency, or even coherence.
  • by thaylin (555395) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @06:38AM (#47465105)
    You mean give away to people currently down on their luck, or unable to find a job right now? Something that can happen to any one of us, and is a nail in the side of the economy, which needs a maximum amount of workers?
  • by taxman_10m (41083) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @06:55AM (#47465153)

    We took a leading role in Iraq. Would have been better if we didn't.

  • The idea that economic policy and social policy are tied at the hip in the two mainstream parties is ridiculous. Someone who supports conservative economic policy but liberal social policies, in any other country, has a mainstream party to get behind. In the US, they're essentially an outcast who has to decide which is more important to them, their personal values or what they think is the best direction for the economy, because voting for third parties is viewed as a lost vote.

    Politics in the US needs drastic reform away from the two party system.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @07:10AM (#47465203)

    How does Rand Paul have a liberal social policy? He's perfectly happy with letting states bar gays from marrying, eliminating abortion and birth control, making it difficult for minorities to vote, and allowing businesses to discriminate.

    What part of that is liberal social policy?

    Where the hell are people getting their news on Rand Paul?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @07:14AM (#47465215)

    "That's libertarians for you - anarchists who want police protection from their slaves."

    And given the overwhelming historical association between "liber"tarian ideology and slavery, it's probably more accurate to just call it according to its real preoccupation: Moneytarianism.

    No doubt such a viewpoint would find a receptive audience in some of the shallower minds and uglier spirits of Silicon Valley.

    But the philosophical core of the region and the tech industry remains fundamentally progressive. That's why it remains the king despite decades of conservative "small government" states desperately trying and failing to replicate it on any remotely competitive scale.

  • by thaylin (555395) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @07:20AM (#47465235)
    You cannot get welfare if you are in that situation... But keep on thinking that.
  • by thaylin (555395) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @07:21AM (#47465241)
    It is not stolen, without that money it would be very much harder for you to do your labor. What with no roads,reliable electric grid, phone service.
  • by swb (14022) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @07:22AM (#47465247)

    I think its due to the nature of the voting system (winner take all, even if you don't poll a majority). But it also seems to be endemic to many democracies, they tend to gravitate to two party systems. The UK has Labor and the Conservatives, the Germans have Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats.

    But even in countries with larger third parties, they're seldom major parts of government. I think the current coalition government in the UK is one of the few times the Liberal Democrats have been in government. In Germany the FDP has mostly been a kingmaker rather than a majority party capable of forming its own government.

    We just started using ranked choice voting for elections in Minneapolis, which in theory eliminates the "lost vote" problem by allowing you to make third parties your first choice but still vote "defensively" by making some other candidate a secondary choice.

    So far it doesn't seem to have led to a lot of radical change in outcomes other than making the election results take a couple of extra days due to the calculations involved when there's a dozen candidates.

  • by Mashiki (184564) <mashiki@gmail. c o m> on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @07:37AM (#47465331) Homepage

    Oh /. don't ever change, continue to be that bastion of liberal insanity believing that libertarians are "lunatics and paranoid."

  • by iserlohn (49556) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @07:40AM (#47465347) Homepage

    Pretty much the most insightful post on this topic as of yet.

    Objectivitism (i.e. Aynd Rand) is basically a pipe dream similar to Communism. Human nature dictates that those with power will always try to exploit the weak. The basic tenants of good government is to balance this equation in favor of the common good.

  • by PopeRatzo (965947) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @08:10AM (#47465467) Homepage Journal

    What about the pollution caused by internal combustion engines? Just because the subsidy on their operation isn't on a ledger, doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Ultimately externalities have to be paid for.

    Does anyone believe the reason these particular Silicon Valley nerds support Rand Paul is because they want to pay for externalities?

    The whole point of what passes for libertarianism in 2014 is to not have to pay for externalities. Objectivists believe, "I don't have to pay no stinking externalities because fuck you, I'm John Fucking Galt."

  • by thaylin (555395) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @08:30AM (#47465587)
    If your theory was correct wouldnt Mass be experiencing a mass exodus of bushiness, and not the growth of GDP it is seeing??
  • by Kjella (173770) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @08:41AM (#47465671) Homepage

    In libertarian world negative externalities are paid by those who are stuck with them, even if they're an unwilling third party to someone else's actions because nobody has any responsibility for the common good. If a river flows through your land to someone else's land where they sell drinking water, you can dump your sewage in the river and sell your own clean upstream water. If you're a drug pusher and a junkie wants drugs it's a voluntary transaction, that the junkie robs and steals to feed his crack habit is none of your concern. If you come across a man dying of thirst, you don't have to give him a drink of water even if you have plenty. In short, libertarianism doesn't require you to do anything for anyone else's well-being.

    The counter-arguments typically are that charity and compassion will kick in and libertarians will give him a drink of water, but not because they're compelled to by law. People will form voluntary agreements and shared resources like a town well out of mutual benefit. In short, their solution to the "tragedy of the commons" is basically to pretend it won't happen even though history shows it quickly devolves into a few rulers/gangs/companies with power and many regular people at their mercy. If you get to play with every dirty trick in the book then competition will quickly cease and one monopolist or an oligarchy will control the market and smother any start-up in its infancy.

  • by internerdj (1319281) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @08:55AM (#47465761)
    That government ended in 1865 because allowing the more local governments broad authority resulted in many states creating a class of people who were subhuman.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @09:05AM (#47465843)

    The idea that libertarians would instantly reduce the government to nothing if they took power is laughable.

    Why is it laughable? Republicans literally shut down the government twice now. Have you already forgotten Oct 1 through 17, 2013 when house republican majority refused to vote on a bipartisan bill because they didn't want to fund Obamacare?

    It's not paranoia when that is indeed what happened.

    Yes, most people have. If you didn't work for the government or were on welfare then the shutdown was hardly noticeable to the public.

  • I'm not disappointed. This is what I expect from those sociopaths. Don't be fooled by their clothes or trendy offices.

  • by jythie (914043) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @09:20AM (#47465927)
    Or the counterargument is that communities will form their own police for and system of rules that anyone living in the community has to abide by, with local groups of people picking representatives to get together and bring each communities' interests to a governing body, but it won't be a state damn it!
  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @09:23AM (#47465933) Homepage Journal

    If a river flows through your land to someone else's land where they sell drinking water, you can dump your sewage in the river and sell your own clean upstream water.

    The Libertarians all believe that they are supermen (or -women) and that they will naturally win any competition as a result. Thus they believe that they will win the inevitable battles to the death when they shit in someone else's water, or someone shits in theirs. After all, if someone deprives you of a basic requirement for life, are you just going to roll over and die? Hell no, especially if you're one of these who believes that every man is a nation or a king. You're going to take up arms and go to war.

    In short, their solution to the "tragedy of the commons" is basically to pretend it won't happen

    Yep. And also to pretend that they will come out on the winning side, when history shows us that virtually everyone doesn't. Such a system always spawns a more structured system which supersedes it.

  • by MachineShedFred (621896) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @09:23AM (#47465937) Journal

    I just find it fascinating that left leaning people always proclaim how they are such fans of diversity and inclusion, yet revile any thoughts that might stand in opposition to their own.

    God forbid people be open minded towards new ideas, or even old ones.

  • by jythie (914043) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @09:34AM (#47466019)
    Not really. They concentrate and consume a disproportionately large percentage of the resources while producing similar amounts of work as everyone else. At my company I see people who make 10 times more then I do, and 10 times less. We do similar amounts of work with similar amounts of training and experience, but I derive a lot more income then some and a lot less then others, and that income comes from a pool of profits that everyone contributes to. But the idea that the person making 10,100, or 1000 times more is providing that much more benefit is laughable.

    If we took the top 1% or 0.1% of this countries' earners and made them vanish, the impact on the economy would be minimal to positive.
  • by whistlingtony (691548) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @09:38AM (#47466045)

    The free market is imaginary. Show me one. Anywhere on earth. Anywhere. Find me a free market, a market unfiddled by a large organization (government or private, doesn't matter).

    The free market is like a frictionless wheel. It's useful to explain some concepts, but it's NOT REAL.

    No, the government cannot come bulldoze your house on a whim. Calm down. It COULD use emminent domain, possibly... But then, the bank could decide to mess up some paperwork and forclose on your house despite your ability to pay. Frankly, both of these have happened. They're also RARE AS SHIT and cause a shit storm in the news when they DO happen.

    Power is always going to exist. I can run a campaign against my government. I can do lots of things to stop my governemnt. I can't do shit against a bank except ask politely.....

    And Seriously? The US Armed forces? Stop hyperbolizing... Both the bank and the governemnt will just call the cops. You're not cool enough to call in the military.

  • by thaylin (555395) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @09:52AM (#47466135)
    And do you enjoy living off a max of something like 30% of your income from when you are employed in some states? UI, which is an insurance program has a limited time length. The way you can extend it is in a time of high unemployment or by going to school.
  • by meta-monkey (321000) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @09:59AM (#47466209) Journal

    That's basically it. I was a libertarian when I was younger, then I grew the fuck up and realized the philosophy is unworkable in the real world. James Madison knew better. "If men were angels, no government would be necessary." But men are definitely, definitely not angels. Libertarians think that if everybody else would just "wake up, sheeple!" they would be enlightened like them and of course would adhere to rules of common decency and fair play. But that's bullshit, because there are sociopaths who will absolutely grind them into dust and enslave their children if it would make an extra dollar.

  • Double standards (Score:2, Insightful)

    by sjbe (173966) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @10:03AM (#47466243)

    I just find it fascinating that left leaning people always proclaim how they are such fans of diversity and inclusion, yet revile any thoughts that might stand in opposition to their own.

    This is circular logic with a touch of hypocrisy. So people that value diversity and inclusion are supposed to welcome those that oppose diversity and inclusion even when doing so will result in less diversity and inclusion? The republican party is for the most part dominated by older white men - of which Rand Paul is one. There is a reason well over 90% of blacks, 70% of hispanic and a majority of women lean to the democrats. In case you were wondering why it has a little something to do with the republican party having earned a reputation for not valuing diversity and inclusion. There is a difference between accepting the idea that others might disagree with you and acting to support those you disagree with to the detriment of your own principles and interests.

    God forbid people be open minded towards new ideas, or even old ones.

    So it's ok for conservatives to not be open to liberal ideas but it's not ok for liberals to be cool with conservative ideas? Nice double standard you have there.

  • by captbob2002 (411323) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @10:05AM (#47466261)
    That's an interesting alternate history you've concocted there. So robber-barons, child labor, rampant pollution, and killing workers the attempted to stand up for themselves is you idea of the best the United States ever was?
  • by Sockatume (732728) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @11:20AM (#47466937)

    Great, so if you have enough money to sue the other guy, you're fine.

  • by Rich0 (548339) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @12:20PM (#47467489) Homepage

    That's an interesting alternate history you've concocted there. So robber-barons, child labor, rampant pollution, and killing workers the attempted to stand up for themselves is you idea of the best the United States ever was?

    What! You left out the best part: slavery!

    Err, rather, the contracted sale of persons into a mutually beneficial arrangement where their owner obtains the benefit of their labor, and the worker obtains the benefit of not having to worry about feeding or clothing themselves, or having to repair the bars on their windows when they wear out.

  • by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @01:11PM (#47467983)

    Oh, right, the old argument that "if you're truly open and interested in diversity, you'll let me shit all over openness and diversity, including your own, and you will be happy about it."

    Here's the dirty little secret that you're trying hide with that platitude: some ideas are objectively terrible, lead to social disaster, and go against everything the Enlightenment and the revolutions of the 18th century fought for. As a result, the people who espouse those terrible ideas should be called out and ostracized. And while you're right that no party has a monopoly on good ideas, there's only one party that is actively promoting anti-science ideas, segregation, and a general Galt's Gulch approach to society. As soon as the republicans stop being loony, I'll vote for them again.

    In the meantime, stop shitting in my cereal and telling me that it is chocolate.

  • by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @01:19PM (#47468067)

    Libertarians are opposed to all abuses of power,

    No. Patently, you're not. You are completely unable to deal with the very real problem of warlords stepping into any power vacuum, and all the abuses that come from that. You just happen to think that a) you'll be the one in power, and b) you'll be the benevolent ruler of your little plot land, happily living in communion with all those around you. Unfortunately for you, every single time a power vacuum happens due to the disintegration of a central state, your theory is put to the test, and it fails absolutely miserably.

    But without government they at least won't have a ready-made system available to amplify their offenses and shield them from the consequences.

    What you utterly fail to comprehend is that there is always a power center. It can either be one in which the population is invested in and which can be changed without bloodletting, aka a republic of some sort, or it can be one that doesn't. Both will always claim to have some sort of legitimacy - even if for some it is just the barrel of a gun.

    We oppose the government specifically because it embodies the systematic abuse of power, and, unlike other criminal organizations, maintains the pretense that its abuses are somehow "legitimate".

    You're so adorable. You're main beef with the government is that you don't like its claim to legitimacy, and therefore think it's as bad as actual criminal organizations. Let me guess - white, under 30, never lived in an actual failed state. Probably come from some rich suburb.

  • by stdarg (456557) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @02:53PM (#47468999)

    I think this here sums up libertarianism nicely, as well as how anyone who isn't a true believer can expect to be treated should they ever win. Most might not be so blunt about it, but it's the idea behind all the sweet words about liberty.
    [...]
    And it's interesting to note that this is pretty much exactly what Nazis themselves, or hard-line communists, or really any totalitarians spouted.

    You're doing the exact same thing.

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