Has anyone said this yet?

Consider the right-wing, conservative, and libertarian movements — is there a good word for them as a general collective?  For now I’ll use “conservative,” while recognizing that the lack of generally recognized standard bearers means that “conservative” and “radical” these days blur into each other, and furthermore conservative and libertarian views have areas of real and significant conflict.

Who is today the most influential conservative intellectual with other conservative and libertarian intellectuals?  (I once said Jordan Peterson is the most influential intellectuals with the general public.)

It seems obvious to me that this is Peter Thiel (admittedly I am a biased observer, for a number of reasons, one being that the Thiel Foundation is a supporter of Emergent Ventures).  Quite simply, if Peter gives a talk with new material in it, it gets discussed more than if anyone else does.

What else might his qualifications be for “most influential conservative intellectual”?

He has had a major hand in the tech revolution, and with his later view that technology is stagnating more generally.

He is the talent spotter par excellence, having had a hand in the rise of Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, Reid Hoffman, Eric Weinstein, and others.

A major hand in Trump/populism/nationalism, or whatever it should be called.  I should note that Peter is often highly influential with those who disagree with him about Trump.

Spoke/wrote/co-authored a bestselling book — Zero to One — which also was a huge hit in China.  And the samizdat lecture notes, from Peter’s Stanford talks, were a big hit in advance of the book.

A major hand in the critique of political correctness, and the spread of that critique.

He foresaw that globalization might contract rather than keep on expanding.  The final answer isn’t in yet on this one, but so far Peter is looking prescient.

A major hand in causing people to rethink higher education, through his Thiel Fellows program.

A major hand in stimulating the interest of others in Girard and Strauss, and maybe someday Christianity?

This point has nothing to do with how much you agree with Peter or not.  It simply occurred to me that no one had said this before, or have they?

By the way, here is David Perell on Peter Thiel on Christianity.


Charles Murray would also be near the top of that list

Jesus is more influential than Charles Murray. Jesus would also disapprove of Thiel's Sodom and Gomorrah lifestyle and Trump's multi-divorces.


Thiel ignores the homophobic parts of the Bible. Let's him sleep better at night. With his buddy.

Thiel's goal in life is to grow into a blood-sucking parasite feasting on the blood of children. No joke. If he lives to 200, how many kids had to be sucked bone dry for that to happen?

You have a bad case of TDS.

Once someone mentions TDS, or ODS, or BDS, or CDS, they have lost the debate they are having and/or advertised their stupidity.

Are you saying Jesus would approve of Trump? If not, does than mean Jesus had TDS too?

If you really believe mentioning TDS means you lost the argument then you are delusional as well.

Yes, Jesus would love Trump. He would detest Clinton(s) and send Obama to hell.

Not really

Sure he would, hun.

Trump supports Saudi Muslim terrorists, commits multiple adulteries, and deports our brown Christian brothers. He will burn for all of eternity.

Thiago: I love your new look and identity, but watch out for those Jewish and Roman authorities--I hear they have it in for you.

And I see Charles having a clear impact on conservatism. I don't really see that in Peety.

Don't get me wrong, Peter is highly influential. I'm just not sure if his influence is best described as being "conservative."

Yet, American Conservatives kowtow before him. Meanwhile, Brazil's President Captain Bolsonaro opposes homosexuality and said homosexuals must not visit Brazil.

Wow this thread sure went off-topic fast. What about Captain Bolsanaro's son-in-law, his justice minister?

He is not his son-in-law at all. They both are probably from Italian stock, but that is all. They are not relatives in any way. Mr. Moro made himself. He became a judge throught his own oversized merits. He went throught the standard examinarions. His time on the bench made him a respected and beloved figure thanks to hia efforts cracking corruption. He ordered the jailing of former president Lula.

Mr. Bolsonaro hired Mr. Moro as his Minister of Justice and Public Safety so he could implement a comprehensive, tough anti-crime agenda.

He hates political correctness on college campuses. That is conservative to many people. Admittedly, that's not a high bar. But then again, Trump's standard of 'trolling the libs' set the bar pretty low for conservatism these days.

+1 to Murray. Between "Losing Ground," "The Bell Curve," and "Coming Apart" he's had an absolutely titanic impact, and his ideas are much more well-known in the mainstream than Thiel's. Areas where he's helped shape the terms of debate (in some cases, effectively started the debate on a public scale): the incentive structure of welfare programs, the efficacy of education reform, genetic influence in IQ, IQ as predictor of life outcomes, group differences, cognitive sorting/assortative mating, its impact on the communities left behind.

For a political scientist, he also seems to have a remarkable track record of being actually correct.

What do you mean by "group differences?"


Better question - what do you mean by “actually correct”, particularly in regards to “The Bell Curve”?

Robert E Kelly (yes, the BBC dad with cute kids) spots the sea change:


The Korean reality television star of Return to Superman!

1. No. Rifles constitute less than 3 % of murders in the US. You’re well under fists, bats, knives, and household appliances.

2. No. Trump committed to signing red flag laws and improved background check legislation. He said he’s waiting on Congress.

3. No. Democrats have said most Republican voters are racist for decades. Trump has been treated not much differently than Mitt Romney. Remember, Joe Biden himself explicitly said Romney was going to reinstate slavery in the US if elected president. Think about that. The leading candidate for the Democrat Party presidential nomination in 2020 said Mitt Romney desired the immediate enslavement of all African Americans. The exact same people calling Trump racist said Romney wants literal slavery. So consider the source.

4. No. Journalists have been calling Trump racist for years. Open up Vox or the Wapo or the Nytimes. Although that has changed. Now the New York Times, Vox, et al openly calls him a white supremacist and terrorist.

5. No. Trump’s personal virtue or lack thereof says nothing about evangelicals’ views on ethics. They will always vote against a presidential candidate that champions late term abortion and forcing Catholic hospitals to provide abortions. This isn’t rocket science.

6. Yes. The Republicans have shown again their hypocrisy in budget deficits. Completely valid point, and says a lot about the failures of democracy.

7. No. Trump is the most undisciplined president we’ve had in decades. He doesn’t tell the truth. He lies constantly. More importantly, however, his thoughts and opinions are unfiltered to a degree unheard of in politics. Instead of disciplined focus grouped truth, we know exactly how our President thinks. He does this at incredible cost to his political success, and he does it out of a toxic combination of compulsion, narcissism, and neediness.

And yet...We know who he is. He’s not a Buttigieg cipher, or a focused group to death Hillary, or a “tell me what the polls think” Biden. He tweets every idiotic thought that pops into his head. Even if the tweet isn’t true, it’s the lack of filter that attracts people. It’s bullshit, but it’s authentic. He’s not clever enough to adopt an Obama level messaging team.

For the love of God Dems, be authentic. You can beat him if you’re authentic and not a liar. Inauthentic and non-liar doesn’t play.

It burned that much, did it?

And no, Dems don't need to do much at this point. Just be halfway decent, morally speaking.

Just lose baby, lose!

I’m glad we’re at a point where you don’t pretend to read your own twitter links.

You've landed at rock bottom. Nowhere to go but up.

Nassim Taleb would beg to differ as to any varaciy or value in Murray's IQ related discussions. Of course, the larger point is that Taleb, not Thiel, not Murray, is the intellectual architect of the direction that the right will eventually find--and in some parts is already finding.

Taleb is an idiot outside of his narrow realm of expertise. He spouts easily refuted arguments that aren't taken seriously in psychometrics/intelligence research (which is the area of psych that has come out of the replication crisis looking, if anything, stronger).

To clarify: I respect the guy for coming up with memetically catchy terms and phrases, and he certainly has had a real influence. But Taleb is compelled, for whatever reason, to opine on every topic, and when criticized double and triple down on whatever his stance was. His IQ take just doesn't have much merit.

Taleb is doing God's work on debunking IQ as a fraudulent metric. IQ does not measure "intelligence" nor does it make a useful prediction about anything. Have you ever taken an IQ test? Then you know IQ is academic wankery masquerading as a science. Richard Feyman one of my personal heroes from the last century had an IQ of 125 but that didn't stop him from discovering the laws of the universe and winning the Nobel prize.

Taleb's a hustler, and of no value.

Who do you value instead?

My favorite Taleb moment:

Early on, when he was newly a darling of the tech elite, he did a TedTalk. He was railing against "experts" who didn't track their results, and unpredictability, and the crowd was really with him. They laughed. They cheered. Then, he said something like "it's the same with these people who tell us to believe in the Segway." Crickets. The joke dropped like a rock. At that point all the cool kids loved the Segwsy. Funnier because he mispronounced it "sedge-way."

Anyway. On that Taleb was right. The cool kids were wrong. We don't all ride sedge-ways.

His criticisms of Quilette aren't terrible either.

To add to my comment, Taleb was right.

IQ is another way to define how rich you are. The cool kids are right.

Econometrics, physics, calculus math, psychology, IQ studies, tests, and grades are racist and should be banned.

You have a white male and straight dominated group of fields writing “math” aka propaganda and creating mass shooters.

If no one knew how many illegal immigrants there were, then there’s no shooting. If no one knew what percentage of the US was illegal, then there’s no shooting.

A fraud "anonymous" but a telling one. The go-to move for these jokers is "if one thing is racist, everything is racist."

No, just some things really are racist.

Anybody notice that Thiel is making all this corrupt cash from the Trump administration? Palantir creates software that is used to track immigrants and Anduril makes a product used for border security. Thiel is there to benefit from Trump's political whims. Somebody needs to contact Congress to investigate this crony capitalist for corruption.

Mencius Moldbug.

not joking.

I mean... from a certain POV, saying Peter Thiel is the most important intellectual on the right is a dogwhistle for actually saying that Moldbug/Yarvin is the most important intellectual on the right.

Thiel is a very good choice.

Of course, Tucker Carlson is watched by 3 million people per night.

How many of those 3 million are "other conservative and libertarian intellectuals? "

Probably a relatively high percentage of right of center intellectuals pay some attention to what Tucker says.

He's a lot more interesting and refreshing than other people on Fox.

Tucker is more of a personality than an intellectual. A clownish one at that. Still remember that Jon Stewart takedown. A classic after all these years.

Fox could refresh their lineup. I've seen more evolved lifeforms encased in amber at my local natural history museum than the lower Cretaceous display pieces that Murdoch keeps on cable TV.

Are you one of the 500,000 brain damaged lefties that lap up mind vomit spilt by the likes of Rachel Madcow each evening?

Hi, mouse!

Choking the chicken again?


I mean objectively Tucker won that exchange. He had John Stewart sputtering. Make a joke funny man is a hilarious put down because John Stewart is completely devoid of on the spot wit unlike Colbert.

He’s clearly being designed as “the new O’Reilly”.

I'd nominate Ross Douthat, except no one reads newspapers, anymore.

Ross writes to the left-of-center readers of the NY Times, not to a conservative audience. That's why he's not influential on the actually conservative side, and why he and others in his cohort were absolutely blindsided by Trump. ("Nobody I know voted for Nixon!")

Everyone was blindsided by Trump including all the other Republicans

I.e., other left-of-center individuals.

Point taken, but it underscores the myopia of the pundit class and establishment politicians. Trump's platform has been low-hanging fruit (or, if you will, red meat) on the conservative side for a long time, and anybody else could have swooped in and picked it but nobody else did.

Biden could pick that low-hanging fruit in 2020 if he can get some respite from his increasingly noticeable senescence and the cultural Marxist-wing of his party. Neither appears likely though.

Rush Limbaugh has had more influence than any of those listed. He’s also the most astute thinker and commentator on politics and culture currently practicing..

Rush has been doing it for 30 years.

Yep. Rush is obviously the correct answer here, so naturally, it doesn't even occur to a lefty like Tyler.

Really? Don't you think his influence has waned as talk radio has faded in importance as a medium?

I forgot Rush still existed. Does anyone mention him? When Gene Hackman made a funny quip about him in "The Birdcage" that was what, 1996?

'What else might his qualifications be for “most influential conservative intellectual”?'

Dedicated lickspittles?

I recently listened again to Peter Thiel's interview with Tyler, it was the first episode of the ongoing Conversations series and recorded back in April 2015! Prescient in so many ways...


His only competition is the ghost of Milton Friedman, which is fading.

Thiel is part of the surveillance state so while he rants about Google his stakes in Facebook, Palantir, and Anduril tells you how much he enjoys profiting from authoritarian technologies and from the state despite being a so-called libertarian. His New Zealand citizenship shows a divided loyalty that members of Congress should launch an FBI investigation to assure critical national security infrastructure does not fall into abuse at the hands of foreign nationals. His life trajectory starts as the protagonist of an Ayn Rand novel but ends up as the villain.

yeah, america really needs to worry about new zealand..those kiwis can't be trusted might be on china's side...lol

New Zealand's values are at odds with America's on several key points. For example, they're willing to throw people in jail for watching or sharing a video. The gun bans are another. As far as I'm concerned they're in the same class as the continental Europeans who view us as somewhat of a wild card to be re-educated. When we reestablish a monarchy across the Anglosphere after liberal democracy finally causes total social and economic collapse they're going to have to be a vassal state until we can learn to trust them again.

Besides that, playing loose with national security is a bad idea even if you are working with friends. You may trust your mom not to steal the wad of hundreds you have stashed in an empty corn dog box in your freezer but that doesn't mean she might not inadvertently let that little nugget of info slip one day to someone you don't trust.

If he really did deter a strike on Iran, he's a good choice.

His economic nationalism stuff seems way too vague.

Donald Trump is the most influential conservative. Don’t forget outside of you small number of internet weirdos, libertarianism has almost ZERO constituency. For actually-existing conservativism the President is it’s most influential member.

I love the line about how if Thiel gives a talk it’s discussed by more people than if someone else gave the talk. Disscussed by whom?! The small clique of academic/internet weirdos who don’t represent anything in the real world.

Most of the stuff you mention Peter Thiel as being influential for has to do with his business acumen his conservatism is just incidental.

+1. Illegal immigration. Trade war with China. Farm bailouts. Making allies pay more for defense. Renegotiating trade deals with all allies. Ripping up the Iran Deal. War alongside the Saudis in Yemen. Massive drone strikes across EMEA. Direct talks with North Korean leadership. Attempt to nationalize 5G while banning Huawei.

There is one leader of the conservative movement with all the ideas and that is Donald J. Trump. Libertarians and NeverTrump Republicans hate this but their ideas have zero traction with the American people. All they can do is impotently nod their collective heads on Twitter when the latest David Brook's column on moral character is released.

The people who read this blog and like Tyler Cowen need to be reminded - in the real world of politics Tyler Cowen, David Brooks, Megan McArtle, Milton Friedman, Bryan Caplan, etc. etc. are absolute irrelevancies.

'in the real world of politics'

It is the Mercatus Center providing the supposed intellectual underpinning behind the law texts that ALEC prepares as model legislation for enactment by various state legislatures. Of course, ALEC is not the only one - they just seem to get caught more often, likely because of the law of averages - the more legislation you write behind the scenes, the more often there is a chance for error.

To what extent this web site alone has any particular influence, that influence is fairly minimal (to be generous). To not recognize the vast amount of resources that flow underneath the surface of whatever Prof. Cowen is publicly espousing is another point entirely. Thiel has goals, and is not above secretly funding lawsuits to destroy media outlets he does not approve of, for example.

This is real politics - 'The investigation reveals that fill-in-the-blank bills have in some states supplanted the traditional approach of writing legislation from scratch. They have become so intertwined with the lawmaking process that the nation’s top sponsor of copycat legislation, a member of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, claimed to have signed on to 72 such bills without knowing or questioning their origin.

For lawmakers, copying model legislation is an easy way to get fully formed bills to put their names on, while building relationships with lobbyists and other potential campaign donors.

For special interests seeking to stay under the radar, model legislation also offers distinct advantages. Copycat bills don’t appear on expense reports, or campaign finance forms. They don’t require someone to register as a lobbyist or sign in at committee hearings. But once injected into the lawmaking process, they can go viral, spreading state to state, executing an agenda to the letter.' https://publicintegrity.org/state-politics/copy-paste-legislate/you-elected-them-to-write-new-laws-theyre-letting-corporations-do-it-instead/

Well of course I had thought of that. I know very well what Tyler Cowen and the Mercatus Center are all about.

Fundamentally politics exist due to the conflict over resources which always exists. But the question is what is meant by an intellectual. Tyler Cowen would have us believe (and many people on this blog would also like to believe) that politics is a gentlemanly game between philosophers (until that dastardly Trump ruined it of course!) - and the intellectuals, academics, and op-Ed writers are the key players.

All nonsense of course. The behind-the-scenes world of ALEC that you are describing isn't really "intellectual" - it's basic politics:
"I am an oil executive, I don't want the profits of my company to be jeopardized by environmental regulation so I need to use my money behind the scenes to make sure it doesn't happen", "I am a banker and I want to make sure my customers can't default, I need to use my money to make sure the bankruptcy laws make that harder for them to do."

I don't see how ALEC, etc. is some kind of force of intellectualism this is just basic materialist politics - the kind Cowen, etc. like to pretend does not exists.

Now where the intellectual used to come in, like Milton Friedman - was to put a veneer on all of this and come up with explanations as to why this behavior or these policies are good. Or you had the David Brooks type - assuring people that everything just came down to character, all bad consequences are just due to a lack of good character. Tyler is sort of a mix of these two. The "intellectuals" were always just marketers for the pre-existing product.

Now, Donald Trump has revolutionized all of this. There is far less need today for the veneer - Donald Trump can say directly what he wants, he can say what his motives are - directly, and he can succeed. Donald Trump is the real disruptor and he has made the Tyler Cowen's of the world increasingly obsolete - which is the entire reason why there exists NeverTrump and why NeverTrump is pretty much totally confined to the "intellectual" class of opinion writers and academics.

So in short, the only person who has really revolutionized anything as far as conservatism goes is President Trump, Thiel is influential but that hardly has anything to do with being an "intellectual", and I know very well what Tyler's game is but in the era of Trump he is becoming irrelevant.

Tyler Cowen, Bloomberg, July 30 2019:

"Under this scenario Trump will look like a genius, and the fiscal conservatives will continue their slide into irrelevance."

The veneer lives.

(That quote did not age well. Trump said a short time later that no trade at all with China 'would be fine with me.' Genius.)

God you're dumb. Everyone else sees that as the equivalent of walking away from a deal as a negotiating tactic. Ever bought a car?

Barack Obama used to read Marginal Revolution. So Tyler Cowen is probably influential in the world of politics.

Seeing as Barack Obama accomplished little of consequence I can see where Tyler's influence leads.

Oh, come on now. He installed a health care system that we discarded. And it was a "big effing deal" according to a guy who gropes women.


Trump has stupid ideas, mostly. But they are the leading ideas for what passes as conservatism these days. Rubio and Cruz disappeared into the ether.

Only one or two of those are conservative ideas. Trump is not a conservative, never has been. He is a nationalist and populist, philosophies usually associated with non-conservatives.

+1. GEOTUS has far more in common with the views of actual real-life Americans than any of the "conservative" "intellectuals" who are trying so desperately to stay on the invite list for the Beltway cocktail parties. The only thing they have concerned is their status among the liberal establishment as that weird kid who nobody likes but you let tag along with your group of friends so you can make fun of him behind his back.

Is it Charles Murray as distilled by Donald Trump?

I agree, it's Trump. Whatever Trump does is back-justified by conservative intellectuals, either by individuals changing their tune or by people who were saying similar things being elevated.

So far I see Thiel, Murray, Carlson, and Friedman (who's dead). This is a sign that conservative intellectualism is mostly dead. Trump has come just in time to bury it in the most humiliating way possible.

I nominate Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok to carry the torch for the future.

The QAnon conspiracy theory has far more real-world influence and power than anything Cowen posts for his weirdo internet/twitter friends to read.

Wasn't Goerge W. Bush believed to have buried conservatism back in the 2000s?

George Will is still going strong, although he's hurt by the fact that no one reads newspapers anymore.

Will's business is that of his editors at the Bezos Birdcage Liner, which is to provide emotional validation for liberals, and the occasional talking point here or there.

When James Neuchterlein retired in 2004, he offered at the time that he'd said what he had to say, and you could write him privately if you wanted his views on how successful had been the intellectual projects of which he had been a part. Neuchterlein is just three years older than Will, and indubitably much less flush financially. Will would have done well to follow his example.

Harumph. I still like George Will.

+1 aka
e. Weinstein https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eua5iPUKw6Y
and v.d. hanson
and Its all Free!!

"It simply occurred to me that no one had said this before, or have they"?

So now that you've said it, what's supposed to happen?

George Will?

FWIW P. J. O’Rourke was my introduction to conservative thinking, not Will.

Maybe 20 years ago. Will has completely lost touch with the Conservative movement and has become quite irrelevant

George Will is the best conservative thinker today, and "The Conservative Sentiment" is excellent.

If he's thinking conservative thoughts he's definitely not expressing them publicly.

I’m going to read “The Conservative Sentiment” today, if my local box bookstore has it.

I suppose Trump is right wing while Will is conservative, to use an older distinction.

Just because he criticizes Trump he can't be conservative? Trump can't be criticized because he is flawless?

No, he can't be conservative because he conserves nothing.

Protip: A "conservative" who gets paid by liberals to write columns for a liberal newspaper read by liberals before he punches the clock to head out into his liberal city to hit the dinner circuit and rub elbows with more liberals is not conservative.

This goes for all of the "conservative" talking heads in our think-tank class. Just their frame of reference alone is off-scale left; I'm sure George Will fancies himself as David Duke compared to his colleagues. That's why their columns are all two-thirds qualifications and apologies, why they constantly get dunked on by cable news hosts.

And while I'm sure they all hate him anyway that's why they're all #NeverTrump. You can imagine what would happen if David French for example showed any amount of unqualified support for the GEOTUS. He'd be out on his ass, flagellating himself for nickels on the street instead of doing it on TV or in print in front of a couple of million people.

That's the bottom line here, these guys get paid to be conservative in a liberal world. Again, they are the Washington Generals of punditry. If you find yourself in a position where you earnestly think they are either conservative or intellectual you are either beholden to that same world for sustenance (as Cowen is) or you need to put down the fishwrap and go outside.

P.S. Clearly one can criticize Trump, leftists do it in their sleep. But then they're basically wrong all the time so make of that what you will.

No one can criticize Trump

The book is called The Conservative Sensibility. The rap on Will is that he's maintained consistent personal styling over the years (as the lonely 'true conservative'), but he's now hawking the desiccated libertarianism he once disdained. He's also quite hostile to religion, which certainly wasn't his deal 35 years ago.

Thunder, I hope you like it. One big difference is that Kirk, in The Conservative Mind, almost never mentions Lincoln, whereas Will has him front and center. This a big difference to me .Also, Hayek wrote Why I am Not A Conservative in response to Kirk's book, and I am a follower of Hayek, although I've read a lot of his books and even quoted him recently on this blog.

Michael Oakeshott and Henry Simons are two of my main influences, and Oakeshott, in the only essay he really talked practical politics,, endorsed the views of Henry Simons. The essay is entitled "The Political Economy of Freedom, and is in the book "Rationalism in Politics." There'a a wonderful section in the essay arguing that you never allow large organizations on principle. Sound advice given today's apologists for big business and/or big government, the double headed beast that calls forth those who abandon prudence.

Have you read P.J. O'Rourke's new magazine, American Consequences? www.americanconsequences.com

His latest "letter from the editor" here: https://americanconsequences.com/go-to-your-happy-place/

George Will is the most influential conservative intellectual among the left, because that's the audience for whom he is intended. Claiming the same for his alleged fellow conservatives is like calling Phillipe Petain the most influential leader for the French.

Shark Lasers, The only thing remotely intelligent about your comments is that you don't use your own name. That's a wise decision.

This is my real name, but I appreciate your thoughtful rebuttal of my point.

Solid takedown, I award Mr. Pretari 5 internet points

Thiel is also the driving force of the idea that old rich people should literally use the blood of the young to "revive" themselves. If he can make not only economic vampirism a thing, but literal vampirism a thing, that really will be influential. (I think that maybe Tyler is hoping too curry favor here so as to get in line for some of that sweet life-giving essence of youth.)

Boomers are already sucking the vitality out of Millenials and Gen Z with the parasitic policies they left behind. If Thiel wants to take that to the next level, he might find the fountain of youth pumped dry.

Kanye West and Kim Kardashian. They couldn't free ASAP Rocky but they are the conservatives that all Americans should look up to. Rich, arrogant, narcissistic, and entitled just like Trump, the other illuminating light of conservativism. Kim's pinky toe has more followers than Peter Thiel on Instagram and Twitter.

" Quite simply, if Peter gives a talk with new material in it, it gets discussed more than if anyone else does."

In the insular little world we hang around with, sure. In the wider world, nobody's heard of the guy.

He said influential among intellectuals. The wider world is not that.

A major hand in stimulating the interest of others in Girard and Strauss, and maybe someday Christianity?

One wonders if Thiel holds a Straussian 'noble lie' view of Christianity, and wants to stimulate interest in it for that reason. He has a strong interest in radical life extension/transhumanism, and holds views on death that are strange for a faithful Christian. He also became extremely upset when Gawker outed him and revealed that he was not only gay but also had an intense gay social life, leading him to sue Gawker and getting it shut down.

What about Scott Sumner? He is changing the way monetary policy is being managed around the world, which would have far reaching consequences for politics. Without severe recessions every few years we would have much less support for statists. It seems to me that Thiel’s views by contrast are much more ephemeral and vague, could anyone actually define Thielism?

He is changing the way monetary policy is being managed around the world

He is? His usual shtick is that everyone's an idiot and should be listening to him.

That schtick is mostly correct.

Tyler, I think you might be the public intellectual you are looking for


Outstanding. Brevity suits you.

"Consider the right-wing, conservative, and libertarian movements — is there a good word for them as a general collective?"


The issue with Mr. Thiel is that a good fraction of his public perception is based on his professional choices and investments, not on his ideas. So, is he an intellectual? Paul Krugman provides a clearer definition of intellectual:

"While there are many conservative economists with appointments at top universities, publications in top journals, and so on, they have no influence on conservative policymaking. What the right wants are charlatans and cranks, in (conservative) Greg Mankiw’s famous phrase. If they use actual economists, they use them the way a drunkard uses a lamppost: for support, not illumination." https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/08/opinion/unicorns-of-the-intellectual-right.html

If an intellectual is someone who can influence policymaking with words and intellectual status instead of money, is Mr. Thiel an intellectual?

PS. who are the other conservative and libertarian intellectuals influenced by Mr. Thiel? Who credits him?

Yoram Hazony has been hanging around in the background for a long time, but is suddenly very zeitgeisty due to his latest book and conference being seen as an attempt to break from Reaganism and adapt to the era of Trump.

Also NN Taleb is influential despite his eccentricity, crankiness, and Tulsi-boosting, and despite the question of whether he regards himself as conservative. Like Hazony, he uses Twitter well. Taleb is particularly good with aphorisms, and with memes like "skin in the game".

Conservative intellectuals, like other forms of intellectuals, aren't found in the US, they do their thing in Europe.

Did Jordan Peterson use up his 15 minutes of fame already? There was a short period of a few months where his name was everywhere. Now it is nowhere. His ideas weren't even that interesting. A lame Solzhenitsyn reference, another Nietzsche name drop. Yes totalitarianism is wrong but worked up pink-haired SJWs or getting the right transgender pronoun aren't exactly that. The right-wing equivalent of calling somebody you disagree with a Nazi.

Cut him some slack. He's a Canadian academic; he has to deal with pink-haired tranny wannabe authoritarians all the time.

Yaron Brook had a debate or something with him. Someone in the YT comments put it well-Peterson just talks and talks in circles that could confound God himself. He's a bad intellectual.

A political right worth anything would elevate Yaron Brook and other Objectivists (such as me obviously) as well as Virginia Postrel.

I became curious myself reading your comment so I looked it up. And on the contrary, unlike most others Jordan Peterson's public interest have been remarkably stable since he was launched into the limelight.

Here is the Google trends, added in Paul Krugman as a comparison

There is a peak around the launch of his book in early 2017, but since then he stayed roughly at 50 % of that peak for 2 years, and now past few months 25 % of that.

On other less volatile stats the image is even better

Youtube subscribers have gradually climbed up from 100k during his "15 minutes of fame" as you say, and up to well over 2.2 million now. And similarly views hover between 4 and 6 million per month on his lectures, quite stable for last 2 years.

That said though, I do believe that what Tyler is alluding to here is harder to measure than public reach. The yard stick he sets up is how much discussion (presumably among other public intellectuals) is made from new content. And I did notice that when Peter Thiel went on the first episode of the Eric Weinstein's podcast last month, for some days it seemed that "everyone" was directly or indirectly discussing the topics from there. So there is something about Peter Thiel where he has original ideas, which are challenging but interesting, and he tends to set agenda's when he comes out with them. I'd suggest the same happened when he supported Trump and the associated speeches, and also around Zero to one. So it does make sense to me. Although there is also a straussian reading of course where Tyler wants to raise the status of Peter so that he will have more influence, because he thinks that will be good for the tech world or something.

The first time I saw an interview of Thiel was the Chris Hughes interview of Thiel and Arianna Huffington in 2012. What was Hughes thinking? He was thinking that Thiel wouldn't say much and Huffington, never at a loss for something to say, would fill the void. The public intellectual that Thiel is today is a far cry from the very private Thiel of 2012. And yes, I did watch Cowen's Conversation with Thiel in 2015, when Thiel was just beginning to get comfortable with his role as a public intellectual.

Much of the linked essay by Perell about Thiel is devoted to a discussion of Rene Girard and Mimetic Theory, as it should since Girard had such a profound influence on Thiel. It's a good discussion. But Terell's effort to weave Christianity into Thiel's worldview seems intended more for providing rationalization than an expression of belief. For example, Terell defends Thiel's well-known affiliation with Facebook as providing an outlet for hate speech so those expressing it don't do something far worse. Mimetic desire may well have a strong influence on human behavior, but so does the search for a messiah: intentionally or not, Terell presents Thiel as a modern-day messiah.

Terell concludes his essay by referencing Thiel's advice to follow the first commandment and the 10th commandment: there is only one God and you should worship him, and do not covet thy neighbor's goods. According to Terell, Thiel's admonition to obey the 10th commandment means avoid competition (i.e., Mimetic Desire). I found it interesting that Thiel jumps from the first commandment to the 10th. In our liturgy, we are instructed as follows: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets". The second commandment seems not to impress Thiel all that much.

As for Cowen's choice of Thiel as the most influential public intellectual, I have no qualms. After all, we are banking our future on tech, and Thiel has no peer in tech as a public intellectual.

The Girard connection is interesting. Girard was still at Johns Hopkins when I was an undergraduate there. During freshman orientation the school set up lectures with various faculty worthies which we could attend. I forget whether attendance was more or less required or optional. I guess the latter. Girard talked about cultural relativity, which sounded very strange to me. But, hey, he's the expert so I took it seriously.

That was the fall of 1965. A year later Girard was elbows deep in the (in)famous structuralism conference which brought a bunch of high profile French intellectuals to America, including Lacan, Barthes, and of course, badest of them all, Jacques Derrida. While the conference was Girard's idea, much of the credit is generally given to Richard Macksey who, along with Eugenio Donato, edited the conference proceedings. Oddly enough, while the conference was intended more or less as a celebration of structuralism and as an opportunity to spread the word in the New World, it turned out to be the beginning of the end, mainly due to Derrida's paper, which was a critique of Lévi-Strauss. Thus the conference came to be something of an inaugural event for postmodernism, whatever that is/was (it's over folks, really).

Anyhow, I ended up taking a bunch of courses with Macksey and I'm pretty sure Girard was a guest lecturer in at least one of them. And I'm pretty sure he lectured on mimetic desire. By that time Girard was fast moving away from literature and toward anthropology and beyond, to his grand theory of human society.

At that time (the 60s) it made sense for Girard to set-up a conference on structuralism. For structuralism wasn't a well-defined set of doctrines. It was a loose intellectual movement. Even Jean Piaget considered himself a structuralist and wrote a small book about it; but hardly anyone these days remembers him as a structuralist. But in retrospect it's clear that Girard wasn't a structuralist and he certainly wasn't a poststructuralist either. He was, or he soon became, well, Rene Girard.

All this had happened before Thiel encountered him at Stanford.

You seem confused about the second commandment. Since you are mentioning in the same breadth the 10th commandment, you must be talking of the Ten Commandments, of which the second says "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image", or something like it according to the translation and the division of the text (into 10 commandments) one prefers.

"Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself" is the second of the two "great commandments" of Jesus in the new testament. Something completely different, and this one isn't followed by a third, let alone a 10th, commandment.

Also, the idea that the 10th commandment (of the ten) contains and generalizes all commandments from the 4th to the 9th (all that are concerned with actions relative to other human beings rather than relative to God) is Girard's one, not Thiel's nor Terell's. For Girard, the writers, whoever they were, of the Ten Commandment understood that all violations of commandments 4 to 9 (adultery, disrespect
for one's parents, murder, etc.) came from mimetic desire, ad rather than continue an already long list of commandments, decided to ban once and for all the root cause, and forbade mimetic desire in the tenth commandment. Of course, says Girard, it is easier said than done.

Girard, though a great admirer of the Gospel and a Christian, would not like that much the second commandment of Jesus : "like thyself" sounds too "mimetic" for Girard's taste. This last sentence is pure supposition of my part; I have never read anything by Girard on this commandment, but really if you've read enough of Girard it look likes something in the bible that Girard would not like (that would not be the first time). Of course, I would be interested in any pointer to a discussion by Girard on this commandment.

It depends on what are your boundary conditions for 'intellectual'. Does it include anyone who trafficks in topical commentary or does it only include quality writers with some measure of liberal education (allowing for the occasional autodidact like Eric Hoffer)? Rush Limbaugh and Tucker Carlson are commentators, but I don't think the term 'public intellectual' would have been customarily applied to them back in the day. (It would have to George Will, but not Paul Harvey).

If you're talking about someone who is listened to with respect by producers of topical commentary and consumers of topical commentary in certain professional guilds (especially academe and the law), I'm guessing Megan McArdle and Thomas Sowell would be top of the heather (though Sowell is recently retired). A whole mass of people in the opinion biz have in recent years pretty much lost their audience (some never had one, other than the liberal editors looking for fig leaves), so the situation is somewhat protean.

Thiel is yet another in the line of clever homosexuals like Turing and Keynes. Unfortunately his cleverness and ingenuity ranks below both of the fine Englishman. If only Thiel invented computer science or revolutionised the field of economics, would he have a spot in the pantheon. Investing in Facebook and working at Paypal unfortunately means he didn't invent Facebook like Zuckerberg or Paypal like Musk, just that he came along for the ride. History is written by those who lead the charge not by riding the coattails of others. He's basically a homosexual Sheryl Sandberg.

The average person has no idea who Peter Thiel is, which is a major knock against him. I'd say Tucker Carlson like to person above. He's obviously not truly an intellectual but he and the millions of dummies who watch him think he is. His program is billed differently than lots of other Fox News stuff.

You're neglecting the evangelical world, which is its own place. I'm guessing in that set, Marvin Olasky would be the most influential and respected. There's no one in the Catholic world with much stature and prevalence anymore. Richard John Neuhaus and Ralph McInerney did at one time. Both died in 2009.

What about Bishop Robert Barron?

Who is today the most influential conservative intellectual with other conservative and libertarian intellectuals?

Status fixation noted.

I admittedly somehow skipped over this line when reading. But this is pretty absurd, the number of people in that group is like...8?
The most popular kid in the local high school has more fans than the "most influential conservative intellectual with other conservative and libertarian intellectuals".

Not to mention the fact that they are a highly insular group. I guarantee those eight guys spend more time hanging around coastal liberals than the deplorables. Look at David French, Bill Kristol, et al. on their Twitter circlejerk, when they aren't retweeting each other's milquetoast opinions they are LARPing as the Washington Generals against the leftoids. All while blocking actual conservatives.

"I guarantee those eight guys spend more time hanging around coastal liberals than the deplorables. "

That's what people with brains and the intention to use them do. The Deplorables are only interesting as subjects of study. They offer nothing of value by direct interaction, and they're going to be replaced.

Cool story bro. Friendly reminder, we hang traitors first.

You hang no one. You're not doing jack.

I'd rather be Elon Musk than Peter Thiel. Better to invent the future, then complain about it.

Turn off vpn to get link to work

I'm not sure if it's inherent in our DNA (nature) or is a result of the process in which we develop into adults (nurture), but placing extraordinary importance on individuals because others talk about their ideas/comments is hardly an 'intellectual' attribute (when you only have 100 years to live). Albeit a very fundamental human one. BTW, yesterday
's WSJ had an editorial about Google's censorship which was a real eye-opener for me. I was amused that YouTube explained their ban of a discussion on the 10 Commandments because it contained references to murder.

You seem focused on politically influential, but if you are interested in what is influencing rank and file conservatives you have to look at religion. The Neuhaus/Falwell/Schaefer model of big tent/moral majority Christian cultural engagement is dead. What will replace it? Tim Keller/Russell Moore polite seat at the table? Franklin Graham/Falwell Jr combativeness? Or Dreher-esque quietism? I see Drehers ideas gaining alot of currency and one of the big ideas he is pushing is that corporations are no friends of conservatives. Could Dreher's ideas result in a radical realignment of Christain conservatives with the Republican party? Might open the door to further economic populism. Culturally will a return to quietism result in greater religious balkanization? One of the underappreciated influences of Falwell was to politically conservative Catholics, Mormons, evangelicals, and Jews to lay aside their religious differences to cooperate politically. That model is dead. What does that mean for interfaith relationships going forward. Here Dreher is significant as well.

The broader conservative movement is going through an anti-intellectual and anti-expert phase right now. Don’t expect expert intellectuals to hold sway. The main big and bold new ideas in conservatism are profligate spending and racism. Conservatives don’t have a deep bench of intellectuals with experience promoting the former, and there is nothing new to say about the latter.

Thiel is an “intellectual” in the same way George Soros, or Jack Welch are intellectuals. They’ve all written books and are listening to because they buy influence.

Tyler, and to a lesser degree Alex, are the only conservative intellectuals with anything interesting to say about the times we are in. Then maybe some of the constitutional scholars like Josh Blackman.

Tyler and Alex are

>Tyler, and to a lesser degree Alex, are the only conservative intellectuals....

Are you stoned right now? Why the hell would you call them that?

These guys want open borders and carbon taxes.

What in earth makes either of these two, but especially Alex, even remotely conservative?!

The Conservative Intellectual used to be someone who advocated verities, and slow, gradual social change. By definition, he wasn't part of a movement that changed form as fast or faster than liberals. The Conservative advocated propriety, manners, upstanding personal conduct, everything Trump is not. Do not confuse the GOP with conservatism.

The problem with trying to identify a leading right-wing/conservative/libertarian intellectual is that in they have to pass through the leftist media/academic/Beltway filter to be recognized. Jordan Peterson is a great example of this. Anyone you choose for this position is going to be the one that is safest for the left.

" they have to pass through the leftist media/academic/Beltway filter to be recognized. "

No they don't, and even if they do it's not that hard. Peterson didn't and got his 15 min before people realized he kind of sucked. You're just making more lame excuses with a persecution complex. You guys just suck.

Peterson became known when his particular brand of alt-liteism was convenient to publicize and vanished when it ceased to be convenient. He does suck though.

Do you have someone in mind? Name them so we can do some reading. That would be more interesting than whining about the left like you have derangement syndrome.

Pat Buchanan (who has the street cred of at one time or another being kicked off almost all the cable news channels). Besides him:

Steve Sailer
John Derbyshire (We Are Doomed being the best case for why modern conservatism blows)
Theodore Dalrymple
Mark Steyn (as long as I don't have to listen to him)

I could keep going but I think you have plenty of names to complain about.

Ah Derpyshire and Buchanan: good choices for every closet racist.

The coming permanent minority-majority demographic set up is gonna hit you hard.

I have a ten-year supply of deep-frozen corn dogs, I'm good to go through whatever. It's probably not going to be kind to the third-world savages who fled their own shithole countries just to turn the one they came to into a shithole country, though.

I do wonder if you guys get some sort of commission every time you call someone or something "racist", though.

There's a universe of reasons why most conservatives ignore those pack of losers.

But you've failed to name one.

Let me help: most "conservatives" ignore them because most "conservatives" are more worried about their image among progressive liberals than they are about actually conserving anything.

"Who is today the most influential conservative intellectual with other conservative and libertarian intellectuals?"
"Conservative intellectuals"

I guess I'll let you know as soon as I see any that are worth of a response. Seriously though, compared to the myriad thinkers in public and scholarly life that skew left, the right leaning intellectuals are a joke. Maybe a better question is why is there such a lack of intellectual rigor on the right?

Seriously though, compared to the myriad thinkers in public and scholarly life that skew left, the right leaning intellectuals are a joke.

Yeah, Paul Krugman and Brian Leiter have done so much to enrich public discourse.

Even if you weren't addled by conceit, you'd have to have a look at the effect leftoid academics are having on the quality of discussion among street-level Democrats. The ones I encounter (among our friends and relations on Fakebook) and the discussion fora I encounter are entirely pre-occupied with fictions ("Russian collusion"), defending the indefensible (Robert Mueller, Lois Lerner), engaging in or defending displays of aggression in the courts and in institutional life (Baronelle Stutzman, Paul Church), or pretending small scale problems are superlatively important (police shootings) while caring nothing about large scale problems (street crime in slums). What's the value of that?

If you think collusion was fiction and police shootings aren't a real problem, or that Mueller did anything, you really just need to STFU. You're too insane to productively engage. Your mind has been fucked out by politics and cable news. Just go yell at some clouds.

Probably because the actual conservative intellectuals are deplatformed and the useful idiots are promoted.

No they're not. Conservative intellectuals just tend to suck, with some serious exceptions like George Will.

George Will is neither conservative nor intellectual; the reason you like him is because he exists to inflate the leftist ego with his milquetoast and apologetic opinions.

No he doesn't. You're just stapling buzzphrases together and I doubt you've seriously read a column of his. Protip: hearing things you don't like doesn't mean the person saying them is in thrall to The Other. Perhaps you should go back to Breitbart.

I read his syndicated column regularly when I was going through my libertarian phase in college. (It's a time for experimentation.)

This was back during the Bush years when he was all for liberating Saddam from this mortal plane when it was convenient for the media to cheerlead it, then flipped to criticizing the war in Iraq when it was convenient for the media to oppose it, though as is the style, he always did so in a roundabout way while avoiding definitive statement. I blew a solid chance with a chick from the College Republicans when I confused him with Krauthammer one day but I guess that's neither here nor there.

In any case it's true I let my fan club membership lapse, but in my defense Alex Jones rarely ever mentions him and he's just so darn forgettable.

So Alex Jones, Dailystormer, white supremacists, neo-nazis are what you call "actual conservative intellectuals"?

Or (among others) Candace Owens, Roger Stone, Glenn Reynolds, Peter Van Buren, Robert Stacy McCain, Jesse Kelly, James Woods, and as of this morning Ryan Saavedra and Cocaine Mitch's campaign group. This is just Twitter and is not counting the shadowbans.

Are they intellectuals? Perhaps not, but the message to any conservatives who may be is pretty clear: toe the line.

Meanwhile we get plentiful content from blue-checkmarks Bill Kristol, David French, George Will (not on Twitter but you get the point) et al. because they are the safe choice for the liberal media. Won't go off-script, easy to rein in, don't mind being the punching bag.

I'm too lazy but just looking at the first name she's not deplatformed:


Puts the rest of your credibility on the line.

Up thread this guy seriously recommends Buchanan and Derbyshire. So yeah he's one of those assholes.

Hey, at least they have a spine.

Yet they lack brains.

Money speaks.

The most influential conservative thinkers are


Koch Brothers.

Libertarians are on the left, not the right. This is in both theory and in practice. Libertarians and social conservatives ('conservatives') cohabiting during the communist era (1929-1989). It was during this period (around 1917 in Britain), that the term 'liberal' came to mean 'on the left' rather than 'pertaining the to rights and perspective of the individual'. With the collapse of communism, the median voter boundary moved to the left, such that the fiscal conservatives moved to the left of the media (BIll Clinton, Tony Blair) and the social conservatives came to the median voter boundary on the right.

Thus, if you talk to the likes of CATO and Niskanen -- and I do -- they are not willing to talk to the right, indeed, they have no contacts there. They won't talk to Breitbart. But they will talk to, say, the Center for American Progress. Functionally, they are on the left, even though they sometimes still think of themselves as being on the right.

Here's how it lays out schematically:

If Breitbart is your test, today's conservatism really is yesterday's radicalism.

Radicalism can shift sides. One can be a conservative radical or a liberal radical. In society, we normally have 'the establishment' and the challengers. The establishment typically carries the color blue, the insurgents, the color red.

Notwithstanding, Breitbart would fall into the conservative camp.

That's pretty damning. Because "Charles Murray as distilled by Donald Trump" is pretty much their gig.

Someone said "group differences" above and has been so far coy about what that means. Let me tell you straight up. A coy party of racism does not play anymore. If that's what holding things together, the whole thing deserves to come apart.

Does not play anymore? It plays, and wins, and controls the presidency and Senate.

They were elected when plausible deniability was a thing. Now it's a stark choice, and that's a big thing.

And then got absolutely rekt in the 2018 midterms, a preview of what is likely to come for decades.

No. The left won some seats in the house because CA legalized cheating in the form of vote harvesting. Pretty soon there will be no more CA seats to win, and the leftmobile will come to a screeching halt.

The people in flyover country are watching the demoncat debates and they are disgusted by the pandering to illegal aliens, promising to open the border and give them free stuff. Amazing! They have actually proven to the US electorate they really do want to import new voters to replace the old. It's political suicide and they are blind to it!!!! If someone told me ten years ago this would happen I would have laughed out loud.

The only man among them that has any balls is Tulsi Gabbard - some day I will vote for her but not in 2020.

What a bunch of limp wristed, cowardly, smarmy, inauthentic, finger in the air assholes.

The demoncat ship is going down with all hands aboard. They'll be arranging the deck chairs while we laugh.


Antidote, Bret Stephens


Nobody cares. But go ahead, please do blunt your pick on that stone.

Or David French


@Steven Kopits, I respect your work, but c'mon, libertarians were on the left in the days of Jefferson and Bastiat. The meaning of left and right has changed pretty radically since then.

"Libertarians are on the left, not the right. " Huh? Libertarians identify with high taxes, government overreach and high authoritarianism now?

Yeah for someone so obsessed with the minutiae of ideology, you would think Kopits would acknowledge that libertarians are neither 'right' or 'left'. Some of their stances skew left (social liberalism, open borders) and some right (small state, low taxes).

This analysis might be smart, it might be clever, but it is not wise. Not Thiel, for the same reason as not Peterson. We shouldn't be looking for anyone edgy, bordering on fringe. We should be looking for someone solid and mainstream. So solid perhaps, that he will escape the notice of mavens looking for novel ideas, and people looking for a daily shot of politics to the jugular.

Jeb Bush? Mitt Romney?

Anyway, for someone representing any real conservatism, you want someone who *can* score 8/10 on boredom.

Scanning comments above, George Will fits the bill. Boring in this new age, and for the right reasons.

George Will might be a good candidate for the leading intellectual who is allowed to be conservative by the progressive liberals who write his paychecks.

Imagine choosing Peter Thiel over Will Wilkinson at this precise moment of history ..

For Jordan Peterson to be considered right wing shoes how bat shit crazy the left has become. He is a moderate centre left.

Are there any right wing academics who aren't closing in on retirement? They are vanishingly rare outside the hard sciences. Haidt has documented that fact. So you aren't going to find them there.

So the smart consequential conservatives are going to be found in business. Likely every day you touch or interact with something that a very smart conservative has made better, cheaper.

The problem of global warming will be solved by intelligent conservatives, because fundamentally it is a technological problem of energy production and consumption to enable a high standard of living. Almost every aspect of what works right now is run by conservatives and the problem and change required will be devised and implementation by conservatives. First example is fraking, which has generated huge amounts of natural gas which has displaced coal for electricity generation and been the source of greenhouse gas emissions declines in the US. The current efforts by the left are doomed to failure because they couldn't run a hot dog stand.

Conservatives don't have intellectuals. Almost by definition. Intellectuals are people living in cloisters writing papers on how to run the Cambodian killing fields. Or wondering when they look at their penis whether they are a man. People that are best kept off the streets.

No one has said it, because it is not true. Gertrude Stein said to Ernest Hemingway, "remarks are not literature." Thiel's offhand, unresearched, hypocritical, and generally wrong comments are not intellectual observations. Not to mention the many people he has made suffer by his work with the Trump Administration. Intellectual? Bosh. Fellow traveler with corruption and builder of the surveillance state, yes.

I probably wouldn't put them above Thiel, but maybe honorable mentions to the Mismatch authors (Stuart Taylor et al.), the FIRE folks (Haidt, Lukianoff), Seth Barrett Tillman, Heather Mac Donald, a few reporters (Mollie Hemingway/Sharyl Attkisson), Steven Pinker (arguing against against blank slate), Candace Owens, Victor David Hansen, the Quillette team, Bari Weiss/Alan Dershowitz (arguign for Isreal's right to exist).

+1 old
also mr. and mrs bret weinstin!

I'm just part way into that long David Perell essay, but it's really good!

Steve Sailor makes some impact with an economy of words

Yeah, Sailer's influence is probably underrated.

As people point out above about Thiel, only a sliver of people even know who Thiel is, and the ones who know who Sailer is are an even smaller sliver.

"the velvet underground didn't sell many records, but everyone who bought one went out and started a band," or something.

my impression is that Sailer wrote a billion pieces about anti-immigrationism, anti-globalism, HBD, the downsides of diversity, people's natural tendency toward ethnic coalitions, etc when no one else sane was credibly and unapologetically writing about that stuff, then saw those ideas percolate up through the blogosphere to the presidency.

"Steve Sailor makes some impact with an economy of words"

My enormous influence is proven by how nobody ever misspells my name.

I'm sure Mother Teresa also had to deal with that inconvenience

Nassim Taleb, not Peter Thiel, not Charles Murray, is the intellectual architect of the direction that the right will eventually find--and in some parts is already finding, as it should.

BTW, who's Jordan Peterson?

If I have to add another # 2 influencer, it would be Thiel, though.
So, there you have it folks, T&T, Taleb and Thiel. There's your future, if truth and coherence is important.

If one values banal triviality, Jordan Peterson would be the real deal.
[This for those who could not detect the rhetorical sarcasm in my question, "BTW, who's Jordan Peterson?"]

Peterson's "Maps of Meaning" was a nice Jungian metaanalsysis tract concerning culture and civilization, but that was published 20 years ago--and I don't know that it would qualify to undergird these ideological frameworks we find ourselves trapped in; it was actually good. The recent stuff is utter throw away triviality and conventional wisdom.

Niall Ferguson?

No way. A Blair/Bush/Clinton globalists. We went down that road of utter failure and ruin. He held the notion that if the “advanced” nations desire further advancement, they need to jettison remaining goods fabrication sectors so as to free workers to become merchants who sell foreign goods to one another; for those who can’t make the transition, they can be all that they can be by their participation in war games, such as the celebrated Sand Wars in the Middle East.

And, notably, Ferguson is a no-skin-in-the-game bloviator.

He wasn't wrong.

Will the operation to remove your lips from Theil's ass be covered by Obamacare?

Thomas Sowell


Was a cutting edge commentator/intellectual in 1970s/80s. Conventional wisdom since then.

"Consider the right-wing, conservative, and libertarian movements — is there a good word for them as a general collective? For now I’ll use “conservative,”"

No, there isn't. Because they are three distinct things. And the last thing libertarians are is conservative. Or right wing. Just because we're not on the left side doesn't mean we're on the right side.

eh, most conservatives, outside the bible beaters, are pretty libertarian. Venn diagram would show a pretty big overlap.

The last few years if not the years since 2000 show what a load of crap this is. Yeah, they're so godamn libertarian they put a fascist in the WH. "We'd love to have freedom but first we gotta chase out the brown folk and pay up massive import taxes"

Fascist is the WH? You're about 3 years too late to make that claim.

There is only one correct answer: Bronze Age Pervert. Submit!

Peter Thiel is my personal favorite pundit. I applaud Cowen's endorsement.

However, by Cowen's criteria, "Who is today the most influential conservative intellectual with other conservative and libertarian intellectuals?", I'm not so sure. Among a certain legacy official right-wing intellectual perspective of that of CATO and National Review, absolutely not. From my view, this means we need a better set of conservative and libertarian intellectuals.

Others also think that Thiel and Thiel's ideas should play a more prominent leadership or guiding visionary role in the Republican Party

Your link gives me less confidence in Thiel's ideas. If he wants an FBI investigation into Silicon Valley practices, he should start with his own Facebook, which appears to be under way though no prodding of his own. Investigating Google or Amazon comes across as using government favors to attack business rivals. This is neither principled, nor conservative governance. It is cronyism and partisanship.

He also talks of using, again, more government to go after academia by cramming debt onto their books for the fraudulent education provided. This is a revenge fantasy not a serious approach to actually educating people without lifelong debt. I am pro-reform of our education system but Thiel's language, approach, and ideas come up very short in implementation.

Thiel's accusation that Google is infiltrated by Chinese intelligence seemed outrageous and short of evidence, but this is the first time he's brought it up. You are accusing Thiel of fabricating that charge purely for business rivalry issues, which also seems too far.

You are accusing Thiel of using "government to go after academia"... Academia is basically part of government, so that is entirely fair play, especially by traditional libertarian standards. Even so called "private" universities receive a large amount of funding and non-financial status and privileges from the government.

And no, Thiel doesn't have ready-to-go solutions to these issues, but I would pick him as a leading, or even the leading intellectual of choice, to work on these issues.

No-one who believes in Christianity can seriously be described as an intellectual.

Christianity obviously exists, there are billions of Christians across the globe. Not to mention all the churches. They even have Bibles in bookstores, for now anyway. Go see for yourself!

"They even have Bibles in bookstores."

Trinket stores...may even find an Olsteen book.

Do you speak English? In what world does your response make even the slightest sense as a reply to the previous comment?

They didn't say Christianity doesn't exist.
They didn't say there aren't billions of them.
They didn't say there are no churches.
They didn't say Bibles are in bookstores.

They said, rightly or wrongly, that Christian believers cannot be seriously called intellectuals. I disagree with this personally and know plenty of smart, religious people but that is not what I'm talking about now. Please do a better job of actually engaging what is written instead of making sh*t up.

Dean says people who don't believe in Christianity can't be intellectuals. I'm simply pointing out that Christianity does, in fact, clearly exist.

Now if he wants to say that people who believe in Christ (i.e., the manifestation of Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah and Son of God) can't be intellectuals, that's a different matter. But then I'm not sure that we ought to take seriously the opinions of someone who can't be bothered to correctly identify what it is he wants to smugly dismiss, just as we perhaps ought not attack others for their perceived lack of reading comprehension without a firm grasp of what exactly was written, either, right?

Thanks for engaging though.

I don’t have a penis

It was not too long ago that Tyler claimed that Andrew Sullivan was the most influential intellectual of our age.

We clearly live in the age of the conservative gay intellectual.

Who cares. The US political right is flopping around desperately from one fad to the next because it's dying and ripping itself apart, like a broken centrifuge that's spinning way too fast.

People talk about the populist moment in America and Europe when really what's happening is that the traditional Reagan-ish right has been dying slow then fast since 2000 in the former and the traditional Labour-ish left has been dying in the former since perhaps even further back. The 'populism' is just a side effect and I expect it to go away when a new equilibrium is established.

The new paradigm in America will be permanent prog-Dem hegemony for a generation or two. It'll suck but it's for the best if the alternative is The Trump Party and a political-intellectual movement space that elevates pieces of shit like Thiel.

The nice thing about progressive hegemony is that the social and economic collapse that it inevitably causes should do a nice job of killing off all the progressives. It's the circle of life.

You should learn about the history of Argentina. Learning in general would be beneficial for you.

Who could say no to free helicopter rides?

ITT, people who don't know the difference between Argentina and Chile.

It started in the Dirty War, that's where Pinochet got the idea from.

That being said, I don't want to imply I care about making a distinction between Argentina and Chile, they're both shithole countries to me, their objectively correct treatment of leftist subversives notwithstanding.

What comes after the generation or two, Dr. Seldon?

Not sure. There will be an entitlement-debt crisis, and the timing and response will be shaped in large part by forces external to America ex has someone set up a better reserve currency than the USD? That response will determine in large part whether America has a sunnier future or becomes Argentina with Detroitian characteristics.

One thing's for sure: America will be less and less powerful. We're entering the post-American world.

Is this not the Intellectual Dark Web?

The Intellectual Dark Web: we don't care about your hurt feelings, stop being a sensitive snowflake, stop PC Identity politics at universities, they just sit out real free speech controversies such as BDS or figures as Ilhan Omar, unless it's to cry about how offended and triggered they are.

Yes, but is Peter Thiel also the most influencial Libertarian, left-wing, progressive type ?

Wouldn't having a desire to be the most influential conservative intellectual be mimetic?

Comments for this post are closed