Facebook Backer Wishes Women Couldn't VoteS

Peter Thiel, foremost among Silicon Valley's loopy libertarians and the first outside investor in Facebook, has written an essay declaring that the country went to hell as soon as women won the right to vote.

Thiel is the former CEO of PayPal who now runs the $2 billion hedge fund Clarium Capital and a venture-capital firm called the Founders Fund. His best-returning investment to date, though, has been Facebook. His $500,000 investment is now worth north of $100 million even by the most conservative valuations of the social network.

On the side, though, his pet passion is libertarianism and the fantasy that everything would be better in the world if government just quit nagging everybody. But, now he's given up hope on achieving his vision through political means because, as he writes in Cato Unbound, a website run by the Cato Institute, all those voting females have wrecked things:

The 1920s were the last decade in American history during which one could be genuinely optimistic about politics. Since 1920, the vast increase in welfare beneficiaries and the extension of the franchise to women - two constituencies that are notoriously tough for libertarians - have rendered the notion of "capitalist democracy" into an oxymoron.

So there you have it: The problem with women is that they don't vote like their menfolk tell them. We would have so much more freedom, Thiel suggests, if only we'd deprived women of it.

You may wonder: Is Thiel on drugs? The answer, according to Thiel, is yes:

As a young lawyer and trader in Manhattan in the 1990s, I began to understand why so many become disillusioned after college. The world appears too big a place. Rather than fight the relentless indifference of the universe, many of my saner peers retreated to tending their small gardens. The higher one's IQ, the more pessimistic one became about free-market politics - capitalism simply is not that popular with the crowd. Among the smartest conservatives, this pessimism often manifested in heroic drinking; the smartest libertarians, by contrast, had fewer hang-ups about positive law and escaped not only to alcohol but beyond it.

"Positive law" is Libertarian-speak for laws which proscribe certain activities, such as taking drugs. Translate Thiel's language, and you'll see that he's saying anyone in his generation who wasn't taking drugs was an idiot. Which squares with rumors we'd heard about Thiel during his PayPal days, especially while he was fitfully coming out as a gay man. With a life like that, we can understand Thiel's visceral dislike of the government. But what did women ever do to him?