Peter Thiel, the gay tech billionaire, Facebook board member, and desperately thirsty speaker at the Republican National Convention, pulled out of his speech at a nightmarish neo-fascist conference in September after we highlighted his planned appearance there last week.
The yearly confab of the Property and Freedom Society, in Bodrum, Turkey, has long welcomed white supremacists. Speakers this year include one gentleman who will explain why Hitler wasn’t to blame for World War II, and another who’ll describe how dusky, “low-IQ immigrants” are destroying Europe. The Society’s founder and conference organizer, Hans-Hermann Hoppe, has called for the establishment of a libertarian order from which advocates of democracy and “parasitism” are physically expelled, along with all gay people.
In 2009, Thiel wrote that women’s suffrage had rendered American democracy incompatible with capitalism, and that democracy, rather than capitalism, ought to go. (This sentiment made Thiel an incongruous presence at the convention of a party trying to win women’s votes in a democracy. The Guardian speculated that Thiel is sidling up to Trump in the hope of becoming the technological luminary of a Trumpian regime, or at least a beneficiary of the regime’s patronage. But it’s equally easy to suppose Thiel hopes Trump will damage the institution corrupted by the country’s enfranchisement of women in 1920.)
Thiel planned to address the Property and Freedom Society, according to its program, on one of his characteristically brutal beliefs: the virtue of corporate monopoly.
After we wrote about his speaking slot last week, his name vanished from the group’s website. And his spokesperson told the Huffington Post on Tuesday that he wouldn’t be attending. But the spokesperson didn’t deign to tell the public – what Thiel has called “the unthinking demos” – how he ended up with a speaking slot at a neo-fascist gathering in the first place, or why he pulled out. (Is it possible that Thiel didn’t know the sort of men with whom he’d share the stage? Did Facebook ask him to cancel? Did Reince Priebus?)
It’s clear that Thiel wants the matter to go away quietly. As, apparently, does Facebook, in which Thiel was the first outside investor: the company did not respond to a request for comment, on either the conference or his stance on women and democracy. If Facebook ever replies, we’ll let you know. But it probably won’t. In the year of the first major-party female presidential candidate, it’s safe to assume that Facebook – whose COO is, of course, Sheryl Sandberg, the author of the feminist manifesto Lean In – would rather duck.