Peter Thiel isn’t the only conservative to flee the Bay Area over its increasingly systematic repression of ideas and values that are incompatible with the community’s commitment to identity politics, multiculturalism and other liberal economic and social values.
Per the Wall Street Journal, other conservatives in the tech community have said they plan to leave the area because of the proliferation of groupthink and homogeneity, which they feel are making it a worse place to live and work.
Tom McInerney, an angel investors who moved to Los Angeles a decade ago – and is now being followed their by Thiel – said Trump’s election proved how out of touch the Bay Area is.
“I think the politics of San Francisco have gotten a little bit crazy,” said Tom McInerney, an angel investor who moved a decade ago to Los Angeles from the Bay Area.
“The Trump election was super polarizing and it definitely illustrated – and Peter [Thiel] said this – how out of touch Silicon Valley was,” said Mr. McInerney, who describes himself as fiscally conservative, but socially liberal.
Even some people who wouldn’t describe themselves as committed conservatives are finding the atmosphere in the Bay Area hostile. Tim Ferriss, the tech investor and best-selling author of the “4 Hour Workweek,” moved to Austin, Texas, in December, after living in the Bay Area for 17 years for reasons similar to Thiel’s.
Thiel, who backed Trump’s presidential campaign but describes himself as a libertarian, will move into the home he already owns in Hollywood and shift Thiel Capital and Thiel Foundation into new headquarters in the City of Angels, as we pointed out last week. It’s also been rumored that Thiel is considering quitting the board of Facebook – a company that represents one of Thiel’s most lucrative investments, though he also reportedly made a killing on the long-vol trade recently.
And as the Guardian adds, Thiel’s decision to leave for LA is rallying the city’s small community of conservatives, who are increasingly seeking to market LA as a hospitable home for conservative media brands.
The Guardian even went so far to declare Thiel’s move the inspiration for a “conservative renaissance” in LA.
Indeed, Thiel is reportedly working to start his own media company – a company that he will eventually build to rival Fox.
Thiel’s decision to move to LA comes at a time when conservatives in the Bay Area are feeling increasingly squeezed by what they perceive to be liberal groupthink. Google’s decision to fire James Damore for publishing a memo arguing against the company’s decision to pursue diversity in hiring was a watershed moment for both Thiel and the small but vibrant conservative contingent within tech.
“Silicon Valley is a one-party state,” said Thiel at Stanford University last month. “That’s when you get in trouble politically in our society, when you’re all in one side.”
The firing of James Damore by Google in August last year amplified conservative fears that Silicon Valley companies had become ideological echo chambers intolerant to their viewpoints.
Thiel’s decision to support Trump was unpopular among many of his progressive peers in the technology industry, with some calling for him to be dumped from the Facebook board. Although the social network’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg disagreed, the Journal reports that Thiel – one of Facebook’s earliest investors – has discussed resigning.
“Silicon Valley has become less tolerant and that’s very troubling,” said Garrett Johnson, co-founder of conservative think tank Lincoln Network. “There’s a trend of monoculture and closed-mindedness.”
Unsurprisingly, few in Silicon Valley are sad to see him leave, with one community “activist” quoted by the Guardian jokingly questioning why Thiel hasn’t retreated all the way to his soon-to-be adopted home of New Zealand.
Maciej Cegłowski, a prominent San Francisco web developer and leader of the grass-roots activist group Tech Solidarity, agreed, but expressed surprise that “in his search for safety” Thiel wasn’t fleeing to his adoptive home of New Zealand.
“They were so eager to make him a citizen, and he’s already got a bunker there,” he said.
“Overall, I believe him leaving the Bay Area is a win. More young blood for the rest of us,” he added, in reference to Thiel’s alleged interest in injecting himself with young people’s blood.
But as anybody who has traveled to LA can attest, there’s plenty of young blood to go around…