Max Chafkin has a new book coming about Silicon Valley billionare Peter Thiel and his business generation (including others in the "PayPal Mafia" who cashed out big when eBay bought them out). An excerpt in New York Magazine traces his journey from "angry young man" to right-wing ideological godfather, revealing (or remaking) Silicon Valley's supposed neo-liberalism as something more neo-reactionary in character. A fantastic quote: Thiel reportedly thinks that Elon Musk is a poser and a fraud, while Musk considers Thiel a sociopath.
A person who has talked to each man about the other put it more succinctly: "Musk thinks Peter is a sociopath, and Peter thinks Musk is a fraud and a braggart." … Twenty years later, Thielism is the dominant ethos in Silicon Valley. That's partly because Thiel has been effective at seeding the industry with protégés — none of them more prominent than Mark Zuckerberg.
Trump's clammy seneschal vs. the taxpayer-lofted rocket boy. Say the line, Bart.
Another aside in the excerpt (elaboration is promised in the book), is that there was an agreement between Zuckerberg and Trump, brokered by Jared Kushner, to allow right-wing disinformation to roll freely on Facebook in return for Trump not pursuing regulation against Facebook.
Speculation about this kind of blunt dealmaking was seen as childishly cynical throughout most of Trump's presidency, beyond the approved language of journalistic contempt for Facebook and Zuckerberg. It remained déclassé to suggest it even as it became more obvious, because it challenged our own prior narratives about Silicon Valley's "naive optimism". Even now, few in media want to admit Zuckerberg knew what he was doing or that he was eating us all for breakfast, lunch and dinner.