Fresh Silicon Valley libertarian idiocy: Government is “slavery”

Venture capitalist Tim Draper's reason for chopping California into six different states is the absolute worst

Topics: Tim Draper, California, six states, Libertarianism, libertarians, Silicon Valley, aol_on, ,

Fresh Silicon Valley libertarian idiocy: Government is "slavery"Timothy Draper (Credit: Reuters/Brendan Mcdermid)

Tim Draper, like many of Silicon Valley’s libertarian-leaning venture capitalists, has a problem with big government. But he is unique in the extent to which he is trying to do something about his passion. His current mission: gathering enough signatures to get an initiative on the ballot that would carve California into six different states. California’s government is too big, says Draper. He wants to go small.

There are a number of reasons why Draper’s scheme is unworkable and foolish. We could start with the insane mess it would create for the allocation of water rights, and then move on to the reality that his plan would plunge the citizens of some of California’s less populated regions into extreme poverty. We could finish by mulling over the extreme unlikelihood that Congress would ever approve a plan that would add four more Western senators into Congress.

But for now, all we have to do is consider the rationale that Draper set forth on Tuesday in Oakland, as reported by Richard Procter in the San Francisco Business Times: Big government in California is leading the people into slavery.

The government always used to work for us,” he said during an interview at a Tuesday Oakland event. “Over the last 15 to 20 years, I feel like the government is saying, ‘You’re working for me.’ We’ve gone from, in effect, a very free country to one where it’s moving toward, I guess it’s slavery.

“When you work for your government, when your government forces you to do something, it’s slavery. We need to take it back.”

Sure, getting your license renewed at the California Department of Motor Vehicles can be a demeaning and unpleasant experience. Last I checked, however, it wasn’t quite as bad as picking cotton under the lash. And yes, California does have environmental regulations that are stricter than is the case in most of the rest of the world. But guess what, that’s because a majority of Californians keep approving strict environmental regulations at the ballot box and electing politicians who are expected to keep our air and water clean and our salmon alive.



Oddly, the San Francisco Bay Area, the region in which Draper lives and is presumably oppressed by neo-plantation politics, also happens to be one of the most desirable places to live in the world, a point that is emphasized every time another crappy two bedroom hole-in-the-wall sells for 1.5 million in cash. Oddly, over the last few decades, California’s air has become much cleaner and healthier, a fact that is directly connected to California’s pioneering efforts in restricting pollution emitted by automobiles. Oddly, California’s mighty educational system, once the envy of the world, has been crippled and disemboweled by a long-standing effort to restrict the state’s ability to effectively tax its citizens.

And this is “slavery.”

Tim Draper has degrees from Stanford and Harvard. His V.C. firm has made a wide number of successful investments. He’s a smart guy.

Which makes his comments more than just stupid and insulting. When smart Silicon Valley venture capitalists are willing to say in public that they sincerely believe that governments in the United States are turning citizens into slaves, they reveal how utterly out of touch some of the most powerful and wealthy Americans have become. It’s a stance that is beyond parody. One can only gape.

Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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