Travis LaCouter wrote a while ago on culture war, and I excerpted some of what I aligned with the most last year. Peter Thiel delivered a short, compelling speech in Cleveland this week at Donald Trump’s nominating convention. Thiel basically introduced the thesis of his book, which is that America has forgotten where to set its sights, and in the course of this he dropped this line: “fake culture wars only distract us from our economic decline…” Excerpting the portion of his speech that packed the greatest punch for me:
My Dad studied engineering at Case Western Reserve University, just down the road from where we are now. Because in 1968, the world’s high tech capital wasn’t just one city: all of America was high tech.
It’s hard to remember this, but our government was once high tech, too. When I moved to Cleveland, defense research was laying the foundations for the Internet. The Apollo program was just about to put a man on the moon—and it was Neil Armstrong, from right here in Ohio.
The future felt limitless.
But today our government is broken. Our nuclear bases still use floppy disks. Our newest fighter jets can’t even fly in the rain. And it would be kind to say the government’s software works poorly, because much of the time it doesn’t even work at all.
That is a staggering decline for the country that completed the Manhattan Project. We don’t accept such incompetence in Silicon Valley, and we must not accept it from our government.
Instead of going to Mars, we have invaded the Middle East. We don’t need to see Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails: her incompetence is in plain sight. She pushed for a war in Libya, and today it’s a training ground for ISIS. On this most important issue, Donald Trump is right. It’s time to end the era of stupid wars and rebuild our country.
When I was a kid, the great debate was about how to defeat the Soviet Union. And we won. Now we are told that the great debate is about who gets to use which bathroom.
This is a distraction from our real problems. Who cares?
Of course, every American has a unique identity.
I am proud to be gay.
I am proud to be a Republican.
But most of all I am proud to be an American.
I don’t pretend to agree with every plank in our party’s platform. But fake culture wars only distract us from our economic decline.