Consider this statement, “Elite startup accelerator Y Combinator doesn’t plan on purging Peter Thiel from its roster of part-time partners.”
This thought of “purging” is arising due to the fact that PayPal’s co-founder Peter Thiel has decided to donate $1.25 million to Donald Trump’s campaign. The US tech industry has been vocal in its opposition to Donald Trump. The US tech industry has also vocally and financially supported Hillary Clinton, the Democratic candidate who is fighting against Donald Trump. When someone openly declares his or her support for Hillary Clinton, nobody talks of “purging” that person but when someone openly declares his or her support for Donald Trump, purging and all begins.
This dangerous mentality perhaps has recently seeped into the tech industry from left-wing extremism or perhaps it has always been there: you are out if you don’t agree with us. In India, up till now, if you supported certain politicians or a particular ideology or a particular philosophical or intellectual chain of thought, you became a pariah. For example, say something in support of Narendra Modi and you immediately metamorphose into a right-wing Hindu nationalist.
The US election is highly polarized and the tech industry, being a part of the same polarized society, naturally gets drawn into the debates about whom to support and whom to oppose, but it doesn’t mean that you start purging or firing people for their political preferences.
As explained in this link, people have virtually started issuing threats against Peter Thiel. They’re talking of throwing him off the Y Combinator for his support for Donald Trump. According to Eric Baker, an engineer at Slack,
@sama that's why i cut ties. anyone who is supporting this man who is an existential threat to me and mine is not someone who cares about me
— EricaJoy (@EricaJoy) October 17, 2016
Another prominent Y Combinator member David Heinmer Hansson, the creator of Ruby on Rails had this to say about Peter Thiel’s support for Donald Trump:
Project Include cuts ties with YCombinator over the latter's continued support and association with Peter Thiel. https://t.co/CphNxynpO1
— DHH (@dhh) October 17, 2016
Some sane voices are also coming up. For example, Paul Graham, the co-founder of Y Combinator says that you cannot fire employees (technically, Peter Thiel might be a Y Combinator employee) for having political views.
@dhh Would you fire an employee who donated a lot of money to Trump and spoke at the convention?
— Paul Graham (@paulg) October 16, 2016
In politics, who is bad and who is good is a very shaky premise. In early 2000’s, Narendra Modi was almost a national villain and in 2015, major tech giants in the US like Google, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft were courting him. He was allegedly denied visa and after becoming the PM, Barack Obama and Narendra Modi have become chums. Throughout history the so-called “democratic” governments in the US have supported atrocious dictators in other countries. The US government even sowed the seeds of terrorism by propping up the Taliban against the Russians. The biggest genocide of the Native Americans happened right under the noses of the darlings of democracy in America. Where do you draw the line?
Although there is no comparison between Narendra Modi and Donald Trump, politics, again, is a strange forest and unfortunately, all sorts of people inhibit it, including people with good intentions, criminals, goons and charlatans. A close American friend of mine says that the biggest threat to the American nation is Hillary Clinton and not Donald Trump. He says that if you support Hillary Clinton, you’re supporting America’s destruction.
The talk of throwing Peter Thiel out of Y Combinator for his support to Donald Trump is quite immature-ish and churlish. People in the tech industry need to grow up.