Eric Weinstein & Peter Thiel — The Portal #1: “An Era of Stagnation & Universal Institutional Failure”

In common with his brother Bret, Eric Weinstein is prone to make up catchphrases for things which don’t necessarily merit them, and to construe the world as one big conspiracy. But he’s a very interesting, articulate thinker, as is Peter Thiel here.

Some good lines that I remember:

25m — If you pretend that the system is great, e.g. a junior academic in respect of the allegedly corrupting tenure system, you’re signalling that you’re suitable to get tenure.

The modern left has forgotten the communist motto — From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.

1h24m — Start with a socially desirable idea; then consider the minimal level of violence/coercion needed to implement that. Is it still worth it?

2h08 — The US president is effectively mayor of the USA, and dictator of world.

2h26 — The nation state contains violence, in both senses of the term. [Thiel seems to overdo his “violence thesis”]

At some point (nearer the end) Weinstein said something like “a nation is a group that have agreed to jointly forget certain things”. One of the YouTube commentators added:

I believe the comment on “What is a Nation” may be by Ernest Renan: “the essence of a nation is that all of its individual members have a great deal in common and also that they have forgotten many things” Source: http://ucparis.fr/files/9313/6549/9943/What_is_a_Nation.pdf

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