In politics, "the founders" almost always refers to those who chartered America, those who brought us the "Novus Ordo Seclorum," the "New Order of the Ages." It's the motto on the Great Seal of the United States.
Jimmy Soni's book "The Founders: The Story of PayPal and the Entrepreneurs Who Shaped Silicon Valley" refers to different — tech — founders such as Elon Musk and Peter Thiel.
There's a big difference between founding America, the greatest country in the history of the world, and founding PayPal, a digital payments company. Soni elegantly captures what may be the core political backstory of our times: a political epoch proved in Silicon Valley rather than Valley Forge.
Washington, D.C., feels entitled to be the center of the universe and, thus, feels anxious as evidenced by the antics of political hacks such as Sen. (and presidential aspirant) Amy Klobuchar, (D-Minn.). Retro politicos are picking out weapons to sabotage progress and prosperity… to retain or regain their monopoly on power.
New antitrust laws to preserve, rather than break up, a monopoly? Ironic!
The politicos will not frame their actions as their lust for power. They will call it "democracy."
One of PayPal's founders, Peter Thiel, once concluded that democracy and liberty are incompatible. Most of America's original founders — who believed in a republican, not democratic — political order, would have agreed.
So, what's next? Musk and Thiel are now politically engaging good and hard. Thiel is lavishly funding two of his protégés as maverick candidates for U.S. Senate: Blake "Zero to One" Masters and J.D. "Hillbilly Elegy" Vance. Musk has told his 100 million Twitter followers that he is, at long last, pivoting Republican.
Does this portend a new New Order of the Ages? Quite possibly. "The Founders" is a must-read for those who care about our mutual political future.
In the DC and Marvel comics universes, every superhero (and supervillain) has a "secret origin" story. It's key to understanding their superpowered personas. True, too, for the DC (and marvelous) political universe.
Soni has dug deep into the secret origin stories of each of the principals of "the Paypal Mafia," quoting early board member John Malloy as saying, "Calling us a mafia is an insult to mafias. A mafia is far better organized than we were."
Soni has written the modern era's equivalent of David McCullough's "1776." "The Founders," like "1776," has "breathtaking excitement, drama, and narrative force."
Soni: "Employee after employee described the era (of PayPal's and its antecedents founding) as a 'blur' — a haze of exhaustion, adrenaline, and anxiety. ... The company's CTO described the group as feeling like 'veterans of an intense military campaign.'"
Soni's Big Reveal of the epic risks they encountered is a great way to dispel the illusions of inevitability that success affects. "Properly understood, PayPal's story is a four-year odyssey of near-failure followed by near-failure."
Sen. Klobuchar? The free market is not for the faint of heart. Yet it's the only known source of general prosperity.
"The Founders" also introduces us to less famous but equally important entrepreneurs such as the Chernobyl-born coder Max Levchin. Sprinkled throughout are glimpses of the uncannily savvy David Sacks, the only person to beat Thiel in PayPal's ten-against-one chess contest.
These stories of the underreported Sacks, together other intriguing materials, suggests that Sacks may have tech's best innate political and civic judgment since Coach Campbell left the building.
Hand him over, Thiel! D.C. needs Sacks more than you do.
"The Founders" is a story of epic, if not necessarily heroic, derring-do. Politics, by contrast, is the epitome of preserving the status quo.
PayPal's founders' calculated-risk-taking resembles that of America's original founders. Thomas Paine, rallying the morale of General Washington's desperate troops in "The Crisis," wrote: "What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated."
Political Washington, typically, is fighting the last war: the one between the Left and the Right. The real war, now, is between the Insurgents and the Insiders.
Soni shows how the digital tech innovators possess the spirit of the founders of the original "New Order of the Ages." Anti-autocrat. Pro-liberty.
"The Founders" records the life and work of the innovators behind our new New Order of the Ages who, for all their faults, are the antithesis of the fringe conspiracists' fantasy of a "New World Order," the antithesis of World Economic Forum's real, creepy, aspiration for the "great reset."
Read "The Founders" to encounter an underreported movement for liberty and to know who the new Founders are. Then, let's bring on Web3 ... with prosperity and justice for all.
Ralph Benko, co-author of "The Capitalist Manifesto" and chairman and co-founder of "The Capitalist League," is the founder of The Prosperity Caucus and is an original Kemp-era member of the Supply-Side revolution that propelled the Dow from 814 to its current heights and world GDP from $11T to $94T. Read Ralph Benko's reports — More Here.
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