Peter Thiel: Progress Ended After Apollo 11 Landed and the Hippies Took Over

Uber Silicon Valley libertarian VC Peter Thiel and uber nutcase Glenn Beck discuss how to fight the growing influence of uber commie Karl Marx on American society.


Apparently Marx more popular than Jefferson. Thomas Jefferson. Not George.

Thiel also think that progress stopped after Apollo 11 landed on the moon and the hippies took over at Woodstock the following month.

No, I’m not kidding. You can’t make stuff like this up.

Beck then complains that we’re all maxed out on virtual things. To Peter Thiel. The guy who helped make Facebook possible.

And Thiel agrees. Sort of.  Except for that whole Facebook thing.

Watch the whole thing.

  • Pete Zaitcev

    You really weren’t paying attention.

  • ThomasLMatula

    Glenn Beck appears to be referring to an article in Smithsonian from 2012 about the Socialist Worker Party in London hosting an event that seek to send the message Karl Marx is cool…

    Marxism Is Cool Again
    As someone who teaches economics on a regular basis faculty really don’t spend any time of Karl Marx or Thomas Jefferson but on Adam Smith who was the father of economics and whose theories still work today. BTW it is important to point out that Thomas Jefferson was a political philosopher not an economist. Jefferson is well know for believing only farmers were the true drivers of economic wealth.
    and in fact, given his view of bankers as swindlers he would have probably been right up front with those arguing against Wall Street and Big Banks if he were around today. In short he would be one of those “Liberals” that Glenn Beck complains about 🙂

    But what I really find funny is that without the massive government investment in electronics during WW II and the Cold War Silicon Valley would have never emerged. Folks even forget that the Internet started as a DARPA project and then continued to be nurtured by the NSF into the early 1990’s. In wasn’t until the late 1960’s/early 1970’s, the very period Peter Thiel claimed innovation stopped, that a significant portion of the revenue of the firms located there switched from government contracts to private consumer goods.

    The problem with space is that the “new space” firms seem reluctant to make that transition to being driven by consumer markets rather than government contracts. In short they are putting short term security coming from government money over long term profits from expanding beyond NASA and government RFP. Sierra Nevada is a case in point, fighting in court to keep the NASA funding flowing rather than looking at commercial markets for Dream Chaser. For example, the biotech markets that Elon Musk once promised to serve with DragonLab. An uncrewed version of the Dream Chaser, with its return to a runway would be likely preform a lot better in terms of what the biotech market requires.

  • ThomasLMatula


    I was and Doug’s review is basically accurate. Now of course a “Libertarian” being familiar with all the assumptions and foundational arguments would hear the words differently, but it wasn’t hippies that put NASA into its decline, it was that old dual of Hippies Haters, President Richard M. Nixon and Vice-President Spiro Agnew that steered NASA away from the frontier and decided that CATS was needed to make space more affordable for the nation’s economic and national security needs, hence the Space Shuttle.

  • Vladislaw

    Actually it was Casper Weinbeger as the Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget that said the NASA budget was getting cut to much and Nixon should find money for the space shuttle and NERVA. To bad they didn’t fund those two in the exact opposite of what actually got the funding.

    “There is real merit to the future of NASA, and to its proposed
    programs. The Space Shuttle and NERVA particularly offer the opportunity, among other things, to secure substantial scientific fall-out for the civilian economy at the same time that large numbers of valuable (and hard-to-employ-elsewhere) scientists and technicians are kept at work on projects that increase our knowledge of space, our ability to develop for lower cost space exploration, travel, and to secure, through NERVA, twice the existing propulsion efficiency of our rockets.”

  • larryj8

    I hate to break it to you but the peak year for the NASA budget was 1966 when LBJ was president and Democrats completely controlled Congress. Presidents recommend budgets but Congress passes them and Democrats controlled Congress the whole time the cuts were happening.

  • Thomas Nixon

    Mr. Matula, as some one who’s pledge your allegiance to the Two Party System this may be a uncommon piece of logic but, it isn’t said to belittle you. Proving the other party did it two doesn’t undo your own party’s actions, instead it makes them both responsible.

    While your logic is very dump, I highly doubt that you are. Many very intelligent Americans use this awful logic in everyday political conversations I suspect because party politics in America occupies the same part of the human brain that tribalism occupies in a chimpanzee.

  • Aerospike

    couldn’t stand watching the thing through, you really can’t make that stuff up.
    thanks for the summary Doug!

  • ThomasLMatula

    FYI I am a Republican, just as President Nixon and Vice-President Agnew. But just because they were of the same party as I am doesn’t mean I agree with every decision they made or that I won’t call out poor decisions made while in office.

    The fact that you think its impossible for one to disagree with those in their own party, or view parties as tribes that require 100 percent loyalty, says a lot about how far politics has sunk since the 1960’s.

  • ThomasLMatula


    Yes, but continuing lunar missions with Apollo, with a focus on creating a lunar facility, probably would not have required the budget to be increased any more than for the Shuttle. The production line was still available for producing Saturn V rockets and for additional CSM and LM. The flight rate could have been adjusted to the level of the budget and unmanned flights, perhaps using Titan IV launch vehicles, could have been used to accumulated supplies and shelters for longer missions.

    As for Congress, Congress at that time as today was controlled by pork. As long as the money kept flowing to the NASA Center and Contractors they would vote for it. And really, would the money stream from building and operating a Lunar facility have been that much different than for the Space Transportation System?

  • Tommy Newton

    I quit watching right after ‘I hate’. That’s all I needed to hear.

  • ThomasLMatula

    That was actually two years after the key decision to replace Project
    Apollo with the Space Transportation System. Although the points made in terms of keeping Project Apollo going to fill the gap they were not acted on.

    In terms
    of NERVA, which was only briefly mentioned, it was a relict of the option of the space race continuing on
    to Mars if the Soviets beat the U.S. to the Moon. It was the only one of
    President Kennedy’s five space goals that was not achieved. Given that
    the U.S. had just abandoned Apollo 18, 19 and 20 in 1970 it made little sense to fund systems
    intended for going to Mars, especially as it was clear there would be no
    need to race the Soviets to it which would have been the only political justification for such a flight.

  • Thomas Nixon

    My reply was entirely based on what limited logic you used in deflecting blame from the elephants. If I have mischaracterized you please reread what you posted and then my reply. If you’re still offended then I apologize.

  • DaIllogicalVulkan

    Glenn Beck:
    Hypocritical dinosaur disdaining politics while getting political, please go back to 1980

  • Tommy Newton

    Nerva is a complete nonstarter today just as it was back then. If you can do it with chemical then you ought not to be doing it at all. We need advances in chemical propulsion just to get to orbit. That comes through advanced chemical engine development, which the shuttle provided in spades. The fact that chemical engine development petered out after that is more a problem related to NASA, congressional and executive failures, but that seems to have been reversed now, and the use in chemical propulsion in deep space is just a value added benefit of that.

    By chemical I mean of course liquid engine development.

  • ThomasLMatula

    I have reread it and it still only makes limited sense, other than you seem to feel both parties are responsible. But if you look at space policy in the 1970’s and 1980’s it was the Executive Branch that took the lead, continuing a tradition going back to the Eisenhower Administration. This is still an issue today when space policy radically changes with each new Administration.

  • ThomasLMatula

    NERVA was not for Earth to orbit flight. It was intended for entirely for Interplanetary flight, being first placed in orbit aboard a chemical rocket. Its advantage was drastically cutting the amount of fuel needed to reach Mars.

  • Tommy Newton

    So what. You need abundant chemical fuel to get to orbit and you need that to get a nuclear reactor to orbit and that is not going to happen. It’s a total non starter, and unnecessary.

    What you need is chemical propulsion development, and on top of that you need the technology to create, store and handle those deeply cryogenic fuels and oxidizers. You are not going to get that fooling around with a bunch of crappy nukes. And certainly you aren’t going to get that completely neglecting to continue to develop liquid fueled chemical propulsion engines.

    At last that is being reversed, but not at the behest of NASA, congress and the executive branch, thankfully. And not with nutty space cadet ideas that don’t have a chance in hell of working.

  • Mahound

    Whatever the case, they’re right about one thing and that is that as things look now, 1969 was probably the peak of US civilization. Sure there’s been progress since then but that is due to riding on prior thrust.

  • ThomasLMatula

    Chemical engines are fine for Earth orbital flight and even for the Cislunar system. But beyond you will need nuclear rockets or nuclear power ion or plasma systems. Otherwise you will have excessively long flight times for human missions. That is one of the reasons humans missions to Mars don’t make sense, we don’t have the propulsion systems needed to go beyond Cislunar space.

  • Tommy Newton

    What is wrong with excessively long flight times? As far as I am concerned my objective with human space flight is to live and fly in space, possibly forever. That means solving all the problems. It’s not as if it takes continuous thrusting to get there, and where to you propose to go anyways, when the object is to get in space and stay there, possibly forever. That takes chemical engines.

    I would enjoy every minute of it no matter how long it took. You seem trapped is some sort of legacy mind set there, Thomas.

  • ThomasLMatula

    I for one would not wish to return to such a primitive world with audio only phones hard wired into the wall too expensive to use except for domestic calls, a world with only three TV networks and with computers that took up entire rooms needed expensive climate control system to prevent overheating.

    A world with computers so primitive they only used punch cards and ancient languages like COBOL and FORTRAN and were behind glass windows in rooms only specialty trained programmers were allowed it enter. A world with no Internet or email nor text messaging nor smart mobile devices that place ALL human knowledge at your finger tips 24/7 while serving as cameras, video recorders, navigation systems, note books, clocks, stopwatches, and stereos.

    To the average 20 something today it would seem like they were transported back into the Stone Age… Height of civilization indeed 🙂

  • ThomasLMatula

    Oh, and I forget, those same smart mobile devices also serve as hand held video phones with free global access over wireless systems… Yesterday I had a video call with my wife who is visiting friends in Singapore. 45 years ago the only communication possible would have been a letter that would have took a week to reach the USA. Last Spring I showed a video clip of the phone scene in 2001 to my students in a technology class I teach and they laughed at how primitive the video phone it had in it looked…

  • Thomas Nixon

    It just occurred to me that I replayed to you by mistake instead of larryj8. My mistake sir. It was his reply to you that I was calling awful logic.

  • Thomas Matula

    OK, now your post makes sense. Thanks for clarifying it.