A recent New Yorker magazine piece about the variety of very expensive preparations super-rich Americans are busy making for the apocalypse — an event brought about either by Trump's presidency or other destabilizing factors — called attention to the fact that lots of the US one-percenters have contingency plans Down Under. “Saying you’re ‘buying a house in New Zealand’ is kind of a wink, wink, say no more,” Reid Hoffman, a co-founder of LinkedIn, said to the magazine. "Once you’ve done the Masonic handshake, they’ll be, like, 'Oh, you know, I have a broker who sells old ICBM silos, and they’re nuclear-hardened, and they kind of look like they would be interesting to live in.’”
Well, as fate would have it, one of my personal favorite tech billionaires, the Facebook board member and advisor to President Trump Peter Thiel, has his own potential escape plans in New Zealand. Previously we learned, also through a New Yorker article, this on a profile of Y-Combinator head honcho Sam Altman, that Thiel had a NZ compound to which the two might take-off together. As opposed to a Trump-related nuclear or climate disaster, their fear at that time was the less imminent threat posed by the artificial intelligence they're also busy funding and developing.
This all prompted the New Zealand Herald to take a look and discover that Thiel, who is a German immigrant to the US, is a also a secret Kiwi, which is to say he's quietly gained citizenship to New Zealand. Wait: Had Thiel helped elect Trump only to flee the US himself, sticking us with him?
Not exactly, as Thiel has actually had his NZ citizenship since 2011, the Herald found. Gizmodo, who were also on the case, observes that citizenship in the country usually requires five years of living there, which it's highly unlikely Thiel has undertaken.
Now the Herald reports that immigration officials are investigating how Thiel's citizenship was granted. "I can't imagine someone of Thiel's stature and wealth and not being noticed for five years, it just doesn't seem very likely," Labour Party immigration spokesman Ian Lees-Galloway told the publication.
But if Thiel really had his way — and I would happily grant this to him — he'd be a citizen of no land. The rights and protections granted by the US and New Zealand are all just forms of oppression to the libertarian-minded billionaire who dreams of "seasteading" on floating barges. The irony there: Thanks to Thiel and his favorite handholding pal Donald, not just billionaires but in fact all of us could soon be floating around and free from the rule of law. Apocalypse whenever, guys!
Previously: One Percenters In Bay Area And Beyond Busy Making Chic Apocalypse Preparations
Related: In Bizzaro Interview With Maureen Dowd, Peter Thiel Says Fake Wrestling Is Real And No One Cares About The Supreme Court