Why Peter Thiel Got a New Passport

Why Peter Thiel Got a New Passport

Goldberg: Why is Peter Thiel, a GOP megadonor, buying a Maltese passport?

Why would Peter Thiel, a GOP megadonor, buy a Maltese passport?

What gives, we might ask, for a guy like Peter Thiel, a hedge fund billionaire, to have decided to fly himself across the Atlantic to Europe. And why, when he decided to do so, did he buy out a man who spent a couple years as an immigrant in his home country, to then buy out a man who was a legal resident for 10 years, and then get a new passport two years later? What was the explanation for all this? Why did Mr. Thiel become a refugee, and why did he get a new passport, while the other, his legal immigrant neighbor, spent a year in the United States and then bought out a man now on a green card?

A Maltese passport, by the way, is probably the only travel document available to those who have been recognized as refugees from the West African country of Mali. Peter Thiel certainly qualifies as a refugee. He came to the United States when he was 17 and lived in the United States for about 13 years before going back to Europe. That’s a considerable time to spend in America. One would think it would put Mr. Thiel on that path to a normal life.

Well, not quite. If it were true that Peter Thiel was a refugee, why would he have to wait to get his passport, and why not go back to Europe for a visit or two or three, until he had his passport? And why would he not have done all this before getting his new passport? It would seem to be a fairly normal thing to do for someone with a special interest in the situation of asylum seekers.

But this is not the case. What makes it a case of great news for Thiel, and why is it good news for a conservative, or a libertarian, or a supporter of free-market economics, or any kind of real conservative or real libertarian, is this: If Mr. Thiel had done all of this before getting his new passport, then the only person whose story would be news would be the President of the United States. And if Peter Thiel bought a new passport, then Peter Thiel would be the only person whose story would be news.

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