Some nice quotes from Thiel:
“I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible.”
“Since 1920, the vast increase in welfare beneficiaries and the extension of the franchise to women—two constituencies that are notoriously tough for libertarians—have rendered the notion of ‘capitalist democracy’ into an oxymoron,”
And a quote from the article:
"The public, he [Thiel] says, doesn’t support unregulated, winner-take-all capitalism, and so he won’t support the public any longer. "
"Thiel is the lead backer of Sea-steading, a movement to create law-free floating communes and explore space, with the avowed aim of creating new POLITICAL structures even farther offshore. "
I don't see how its not obvious that Thiel's motives have an extreme conservative ideological bent. "The extension of the franchise to women" -- WTF?!
And I should have looked on Wikipedia earlier "he founded The Stanford Review, now the university's main conservative/libertarian newspaper".
What else do you need?
You're conflating a whole mess of things: "conservative", "Republican" and "Libertarian" are all different. The only one of those three that can Thiel can be meaningfully labeled is libertarian. He's a couple orders of magnitude further away from Republicans than most Democrats. His political views are radical and outspoken, but "Republican" they are not.
Second, it's silly to assume that someone as prolific as Thiel does everything for an ulterior political motive (investing in Facebook, Zynga, life extension, running a hedge fund?) or that even those that do conform to some pre-fabricated ideology. His views are sufficiently distant from the norm that I find it overwhelmingly clear that he thinks independently on separate issues. If you want to label the lump sum of a person's ideals "political", then sure, they're "political", but that definition isn't particularly useful. The more conventional definition of "political" would be "having to do with governmental politics", and if anything his ideology is anti-political.
Your comment was ad hominem -- you made no attempt to actually draw a connection between this program and his purported political agenda and instead chose to go after the fact that he donated to republicans and gave interviews to the Cato Institute. That's what was disingenuous. That he's a libertarian is obvious; that this act was part of some effort to undermine the universities because of his "conservatism" is not.
Unfortunately you missed the complete premise of my position. His act, the creation of his fund, is inherently conservative. And furthermore, it's something I had long predicted as part of the conservative movement (with ample help from those in the movement saying they were planning on doing such a thing).
I didn't work from Thiel's ideologoy forward. I heard about the act and my first thought, before even originally knowing who did it was that it would be a prominent conservative. I was not shocked to see it was Mr. Thiel. At that point the rest of the pieces fit together perfectly.
You can attempt to downplay Thiel's ideological motivation, but only the most diehard conservatives (of which there are plenty on HN) will disagree.