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Strange Bedfellows: Silicon Valley Techies ‘Like’ Conservative Senator Rand Paul

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Mark-Kelly_BIO-HEAD Mark Kelly
Mark Kelly joined KPIX 5 as a reporter in August 2013. In 2014, ...
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SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — There’s a new app in Silicon Valley — conservatarianism.

It’s the app that conservative Senator Rand Paul is pushing. He wants to join forces with local techies.

But how can technology and liberty flourish side by side? Paul’s answer, “shrink government.”

“Is government inherently stupid?” the Kentucky Republican asked the audience at the Lincoln Labs Reboot 2014. “I say no, but it’s a debatable question.”

Since Paul’s visit a new political term is being coded — the conservatarian… part conservative, part libertarian.

 

 

Silicon Valley entrepreneur Garrett Johnson organized Senator Paul’s visit.

“It’s not that I agree with him 100% of the time,” said Johnson. “I don’t agree with my parents 100% of the time, but I still go home for Christmas and Thanksgiving every year.”

“I call myself a conservative with libertarian leanings,” said Evan Baehr, co-founder of Able. “Conservatarian? It’s new for me, but it’s a fit.”

Senator Paul seems hungry to win over these newly minted conservatarians. They have deep pockets. He has big ideas for changing the status quo, and changing political minds in Silicon Valley.

“I come out here, and people say, ‘we loved President Obama, we’re all for President Obama, we’re from the tech community’ but why?” said Senator Paul. “He’s not for innovation, he’s not for freedom, he’s for the protectionism crowd, the crowd that would eliminate the activity of these companies.”

The National Security Agency scandal sent shock waves through Silicon Valley. Paul warned about its repercussions for the business climate.

“Since the NSA scandal, there have been people losing money,” said Paul. “People selling stuff in Asia and Europe aren’t very happy with us now. There have been articles written citing as much as 22 billion in lost sales.”

Senator Paul was welcomed in this traditionally liberal region. But whether his message will infiltrate all of Silicon Valley and beyond, is anyone’s guess.

“I love that Rand Paul is in the mix, that he’s talking about privacy, and really important issues for technologists,” said Baehr. “But what will he do for the rest of the country? I’m not paid to be a political prognosticator, I’m just trying to grow a business.”

Recent polls put Senator Paul near the front of the pack among likely Republican presidential contenders. So far, he’s made no official announcement on whether he’ll run.

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