Meet the young man connecting the conservatives of Silicon Valley

It's hard to find a state more liberal than California, but the entrepreneurs of Silicon Valley have shown a libertarian streak that drew Glenn's interest. On his TV show Tuesday night, he brought Aaron Ginn, founder of Lincoln Labs, to Dallas to discuss what it's like to be a young conservative in Silicon Valley and what libertarians in one of the most liberal parts of the country expect from the government.

Below is a transcript of the interview:

Glenn: So, I have to introduce you to somebody. Aaron Ginn, he is the cofounder of Lincoln Labs, a Silicon Valley tech organization that wears conservative libertarian views on its sleeve. We were just talking about that I’m surprised and I think most people in the audience would be surprised that there are conservative—I mean, just show what’s on your neck.

Aaron: Oh yeah, my cross my mom gave me.

Glenn: You’re from Silicon Valley, California, Silicon Valley. Most people would say that they don’t think those people exist.

Aaron: Yeah. And we do. That’s why we started Lincoln Labs was that there are. Like most of these people are hiding behind their job titles or their careers, and they don’t want to talk about their beliefs.

Glenn: This is kind of like Friends of Abe in Hollywood.

Aaron: Yeah, exactly. When we started Lincoln Labs, we didn’t know anything about Friends of Abe, which is ironic because we started Lincoln Labs, Friends of Abe, and the main reason why we chose Lincoln Labs was we researched, and we’re like okay, so what president best shows the Silicon Valley attitude? We saw Abraham Lincoln. He was the first one to do tallies on door knocking, like who says yes to me or like maybe. He was the only president to hold a patent. He tried out all the weapons. He went there during the Civil War, he put the telegraph in the White House. He was very innovative. He also was a uniting force for the country. He thought that my goal is to protect liberty. So, when we started Lincoln Labs, the goal was to find more people like us. Over the course of, I guess now we’re going on two years, we found lots of people like us all around the nation.

Glenn: You know what’s really amazing is I spent some time out in Silicon Valley and I thought I would be a pariah out there. To some, I am. To some, I am, but to those who are really—there’s a lot more libertarian out there. The problem is they will see a Republican that will say something stupid like, for instance, the only thing that comes to mind is Ben Carson when he said you can go to prison, and all of a sudden you’re gay, and you’re like come on, man, really? That’s what’s stopping them from—they’ll tend to go to the left because, correct me if I’m wrong, because they’ll see somebody who looks like that doesn’t make any sense to me.

Aaron: Yeah, and our goal is simple, liberty, like we want more liberty, whether you’re blue, purple, or red. And a lot of the engineers, designers, technical people in Silicon Valley, they see stupidity on both sides, and they know.

Glenn: I’m glad to hear that because I didn’t think a lot of them did see the stupidity.

Aaron: It’s my opinion that I think a lot of them begrudgingly vote for people who they know are fundamentally against their values, and it’s because they think that both of them are just so bad. And that’s why we’re simply there to be like hey, the fundamental basis of what technology does is enables people to make their own decisions. That’s why a lot of the Web 1.0 guys are very liberty oriented, like Marc Andreessen or Peter Thiel.

And even if you look at the innovations that are transforming our entire world, like Uber or Airbnb, right, those are very liberty-minded companies. They’re like hey, this random middle-class person in Las Colinas can now become a cab driver for people and just like logs onto the app and becomes a cab driver, right—revolutionary things that before we would need massive amounts of bureaucracy, people doing verifications and checks. Now we can do that all automated, and I think that fundamentally the technology community is very liberty oriented because the goal is to empower consumers to make their own decisions and to effectively—to decrease costs and increase productivity.

Glenn: So, in Silicon Valley, is it as tough to be conservative or religious as it is in Hollywood? Because in Hollywood, they fear for their jobs.

Aaron: I would say it’s similar and a little bit different in a sense that I’ve never been afraid of my own beliefs, both politically and my Christian faith. People also saw like when they met me and started talking to me, they were like, “That guy’s Christian.” So, they sort of like accepted it, and they just moved on with their life; however, my background and my training is a little bit different than the average Christian. I’ve been trained in theology and apologetics, so I can effectively communicate. I read Alvin Plantinga for fun. Not many people do that. And so whenever I get a question, I can articulate my views, but I know several people, whether my church or in Lincoln Labs, that are very scared about expressing their political beliefs or religious beliefs because there is a sense of hostility against these positions.

It’s not like hostility of like, you know, I think that when people on the right see someone they disagree with, they’re like I just disagree with you, but when people in the left see someone they disagree with, it’s almost like you like killed a kitten in front of them. It’s like a moral hatred, right? I don’t want to be called a bad person. So, I think it’s out of that. They don’t want to hear that they’re like this awful, terrible human being for just thinking that I don’t want to pay as much to the government.

Glenn: Yeah, this is crazy.

Aaron: Yeah, it’s crazy, because I think that’s what I’m seeing now in what’s going on in Silicon Valley is that I think that a lot of the engineers and technical people who used to associate themselves with the left now have seen this rising intolerance that they don’t agree with. They’re like I’m liberal because I’m classically liberal.

Glenn: I’m classic liberal.

Aaron: As I am too, right?

Glenn: I saw today that in my old high school in Bellingham, which is a very, very lefty area of Washington state, that the juniors in both of the high schools now are planning a walkout against Common Core, and I thought to myself my oh my gosh, our viewpoint is starting to be cool. The man is coming down so hard that it’s our side that is starting to be the cool side, and they just don’t realize that’s coming.

Aaron: One of our advisors has called us a countercultural movement in that it’s kind of interesting and cool to be liberty oriented and having these different beliefs, there’s this large swath of I don’t know what to call them, maybe social norm of like in Silicon Valley, it’s cool to be different, right? And Elon Musk is cool because he’s trying to build rockets to the moon and do things that are very different. In that sense, I think a portion of people are seeing us as like a valid alternative now versus when we originally started.

I was going to host an event at one of my previous companies, and I received an email from the CEO being like hey, we can’t host your event. It was basically like we were going to have Rand Paul come speak. Because he received an email from one of the engineering leads, being like one-third of the company has threatened to quit if we host this event, right? And the ironic thing is that the slogan of our company was basically to discover things that we did not know and to be open to new ideas was basically the premise of what our product did.

And so I had to scramble. It was two weeks before the event, and I had to scramble to find another location. That was like the original days. Now, we get invites from a lot of the big tech players to host events with them and to partner with them on issues.

Glenn: So, I have two minutes. I just want you to talk a little bit about the difference that the left, how the left views this fight and how the right views this fight.

Aaron: Like in the sense of—?

Glenn: The right usually says okay, well, the election is coming, so I’ll go out and vote.

Aaron: Yeah. I think what people need to understand, especially the liberty-oriented side within the United States and really all across the world is the left is very motivated to starve for their cause.

Glenn: Literally.

Aaron: Yeah, literally because to them it’s like a religious commitment, versus the people on the right generally have another higher calling to which they want to go after, which is one reason why that they’re right-leaning. The battle is constant.

Glenn: I think that’s what we’re missing, and that’s what kind of was talking about the monologue here. The first was we don’t even know. We’re supposed to serve. It’s not about going to church. It’s about serving. So, that’s making the world a better place, helping people, helping people in need. That’s what the left thinks they’re doing, but they’re crippling people. If we’re actually seen making a difference, some of these people will go, “Oh crap, I’ve got it wrong,” and they’ll come over here because some of them are sincere in their help. Some of them are just doing it for power. You know what I mean? Same on the other side, but those who really want to make a difference, this works, this doesn’t.

Aaron: Yeah, we need to constantly be telling people about the cause. We need to be constantly showing people investing in community, basically caring about people. I think the right has been, and liberty has been so far associated with big corporations and rich people taking home as much money as possible rather than the fact of why we believe in liberty is because we care about people who do not have access to those things. We care about empowering individuals to reach that possibility, and the left is, I think, very sincere. Like you said, they think that they’re doing good work. In reality, they never look at—I like Dennis Prager. He always says as soon as you ask whether or not something works, you start becoming a conservative.

Glenn: That’s right.

Aaron: Because the left is about creating this vision for the world that may or may not come to be, but they don’t care because this is what they’re going after, versus the right’s sort of like let’s be a little bit more rational about it. Let’s think about this a little bit more.

Glenn: I’d like to have you on the radio show and talk a little bit more about how we can help you and how we can get involved with Silicon Valley and the movement there, because I think you’re doing great stuff.

Aaron: Thank you.

My fellow supporters,

It is with a heavy heart that I must make a sad announcement today. The time has come to press pause on the dream of Beto for president. It's not the end of the Beto dream. It's just pressing pause for a while, like pausing a Foss CD. The dream will keep right on spinning, until we return to it and press play again. I mean, look at Bernie Sanders. That guy's almost twice my age and he's still running for president. That means you can look forward to Beto running for office for decades to come. I have found there is tremendous joy and freedom in running for office and never winning. All the travel, Vanity Fair cover stories, food and free beer, with none of the hassle or responsibility of having an actual job in elected office (or any job at all). It's really great.

With the exception of myself, no one has supported Beto more faithfully and true than you, the fans. I'd also like to thank my wife Amy for continually raising our children so that I can travel this great land in my never-ending quest to find myself (and also to connect with you, the fans). From attending my very hip and not-at-all contrived jogging town halls, to slapping those trendy Beto bumper stickers on your hybrid-SUVs, to steadying tables all over America so I could jump on top of them and yell and jab the air, to clicking "like" on all those Facebook videos of my dentist visits – you perpetuated this Beto dream way longer than it had any right to be perpetuated.

So, I'm sure you're now wondering – what's next for Beto?

Other than pursuing my career as a solo rock recording artist, I believe the best way I can serve America and bring true justice to this great land of ours is by stealing from the rich and giving to those who fall in the sweet spot on the intersectionality charts. Except I won't steal from my billionaire father-in-law, only because getting my family cut out of the will would not be in America's best interest. You need a Beto who is independently wealthy via his wife and so do I. Plus, as you know by now, from following the 2020 presidential campaign so closely, the only acceptable status quo in America is leaving the wealth of Progressive elites alone. Everyone else's wealth is fair game, including the middle class. It's the right thing to do.

You need a Beto who is independently wealthy via his wife and so do I.

Therefore, from this day forward I will henceforth be known as Beto Hood. You will be able to join the cause by purchasing official Beto Hood merch soon at Beto Hood dot com. Together, with my band of merry men, who will be known as "merry non-binaries", we will roam the land, righting all the wrongs and bringing about all the social justice that Donald Trump refuses to let you have.

Beto Hood and his Merry Non-Binaries will live on the road. And in the woods (in eco-friendly, fully sustainable treehouse yurts). And in the shadows. We will skateboard and learn archery and rappelling. We will become proficient in hand-to-hand combat. We will become experts in all weaponry except guns, since guns are the evilest weapons. We will care for all the animals of the forest. You already know my affinity for squirrels. Not only will we continue to rescue all the orphan squirrels, we will train them in petty thievery and nimble sabotage. We will affix tiny helmets on them, fitted with tiny Go Pro cameras to live stream their heroic exploits on Facebook. Side note: my colonoscopy next week will also be live streamed on Facebook and available to rent on iTunes.

Using the skills I honed as a college graduate scaling the gates of UTEP, Beto Hood and his Merry Non-Binaries will scale the gates of America's richest and steal from their grotesque wealth. Jewelry, high-end electronics, precious antiques, art, women's shoes – nothing of value will be off-limits. Drawing on my experience while my father was a county judge, we will live above the law. It will be dangerous work, the Lord's work as some people say. But totally worth the risk.

Also, we will not wait for Constitutional amendments nor judicial overreach to get rid of America's AR-15s. We will steal those too. One by one. Using very large versions of those stretchy sticky hands that come in cereal boxes, we will literally be able to snatch these vile guns right out from under the noses of the monsters who own them. Then, with our literal mountain of confiscated AR-15s, we will melt them down and use the metal to build a flotilla of sturdy watercraft, called Beto Boats (trademark pending). Families will be able to use these Beto Boats to save themselves and others when the rising waters of climate change overtake our cities in exactly ten years.

Who needs the presidency? I have big, bold plans for a bright future as an outlaw hero.

Who needs the presidency? I have big, bold plans for a bright future as an outlaw hero. So, don't cry for me, America. Beto will be just fine. Dropping out of this race is nothing that another months-long, head-clearing road trip won't cure. And after that, I'll start shopping for some tights.



[NOTE: The preceding Memo was a parody written by MRA writer Nathan Nipper – not Beto O'Rourke.]

Ryan: Making of an Ant Queen

Photo by Kevin Ryan

The embattled, Nobel-Peace-Prize-winning author Liu Xiaobo wrote that "Life is priceless even to an ant."

An ant colony can only survive for a few months after the death of its queen. On average, queens live 10 to 15 years. Some, up to 30 years, one of the longest insect lifespans, hidden deep within the colony, protected, unable to use her wings because she's a little bigger than she used to be.

Plus she's very busy.

The majority of ants are female. Wingless, sterile worker ants. They build nests, they forage, they hunt.

Theirs is a far briefer life than the queen's, ranging from a few weeks up to a year. But they see more of the outside world than any other ant.

The bigger they are, the farther they travel. And they release pheromones along the way so that they have a trail home.
Drones — winged male ants whose primary function in life is to mate with the queen — die after mating and rarely make it out of the colony.

Then, there are the soldier ants. They protect the colony and attack.

To quote philosopher Bertrand Russell, "Ants and savages put strangers to death."

They go on raids.

The attacking colony rarely loses, so most colonies flee as soon as an invasion begins. But they sometimes remain and fight.
Ants on both sides of the battle die in droves.

Henry David Thoreau describes an ant battle in Walden: "On every side they were engaged in deadly combat, yet without any noise that I could hear, and human soldiers never fought so resolutely."

If the attackers succeed in overtaking a colony, they pillage the eggs. Some are eaten, fed to larvae. But others become victims of slave raiding. Meaning that the victors return home with their enemy's unborn, feed them, nurse them. Then, when the eggs hatch, the victors force them into slavery.

Often, the slaves even develop an allegiance to the colony which ransacked their home and enslaved them. They'll even help raid other colonies and either die pointlessly or help with the seizure of the next generation of slaves.

Sometimes, however, the slave ants rebel.

In the words of Persian poet Saadi, "Ants, fighting together, will vanquish the lion."

Flying ants, both male and female, leave the colony to form another colony. Once they find a suitable place, the males's wings fall off and they mate to their death. Then one or more of the females becomes queen.

*

It felt odd, any time I sat with a roomful of media, a few hundred journalists from all over the world, as they simultaneously, silently, decided "Yep, that's newsworthy. We should hammer that."

It wasn't like everyone turned to each other and said, "Let's agree on the narrative."

It was an energy.

Photo by Kevin Ryan

Like in Houston, at the third Democratic Debate, after Biden misused the word "record player," you could hear chatter spread through the room, people muttering the words "records" and "record player."

In Houston, the media watched the debate from a gymnasium around the corner from the auditorium. So I could contrast the crowd's reactions with the media's reactions.

Nearly every time, there was a disparity between the two. The media were more relaxed — during the debate at least. The audience enjoyed any mentions of identity issues. There were a lot. But the media barely reacted at all.

This was a good thing, probably.

*

It's impressive to see how politicians force their stump speeches into a new form, depending on the context. How they say it like an epiphany.

That night brought the opposite for the ever-fledgling Kamala Harris. I could not believe it. Was this the same woman who'd made Iowa hers, just a little over a month ago?

All night, she was so loyal to the tactic she'd premeditated that she didn't realize it wasn't working, like she kept putting on a puppet show on some busy sidewalk.

At one point, she declared, proudly, "We're not talking about Donald Trump enough."

The most talked-about man in the world, perhaps in our country's history.

In five weeks, she became an entirely different candidate. Her latest version resembled a Xanax-fueled stepmom. It was like she was transforming into Joe Biden.

She kept laughing at her own jokes. And the entire media room cringed every time.

Photo by Kevin Ryan

Amy Klobuchar's pre-formed jokes and half-zany dad jokes fell short every time, too. Most of the media saw Klobuchar's long rants as a chance to chat with a neighbor or jet off to the nearest bathroom, which was likely a locker-room full of plastic flight containers and padded camera cases and journalists who curse like sailors.

During the debate, the press was stoic. So if a candidate got a reaction from them, it carried a certain authenticity.

They laughed at things that the audience ignored or disliked or didn't notice. In part because the audience didn't do a whole lot of laughing. But the media laughed like professionals laugh. In-jokey and staid yet ready for anything unexpected.

They loved it when Booker said the thing about "Let me translate that to Spanish … 'No'." And Yang's opening handclaps. As well as Pete Buttigieg's reaction to Yang's raffle.

The biggest laugh of the night in the media center, surprisingly, was when Yang said, "I am Asian, so I know a lot of doctors."

*

Early scientists believed that ants adhere to a complicated hierarchy, which biologist E O Wilson compared to the Hindu caste system. The idea was, ants and humans have a lot in common, and ants belong to a society divided by class and determined by labor.

In the Wealth of Nations, father of capitalism Adam Smith wrote: "It is the great multiplication of the productions of all the different arts, in consequence of the division of labour, which occasions, in a well-governed society, that universal opulence which extends itself to the lowest ranks of the people."

Ants have been organized into colonized societies since the Cretaceous Period, 140 million years ago, when dinosaurs still dominated the Earth. All of that changed 74 million years later. Which was about 66 million years ago. When a comet slammed into what is now the Yucatan Peninsula, resulting in the KT mass extinction.

80 percent of all plants and animals died. The ash and dust and debris polluted the air, blocked the sunlight, transforming the Earth into a dark, frozen wasteland full of asthma.

Insects, carrion-eaters, and omnivores all survived. Any purely carnivorous animals starved to death, while mammals and birds fed on insects and worms until the earth repopulated itself with more animals that could be eaten.

The K-T Mass Extinction ushered in a new era of life. Species that had lived in constant retreat from predators were suddenly able to form more elaborate purposes.

After these lifeforms thrived for tens of millions of years, certain mammals started to become vaguely humanlike.
Early humans popped up about 300,000 years ago.

Meaning, ants have existed for 140 million years, which is 139.7 million years longer than humans.

For reference, if you counted to 300,000, it would take you roughly three-in-a-half days. To get to 140 million would take about four-and-a-half years.

Humans only began developing language about 100,000 years ago.

Yet we're the ones with libraries and governments and ABBA and iPhones. What did ants have? Other people's sugar?

*

Before the debate, I wandered out of the gymnasium and onto bustling sidewalks with makeshift security fencing on each side. And hopped over the massive yellow tubes that belonged in E.T. and pumped cold air into the building. Past dozens of police and security, through an elaborate weave of temporary checkpoints and wires bigger than a fire hose.

On the street, I passed a group of six-or-so teenagers flipping DELANEY signs around like those cardboard "WE BUY GOLD" banners which actual people bob around while dressed as Elvis or Lady Liberty or a Banana.

Photo by Kevin Ryan

The sun cast a delightful orange over Houston, glitter in the humid air.

Those kids were having a blast with those signs. Laughing so hard they had to stop occasionally and slap their legs.

On the other side of the fence, some of the most powerful people in the world were readying for battle, and these kids could not have cared less.

*

The protestors had gathered just outside the gates of the campus entrance.

Far as I could tell, it was me and no other journalists present. The rest of the media were in the gymnasium, preparing for the debate or networking or already on-air. Once they got into the media center they stayed put. For many reasons, I assume.
The air collapsed under a wave of heat unique to Houston.

Photo by Kevin Ryan

Gnarled blockades served as borders on both sides of the street. Locked into steel fencing, flanked by rows of police cars with their lights on but their sirens off.

Worse than the humidity, and more intense, was the energy bouncing out of the protestors on Cleburne Street. The opposite of suction energy, shoving out with tension and panic and elation.

Photo by Kevin Ryan

Curtis Mayfield's "Move on Up" blared from a Bluetooth speaker. I envisioned a slow zoom from above, beginning with the top of my head and rising, up and up and up. Drawing in the greater scene. Up past Trump's message-board plane. A panorama of city, then county, then state, capturing the topography and nuance of each snapshot of nature.

The higher the camera rose, the more I resembled an ant. One more wingless worker or obedient soldier rushing from place to place on a mission.

And when you got far enough above, you saw the colony that each of us belongs to.

Then it shrank like a passing bobsled, and Earth itself resembled an ant.

The scale of it is daunting.

For thousands of years the sky has filled humans with romance and humility and wonder. A restive impulse that strikes when we gaze up at the moon, the stars, the galaxy, the quiet.

But at ground level, I was a man in the throes of a great human drama. And my job was to document it as neutrally as possible.

The 120-odd protestors on the south side of the street spilled onto the sidewalk and into a lawn, and they chanted as the Trump plane groaned overhead.

They were crowded together, and they were all fighting for different causes. Lots of contradictions under the same banner.
Next to a group of Beto supporters with pro-choice t-shirts, several women chanted

We.
Want.
A pro-life.
Dem.

Chaos itself occupied the south side of the street. The protestors weren't sure how to handle it. So they chanted and sang and probed for the problem. Like so many tiny creatures hauling an orange slice.

Across the street, facing that horde of supporters, two men gripped pro-life signs.

They were the counter-protestors. Their barricade was far wider than needed. The grass around them looked sad, like the trail a dog makes along the fence when it wants to escape.

Behind the two counter-protestors, a mini-bus covered with photos of aborted babies, tangled fetuses, severed and indistinguishable chunks.

Photo by Kevin Ryan

Photo by Kevin Ryan

I squinted and gasped and felt downright unwell.

Two days earlier, my wife and I found out that she was pregnant with our first child.

At the very moment I stared at images of tiny human shapes contorted and grey, our baby was the size of a pea.
A few weeks later, we'd see its heartbeat pulsing like a strobe.

I'm not making a statement on abortion. That's not my job as a journalist.

It's more my admiration for the impeccable depth of life. The timing. How messages and symbols confront us all the time, with unmatchable creativity.

Because there I was, literally in the middle of two opposing factions. Again. In the divide. Tangled into so many dichotomies. Life and death. Freedom and oppression. Order and chaos. Activity and stagnation. Creation and loss. Art and nature.

And I had once again remained in the middle.

This brought me tremendous satisfaction. It signified personal and journalistic success.

It was also a bit ridiculous.

As a reporter, I never wanted to pick a side. I already had a side. My side was America, and Ireland. My side was humanity.

My side was life.

New installments of this series come out every Monday and Thursday morning. Check out my Twitter or email me at kryan@mercurystudios.com

"Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak.Not to act is to act."
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer

The cost of discipleship can be daunting and few people are willing to sacrifice and stand in the face of evil to do what they know God is asking of them. The "Bonhoeffer Angel Award" is awarded to someone with the vision and courage to act when others only talk, to dig in and listen to the whisperings of the spirit when others turn a deaf ear. It is only fitting the inaugural award go to the visionary founder of Mercury One, Glenn Beck.

The award was presented by the Board President of Mercury One, David Barton and CEO of the Nazarene Fund, Tim Ballard. There was a touching video tribute as well including the likes of Penn Jillette, Senators Mike Lee, Ted Cruz and Joe Liberman, Congressman Loui Gohmert and Rabbi Daniel Lappin.

WATCH THE VIDEO HERE:

Glenn will be hosting the annual Operation Underground Railroad gala Saturday, November 2nd with keynote speaker Tim Ballard. If you are able to join us, tickets are still available and donations of all sizes are welcome.

Summer is ending and fall is in the air. Before you know it, Christmas will be here, a time when much of the world unites to celebrate the love of family, the generosity of the human spirit, and the birth of the Christ-child in Bethlehem.

For one night only at the Kingsbury Hall in Salt Lake City, on December 7th, join internationally-acclaimed radio host and storyteller Glenn Beck as he walks you through tales of Christmas in the way that only he can. There will be laughs, and there might be a few tears. But at the end of the night, you'll leave with a warm feeling in your heart and a smile on your face.

Reconnect to the true spirit of Christmas with Glenn Beck, in a storytelling tour de force that you won't soon forget.

Get tickets and learn more about the event here.

The general sale period will be Friday, August 16 at 10:00 AM MDT. Stay tuned to for updates. We look forward to sharing in the Christmas spirit with you!