“Over the last 15 to 20 years, I feel like the government is saying, ‘You’re working for me.’ We’ve gone from, in effect, a very free country to one where it’s moving toward, I guess it’s slavery.”
— Tim Draper, the venture capitalist who has proposed to divide California into six states, at Vator Splash, a tech conference Tuesday in Oakland.
Draper quickly realized he had stepped into controversial territory, telling the San Francisco Business Times yesterday: “I regret misusing the analogy of slavery. The statement I made was intended to express dissatisfaction with our level of freedom under the current government, not offend. However, slavery was too strong a word, was insensitive, and I apologize.”
Draper told SiliconBeat in December when he first talked about his plan that one of the states would be called Silicon Valley. The VC, whose disdain for the government has prompted him to draw up a plan to create six different governments, says he has enough signatures for a petition to amend the state Constitution to qualify for the 2014 or 2016 ballot, according to the Business Times. Why six states? Draper has said California is too big and diverse, and it’s time to break all that up. The measure faces many obstacles, as our own Michelle Quinn and others have written. They include inevitable lawsuits, plus the whole federal-government-approval thing.
Draper, of course, isn’t the first tech industry bigwig to compare present days to a painful historical time. Tom Perkins, who also happens to be a VC, earlier this year compared the recent backlash against tech-industry wealth to the Nazis’ anti-Semitism.
Photo: Venture capitalist Tim Draper speaks at a February 24 San Mateo press conference to roll out the signature-gathering campaign for his proposed ballot measure to split California into six states. (Dai Sugano/Bay Area News Group)