Game Design, Programming and running a one-man games business…

Palmer Luckey behaved abysmally, but not because of his politics

So in case you are not aware, the guy who ran oculus took some of the roughly $700 million he is worth and spent it on a ‘shitposting pro-trump meme organisation. Details courtesy of Eurogamer here. Because politics is politics there was a lot of anger directed at him, and no doubt some abuse,. and sides were taken, and shouting was done, and twitter was alive with outrage because…politics.

As the guy who made Democracy 3, you can imagine I am very interested in politics, I have views on the US election (I’m broadly pro-hilary) as an individual, and I dislike what Luckey has done, but my criticism of him comes not from the point of view of someone who opposes a political view, but from someone who is…disappointed.

Roughly 60% of my facebook/twitter buddies are Liberals, 40% of them conservatives. I hear both sides of all arguments. Inevitably, a lot of people act like there is NO WAY there can be merit to the other POV. people assume they are all in their ‘safe space’ and that if I like them/follow them/are friends with them, then OBVIOUSLY I agree that Hilary is crooked, or Jeremy Corbyn is the second coming and that taxes are too high/low <insert opinion here>

The problem I have with Palmer Luckey’s action are not his politics. Everyone is entitled to their own political view. The problem I have is what he DID, and how he did it.

To quote:

“I thought it sounded like a real jolly good time,” he told the Daily Beast about the shit-posting organization.

Thats not why you drag political debate into the gutter. For laughs. It doesn’t matter how rich you are, and how small a percentage of your wealth you give to such a cause. To do so is a disgrace. The billboard put up saying Hilary is ‘too big to jail’ is a disgrace. This is not political debate this is not political discussion. This is not how we choose the best people from hundreds of millions of citizens to be given the ultimate, terrifying, overwhelming responsibility of control of Nuclear Weapons and  the worlds largest economy


If you believe that Trump is the best choice of candidate, and are prepared to change peoples minds, by all means put up a billboard explaining his tax plan, and how it will is good for America. or some stats on immigration, and stats on terrorism and how you will reduce terrorism by building a wall. Put up some coherent statements and some facts, and some detailed policy ideas.

Not ‘ha ha! we made Hilaries face look fat’ billboards.

This is the act of a child. A spoiled rich child, to be sure, but still, mentally a child. To be fair, he is apparently only 24, but even at 24 I’m pretty sure I knew that this is not the way for CEOs worth $700 million should behave. Its insulting to the electorate, it drags America as a whole DOWN, it drags politics down, and it celebrates and encourages lazy, ignorant tribalism. It also makes the games industry look like a joke and makes oculus owners feel stupid for contributing to such base level crap.


The thing is, its really very EASY to do good things when you have a lot of spare money. I built a school in Africa for £18,000. Thats $23,000. I tried to work out what that was as a percentage of 700 million but my calculator goes into exponential results. Its fucking trivial. By the way, it involves zero effort just an email and then a bank transfer. You don’t get to have ‘a real jolly good time’, but you help people in the developing world get an education.

There again, if you are trying to win political arguments using memes, maybe you prefer the general population to be as ill-educated as possible?

I strongly believe that money comes with responsibility. Its taken me a long time, and reading the thoughts of a lot of people to really develop my view on this. YES I earned the money I have, just as Palmer did. NO I was not ‘lucky’, and YES I deserve that money, it is MINE. I didn’t rip people off, dodge taxes or use any loopholes. I am perfectly within my legal right to do what the hell I like with my money, as is Palmer.

But forget the law and think about your moral duty. I’m an atheist, but still believe strongly in a sense of moral duty. if for some reason it offends you to give money to charity, then at least use that money to start some business enterprise that helps society in some way, even if its just creating jobs. The very least you should do…the absolute BARE MINIMUM you should do is to *refrain* from using the money that you have to make other peoples lives *worse*. For someone in a creative industry, there seems to be an astonishing lack of creativity going on here. $700 million to spend and to effect positive change in the world, and you spend it on billboards that photoshop a candidates face?



8 thoughts on Palmer Luckey behaved abysmally, but not because of his politics

    1. “Why are you supporting pro-war candidate Hillary Clinton? She has threatened war with Russia!!!”

      That is a reason to not support Hilary. If you re-read Cliff’s position he states that he is “broadly pro-hilary”, not “completely pro-hilary”. It would appear that either Cliff is unaware of this aspect of her platform, or there are sufficient other aspects to her platform that he does endorse. Asking “What are the aspects of Hilary Clinton’s platform that you find appealing?” (with correct spelling of the candidate’s name) would be far more likely to garner a response. If, of course, that is what you are actually interested in. Alternatively, if you are just interested in stopping Cliff from putting his support behind the Clinton campaign… I don’t think you are going about that the right way either.

        1. Mea Culpa and a face palm. I didn’t double check Cliff’s spelling.

          I got his name right, at least…

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