Bill Gates

Religion, politics, and ideas ofBill Gates

Democrat

Patriot

Climate Change Believer

Pro Money in Politics

Pro Government Surveillance

Supports Privacy Regulation

Supports Increase in Taxation

Supports Gov. Aid for the Poor

Criticizes Government Benefits

Political Views

Patriot

13 Mar 2014

In an interview with Rolling Stone., Bill Gates said

The U.S. government in general is one of the better governments in the world. It’s the best in many, many respects. Lack of corruption, for instance, and a reasonable justice system.
Climate Change

Climate Change Believer

13 Mar 2014

In an interview with Rolling Stone, when asked if we're doing enough to stop climate change, Bill Gates said

We’re not even close – we’re emitting more CO2 every year. In order to get a 90 percent reduction of carbon, which is what we need, the first thing you might want to get is a year of global reduction, and we have not had that. U.S. emissions are down right now, partly because we buy more goods from overseas. But even if you invented some zero-carbon energy source today, the deployment of that magic device would take a long time.
Money in Politics

Pro Money in Politics

13 Mar 2014

In an interview with Rolling Stone., Bill Gates said

Money has always been in politics. And I’m not sure you’d want money to be completely out of politics.
Privacy

Pro Government Surveillance

Supports Privacy Regulation

13 Mar 2014

In an interview with Rolling Stone, when asked about privacy., Bill Gates said

Should there be cameras everywhere in outdoor streets? My personal view is having cameras in inner cities is a very good thing. In the case of London, petty crime has gone down. They catch terrorists because of it. And if something really bad happens, most of the time you can figure out who did it. There’s a general view there that it’s not used to invade privacy in some way. Yet in an American city, in order to take advantage of that in the same way, you have to trust what this information is going to be used for. [...] There’s always been a lot of information about your activities. Every phone number you dial, every credit-card charge you make. It’s long since passed that a typical person doesn’t leave footprints. But we need explicit rules. If you were in a divorce lawsuit 20 years ago, is that a public document on the Web that a nosy neighbor should be able to pull up with a Bing or Google search? When I apply for a job, should my speeding tickets be available? Well, I’m a bus driver, how about in that case? And society does have an overriding interest in some activities, like, “Am I gathering nuclear-weapons plans, and am I going to kill millions of people?” If we think there’s an increasing chance of that, who do you trust? I actually wish we were having more intense debates about these things.
Taxation

Democrat

Supports Increase in Taxation

Supports Gov. Aid for the Poor

Criticizes Government Benefits

13 Mar 2014

In an interview with Rolling Stone, when asked about income inequality., Bill Gates said

Well, now you’re getting into sort of complicated issues. In general, on taxation-type things, you’d think of me as a Democrat. That is, when tax rates are below, say, 50 percent, I believe there often is room for additional taxation. And I’ve been very upfront on the need to increase estate taxes. Particularly given the medical obligations that the state is taking on and the costs that those have over time. You can’t have a rigid view that all new taxes are evil. Yes, they have negative effects, but I’m like Krugman in that if you expect the state to do these things, they are going to cost money. [...] Should the state be playing a greater role in helping people at the lowest end of the income scale? Poverty today looks very different than poverty in the past. The real thing you want to look at is consumption and use that as a metric and say, “Have you been worried about having enough to eat? Do you have enough warmth, shelter? Do you think of yourself as having a place to go?” The poor are better off than they were before, even though they’re still in the bottom group in terms of income.” [...] The way we help the poor out today [is also a problem]. You have Section 8 housing, food stamps, fuel programs, very complex medical programs. It’s all high-overhead, capricious, not well-designed. Its ability to distinguish between somebody who has family that could take care of them versus someone who’s really out on their own is not very good, either. It’s a totally gameable system – not everybody games it, but lots of people do. Why aren’t the technocrats taking the poverty programs, looking at them as a whole, and then redesigning them? Well, they are afraid that if they do, their funding is going to be cut back, so they defend the thing that is absolutely horrific. Just look at low-cost housing and the various forms, the wait lists, things like that.
Summary

Gates was born into a Protestant Christian church, but is now conclusively an agnostic. We may be able to even consider him a scientist.

Gates is very concerned with a variety of social issues including 3rd world development, disease, poverty, and the environment. Three political campaign donation reports were analyzed--all with discrepancies regarding the amount Gates has donated, but two of them say he's given slightly more to Democrats, so we're going with Democrat.

Editorial

Bill Gates was born in Seattle, Washington where he still lives and his software giant company, Microsoft, is headquartered.

Growing up, his family attended a Congregationalist church, a now-extinct version of Protestantism.[1]

Now, Gates doesn't seem too interested in religion. He doesn't believe anything without evidence. He was once asked about the human soul, and he replied:

I don't have any evidence on that.[2]

This is a standard agnostic view and would seem hard to disprove. Gates, like many agnostics, would rather look to science for answers. In the same interview, Gates said:

In terms of doing things I take a fairly scientific approach to why things happen and how they happen.[3]

This doesn't mean Gates is down on religion or thinks religion is stupid or pointless. He's said:

There's a lot of merit in the moral aspects of religion. I think it can have a very very positive impact.[4]

But he does think it's kind of a waste of time:

Just in terms of allocation of time resources, religion is not very efficient. There's a lot more I could be doing on a Sunday morning.[5]

Let's not talk about it, let's just throw money at it

Politically, Gates is a bit mysterious. He hasn't gone on record very often in support of or against a political candidate or cause so I can't say he puts his money where his mouth is. But he definitely spends a lot of money on causes he believes in.

If we must put Gates into the political spectrum, though, we must look to the money he's given to political campaigns. However, there are discrepancies. One report has Gates' political donations from 2002 to 2012 at almost $442,000–with most, but not all of that went to Republicans.[6]

Another has Gates' political donations from 1999 to 2012 at almost $436,000, with roughly 8% more going to Democrats.[7]

Newsmeat.com (my favorite) has Gates' political contributions from 1986 to 2011 at a little more than $418,000, with slightly more going to Democrats.[8] So, something fishy is going on there, but we'll go with Democrat. It's 2 out of 3.

Perhaps Gates doesn't say much about U.S. politics because, as the big-picture thinker that he is, he sees beyond borders. He once said:

I do think this next century, hopefully, will be about a more global view. Where you don't just think, 'Yes, my country is doing well,' but you think about the world at large.[9]

So, people should be mean?

On a grand social level, Gates thinks people should be more like computers. It's actually quite disturbing. Anyway:

You see, antiquated ideas of kindness and generosity are simply bugs that must be programmed out of our world. And these cold, unfeeling machines show us the way.[10]

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