The chances of a full-blown apocalypse might be slim, but Reddit CEO and cofounder Steve Huffman is not taking any chances.
As Evan Osnos details in a recent New Yorker piece, Huffman got laser eye surgery in November 2015 to improve his odds at surviving doomsday.
“If the world ends — and not even if the world ends, but if we have trouble — getting contacts or glasses is going to be a huge pain in the arse,” Huffman, 33, told The New Yorker. “Without them, I’m f—ed.”
He adds that, in creating Reddit, he has become hyper-aware of how social media can escalate public fear.
“It’s easier for people to panic when they’re together,” he said.
One manifestation of this is Pizzagate, the conspiracy theory that emerged online and led to 28-year-old Edgar Maddison Welch from North Carolina firing three shots inside a Washington DC pizzeria called Comet Ping Pong. Pizzagate supporters, which formed a robust following on Reddit during the 2016 election cycle, alleged that Comet Ping Pong headquartered a child sex-trafficking ring led by former Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.
Pizzagate has since been de-bunked.
Huffman is not the only one thinking ahead. A growing number of wealthy Americans on various sides of the political spectrum, especially in Silicon Valley and New York City, are preparing for a possible doomsday, according to The New Yorker and Buzzfeed.
Though Huffman didn’t explicitly say he is prepping in response to President Trump’s election, a number of Americans are. In the week following Election Day, over 13,400 Americans registered with New Zealand immigration authorities to seek residency, which The New Yorker reports is over 17 times the normal rate.
Justin Kan, a technology investor who is stocking up on food, recalled a recent phone call from a friend at a hedge fund.
“He was telling me we should buy land in New Zealand as a backup. He’s, like, ‘What’s the percentage chance that Trump is actually a fascist dictator? Maybe it’s low, but the expected value of having an escape hatch is pretty high.'”
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