Buzz Andersen's essay Silicon Valley's Scapegoat Complex is by some margin the best piece I've read so far on what drove Peter Thiel to fund the lawsuit that bankrupted Gawker:
What makes me so queasy about Thiel's quest to destroy Gawker is that I suspect he and many others in Silicon Valley see this venture in much the same way they see the accumulation of their fortunes: as a passion project in which the personal will-to-power is happily aligned with the general welfare of society. Like John D. Rockefeller, whose near-miss with a deadly train disaster gave him the extremely helpful lifelong conviction that his success was divinely-ordained (and ergo that he was justified in ruthlessly steamrolling anyone who stood in his way), the titans of Silicon Valley have such naive faith in their ends that any question of means pales in comparison. In the context of lingering resentment over Gawker's 2007 outing of Thiel as gay (an open secret at the time), a decade-long, $10 million secret war on multiple fronts seems like a mind-bogglingly deliberate feat of grudge-holding. If, however, you happen to be the kind of self-styled investor/philosopher king who is capable of connecting your wealth and continuing life's work to an urgent narrative about human potential (perhaps even human survival!), you'd be doing the whole world a favor by silencing your grubby detractors. Thiel's essay "The Education of a Libertarian," makes his lofty sense of purpose abundantly clear: the intrepid technologist is mankind's only bulwark against retrogressive forces threatening to enslave mankind.