Technology giant Peter Thiel argued this week that American universities are as corrupt as the Catholic Church of 500 years ago.
Speaking to a group of conservative students on Wednesday night, tech legend Peter Thiel compared American universities to the Catholic Church of 500 years ago.
“The analogy that I’ve used is that perhaps the universities today are as corrupt as the Catholic Church was 500 years ago,” Thiel said. “If you think about the eve of the Reformation when Martin Luther posted his 95 theses on the church doors, there were all these priests that did not do very much work in much the same way that college professors and administrators are today. You had to pay these indulgences the way that you have to pay runaway tuition today.”
Thiel went on to argue that American society teaches young people that the quality of their lives will be determined by their success at college. “It’s also a story of salvation,” he added. “If you get a college diploma, you will be saved. If you don’t get one, you will end up in a very bad place. We need a sort of reformation. I’ve often described the universities as the atheist church. It’s not going to reform itself from within. The reformation will come from without.”
Thiel also made the case that universities simply aren’t working the way that they used to. Decades ago, a college education was the key to a vibrant and lucrative future. Now that college degrees have become the standard, more debt-carrying students find themselves without fruitful employment even once they have their diploma.
“Universities are supposed to provide a one size fits all education for everybody,” Thiel said. “They are not working the way they used to. We have an education bubble in this country. There is no single thing in this country where the costs have gone up more than they have gone up in education for the last 40 or 50 years.”
“It’s like the opposite of technology,” he finished. “With technology, you do more with less. With education, we are doing less and less but spending more and more every year.”
You can watch Thiel’s remarks below.