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.”
This isn’t such a good analogy overall. True, as we have talked about many times, universities are largely busted. But they are not busted in the way the Church was, or not entirely. The University has already had its Great Protest. What it lacks is its true re-formation, its return to Truth.
It’s true the sale of indulgences was busted, as it the sale of “degrees” now. But salvation is still necessary, as is education. You can only get the former through the Church, and the latter in a genuine academy. Problem is, everybody needs salvation, but not everybody needs education—at the university or highest level, that is. The idea that all need go is one of the primary errors promulgated by the Great Protest.
The Church itself needs still needs fixing, as the Cardinal McCarrick scandal is teaching us now. And universities need to be gutted and rebuilt, but without moving to that awful idea introduced in the wake of the Great Protest 500 years ago.
That awful idea? Sola scriptura is already ensconced at universities. It didn’t do any good for Protesting Christians—Truth is draining out fast at all original Protesting sects, and even the newer ones, like Baptists—and it isn’t doing any good for universities, where “truth” never appears without scare quotes. In both cases, people are encouraged to believe whatever they like, as long as it conforms to the ideology du jour. Universities need to return to placing, as Cardinal Newman called, the Queen of Sciences to the forefront.
Most “degrees” are of little to no use, and teach information that could be better learned in a six-month intensive training courses at a fraction of the cost, or taught on the job. Communications as a “degree”? Business? These are largely filler “majors”, nothing but the sale of indulgences for recipients to show HR departments. Who have no imaginations whatsoever.
And don’t get started on “studies” degrees, where students emerge even more ignorant than when they went in, with the detriment of believing much that is false.
Some fields are still okay, of course, and require years of study to master, but social justice ideology is overrunning these, too. These fields are supported by mandatory research. For professors, it’s pay for yourself, not with student tuition, but with government largess. Pay or you’re out. It would be vastly more efficient to move genuinely needed research to institutions devoted to it. Most professors have no business doing it. This move alone would cut out maybe 80% of what is currently called “research”.
Requiring “research” leads to rampant scientism and great nonsense. Here is one out of an endless stream, found by Real Peer Review, who summarized the “study“, “Researchers chatted with 6 long-distance walkers who thought that their walking was beneficial.”
Phenomenological interviews were conducted with six long distance walkers. Data were transcribed verbatim before researchers independently analyzed the transcripts. Participants reported a cumulative effect with positive feelings increasing throughout the duration of the walk.
Research is anyway largely a way to pump “overhead”—the 50% or so of additional funds given by our most beneficent government tacked on to grants—to deans and administration, funds which in turn are used to fund bloated, unnecessary, and harmful programs (i.e. anything to do with “diversity”). Yet, somehow, more money is always needed for larger and larger non-teaching programs. Costs soar.
Maybe something from 5-10%, and that 10% is likely too high, of folks need what used to be considered higher education. 100% need salvation.