May 01, 2018

  By Gonzalo López Martí   - Creative director, etc./

“Students are borrowing money they  do n ot haveto study stuff that does not matterto try and find jobs that do not exist.”
Tweeted by @charliekirk11

  • Martin Luther started Protestantism because the Catholic Church was selling indulgences.
  • Among other deviations.
  • Yup, in the early 1500s church hierarchy all across Europe was briskly selling documents purporting to exculpate the dead and the alive from spending time in hell or purgatory.
  • True story.
  • Talk about a holier-than-thou revenue stream.
  • Or fundraising policy, if you will.
  • Mr. Luther – a devout monk and outspoken theology scholar of German nationality- duly protested.
  • Thus kickstarting the first of various spinoffs of Christendom we all know today.
  • Cut to 2018.
  • Peter Thiel, another German dude with disruptive ideas, wants to attempt something similar in one of the most revered religious cults of modern life: higher education.
  • Mr. Thiel, an early Trump supporter and one of the original investors in PayPal & Facebook*, is filthy rich and started the Thiel Fellowship with the mission of, literally, giving “$100,000 to young people who want to build new things instead of sitting in a classroom.”
  • In other words, he wants to reward individuals who opt to skip college and jump right into the business world.
  • Mr. Thiel, as self-proclaimed libertarian, believes higher education has lost its true north.
  • He thinks it has become a waste of time and a refuge for the liberal leeches of society.
  • It must be noted that Mr. Thiel is a quintessential Silicon Valley animal.
  • A self-proclaimed Libertarian and long-time dweller of that rarefied atmosphere that gave us “the epic of the college dropout”.
  • Assorted swashbuckling self-help bromide such as “18 is the new 28”; “it don’t matter what college you actually go to or if you go at all, but which colleges admitted you in the first place”.
  • And so on and so forth.
  • It could be argued that Silicon Valley is an inbred cult of nerds with too much to prove, an egotist tendency to believe their own hype and blatant double standards.
  • Mr. Thiel himself could be accused of speaking out of both sides of his mouth: he was a practicing attorney and holds a diploma from Stanford law school.
  • There is however a modicum of truth in this crowd’s mistrustful stance on pursuing a college education.
  • College is increasingly regarded as a waste of time at best and a soul-poisoning endeavor at worst.
  • Lotsa campuses have turned into nicely funded cocoons of self-pity for immature, sheltered, procrastinating crybabies in their late teens and early 20s.
  • And the faculty who makes a living out of them.
  • You know: the folks who gave us “gender studies” and “cultural appropriation”.
  • To be continued next week.

*Mr. Thiel, a pretty colorful character, jumped to prominence a few years back when he was “outed” by the now defunct online tabloid Gawker (outed as in dragged out of the closet against his will). He subsequently proceeded to secretly bankroll Hulk Hogan’s legal battle against Gawker, a courtroom saga that ultimately brought Gawker to bankruptcy. It is a plenty insightful story of power and egos that will open up your eyes to the inner workings of Silicon Valley and the infotainment industry.


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