Peter Thiel on Christianity and Libertarianism


(1) Libertarians want to limit the state. So they often take care to point out that even if the state doesn’t do a particular thing, people fulfill many of the same functions through civil life in general (e.g. before welfare, people collected money to help out the poor. After tax-financed welfare, people stopped doing it, because now they felt that had already paid for it through their taxes. Government initiatives “crowd out” civil life initiatives that would do the same thing).

(2) So the state becomes almost divine in the eyes of most people; because they’ve never known the pre-welfare era, they think that anything that isn’t done through politics will therefore not be done at all.

– These two claims are correct and have merit. But then:

(3) Powerful Roman politicians fabricated spurious genealogies to show how their families supposedly stretched all the way back to the Gods. Caesar fabricated a claim that his family had descended from the goddess Venus.

(4) Augustus is the son of Caesar (actually adoptive son). So presumably, Augustus is also divine.

(5) Since the Roman emperors instituted the law, and the Roman emperors were descended from a God, that would mean that the law, the state, and the political order was thought of as divinely instituted.

(6) Since Jesus says that he is the son of God and (it is implied, not stated) Jesus purported to separate the political order from the divine, Jesus, insofar as he is the true son of God, shows that politics and the state are not divine. So libertarians and Jesus can just be BFF in agreeing about (1) and (2).

(7) As an aside, he adds that Jesus is the first person in the world who didn’t think that the state was divine.

– Of these (1), (2), and (3) are correct, (4) is kind of stretching it, (5) is patently wrong (6) is his personal interpretation (7) is so bad it’s not even wrong.