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- I remain committed to the faith of my teenage years: to authentic human freedom as a precondition for the highest good. I stand against confiscatory taxes, totalitarian collectives, and the ideology of the inevitability of the death of every individual. For all these reasons, I still call myself "libertarian." ... But I must confess that over the last two decades, I have changed radically on the question of how to achieve these goals. Most importantly, I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible... The 1920s were the last decade in American history during which one could be genuinely optimistic about politics. Since 1920, the vast increase in welfare beneficiaries and the extension of the franchise to women — two constituencies that are notoriously tough for libertarians — have rendered the notion of "capitalist democracy" into an oxymoron.
- In an article published by Cato Unbound (April 13, 2009)
- Gay marriage can’t be a partisan issue because as long as there are partisan issues or cultural issues in this country, you’ll have trench warfare like on the western front in World War I. You’ll have lots of carnage and no progress.
- At a 2010 fundraiser for the American Foundation for Equal Rights (September 22, 2010)
- Most of our political leaders are not engineers or scientists and do not listen to engineers or scientists. Today a letter from Einstein would get lost in the White House mail room, and the Manhattan Project would not even get started; it certainly could never be completed in three years. I am not aware of a single political leader in the U.S., either Democrat or Republican, who would cut health-care spending in order to free up money for biotechnology research — or, more generally, who would make serious cuts to the welfare state in order to free up serious money for major engineering projects. ... Men reached the moon in July 1969, and Woodstock began three weeks later. With the benefit of hindsight, we can see that this was when the hippies took over the country, and when the true cultural war over Progress was lost. Today's aged hippies no longer understand that there is a difference between the election of a black president and the creation of cheap solar energy; in their minds, the movement towards greater civil rights parallels general progress everywhere. Because of these ideological conflations and commitments, the 1960s Progressive Left cannot ask whether things actually might be getting worse.
- In an editorial published by National Review (2011)
- The university system in 2014, it's like the Catholic Church circa 1514... You have this priestly class of professors that doesn't do very much work; people are buying indulgences in the form of amassing enormous debt for the sort of the secular salvation that a diploma represents. And what I think is also similar to the 16th century is that the Reformation will come largely from the outside.
- In an episode of "Conversations with Bill Kristol" (2014)
- It’s good to test yourself and develop your talents and ambitions as fully as you can and achieve greater success; but I think success is the feeling you get from a job well done, and the key thing is to do the work.
- Forbes: "Peter Thiel: 'Don't Wait to Start Something New'" (10 September 2014)
- [The media] never takes [Trump] seriously, but it always takes him literally. I think a lot of the voters who vote for Trump take Trump seriously, but not literally.
- Speech at the National Press Club (October 31, 2016)
- Confirm [the age of Apple is over]. We know what a smartphone looks like and does. It's not the fault of Tim Cook, but it's not an area where there will be any more innovation.
- Confirm or Deny: Peter Thiel in The New York Times (January 11, 2017)