People read. Then, they interpret what they read based on who they are; that interpretation is heavily influenced by their socioeconomic background. In general, people understand that. And the better thinkers among us, when they hear something that sounds discordant to them, then dig in further, examining what they read from the SPEAKER’s point of view. (Lazy thinkers don’t do that, it should be said. And the world is full of lazy thinkers today.)
There is nothing confusing about Thiel; he gives you the Rosetta Stone to understanding him when he mentions Robert Heinlein.
So READ HEINLEIN and understand what a libertarian utopia looks like. That’s what Thiel has in mind.
And personally, I agree with him. The entire point to what Thiel is posing is that the world will never (and that means NEVER) agree on how they wish to be governed, and what policies a government should support or reject.
Heinlein had certain strongly held views:
- He was enamored with the idea of freedom. Many of his books contain the theme of gaining freedom through societal escape. His settlers are often motivated by “getting away from the negatives of government.” Where governments take a central role in his books, it’s usually not a very complimentary one; they come across as relatively fascist. So, if you believe that a world government is ultimately the solution to the disagreements and conflicts among people, you won’t like Heinlein. He thinks you’re nuts. :-)
At any rate, “Seasteading” is pure Heinlein. He would have been in, 100%.
- Heinlein was an atheist, but saw no reason to dislike religion. He did write one book which was a bit of a spoof on religion (Job: A Comedy of Justice) and his most famous work, Stranger in a Strange Land, both challenged religion to re-evaluate itself at the same time as he seemed to codify its existence in society.
- Heinlein believed in the total empowerment of women; female characters are depicted strongly to the extreme; they are usually brillant and capable. (Read: Friday, Podkayne of Mars, To Sail Beyond the Sunset.) Hence, I take Thiel at his word that he was misunderstood on sufferage.
- Heinlein was exploring transgenderism and homosexuality in a positive way by the early 1970’s. (Read: I Will Fear no Evil, and Time Enough for Love).
- He believed in harsh punishment and social exile for repeat offenders (Read: Coventry)
- You don’t have to read a bunch of fiction to determine Heinlein’s views on government — — he spelled it out in a nonfiction work called “Take Back Your Government.” In this, he outlines how grassroots activism can create a libertarian future.
Although Heinlein’s libertarianism differs from Ayn Rand’s (Heinlein was disgusted by self-interest), they would probably have agreed that the reason why we can’t move to a more libertarian future is because people aren’t socially mature enough for it yet.