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  • rmacculloch

What word has the opposite meaning to "diversity"? University, of course!?

You've got to give it to Kiwi citizen, Peter Thiel, who recently began his speech to students at the Oxford Union (below) by asking, "What word is the antonym to the word, diversity?". None of his audience seemed to have much of a clue.

So he answered the question himself. It is "university".

This is how Thiel inspired his speech on the theme of the "crisis" in Western civilization, including its education systems, which claim to embrace diversity, yet are enforcing something more resembling the opposite these days.

Why do I think Peter Thiel understands what is fast becoming an economic, cultural and political crisis in NZ? Because he knows the essence of what (once) made this country successful was its risk-taking culture, symbolized by adventure tourism in Queenstown. At an Auckland University conference in 2011, he spoke of his white-knuckle ride on the Shotover Jet as being an example of “all the crazy things you can do in NZ that you can’t do anywhere else, risky things that are probably not allowed elsewhere”. Since those days, fear now rules us. Health & safety rules have taken over. Fear of coronavirus consumed our country for years. Most of my students are too scared to still attend classes. Kiwi culture now embraces the opposite of risk-taking. It promotes running away.

My view is that NZ has become lost. It has lost its way in terms of what is required to create a vibrant & prosperous economy. No risk equals no return. Innovation is disappearing and productivity collapsing, reflected by our high cost of living. All we can talk about now is redistributing wealth.

That's what happens when you stop knowing how to create it in the first place.



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