In the world of literature on liberty, books fall into three distinct categories. First are the books for experts scholars, deeper works that address high level concepts, social or economic theory, and philosophical ideas. Next are the books for the informed reader, those that have a working knowledge of libertarian ideas and seek to improve one’s understanding of the philosophy of liberty. Finally, there are books for those just starting their journey in liberty, those who have little knowledge of economics or libertarian theory. Jason Rink’s Disciple of Liberty falls into the latter category, and it fills a particularly useful void in libertarian literature: an easily accessible explication of liberty to the Christian newcomer.
I’ve been reticent to post a recap of Mises Circle Houston because I didn’t have any photos of the event until yesterday. But now, everything is here and I’m happy to tell you a little about it… First off, I need to send a great big THANK YOU to Jeffrey Davis, the conference sponsor, and the entire staff of the Mises Institute for their amazing service – Kristy, Norma, Pat, Chad, and Willard. We love you guys!!!
Our group from the Libertarian Longhorns (and Robert Butler, executive director of LP-Texas) left Austin around 6am on Saturday, January 23, to make sure we arrived in time to get a decent seat. Robert volunteered his vehicle, and so I didn’t have to drive. We talked up the LP’s plans and upcoming events on the drive to Houston and back.
Upon arrival, we had the privilege to meet some really neat people. I happened to run across a few LCC readers as well, like Yvonne Kelly (on the far left of the group picture). Tom Woods said hello as he walked in, and I briefly spoke with Lew Rockwell as well while drinking some coffee.
The theme of the day was "the failure of Keynesianism" — appropriate considering our current political situation, wouldn’t you say? Doug French was the first speaker. For some reason I have lost my notes, but his topic was "Bank Failures in a Keynesian World." What was most interesting to me about his talk was the striking parallels of the circumstances preceding "the lost decade" and the circumstances we are now experiencing in the United States. One can only hope that failed policies would be remembered, but alas and alack it’s politics not wisdom that we deal with.
Tom Woods spoke about "Keynesian Predictions vs. American History." Did you know that as World War 2 was coming to a close, policy makers were concerned that the soldiers coming home would overwhelm the economy and that a new depression would ensue. How wrong they were: 1946 was the single greatest year for the American economy ever. I also enjoyed his ransacking of Paul Samuelson and Paul Krugman.
Before lunch we enjoyed hearing the beloved Congressman Ron Paul. His principal point was simply that a true revolution is philosophic in nature. This is most certainly true, and the Austrian School of Economics is at the forefront of this change. Dr. Paul touched on many topics, but as he likes to do he focused on monetary policy and foreign policy. He made specific mention of the importance of auditing the Federal Reserve. He said that once audited, two well-kept secrets will be brought into the open once again: (1) that the Fed frequently bails out friends via the discount window (Fed short term loans), and (2) that the Fed has many international activities unaccounted for. Thus, we find monetary policy is also connected to foreign policy as well. Call me conspiratorial if you must, but the CIA’s funding goes beyond Congress – it’s tied to the Fed as well. Best quote from Ron: "Quite frankly, in a Constitutional Republic, you would not have a CIA."
Lew Rockwell was our final speaker for the day on "Economics and Moral Courage." He noted that although in many ways we are quite free (such as the freedom of the internet), we are also having much freedom taken away from us little by little. Moreover, as more freedom is stolen from us, people are more frequently not able to envision how freedom actually works. They simply do not have experience in understanding cause and effect. In truth, this is due to the "banality of evil," something small that ekes its way into public life. For example, the acceptance of a wrong premise about the role of government in life can be a first step toward more and more government control, leading finally to totalitarianism. What begins with banality, ends in bloodshed.
Overall, I’d say it was a great day…