The first day of the Austrian Scholars Conference 2010 was marked by greeting old friends, making new friends, and meeting some “internet friends” for the first time.
The authors forum was great. I was impressed by Shawn Ritenour’s Foundations of Economics, which is essentially an econ textbook from a Christian perspective. He shows that the field of economics – from an Austrian point of view – is entirely coherent with Christianity. The book looks great for homeschoolers especially. I’m excited about this book and I hope to get a review copy soon. Jacob Huebert talked about his latest work, Libertarianism Today. It hasn’t been released yet, but the Mises Institute will be selling a less expensive paperback version and you should look out for it. I’ve known Huebert for a while and it was a pleasure seeing him again. Stephan Kinsella, another good friend of mine, talked about the festschrift (a volume of papers written by top specialists in honor of a major thinker) he and Guido Hulsmann put together in honor of Hans-Hermann Hoppe, called Property, Freedom and Society.
The topic of the afternoon session I attended was “Rothbard and the Pre-Austrians.” In other words, there are a number of interesting figures in history that approached ideas that took greater shape as the Austrian economists developed them. Joseph Weglarz gave a very interesting presentation on the great Catholic theologian Thomas Aquinas; his greatest accomplishment was a synthesis of faith and reason forming the basis of Scholasticism. Daniel Coleman gave an excellent, concise, and easily understandable talk on Aquinas’s favorite philosopher – Aristotle – and his conception of trade.
Gerard Casey gave the Lou Church Memorial Lecture on Religion and Economics. He talked about the formulation of “religions” out of the dominant philosophies of the day, such as scientism, environmentism (no, that is not a misspelling), and even economism/statism. These “religions” set themselves up in the place of God and subvert man’s ultimate purpose. He concluded with an excellent call to the church to abandon coercion based on our understanding of the Christian worldview.
Following a nice dinner, we concluded the day hanging out with fellow libertarians over drinks, talking philosophy, current events, economics, and general anti-state awesomeness. Can’t beat it…