I had good intentions this week to blog about each day at Mises U. But that didn’t quite happen. To understand why, you have to understand the format of the week. Firstly, I get there as early as possible every morning to chat with friends, study, and such. Class starts at 9am. There are 3 hour long lectures in the morning, with 15 minutes breaks in between, and then an hour break for lunch. Wednesday and Thursday I spent my lunchtime studying with another student for the exam. Then there are 4 more hour long lectures in the afternoon, and dinner. After dinner on Monday and Tuesday are the Mises Circles. I attended one, and then skipped the second one to study. So pretty much this week I’ve either been sitting in class, studying, or trying to sleep. They said it is intensive, and I know that for a fact now.
I will talk for a minute about our mystery speaker yesterday. This speaker was going to be in the Wolfe lecture hall, and the class before it, I was downstairs in the Condon hall. So as soon as I could stop clapping for the prof, I grabbed my bag and dashed upstairs to get a good seat. I found one about 5 or 6 rows back right on the edge of the middle aisle. This will become an important detail. So everyone sits down, and you can just feel the anticipation rising. Some were guessing it was Ron Paul, but I knew from the Mises staff that it wasn’t Ron Paul, so my next guess was Lew Rockwell. He ended up introducing the mystery speaker, but he was not the speaker. The mystery speaker was…Judge Andrew Napolitano!
Let me say this: The Judge is an exceptional speaker. While his style isn’t quite suited to the lectures we had heard on the marginalist revolution, division of labor, production and the firm, etc…it was a welcomed change. He had a spare microphone and informed us that he would be asking questions from the audience and encouraging a discussion throughout his talk. He started walking up and down the middle aisle talking to all of us. This is significant because at one point he actually put his hand on my shoulder (because of where I had decided to sit) which means that I’m fantastically famous now. But it gets better. At one point he walked up to me, handed me the mic, and asked me to recite a line from Reagan’s 1st Inaugural Address, 3rd paragraph because of course, I knew it by heart, right? Then he leaned over, whispered the line in my ear, and prompted me to recite it, which I did. I hoped I impressed everyone with my amazing knowledge and memory about Reagan and his speeches. 🙂
It was really a great crowd, everyone was just thrilled to hear The Judge, and I think he was happy to be among this pro-liberty, anti-war, freedom loving people. Afterwards I got in line to get my picture with him. However, he was signing books before doing pictures, and the line was never ending. It was about 5.30pm, and our exam was at 7pm. I was supposed to study with another student during dinner, but I didn’t know when that would be with this infinite line of people. I have to say something about the Mises Institute staff: They are some of the nicest, friendliest people I’ve ever met. I explained to one of the ladies working for the Institute who was “watching over” the autographing and photographing that I really needed to go study, but I just wanted my picture with The Judge. She kindly let me cut into the line, had their photographer get the picture (he’s going to put it online) and let me be on my way.
About the week as a whole: It has been an incredible experience. Wednesday night another student and I spent the evening with my favorite adjunct scholar at the Institute, studying and clarifying statements from the lectures. During this week, my professor preferences have changed, which is rather interesting. I think my favorite now are Prof. Hulsmann from France, and Dr. Herbener of Grove City College. Why? When I take lectures online, I can “pause” the professors anytime to copy their graphs, figure out what they were saying, etc…but in a classroom, it is a little different. I think that the two professors I mentioned above seem to “work” with the way I take notes, the way I think, and the format of the lectures. For instance, Prof. Hulsmann will pause between statements, probably not because he can’t remember what comes next, but probably for our sake, and I appreciate it. That gives me enough time to write/type down what he said, and/or think it over just enough for it to make sense. Dr. Herbener always has a very organized outline, and tells us at the beginning how he is dividing up the lecture, and before this week I didn’t realize how important that is. Important in a subjective sense, I just happen to prefer to have this given outline ahead of time, because then I can fit statements into the outline and make it coherent. While others can probably create an outline out of a speech that doesn’t have a stated outline, my notes just come out random and disconnected.
My favorite lectures this week? “The Austrian Theory of the Business Cycle” and “Keynes and Hayek Head to Head” by Roger Garrison were incredible. I’m jealous of his powerpoints. They are animated. Beautifully. He makes the PPF, the Loanable Funds Market/graph, the Hayekian triangle, and the labor market all move in unison to see the effects of saving on the economy in the long run. It is beautiful. Not just in the aesthetic sense, but also in the sense that you can so clearly see how well the economy would work and can work, if only the government will leave us alone.
It is 7.20am, we’re off to breakfast at the dorm, and another full day. I will continue this another time. If I made it past the written exam, the next day and a half will be absolutely packed with studying. If I don’t make it past the written exam, then I can enjoy myself and blog.