Yes, I’m still alive…

There’s a lot I could say. I think this post is so delayed because whenever I think about writing I wonder where in the world I’ll start. I guess the logical place to start is where I am right now. And I’m actually in the lovely town of Auburn Alabama, enjoying the Austrian Economics Research Conference at the Mises Institute. Yes, I know you’re jealous. It is amazing. Seriously. I think we sometimes get really distracted by our circumstances in life. We get caught up in where we’re at and forget where we want to be. Sometimes we need to be grounded and reminded, “ah, yes, this is what I love and this is my passion in life.” Because, honestly, how many people are true to their passion? Sadly, not many. It is far to easy to live forever trying to get along, doing all the little mundane things, and never considering how that might fit into our dreams. So I don’t think it is unusual to need this “regrounding” in a world which is about fitting in and achieving mere mediocrity. Getting back to AERC, it is reminding me of what I am passionate about, and although I haven’t the slightest idea how or when I’ll end up realizing my dreams, this is what I love and I can’t forget it. There’s just nothing like the intellectual stimulation of the Mises Institute. And the best part of AERC is that it is all about the work that needs to be done yet. It is like, “oh, here is the complete and exhaustive exposition of the Austrian School of Economics.” Far from it, nearly every lecturer says at some point, “and there is much more research to be done on this subject.” Which inspires me because that means this is an alive thing. We’re not talking about a static body of knowledge. This is an area that is constantly expanding in knowledge, interpretation, and application.  So as a young student, this inspires me to consider what advancements will be made in my own lifetime, and hopefully I will make my own contributions someday.

I ended up coming to AERC 2013 on my own for the first time. Which meant getting a bus to O’Hare, flying to Atlanta, and then getting a shuttle to Auburn. It was a really long ordeal since my plane was delayed by about 3 hours. I distinctly remember the first time I ever flew on my own. It was actually a year ago, for ASC 2012. I was terrified. For weeks ahead I imagined every single thing that could possibly go wrong, and of course each potential problem seemed like such a catastrophe. It was incredibly nerve-wracking, to say the least. By the time I arrived home safely I decided it was actually almost enjoyable, although it took me some time to recover from the terror I had inflicted on myself, haha. But this year was completely different. My initial reaction to the thought of doing the entire trip solo was, “wow, this is going to be such a fun experience!” I even resisted printing out maps of the airports and plotting my way ahead of time. I made sure I had the necessary info with me (boarding pass, shuttle reservations, etc…) but refused to worry about anything until I actually crossed that bridge. And instead of panicking when I was told my flight was delayed, I was just like, “oh, ok, let me call the shuttle company and move my reservation.” And I got to walk around O’Hare about 5 times in my extra time, haha. It was actually fantastic. I used to hate changes, being incredibly OCD or paranoid or whatever, and on Tuesday I changed my hotel arrangements, and then my flight was delayed, so two major changes in my plans, and yet oddly enough, I wasn’t bothered by any of it. The entire trip is just a grand adventure, no matter what happens. So definitely a good experience. And I get to do it all again on Sunday!

On a more serious note, I think the most thought-provoking theme I’ve encountered at AERC so far is the question of, “why did the Industrial Revolution happen when it did?” After realizing how civilization didn’t really progress all that much for thousands of years, and then suddenly in the past 200 years there’s been a dramatic transformation of culture, one has to ask, “why?” We understand the technological advances that became the Industrial Revolution, but the deeper question is, “why did those things happen at that time?” Or more precisely, “why didn’t the Industrial Revolution happen sooner? Why did it take thousands of years of little progress, relatively speaking, to get to that point?” Several speakers at AERC have offered their thoughts on this, and it has made me extremely interested in the subject. I don’t think it is an issue of pure historical speculation, I think this is relevant to modern times. How so? Well, if we understand what caused the Industrial Revolution, we would also discover how that progress could be reversed, and knowing this would allow us to hopefully prevent such a tragedy. We should all be interested in ensuring that society doesn’t regress but continue improving.

I will probably be blogging about this again in the future, among other subjects that I’ve thought about since being here, so you’ll hear about it again, I’m sure.

The other thing about AERC is being able to talk to like-minded people. Nothing compares to being surrounded by people who are discussing monetary theory, the business cycle, ethics, philosophy, and pretty much everything else. It is a place to talk to people who are interested in intellectual pursuits, and although everyone comes from diverse backgrounds and have their own unique interests, we are able to share our enjoyment of these subjects. We don’t agree on everything, but we all are here because we like learning and discussing new ideas. To me, that is what really matters.

Well, that’s about it all for now. I may get time for another post this weekend, but if not, I doubt I’ll get a chance to write for the next couple weeks. I have a feeling life will be really crazy once I get home. But I’ll be back…eventually : )

Wandering — But Not Lost

So in case you were concerned that I had dropped off the face of the earth…I have not. I have felt that way on occasion, but it was only a temporary sensation. In trying to describe my life for the last few months, I am reminded of Tolkien’s famous quote, “All those who wander are not lost.” To sum it up briefly, I’ve had some interesting ramblings across this earth, both physically and metaphorically. But the main lesson I’ve learned, or relearned recently is 1) God is in control of all things and 2) God is a good God. We may think we know what is going to happen, only to find ourselves on a detour or redirection, and no matter how painful or confusing it may seem, it is happening for a reason and there will be great blessings and benefits that come out of it, whether we realize it or not.

 

I obviously never got back to finishing my Ligonier posts, so don’t hold out for any more on that topic, unfortunately. I guess I didn’t post anything specifically about that whole Ligonier/ASC trip, so let me just say it was greatly enjoyable and I feel much more confident in my ability to navigate my way in the world. It was a really big deal for me to fly for the first time, and on my own. And it went without a problem, besides unexpectedly finding the full-body scanners at the Madison airport and having to opt-out of that. Not fun. But the flight back was great, the Sanford-Orlando airport was awesome, even the TSA people were friendly and there weren’t any full-body scanners! So it was just a fun experience and it feels good to have crossed that off my list of things that intimidate me.

 

Then in May there was another “first”…a cross-country road trip with some young people from my church to a Christian conference/retreat in Pennsylvania. It was odd because I had decided to curb my “control freak” inclinations and simply go along for the ride (since I clearly stated from the beginning I would not be driving) and not worry about knowing the route or directions. So that was a freeing experience, haha. The road trip itself was really fun, I was a little concerned about how I would handle a 12 hour car ride with other people, being that I tend to want my own space and lots of quietness. The conference was fantastic! Everyone was so incredibly friendly and welcoming. We were well-known by the other attendees because we had come the farthest. “Oh, you’re from the Illinois group!” The teaching was very informative and also inspiring. The topic was the life of Charles Spurgeon and what we can learn from his example. I enjoyed learning about the historical context of his life and the situation in England at the time. I was able to fit him into my mental history timeline, instead of this vague idea of a preacher at some point in history preaching somewhere in England. His passion for the Gospel was very convicting. He was a committed Calvinist and believed fully in the Doctrines of Grace, but contrary to popular opinion, this did not mean his Christianity was cold and legalistic. He spent his life sharing the Gospel with lost sinners because his greatest goal was to save souls from eternal damnation. But since he realized that humans have no ability to save others or even to save themselves but it is only the work of God within them, he was free to simply preach the Gospel and leave the rest to God. He also organized many evangelical efforts to reach those who would not attend church services and believed it was important to tend to temporal needs, such as food and shelter, for people, along with tending to their spiritual needs. Because he lived in the turbulent times of the Industrial Revolution and because there were no other sources for people to get the necessities for survival, this was a very good thing. I have thoughts on this, trying to figure out how this idea applies to American society now…but I’ll save that for another day. :) The drive back was pretty long, I ended up getting home at about 2am, and managed to get to work by 8am, which was quite a feat. Suffice to say, I didn’t get a whole lot accomplished at work that day, but at least I showed up. :)

So now…after a rather unanticipated hiatus from my studies for a few months, I’m back at it :) I was talking to a friend recently who was exhorting me to read as much as I can while I’m young. The message resonated especially with me as I am realizing the value of this time in my life and that I should be redeeming each moment and spending every day learning, growing, improving my mind and becoming a better person. It is really an immense blessing to be out of school, so I don’t have the pressure of needing to accomplish certain things by a specific time, and it is also great to have a part-time job so I do have an income. So all that means I have time and funds to continue my education and I really enjoy that! My current goal is to read at least 8 books per month, with the plan of reading at least 100 books per year.

The books for this month are:

Living for God’s Glory by Joel Beeke

Holiness by JC Ryle

The Mystery of Providence by John Flavel

Thinking as a Science by Henry Hazlitt

Liberty Defined by Ron Paul

The Chestnut King by N.D. Wilson

Becoming Dr. Q by Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa

Charles Dickens by Jane Smiley

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

The ones in bold are the ones I have yet to read. Actually surprised with myself at how well I’m doing! I plan to write some short reviews of various books I’m reading in the future, so look for that!

Also working on a research project with a friend about Charles Dickens…won’t say anything more at the moment about it, besides I’m really excited and it is going to be really fun.

I recently signed up for Tom Woods’s Liberty Classroom and am currently taking the Western Civilization History course from Prof. Jewell which I’m greatly enjoying. Only on Lecture 2 but I know it is going to be fantastic. It will probably take a year to get through the whole thing, if I push it, may end up being two years, but that’s ok. Also taking a couple courses from Ligonier, History of Philosophy and Understanding Free Will.

Hmmmm…I think that is all the academic stuff I have going on right now. Besides the heat making life really miserable in our old farmhouse (no a/c) it is a good summer. I’m missing Mises U and almost wishing I had decided to go, because July just doesn’t seem the same without going to Mises U. But I think it has turned out for the best that I decided not to attend, but am looking forward to possibly attending ASC 2013!

If I try to make this any longer I will risk never publishing it, so I’m going to end here. But I will say that I plan to use this more of a personal blog as well as an outlet for my economic ideas. I will probably be posting quotes and random things that strike me as thought-provoking, as well as writing about pretty whatever subject I’m thinking about at the time. I hope that opening this up more will mean I’ll post more, but only time will tell! If you persevered through this post and are still reading, thank you. If you’re a returning reader, thank you for not giving up on me :)

Savannah: Resurrected

So it has been a long time, but as Pascal said, “the silence of these infinite spaces frightens me” so my fear of this dreadful silence drove me back.

Actually…I felt rather guilty about having such good readers (at one point) and then dropping them so callously. I feel like I’m starting all over again, but that’s okay. And I also felt bad about putting so much time into this site and totally neglecting it. I had been something of a plugin junkie, so I’ve been dreading coming back and trying to clean up all my old plugins but it is done at last.

Also…I’ve been working on redoing my company’s website, I’m transferring the hosting from Blue Genesis (really bad customer service, a website backend from the Middle Ages, and absolutely no options) to Bluehost (great customer service, free WordPress plugin, and a billion options) so I guess the feel of messing with a website again just made me realize how much I missed this one.

So…an update:

- Still working. Going well. Every day is different. It is interesting, I’ll just say that. :)

- Still learning. Buying books like crazy. I’ve only read about 60% of the books I own, so my goal this year is to get that percentage much closer to 100%. Unfortunately, regular book binges at Amazon will not make that task any easier.  I also took a couple Mises Academy classes in November. And am still struggling to fit in Khan Academy Chemistry.

- Still teaching. My sisters are the unwilling victims of my need to teach, haha. So we started with US history over a year ago, have spent the last semester of 2011 in the Civil War and will probably spend at least another semester there. I don’t know when we’ll actually get done with it. I recently added literature and music history. I think it is really fun, but they aren’t too thrilled about all the assignments. But it is good for them. They’ll thank me some day.

- Still writing, kinda. I keep telling myself that each week will get less chaotic and I’ll actually have time to work on my next novel. I don’t know if this will happen or if I’m just fooling myself. I’ll know for sure in a few weeks.

- Still planning. I don’t think I’ll be attending Mises U this year, but am tentatively planning a trip south to hit the Mises Circle in Greenville, Austrian Scholars Conference in Auburn, and a Ligonier Ministries conference in Orlando. And if this does work, I’ll be flying which is a really big deal for me! I’m just trying to coordinate it so I can fly out of small airports and avoid the hassle of all the new security techniques.

More later…maybe… :)

Survived Mises U 2011

I apologize for my lack of presence here for several weeks. The first couple weeks of July I was busy working to make up for leaving for 3 weeks. Then of course I had to pack and prepare for my trip. Then I was on the road for a couple days. After arriving in Georgia I had several promotional events to attend for my book, Path of Grass. Then I found myself in the middle of a huge Southern family reunion for several days…then we made a mad dash for Auburn and spent 42+ hours sitting in class for the next week. Got back to Georgia last night…so doesn’t it seem understandable that I haven’t had time to blog?

Now we’re leaving tomorrow to spend a few days in Kentucky with the family…then it is back to work for me. So, I plan to have a more complete report of Mises U for you later this week. Suffice to say, it was absolutely incredible. Far better than last year. It was better mostly because I had been studying online with some of the students before Mises U so when I got there, I actually knew a lot of people and that made it more fun. Tom Woods gave an incredible speech Thursday night. I’m going to do a post with links to my favorite speeches from the week.

Mises U has inspired me to 1) keep studying and 2) keep sharing. I hope this fall I will have some opportunities to teach and lecture on what I’ve learned. Some of the students are going to start reading Man, Economy, and State together and I plan to participate in that. Reading MES will be really good for getting the big picture of how everything fits together. I’m also really interested in capital, the structure of production and the business cycle. I know the Austrian Business Cycle Theory, but I want to find out how exactly it is worked out in the real economy. I also hope to do more writing and maybe start posting more regular articles on my website.

Bottom line: More stuff later.

For Mises Students, Part 2

Israel brought up some good questions related to my first post, so I thought I’d address those here.

The first thing, “aren’t there Youtube videos that summarize these required readings and can’t we get Greek history from movies like Troy?”

I’m sure there are Youtube videos that explain some of what these works cover, but probably not systematically. The youtube might be on “Socialism vs. Capitalism” and might cover some of the points that Mises makes in his books, but I doubt that there are Youtube videos made as summaries of these works. I have an idea on this, however, and will let you know as I think it through a bit more.

This also fits into the whole “the medium is the message” debate. I tend to side with people like Postman and tend to think that it is good to actually read things. My mental skills have degenerated to the point that I find it extremely hard to listen/watch anything on my computer for a long period of time (more than 10 or 15 minutes) without being distracted by browsing Facebook, Mises.org, etc…so I like having the discipline of having to read a book because if I’m on Facebook instead, I can’t say “well, I’m studying too…” which I can argue if I’m listening to something. So I just prefer reading.

Then Israel asked if it would be good to do any writing along with the reading. Yes, I didn’t mention in the previous post that I do take notes on whatever read. I’m infamous for being a speed-reader, in a negative way, in that I read so fast I don’t get anything from the book. So it has been a struggle to slow down, but if I’m taking notes, I am forced to actually “digest” what I’m reading. However…some books are so good, I want to write down every sentence in my notes, which means it takes me forever to finish reading it because I’m essentially copying the text into my notes…lol…

If I’m writing on paper and not typing, this is how I take notes. I use my own version of the Cornell system of note-taking. I’m not sure how the original was meant to be, maybe what I do is close to that, but I’m not sure. I divide my page into two columns, the right one being slightly wider than the left one. This right column is where I write all the details, quotes, numbers, data, etc…and on the right side I write the summary of what point I’m trying to remember. For instance, on the left side I might write, “WWII didn’t end Great Depression” and on the right side I would put “GDP rose more dramatically after the war ended than when it began” (don’t quote me on that one…I don’t think it is correct b/c gov’t spending is included in GDP, so that would have decreased, but real measures of prosperity would have increased after WWII) and any numbers or references like, “Murray Rothbard’s The Great Depression.” Why do I do it that way? I keep notes because I like to look at them again if I’m studying that subject again. Having a summary on the left side makes it easy for me to skim through pages of notes and find exactly what I need without actually having to read every single line. I also use the far left margin found on most lined paper to put page numbers. If pages 20 through 25 are on “WWII didn’t end the Great Depression” I would write that down on the far left. I also found that with traditional notes, if I wrote line after line after line of notes, there was no room to insert additional comments afterwards. With this two-column approach, the summary on the left takes up much less space than the details on the right, so if necessary, I can come back and write on the left and just connect it to the details with an arrow. And speaking of arrows…I use them a lot. I use arrows to show what sentences are connected and how each step is ordered. Sometimes I go a little overboard with my arrows, but hey, it isn’t the worst thing I could do.

So generally, when taking notes on a book, I try identify ahead of time what I’m trying to get out of my reading. And most of the time my goal is to have a summary of the book for my own future reference. So I have in mind that I need to document where in any given book an important idea is discussed. My notes narrow it down to a specific book like “The Great Depression” but by putting a page number or chapter down, I don’t have to read the book all over again to find that section. I also like condensing any examples or illustrations in the book down to a sentence or less, just enough to trigger my memory because examples are very helpful in remembering a concept. I will also sometimes try to come up with my own example to further embed the information in my mind.

Last question, “what are the questions on the quiz like?” I don’t want to give everything away, but I’ll say what I remember. Some of the questions are historical, like “what was the first book Mises wrote?” Some were kind of tricky cause and effect things, “if A happened in area B, what would be the effect on the entire economy?” or something like that, and they weren’t straightforward “If the gov’t prints more money, what happens to the economy?” All of the questions are multiple-choice, but among some of the choices there are very fine nuances and they aren’t like, “If the gov’t prints money what happens? A) economy prospers B) economy experiences inflation” so you have to read everything really carefully. And some of the questions are just general economic theory definitions, “what is ________?” and so forth. What I didn’t know (thanks to my homeschool education…probably the only drawback to being self-taught) is that especially with multiple choice tests, you can ask the professor about the questions if you don’t know what it means. My friend did that after I finished my test, so I know that at least last year it was allowed, and that would have been really nice for me, because some of the questions were rather unclear.

Hope that helps all y’all thinking about taking the exam…I haven’t decided yet if I will. Also hope to see you there…at Mises U 2011!! :)

For Mises U Students

The Mises Institute strongly encourages all students attending Mises U to be familiar with the Required Readings found here. Whether I go to Mises U or not (still hoping it will work out!) I will try do the readings. Last year I wrote out a schedule for getting through all the books, and I thought I would post my updated version for the students I know who wondering how to tackle it. Anyone else is welcome to read through all this too. :)

Theoretically I would start the reading in March. However…that didn’t happen this year. But my schedule starts in March anyways. These are just suggestions and are based on what I was doing last year. I’ll be changing this to fit my life this year. I just hope it helps you to come up with a definite plan so we aren’t trying frantically to read everything the day before Mises U starts, a plight I narrowly escaped last year. :)

March:

- “What is Austrian Economics?”
- “Economic Science and the Austrian Method” – Hoppe

Why: The first reading is pretty much the basics. It is good to start with this. Hoppe’s book is a nice complement to it because 1) it is a little deeper reading and 2) it really shows exactly why the Austrian school is different than all the other schools; not so much in what they teach but in how they obtain knowledge. This helped me understand why the Austrians are so much more awesome than everyone else ;)

April:

- “Social Science and Natural Science” – Mises
- “Philosophical Origins of Austrian Economics” – Gordon

Why: The Mises work, as I recall, builds on and complements the Hoppe reading from March. The Gordon piece is a natural progression from “What is Austrian Economics?” in March.

May:

- “Intro to Austrian Economics” – Thomas Taylor
- “Realism and Abstraction in Economics” – Roderick Long

Why: From “What is Austrian Economics?” David Gordon focused on the history of it and now the Taylor essay/book is explaining what makes Austrian economic theory different from other schools. I found the first few pages of “Realism and Abstraction in Economics” to be totally fascinating and I absolutely loved the beginning. As a side note, there are some books that I struggle through at the beginning (like Moby Dick) but end up enjoying. Other times I start a work enjoying it, but then get lost by the end. That’s what happened last year with Long’s work, no offense at all to him. I’m hopeful that this year I might pick up a bit more of it. But it is balanced with the more purely economic Taylor book and that helps.

June:

- “Liberty and Property” – Mises
- “Middle of the Road Policy Leads to Socialism” – Mises
- “What Has the Government Done With Our Money?” – Rothbard
- “Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth” - Mises

Why: I graduated from highschool in May of last year, and so obviously had much more time in June for reading which is why I allocated more work for the summer months. That would also be the case for any college students. The Mises works listed this month are fairly short and they are balanced by an easier (but longer) Rothbard book. As you probably noticed, all the Mises essays have to do with socialism and private ownership of property. I haven’t read the Rothbard one yet (I think they added that since last year…or maybe I read it online last year, I have the hardcopy now) and so I’m not sure how well it fits into the socialism vs. free market subject that the Mises essays address.

July:

- “Praxeology and Understanding” – Selgin
- “Historical Setting of the Austrian School” – Mises
- “Mises and the Role of the Economist in Public Policy” – Mises
- “Austrian Theory of the Trade Cycle and Other Essays” – various
- “Against Intellectual Property” – Kinsella

Why: I can’t remember what I was thinking about these works last March…so I can only assume they were the only ones left after I had distributed the rest in other months. :) The Kinsella book has been added since last year, so I just threw it in here. I’ve already read it this year, so I don’t have to worry about it. :)

The Free Market

I’m posting the resources from  a recent webinar as a blog post to give readers better access to the info.

Slides are available here.

Video from the webinar can be viewed here.

Here’s a list of the resources and links mentioned in the webinar

- Chaos Theory by Bob Murphy

- Privatization of Roads and Highways by Walter Block

- The Enterprise of Law by Bruce Benson

- Walter Block Interview on Road Privatization, http://mises.org/daily/3431

-  A Future of Private Roads and Highways by Walter Block, http://mises.org/daily/3416

- This video is a study on a formerly-controlled intersection in England that now has no government control. The improvement is stark.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vi0meiActlU

- This podcast is an intro to anarchy/the case for anarchy – Lew Rockwell interviews Roderick Long. Highlights a stateless policing solution at about 13:00. Compares Somalian peace/prosperity under government versus under no government around 15:00.

http://www.lewrockwell.com/lewrockwell-show/2011/01/19/183-we-do-not-need-a-state/

- This article is by Stefan Molyneux and it examines stateless alternatives for dispute resolution, collective services, and how to deal with pollution

http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig6/molyneux1.html

- Disproving the state – four arguments against government by Stefan Molyneux

http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig6/molyneux4.html

- The stateless society and violent crime by Stefan Molyneux

http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig6/molyneux2.html

- Stefan expounds on his dispute resolution organization proposal

http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig6/molyneux3.html

- The Daily Bell analyzes anarchy, argues that private societies are capable of providing the essential building blocks of society

http://www.thedailybell.com/1641/Anarchists-Are-Bad-People.html

A Mises Weekend, Part 2

So we finally got a table at the Berghoff and looked at the menu. I wasn’t terribly hungry, so we decided to get one appetizer, one main dish, and maybe something on the side, and we’d just split it. My dad wasn’t really interested in the German food, so we went with the seafood. I ordered a smoked salmon appetizer, he ordered stuffed sole, and we got potato pancakes on the side. When the plates arrived, my smoked salmon was served on a small wooden cutting board with pieces of salmon on a bed of lettuce and onions. My first thought was, “wow…that salmon is pink!” I inspected it closer and realized it was not cooked. Our waiter came back to the table and we asked about the salmon. He said it was not raw, it was smoked. But it wasn’t cooked. I guess there’s a very fine distinction between fish being raw and being smoked. But I knew one thing for sure: it was not cooked. Now this wouldn’t be a big deal for the people who have their hamburgers rare. But I’m really picky about this. I want my meat cooked. I hate making meatballs because I have to handle raw meat. At least I don’t have to eat them raw. So I sat there looking at my smoked (but not raw…lol) salmon wondering what I’d do. My dad tasted the salmon and said it was good. I was in an adventurous mood. Hey, I was in Chicago at this cool restaurant. I couldn’t walk out of there without even tasting the darn stuff. So I took a small bite, desperately trying to keep my mind off the fact that I was eating practically raw fish. And it was actually quite good. It did taste smoked. It had a wonderful flavor. And with the onions it was delicious. I think there were four or five pieces of salmon, my dad had a couple, and I had the rest…minus one bite which I just could not finish because I was so full. The lettuce which came with the salmon had this amazing vinaigrette dressing that was really, really good. And my dad’s stuffed sole was also quite good. It had little shrimp in it too. The first time I had shrimp was at Jekyll Island, and they were served cold with a cocktail sauce. I did not like them at all. But I liked them hot with the other cheesy, yummy, stuff in the, well, in the stuffing.

After dinner we went back to our hotel room where I sat eating fudge and watching Indiana Jones. I’ve heard a great deal about the show, but never seen it. At first I was intrigued by the oldness of the film, and at first I thought it was going to be interesting…but that was before the excitement started. For the next hour I was bombarded with these fantastical escapades and predictable last-second rescues from various deathly situations. We thought it would end at 9pm, so we watched until then. It kept going…till 9.15 when it seemed there would be no end at all, so I gave up on seeing the end because I knew what would happen anyways. :)

My dad spent about 20 minutes setting an elaborate system of alarms, quiet enough so it wouldn’t scare the life out of me, and loud enough that we wouldn’t sleep in all morning. As it turned out, we both woke up before the first alarm even went off. We were some of the first ones downstairs at the Mises Circle. It took us a while to find a good table because there were these giant pillars scattered around the room that would completely block the view from certain places. We claimed a couple seats at one of the best tables and started talking to people. After a few minutes some of our friends from the Rockford Mises Circle showed up. Our table rapidly filled up. And more came. It was a really nice event for me because I knew quite a few people, but not everyone. There were enough familiar faces that I didn’t feel completely lost but enough new people to talk to that it wasn’t boring or just like a reunion. It was fun getting to know others, and after Doug French made an announcement about our Rockford Mises Circles, all sorts of people wanted to talk to me, so that was nice. :)

I had heard several of the speakers the day before, but Jacob Huebert was a new speaker for me. I had heard Roderick Long at Mises U, but never had heard Jacob Huebert. He was amazing! A very bright, intelligent, and talented speaker. While some afterwards were talking about how depressing his speech was, I found it very inspiring and yet realistic. It is easy for me, as a young person, to be swept away by grand and unrealistic ideas, so it is nice to have a balance. And yet we can’t give up on liberty, we can’t just surrender and ever try to achieve more freedom.

Lunch was delicious, and afterwards there was a spirited Q&A with the speakers. The question of immigration came up…and never left. I think nearly the whole time was spent discussing various aspects of the immigration debate, it was quite interesting.

Afterwards we stayed for a while. And stayed. And stayed. By the time we left, the only others there were Mises staff members clearing up the book shop and the recording equipement. We consulted our train schedule and found we could catch a 3.30pm train, and we were so ready to get home we didn’t stop for anything to eat. The train was packed when we got there. It took us some time to find our seats, and it was sweltering inside. Thankfully we didn’t have to wait long for the train to get started. However, it stopped at every little place along the way, so it took forever to get back to Harvard. But at last we got there, and discovered it was a beautiful day. Warm, sunny, springy, lovely. I got to drive all the way home, and we survived, as this blog post is proof of, and spent a couple hours filling the family in on all that we did.

So that was my Mises weekend :)

A Mises Weekend, Part 1

On April 8th and 9th my dad and I went into Chicago for the Mises Institute’s Highschool Seminar and their Saturday Mises Circle. With my new job these events came up really quickly and I wasn’t thinking about it until that week.

Friday was extremely icky…rainy and cold, and of course windy. I didn’t get to drive all the way to the train station which was disappointing, but after driving a little in the rain/dark I was relieved to have my dad take over. He was worried about getting to our train on time (and not being run over by rush-hour traffic) if I had gone at a comfortable 40 mph the whole way. :) But I did get to drive all the way home on Saturday and the weather was beautiful.

Not a whole lot happened on the train…we sat on the second level for the first time which was fun at first and quickly became cramped because there’s really no room to stretch your legs. Suffice to say, on the way back we sat on the bottom level. On the bus to the Union League Club I met a fellow passenger who actually worked at the Club, so she was very nice to show us the way. We checked into our room…talked to Doug French and James Fogal for a minute, went to our room, recuperated from the trip for five minutes, admired the 12-story view we had, and then headed to the event. The Union League Club is really beautiful, they have all these gorgeous art pieces everywhere. There was even an original Monet I got to see. :) The highschool event was pretty fun, mostly because one of the speakers was Walter Block who is a riot to hear, and it was the first time I heard a lecture from Yuri Maltsev.

Then we had lunch at the Union League Club with Michael McKay, member of the Club and author of an Austrian econ book, Doug French, Walter Block, Yuri Maltsev, and another person who I’m sure is very nice  but whose name I cannot remember. I don’t know about you but I’ve always had the idea that these leaders of the Mises Institute must be so into economics that they never talk about anything else, but I’m here to report that they are just like the rest of us and can carry on conversations about family, life, and so forth. :)

After lunch we went to Navy Pier and walked around (both inside and out). Last summer my friend went to Navy Pier with her awesome camera and got these beautiful pictures of the lake…birds…boats…lighthouses, etc…so I felt bad about my pictures being so inferior that I tried to make up for their lack of quality by taking more than my friend did. Some of them were actually quite good, in my humble opinion. I was getting tired in the afternoon and decided I needed a pick-me-up. Since I’m kinda cheap, we found a McDonalds at Navy Pier in the hopes of getting a nice coffee drink. However…McDonalds was right next to Starbucks and so the girl at McDonalds informed me that they had only straight coffee, no lattes or anything. I was desperate and adventurous, so we went to Starbucks and I got a caramel machiato. Now, I used to get caramel machiatos at Mary’s Market and they were much better than Starbucks. The Mary’s Market one was cheaper, and had whipped cream and caramel on top. The Starbucks version was only slightly sweet coffee and nothing on top. And it was more expensive. So while it was cool to walk around with a Starbucks coffee, I think that I’d suffer a physic loss if I did it again. :)

I had been a little frustrated with my dad for trying to plan our trip so thoroughly that there wasn’t anything spontaneous about it. So he didn’t let me get out the map on the way back to the Union Club, we just got on the right train and got off when it looked right. We walked around for a while to find a nice restaurant. We ended up in a rather bad part of the town and headed north a couple blocks till we got to the Berghoff which a friend had recommended. It is a neat restaurant going back to the Prohibition. While it is restaurant and bar now, it used to be a speakeasy which was cool to think about. All I could think about was Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead which was the first and only time I ever encountered the word speakeasy in a novel.

I’m so incredibly busy tonight (yep…so busy I’m going to watch an Alfred Hitchcock movie, lol…) so this will be a 2 part post. Please stay tuned for Part 2 where I describe my unexpected dinner. :)