1. I’m back from the Misesfest (appropriately held next to Grand Central Station, which Mises used to cite as an example to illustrate Austrian methodology). Great conference! My contribution, “Mises as Radical: Retrospective on Rothbard’s Thesis,” is now online.
A few other items:
2. One of the two NYC hotels I stayed in (the less fancy one) had the following sign posted in the passenger elevator: “This is not a passenger elevator. It is unlawful for any person other than the operator or those necessary for handling freight to ride on this elevator.” A law not rigorously enforced, I guess.
3. I’m sad to see that Laissez Faire Books, whose catalogues I’ve been getting since I was an undergraduate, is going out of business. But on reflection it’s not surprising; I realise I haven’t ordered anything from them for quite a while, and I suspect that’s true of many others as well, and for the same reason – in the age of the internet it’s just not as crucial a resource as it used to be.
4. On the science-fiction front, check out some major spoilers for Galactica: Razor (conical hat tip to Norm Singleton) and rumours of a brand-new Dune movie.
UPDATE: The Sci-Fi Channel made them delete the spoilers, but they’re still available here.
As I recall Laissez-Faire Books had gone basically pro-war Randroid in recent years, so not a huge loss. It was great seeing you again at Misesfest though.
You too! And re LFB, see this update.
I have written a short book of philsophy called “Notes from the Aboveground”. It is essentially a philosophy of ideology. I have read much of Mises and his influence is clearly in my book, but I find much of this talk of left-libertarianism as subjective rubbish and even bigger rubbish for the left libertarians to make the claim that Mises is in their camp. There is no such thing as left and right libertarianism as they converge to be one and the same.
What Mises called “methodological individualism” was the foundation of his praxeological theories. Yet in his books, he constantly lamented man’s short-sightedness in his choice of action. The reason for this is because what is good for the society as a whole is an abstract concept that escapes the intellectual grasp of the individual when he can improve his circumstances even more in the short run through politics. If you premise that man necessarily acts on behalf of himself, you shouldn’t cry when he does just that. The error of Mises and his followers, and essentially all ideologues of every stripe, is that they base their arguments on foundations other than methodological individualism. They suggest that man should act for their conceived notion of the ‘common good’ rather than his own selfish and narrow private interests. Of course, I explain all this in my book as well as the origin of the various ideologies and how they relate to human nature.