Archive | March, 2011

Who When

Trust Your Doctor

The date for the American premiere of series 6 (a.k.a. season 32) of Doctor Who has been revealed: April 23rd.

Shoeless, Metal-free, and Obedient

Whenever I see this ad –

– all I can think is: “you’re such a professional, you always have your lunch money ready for the school bully ahead of time.”

Travelin’ Man

This semester is shaping up to be the most conference-intensive I’ve had. In January I had a double conference in La Jolla (a Liberty Fund on contemporary classical liberal thought, followed by a workshop on John Tomasi’s forthcoming book Free Market Fairness) and an IHS conference in Fredericksburg. Then this past weekend was my department’s annual conference (schedule here). As for what’s coming up:

Mises Institute

1. Austrian Scholars Conference, Mises Institute, Auburn AL, March 10-12. Our Molinari Symposium on Spontaneous Order, originally scheduled for the Eastern APA in Boston last December, has been resurrected at the ASC thanks to the Mises Institute’s gracious rescue (despite the panel’s being, as Charles notes, “rather different fare from that normally offered at the ASC”).

Also at the ASC, Molinari Institute Research Associate (and Alford Prize winner) Gil Guillory will be presenting a paper on “The Structure of Production of Free Market Adjudication” earlier on Friday, and I’ll be chairing a panel on “Socialism, Racism, and Method” on Saturday; for details, see the schedule.

CEVRO Institute

2. Prague Conference on Political Economy, CEVRO Institute, Prague, Czech Republic, March 25-27. I’ve organised a panel on free-market anarchism with Ed Stringham; see the schedule here and abstracts here. This’ll be my third trip to Prague (making the Czech Republic the first European country I’ll have visited more than twice).

the hideous coast of Roatan

3. Future of Free Cities Conference, Roatán, April 3-5. Roatán is an island off the coast of Honduras, though the conference is sponsored by Guatemala’s Francisco Marroquín University. This’ll be a new southernmost point for me. I’m not making a presentation, just participating in general discussion. Talk of seasteading is to be expected.


4. Mises Circle: Strategies for Changing Minds Toward Liberty, Chicago IL, April 9. I’ll be speaking on what I used to call “outreach to the left.” Here’s more info.

Nassau Sheraton

5. Association of Private Enterprise Education (APEE) conference, Nassau, Bahamas, April 10-12. I’ll be chairing a sequel to last year’s Free-Market Anti-Capitalism panel; this time around we’ve got Steven Horwitz on “Banks as the Anti-Capitalism at the Heart of Capitalism,” Sheldon Richman on “The Gilded Age: No Golden Era,” Darian Worden on “Capitalism, Free Enterprise, and Progress: Partners or Adversaries?,” and Charles Johnson on “Markets Without Commercialism; Commerce Without Capitalism.”

Unfortunately, our session conflicts with a session on Anarchism featuring, inter alia, Dan D’Amico and Bruce Benson – argh! Maybe next time we do a FMAC panel we should stick “Anarchism” in the title to make the organisers less likely to schedule such conflicts.

San Diego Hilton Bayfront

6. Pacific APA, San Diego CA, April 20-23. I’ll be a commentator on a panel on “Exploitation and the State” on the afternoon of the 20th, and then our other snowed-out Molinari Symposium, the Author-Meets-Critics session on Gary Chartier’s Economic Justice and Natural Law, is being resurrected on the evening of the 23rd; schedule details here.

When we had to cancel in Boston, Charles suggested inquiring whether the Pacific APA might accept us as refugees. I thought the odds were low, as the Pacific’s schedule was already posted. And the national APA office confirmed my pessimism, telling me there was no way. But then the Pacific graciously said yes! (Charles also suggested asking the Mises Institute about having the other symposium at the ASC. So thank you Pacific APA, thank you Mises Institute, and thank you Charles.)


Our session was added too late to be listed on the APA’s online program, but I’m told it will be in the printed program. (Yes, I thought it’d be the other way around too.) Unfortunately, the exploitation session conflicts with a session critiquing the work of my friend Elizabeth Brake (so I won’t be able to play the role of Brake claque), and the Chartier session conflicts with the Ayn Rand Society (that fact plus the late hour means turnout may be low); but on the plus side, Gary Chartier, who would have had to miss the Boston meeting because he’s boycotting air travel, will be able to attend the San Diego meeting (as it’s within driving distance). In any case, April in San Diego is a lot nicer than December in Boston!

I’ve got other stuff scheduled for beyond this semester – but that’s surely enough for now.

The Logic of Marriage

I’ve heard that my letter below was published in today’s Opelika-Auburn News; I haven’t seen a copy yet so I don’t know whether they cut anything.

To the Editor:

The arguments one hears nowadays against treating gays like human beings all seem to be recycled from the arguments 150 years ago against treating women like human beings.

In the 19th century, a married woman had no legal right to control her own property, to have access to her own children, or to resist being raped by her husband. Those who fought against this legalized oppression of women were accused of seeking the abolition of marriage.

defend marriage and the flag!

The male supremacists’ argument was that the subordination of the wife to the husband had so long characterized marriage that it should be considered part of the very definition of marriage, so that no relationship between legal equals could count as a marriage.

If we were to apply that standard nowadays, we would have to say that there are no married couples in the United States today. If we’re not willing to say that, then we must admit that marriage’s history does not define its boundaries.

Just as the 19th-century male supremacists rejected same-rights marriage as contradictory, so today’s hetero-supremacists reject same-sex marriage as “impossible,” as Bruce Murray does in his letter [Sunday]. But if we reject the former argument, we must reject the latter for the same reason.

The anti-marriage-equality act (calling it the defense-of-marriage act is the equivalent of calling the old prohibition on women’s and blacks’ right to vote the defense-of-voting act) is trivially unconstitutional; there’s no way that granting special rights to heterosexuals and denying them to homosexuals can be considered “equal protection of the laws.”

More importantly (since justice is always more important than legality), the anti-marriage-equality act is a sin against human equality, and an oath to enforce it would be just as illegitimate as an oath to commit any other crime.

Roderick T. Long

For previous posts on the definition of marriage, see “Who Defends Marriage?” and “The Form of Sound Words.”

Atlas Shrunk, Part 5: Or, More Reasons For Pessimism

Atlas’s description of Halley’s Fourth Concerto:

It rose in tortured triumph, speaking its denial of pain, its hymn to a distant vision. … The Concerto was a great cry of rebellion. It was a ‘no’ flung at some vast process of torture, a denial of suffering, a denial that held the agony of the struggle to break free. … The sounds of torture became defiance, the statement of agony became a hymn to a distant vision for whose sake anything was worth enduring, even this. It was the song of rebellion – and of a desperate quest.

Atlas’s description of Halley’s Fifth Concerto:

It was a symphony of triumph. The notes flowed up, they spoke of rising and they were the rising itself, they were the essence and the form of upward motion, they seemed to embody every human act and thought that had ascent as its motive. It was a sunburst of sound, breaking out of hiding and spreading open. It had the freedom of release and the tension of purpose. It swept space clean, and left nothing but the joy of an unobstructed effort. Only a faint echo within the sounds spoke of that from which the music had escaped, but spoke in laughing astonishment at the discovery that there was no ugliness or pain, and there never had had to be. It was the song of an immense deliverance.

What the movie is giving us as the “John Galt Theme”:

Parturiunt montes nascetur ridiculus mus.

Left-Conflationism With a Vengeance

From the unintentional humor department:

Political conservatives have long believed that the best government is a small government. But if this were true, noted economist Jeff Madrick argues, the nation would not be experiencing stagnant wages, rising health care costs, increasing unemployment, and concentrations of wealth for a narrow elite.

Actually the second sentence would arguably be true if “this” referred to the first sentence rather than to the view attributed to conservatives by the first sentence.

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