>A Picture from the Critical Review Seminar, "Challenges to Classical Liberalism." San Antonio, June 2009.

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Taken from the Critical Review Alumni page. Go there to see them all. Photo credit goes to Shterna Friedman. Jeffrey Friedman is (sort of) found second from the right, in the back.

Some notable attendees: Micha Ghertner, of the popular libertarian blog Distributed Republic; Guinevere Nell, of the Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis (CDA), who also has a book forthcoming; Matt Machaj, from Poland, of the Mises Institute; and Bogdan Enache, Romanian journalist and likewise a contributor to Mises.org. Both Guinevere and Matt have articles forthcoming in Critical Review.
Those especially enamored of economics, and the “economic way of thinking,” found Jeffrey’s anti-public choice perspective hard to swallow. I don’t. I’ve written before about how “pragmatism” and “centrism” are political philosophies, and the log-rolling and otherwise friendly seeming “wheel dealing” an extension of that. Weber’s “ethics of responsibility,” which includes the above, is par for the course for politicians. Those removed from it remain in critical awe of how often said politicians deviate from the “ethics of conviction”; a conviction easily worn on one’s sleeve when not trusted to advance political matters, one way or another.
As for voters, there is little reason to believe that they are moved by a disincentive to know the truth about economic matters anymore than libertarians are moved by an incentive to know the same. Bryan Caplan accuses Friedman of being sophistical (really, it’s him being sophistical?) when the latter charges him with propagating an oxymoron in the name of “rational irrationality,” but given that Caplan doesn’t show why the layperson should know just enough about economics to then shrug it off in the name of a psychic benefit that is costless, I think the Friedman point is defensible.
Anyway, great seminar. Too short though. In years past it was three days, not two. We had to skip over much of the reading material, unfortunately, which is why I’m still reading what amounts to essentially five or six free books, ranging from evolutionary psychology to public opinion and beyond.
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2 thoughts on “>A Picture from the Critical Review Seminar, "Challenges to Classical Liberalism." San Antonio, June 2009.

  1. >Agreed – great seminar. Best one I've been to by far. It was nice people were called out if they had bad arguments, instead of just being accepted with a smile and a nod.

  2. >Indeed, it was a great seminar. I did not find the general criticism of public choice hard to swallow, but I did think the criticism went a bit over the top, to the point of ignoring some of what it does offer, and has helped to develop.

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