A Personal Note on Mises University

July 30th, 2013   Submitted by Christopher Zimny

MisesEvery year, the Mises Institute holds an economics seminar called Mises University. It attracts many eager students of Austrian economics from both the United States and abroad. I happily attended this year’s seminar for the second year in a row. 

It is said that one of the great marks of living freely—one might say even by definition—is that one is allowed by others not only to act, but to think freely, and to express such thoughts without serious fear of being punished for doing so. One might notice that this almost pushes the burden of living freely onto others, for only those other individuals can control their own actions and their thoughts in relation to one’s own. It is also said that in order to be truly free, one must in fact free oneself, even if only intellectually or philosophically, from the confines of what other people think, no matter what the consequences, and to continue on a self-blazed path of independent action and thought. Abandoning that (what one might call self-imposed) burden, one becomes free to think whatever one would like to think, and it permits one to live with a state of mind truly of one’s own choosing, for the mind is the source of how one’s own life is lived.

Most of us here at Mises University have, at the very least, realized and taken up this latter endeavor. It’s what drew us here independently of one another; we have each had a remarkable series of epiphanies that led to the same conclusions without any personal connection whatsoever. Acting on our own merit we each decided to come here and learn more about the conclusions we have come to from generations of individuals who experienced the exact same epiphanies in their own time.

I suppose that the greatest testament to this fact is the great number of foreigners here. I’ve met and became friends with people, for instance, from the Czech Republic, Germany, France, Spain, Guatemala, New Zealand, and Canada, to name a few, and that’s not counting people from every conceivable place in the United States. I quickly became good friends with Itzhak (pronounced “Yits-hak”), an extremely intelligent and handsome chap from England, and Jose, a dark and handsome amigo from Mexico, who sells packs of Lucky Strikes to me for $2 apiece. (Interestingly, Itzhak and I are the only two to whom Jose is willing to offer that price.) I’m getting along well with nearly every person I’ve encountered thus far, and I’ve made it a point to do that.

In fact, last year when I came here, I was somewhat introverted. I went to the lectures and spoke to the instructors, but when it came to socializing with others I preferred the seats in the impressive library at the Institute. This year I’m like a fully bloomed flower, not only because I’m pretty, but because I don’t care who it is that I’m about to talk to, I purposefully end up making friends with them. I’ve fully realized the fact that the more friends I make, and the more charismatic I am, the better this whole experience will turn out to be. I’ve made friends with Walter Block (the head economics professor at Loyola University in New Orleans) and have had fulfilling intellectual discussions about the finer things in my political philosophy with him as well as other teachers, in particular with the great Robert Higgs and a young professor named Lucas Engalhardt.

On that note, today Judge Andrew Napolitano gave a moving and illustrative speech about the growth of American government and how it has turned into the same government—nay, a worse one—than the one against which Americans fought during the American Revolution. He concluded on a note that was at once depressing and strangely uplifting when he said, in short, that a revolution will come for the very same reasons it did over two hundred years ago. As I say, it was a morose (and sobering) moment when he went on to say in effect, “Some of us will die in our beds of old age, while some of us will die in a prison that this government has put us in for expressing our political ideas, while still others of us will die martyrs in public squares for standing on our principles.” I do not know if he is right (but who knows the future?), though it does go to show that, if it came to it, there are definitely some people in our world that are not content with—and will not tolerate—others living freely unto themselves, whether in their actions or in their thoughts.

However, for those of us who do stand on principle, we can to some extent escape these high-profile mega- and kleptomaniacs by simply finding freedom and peace within our own minds, for there, no one else is truly allowed. There are people that are able and willing to take everything that you have, be it your wealth, health, or life. I encourage my dear reader not to let anyone creep into your mind and take that away too, for that is the only thing that must remain truly free.

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5 Responses to “A Personal Note on Mises University”

  1. Bob RobertsonNo Gravatar says:

    Cool.

  2. Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

    Did you go to Robert Higg’s speech? I didn’t listen to the whole thing, just the end where he says he’s in the process of leaving the country. Thoughts?

    • Bob RobertsonNo Gravatar says:

      Higgs speech is wonderful, but then they always are. The first time I heard him speak was a CSPAN book show, and he pulled no punches then either, and to have such honesty on CSPAN was refreshing.

      Yes, he talked about leaving the US, hopefully he finds the FSP before then.

    • Ben StoneNo Gravatar says:

      I have talked quite a bit to Bob and his wife about their plans to leave the US. They have some beautiful property in a remote area of Mexico and if I had such a hacienda I would most certainly move there.
      They have some things to tie up here before they move permanently, but Bob deserves a quiet life away from The Beast he has fought so hard to expose.

  3. thorax232No Gravatar says:

    Very cool article, I’d love to attend Mises University one day, I look up to just about every fellow there.