Thursday, June 16, 2011

Institute for Humane Studies Seminar: Scholarship & a Free Society

So here I am at a seminar for the Institute for Humane Studies (IHS) on Scholarship & a Free Society at Bryn Mawr College, a women's college near Philadelphia. This school is absolutely gorgeous. IHS is a libertarian organization that conducts educational programs for college students. I am having a great time here. How many other places can I respond to something by discoursing on how this is an example of government inefficiency, which free markets are better equipped to handle and no one will think you are rude or engaging in an Asperger tendency to monologue? It is telling that before the lectures started and the rules were read out to us, the IHS representative appealed to us that regardless of what we might think of certain laws we should respect the private contract we have entered with IHS and which IHS has entered with Bryn Mawr and not make use of certain substances currently banned by the state of Pennsylvania.

So far we have had some truly thought provoking lectures. I am really impressed to the extent these have not been indoctrination sessions. I suspect that part of it is that we are dealing with graduate students, who already are committed in some fashion to classical liberalism and who have a background in the field. So rather then rehash issues of like why individual liberty is important or why government is inefficient, along the lines of Milton Friedman's wonderful introductory book Free to Choose, the lecturers have moved past that and are trying to problematize these issues in some surprising ways. I hope to post my notes for at least some of them. So stay tuned.


Clarissa said...

What are the "certain substances"?

Izgad said...

Drugs. Just in case anyone here wanted to put their support for legalized drugs into practice. :)