Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Lunch with David Gordon and Bob Murphy

I'm still down in Auburn at the Rothbard Graduate Seminar. I've been learning a lot about some of the finer points of the Austrian School, but I think those would be best held back for a capstone post at the end of the week. I played soccer with some of the other grad students last night, and oh man am I out of shape. It still felt great to get out on the field again though, and it's served as an inspiration for me to get back on the saddle in terms of fitness. I was pleased, however, to see that my touch on the ball isn't completely gone.

This morning we had a talk about the current direction of the Rothbardian research program and of Austro-libertarian academics in general. Dr. Gordon mentioned that there was opportunity to be had in giving John Rawls a good Austrian lambasting, which excited me because I had actually been thinking of just that as a possible direction I could go with my own academic endeavors. Rawls is one of the most influential of modern political philosophers and ethicists, and any attempt to establish an alternative system would likely be required to address the Rawlsian position first.

Dr. Gordon's primary work currently is in writing The Mises Review and says of his work, "I regard book reviewing as a blood sport." Needless to say, Dr. Gordon is a pretty funny guy.

At lunch today I sat at Dr. Gordon's table (as noted in the title, Bob Murphy was there too) with the intention of picking his brain on the prospects for an Austro-libertarian attack on Rawls. What happened instead was a discussion of professional wrestling.

Dr. Gordon was apparently a friend of the late Lou Thesz, and currently corresponds with Glenn Jacobs, noted blogger, member of the Free State Project, but known best as the WWE wrestler "Kane." Apparently Kane recently picked up some tips from a YouTube video of Thesz that Gordon had sent him. Thesz apparently used to half-jokingly give Gordon self defense advice (to avoid a fight, turn around and walk away--but if they follow you, surprise them with an elbow to the face). Either Gordon didn't mention how he met the wrestlers, or I've forgotten, but I imagine that would be another tale in itself. To round out the story, I should note that there is an autographed picture of Jacobs hung in the Institute, made out "to Lew and the Mises Institute, the heavyweight champions of liberty and freedom."

It is my second favorite item on the Institute's walls. For the first, you'll have to check my next blog post.

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