Whew. I’m beat — and now I’m dealing with a mild case of poisoning.
Cato University is over, and I have to say that it seemed that a good time was had by all. My colleagues did a really good job and the participants were first rate. (And my colleagues in the Cato conference department, led by Laura Major, did their usual excellent job.)
I was up Sunday and Monday (August 4 and 5) at the Foundation for Economic Education, on the board of trustees of which I sit, to give some lectures on the history of limited government and on the historical evolution of the legal and moral theory (and practice) of individual rights. The students seemed quite motivated and keen to learn about the deep historical tradition of classical liberalism. They included undergrads, a few grad students, and even a number of really outstanding high-school age home-schoolers. (We’ve had a number of home schooled students at Cato University, as well, and the more contact I have with home-schooled young people, the more determined I am to defend them from the tyranny of the teachers’ unions, who want to kidnap them and force them back into their largely useless de-education prisons, which they call “schools.”) Unfortunately, just before heading back on the “high speed” Amtrak Acela train (late both ways!), I got a cup of the very worst coffee I’ve ever had in my life. It turns out that it wasn’t merely foul tasting, but it had some kind of detergent or the like in it, perhaps because of a confusion about which pot was clean and which was being cleaned, and I’ve been really sick as a result. (It was a completely innocent little error and I’m not about to engage in the current American pastime and sue anyone.) I learned that it’s really a terrible experience to feel like your whole body is saturated with nasty chemicals and to feel that your passages have been chemically burned. I spent a long time this evening at the gym and sauna sweating and feel much better as a result. (And, of course, I had my usual cure for everything: lots of Chinese hot-and-sour soup.)
I’ll be back up in New York next week to give more talks at the Foundation for Economic Education (the history of constitutionally limited government, the history of property rights, and why “welfare rights,” also known as “social rights,” are not the “next stage” of the development of rights theory, but in fact represent the rejection of rights-based legal orders). A few weeks after that I’m off to Bulgaria for a conference on European classical liberalism sponsored by the Institute for Economic Studies, followed by two more conferences for European liberals in Aix-en-Provence.