I had an early morning seminar and book presentation on Realizing Freedom: Libertarian Theory, History, and Practice, at the offices of the Hayek Institut in Vienna, followed by a visit to the Finance Ministry to hear the address of the Finance Minister, Dr. Josef Proll, which, while far from perfect from a libertarian perspective, was far, far, far better than what we have heard from the Obamas and Sarkozys of the world.

With Barbara Kolm At Seminar in Vienna

(Photos in order)
With Dr. Barbara Kolm at the Hayek Institut

Book Signing Vienna
Signing copies of Realizing Freedom at the Hayek Institut’s offices

Book Signing Vienna 2
More of the same

Finanz Minister
The meeting in the atrium of the Ministry of Finance

Tags: , , ,

8 Responses to “Vienna”

  1. Eli Feigenbaum

    Just a quick note: A “Dr.” is someone with a medical degree. There is something unseemly — and more than a little embarrassing — about PhDs calling themselves “doctors.” Or for others to do the same. Thank goodness that the practice seems to be on the decline. If a colleague in my department — or, even a student — were to go up to me or someone else and call him “Dr.” that colleague would be thought more than a bit odd and the student would be politely corrected and asked to refer to the person by his first name. Using the term is not a sign of respect — it’s a way of establishing an artificial wall between people who are after the same goal: pursuing truth. And, sadly, sometimes I think it is a way to prop up one’s fragile ego.

  2. Tom G. Palmer

    This is Austria, not California. Here people are likely to feel insulted if you do not use the appropriate term. There are differences among cultures and, like them or not, I generally think that there should be a presumption that one respect them, unless there is a clear reason not to. For you, a “Dr.” is someone with a medical degree. Ok, but why insist on that? What makes a “medical doctor” special, in a way that a historian, an engineer, a biologist, a chemist, or a lawyer, each of whom is highly trained and knowledgeable, is not?

    When I’m in China, I make an effort to comport myself in a way that is respectful of Chinese expectations. The same goes for Austria.

  3. Eli Feigenbaum

    I don’t call my medical doctors “Dr.” either — they are Seth and Judith to me — and that is at should be, as well. They should treat their colleagues — and perhaps more importantly, their patients — as just plain other folks, people who deserve to be told what is wrong (and what is not wrong) with them. So my initial point was ill-advised and I regret making it. Still, and it may be a bias I have (though I doubt it from decades of experience) but to call someone who received a PhD a “Doctor” is simply grotesque, no matter where you.

    Please do not take this comment as condescending, because I honestly do not mean it that way: But if you had a faculty position, or something approaching it, I think you would better understand my point.

    Again, I do not mean that in a derogatory way — I greatly admire what you are doing on behalf of liberalism. And I have on many occasions both here and abroad had to welcome and entertain foreign officeholders, but none, not even from continental Europe, would I embarrass by calling or introducing him as “Dr.”

  4. Anyone with a doctoral degree is a doctor. What is so difficult to understand about this, Eli? The fact that in the United States “doctor” became short in popular language for “Doctor of Medicine” hardly changes this.

    Now as for what to call M.D.’s, you’re welcome to your own policies in these matters, but I’ve always called M.D.’s “Dr. Such and such” because of the extremely high regard I have for people who have taken such efforts to learn to help their fellow humans. I find the practice of calling M.D.’s by their first names almost offensive. They are *not* “just plain folks.” I’d not want to trust my health and life to “just plain other folks.” The egalitarianization of society that this represents is “just plain wrong.”

  5. Eli Feigenbaum

    You are certainly welcome to your own policies on this, Mr. Steele, but if you do not know your medical doctor well enough — or trust him well enough — to speak to him on a first name basis, then I wonder: Why do you see him at all? It is a formality that we would not dare countenance in other matters.

    No doubt, others will think I making too much of this — even by simply mentioning it. But if I were looking after my own best interest — as understood and advanced by others on this site — I would defend the practice. Instead, I am questioning it because I think it does no good — and, in fact, may do significant harm. We should wish to reduce cases where people feel — when there is no good reason — that there is substantial aymmetric information simply as a matter of titles. In my opinion, this prevents people from asking good and probing questions. At the same time, I acknowlede that such asymmetric arrangements do, in fact, exist and no matter of egalitarian “leveling” will change that.

    You may find this position “wrong” or “unreasonable” or whatever else you wish to label it — but that, I believe, is an extremely difficult proposition to defend if you give it careful thought.

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>