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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/3273/memories-of-murray/

Memories of Murray

March 7, 2005 by

I was given a signal honor at the Mises Institute’s Austrian Economics and Financial Markets conference on February 18–19, 2005, held in The Venetian Hotel Resort Casino; Las Vegas. I was awarded the Rothbard Medal of Freedom.

I would like to take this opportunity to reflect upon the life of Murray N. Rothbard. Not his professional life, which will live forever through his many, many, many publications, taped speeches, etc. Instead, I would like to discuss his more personal side, through my own recollections of my almost 30-year friendship with him. It is my thought that as the years go on, there will be fewer and fewer people alive, such as myself, who had the good fortune to actually interact with this giant of liberty. Here are some of my reminiscences of Murray, my mentor, my guru, my leading light, and most important, my friend.

[Full Article]

{ 21 comments }

Manuel Lora March 7, 2005 at 9:47 am

Congratulations! It’s an honor to have you at Loyola.

Pete Canning March 7, 2005 at 10:57 am

I truly great article. Congratulations on the award.

David Heinrich March 7, 2005 at 11:01 am

Great article, Prof. Block! Congratulations on receiving the Rothbard Medal of Freedom.

Vanmind March 7, 2005 at 2:42 pm

Way to do your thing, but boo to all awards.

Such nonsense champions the pretense of a central “authority” where none exists.

I mean, jeez–fraternal orders and veiled unions (e.g. MBAs) are bad enough…

David Heinrich March 7, 2005 at 3:29 pm

Vanmind,

What are you talking about? I don’t see how it champions a “central authority”. The Mises Institute is not a central authority, though it happens to be a voluntarily respected institution, the most respected of those dealing with Austrian economics and free-market economics. I also don’t see how an MBA (which is a degree) is somehow a “union”.

Sincerely,
David Heinrich

Stephan Kinsella March 7, 2005 at 4:52 pm

Vanmind: “Way to do your thing, but boo to all awards. … Such nonsense champions the pretense of a central “authority” where none exists.”

Heinrich, I agree w/ your response to Vanmind. Further, Vanmind’s comments, it seems to me, are not coherent, because an “award” is simply in the eye of the beholder. If you praise someone, it’s an award, in a sense. If you pay them to do a job, or hire them, etc., it’s also an award. If you write an article about their work, it’s an award.

In other words, there are many actions in a free society by which people manifest their esteem for someone–they hang out with them, marry them, pursue them, write about them, hire them, or give them monetary prizes and pieces of paper called “awards.” All these are just varying ways of recognizing someone. To condemn one of them is to condemn them all, which is obviously absurd.

Vanmind March 7, 2005 at 5:05 pm

All awards, all medals, and all similar gewgaws are simple-minded symbols of narcissism that do a disservice to those whose accomplishments thereafter become belittled by such egoist “recognition.”

MBA holders comprise the scummiest trade organization ever, politicizing all industry sectors in times of corporate uncertainty to ensure that thousands of others will get downsized to protect their own “guaranteed income.” They are the fat that should always be trimmed first to prevent insolvency, yet they will suck all life out of company before they ever give up their parasitic pretense. In short: the MBA is the most over-rated degree in history.

NamedForRep.Ron March 7, 2005 at 5:23 pm

I don’t quite agree with Vanmind’s stance on “awards” but I tip my hat to anyone who recognizes the junk-heap of the MBA for what it is. Not that I’m an expert, but I’m a near-future college grad who could’ve taken the MBA path and surrendered my dignity and lots of $.

NamedForRep.Ron March 7, 2005 at 5:25 pm

Follow-up: What kind of idiot would invest all that money in an MBA, which is at best a depreciating asset? Great business move there!

Vanmind March 7, 2005 at 5:57 pm

Of course, this being Monday my posts are less than pure rationality…

The “awards” thing has been a hot topic of debate for centuries. Countries might decide that it’s ok to give medals to soldiers for bravery–then soon enough some cowards with political connections start to manufacture phony “hero” stories for themselves to procure medals that can be used for future political “capital.” Scumbag criminals spend lives in unlawful, unethical pursuit of profiteering–then set up a “foundation” or “scholarship” in an attempt to purchase legitimacy for their pathetic past.

IMO, awards–like any socialist boondoggle–should either be “for everyone” or they should not be given at all. One need look no farther than the Rhodes Scholarship for an example of the kind of exclusionary pretense that keeps all awards from having true legitimacy.

Pete Canning March 7, 2005 at 6:04 pm

Vanmind, what the hell?

Your comments are truly bizarre and far less than coherent.

If I ever get an MBA I will be sure to send you a medal, “best blog comment ever.”

Vanmind March 7, 2005 at 6:04 pm

That didn’t sound quite right either; my head is fuzzy today.

Vanmind March 7, 2005 at 6:19 pm

Ok, here’s another try…

Awards are like any socialist “privilege.” The NEA might shun those who do not kowtow to the NEA agenda; the Mises Institute might shun those who do not kowtow to the Austrian agenda; Rhodes scholars might be unaware of the slimy life their benefactor led; voters might be ignorant of fakery within the “soldier hero” gambit.

Public, private–some legitimate, maybe, and others obvious propaganda. Since veracity cannot be verified for all award presentations, none should be recognized as anything other than trivial. The fact that many do gush so over award ceremonies belittles the actual accomplishments that are being celebrated. Give praise where praise is due, and leave the trinkets in the trashcan.

NamedForRep.Ron March 7, 2005 at 6:36 pm

Still not quite with ya on the awards issue, Van.

Walter’s mention of Murray playing Risk brings an immediate smile. If I had the chance to play any board game with anyone who ever lived, that would be my pick.

Vanmind March 7, 2005 at 6:38 pm

Risk rules. Diplomacy is also way cool.

David Heinrich March 7, 2005 at 10:23 pm

Vanmind,

Regarding awards, there is a certain sentimental value to them. I believe the LvMI also offers awards of a Gold Eagle, which should have particular sentimental value to Austrians. Furthermore, they may have monetary value. Furthermore, awards are, more so, a way of a group of people showing their appreciation for the hard work and accomplishment of another person. Of course, like anything else, they can be devalued and inflated (e.g., if too many of them are issued, as was done in Germany during WWII).

As for MBAs, like everything else, their value depends on many factors. Most importantly would be the institution from which they’re granted and how hard the student worked (how much he got from it). In parallel with MBAs, many investors also pursue a CFA (which does not require any formal enrollment, though about $700 of textbooks and passing a test). If you don’t think MBAs can% be valuable, you haven’t done any research beyond looking at a few diploma-factories. I’d suggest taking a look at the London Times’ listing of the top 100 business schools world-wide, which displays various statistics. Salary increase ranges from 71-199%. Not valuable? The top business schools also have placement programs as well.

Of course, you could argue that it is the school to which someone went, rather than the actual degree (the MBA), that is valuable.

Manuel Lora March 7, 2005 at 10:58 pm

It’s a damn shame that what started out as a place to congratulate Walter Block for his award and read about his memories of Rothbard has degenerated into a debate about MBAs and the philosophy of medals. Oh well, I guess we all have different opinions about what “Post an intelligent and civil comment” means.

Stephan Kinsella March 7, 2005 at 11:29 pm

So-called Vanmind– “IMO, awards–like any socialist boondoggle–should either be “for everyone” or they should not be given at all. One need look no farther than the Rhodes Scholarship for an example of the kind of exclusionary pretense that keeps all awards from having true legitimacy.”

“Public, private–some legitimate, maybe, and others obvious propaganda. Since veracity cannot be verified for all award presentations, none should be recognized as anything other than trivial. The fact that many do gush so over award ceremonies belittles the actual accomplishments that are being celebrated. Give praise where praise is due, and leave the trinkets in the trashcan.”

You might have a point if you could present it coherently and not in your condensed twin-language-speak. Or is your point Walker Percy-visting-the-Grand-Canyon-ish?

Your comments would apply to reputation in general; to, e.g. private agencies that certify and endorse. If Motor Trends “awards” “best SUV of the year” to the new Land Rover L3, that is by your lights socialistic. This is nonsense, dear Vanmind.

Please change your mind and admit I am right. As soon as possible, please.

Vanmind March 8, 2005 at 12:17 am

Yeah, David, I hear you. I think Germany–like all countries–shouldn’t have been giving away medals in the first place.

I also think that no person should approach any education opportunity with potential salary-based ROI as a justification. Such missteps lead sometimes to leaps of compromised ethics. In fact, sometimes certain subspecies of such people–who from an early age also rely on family connections, guaranteed Ivy League placement, and secret society circle-jerks to secure a narcissistic base of delusional ego-space operation–lose all sense of morality to become the most base pirates, drug runners and warmongering cutthroats.

But I digress…

NamedForRep.Ron March 8, 2005 at 7:34 pm

I assume Walter Block is in fact reading this, and so I apologize for bringing up irrelevant issues here.

If there’s anyone who is deserving of recognition for clarifying and elucidating the philosophy and economics of freedom, it’s Walter. “Defending the Undefendable” is dynamite, and his periodic LRC articles are without equal.

Charles Hueter March 9, 2005 at 3:51 pm

Congradulations on the award! Though I have not yet heard any of the recordings of Rothbard, I certainly did detect what Walter termed “the Jewish schtick, the sense of humor, the radical perspective” in the audio copy of the debate he had with Richard Epstein over eminent domain.

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