by Jack Glaab by Jack Glaab
It's been just over a year now that I've been trying to clear an obstacle from my mind. Of course I did not recognize it as an obstacle in the beginning but see it clearly now.
Late last winter I attended an economic conference at Walsh College in Troy, Michigan. Economics have never been my passion but Lew Rockwell was speaking there and that was a good enough reason to attend and possibly learn something about economics.
The conference hall was filled with bright, curious, confident faces some quite young and some predictably senior. When questions were asked of the panel on topics of (the nations') economic problems the questions were never front-loaded with the usual blame the other party claptrap. E.g., "Senator, you liberal hypocrite, will you stop beating your wife to solve the racial inequities so obvious in our schools?"
Mind you, I did not understand some of the questions or answers; such is my knowledge of higher economics. But I was taken aback by the lack of foolish political scab picking so prevalent in any other venue of public discussion.
It should be noted that Walsh College is a private (not government) business school which tasks itself with graduating competent business managers. With that goal in mind it should logically follow that economic discussions there be devoid of the usual politicking, except as to note that politicians will ignore economic principles anytime they are not violating them.
Just before the economic conference I had read one of Lew's articles in which he laid out his reasons for why there IS reason for hope and optimism despite the hideous images presented daily in the monopoly media and in the generally fecal zeitgeist of the American people. At the time I read Lew's article I was not persuaded.
But this changed, at least partially, by listening to the discussions in the conference room. The depth, quality, and clarity of the discussion was truly inspiring. Further, to realize that this scene is played out often in many other venues was to realize there IS reason for hope.
Walsh College and a host of other private institutions around the country and globe are busy making competent businessmen and sending them out into the business world to keep the engines of commerce oiled and productive. Like productive viruses they will infect their business with the DNA of quality thought. In this there is hope.
Sadly, only seven miles away and at that same hour an heroic lion was taking his last breaths. Mark Scott, a radio and internet talk show host of many decades was taken suddenly by a heart attack. Symbolically this could not have been more perfect. It passed the era of talk radio where ideas could be introduced and given an honest hearing. I suspect it will be quite some time before the pendulum swings away from the Limbaughs and Hannitys who seem to fear thought, preferring slavish adherence to orthodoxy instead.
Mark Scott was passionate and aggressive in examining philosophical ideas, and in kicking at the shins of ignorant politicians. His show was often "more heat than light" but that was part of its appeal. In an age of delicate new-men Mark was an old school testosterone machine clawing at bad ideas and championing good ones.
Mark Scott did in his own way what Walsh College does. Both turn out scores of improved thinking machines capable of improving their world if only by knowing what is right and wrong. Scotts' gift was that he could challenge anyone to be somebody and stop accepting nobody status, thereby empowering them to empower themselves. Unknown thousands of improved thinking machines now champion ideas in Detroit, and D.C. where Mark had done his show. In this there IS hope.
Both Walsh College and Mark Scott tasked themselves with different missions yet created the same product. As does LRC and hosts of other organizations quietly and efficiently sowing the DNA of creativity, liberty, self-reliance, and a love of decent non-aggression. In this there IS hope.
I wondered how Lew could find so much hope in what, on the surface, appears to be such a hopeless situation. I realize now that Lew spends his time among the best and brightest, people who choose to focus on a bright future. I, on the other hand, had been spending too much time watching the boob tube and frustrating myself in waiting for them to get the stuff straight — if only once! Who knows what insane agenda the "old media" is trying to sell, the "new media" are at least transparent idiots.
These were the obstacles I had to clear from my mind. The incessant blaming and obfuscating to serve political allegiances of the media personalities are pure poison. What the poison doesn't kill it distracts from productive thought. Would I not be better served by working in my garden and reading Mises after? Would the world be a better place if I kept my own yard clean and tried to change my neighbors' socialist thought patterns? Would my time be better spent doing anything other than being sucked into the corrosive, corruptive waste of national politics? The questions answer themselves once I am ready to ask them.
To feel hope one must empty his plate of despair and confusion. Only then can he see the endless reasons for confidence and hope. Only then can he get busy making the world better for himself and others.
The heroic lions wait for us to follow their lead.
Jack Glaab [send him mail] is an independent security consultant in Detroit.