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The Case for Enrolling at Loyola University New Orleans

by Walter Block by Walter Block Recently by Walter Block: On the Attack: Racists and Sexists at Loyola University New Orleans and of Loyola University in Maryland, Beware

This letter was sent to me, in response to my recent LRC publication regarding my travails with the forces of political correctness at Loyola University New Orleans.

"As the father of a college-age daughter, I would not like to see her enrolled in an institution that engages in such witch hunts, and I’ll wager there are a lot of other LRC-reading parents of college-age kids who feel the same way."

My response is as follows.

Dear Mr. X:

I fear I have given a very, very erroneous impression about my plight at Loyola University New Orleans, and its Diversity Task Force. Based on what you have read, you are indeed entitled to reach the conclusion you mention, above. So, I am delighted that you have written me, since it gives me the opportunity to explain the situation at my university.

I love my job here; I am deliriously happy to be a professor at Loyola University New Orleans. Yes, the majority of professors at my school are politically correct Marxist, feminist, leftist, multicultural, relativist obscurantists. The members of the Diversity Task Force are merely the tip of the iceberg.

However, the very same thing is true at each and every university in the U.S., with but very rare exceptions. (I would include Grove City College and Hillsdale College as exceptions to this general rule.) Take Harvard for example. You remember how the professoriate at that university hectored its (former) president, Larry Summers for merely speculating about male-female differences. Well, I challenged feminist orthodoxy to a far greater degree than that, and my "punishment" was far less: one silly report from the Diversity Task Force, which I have been given to understand, they now greatly regret publishing. Indeed, they wish the entire episode would go away, and it is I who keep it going. (Why do I do this? I certainly don’t think any of them will change their minds. Rather, I ostensibly speak to them, but am really aiming at my students; trying to demonstrate what logic and justice are all about. Plus, it is fun to rake these people over the coals.)

Why, then, am I so much enjoying my professional life at Loyola University New Orleans, and, why do I encourage you and other parents of college age children to consider coming here for four years?

Here is material I send out to potential students, and their parents:

Please consider enrolling at Loyola University New Orleans. I’d love to have you as a student.

All of my colleagues in our four member economic department are very free market oriented.  Two others of them, apart from me, are also Austrians (Bill Barnett, Dan D’Amico). The one non-Austrian in the department (John Levendis) is very sympathetic to this school of thought. Plus a colleague in the finance dept, Stuart Wood, a former student of Israel Kirzner’s, is a staunch Austrian; another finance Professor, Ron Christner, is also a supporter of markets. There are also two solid libertarian professors in our law school (Jim Viator, David Gruning). Nick Capaldi, another libertarian, teaches business ethics here. Plus, we have free enterprise—oriented professors teaching marketing (Jerry Goolsby) and accounting (Patrick Lynch, Lee Yao).  We even have a professor of chemistry, Bill Walkenhorst, who is supportive of our free enterprise initiatives, and attends many of our events. (Google us!) It is also possible to earn a BA in economics, in which, instead of business courses, you take courses in humanities and social sciences.

Our economics club which meets twice a month, has had such outside speakers as Hans Hoppe, Guido Hlsmann, Tom DiLorenzo, Bob Higgs, Walter Williams, Roger Garrison, Tom Woods, Peter Boettke, Tibor Machan, James Buchanan, Pete Leeson. When Ron Paul spoke on campus at the invitation of our Economics Club in the fall, 2009, he attracted an audience of about 1,000, even though, due to his schedule, he spoke during the first week of classes. Our libertarian seminar studies books like Rothbard’s For a New Liberty and the Ethics of Liberty.  Our Austrian economic seminar discusses publications such as Mises’ Human Action, and Rothbard’s The Case Against the Fed. We are now in the midst of discussing Tom Woods’ Meltdown.

With all of this Austro-libertarian activity and free market professors, as you can imagine, many of our students have adopted this philosophy. C’mon down to New Orleans. You’ll be among friends. At pretty much at any other college, with one or two exceptions, you’d be an ugly duckling. With us, you’ll be a beautiful swan. This doesn’t mean we don’t have socialist professors. Like most universities, we have plenty of them and they vastly outnumber us; but this is not altogether to the bad: it is good to acquaint yourself with all perspectives in political economy. However, Loyola is virtually unique in also presenting students with a strong free enterprise point of view.

But isn’t New Orleans now under water? Not a bit of it. While there are vast stretches of the Big Easy that have been negatively impacted by Katrina and not yet rebuilt, the uptown university area where Loyola (and next door Tulane) is located is as beautiful as it has ever been. As well, that other geographical student focus, the fabled French Quarter, is up and running, ready for business as usual. So come on down, and enjoy an excellent education at Loyola University New Orleans.

Yes, application numbers are now somewhat lower than usual (we are creeping back to pre-2005 levels). But this is a great opportunity for students who otherwise might not have thought of Loyola University New Orleans as a place to study. We do offer scholarships.

Let me conclude the case for enrolling at Loyola University New Orleans, why I am so happy here, and why your children will be, too.

There are several reasons. First, this is the only university to have ever given me tenure. Second, they have awarded me the prestigious Harold E. Wirth Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair and Professorship of Economics, with a very substantial salary, and research budget. Third, my own Joseph A. Butt, S.J. College of Business recognized my research with an award for excellence in this regard. Fourth, I was also awarded the university wide Dux Academicus prize, given to "an outstanding member of the faculty of Loyola University New Orleans who through demonstrated ability is able to impart the knowledge and wisdom of the humanities, sciences or the professions to students…" When you realize that these latter two decisions were made by the very same professors who I have reviled, above, as leftists, etc., this is all the more to their credit. Yes, we’ve got Marxists here, but our Marxists are better than those at most other institutions of higher learning. Further, we have one of the highest proportions of libertarian professors at any university in the country, indeed, in the world. My estimate is a full 5%. That doesn’t sound like much, I admit, but for those in the know, this is truly a gargantuan percentage.

Why will your children be happy here? The main reason is that they will be amongst students who, under the tutelage of our many and well-spoken libertarian professors, have come to appreciate the merits of the free enterprise, limited government, private property philosophy of libertarianism.

Dr. Block [send him mail] is a professor of economics at Loyola University New Orleans, and a senior fellow of the Ludwig von Mises Institute. He is the author of Defending the Undefendable and Labor Economics From A Free Market Perspective. His latest book is The Privatization of Roads and Highways.

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