Why go to college?

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—–Original Message—–
From: Thomas J Behnke [mailto:thomas.behnke@student.shu.edu]
Sent: Sun 8/17/2014 7:05 PM
To: Walter Block
Subject: College

Hey Professor Block,

Thanks again for all of your help at MU! All of your lectures were great, and I really appreciate all of the advice/help you gave. If you don’t mind, I have one more question to ask you. In your opinion, how is college helpful, and why should I continue going? These two questions pop into my head all the time. Why should I be spending $10,000 a year on school, when I feel that I can learn all of the material by myself? I would be able to work full-time and study what I actually want to study in my free time. Instead of studying the philosophy/religious/ancient history classes that fill my school’s CORE curriculum, and instead of taking the Keynesian economics classes that my major is filled with, I could study Austrian economics, foreign policy, and any other topic that I feel is worth my time.

Of course, this would then lead to another question – what job would I be able to get? I assume the answer to this would be a simple ‘not much,’ but then again, how much better would my job prospects be with an undergraduate degree in Economics? I don’t know what type of job I would like to receive after graduating, but I’d definitely consider working at a think tank for a while. However, I understand that jobs at libertarian think tanks are rather hard to come by. And I I feel like a good think tank should not care about your credentials…it should care about your skills, knowledge, and passion, not a piece of paper that says you graduated college. I know this isn’t actually how it works, but I don’t understand why it is so.

Mixed with some math courses, a BA in Economics is great for grad school. I would really enjoy being a professor, but at this point in time, I’m not 100% sure that I would go on to receive a PhD in Economics. If an undergrad degree by itself isn’t worth much, would it make sense to leave school and go back once I decide that I will be going on to receive a Masters or a PhD?

As always, thank you so much for your help.

Tommy
____________________________________________
Tommy Behnke
Seton Hall University, Class of 2016
University Honors Program
Economics Major, College of Arts and Sciences
Arts and Sciences Senator, Student Government Association
(973) 870-2154

for my answer to this student’s query, continue here:

Dear Tommy:

Please consider transferring to Loyola, where you’ll be able to take lots of Austro-libertarian profs, and be a swan, not an ugly duckling, amongst many of our students. You might qualify for one of our scholarships, and pay little or nothing in tuition.

It is very difficult and rare to be an autodidact, that’s why formal education is important!!!!!

If you are an adult past school age, please send this to young people on whose behalf you want to promote free enterprise: Are you a student? What
school? What major? What year? I ask because I am an economics professor at Loyola University New Orleans, and I am looking for
students to come study with me. Loyola must be one of the very few universities in the entire world where all the professors in the
economics department are heavily oriented towards Austrian (free market) economics and libertarianism. An incomparable advantage of
our program is that we ensure students are taught ALL schools of economic thought (including Keynesianism and neo-classical economics)
and political philosophy (including socialism and communism). Unlike many other economics departments, however, we critique the various
schools of thought and through this process provide students with all sides of these issues. We are constantly on the lookout for bright
students who would benefit from studying with professors who appreciate economic freedom, free markets, private property rights and
laissez faire capitalism. If you are a high school or college student, please get in touch with me so that I can urge you to consider applying
or transferring to Loyola New Orleans. If you are past school age but know any young person who would be interested our program, please
pass this note on to them. Why attend Loyola, and not a more prestigious place like Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Chicago, Stanford? Places like
that don’t pay much attention to undergraduate students; we do. Second, if you want to go on for advanced study, get a Ph.D., prestige
matters for your graduate school, not so much for your undergraduate education. Third, if you want to learn the case in favor of Austrian
economics, free enterprise, laissez faire capitalism, you won’t learn it in any of those schools; you will, at Loyola.

http://mises.org/classroom/gradschool.pdf

Open letter to college aged students interested in Austrian economics (the economics of Ron Paul, Friedrich Hayek, Murray Rothbard and Ludwig von Mises) and libertarianism (the political philosophy of Ron Paul, Ayn Rand, Robert Nozick and Murray Rothbard):
Please consider enrolling at Loyola University New Orleans. I’d LOVE to have you as a student. If you have made the error of enrolling elsewhere, do not transfer to Loyola ASAP. Do it RIGHT NOW!!!! If you are seriously interested, I will ask my dean to try to overcome any deadline dates you may have missed for fall admission, transfer, scholarships, etc. I think it would be a big mistake for any student who appreciates Austrian economics and the libertarian political philosophy to go to any college or university without at least a few Austro-libertarian professors.

All of my colleagues in our five member economics department are very free market oriented. Three others of them, apart from me, are also Austrian economists (Bill Barnett, Dan D’Amico and Leo Krasnozhon). 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 eminent Austrian Israel Kirzner’s, is a staunch Austrian; another finance prof, 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. Plus, we have free enterprise oriented professors teaching accounting (Patrick Lynch). We even have a professor of chemistry, Bill Walkenhorst, who is supportive of our free enterprise initiatives, and attends many of our events. It is also possible to earn a BA in economics, which, instead of business courses, you take courses in humanities and social sciences.

An added benefit of enrolling at Loyola is that we encourage students to publish in refereed scholarly journals and regularly succeed in so placing their writings. This is the “publish or perish” syndrome that determines promotion and tenure for professors – so being published in venues of this sort is an unusual honor for undergraduates. I attach a listing of past successes in this regard.

Our economics club which meets twice a month, has had such outside speakers as Ron Paul, Hans Hoppe, Guido Hulsmann, Tom DiLorenzo, Bob Higgs, Walter Williams, Roger Garrison, Tom Woods, Peter Boettke, Tibor Machan, James Buchanan, George Ayittey, Richard Ebeling, Judge Andrew Napolitano and Joe Salerno. Ron Paul spoke for our economics club in the fall, 2009 to a gigantic audience. 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, most recently, Murray Rothbard’s The Case Against the Fed, and Tom Wood’s, Meltdown. These seminars are so popular with libertarian students at other New Orleans area Universities (Tulane, UNO) that not only do they attend them, they actually enroll in our courses (economics as taught at these other universities is very mainstream; that is, Keynesian and mathematically oriented.)

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. 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, liberal, “progressive” and multiculturist 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 libertarian Austrian enterprise point of view.

WE DO OFFER SCHOLARSHIPS. The Office of Admissions offers several types of academic scholarships based on need and merit. My suggestion is to apply to Loyola http://apply.loyno.edu/ to determine your eligibility. The College of Business does offer some scholarships on a one-time basis based on need and academics, but are reserved for current students, not new admits. Please let me know if you have any questions about this. The website offers quite a bit of useful information, specifically on the scholarships and financial aid webpage http://www.loyno.edu/financialaid/

I’m copying a person on this in case you need help, or more information, about Loyola University New Orleans: She is Dean Roberta Kaskel, the Director of Admissions and her email is rekaskel@loyno.edu. I suggest you apply on line for admission. If you are denied, please get back to me for other suggestions.

We have a very good record of publishing student papers in refereed journals, which also helps in this process, and sending off students to graduate schools where they successfully attain phd degrees and become economics professors. Two of them, Levendis and D’Amico fit this bill, in that they were previously undergraduates at Loyola, and are now professors here.

Message from Dean Kaskel:

Greetings from Loyola University New Orleans! As you begin your college search, we wanted to ensure that you were aware of the information that Loyola’s web site can provide you. By visiting http://www.loyno.edu/, you can apply for admission, visit various departments, find out about upcoming events and even plan a visit to our campus. We invite you to explore our web site and discover some of the distinctive characteristics of Loyola University New Orleans. You can access our application via our website at http://apply.loyno.edu/application/.

During the coming year you will receive periodic updates from us concerning admissions, financial aid, scholarships and upcoming events. We would like to send these updates to you via both email and traditional mail. If you wish for us not to send you information via email, please send us a reply to this message stating that you do not wish to receive email from Loyola.

If you have any questions about Loyola, please feel free to e-mail us at admit@loyno.edu or call us at 504.865.3830 or 800.4.LOYOLA.

Sincerely,

Roberta

Roberta A. Kaskel
Dean of Undergraduate Admissions
rekaskel@loyno.edu
800.4.LOYOLA or 504.865.3860

We are still accepting applications for admission and scholarship consideration. You can apply utilizing our application via our website at http://apply.loyno.edu/ If you have any questions about the application process please feel free to contact Roberta Kaskel at rekaskel@loyno.edu.

Best regards,

Walter

Walter E. Block, Ph.D.
Harold E. Wirth Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair and Professor of Economics
Joseph A. Butt, S.J. College of Business
Loyola University New Orleans
6363 St. Charles Avenue, Box 5, Miller Hall 318
New Orleans, LA 70118
tel: (504) 864-7934
fax: (504) 864-7970
wblock@loyno.edu

4:55 pm on August 22, 2014