Off To Bryn Mawr

Lynne Kiesling

The KP Spouse just very kindly dropped me at the airport to go to Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, to teach at the Foundations of Liberty workshop sponsored by the Institute for Humane Studies. I love doing this.

More news as it happens. In thinking about the upcoming week I am reminded of this excellent quote from Frederic Bastiat’s Economic Harmonies:

But liberty can assume only one form. When we are certain that each one of the molecules composing a liquid has within it everything that is needed to determine the general level, we conclude that the simplest and surest way to obtain this level is not to interfere with the molecules. All those who accept as their starting point the thesis that men’s interests are harmonious will agree that the practical solution to the social problem is simply not to thwart these interests or to try to redirect them.

Coercion, on the other hand, can assume countless forms in response to countless points of view. Therefore, those schools of thought that start with the assumption that men’s interests are antagonistic to one another have never yet done anything to solve the problem except to eliminate liberty. They are still trying to ascertain which, out of all the infinite forms that coercion can assume, is the right one, or indeed if there is any right one. And, if they ever do reach any agreement as to which form of coercion they prefer, there will still remain the final difficulty of getting all men everywhere to accept it freely.