It was a weekend of jaywalking with a smile, lighting up cigarettes indoors and plotting ways to ‘sow seeds of doubt’. The inaugural Australian Mises Seminar took place last weekend in a secret location in Sydney. Somewhere between the Deutsche Bank and Royal Bank of Scotland buildings.
Living legend Hans-Hermann Hoppe was the centre of the show, preaching to the largely converted about Democracy: The God That Failed, The Economics and Ethics of Private Property, The Myth of National Defense and A Theory of Socialism and Capitalism.
All this might not seem like your cup of tea. But that’s not really your choice. Think of it this way:
First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for the smokers
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a smoker
Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.
That was Martin NiemÖller, writing about Germany under the Nazis. (We included one verse, but won’t tell you which one.)
Closer to home, they have so far come for the smokers, jaywalkers, fast drivers, emitters, miners, savers and defence volunteers. Taxes, fines, plain packaging, more taxes, inflation (another tax) and wars.
But don’t think there isn’t any resistance to all this injustice. Including violent resistance (unrelated to the Mises Seminar).
This individual, who claims to have worked for the chairman of a bank, decided to make his car ‘disappear’ as a sign of his disgust for fractional reserve banking. If you didn’t bother clicking on the link, the video breaks down like this:
‘I’ve had enough. I’m gonna make this car disappear. Please post this on Youtube, ’cause this won’t make it to the media. Fractional reserve lending is the root of all our problems.’
He then throws a match into the boot of his car, which is filled with something very, very flammable. The shenanigan takes place in a packed mall in Wellington, New Zealand.
Fractional reserve banking happens to be a pet topic for philosopher and economist Hans-Hermann Hoppe too. Although he hasn’t blown up any cars as far as we know.
Apart from Hoppe, Mises Seminar attendees heard from all sorts of odd people. There was a fund manager whose portfolio outperforms while others’ crash, a scholar who reckons fiat money is unconstitutional in Australia and a rather attractive private security contractor recently returned from Afghanistan (you’re not allowed to call them mercenaries).
The only person who felt out of place was a mainstream economist.
If you missed out and want to keep in touch with Australia’s libertarian community, economics.org.au is the place to do it.
Markets and Money Weekend Edition