Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Sad to See, the End of Physical FEE

This sure puts finality to the news that the Foundation for Economic Education has closed its physical doors and is now only a web site. An auction has just been completed that among other items included the personal desk of the founder of FEE, Leonard Read, and the personal desk of long-time FEE staffer Bettina Bien-Greaves, who was also a s scholarly aide to Ludwig von Mises.

It's always good to have a physical epicenter for the libertarian movement and Austrian economics but, that center, long ago, shifted to Auburn, Alabama and the Ludwig von Mises Institute.

One of my first encounters with other libertarians was during a visit to FEE. I was too young to drive, so I hopped on a Greyhound bus and took the ride from Boston to New York City and then a train to FEE at Irvington-on-Hudson, New York. (Prior to Jimmy Carter's dismantling of the the Civil Aeronautics Board, it was very expensive to fly and only businessmen with expense accounts did it.)

I met Read, Greaves and Hans Sennholz during that visit and saw Read deliver a version of his "How to Advance Liberty" speech. I am not sure completely what is behind the closing of FEE's beautiful Irvington-on Hudson building and grounds, beyond the fact that the epicenter, as I say, moved a long-time ago, but the fact that FEE has appeared to have intellectually shifted in a somewhat libwap direction can't be helping them.

Remember, it was FEE that first published the nutty libwap article,The Feminism of Ludwig von Mises. My response to that article is here: Was Ludwig Von Mises a Feminist?

News that Cathy Reisenwitz is pulling out of full-time active libertarian commentary, to sell software directories, is a signal that the libwap nuttiness is even too off-the-wall for even Belatrain money to deal with.

But, note well, you are witnessing the collapse of libwaps and not pure libertariansim. I do not expect to see the Mises Institute announcing that it is shutting down its physical presence any time soon (Though it unquestionably has  the largest Austrian economics presence on the web).

And I don't expect to see, from such pure libertarians as Lew Rockwell, Walter Block and Tom Woods, announcements that they are leaving the full time libertarian advocacy movement to sell yellow pages ads because "the demand relative to supply of libertarian commentators is low." Quality commentary always sells. It may not always sell to the masses, but there are enough people out there who do think for themselves, and who do read, follow and want to understand more about liberty, that quality commentators can work in the field and keep bread paleo bacon on the table.


1 comment:

  1. It appears that the libwap interpretation of libertarianism is not only intellectually bankrupt but is unable to find a substantial audience. One could rightfully view this as a celebratory moment.

    I could never understand this bizarre tendency of some individuals to inject left-wing political-correctness into libertarianism.