Monday, August 31, 2009


Reflections on the San Fran Mises Circle

Over the weekend I was in San Fransisco for a Mises Circle. (Next stop: Seattle.) We had a surprisingly large crowd of around 175 (not an exact count), in an area that you would think would be slim pickings. A special surprise was that Edward Gonzalez showed up. I also met "Lilburne" (his secret identity will remain a secret, at least until you show me a power drill), Robert Blumen, and some Google guys who thought I was wrong in my debate with Mish. (Is it a debate if Mish ignores me?)

I won't dwell too much on the official proceedings, since the audio is already posted at, and I think even the video may be at some point. (?) Anyway, here are the talks, in order, and note these links are all mp3s: Walter Block, Tom DiLorenzo, Doug French, Bob Murphy, and all of us on a panel. If you're not sure whether to click on them, let me say that I had some pretty good jokes in my talk, and we were very anal about repeating the questions during the Q&A of the panel.

I flew in the day before (Friday) and hung out for several hours with Robert Wenzel (the man, the myth, the legend). He refers to the proceedings here, and perhaps he will grace us with more thoughts as he is so moved.

But the humorous event occurred Friday night. I'm ordering another round of gin and tonics (gins and tonic?) when Wenzel goes up to these two girls sitting at the end of the bar. I can hear him referring to me as "famous" and tells me to come over. This is really bad, because you would think I should be super confident since I'm married and no longer trying to pick up girls in bars, but actually it's even worse: Now I get the pleasure of being rejected when I'm not even trying to hit on girls, and to boot they think I'm a real scumbag for "hitting on them" while brazenly wearing a wedding ring. Suh-weet.

Anyway, Wenzel motions for me to swoop in as the wingman but here's how it went down:

Girl #1 [who looks like she actually doesn't hate men]: So why are you famous?

Bob: [inaudible]

Wenzel: He's a famous economist. He's been on Fox.

Girl #2 [who definitely hates anything that pees standing up]: You're on FOX?!

Bob: I don't work for Fox, I've just been on it.

Girl #2, informing Girl #1: He's been on Fox. (!!)

Girl #1 [who apparently spends more time trying to socialize with others rather than hating men and Sean Hannity in particular]: ??

Girl #2: FOX News, they like, defend the Evil Empire. [Telling Wenzel and Bob, without really looking at us.] You know, people in San Fransisco are really liberal, so that's not something to brag about around here.

At this point I went back to get the drinks that the bartender had mercifully poured by now. I was going to tell Girl #2 that I had probably done more to criticize the Iraq invasion than she had, but decided I didn't need to prove anything to her. I am not sure if this decision was based on self-esteem or humiliation.

Psychoanalysts, let me let you in on a little secret: I was no ladies' man when I was single. Are you surprised?

Any more of these revelations and I'm going to stop recommending your books.
Bob, I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to introduce myself. I had to leave kinda early...middle of the panel discussion. I enjoyed your speech on Saturday. Just wanted to say thank you.

And too bad Lew couldn't make it...
Ooh Bob, I forgot to ask: Do you have any idea where the photos of the event are posted?

Thanks in advance!!
Bob, some of us are skeptical that Wenzel is a real person. Did you two get any pictures together, or are you part of the conspiracy now?

Give up his secrets, man, or we'll boycott your upcoming P.I.G. to Smooth Talking All the Ladies.
Wenzel is real, and moreover when you see him in person, then you believe all his implausible stories about talking to hit men and such.
I'll see you Mises wackos in Newport in November.

Bob, do you have any power to make Walter Block join you for that one? The Newport event seems to be the 1% of Mises events that he is not speaking at.
Bobby... why didn't you come back? I was just trying to act hard to get. Silly!
How would Nash have handled the pick-up game?
I think you did the right thing. These people are best ignored.
Quick answers:

* I don't know about the photos.

* I have no power over Walter Block.

* Nash in the movie would have said, "Adam Smith needs updating," and then proceed to discuss a strategy that did not constitute a Nash equilibrium. Nash in real life would have thrown a New York Times in front of the girl and said, "Aliens are communicating with me in that headline."

(For those who haven't read the book A Beautiful Mind: I'm not kidding. The real Nash's delusions were far more interesting than what Ron Howard decided to run with.)
So, was Nash impressing the chicks with the fact he read the NYT or that aliens were talking to him? If he had thrown down the alien communication from the WSJ the girls would of rejected him, right?
I had missed this comment from Stewart: "Give up his secrets, man, or we'll boycott your upcoming P.I.G. to Smooth Talking All the Ladies."

I just have to say that I will never boycott such a work by Dr. Murphy. I wouldn't mind joining a boycott on all things Murph-related until he actually writes that PIG, though.
Not that you need any of my free advice, but next time don't let the supposition of appearing on FOX stand as anything worthwhile. (It actually means nothing as they have everyone from real scholars to Ann Coulter on FOX--no standards whatsoever!)

You should redirect to something of widely agreed upon value--the fact that you wrote a few books or earned a PhD. Those things are held in high esteem by just about everyone.

You kind-of remind me of my brother--that's why I'm being so bossy, lol, but you have to understand that it is not necessarily what people think about you but the context you are providing to them that's not allowing you any mileage. Provide them with a better context, that's all. My brother also has a PhD and a little too much politeness for this pushy world.
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