Mises University: The Greatest Week of the Year
This past July, I had the privilege of attending Mises University, also known as "the greatest week of the year." It was, without a doubt, one of the best weeks of my life so far. Throughout the program I had numerous opportunities to learn from and engage not only with some of the most accomplished and intellectually exciting faculty, but with over 100 students from all over the world equally excited about equipping themselves with knowledge in order to fight for a better future.
When looking around the world today, it is easy to become discouraged at the state of higher learning. Student protesters break up classes and disrupt speakers, having determined that the free exchange of ideas is a form of patriarchal capitalist oppression that has to go. When class is able to proceed uninterrupted, all too often professors merely serve as parrots for the status quo who promote more government interference in all aspects of life and many times punish those with dissenting opinions. With such a sad state of affairs, programs like Mises University are more important than ever in keeping alive the classical liberal and Austrian traditions and equipping students with the tools and knowledge needed to combat the seemingly ever-ascendant forces of antiliberalism.
As any student will tell you, many college classrooms are filled with half-asleep students who merely show up to get a passing grade and a diploma with their name on it. These are not the kind of students one finds at Mises University. In contrast, everyone I met at Mises University was eager and excited for the opportunity to learn and engage with new and exciting ideas, even if they didn’t fit on “the index card of allowable opinion” that is normal fare at college. My interesting conversations started when I woke up in the morning and didn’t stop until I went to bed late at night. How different from the typical college experience!
As someone who is passionate about a free society and the ideas and institutions that form its foundations, it can often be discouraging to look at the state of the world. However, I left Mises University feeling mentally and spiritually refreshed, with a better understanding of sound economic principles that are at the core of what makes peaceful coexistence and human flourishing possible. Mises wrote that “antiliberalism is heading toward a general collapse of civilization” and described the efforts to prevent this as “the great historical struggle, the decisive battle into which our epoch has plunged us” into which everyone is drawn. My time at Mises University made me much better intellectually equipped to understand and carry on this struggle, and I am forever grateful to the Mises Institute and the donors who sponsored my attendance.