Mises in Toronto
I spent much of the weekend in Toronto, Canada, to speak at a Mises Circle held on Saturday. I spoke along with GMU Professor Larry White, Professor George Bragues, and Chris Horlacher (Maple Leaf Metals). The lectures, apart from mine (but, in my defense, it was my first time speaking at this type of event), were great. White spoke on the history of free banking, focusing on Scotland and Canada; I spoke on monetary policy and the Great Recession; Bragues gave a lecture on the ethics of central banking; finally, Horlacher gave a step by step process by which Canada could return to a fully gold backed currency. These lectures will be available online at some point near in the future. I am not sure how many people attended, but there were at least fifty people present, including a good number of students (presumably from the University of Toronto and other surrounding universities).
I am not much of a traveler. I frequently fly between Madrid and San Diego, but that is because I have family in both countries and have lived in both countries — it is not exactly “tourism”. This was my first time in Canada, and my expectations were not deceived. Toronto is a beautiful city, and the University of Toronto is a beautiful campus.
Canada probably has a formidable libertarian community, but from what I understand it is pretty scattered throughout the country. There is no major, central think-tank — such as the Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama — to rein in all the attention. The Ludwig von Mises Institute, Canada, is attempting to fill the gap. While its current influence is limited, it is institutions like LvMI Canada that give a very promising future to the international libertarian movement. Hopefully, through the use of the Mises Canada website and their speaking events, Canadian libertarians can use this resource as a means of spreading knowledge (libertarian knowledge).
I particularly like the fact that the event was hosted on campus, at the University of Toronto. The hall was difficult to find, as I understand, and perhaps the event not well enough advertised amongst the student body (Mises Canada is young and this is only the second or third event, if I recall correctly), but it is the young minds that have to be opened to libertarian thought the most (since they are the most likely to change) and Mises Canada has the right idea. Even if only a few students attend out of thousands, it is these few students who then spread what they learn to their classrooms and classmates. The idea is to plant seeds, which then sprout and grow. Mises Canada, in a sense, is seeding a growing grassroots movement.
The greatest thing, though, is meeting people from other countries who are also interested in libertarianism and Misesian economics. At this event in particular I met a couple who live in China. When I attended Cato University in 2009 I remember meeting students from countries like Venezuela, Guatemala and Italy. There is a growing libertarian movement worldwide and it is very inspiring. Some people might see the libertarian population as small and (politically) insignificant, but compared to how it was forty years ago the libertarian movement is very significant.
While I may have not done as good of a job as I should have, I am very grateful to Redmond Weissenberger (director of LvMI Canada) for having me out there and offering me the opportunity. I had fun, especially listening to the other speakers, and it makes me appreciate the growing libertarian world presence that much more.
If there are Canadian libertarians as of yet unaware of LvMI Canada, I very much suggest bookmarking the website and keeping an eye open on upcoming events. LvMI Canada is worth supporting and has a very promising future. I see it as a keystone to the organization of the Canadian libertarian movement.