The Property and Freedom Society held its annual conference at Bodrum, Turkey, last month.
The group met regardless of any possible concerns following the June Istanbul terrorist attack and the July coup d’état attempt
planned and orchestrated by the regime, and notwithstanding the growing authoritarian and oppressive dictatorial rule of Turkish President Recep Tayyyip Erdoğan. And the Property and Freedom Society participants traveled to Turkey and had their conference regardless of the Western news media’s propaganda campaign against tourism in Turkey.
The Property and Freedom Society stands for an uncompromising intellectual radicalism: for justly acquired private property, freedom of contract, freedom of association—which logically implies the right to not associate with, or to discriminate against—anyone in one’s personal and business relations—and unconditional free trade. It condemns imperialism and militarism and their fomenters, and champions peace. It rejects positivism, relativism, and egalitarianism in any form, whether of “outcome” or “opportunity,” and it has an outspoken distaste for politics and politicians. As such it seeks to avoid any association with the policies and proponents of interventionism, which Ludwig von Mises had identified in 1946 as the fatal flaw in the plan of the many earlier and contemporary attempts by intellectuals alarmed by the rising tide of socialism and totalitarianism to found an anti-socialist ideological movement. Mises wrote: “What these frightened intellectuals did not comprehend was that all those measures of government interference with business which they advocated are abortive. … There is no middle way. Either the consumers are supreme or the government.” (“Observations on Professor Hayek’s Plan,” 1946))
As culturally conservative libertarians, we are convinced that the process of de-civilization has again reached a crisis point and that it is our moral and intellectual duty to once again undertake a serious effort to rebuild a free, prosperous, and moral society. It is our emphatic belief that an approach embracing intransigent political radicalism is, in the long run, the surest path to our cherished goal of a regime of totally unfettered individual liberty and private property. In thus seeking a fresh and radical new beginning, we are heeding the old but frequently forgotten advice of Friedrich Hayek’s: “We must make the building of a free society once more an intellectual adventure, a deed of courage. What we lack is a liberal Utopia, a programme which seems neither a mere defence of things as they are nor a diluted kind of socialism, but a truly liberal radicalism which does not spare the susceptibilities of the mighty…, which is not too severely practical and which does not confine itself to what appears today as politically possible. We need intellectual leaders who are prepared to resist the blandishments of power and influence and who are willing to work for an ideal, however small may be the prospects of its early realization. They must be men who are willing to stick to principles and to fight for their full realization, however remote. … Unless we can make the philosophical foundations of a free society once more a living intellectual issue, and its implementation a task which challenges the ingenuity and imagination of our liveliest minds, the prospects of freedom are indeed dark. But if we can regain that belief in the power of ideas which was the mark of liberalism at its best, the battle is not lost.”
I will post here the videos of lectures as posted on the PFS website. Thanks to Stephan Kinsella for posting those videos and the articles of commentary by conference participants, from which I will include some quotes.
Following the PFS conference, Tim Haffner wrote, “Despite the political instability stemming from a recent failed military coup and terrorist attacks at the Istanbul airport, through which most participants would travel, a core group gathered … to engage in the uncompromising radical scholarship the society has offered since its inception.
“It is rather fitting that political violence would wean away all but the most dedicated libertarian thinkers from a conference dedicated to highlighting the folly of political authority, bureaucratic security provision, and the dysfunctions inherent to government intervention in what most consider basic services.”
Keir Martland wrote that the Property and Freedom Society conference is “the only conference worth attending.” The “format is leisurely,” … “the surroundings are beautiful, inside and out,” … “the speeches are of an insanely good standard,” and “the conversation is some of the most stimulating you will have all year.”
And Walter Block wrote, “Please take a peek at all the speakers. I want to single out only two. First, the man himself, Hans. I summarize his speech (explaining his argumentation ethics and defending it against critics) in three words: Johan Sebastian Bach, my favorite composer. As usual, Hans was simply scintillating. Like Bach, his arguments were organized, brilliant, inexorable. The other speaker I’d like to mention is Keir Martland. He is only 18 years old, but more than held his own in this august company. He reminded me of a very young Roy Childs, who was my teacher at the Freedom School in Colorado when he was only 17 years old. Both Keir (now) and Roy (then) were just out of diapers a few months before I met them, and both were world class scholars of very tender years. I expect great things from this young man.
“A word about Turkey, at least the Istanbul and Bodrum Airports, and Bodrum, the town on the south west Mediterranean coast of the country. The airports were cleaner than any in the U.S. Bodrum’s streets and highways were less potholed than many places in the U.S., and far cleaner. There was no crime that I could see. I felt far safer there than in the U.S. People warned me about going to this country; my life would be in danger. They hate Jews. They hate Americans. I’d be attacked. I’d be put in jail. Nonsense. No, nonsense on stilts. The place reminded me of Vancouver, Canada, and Acapulco, Mexico. Very safe world-class tourist attractions.”
Here is Hans-Hermann Hoppe with initial words about the conference and introducing the first speakers:
Here is Olivier Richard on “Free and Compulsory Education”:
Here is Rahim Taghizadegan on “The Rise and Fall of the University”:
Here is Keir Martland, asking, “How Glorious Was the ‘Glorious Revolution’?”:
Here is Sean Gabb in “Margaret Thatcher — Hero or Villain?”
Here is Daniel Model on “The Hardship of Doing Business (in Switzerland)”:
Here is Anthony Daniels (Theodore Dalrymple) on “Bogus Illnesses and Their Enablers”:
Here is Heiner Rindermann on “Cognitive and Cultural ‘Entertainment’ of Europe by Immigration”:
(There are a few more videos, and I will add them when they become available.)
Update: The remaining videos are now available, and here they are:
Here is Gerd Schultze-Rhonhof on “The Many Fathers of World War 2”:
Here is Norman Stone on “Politics and Religion”:
Here is Hans-Hermann Hoppe on “The Ethics of Argumentation”:
You can read Dr. Hoppe’s speech here, with notes.
Here is Walter Block on “‘Market Failure’ — Fact or Fiction?”:
Here is David Dürr on “How to Take the State to Court”:
And here is Doug Casey on “Prospecting the World’s Regions”: