As the great Rodney Dangerfield might say, the Austrian School of Economics don’t get no respect from academia. Heck, even when you pay a university millions of dollars to at least introduce a new class of students to the economic discipline, it still gets no love. That is exactly what allegedly happened at the University of Missouri, the post-secondary institution that became the symbol of censorship on campuses after a teacher requested “some muscle” to silence a student journalist covering a protest a few years ago.
Mises Christ Superstar
In 2002, Sherlock Hibbs passed away. He was a student of the Austrian School and an admirer of Ludwig von Mises. Making his fortune on Wall Street, Hibbs declared in his will that he would bequeath $5 million to the University of Missouri to hire “dedicated and articulate disciples” in this economic philosophy.
Hibbs ostensibly did not trust Mizzou to abide by his terms. So, as any smart and cynical person would do, he noted that should the university fail to live up to its end of the bargain, then the $5 million would be transferred to Hillsdale College, a conservative entity based in Michigan.
It turns out that UM might have never hired any Austrians to serve in its faculty. A lawsuit filed by Hillsdale legal representatives alleges that Mizzou did not appoint any Austrian disciples to a professorship or a chair as per Hibbs’s request. Attorneys say that it instead “provided millions of dollars over 15 years to individuals who were not Austrian economists.”
Who did the institution hire with the $5 million?
Here are the seven names:
- Stephen P. Ferris
- Richard A. Johnson
- Rhonda K. Reger
- Marsha Richins
- Lisa K. Scheer
- Karen Schnatterly
- Daniel B. Turban
Phil Magness, an economic historian and senior research fellow at the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER), examined their scholarly works and found the name of Ludwig von Mises for a total of zero times. Also, Reason’s Robby Soave tried contacting these professors and only Schnatterly responded, urging him to contact the university’s media relations department.
If you’re hoping to dive into a curriculum dedicated to Austrian Theory at UM, don’t hold your breath.
Line up in Spontaneous Order
The Austrian School has produced some of the greatest minds in history: Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, Murray Rothbard, Walter Block, Carl Menger, Henry Hazlitt, Israel Kirzner, Hans-Herman Hoppe, and the list goes on. Yet, these men and their ideas are treated like lepers in the academic industry, blacklisted from lesson plans everywhere and tossed aside like a tired and worn-out Paul Krugman column. Indeed, you have a better chance of coming across the philosophies of lesbian dance theory than the principles of Austrian economics. Perhaps economic academia has become too politicized today and this school of thought serves as the antithesis to everything that is central planning and statism.
But it is understandable why colleges refuse to acknowledge Austrian economics. Just take a gander at this Rothbard passage from his seminal book, The Ethics of Liberty:
“In particular, the State has arrogated to itself a compulsory monopoly over police and military services, the provision of law, judicial decision-making, the mint and the power to create money, unused land (‘the public domain’), streets and highways, rivers and coastal waters, and the means of delivering mail…the State relies on control of the levers of propaganda to persuade its subjects to obey or even exalt their rulers.”
You won’t get to hear that at Mizzou.
Take a Hayek
Is the glass half-full or half-empty? Neither; the capital was malinvested in oversized glassware.
Austrians have a free market solution to everything in life, from oceans to space and from currencies to war. If more students left universities with their free minds intact and this newfound knowledge stimulating their little gray cells, then this could threaten the post-Keynesian world, the globalist elite, and the purveyors of state interventionism.
For now, Austrians are required to practice clandestine infiltration campaigns to seep into the pillars of society: media, central banks, academia, and even government. Austrians are tired of trying to reason with you people through 5,000-word blog posts. Now they are going to take over from the inside and set you free from the shackles of antiquated economic doctrines, liberating your mind and body from the clutches of statism.