Last Sunday I felt as though I was back in high school, watching the Broncos being schooled by the Sea Hawks in the Superbowl. That is how one sided the game was. By half time my roommate changed the channel to ‘Fish Bowl’ on National Geographic channel because it was a more unpredictable show (a continuous two-hour live stream of a fish swimming around in a fishbowl, literally). All was not lost though, as the Superbowl commercials lived up to their expectations of high entertainment value with a lot of celebrity cameos. I guess when a tonne of money is thrown into advertising you will no doubt be seeing some very entertaining ads.
Fortunately, my faith in American sports was revived at the ice hockey on Tuesday night. Washington Capitals playing the New York Islanders was one of the most exciting spectator matches I’ve seen in any sport. What more could a guy want than a fast paced, minimal stoppage sport where the fights between players are only interrupted when one of them hits the ground? Unfortunately the Capitals were unable to take the game away, losing to the Islanders 0-1. In spite of that, the atmosphere right till the end was electric.
On Wednesday Tait, Miha (our proud Slovenian friend and fellow intern) and I attended a morning talk given by Senator Ted Cruz accompanied by a delicious American-styled breakfast. Senator Cruz gave a speech on the encouraging efforts of the republican grass roots movement that he supports. He communicated his critical views on the failed policies of the Obama administration as well as possible remedies for them. Albeit not as socially liberal as a libertarian supporter might like, I completely agreed with his conservative views on Obamacare and the government deficits being grossly unconstitutional. Both policies of forced healthcare and the continual government borrowing and spending are drastically destroying the American people’s prosperity and financial future.
Finally on Friday we visited the Institute for Human Studies (HIS) and Mercatus that are both located at George Mason University in Arlington. The IHS, a libertarian, non-profit organisation offers educational and career programs for students who want to further their advancement in the sphere of liberty. Jennifer Thompson, director of Educational Programs at IHS, gave us a brief tour and run down of what the institute accomplishes before showing us to a packed bookshelf that we were welcome to, no holds barred. Tait and I ended up leaving with two 15 pound filled library bags of books each (6.8 kg for those metric lovers). We then met with Stefanie Haeffele-Balch, the Associate Director of Graduate Student Programs at Mercatus, who informed us about the different programs of public policy research offered by Mercatus. Mercatus, like the IHS, focuses on libertarian ideas. It conducts market-orientated research to provide market-based solutions to social and financial problems while working with experts, lobbyists and government officials to bridge the gap between academic learning and real-world practice. Both are great institutes based out of a free-market leaning university that I encourage any students back in Australia to look into if they are so inclined.
Week five has now come and gone with my final week at Atlas just around the bend. Although I’m not looking forward to this experience coming to an end, I cannot wait for the International Students For Liberty Conference that begins this the coming Friday!