This week was spent mostly out of the office. I started off with a Television Techniques workshop at the Leadership Institute over in Arlington. We got to hear from a media specialist on how to be a more effective communicator and how to dodge hostile questions during live interviews (a critical skill in the world of politics).
We also got the opportunity to do some practice questions in their professional recording studio (very impressive!). It was an excellent learning experience.
I also got to attend two lectures by Tom G. Palmer, a very prolific libertarian. He is actually the executive VP of international programs of the Atlas Network, which means he travels often, promoting liberty around the world.
I am planning on attending as many of his Cato lectures as possible whilst he is back in DC. He covered two topics this week: the economic insights of Bastiat and the foundations of modern liberty, both very thorough and intellectually stimulating discussions. I have long admired Bastiat’s work and firmly believe that every politician should complete a mandatory course in his teachings before they are allowed to assume office. It would solve a lot of problems.
The International Students for Liberty Conference is coming up on the weekend and I have been busy helping Atlas with organising our booth for the exhibition hall. I am very excited for the weekend; so many great libertarian minds all in the same place.
I am also looking forward to catching up with some of the other Mannkal scholars that will be in town for the weekend.
I also just got home from a late night seminar on Ayn Rand and Objectivist Ethics. It’s a mini-conference, co-sponsored by ISFLC. It’s been a long time since I have read anything by Rand, and I am not sure that I fully agree (or maybe I just don’t fully comprehend it yet), but I really enjoyed the conversations.
We were 20 attendees, all from different age groups and backgrounds, and all discussing abstract philosophical concepts in a hotel room on a Thursday night – I guess this is how libertarians choose to spend their free time!
The second part of the seminar is tomorrow morning, where we will cover Rand’s philosophy on man’s rights.
Finally, on the weekend, I went to Arlington Cemetery along with a bunch of former Cato interns. Even though I have been here for almost three months, there are still so many sights I have yet to see. The cemetery was beautiful, and of course bit haunting. We got to see the ‘changing of the guard’ at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier; very impressive!
The soldiers are almost like robots with their precise movements. I also visited Alexandria, a beautiful historical town about 30 minutes from downtown DC.