The rule is that eventually all good things must come to an end, and my time at the AEC is no exception.
It has been an illuminating experience; not only has my knowledge of the Austrian School and classical liberalism expanded, but I have seen those ideas translated into action through the sedulous work of the AEC’s ‘happy warriors’.
The AEC, in undertaking such large projects as the Free Market Road Show, perform a vital role by arguing for free markets and limited government in a political climate increasingly intolerant and unreceptive to those ideas.
Their efforts and character in the face of adversity remind me of a few lines from Wordsworth’s famous poem, ‘The Character of the Happy Warrior’, as they are those “Whose high endeavours are an inward light, That makes the path before him always bright”.
So long as they are around, alongside the international community of classical liberal and libertarian think tanks, freedom is still a few generations away from extinction. We rely on this community’s efforts to ensure we do not unwittingly walk down the road to serfdom and tread again the tracks of history’s past mistakes.
I will miss Vienna, with its art collections, its concert halls, and elegant Continental atmosphere. I felt it first as I roamed through the rooms of the Schloss Belvedere. The two Baroque palaces, devoted to presenting a complete survey of Vienna’s magnificent art history, simply have no Australian equivalent.
In addition to visiting the Schloss Belvedere, the last of my weekend excursions included trips to the Riesenrad at the Prater amusement park, and to the Museum of Applied Arts (MAK). As I am Orson Welles devotee, having seen the famous Riesenrad scene during The Third Man’s denouement made riding it all the more enjoyable. To my dismay, no old friends appeared.
It is with a heavy heart that I say goodbye to Vienna and the AEC. I am grateful to two groups. The first include Ron Manners, Paul McCarthy, Kate Wagstaff, and the Mannkal team for making this all possible. The second comprises my gracious hosts at the AEC, and include Dr. Barbara Kolm, Britt Schier, and Federico Fernandez.
To conclude seven weeks of observation, I leave you with this:
Dr. Johnson told Boswell that “when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life”. In light of all that has happened, I will tentatively say, in deference to the wisdom of Dr. Johnson, that the same could be said for Vienna.