- The Washington Times - Monday, March 26, 2007

Austrian legacy

“The Austrian school of economics represented almost the last and certainly the most intransigent expression of laissez-faire in the modern world. … [Ludwig von] Mises … was de facto dean of the Austrian school, having studied under leading Austrian economist … Eugen von Bohm-Bawerk. [Economist Friedrich] Hayek, though never formally Mises’ student, was nonetheless a protege of sorts, profoundly influenced by Mises’ writings and a junior colleague of his in the Austrian Chamber of Commerce.

“Both men fled Austria as the country fell into Hitler’s orbit. …

“American students and admirers of Mises such as Murray Rothbard, a Columbia University graduate student, extended the work of their mentor and converted others, so that today the Austrian tradition flourishes in the United States, with strongholds at George Mason University and the Ludwig von Mises Institute in Auburn, Ala.”

— Daniel McCarthy, writing on “Enemies of the State,” in the March 12 issue of the American Conservative

‘Retro-feminism’

“Many of those arguing that discrimination in the ranks of American capitalism remains a deeply structural problem for women today begin by rejecting the idea that choice has anything to do with the disappointingly small number of women running corporations or holding board seats. When women leave their careers to become full-time mothers, these authors maintain, they do so solely as a result of pressure from the workplace. …

“This is a sort of retro-feminism, stuck in a place that has not been the reality for decades. The universe that they describe does not resemble even the one that I encountered on Wall Street during the early 1980s, when I was a stockbroker at a large New York City brokerage firm. Back then, women were genuine minorities at these firms; but even so, my experience was one of an industry offering unadulterated opportunity. Stress and pressure to perform were a constant. Frat-house behavior was annoyingly common. But discrimination? Not in my experience, even during what can only be considered the Stone Age for women on Wall Street.”

— Gretchen Morgenson, writing on “Working Girls,” in the March 19 issue of the New Republic

Racist symphonies?

“Back in the 1970s American symphonies adopted the policy of ‘blind auditions,’ meaning would-be first chair bassoonists auditioned behind … [an] opaque barrier. … Blind auditions were one response to the accusation that symphony directors, I guess like Leonard Bernstein, were notoriously racist and misogynistic boors. Probably anti-Semitic too. …

“[W]omen musicians now account for nearly half of U.S. orchestras. Minorities are somewhat less well represented, making up 14 percent. The New York Philharmonic has but one black member. However, Asian-Americans total less than 4 percent of the U.S. population, but make up 10 percent of elite orchestras.

“Despite its many efforts to recruit minority students … the Julliard School … can boast of a mere 17 black or Latino students out of a student body of 501. … [A reporter for Newsday] drags out the mummified excuse that blacks and Latinos cannot afford musical instruments and lessons, conveniently ignoring the fact that the children of poor Korean and Chinese immigrants somehow manage these things, as did the children of Jewish immigrants a hundred years ago. (Bernstein, son of Ukrainian immigrants, worked to pay for his own piano lessons.)”

— Christopher Orlet, writing on “Racial Discord,” Thursday in the American Spectator Online at www.spectator.org

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