Hace dos años del seminario del Institute for Humane Studies (IHS) en Bryn Mawr College, Pensilvania. Nunca escribí de la experiencia, pero fue una semana intensa de charlas sobre economía, historia y libertad. Este es el segundo seminario al que asisto luego de haber estado en Atlanta para un evento de la Foundation for Economic Education (FEE), y entre otras cosas, han sido experiencias que proveen mucho material para admirarse, reflexionar, y cuestionar. No es que les esté haciendo publicidad, pero ambos seminarios han sido determinantes para darle forma a muchas de mis concepciones actuales sobre, ¿porqué no decirlo?, sobre la vida. No me refiero exlusivamente a la teoría de juegos, el individualismo metodológico, o las lecciones de Mises, Hayek, Buchanan, o Mill. Me refiero al tipo de cosas que se aprenden en las gradas de un pasillo, en medio de una gran ciudad, o en un recorrido en metro.
Cuando estuve en Bryn Mawr, tuve la oportunidad de conocer a Amanda Achtman, y en vez de ocupar varias líneas para intentar describirla, copio aquí la impresión que tuvimos juntas tras el último día del seminario (escrito por ella).
“This year, I found more people at the seminar to be sympathetic to religious ideas, or at least a bit less hostile. I met some students from Latin America and asked if any of them are planning to attend World Youth Day next summer in Brazil. From there, I had a conversation with a young woman from Guatemala.
She asked, “Have you also been struggling to reconcile libertarianism with your Catholic faith? I thought I was the only one!” So we sat down on some steps and had a very good discussion. We were warned in our conference binders that: “Through all this learning and sharing, new ideas can create a sense of what some researchers call ‘disequilibrium.’” I asked my new friend, “What do you think of the young men at this conference? Do you find yourself asking: Would they make good husbands? Would they make good fathers? As soon as I started speaking like this, I could tell that what I was saying was resonating with her. It is unattractive when people confuse liberty for sheer license and this is the tendency that we had observed.
Also, she goes to Universidad Francisco Marroquin, a free-market, pro-liberty university in Guatemala. (Yes, in Guatemala. You read that correctly.) We discussed how it is practically a competition there, much like at this seminar, to be dogmatically libertarian. (For example, I was called a fascist for supporting laws against drunk driving and age of sexual consent laws. One of the sessions was titled: “Why Not Anarchy?”)
So she was curious about my views on libertarianism and faith. I shared with her some of my experiences. Last year I had attended my first Institute for Humane Studies seminar. I became quite enamored with libertarian ideas, especially since I found them fairly easy to learn and quite difficult to refute. I was beginning to think that freedom makes truth. On a World Youth Day pilgrimage this summer in Madrid, I began to reflect on John 8:32. It says: “And you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” I saw libertarianism as a reversal of this passage and thought about how I was confusing the means for the end. In the Gospels, the disciples are confused too: “”We are descendants of Abraham and have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean by saying, ‘You will be made free?’” Jesus explains to them that they are slaves to their sin.
Throughout the week, many idealistic visions of a libertarian utopia completely free from coercion were envisioned. I thought about how a book might be written in the same vein as Thomas More’s Utopia with these ideas. Still, there would be human nature. Still, there would be pride. Still, we would not be able to redeem ourselves. Libertopia would not satisfy, nor could it possibly exist. Liberty is the indispensable condition for moral choice. That’s why I want to defend and advance it. But liberty exercised in a refusal to respond rightly to moral truth is misdirected and unfulfilling.
During some of the sessions at World Youth Day, I thought: Wow, I have never heard anything so beautiful, so good, and so true! I asked my friend: Did you ever find yourself thinking that the sessions throughout the week were pointing to something beautiful, good, and true? We concluded that, as much as we learned from the sessions and found them to provide a solid foundation, they did not point very far. She summed up the conversation best when she said, “We need transcendence.”
Me preocupa pensar que me he olvidado precisamente de la trascendencia en el camino. Pero espero tener el coraje para vivir mi vida en busca de tan noble fin…
El artículo completo de Amanda está aquí.
La foto la tomé en Bryn Mawr, el primer día que llegué.