The Shotgun Blog
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Liberty Summer Seminar: Jan Narveson and Travis Smith
The Liberty Summer Seminar, hosted by the Institute for Liberal Studies, is an annual libertarian gathering in Orono, Ontario, an hour and a half east of Toronto.
Set on a beautiful 40-acre property, the event, now in its ninth year, is the premier libertarian event in Canada, drawing 100 attendees and some of the finest libertarian speakers from across North America. This year's event is this upcoming weekend, July 25, 26.
Dr. Jan Narveson, who is president of the Institute for Liberal Studies, will give his trademark overview speech on the philosophy of liberty (libertarianism), this time entitled "The Courage to do Nothing." After all, that is, to some extent, what libertarians are busy insisting the government should do -- a whole lot of nothing. This does take a certain amount of courage, especially in the face of all the various special interest groups, and non-libertarians who are screaming at the government to always be doing something, even if that something is going to do more harm than good (because, shucks, what matters is that you had good intentions, and you meant well, never mind the ruin you left in your wake).
Dr. Travis Smith, meanwhile, will round out Narveson's more abstract presentation with some meat in his talk entitled "The Politics of Liberty and Early Modern Thought." Smith specializes in the writings of Thomas Hobbes and Francis Bacon and is primarily interested in the intersection of religion, politics, and science. He teaches political science at Concordia University.
Narveson has attended every single Liberty Summer Seminar, since its founding in 2001. He is an emeritus professor of philosophy from the University of Waterloo, is either the most or second-most published Canadian philosopher, is author of several books, including the seminal The Libertarian Idea. He was made an Officer in the Order of Canada in 2004.
I'd love to meet Jan Narveson again. Shame its so far away.
Posted by: The original JC | 2009-07-21 4:43:17 PM
From Travis Smith's bio page:
"Subjection in small affairs manifests itself every day and makes itself felt without distinction by all citizens. It does not make them desperate; but it constantly thwarts them and brings them to renounce the use of their wills. Thus little by little, it extinguishes their spirits and enervates their souls...”
--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, II 4.6
Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2009-07-22 5:32:15 PM
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