As an undergraduate one of the most amazing intellectual experiences of my life was reading Murray Rothbard's For a New Liberty. I had already read Milton and Rose Friedman's Free to Choose, Henry Hazlitt's Economics in One Lesson, and various articles and some books of Ludwig von Mises, so I was already persuaded of the general free market argument. I tried to tackle Human Action, but as a 19 year old it without a solid educational foundation it was beyond me at the time. I found Man, Economy and State much easier to understand so it had become my "go-to" book on things economics by the time I was a sophomore at Grove City College. During a weekend trip to FEE, I picked up an amazing grab-bag of classic books for $200, which included Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations and Hayek's The Constitution of Liberty as well as Rothbard's For a New Liberty. Reading For a New Liberty moved me from someone persuaded about the free market to someone who wanted to push the logic of free market thinking consistently and persistently. After reading that book, my future career aspirations took a radical shift and the idea of devoting my life to the teaching of the ideas founding in the writings of Smith, Bastiat, Mises, Hazlitt, Hayek and Rothbard seemed only natural. Now the question was how best to do that --- it took me a little to figure that out, and if truth be told I am still trying to figure that out 30+ years later.
But when I first had the opportunity to teach economics to college students as a graduate student at GMU in the mid-1980s, I would listen on my tape deck in the car audio tapes of Murray Rothbard lectures that I had purchased at the time. This was a practice I continued throughout graduate school and into my first job at Oakland University. [Note on constancy: I have pretty much used The Economic Way of Thinking as the required book, and tried to lecture in a style that I gleaned from Sennholz and Rothbard -- relevance as a virtue not a vice in economics -- throughout my teaching career].
So when Chris Coyne sent me the link to this video of Rothbard teaching about urban "renewal" I wanted to share it. Sennholz (my teacher) and Rothbard (my original inspiration) are both complicated figures for me for a variety of reasons that I need not go into here. But what isn't complicated is that I still draw so much pleasure in listening to either of them apply economic theory to make sense of political economy reality. Watch here as Rothbard exhibits his wit and charm as an economics teacher discussing the folly of government policy.