"This book has a surprise—not to mention a puckish joke—on every page. It's strange, it's fascinating, and it's one of the most original books I've ever read."
Tim Harford, author of The Undercover Economist
"The most interesting book I have read in years! Peter Leeson displays his unique talent: unearthing mankind's seemingly craziest behaviors, and then showing that these behaviors, against all odds, ultimately make perfect sense. WTF?! is like Freakonomics on steroids."
Steven D. Levitt, coauthor of Freakonomics
"A fascinating tour of the world's strangest customs and behaviors, led by a brilliant, funny, and eccentric tour guide. It's okay to gawk, he says, but it's even better to empathize and, armed with Leeson's insights, there's no reason why we can't do both."
Steven E. Landsburg, author of The Armchair Economist
Please join the F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University for a keynote lecture on Wednesday October 25th at the Center for the Arts with Professor Deirdre Nansen McCloskey on the history and future of liberalism. A distinguished economist, historian, and rhetorician, McCloskey has written a score of books and over four hundred scholarly pieces on topics ranging from technical economics and statistical theory to transgender advocacy and the ethics of the bourgeois virtues.
In its fitful development after 1776, "liberalism," from a liberalitas long understoond by the slave-holding ancients as "the leading characteristic of a non-slavish person," came to mean the theory of society consisting entirely of free people. No slaves at all. No pushing around. Humane. Sweet talking. Persuasive. Rhetorical. Voluntary. Minimally violent. Tolerant. No racism. No imperialism. No unnecessary taxes. No dominance of women by men. No messing with other people's stuff or persons. Liberalism recommended a maximum liberty to pursue your own project, if the project does not employ physical violence to interfere with other people's projects.
Can such a liberalism be defended in the face of challenges from left and right nowadays? Is it possible to make the case for a new and humane American "libertarianism"? McCloskey says we can.
About the Hayek Speaker Series
The Hayek Speaker Series promotes Nobel laureate F. A. Hayek’s intellectual legacy by inviting prominent scholars to discuss Hayek’s ideas in light of the pressing matters of our time.
When the Mercatus Center was established at George Mason University in 1980, the first public lecture was by F. A. Hayek. Hayek’s ideas have remained at the core of our research ever since, particularly his emphasis on methodological individualism, the competitive market process as one of discovery and creativity, and institutional analysis.
The F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics is devoted to the promotion of teaching and research on the institutional arrangements that are suitable for the support of free and prosperous societies. Implicit in this statement is the presumption that those arrangements are to some extent open to conscious selection, as well as the appreciation that the type of arrangements that are selected within a society can influence significantly the economic, political, and moral character of that society. Hayek Program scholars – who work at the intersection of the Austrian, Virginia, and Bloomington schools of political economy – are committed to teaching and mentoring students, pursuing research of consequence, and being active participants in the scientific community.
About Dr. Deirdre McCloskey
McCloskey retired in 2015 as a Distinguished Professor of Economics and of History, and Professor of English and of Communication at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
She is a Distinguished Affiliated Fellow with the F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. Trained at Harvard as an economist, by her own account she “drifted,” writing on economic theory, economic history, philosophy, rhetoric, feminism, ethics, transgender advocacy, statistical theory, politics, and law. She taught for twelve years in economics at the University of Chicago, and was tenured there. She describes herself now as a "postmodern, free-market, quantitative, literary, Episcopalian, feminist Aristotelian." Her main scientific work began in the 1960s with British economic history, but widened to world history, especially in her trilogy The Bourgeois Era: The Bourgeois Virtues: Ethics for a Commercial Society (2006), Bourgeois Dignity: Why Economics Can’t Explain the Modern World (2010), and Bourgeois Equality: How Ideas, Not Capital or Institutions, Enriched the World (2016).