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Posts Tagged ‘Free Market Road Show’

Faithful readers will remember that my recent speaking tour of Europe for the Free Market Road Show featured stops in Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

As part of a venerable Washington tradition of taking credit for things even when your role is too small to even measure, I’m delighted to report that my speeches must have had a big impact. The parties sympathetic to free-markets and limited government prevailed in the recent Czech elections. Then, just this past weekend, the pro-market parties won a majority in the Slovak elections.  When Dan Mitchell speaks, people listen.

On a more serious note, the Slovak elections are particularly important since the victorious parties include some remarkably good people such as Ivan Miklos, Richard Sulik, and Martin Chren. Here’s a blurb from an election summary in the Wall Street Journal:

Preliminary results showed the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union, or SDKU, with 15.4% of the vote, followed by the liberal Freedom and Solidarity Party, or SaS, with 12.1%, the Christian Democratic Movement KDH with 8.5%, and the Hungarian minority party Most-HID with 8.1%. Final election results are expected late Sunday. The new parliament will thus be dominated by right-of-center parties led by the Christian Democratic SDKU, and the Hungarian minority party Most-HID. This coalition of four that will also include the Christian Democratic KDH and the liberal Freedom and Solidarity Party, and will hold a total of 79 parliament seats, compared with 62 seats to be held by Smer. The remaining nine mandates will be in the hands of the extremist Slovak Nationalist Party, or SNS. The Freedom and Solidarity Party was formed last year by Richard Sulik, an economist who designed the flat-rate tax system introduced by the previous SDKU-led governments that ruled in 1998-2006.

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Having spoken earlier today in Skopje, I’m finally done with the Free Market Road Show and get to head back to the United States tomorrow.

I suppose the highlight of the entire Road Show was getting to know Professor Deirdre McCloskey, who took part in four of the seven conferences. Deirdre is a first-rate economist, a committed advocate of freedom, and a genuine renaissance woman with impressive knowledge of just about everything.

But what’s genuinely unique (to put it mildly) is that Deirdre is a transsexual. Indeed, I first met Deirdre when she was Donald and he came to give a lecture at George Mason University (and I used his textbook when I was getting my Masters degree at Georgia).

One of the many good things about being a libertarian is a natural respect for the rights of others. So long as people don’t interfere with your rights of life, liberty, and property, they should be free to make their own decisions.

That doesn’t mean you have to agree with, endorse, or want to mimic every choice they make, whether it is eating onion soup (yuk) or having certain operations (ouch!).

If you want to read more about a very interesting person and her “crossing” (as she describes it), click here and here. And if you want to read Deirdre’s excellent book, The Bourgeois Virtues, she mentioned at every conference that it makes an excellent Christmas gift.

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I don’t really have much to say about the conference in Belgrade. I’ve been giving the same speech over and over again. Each audience is hearing it for the first time, but I’m boring myself. Like many cities in former communist nations, Belgrade is a bit run down, but the Danube is an impressive river, and here’s a photo of an old fortress at the key intersection of the Danube and Sava rivers.

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