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My 2008 IHS, IES and FEE summer seminar applications

Being brought up in a traditional European welfare state dominated by Keynesian economics and an ever-growing state interference in the everyday lives of the citizens, I found my intellectual salvation in the Austrian School of Economics and in the person of Ludwig von Mises. His ideas on monetary policy and the causes of inflation, combined with the unconditional defence of the free market vis-à-vis government controlled economies as described in his book “Human Action”, were inspiring to me. His belief that the creation of money by the government and credit expansions would automatically lead to business cycles and inflation, causing instability and economic crises, and his belief that the failure of socialism was inherent to that system, are great to hear in a time and place where economic policy is based on central banks and socialist welfare schemes.

(Please describe an author or thinker who has profoundly influenced your thinking about politics, economics, philosophy, world affairs, or related issues.)

After joining the Liberal Flemish Students Organisation in Belgium and having read the essay collection “The Libertarian Reader”, edited by David Boaz, I turned from a moderate liberal conservative to a real classical liberal. The different essays in that book were a true inspiration to me, and although the ideals and concepts mentioned in these essays did not differ very much from my personal views at the time regarding the scope of government, free market economics, individual liberty and the Rule of Law in a free society, in many ways they were more radical and consistent. The essays did not change my political bias, but thanks to them, I could finally put a correct label on my political philosophy.

(Please name and describe a book that has profoundly influenced your thinking about politics, economics, philosophy, world affairs, or related issues.)

Being a classical liberal student myself, still looking for a further expansion of my intellectual horizons, I really want to attend a summer seminar. I believe the summer school is a great opportunity to meet other young liberty-minded people from all around the globe and to participate in in-depth debates with my philosophical peers from a wide variety of backgrounds. Furthermore, I really look forward to attend the lectures given by the brightest intellectuals of the libertarian movement, like Tom G. Palmer (Cato Institute), Pierre Garello (Institute of Economic Studies), Boudewijn Bouckaert (Nova Civitas) and Carlo Lottieri (Bruno Leoni Institute). And of course, last but not least, summertime on a foreign campus must be a great experience, especially in such a vibrant young environment as yours.

(Please, tell us about your reasons for wanting to attend the seminar.)

After having obtained my LLB degree at the University of Namur, I continued my higher education at the University of Leuven, where I am still studying, hoping to complete both my LLM degree and my MA in Comparative and International Politics by June 2009. While studying, I plan to continue writing articles and papers, and maybe try to find a part-time job in the think tank world or the political sphere. Politics and ideological reflections both became hobbies of mine, so it would be great to find a job in that area. Later on, I might join a think tank on a full-time basis or start doctoral studies somewhere, or just keep politics as a hobby while working in the private sector. On the long term, I hope to manage my own private business and be active in Belgian or European politics, advancing the cause of freedom.

(Please tell us about your plans for the next two years.)

After high school graduation, I considered myself a moderate, a conservative liberal so to speak, but all that changed during my Namur period when I started to read the work of Friedrich von Hayek. In Namur, many professors were libertarian oriented, like a.o. Yves Poullet (law) and Jean-Marie Cheffert (economics), so even during the classes I could learn everything there was needed to know on small government as a buffer against totalitarianism, on the failure of plan economy, on supply-side economics and monetarism, and on the philosophical grounds of modern liberal thinking, although it was never labelled that way of course. After joining the LVSV in Leuven, I could further develop my knowledge and got acquainted with the work of Ludwig von Mises and Murray Rothbard, and finally realised that in spite of all previous attempts to label my political bias otherwise, I was in fact a libertarian.

(Please tell us about your intellectual influences.)

Immediately after joining the Liberal Flemish Students Organisation (LVSV) in Belgium, the summer seminars were mentioned by both, the other LVSV members and many guest speakers at LVSV conferences like a.o. professor Boudewijn Bouckaert. Many LVSV members throughout time participated in such seminars and they all were very enthusiastic about the programs abroad. Currently serving as the political director of the LVSV and the secretary of the LVSV Leuven chapter, I believe it is time for me to become part of the summer seminar community. Being active in the Ludwig von Mises Institute Europe as well, I am really trying to further develop my libertarian views and to get acquainted with other like-minded people and organisations in the world. Furthermore, I am also active in local politics, the European youth movement and numerous social and political societies, including the Mises Youth Club in Brussels. Next to editing my own weblog, I also contribute to the libertarian/conservative political metablogs, a top-3 political weblog in Belgium, and the two top-5 political weblogs in the Netherlands, and, among others.

(Please compose an essay of 200 words or less about your interest in attending an IHS seminar. You might describe how you became interested in the topic of your first choice seminar, talk about past activism or work experience, relate your career interests, discuss your plans for the next 2-5 years, or explain how attending an IHS seminar will help you advance your goals.)

Books: ‘The Guide to Reform’ (Johnny Munkhammar), ‘The New Libertarian Manifesto’ (Samuel Konkin), ‘The Libertarian Reader’ (David Boaz), ‘Turbulent Times’ (Alan Greenspan), ‘What has government done to our money’ (Murray Rothbard), ‘The Case for EFTA’ (Daniel Hannan), ‘Hayek Revisited’ (Annette Godart), ‘Human Action’ (Ludwig von Mises), ‘Immigrants, your country needs them’ (Philippe Legrain), ‘The Machinery of Freedom’ (David Friedman), ‘The Road to Serfdom’ (Friedrich von Hayek) and ‘In Defense of Global Capitalism’ (Johan Norberg). Media: Reason Magazine, Blauwdruk (‘Blueprint’), National Review, The Economist, The Wall Street Journal Europe, DVD’s from the Liberty Fund, DVD box ‘Commanding Heights, the battle for the world economy’, DVD’s from the Stockholm Network, Eye on Europe Magazine, The State of the Union Leaflets, The Daily Telegraph and The Free State. People: Ron Paul, Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Jeffrey Sachs, Milton Friedman, Vaclav Klaus, Frank Van Dun, Boudewijn Bouckaert, Paul De Grauwe, Frits Bolkestein, Newt Gingrich and William F. Buckley.

(Please, tell us about other books, media and people who had an important influence on your views regarding liberty and society.)

Deze informatie werd, samen met twee ideologische essays, doorgestuurd naar het Institute for Humane Studies, het Institute of Economic Studies en de Foundation of Economic Freedom.

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2 Reacties:

At 15:33 Thomas said...

Schitterend Vincent, dat ook jij daarvoor eens appliceert! Want na al die jaren van actief zijn in de liberale beweging, wordt dat wel eens tijd. De meesten gaan eerst naar IHS of IES en worden pas dan actief in de liberale beweging. Bij jou is het net het tegenovergestelde.

Ik hoop alleen maar dat je voor een gevorderd seminarie geappliceerd hebt in de States, want anders ga je je daar, zeker met je bagage en ervaring, aardig vervelen natuurlijk.

At 16:53 Anoniem said...

Dat weet ik toch zo nog niet Thomas, Vincent is inderdaad zéér actief in de liberale beweging, schrijft zéér veel en is van veel op de hoogte. Ook heeft hij op alles en nog wat een mening (soms libertarisch, soms libertarisch conservatief, moet ik eerlijkheidshalve wel bekennen), maar hij is vooral met praktische dingen bezig. Bijgevolg kan elk IHS-seminarie wel zijn nut hebben, want daar staat de theorie centraal.


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