Thanks to the U. of Rochester Hamilton [sic] Society

I want to thank Professor Mike Rizzo and members of the University of Rochester Alexander Hamilton [sic] Society for having me up to speak last week.  I had an awesome time touring campus, some quality pub time with some of the students, some really good donuts, and then a speaking engagement followed by literally hours of questions and discussions.  Here are some of us out the next day hiking the waterfront (Professor Rizzo is fourth from the right).  This is at a "lighthouse" which I had expected to be some sexy Maine-type thing but turned out to be a 3-foot wide steel column with a blinking red light on top.  We are on one of the breakwaters at the mouth of the Genessee River as it pours into Lake Ontario.

Professor Rizzo teaches four economics courses, including a couple of the introductory survey courses, and many students go out of their way to take all four, even if they are not even in the department.  The group had an incredible vibe, the kind of student-professor learning group we all thought would be typical of college but most of us seldom actually encountered.  It reminded me of Dead Poet's Society, except with economics rather than poetry and without the suicides.

In addition to being a popular professor, Rizzo also is a vastly outnumbered campus defender of individual liberty and economic sanity.  I can't tell me how many kids told me they had been converted to the cause of free market economics by Professor Rizzo.

Professor Rizzo is also a constant campus gadfly on cost-benefit sensibility.  Featured in an upcoming post will be a U of R solar charging station that was one of Rizzo's favorite targets.  Which brings us to the issue of the group's name and why I keep writing [sic].  Apparently creating a new campus organization and 501c3 was way too costly, so they just piggy-backed on an existing group, despite the incongruity of the "Alexander Hamilton" name on a group generally dedicated to exploring small government.

I seem to be having some odd problem subscribing to his feed in Google Reader (all I get is Viagra Spam) but his blog is here:  The Unbroken Window.  Update:  I could never get his feed to work for me so I burned a new one on my feedburner account.


  1. Seb Tombs:

    Are there no women at U Rochester??!!!

  2. Daedalus Mugged:

    One small point (unfortunately for you a a pet peeve of mine)...

    I do not see incongruity between Alexander Hamilton and small government. While Hamilton certainly was for a bigger and more muscular Federal gov't than the Jeffersonian/agrarian wing of founding politics, the 'bigger or smaller' is inherently dependent on the starting point and the starting point the founders were discussing was so radically smaller than where we are today.

    While Mr. Hamilton certainly wanted the fedgov bigger than it was in the Washington administration, there is essentially no doubt that he philisophically would have wanted the expansion to stop sometime long ago. When could be a subject of debate, but I would guess somewhere between the Lincoln and first Roosevelt administration he would have been screaming "Stop! Too Far!" That is not exclusive to Hamilton...even the biggest of the 'big gov't' founders was a proponent of much smaller gov't than any current mainstream politician on the national stage on either side of the aisle. Even most pretty strong libertarians would hesitate to roll back back government as far as the vision of any of the founders.

    An example would be asking someone in a room do you want it "warmer" (bigger) or "cooler" (smaller). Assume the conversation started at 1 degree (pretty darn cold/small) and it gotten warmer over time at highly variable rates of change...sometimes relatively stable, sometimes ramping up pretty quickly. Say it is now at 90 degrees. Some people might prefer it at 65 degrees, some at 75 degrees. If you ask someone while it is between 2 and 12 degrees 'warmer or cooler' and they say warmer, you cannot draw from that whether they prefer 65 or 75, or would still be at 'warmer' at 100 degrees.

    All of the founders envisioned a small federal government with the vast majority of 'government' done by the states or lower.

  3. IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in 57 States:

    >>> and without the suicides.

    In the words of Wednesday Addams: "Wait."

    Yes, it's a single word. But that sounded weird.


  4. IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in 57 States:

    >>> Even most pretty strong libertarians would hesitate to roll back back government as far as the vision of any of the founders.

    I believe you can argue for the differences, however, by call to the fact that this is a very different world and there are lots of ways for people to interfere with one another which had not even been imagined in the days of the Founders. The most obvious ones to come to mind would be toxic wastes left behind by a corporation which hasn't existed or operated for 50 years, but which have been found in the location they formerly operated in or someplace they dumped things in...

    That's an easy slippery-slope argument, I grant, but its at the heart of a call for spirit, not letter, I'd claim.

  5. carpetbomberz:

    There are women at U Rochester. Just not in this photo.