I recently spoke at Michigan's Hillsdale College, where among other things, I gave a talk about how the baby boomer generation is screwing over today's youth.
I also gave an interview with the excellent college paper there, in which we discussed everything from gay marriage to Rand Paul to Ayn Rand to what college students might do to prepare themselves for the post-graduation world. Snippets:
Hayek or Mises?
I would have to say Hayek. What I like about Mises is his axiomatic beliefs about certain things, but what I prize about Hayek is his emphasis on the limits of knowledge. This seems to be a really important concept that is constantly forgotten by people in charge….
[A] controversial person here is Ayn Rand. What do you think of her message?
I'm not a devotee of Ayn Rand. But what stands out about Ayn Rand is that she and Jack Kerouac are the only fiction authors from the 1950s who still have mass audiences that sell hundreds of thousands of copies a year and rock people's worlds. Many of the questions that she raised are still relevant today. She probably had as big of an effect on the left as on the right, foregrounding individualism. One of her characters says "I'll never live for another person," and, on a certain level, that's grotesque for anybody who is a parent. On another level, saying that in a world of big government and big business, that's a powerful statement….
The title of your talk is "Tonight you're young, tomorrow you're unemployed." What should young people do professionally and personally to handle this?
Students today are much more professional than they used to be. That's mostly a good thing, but often there's a sense that everything has to be programmatic. I think I benefitted ultimately from not being like that; it was just the world I was born into. The best thing you can do is recognize that you should live your life as a work of art. You should do things that are interesting to you. You should follow what you find interesting and figure out how to pay for it.
And let me rush to say that it's pretty freaking awesome to live in a world where a college paper is posing the question, "Hayek or Mises?"
When it comes to giving guidance to today's youth, as the ghostwriter of an advice column for Alyssa Milano back in my Teen Machine heyday, I am required by common decency (and a couple of court orders) to warn people that I am in no way qualified to do so.