How the Intellectual Foundations of Hayekian Economics Relate to Jewish Ideas

The Hoover Institution economist and host of the popular EconTalk podcast Russell Roberts was recently named the next president of Shalem College, a one-of-a-kind liberal-arts college in Jerusalem. In 2018, Roberts joined Mosaic’s editor Jonathan Silver to explore parallels between ideas found in the Jewish tradition and the economic insights of the great Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek. Hayek’s arguments for intellectual humility, for instance, are congruent with rabbinic claims about the limits of human understanding; moreover, the very way in which halakhah has developed follows Hayek’s idea of “emergent order.” (Audio, 52 minutes.)


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More about: Economics, F. A. Hayek, Halakhah, Judaism, Shalem College

How to Save the Universities

To Peter Berkowitz, the rot in American institutions of higher learning exposed by Tuesday’s hearings resembles a disease that in its early stages was easy to cure but difficult to diagnose, and now is so advanced that it is easy to diagnose but difficult to cure. Recent analyses of these problems have now at last made it to the pages of the New York Times but are, he writes, “tardy by several decades,” and their suggested remedies woefully inadequate:

They fail to identify the chief problem. They ignore the principal obstacles to reform. They propose reforms that provide the equivalent of band-aids for gaping wounds and shattered limbs. And they overlook the mainstream media’s complicity in largely ignoring, downplaying, or dismissing repeated warnings extending back a quarter century and more—largely, but not exclusively, from conservatives—that our universities undermine the public interest by attacking free speech, eviscerating due process, and hollowing out and politicizing the curriculum.

The remedy, Berkowitz argues, would be turning universities into places that cultivate, encourage, and teach freedom of thought and speech. But doing so seems unlikely:

Having undermined respect for others and the art of listening by presiding over—or silently acquiescing in—the curtailment of dissenting speech for more than a generation, the current crop of administrators and professors seems ill-suited to fashion and implement free-speech training. Moreover, free speech is best learned not by didactic lectures and seminars but by practicing it in the reasoned consideration of competing ideas with those capable of challenging one’s assumptions and arguments. But where are the professors who can lead such conversations? Which faculty members remain capable of understanding their side of the argument because they understand the other side?

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More about: Academia, Anti-Semitism, Freedom of Speech, Israel on campus