Saturday, 25 May 2013

Buchanan's Soul

Brennan and Munger note the seeming incongruity of one of Buchanan's titles, "The Soul of Classical Liberalism". I hadn't realised the strength of Professor Buchanan's anti-theism; it never really came up when I was at GMU. Geoff Brennan provides the following anecdote:
“It was Ash Wednesday – probably 1978 or 79. I had, in the manner of ‘Episcopalians in good standing’, taken myself to church that morning before work and had been duly signed on the forehead with ashes as a symbol of my mortality: “Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return!” Although one is technically not supposed to do this, under normal circumstances I would have washed off the ashes before proceeding to work. But on this occasion I went directly to the office from church. Though I intended to visit the bathroom to clean up immediately on my arrival, by the time I got to work I had become pre-occupied with other things and simply forgot. So it was that, when Jim sauntered into my office at around 11, he immediately pointed at me, and the following conversation ensued:

Buchanan: “What’s that on your face?”
Brennan (somewhat absentmindedly): “Oh, that must be my ashes. It’s Ash Wednesday and we get marked with the cross from the ashes of last year’s palms from Palm Sunday”.
Buchanan (instantly furious): “That’s god d**ned gross! That’s the grossest thing I’ve ever seen. You going around displaying your religion like that! I might as well go round indulging in indecent exposure!”4

The situation deteriorated from there. ...

4 This is a somewhat expurgated version of the remark. The original entailed too much anatomical detail to be admissible among this respectable readership!
VPI was a ridiculously productive place, and a seemingly pretty explosive one. I here linked to a few Tullock tales.

The whole piece is well worth reading.

No comments:

Post a Comment