Sunday, September 30, 2007

Summer Seminar series: Cato University

Third week in July and I found myself in a plane traveling across the country for my first seminar outside of the George Mason campus this past summer. The destination was Rancho Bernarndo, California just outside San Diego
A week in California... I know what you are thinking beaches, swim suits, and libertarianism. What else could be better right?

Cato University was brilliantly run. Shuttles for those who had to stay at a Hilton hotel down the road next to a Catholic church. Breakfast and lunch served outdoors to allow you to enjoy the sun filled mornings and afternoons. Not a drop of rain to spoil our enjoyment. By the end of the week, I was pampered more than I have been pampered before. The cost was only to travel there; the rest was taking care of by the generous contributions of the donors to Cato. THANK YOU DONORS!

The lectures were filled with information for an hour and a fifteen minutes. Each day would end with a time to relax drink a little and discuss with other attendees upon different types of issues. You found yourself speaking to everyone and anyone on a broad amount of topics. I would have debates with my roommate on different issues as we went to sleep. Definitely a place for discussing your views and enjoy the company of like minded individuals.

Unfortunately, I think filling the day with so many lectures was too much. Almost an information overload. Think of the law of diminishing returns, and enter the idea that we are constantly hearing a lecture (note: there are lectures during dinner), and it is easily understood that many were fighting sleep through some lectures. Just as any seminar some lectures were better than others. Some entertaining while some are rather dull, but enter the chance for the attendees to ask questions and you find yourself fascinated with the discussions that rise.

The lecturers were more diverse from a law professor, economic professor, to even journalists, and historians. It gave you a feeling that the libertarian movement was rising like a wild fire.
The attendees were a mix of college students, high school students, and a variety of individuals in the private sector who paid a large sum to attend the week long seminar. You have the chance to hear the stories of libertarian movement through the older participants and even have a chance to teach them something along from learn from them.

I overall enjoyed Cato University. With diplomas at hand, we each left with a grin on our face although we were all a little disappointed that with such a fantastic location, we were not allowed the benefit of enjoying it for our own relaxation. I give this event a 3.5. It was a blast. I would return and this time be prepared to not expect a lot of time for myself with late nights and early mornings. Also Cato gives you a packet to read at the seminar instead of before. I think it would have been better mailed before the seminar so that I could prepare but the lectures were easily comprehended without them anyway.

Some lectures are dull, but overall worth it. You should go next year. Here is the link.

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