April 28th, 2004

Yaron Brook at Northwestern University

I had the pleasure of hearing Yaron Brook talk tonight at Northwestern University. Dr. Brook is the executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute, and he is a good speaker and a great question-an-answer man.

Tonight he talked about historical attitudes towards moneylending, most of which attitudes were negative, particularly moral attitudes. He defended moneylending as properly selfish and productive.

He talked about the fact that for a complex of historical reasons, which he explained clearly, Jews in Europe became money-lenders, or "usurers" to use the old phrase.

I enjoyed his reading of a passage from Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice, which he happily used as an illustration of anti-semitism linked to anti-moneylending attitudes.

The scene brought back memories for me. In 1973 I met my wife at Northwestern University. She attended the school. I did not. I had taken the train to N.U. to see a showing of The Fountainhead film, and I met her in an after-the-film discussion in the cafeteria.

The Northwestern Objectivist club has a freshman for a president, but she is an energetic young woman who will probably all sorts of good things done.

Rhyme of the day:

He's a reputation-mender
For the muddied money-lender.