I too was at the LA/LI Conference held at the National Liberal Club over this weekend, which was excellent, as Johnathan has just said. The organisation of this now solidly annual event was indeed the best yet.
Not everybody likes the star system, but reality does not care what you think of it. The dumb fact is that certain people, in the libertarian world as in all other human milieus, put bums on seats. Other performers, however excellent, can contribute mightily to the success of an event like this – our own Guy Herbert, who spoke most eloquently on the Sunday afternoon about the Database State, springs to mind – but such lesser luminaries do not each cause another three dozen people to show up in the first place, having booked encouragingly early.
The arrival in our midst of David Friedman (talking about this) was nevertheless a stroke of luck, conferred by Friedman himself, next to whom I sat at the Saturday dinner. I’m afraid he was too tired from travelling and speaking at other events, and I too star-struck, for our conversation to amount to much, but he did tell me that he was at the conference because he had already semi-booked to do another talk nearby, in Germany or some such place, and he would only agree to do that if he could achieve economies of scale by giving a handful of other talks on the same trip. So, he contacted the Libertarian Alliance and asked if they’d like him to speak at this conference. Oh, I imagine we could just about squeeze you in, they replied. All of which reminds me of that remark by the golfer Gary Player, to the effect that the more work he did, the more luck he had.
I hope I will have more to say here about what was actually said at this gathering, but in the meantime, first impressions first: like JP said, it was a good show.