Unitizing economists for liberty
Phinneas's comments to Walter Block's original post on the Mises blog (hit tip to Aubrey Herbert for the link) are an interesting read. Phinneas uses the term "unitize" to refer to the process of mass producing amorphous services. This is one of the few ways to make real money. Real money is made not by the great idea itself but in taking the great idea to the masses.
Then he comments on Walter's thesis (being an academic economist is the best way for bright students to promote liberty). Phinneas argues that aiming for liberty is best achieved by popularizers and people who write the editorials rather than the research. In this role they are unitizing the ideas of liberty so have a better chance at reaping high profits of liberty. To some extent I agree, popularizes do some real heavy hitting for liberty. But I think he's overlooking time in the classroom as an example of unitization. Popularizes like Hazlitt and Menken did great work at promoting liberty by being public intellectuals but the climate of our times has changed. Today pretty much everyone goes to college, and almost no one engages debate in magazines and newspapers. The time spent in university is when most adults form their world views. If Hazlitt or Menken were around today their best access to captive audiences and minds open to the ideas of liberty would be in the classrooms of colleges. The professor who rises the ranks of academia by scholarly research also engages hundreds of students in the classroom.