I stopped writing a death story for George Smith because I wasn’t sure if the friends of the death story really belonged to him. But David Boaz made it clear to me that it was. I lost contact with George and so I didn’t know he had moved to Bloomington, Illinois.
David Boaz’s death story about George is an excellent summary of George’s many contributions to freedom and good thinking. So I will not try to copy it.
Instead I will tell a few funny stories.
I first met George in the fall of 1973, my second year at UCLA and my second year in the United States. I met her through her good friend Roy Childs, with whom I was befriending.
George’s entrepreneurial initiative
At age 23 or 24, if I think correctly, George has already finished a book, Atheism: A lawsuit against God. Not only that, it was a good book. When it came out in 1974, I bought it and read it quickly. George was a good writer at first.
George dropped out of the University of Arizona and was determined to make it as an intellectual without a college degree. He did, though his income was occasionally spotted.
His first attempt at earning money came in the winter of 1974 when he rented a conference room at a hotel and advertised that he would give a lecture. I assumed the subject was the subject of his book. I remember Roy and I talked to him before, I encouraged him and Roy, surprisingly told him it would probably flop and he wouldn’t even reimburse the room rent and mailing costs. (I say “amazing” because Roy has always been the person who encouraged people to take such relatively small risks.) Neither Roy nor I went to the event. I had but did not have a car in LA, which made transportation challenging.
I still remember George coming back from the discussion about money. I recall this vaguely that it was নেট 262 hotel charge net. She was glad to count it, and I was relieved. Remember it was 1974. So $ 262, adjusted for inflation, would be more than $ 1,500 today.
Austrian Economics Study Group
The main way I got to know George was through our Austrian Economy Study Group. My roommate, Harry Watson, and I were in our second year at UCLA, and we wanted to study the works of Ludwig von Mrs. and Friedrich Hayek, who were not included in any of our courses. (We had Hayek’s “The Use of Knowledge in Society” which we covered in at least 3 courses in our first year at UCLA.) So Harry, Roy, George, his girlfriend Diane Peterson, Tom Palmer, John McCarthy and I are an Austrian Form a study group that meets every Sunday night at George and Diane’s place. We start with Mises Theory of money and debt, Published in 1912, which was, I think, Mises’ Ph.D. Essays Each participant took turns preparing and presenting a chapter, and everyone read each chapter এবং and were assumed to have actually read it. That’s when my respect for Mice as an economist grew. Mises’ book, however, was a financial theory textbook for many courses in Germany and Austria.
George Smith, Walter Cronkite and King George VI
David Boaz writes:
One of the participants in the seminar in those years, Nashville entrepreneur Krum Carmichael, told us, “These lectures are great, but you only reached 75 people. You have to grow it. “Shortly afterwards, he created Knowledge Products and hired George to conceive, write, and edit dozens of professionally produced audio lectures on philosophy, history, economics, and current affairs. Some tapes were read by professional readers, Also included were Charlton Heston, George C. Scott, Louis Rukeser, Lynn Redgrave and Walter Cronkite.
I remember a funny story George told me about Walter Cronkite. In one of the scripts that George wrote, he mentions George VI, wait for it, “George VI.” When Cronkite reached that part, he said “George VI.” So George had to write it as “George the Sixth”.
Hitler and JFK
George has always been a curious man. Growing up in Arizona, he had a friend whose mother was a teenager or young adult in Germany in the early 1930s. George, like many of us, wondered how seemingly normal people could go about doing what Hitler wanted. She thought her friend’s mother was reasonably smart and fairly normal, and didn’t seem anti-Semitic at all. So in the early 1960’s, George asked his friend’s mother how she and the people around her thought about Hitler. He replied that most of his speeches were not about the Jews, but about the need for an important, dynamic Germany that would get back on track. He told George that when he saw JF talking, he and his friends reminded him of how he thought of Hitler in the early 1930s.
Tell the verdict
I paid my last respects to Roy Child after his death in 1992. I quoted George Smith’s affectionate humor about Roy. You have to remember that George said this in the early 1970’s:
The three fastest means of communication are telephone, telegraph and tel roy.