≡ Menu

Property, Freedom, and Defiance: PFS 2021 in a Covid World

Every meeting of the PFS held since 2006 has been wonderful. The inaugural meeting in 2006 was obviously unique and special. The recently-concluded 2021 Annual Meeting was also special, given that it was held in trying circumstances.

When the Covid disaster hit the world—and by disaster I mean the criminal nation-states’ response to Covid-19 starting in early 2020, not the pandemic itself—private life everywhere was disrupted. Wealth was destroyed; lives and businesses and careers were ruined. We at the PFS held out hope that matters would have improved enough by September 2020 to allow what would have been our Fifteenth Annual Meeting to be held. But the states only increased their insane restrictions and we were forced to cancel the 2020 meeting, with great reluctance. No one was allowed to attend (the intrepid Thomas Jacob, our illustrious Administrative Secretary, and his lovely wife Renata found their way to Bodrum anyway!). 

Many believed, or hoped, that the panic would be mostly over a year later and the world would have returned to some semblance of normality. But it was not to be. Lockdowns, restrictions, Covid security theater still persists. Yet Dr. Hoppe was determined to go forward with the Fifteenth Annual Meeting, which has just concluded. Held from Sept. 16–21, 2021, in Bodrum, Turkey, at the elegant Hotel Karia Princess, the meeting was a success and an act of defiance to the Establishment. To paraphrase Murray Rothbard, every PFS Annual Meeting says yes to life.  

I previously published a fairly detailed report of my experience at the Fifth Annual Meeting (2010) in “Bodrum Days and Nights: The Fifth Annual Meeting of the Property and Freedom Society: A Partial Report,” The Libertarian Standard (June 16, 2010). Much of what I described there is also true of each annual meeting. If you are interested in what PFS meetings are like, I recommend you consult this report, and those made by other PFS attendees over the years.1

Here, I provide my own personal experience at the 2021 meeting; it’s a bit biased, eclectic, and self-absorbed; and I’ve intermixed some pictures and videos below (apologies for the amateur arrangement) and append some extras at the end.

This year, instead of the usual 100 or so guests, only about half that number were in attendance. Several of the normal attendees from the UK, for example, such as Sean Gabb, did not attend, since the UK had placed Turkey on a special list that required UK citizens to quarantine at a government-approved hotel for several days, at their expense, upon return from Turkey. (Ironically, the UK removed Turkey from the list during the meeting, but this could not have been known ahead of time.) Various other mainstays like Sean Ring, Michael McKay, Andreas Acavalos, and Andy Duncan were also absent. A few speakers also had to withdraw, which led to a few of us delivering slightly longer talks than normal (45 minutes instead of 30). There were also some fresh new faces, such as Saifedean Ammous, author of The Bitcoin Standard.

Juan Carpio and I teaching PFS attendees how to use the Bitcoin Lightning network with Blue Wallet; Juan sent Saifedean Ammous his first Lightning transaction… Greg Morin made this picture since it resembled the Last Supper painting, with yours truly resembling Bitcoin Jesus (no offense, Roger Ver).

But even with our truncated numbers, the Meeting was much the same as before. A nice set of speeches over the first three days (Friday–Sunday), which will be released here soon, and wonderful company and camaraderie at this Great Salon, capped off by yet another memorable boat trip to the Aegean on the final day, Monday. Over the years I’ve taken various guests with me, since it’s too difficult for my wife to come—my sister, Crystal, who joined me for the inaugural meeting in 2006; my son; and my friend Misty Khan. This year, my brother-in-law Tommy Turner accompanied me (for the second time; the first was in 2013) and this time he even attended most of the speeches, renewed old friendships and made new friends, as did I.

Tommy loves karaoke so we tried to find some bars in the Market (near the Bodrum Castle and Marina) that had it, but we could not, so one day when Tommy and I were walking around the Market we stopped at Anthony’s English Pub for a coffee. The waiter helped me find a local shop that sold me a meerschaum pipe. He mentioned that they would have a guitarist later that night doing live music, so that evening a group of us went back to the pub and ended up doing a makeshift karaoke with the talent. It was a blast. Later on at the reception and dinner at the Hotel Karia Princess, we mentioned the tale and ended up getting some karaoke going at the PFS too.

In previous years, due to family pressures at home, I always came in and left right on time, or even arrived late or left early—one time I arrived Friday night and left 36 hours later; I was in the air more than I was on the ground. So although I have always enjoyed it, it was always a bit of a rush for me or a slight strain on the homefront. But now that my son has just gone to college, this year I was able to take some extra time after the conference. Greg Morin, Juan Carpio, Tommy and I stayed three days later, until Friday. We had thought we might visit Greece during those days—perhaps Rhodes, or Santorini, or even the local island Kos—but the ferries were all shut down due to Covid and no one felt like hiring a private boat and getting yet more Covid tests and risking being stuck in Greece. So we asked advice from our hosts and the hotel, and Jay Baykal suggested we consider Aphrodisias. In the end, the four of us, plus Bodgan and Greg Dabrowski (from Poland), took a 2-day trip in two vans to Aphrodisias and Hierapolis-Pamukkale. One van and driver was graciously loaned to us by the hotel and our host, Dr. Hoppe’s wife Gülcin Imre, and we rented a second van and driver for the Dabrowskis.

We had the most wonderful time. We drove about 3.5 hours to Aphrodisias, jabbering happily in the van and talking about all manner of things. On the way, the vans stopped at this amazing pepper, nuts and olives outlet to pick up some supplies. We marveled at the sights and smells, and bought a few snacks—ground pepper flavoring, cashews, etc. We stopped there again on the way back, and Juan helped hang some pepper bunches for drying.

Then we arrived in Aphrodisias, an ancient Greek-Roman city, with amazing ruins and a fantastic museum with thousands of well-preserved statues. It is not as easy for the cruise ships and tour buses to get to, apparently, unlike, say, Ephesus or Hierapolis, so it was almost deserted, which was fine with us. We spent several hours there. Serendipitously, our friend Bogdan, now a successful business man, had a first career as an archaeologist and spoke several languages, in addition to Polish and English—Greek, Latin, and Hebrew. So it was like having our own private expert guide.

After Aphrodisias, we were famished, so were taken to a charming local restaurant, Anatolia Restaurant, where we six had quite the feast. The waiter said we had set a record for the amount of food ordered in one sitting for a table of six.

We then drove 90 minutes to our hotel, near Hierapolis and the Pamukkale hot springs, the Spa Hotel Colossae Thermal. It was large and slightly touristy, with lots of buses out front, Asian tourists, and so on, all in town to see the Pamukkale hot springs and the ruins at Hierapolis. But it was perfect for us—clean, nice, huge buffet, and some hot springs we could use. Plus it was only $40 per room, probably because of the inflation Turkey has been experiencing. We all immediately went to our rooms and put on our bathing suits and spent some delicious time in the hotel’s hot springs. The four older among us retired to bed early while Juan and Greg Dabrowski stayed out partying with youngsters at a nearby hotel until late.

The next morning, after breakfast, we toured the ruins at Hierapolis and the Pamukkale hot springs, with its amazing white calcium carbonate mineral deposits, called “cotton castle” (“Pamukkale“). Then we drove four hours back to Bodrum, stopping again at the pepper outlet and for another feast, at a nice little restaurant off the side of the road, Kanatoğlunun Yeri (Restoran), where we had yet another nice feast before returning back to the Hotel Karia Princess in Bodrum. All the guests had left by then so we considered walking down to the Marina for dinner, but Hoppe and Gülcin and her lovely daughter Lale were having dinner at the hotel so most of us joined then and talked for a few hours.

On Thursday, back in Bodrum for our final full day, Tommy, Juan, the two Gregs and I spent a nice leisurely day at the Bodrum Market, near the Bodrum Castle and marina, doing a bit of shopping, eating, relaxing. It was heaven. I didn’t realize until I got home that Salt Bae’s restaurant chain Nusr-et has a Bodrum location; we’ll definitely hit it next time.

On the way out, Greg Morin wanted to see the Bodrum Castle. I had seen it a few times before and frankly, didn’t want to trudge through it again. It’s huge. But no one else wanted to take Greg so I took him and to my surprise, in the years since I had seen it last, it has been totally renovated and is much nicer. We really enjoyed it, and I called Juan and Tommy to also come see it again, which they did.

 

Every year I am a bit trepidatious about traveling to Turkey since the political situation always seems precarious. This year we were worried about inflation, political instability, Covid travel issues, and a hurricane that was hitting Texas and Louisiana right around the time we were supposed to depart. But the only real problem we had was on the flight home. Tommy and I were traveling from Bodrum to Houston via Istanbul, and only had a 1.5 hour layover in the Istanbul airport. I figured that it was enough time to make the connecting flight, since Turkish Air allowed me to book it this way. No dice. After a delay on the tarmac and then another long delay going through security, we hoofed it across this huge airport, but we missed the flight to Houston. We decided to book at room at the airport hotel, the “AirYotel,” and just spend a day and night at the airport. It was actually fun since the airport is huge and had tons of great shopping and dining, and two very good museums. But next time I’ll ensure a longer layover.

In the end, this was my favorite PFS ever, probably because I stayed longer and had the amazing side trip. Looking forward to next year, as always—hopefully no masks required for the 12-hour flight to Istanbul.

Finis!

Jeffrey Griese, a Guido Hülsmann dead ringer.

With Jay Baykal at the taxi stand, having some tea served to us by hospitable taxi guys

Jay Baykal with the man-bun unleashed

Renata Jacob, a Swiss sweetheart.

Bogdan Dobrowski, archeologist-cum-businessman

Alert Michael Malice

In the Bodrum Market, Juan handed me this and said hold it. I could only see the back. That crafty Ecuadorian!

Jay Baykal, your boy Tim Haffner, and me, fresh off the boat

Juan Carpio and Manuel Amador

If you gotta mask up–let it be a PFS mask!

The Four Amigos at the Bodrum Market

Even I am not sure why I was wearing my badge.

Pit stop on the way to Aphrodisias

Aphrodisias. Hoping a 2000 year old tunnel doens’t cave in on us

In the Pool at the Hierapolis hotel

Mr. Ammous

“cotton castle” (“Pamukkale“).

An espresso and ice cream outside Pamukkale hot springs.

“if you move that cat out of the way, I will”

A leisurely breakfast at the Karia Princess by the pool

Bodrum Castle

Bodrum Castle and lonely cat

Here comes trouble. Jay, Kinsella, JuanFer

IST airport has some good food!

Pide! Turkish pizza.

  1. For a sampler:

    Other reports are collected at the Press & Offsite Material page. For further information, see also:

{ 1 comment… add one }