David R. Henderson  

Carlos Ball, RIP

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Ian Vasquez of the Cato Institute reports:

Venezuelan journalist and Cato adjunct scholar Carlos Ball passed away last week. He was 75. Carlos was a champion of liberty and a long-time friend to so many of us in the freedom movement in the Americas. His life was a testimony to the power of ideas, and he lived it true to his classical-liberal convictions.

I first met Carlos at the Mont Pelerin meetings in Cannes in September 1994. We hit it off immediately. After that, we were occasionally in touch by e-mail. He often took articles I wrote and translated them into Spanish for his large audience.

I last heard from him in April during the busiest time of my year and, now to my regret, did not get around to answering him.

I still remember an insight that Carlos gave me that has helped me not be a nationalist and helped me distinguish between people of a given nationality. Somehow we got talking about how foreigners who visit the United States generally find Americans friendly but their first impression of America is typically the Immigration officials who grill them at the airport or at the border. They have a much less positive impression of these particular Americans.

Carlos told me that his father had once been the Venezuelan government's ambassador to the United States. His father had told him: "Carlos, never judge a people by its bureaucrats." For this streetwise public choice insight, I am grateful. Ever since then, that one insight has helped me navigate in foreign countries.


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COMMENTS (5 to date)
Alberto Mingardi writes:

Thank you David for this post. I am very sorry to hear about Carlos Ball. He was a passionate man, who fought for liberty in a very hostile environment. Sit tibi terra levis.

Dick White writes:

Small point; please take no offense. Why is it that the no nonsense David Henderson employs the "passed away" term when the perfectly clear "died' is available? The use of euphemism today is excessive but understandable in cases where the literal may be harsh or insensitive. But "dying" is an essential part of our life cycle and generally not in need of a euphemism.

David R. Henderson writes:

@Dick White,
Small point; please take no offense.
None taken.
Why is it that the no nonsense David Henderson employs the "passed away" term when the perfectly clear "died' is available?
One reason and one reason only: I believe in quoting people accurately.
The use of euphemism today is excessive but understandable in cases where the literal may be harsh or insensitive. But "dying" is an essential part of our life cycle and generally not in need of a euphemism.
You would have been proud of the 19-year old me, Dick. My mother died about a week after dictating her obituary. My mother was no-nonsense about this. A couple of hours after my mother died, I called the Winnipeg Free Press to dictate the obit over the phone. I used the word “died.” The woman on the other end said, “Um, don’t you mean ‘passed away?’” “No,” I said, “I mean ‘died’.” [I put so much emphasis on the word that it sounded like Jackie in a hilarious episode of Roseanne.] Then the next sentence was something like “Her body will be donated for medical research.” “Um, um, don’t you mean ‘remains’”? “No,” I said, “I mean ‘body'."

Dick White writes:

This sloppy reader says, thank you for the correction. BTW, i'm just as proud of today's version but appreciated the anecdote.

Ricardo Ball writes:

Dear Mr. Henderson,

Only to clarify that my grandfather (my uncle Carlos father)was never the Venezuelan Ambassador to the United States.

regards,

Ricardo Ball

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