It’s been a great week for me! On Tuesday, I traveled to Leesburg, Florida, which is about 1 ½ hours from Orlando to give a lecture on the principles of libertarianism to the student body at Beacon College, which just happens to be one of the most fascinating schools in the country.
The student body consists of 150 students, all of whom are learning-disabled. The school was founded some 20 years ago by a group of parents with learning-disabled children who wanted a school that focused on providing an excellent college education that oriented toward each student’s particular learning disability.
When I arrived, the school treated me to a friendly tour of the campus facilities, including the chance to meet and converse with some of the professors, whose educational skills encompass not only the substantive subjects they teach but also the ability to help the students confront and deal with their specific learning disabilities. The thing that came across was the deep passion and commitment that the teachers and administrators have for what they do in life.
I was then treated to a nice lunch with the president of the college, some of the school administrators, and two of the students, both of whom are ardent and extremely knowledgeable libertarians. In fact, my trip to Beacon was brought about by one of the two students, Shawn Bramley, whose persistence and diligence in organizing the program was recognized by the college president when she welcomed the audience before my talk.
In my talk, I began by explaining the core principle of libertarianism — the non-aggression principle — and then showing how that principle applies to some of the burning issues of our time — the economy, charity, the drug war, education, foreign policy, and immigration.
The aftermath of my talk was any teacher’s dream — lively questions, answers, discussion, debate, and argumentation. It was absolutely awesome. At one point during the discussion period, there were so many side discussions and debates taking place that I just stood back with a smile on face to behold the spectacle. The teachers and administrators who attended the talk had big smiles on their faces too at seeing the intellectual excitement among the students.
In giving such a lecture, I’ve always felt it wasn’t so important to me that people agree with what I have to say as much as it is to get people to think in ways they’ve never thought before, such as by asking such fundamental questions as, “What does it really mean to be free?” and “What should be the role of government in a free society?”
Thanks to all the great people at Beacon College, for what you do, for inviting me to speak at your fine school, and for giving me such a nice, warm, friendly reception. And thank you, Shawn, for making this happen! It was an honor to speak at your school and to exchange ideas on liberty with everyone at Beacon College.