FFF vice president Sheldon Richman and I wrapped up our Libertarian Angle college tour last Friday at the University of Vermont in Burlington. It was a fascinating cap to a great week. While the audience discussion at the other four venues had revolved mostly around domestic issues, the event on Friday evening was entirely over foreign policy. The students were knowledgeable and well-versed in the issues surrounding foreign policy and some of them even favored U.S. interventionism, which made for a very lively discussion. The program started at 7 and ended at 8:15. But we didn’t leave until around 9:30 because the students stayed around to engage in more discussion with us. It was an awesome evening.
During the entire tour, we drove some 1,700 miles. Last Monday, I drove from Virginia to Pittsburgh, where I picked up Sheldon at the airport. We began at Grove City College in Pennsylvania, then went to Penn State at State College, then onto to Binghamton University in New York, then to the University of Albany, and finally to the University of Vermont.
We did the tour in partnership with the Young Americans for Liberty, one of the organizations of young libertarians who were inspired by Ron Paul’s 2008 presidential campaign. YAL’s local chapter at each campus made arrangements for a lecture room and promoted the event to chapter members. They all did a fantastic job in putting things together for each event.
Our aim was to raise the vision of young libertarians to a higher level — to think beyond the reform syndrome that afflicts conservatives and to think more about dismantling, abolishing, and repealing the welfare-warfare state apparatuses that unfortunately have come into existence and become a major part of American life.
Thus, in our sessions we necessarily discussed such things as the meaning of freedom and how the welfare-warfare state poses a threat to freedom. We also wanted to show how uncompromising perspectives on liberty apply to the burning issues of the day. So, we necessarily discussed such things as the welfare state, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, the drug war, foreign interventionism, the national-security state, torture, and civil liberties.
Our methodology was based on our weekly Internet show, the Libertarian Angle, which Sheldon and I have now been doing for more than a year. Thus, rather than present lectures to the audience, Sheldon and I engaged in a spontaneous interaction about the principles of liberty, how they apply to the issues of the day, and the challenges that libertarians face in advancing libertarianism. After 30 minutes, we would then open the conversation for audience participation. It made for a very enjoyable format for us, and the audiences seem to enjoy it as well.
The achievement of liberty requires a passionate love of principles, ideals, and ideas. Such traits generally characterize people when they are in college. Most important, the achievement of a free society entails a deep love of liberty and an unquenchable thirst to be free.
Our thanks go out to YAL and all the chapter heads who did the work to put these programs together. And thanks to everyone who came out for the events. You inspired us and we learned from you!