This last weekend I had the pleasure of working with Students For Liberty at the 6th Annual Students For Liberty Conference. Prior to moving to Los Angeles the liberty movement was the defining issue of my life for four years or so, including living in DC for three years and working full time for SFL for two. While the principles of liberty and the social benefits of them are still at the core of my philosophy it is not nearly as visible in my day-to-day life. Due to this removal from liberty activism I came to the conference with a perspective that was unique for me.
First off, the ISFLC provided an opportunity for me to see how I am perceived by others. I probably met over 100 people at the conference who I had only interacted with online and I found my online presence is similar to how I want to be perceived. I am pretty universally known as the guy who unapologetically loves Ke$ha, who not only believes drugs should be legal but encourages their use to expand the human experience, and someone who tries to break down the misconceptions about sex and relationships by living the philosophy. The private discussions I had with people at this conversation has really reinforced in my mind that I made the right decisions shifting away from policy and towards social pressure that punishes consenting adults who do not conform to “traditional” male/female monogamy roles.
Secondly, it was incredibly inspiring. I’ve seen this annual conference grow from 300 people floating around a couple of college rooms to 1500 participants taking up two conference floors of the Grand Hyatt, two tapings of the Stossel Show, and a conference hall filled with dozens of partner organizations. While the quantity of participants seems to increase exponentially the quality and diversity increases also. What is often stereotyped as a middle-class white male American view on individuality, freedom, and personal responsibility is starting to bloom with people of all colors, classes, genders, and creeds. I have been to conventions for Campus Progress and College Republicans and I have never seen so many people fly from around the world at their own expense to discuss ideas, tactics, and just celebrate human potential for peace. With this growth comes increased media attention, though the media still tends to falsley classify libertarians as part of “the right” libertarians continue to emphasize our unique philosophy that provides a consistency that is unparalleled in modern politics.