Libertarianism is, obviously, an idea whose time has come. Or maybe you don’t like that term. There are plenty of others. My preference is old-fashioned. I like the term “liberal” — or maybe “radical liberal” — to distinguish my own intellectual commitments from the generation that naively believed that government could be created and limited by things like constitutions or social contracts.
Whatever you want to call it, the libertarian push is the animating force behind today’s most-exciting business ventures, technological innovations, cultural movements and political trends. Where the so-called left is most successful today, it is due to the urge to end war and protect civil liberties against state encroachment. Where the so-called right is most successful, it is due to the emphasis on keeping what you earn and giving freedom to the entrepreneurial class.
And think about all the exciting technologies that are transforming our lives in the digital age. They are wonderful not because they are giving us greater access to the dubious offerings of the public sector, but precisely the opposite. They are allowing us to re-create civilization itself based on human volition, voluntary association, borderless economic exchange and choice as the driving agent of change.
What if there were a kind of intellectual exposition of the most wonderful ideas in the world of liberty? It turns out that there is one. It is called FreedomFest. This year, it is in Las Vegas, Nev., July 11-14, 2012. This year is particularly exciting because it promises to be the biggest yet and to feature all the key minds that are carving out a future for human liberty, despite the continuing push by leviathan to control our lives.
I time attended two years ago, and the whole experience blew my mind. I might even go further and say that it changed my outlook on life and the prospects for liberty in our time. There was a gigantic diversity of people and institutions represented. There were large sessions attended by everyone and hundreds of breakout sessions you could attend based on your personal interest in some particular cause.
Because the subject of human liberty is as big as life itself, there really are no limits on what is being discussed. The result is somewhere between an intellectual salon and a large-scale commercial bazaar. It is both very serious and very fun. The levity that exists here makes for a great learning environment because the mind stays constantly stimulated.
It makes sense to me that a conference on liberty should be fun, enjoyable, unpredictable. Nothing should come prepackaged. This is something that Mark Skousen intuited when he started this event. Let the socialists be the dreary ones, wallowing in depressing predictions about the plight of the workers and peasants. Let those who love liberty celebrate ideas in an atmosphere of reckless disregard for convention and approved ways of thinking! This is what is encouraged and what you get at FreedomFest.
Laissez Faire Books is not only serving as the official seller at the entire event. We are also holding our own panel. This panel will be competing against other panels, so I wanted to put together something completely different that would attract people and give attendees a new point of view.
The theme concerns new ways to live a happy and free life, and promote the right ideas, in these odd times when the leviathan rules the physical world and liberty is making gigantic advances in the digital world.
Here is what we came up with: “Liberty That Works: New Approaches in New Times.”
We are featuring six presentations.
A shocking diversity of people and ideas! This is the way it should be. I’m hoping to see what emerges when all these great minds come together in an atmosphere of freedom and learning. In the right kind of setting, with the right kind of encouragement, everyone can come away from an event like this with new, creative ideas for tackling the challenges ahead of us.
I hope to see you there.
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I went in 2009 and it was truly a great experience, pulling me back more firmly into the libertarian camp and renewing my interest in “old right” politics. In retrospect, there were more “neocons” present (Heritage, American Spectator, etc.) than I would have preferred, but most were at least on the same page on economics and free-markets. To be honest, I am now saving my money and time for the annual Mises Circle in Houston and maybe more Mises functions elsewhere.
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