Batten down the hatches — there’s a whole new year of weird a’comin’!
Look! Up in the sky!
It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s certainly not the U.S. government’s multi-billion-dollar, super-duper secret "Zuma" satellite. Because that’s at the bottom of the Indian Ocean.
I’m not prepared to let go of this Richard Spencer thing just yet. Sorry, everybody who’s desperately sick of it, but it’s hip, topical stuff that exposes a quite frankly worrying trend in the liberty movement. Quick recap for the benefit of anybody who has wisely ignored my previous diatribes on the subject but who has foolishly chosen to read this one: The International Students For Liberty Conference was this past weekend, and a faction of students in the SFL calling themselves the "Hoppe Caucus" invited Richard Spencer to come get together with them at a bar near the conference to discuss his ideas. Mayhem then ensued, Jeffrey Tucker got involved, and then everybody got kicked out, which is a win for liberty because it made it harder for Richard Spencer to talk to people who wanted to talk to Richard Spencer, and I guess we’re supposed to think that’s absolute aces.
That’s not really what I came to talk about today. I came to talk about this one narrow little concept that I’ve seen echoed in a lot of libertarish responses to the Spencer fiasco. Because he’s handy, I’ll pick on Robby Soave again, but this is purely illustrative; Soave is nowhere near the only person saying things like this.
A man and his dream
The International Students For Liberty Conference has been an annual event for ten years now. The conference, organized (expectedly enough) by Students For Liberty, is a three-day event featuring a number of libertarian — and, let’s face it, libertarish — speakers on a wide range of topics. It’s open to the public; one doesn’t have to be a student to attend. Indeed, the conference web site positively encourages attendance by non-students, as it suggests that one of the primary goals is to connect young libertarians with established "professional" libertarians. Networking, I think the buzzword still is.
So. Aces. It’s also worth noting that Students For Liberty has anticipated the factional squabbling among libertarians; they state unambiguously on the conference web site, in response to the goofy question "Am I ‘libertarian enough’ to attend":
Definitely. Students For Liberty prides itself on taking a "big tent" approach to promoting liberty. This means not only that pro-liberty people of all types and backgrounds are welcome to join in the fun, but also that there’s no requirement to have prior knowledge of libertarian thought, economics, or any particular approach to liberty. We’re all here to learn and ISFLC is meant to bring together many different approaches to liberty. We’d love to have yours represented!
So everybody is welcome, regardless of his ideology.
Everybody except Richard Spencer, that is.