Economics

Nick Gillespie: Why You're Living in the Libertarian Moment

And what you can do to keep and expand your freedom

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On Saturday, February 21, Reason.tv and Reason.com Editor in Chief Nick Gillespie addressed a crowd of 200-plus attending the second annual International Students for Liberty conference, held in Washington, D.C.

Titled "Why You're Living in the Libertarian Moment And What You Can Do to Keep and Expand Your Freedom" and featuring a slideshow set to Sid Vicious's version of "My Way," Gillespie's talk argued that we are more free than ever despite massive increases in government spending, regulation, and controls over the past several decades. Due to huge growth in wealth, technology, and social liberalization, more individuals are more free to pursue their lives on their own terms than ever before.

However, warned Gillespie, for these positive trends to continue it is imperative that the zero-sum game of politics be kept in as small and limited sphere as possible. In an age of bailouts and big spending, it is vitally important to stop thinking of politics in terms of right vs. left or conservative vs. liberal. The best way to analyze public policy and social organization is in terms of choice vs. control. Does a given idea expand the ability of people to pick and choose among various ways of living?

The future of freedom, argued Gillespie, rests upon the shoulders of today's libertarian-minded youth, who must convince their peers to reject the played-out politics of the past and embrace a vision of an open-ended future empowered by "free minds and free markets." And it is up to students to invent the next great, decentralizing, DIY technology like rock 'n' roll and the Internet.

It is important to engage politics, said Gillespie, but it is even more important to remember that real life exists far beyond the petty strictures of the next election or zoning board meeting. "Live your life as a work of art and an act of discovery. Create your own identity, your own community, and your own meaning."

Approximately 40 minutes. Shot and edited by Dan Hayes.

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