'I Teach How to Think, Not What to Think': Humans of FreedomFest, Part 3

Portraits from the world's largest annual gathering of libertarians.


Editor's note: FreedomFest, held every July in Las Vegas, is the largest annual gathering of libertarians in the country. Today is the first day of the four-day long conference, which is being headlined in its 10th year by William Shatner, John Stossel, Greg Gutfeld, and others. Taking inspiration from the site Humans of New York, Reason is happy to offer Humans of FreedomFest, a series of portraits and brief interviews with various attendees. To read previous installments, go here.

Jannae Michaux-Sykes

Sarah Rose Siskind, Reason

"I'm a teacher. I work with middle schoolers, high schoolers, and I'm just trying to help them think. I get a few students who will challenge me. I don't have a problem with that. Bring it on. I teach how to think, not what to think. That's what I do. I don't know how much longer I got, 'cause I'm a substitute teacher so I'm all over the place. By the time I say what I have to say, I'm gone. They can't catch up with me!"

Alexander Läpe

Sarah Rose Siskind, Reason

"The main reason I support Donald Trump is because of his immigration policies. That's why I like him the most. I'm not really into his economic policies, whether he taxes the rich or not, because it's not even my country. I care about what's best for my country [Germany]. And obviously we need to be competitive, so I don't want another country doing better than mine."

Raoul Davis

Sarah Rose Siskind, Reason

"One day my son says to me, 'Trump's a bad guy.' I said, Let's not go into that. Instead, let's focus on [the fact that] Trump is successful and he knows how to win. And let's just leave it at that. At the end of the day, I think it's the office of the president, especially for a child, and I don't care who's president. I think the office of the president should be honored."

This is the third installment of Humans of FreedomFest. To read previous ones, go here.

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  1. Is this sort of “freedom” legal?

    Do these individuals have the necessary permits, for example?

  2. Every year I think it’d be a hoot to attend. And every year when I read about what went on that year, I’m glad I didn’t.

    1. Haha, same here. From what I read so far, sounds like a Trumpalo convention this year.

      1. Friggin’ Wayne Allen Root is still talking there.

  3. I’m really appreciating the pretty varied people they are showing. These last three don’t even seem libertarian. It’s interesting. Though the second guy is definitely scary.

    1. Yeah I don’t know about him. A German who supports Trump for his nativist immigration policies, because he cares about what’s best for Germany? WTF?

      1. I knew that kid was German just from the photo. Stereotypes are awesome.

        1. The future belongs to him.*

          *If you don’t get this, watch Caberet. Liza Minnelli is fabulous! (For real.)

    2. These last three don’t even seem libertarian.

      I don’ identify as any sort of libertarian so my fellow readers will need to remain cognizant of this when they read my impressions. My impressions are that Jannae Michaux-Sykes (the teacher who was interviewed and featured in this part/Part 3) seems to me to have much more of a freedom-minded bent than the other two interviewees.

      Just having re-read Alexander L?pe’s quoted opinions, I could interpret Alexander to mean that he likes Trump’s immigration policies because they seem to help Germany, which is Alexander’s own country. Naturally Alexander wouldn’t care much about Trump’s economic policies or how much Trump wants to tax the citizens of the U.S., since that part of Trump’s agenda will not overly impact Alexander’s own nation.

      With regards to the last interviewee, Raoul Davis, I’ll simply use his own words to describe him (assuming Sarah Rose Siskind et al quoted all of the interviewees accurately): … Instead, let’s focus on [the fact that] Trump is successful and he knows how to win… I think the office of the president should be honored.

  4. So it only took three installments to get to this.

    Though props to the little Hitler. He knows how the game is played.

    1. “Alexander L?pe” is the new correct answer to “You know who else…”

  5. I think the office of the president should be honored.

    The only true freedom is in paying tribute to your superiors.

  6. THIS is the challenge we face – even many of the people who expend the time, effort and money to attend something called FreedomFest…don’t actually believe in freedom.

    That’s before you even consider the 90% of the electorate that openly mocks and disparages the idea of individual liberty.

  7. I get the sense from this that FreedomFest has become TrumpaLooza. I know it’s always had a dark fauxtarian underbelly, but now it seems like they’re not even trying.

  8. I don’t know how much longer I got, ’cause I’m a substitute teacher so I’m all over the place. By the time I say what I have to say, I’m gone. They can’t catch up with me!”

    I never had a substitute teacher who was worth a darn or made any impact at all on my life. Kids don’t typically pay any attention to or respect substitute teachers.

  9. Raoul seems like a real ‘thinker’.

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