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.
Robert J. Schimenz
Are any political issues personal for you?
"I could get emotional over a lot of issues. Nick [Gillespie], about a month ago, was in Queens. And he was walking down the street. A guy pulls up and says 'Aren't you Nick Gillespie from Reason?' And he holds up his Reason magazine. And it's one of my former students. Who, when I first met him, was a 10th grader and an illegal alien. Great kid. Baseball player on my team. Editor of my school newspaper. We'd even gone to see if I could legally adopt him so he didn't have to stress being an illegal alien… he's probably one of the best Americans I know, this kid."
"I went to college in Texas and I started a YAL [Young Americans for Liberty] chapter. And it got shut down. And so I worked with FIRE [Foundation for Individual Rights in Education], we sued, and won. It was kinda my entry into the liberty movement. It was the first time I was on campus as a YAL chapter, I was just recruiting, letting people know there's this libertarian group on campus. A student was offended because I was talking about guns on campus. So they went to the administration. And then they came to me with three armed police officers saying I was not allowed to talk to students without permission. If I wanted to talk about guns, I would need special permission."
Have you ever changed your mind on an issue?
"Oh sure. Well now I'm gonna upset you. Probably. When I lived in Britain, I was really scared of socialized medicine. But I found that the NHS [National Health System] was more efficient than our hybrid state-private system. So I think we either need a true private system or a true public system."
"Humans of FreedomFest" is a series. Read previous installments here.