New Generation of Libertarians Steps Forward
At the conference hosted by Students for Liberty, students and professors from universities all over the state gathered at the University of Florida's Reitz Union. Their primary topic: freedom. Their primary goal: debate.
"We basically believe in economic freedom as well as personal freedom," says Program Manager Kelly Jameson. "So the freedom to start a business, unhindered by the government and the freedom to live your life as you would prefer as long as you're not interfering with anyone else's rights."
Unlike the Democratic Party or the GOP, the Libertarians at this conference say they're not trying to organize politically. Instead, they're trying to change the hearts and minds of the students, helping them to change the way they think about political decisions. To do that, students are given a wide array of resources, including free copies of Ayn Rand's book, "Atlas Shrugged."
Among the tables set up, one was dedicated to helping students find just where they fit in the political ideological spectrum. Libertarians play a major role at this conference, but you can also find Republicans and left-leaning Democrats, maybe even a few anarchists. One word repeated more frequently among the young attendees was "liberal."
Nicholas White is a senior Biology major at UF and he says "I think the younger generation of libertarians tend to emphasize our more liberal character, more which is the protection of individual rights and what you can say or do in public areas."
White says he's a registered Republican, but only so that he can vote for Ron Paul.