I want everybody who reads this to take a quick minute to imagine your perception of East Texas. The area shares a part of the country known as the Piney Woods, home to four national parks and at least 17 state parks. Now, imagine Texas politics, especially in rural East Texas. Not only is our campus left-leaning (we are known for our education and forestry departments—need I say more?), but we often see staunch conservatives out debating our foreign policy, economics, and social issues as much as the other side.
I believe you have a nice taste of the life of many of our YAL-ers.
Now imagine trying to create an environment within this scenario in which people can freely come together to express the philosophy and interest in liberty.
This, I believe, was the ultimate goal of the Young Americans for Liberty chapter at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas when we decided to pursue our own conference, Liberty in the Pines. For the first time, liberty would have a place for discussion within the dense expanse of East Texas.
Our Young Americans for Liberty chapter at Stephen F. Austin State University set in place a conference that hosted over 70 people from all over the United States (and a speaker from Canada) eager to engage more in the discussion of liberty.
All day, attendees received input from Stefan Molyneux, author and host of FreedomainRadio.com, Jessica Hughes, author and frequent contributor to FreezeTheFascism.com, Stephan Kinsella, Intellectual Property lawyer and author of Against Intellectual Property (the book is avaliable on Mises.org through that link), Shayne Wissler, author of For Individual Rights (one of my personal favorite books), and Jeffrey Tucker, author, former editor at the Ludwig von Mises Institute, and current publisher and director of Lassiez Faire Books, along with a supplemental Skype discussion with Dr. Walter Block, economics professor from Loyola University in New Orleans.
The day was filled with excitment and opportunity, as each speaker gave their own speeches on the philosophy and future of liberty, and by the end of the day, we were forced to extend the conference an extra hour because both the attendees and speakers wanted to continue on with a full panel discussion with the audience. Stefan Molyneux commented on the conference, writing it was “[one] of the best conferences I’ve ever been to,” while Stephan Kinsella wrote “this may have been my favorite conference ever. Just excellent. Great organizers, attendees, etc., everyone had the right attitude.” [sic]
Amid all of the commotion the conference turned out to be a complete success. Everybody seemed to leave Nacogdoches with a huge smile on their face, and new insight in their life. Our efforts to create a lasting discussion in the Piney Woods of East Texas have largely been a success as an organization, and have contributed to much of the shift in the political discussion in the area. Our school’s own “Democracy Wall” down the hall from our conference proves that if anything, liberty always leaves a mark wherever it may roam.
We want to give thanks to the Charles G. Koch Foundation and the Stephen F. Austin State University Government Department for funding the event.
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