Speak Freely Summit: A Day of Education and Philosophy in College Park

 Last weekend, I traveled to College Park, Maryland for the first annual Speak Freely Summit, hosted by another libertarian campus activism group, Students for Liberty. The conference was a fantastic melting pot of ideas and speakers, including commercial, political and international points of view.

We heard from Jim Caruso, owner of Flying Dog Brewery, and learned the details of his fight to protect free speech in the craft brewing industry, despite pushback from the state of Michigan. Caruso was an engaging speaker, and the free samples of Flying Dog beer were a great bonus!

Casey Givens of Young Voices gave a presentation on getting published in the liberty movement, including tips and advice to submit the best writing possible. It was awesome to have a hands-on workshop with real life skills that we can take back to campus and put to use. Representatives from the Charles Koch Institute and Students for Liberty tabled outside the conference hall, helping attendees get connected to organizations in the liberty movement. SFL handed out End the Drug War posters and t-shirts with the slogans “Peace, Love, Liberty” and “Don’t Tread on Anyone,” spreading the message of peaceful market-based society.

Flemming Rose, famous for his part in publishing the twelve cartoons of Mohammad in Denmark in 2006, spoke about the debate between respecting the wishes of religious groups and censoring publications. Although the controversial publication aired over a decade ago, Rose is still very much in the public eye. Throughout the day, K-9 units and armed security patrolled the conference center to ensure Rose and the attendees’ safety.

We heard from the creators of “Tickling Giants,” a documentary about a popular satirical show in Egypt which pokes fun at their tyrannical government, despite the increasing danger of speaking publicly. We also heard from WeTheInternet, and screened their video “Silence U,” about the insidious culture of censorship at America’s top-ranked universities. Dave Rubin, from YouTube channel the Rubin Report, ended the conference on an upbeat note by presenting on the future of free speech while making the audience laugh.

I had a wonderful time learning, laughing and thinking at the first ever SFL Speak Freely Summit. Can’t wait for next year’s event!

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