Who I Nominated for Liberty Inspiration Award 2012—and Why

Coley, Chartier, Hunter — these are three fellows who are not just inspiring but whose work is changing the world and the libertarian landscape. One could choose 3 people to nominate for the annual Liberty Inspiration Award, sponsored by liberty candidates. Here’s who I chose and why:

First, Will Coley with Muslims for Liberty. He work is two fold. He does lectures for Tea Party groups demystifying Sharia and Islam. He even got a council of Tea Parties in East Tennessee to vote 12 to 14 to stop attacking Islam and to even publicly oppose a “Sharia ban” bill in the Tennessee Legislature. That was how he started out, moving from there to start the classical liberal Islamic organization, Muslims for Liberty, which now has chapters all around the world!

It’s really awesome because a brand of Islam that embraces liberalism and the non-aggression principle has the potential to completely change the face of Islamic politics internationally and especially change things for the better in the middle east. Classical liberalism, Coley holds, while utterly opposite of radical Islam, in fact meshes excellently with classical Islam from the 12th century, before the faith went in a more authoritarian direction. I’m not a student of a Islam, so I can’t give merit or deny this claim but it is an interesting and different take on the subject.

MTSU YAL had the pleasure of hosting Will Coley for a lecture on Islam and Liberty last March 2012. It was very interesting and several members of the MTSU Islamic student organization were in attendance and found the lecture insightful. He spoke about how classical liberalism isn’t only compatible with Islam, much of it was developed out of the Islamic legal tradition. It’s very interesting that Coley presents such a different viewpoint in the defense of freedom.

Coley’s work is important because it has the potential to completely reshape the dynamics of the middle east and foreign affairs if M4L’s message keeps spreading and resonating at the rate that it is. By demystifying Islam through the philosophy of liberty, they are also pushing back against Islamophobia. Coley has also been nominated by other notable groups.

chartierMy second nomination is Gary Chartier. His work is following the left-Rothbardian tradition of Rodrick Long and Sheldon Richman who are carrying on the work Murray Rothbard started with his 60s ALLiance with the New Left (See here & here).  So why not just nominate them? Because Gary has done a lot of work this year with the book he co-edited with Charles Johnson, Markets Not Capitalism. I am still reading Markets Not Capitalism but what I’ve read and Chartier’s multiple videos, webinars, and interviews promoting the book got me interested in looking more into left-libertarianism. He has also caused me to in earnest begin reviewing the writings of the forgotten 19th century libertarians like Herbert Spencer and Voltairine De Cleyre who had more comprehensive understandings of the interlocking system of oppression that includes but is not limited to the State.

jack2Thirdly is Jack Hunter, the Southern Avenger. He’s done a ton of hard work developing the right-side of the libertarian movement this year. He’s managed the blogging for Ron Paul’s 2012 campaign for starters, and he has been a critical voice holding the movement together at key moments like Rand Paul’s endorsement of Romney when faces were melting.

Hunter, to me, is basically a political genius. He is often called an Ambassador of the Old Right, bridging the gap between libertarian ideals and conservative verbage. Hunter refuses to be owned by the conservative establishment.  He is a leading voice leading the charge of the R3LOVUTION that is inspiring a generation of recovering neo-cons to turn against authoritarianism and to embrace non-aggression and freedom.

He once said in an interview with Antiwar.com that it is important to fight the left from the left and the right from the right. I see Long, Richmond, and Chartier doing this from the left while Jack Hunter attacks from the right.

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