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Last week I was fortunate enough to attend the Cato Institute’s annual Cato University held in Washington D.C. The five and a half day course provided a wealth of information on a wide range of topics. From literature to lectures, I received a great deal from my experience. The best thing I walked away with was confidence that the Liberty movement has a bright future.
This year’s course focused on a broad range of topics including philosophy, history, jurisprudence, and economics of liberty. Each day attendees listened to several lectures by a number of distinguished scholars including Cato Senior Fellows Tom Palmer and Randy Barnett, Director of Economic Policy Studies Jeff Miron, and many others. The origins of government, the history of the United States, and an examination of the Declaration of Independence were among the topics discussed by the speakers. The speakers and the attendees alike were eager to participate and contribute to the learning experience.
Between the lectures and during meals, we had time to sit and talk with each other. These periods of time were enlightening. The discussions held at the tables I populated included reactions to the speakers, brainstorming sessions and debates. Our talks were often so intellectually stimulating that they continued into the after dinner discussion at the hotel bar. We discussed the future of the liberty movement and questioned how we could garner the same level of energy that we saw out of the Free Brazil movement (a political group presented to us by two Brazilian activists during a dinner). We also delved into the workings and implications of Bitcoin as well as the upcoming 2016 general election. If these are the minds that will be championing the movement moving forward, we are in good hands.
The attendees of the conference were diverse in all demographics. Of the roughly 200 people who attended, nearly half were students. The age-range of the other half was wide. The conference also drew people from all corners of the United States and the world. At one point, I was sitting at a table with students from Columbia, Brazil, Georgia, Connecticut, and a gentleman from London. While we all hailed from different parts of the globe, we were all united in our goal of advancing liberty.
One of the most inspiring presentations was by Tom Palmer titled “The Worldwide Revolution for Liberty.” In this presentation, Palmer discussed the key players in the liberty movement and the tremendous impact they achieved. He also showed, through his experience, how the drive for freedom is alive and well in countries around the world. At the end of the speech, I (and I expect most others in the room) knew I could dedicate the rest of my life to the cause of advancing liberty.