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Student Impact Stories

Friedman 8 Conference 2020: Sleep or Liberty? A South Indian Story


24 Hours of Liberty! That was the promise made by the organizers of the 8th Annual Friedman Conference – the most anticipated pro-liberty conference in the world. Anybody who has read Friedman knows that the obligation of business enterprise is the shareholder; just as anyone who’s heard of the Friedman 8 Conference knows that it’s as obligatory for a liberty enthusiast to attend.

The libertarian activist Jerome Tucille famously pointed out that the journey towards liberty “usually begins with Ayn Rand”, Most of us can only agree; however, if we were to take it a step further, we can say that the actual journey begins with Students for Liberty. And for us freshly minted Local Coordinators, SFL got us started with a $10 worth student pass to the biggest Liberty event in the world! Since it was all digital, all coordinators held the keys to something that was usually only open to a select few.

The organizers, the Australian Taxpayers Alliance, in partnership with Students For Liberty, held their biggest event so far. Since most of the world is in lockdown, everyone was accessible at the touch of a button. Fully capitalizing on the unique opportunities presented by these unprecedented times, they pulled together to project onto our screens many of the world’s most formidable advocates for liberty.

Here is what some of our coordinators had to say

Meet a few of our coordinators from South India who attended the Conference. We have Shradha Pandey from Mysore, Anshu Rathore from Mumbai, and Walter Sylesh from Chennai. Divided across different locations but united in their mission and their love for liberty. Let’s hear what they said:

How did you feel about receiving tickets from Students For Liberty?

  • Shradha: “When I first looked at the list of the speakers at the Conference, I knew that I wouldn’t miss it for the world. I was really happy when Ayemen, our Programs Manager, told us about SFL’s collaboration with the Conference Organizers.”
  • Anshu: “It got even better when Ayemen’s follow up email came in – We were getting free tickets! It was a great chance for me to meet more people like me.”
  • Walter: “As a freshly minted LC, it was the perfect welcome gift!”

How was your experience of the Conference and the other Local Coordinators?

  • Anshu: “A couple of us met online for the first time on the group for new LCs. The Conference was the first experience for the like-minded among us. It was at 3 AM, but that didn’t stop me!”
  • Walter: “I fondly remember getting a wake-up call from Anshu. I had my eyes peeled to the screen, snacks in hand. I was really excited and the constant texts from the other LCs on the group kept me awake! Of course, lady liberty’s torch helped me beat the chills of the early morning showers in Chennai.”
  • Shradha: “The boys had their wake-up calls. But for me, a mug of coffee and my thirst for knowledge was enough to keep me up! The Friedman Conference was the first truly digital experience for me – main sessions, breakouts and, of course, interactions with my peers. Needless to say, I also got great book recommendations from the speakers! My reading list is overflowing now!”

What did you like about the conference? Did it help you learn more about liberty?

  • Shradha: “Gosh! I could go on and on about what I liked. The speakers, despite their starry credentials, were able to politely disagree with one another while also fostering productive conversations. That is what sets those who believe in liberty apart from the rest. It is something I would like to emulate. I also learnt more about economists and philosophers like Hayek, Mises and Solzhenitsyn. It really broadened my views on liberty!”
  • Anshu: “I agree! It is important to be tolerant of people’s views. Putting across one’s point of view in a clear and structured manner is something I learnt from watching the speakers in this Conference. I was able to appreciate better why free markets are good for society, and how dilutions and challenges to the same can be tackled. I am now more confident on the path that I have chosen now; the path of liberty!”
  • Walter: “Yes! I loved the Conference. To be able to move across multiple rooms at the click of a button was the highlight for me. I could watch David Freidman go on about anarcho-capitalism while also having a parallel discussion on the Social Room with other speakers. Most of them were happy to have a conversation with me. It was really good. Liberty and libertarians welcomed me with open arms!”

Coordinators’ Highlights

Shradha’s picks:

  1. Different Libertarian Perspectives on Abortion. A friendly discussion on the pro-choice movement.
  1. The Tragedy of Victimless Crimes. On how overcriminalization is actually counterproductive.

Walter’s picks:

  1. Explaining Anarcho-Capitalism by David Friedman and Bryan Caplan. Two renowned economists discuss an ideal society with minimal governmental interference.
  1. F.A. Hayek v. Ayn Rand. Avowed supporters of both these influential figures discuss and debate their contributions to the cause of liberty.

Anshu’s pick:

  • Anti-poverty policies that actually work. An interesting session that responds to the common socialist jibe that libertarians couldn’t care less about the poor.

Concluding Remarks

It feels like a different world given the ongoing pandemic. However, the lockdowns have inspired advocates of liberty to be more active than ever. The digital world is ripe for the advancement of liberty. The Friedman Conference is a great example of this!

The experience of a few SFL Coordinators is just one of the many success stories that show a global unity of those dedicated to the cause of liberty.

Students For Liberty provides a great platform for the leaders of tomorrow to learn and spread the ideas of liberty.

To learn more about our programs and upcoming events, please click on the button below.

This piece solely expresses the opinion of the author and not necessarily the organization as a whole. Students For Liberty is committed to facilitating a broad dialogue for liberty, representing a variety of opinions.

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