LONDON (July 23-28, 2000) - Over 200 delegates from countries all around the world came to the University of Western Ontario to celebrate the International Society for Individual Liberty's (ISIL) 20th Anniversary and l9th World Libertarian Conference (www.libertyconferences.com). In the past, 18 previous annual conferences have been held in locations such as Costa Rica, Athens, Rome, and Vancouver.
Formerly known as Libertarian lnternational, ISIL was founded at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in July 1980.
"ISIL's international conferences have played a pivotal role in the growth of the world liberty movement," says ISIL president Vincent Miller. "Conference attendees return home inspired, energized, and motivated to carry on the fight for free minds and free markets." Miller's statement may, in fact, be understated.
In a July 25, 2000 London Free Press opinion column referring to this year's conference, Kelley Teahen wisely observed: "It bears watching what Libertarians talk about, where their concerns lie and what battles they pick, if we want some idea of where the larger right-wing movement may be heading, down the Rand road."
Unfortunately, the paper did not follow through on reporting what this year's conference speakers were talking about, and a golden opportunity to report on the ideas of the future was missed.
Year 2000 conference organizer Mary Lou Gutscher, a founding member of Freedom Party and its first executive head, selected London for the 2000 conference not only because of the excellent facilities available on the campus of UWO, but also because of the participation and involvement of local Fp members and supporters. Among them was Fp president Robert Metz who, as official conference registrar, was kept busy on a year-long administrative project that included the booking of accommodation for guests, the preparation of the daily meal attendance numbers, banking and currency exchange, and the registration of guest speakers. Other Fp volunteers at the conference included: Paul Blair, Gordon Mood, Carol Vandenberg, Greg Jones (Fp's webmaster who also set up the conference website), Wayne Simmons, Lloyd Walker, Terry Clemens, David Pengelly, Andrew Falby, and Hermann Martens. Many other individuals and volunteers from other organizations also participated to help make the conference a success.
Introducing Freedom Party as a "new kind of libertarian party" to conference delegates, Fp president Robert Metz prepared a video presentation composed of television news clips, features, and excerpts from talk show debates featuring Freedom Party and Fp representatives as they have appeared over a twenty year period from Freedom Party's foundation to the present.
Projected on the giant screen in the amphitheatre of UWO's Middlesex College, the two-part 33-minute video presentation clearly left an impression on the audience.
"Freedom Party is much more than just a political party," Metz told the audience. "We educate. We advocate. We agitate. We activate. We debate. We lobby. We support individuals confronted by unjust laws. We help out at events like this. And sometimes we even find time to field candidates during elections."
However, rather than verbally explain how this is being done, Metz instead chose to show them, through "the biased eyes of the media," how Freedom Party (and even the idea of individual freedom) is perceived by the television media. It was clear that many members of the audience could relate to what they were being shown.
Metz was only one of an impressive array of speakers which included: Stefan Blankertz (Germany), Barbara Branden (Canada/ USA), Terence Corcoran (Canada), Attila Csanyi (USA), Jacques de Guenin (France), Dr. Thomas Alfred Dorman (USA), Marc Emery (Canada), Craig Franklin (USA), Michael Gilson de Lemos (USA), Sharon Harris (USA), John Hospers (USA), Carla Howell (USA), Guido Hulsmann (Germany/USA), George Jonas (Canada), James W. Lark III (USA), Sarah Lawrence (United Kingdom), Tibor Machan (USA), Jeff Maclnnis (Canada), Wendy McElroy (Canada), Jan Narveson (Canada), Michael van Notten (the Netherlands), Jim Davidson (USA), Linda Rawles (USA), Gayle Remisch (Canada), Mary Ruwart (USA), Karen Selick (Canada), Dr. Rigoberto Stewart (Costa Rica), Meaghan Walker-Williams (Canada), Jarret Wollstein (USA), and others.
Consisting of home schoolers, explorer/adventurers, singer/song-writers, philosophers, politicians, journalists, newspaper editors, professors, consultants, authors, doctors, and all-around freedom fighters, the speakers' expertise revealed a wide range of subjects and experiences. Most notable was the message of Barbara Branden (author of The Passion of Ayn Rand), who passionately appealed for a stronger artistic emphasis within the libertarian movement, an emphasis that she felt was necessary to motivate more advocates for individual freedom.
The whole conference was professionally recorded on both video and audio. Watch for future announcements and ads regarding the availability of these recordings to our readers and supporters. It will be worth the wait.
In a celebration of the bicentenary of the birth of Frederic Bastiat, next year's conference will be held July 1-5, 2001 in Dax, France, about 90 miles south of Bordeaux. Co-sponsored by Libertarian International and le Cercle Frederic Bastiat, inquiries can be directed to Cercle Frederic Bastiat, 40320 Saint-Loubouer, France, or, visit the 2001 conference website at: www.bastiat.net/en/events/. Discounts apply until March 31 , 2001.
last updated on April 28, 2002