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11/14/2002 Archived Entry: "LibertyFest"
Brad and I are back from the non-wilds of Michigan, where I addressed the Michigan LP's annual LibertyFest on the topic of political optimism. (Text of the talk will be posted here shortly.) Many thanks to activist Diane Barnes for inviting me and ensuring that our stay was so comfortable.
The event was well attended (about 70 people) and held in a beautiful restaurant bordering a marina area. Despite a few technical problems, my talk seemed to be a crowd pleaser. I can never tell how a talk is "going over" when I am delivering it because I concentrate so fully on how to phrase the next sentence, etc.
If the people I met were representative of the Michigan LP, as I assume they were, then it is an impressive and diverse group. At one point or another, I spoke to almost everyone in the room and I particularly enjoyed a long conversation with Jim Edwards, who is a veteran of the Objectivist movement. Indeed, he offered the official courses from NBI -- the Nathaniel Branden Institute. (Years later, I listened to the same courses...but from bootlegged versions.) We both lamented the utter absence of similar discussion groups in the current libertarian movement. In fact, Jim may have been inspired to dust off Barbara Branden's Theory of Knowledge course in order to start something up again. I hope so.
Another highlight was meeting Karen De Coster, the Queen of Political Incorrectness. Damn! I wanted that title! Oh well, there's no way out of this quandry except for us to mud wrestle for the honor. Check out Karen's column on LewRockwell.com.
The long drive down and back was wonderfully relaxing. I'm glad I didn't know about the "unannounced, rotating checkpoints" that Michigan border officials are setting up in various parts of the state "looking for illegal immigrants, potential terrorists and drug or weapons smugglers." We don't fit any of those categories -- unless Starbucks coffee counts as a drug, which it probably should (just joking!) -- but it would have reduced any pleasure I had in driving through the State. As it is, in our happy ignorance, Brad & I listened to non-bootlegged tapes of "The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy" and a good time was had by all.