I don’t write enough anymore. And I have a lot of thoughts.
The keynote speaker at the Students for Liberty conference disappointed me a bit (a lot). Not to say she isn’t a very cool lady, but the speech was not the best to sum up the sensationalism of the liberty movement and the conference.
Marty Zupan, president of IHS, discussed her rise “to the top” in an individualized speech. After hearing her talk about herself for quite some time, she moved on to the topic of how the liberty movement needs paper pushers to work for think tanks, non-profits, etc. She mentioned a couple of people who rose above this status through working their way through the ranks. I wasn’t very inspired.
Sure, I suppose the speech was supposed to inform us that “you’ve got to start somewhere” and that means “being someone else’s bitch” for the most part, but she never mentioned the other career options within the liberty movement. She also didn’t mention that, sadly, hundreds of students and new alumni that seek out these jobs end up unrecognized, being paid minimum wage or a stipend, and living not to the fullest of their capabilities.
1) You can work for yourself, something that the conference had a panel on (entrepreneurship), which is great. This also includes agorism, working around the government, taxes, etc., and hey, not getting a government degraded paycheck.
2) You can work in the liberty movement, but demand more out of your position. So, if you are simply doing data entry, you need to ask for something that puts your name out there and gets you more attention. Don’t just sit around waiting for your chance, TAKE IT. One blog entry on the front page of a website, taking photos at an event, coming up with creative ideas . . . it will all go far.
3) Mary Zupan made herself into a star at the begining of a growing movement, but now it can be tough to create a whole new think tank or non-profit when many ideas have already been taken and expanded upon (why start another Cato? why start another Reason?) . Now it seems as if start ups, venture capital, technology and innovation are becoming spearheads in the liberty movement (look at some of Peter Thiel’s endeavors). Get involved with projects that may not be straight up political/academic — that is how you can win the people who aren’t on the same page as you regarding political philosophy.
Get inspired by hearing about what other individuals tell you about your own life — perhaps by listening to Zupan speak, you felt like you would like to reach her level of success someday while pursuing your interests and working with like-minded people. Wonderful! Just don’t forget who you are in the process — especially if you’re libertarian, you are probably against servatude (and wage slavery), right? You can bipass this entirely if you are advantageous and keep your goals right in front of you at all times. Don’t get lost in the glitz and glamor of the name or prestige of your employer if you are hidden in a cubicle or dark corner behind a pile of endless paper work. Be a star!