Last Thursday I had the pleasure of traveling to Purdue University on the invitation of several students who are members of the Purdue chapter of Young Americans for Liberty (YAL), one of the student groups inspired by Ron Paul’s 2008 presidential race. The Purdue students organized an April 15 Tax Day rally in which I was the keynote speaker.
What was interesting about delivering my talk, however, was that I knew that I wasn’t simply preaching to the choir. Knowing that the libertarian faction at Purdue wasn’t likely to attract a big crowd at its rally, the Purdue YAL students decided to piggy back onto a Tea Party rally that was also being held that day. Thinking that there would be several Tea Party people arriving early, they asked the Tea Party people if it would be okay if the students were to use their speaker’s stand and audio equipment at the student rally, which was scheduled just before the Tea Party rally. The Tea Party people, to their credit, granted such permission to the YAL students.
Well, sure enough, there were already Tea Party people milling around by the time I started my talk. Thus, I used a large part of my speech to talk about those people in society who were now, finally, asking questions, especially about out-of-control federal spending, debt, taxes, and inflation. Unfortunately, I pointed out, all too many of them, however, are still mired in the statist mindset, hoping to find some way to save and reform both the welfare state and the warfare state.
When I began speaking, there were lots of people just milling around and having conversations. About 10 minutes into my talk, I noticed that the conversations had stopped and that people were listening intently to what I was saying, perhaps in large part because it was not what they expected to hear or wanted to hear, especially since I was blasting not just liberal statists but also conservative statists too.
I stuck around for the Tea Party speeches, but they were mostly your standard conservative pabulum — railing against federal spending and debt while simply calling for reform of welfare-state programs and, of course, not questioning the U.S. overseas military empire, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Tea Party types seem to be angry over the fact that America’s welfare-warfare state isn’t turning out to be free, but they still seem to be committed to coming up with a way to save and reform it rather than dismantle it.
One amusing part of the rally was watching all those Tea Party people with anti-socialism signs standing up and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Maybe they don’t know that the Pledge was composed by a socialist.
After the rally, the YAL students and a few adults and I adjourned to a local pub, where we feasted on burgers and some great discussion. It was really an enjoyable time. Thanks to those dedicated YAL members at Purdue for bringing me in and for the sponsors who helped make it happen. I had a great time!
We plan on posting the video of my talk at Purdue sometime this week on FFF Email Update. Since it was an outdoor rally and since there was a lot of wind, the sound quality might not be up to snuff.