I am pleased to announce the theme for the 2016 International Students For Liberty Conference: The Liberty Vote. Disillusioned by the two-party system, tens of thousands of students have become involved with Students For Liberty since our founding in 2008 in search of an alternative to the empty rhetoric and broken promises of our elected officials.
This is because the Millennial generation is a politically independent one. According to Harvard University’s latest youth survey, 41% of 18- to 29-year-olds identify as Independents, as opposed to Republicans (24%) or Democrats (33%). Our generation is not easily categorized according to the historical political mold. We do not rally around a single political party, strategy of social change, or philosophical stereotype. We are an unpegged generation that will soon decide the intellectual, entrepreneurial, and political destiny of the world.
This is what makes the ISFLC so important. For one weekend every year, thousands of student leaders from around the world descend into Washington, DC to discuss and debate all of the available avenues for bringing about a freer future. Will the two-party system survive? Is a third-party alternative possible? Or, is social change best created outside of the political realm altogether through entrepreneurial innovations like those which make up the sharing economy?
These are the discussions that will shape the future, and we are the generation having them. We are the Liberty Vote.
Some of you might be taken aback at first glance. Why would a big-tent libertarian organization that includes principled nonvoters among its ranks choose such an explicitly political theme? One obvious answer is that 2016 is an election year that will usher in a new president of the United States, and we want to provide a venue for the candidates to discuss the issues that matter most to young people.
However, the Liberty Vote isn’t simply about electing politicians to public office. The Liberty Vote is about the multitude of strategies for social change, whether that means voting for a candidate, voting for a party, voting with your pocketbook, or voting with your feet. There is not one liberty vote, but many different liberty votes, and SFL is dedicated to having them all represented at ISFLC.
So, come join us February 26-28, 2016 at the Marriott Wardman Park in Washington, DC to feel the pulse of the libertarian student movement that will be voting on our future. Last year, we had over 1,700 attendees, and our plans for this year are even bigger and better. To give you a taste, we’re planning on incorporating an SFL Awards Dinner into our Saturday night programing. So, dust off your bow tie and save the date for another amazing ISFLC!