Cute stamp touting libertarian ideals.

Cute stamp touting libertarian ideals.

Columbia students represent a wide range of political interests. Libertarianism is just one of them. We sent Bwogger Maddie Stearn to check out the CU Libertarians meeting Tuesday night in Hamilton 304.

If you’re not a Libertarian, don’t let that stop you from attending a CU Libertarians meeting. Seriously, 10/10, Would Recommend.

Going in, I only planned on observing Tuesday night’s meeting. I definitely did not expect to participate. I was tired, I was stressed, and I’m not a Libertarian. “Alright,” I thought, “I’m disqualified. I hope they don’t find me out.” About eight people, including myself, sat in in a circular formation of desks. I kept halting my nervously shaking leg. A dead giveaway for a Non-Libertarian!

Tonight’s agenda: discuss events in Syria, Russia, Afghanistan, and Oregon. Brainstorm questions for Gary Johnson’s* talk.

For such a small group of people, the club’s officers were incredibly prepared. Not in an intimidating way—they were just ready to have a meaningful dialogue. Better yet, there wasn’t the assumption that everyone would agree with each other.

Those who spoke were opinionated, but not hostile. I relaxed, listened, and ultimately felt very comfortable speaking. This is the type of club where you’ll want to stay afterward to continue the discussion. You’ll be left wanting more; whether it’s more debates, more current events, more background–you name it.

Speaking with some of the club’s officers after the meeting, I asked how they would define Libertarianism. Chief Administrative Officer Jeramiah Wegner gave his preferred definition as, “Libertarianism is for the principle of nonaggression; as long as you’re not harming others you should be free to do what you want.”

But what can the CU Libertarians offer that other clubs don’t?

“A fresh take,” said Chief Marketing Officer Hans Gao. Other club members chimed in with “principle over policy,” “consistency,” and “knowledge.” Gao also noted that the CU Libertarians benefit from their small size, as everyone has the opportunity to speak during discussions. They also have the chance to know each other better.

Regardless of your political ideologies, the CU Libertarians meeting is a great place for discussions about hot button topics. I do, however, have a few recommendations: keep an open mind and do your research ahead of time. If you’re going to speak up or challenge an argument, make sure that you have your facts straight. The Libertarians are nothing if not prepared.

*Fun fact: Gary Johnson, former governor of New Mexico and former Libertarian presidential candidate, is the President and CEO of Cannabis Sativa, Inc., a company that develops natural cannabis products.

Libertarian mottos via Shutterstock