Windsor Liberty Seminar
H/T to Matt Bufton, founder of the Freedom Project and organizer of the Windsor Liberty Seminar.
The seminar was a great experience. Despite the fact that I hadn't had any sleep for almost 24 hours, I managed to stay awake all day and really enjoyed myself.
Dr. Jan Narveson started off the day with a Libertarian 101 lecture. Dr. Narveson is a very engaging speaker and his lecture was well worth it, as many in attendance (myself included) were rather new to Libertarian concepts.
Next up was Dr. Lydia Miljan with an eye opening presentation - The Media's Hidden Agenda in the 2006 Election Campaign. Dr. Miljan gave a very precise account debunking the myth of balance in the last election. The McGill study and CBC's 'independent' research', (paid for by CBC) conducted by ERIN Research were methodically destroyed by Dr. Miljan. One of the more interesting points demonstrated by Dr. Miljan was the CBC's use of 5 programs across both radio and TV to compare with CTV's National News. Of particular interest was the CBC's 'Sunday Night' broadcast.
After lunch, Gerry Nicholls, VP of the National Citizens Coalition gave a presentation entitled "Promoting a Freedom Agenda in Canada". Speaking with Gerry briefly after the presentation, he said that this was the first time he had given this talk, so Windsor had the benefit of the first preview. I don't want to try and summarize his talk, for fear of butchering his message. I encourage everyone to take advantage of any opportunity to see Gerry speak in the future. It's worth an hour or two of your time. Unfortunately, Gerry had to leave immediately following his talk, so there wasn't very much time for discussion with him.
Dr. Stephen Horowitz's presentation on "Economic Myths"(.ppt) was another eye-opener on two counts. One being that most economists are dreadfully boring and two that economics itself is boring and difficult to understand. A local Windsor Star reporter showed up during Professor Horowitz's talk and conducted several interviews following it. Should be interesting to see what if anything is in the paper tomorrow because from the sound of things the reporter completely misunderstood the thrust of Dr. Horowitz's presentation and from there formed some completely off-track assumptions about the entire Liberty Seminar.
Dr. Pierre Desrochers rounded out the day with his presentation, "Does the Invisible Hand Have a Green Thumb"? This was a great talk on a subject I understand many Libertarians and most conservatives have a difficult time dealing with - the evironment. I must admit, at this point I was fighting somewhat to stay awake. By no means was this a comment on Dr. Desrochers presentation, just reality catching up with me. Actually, I was kind of frustrated as I was really interested in this subject and was having a lot of difficulty focusing.
After each presentation, the days participants broke up into groups to facilitate discussion. H/T to our breakout group leader Peter Jaworski for handling his duties very deftly. Leading discussions of this sort is never an easy endeavour, especially when you're handed a curve ball or two! The groups were a good mix of newcomers and committed Libertarians. Interaction is always good and the groups were certainly one of the highlights of the day.
Overall it was a thoroughly great experience and worth losing a few hours sleep over. As someone who has recently turned 40 and entered a second childhood phase, I enjoyed the opportunity to get away from my own pre-conceived notions of political thought and open myself up to new ideas. Political junkies such as myself can tend to become rather dogmatic in approach to issues, so an opportunity like the Windsor Liberty Seminar is worthwhile to shake up things.
Thanks to all the speakers for attending, at their own expense, and making the day a truly enjoyable event. Thanks should also be extended to Western Standard publisher Ezra Levant for providing a free copy of January's edition to all the participants, as well as an excellent offer for subscription. (I'll be forwarding my subscription info as soon as I get the office fax hooked up and running again.)