The opportunity to attend LibertyFest with Mannkal and 13 other students allowed me to meet many inspirational speakers. Some of the most memorable speakers were Bettina Arndt, who spoke about campus culture and how it is negatively affecting men attending university, and Author James Fox Higgins with his topic on Alternative media. The topics expressed on the first day promoted the ideas of personal and economic freedom with a focus on combating the current political atmosphere. Upon walking into LibertyFest, we knew that this would be a welcomed change to the current ‘feelings’ culture plaguing our media and university campuses which discourages free speech.
The speakers presenting throughout the conference promoted the idea of critical thinking and always challenging yourself. The first day had some sessions focused on university culture with Renee Gorman speaking about Campus activism and Dr. Brendan Markey-Tower speaking about how it is essential to try and relate to your audience and have discussions based on your beliefs. The second day of the conference however shifted to even more topics and speakers. Such as feminism, climate change, freedom of speech, nanny states and capitalism along with immigration debates and discussions.
However, one of the highlights of the trip to LibertyFest was meeting and speaking with Shark Tank entrepreneur Steve Baxter. Steve spoke about how governmental red tape and bureaucracy often negatively impairs both small and large businesses and often creates monopolies. He spoke about the failure of the government when addressing the National Broadband Network as an example. Steve also spoke about his life being a successful entrepreneur and early-stage investor with start-ups. Hearing from Steve about his life in the army and how he started an internet service provider company, SE Net, in 1994 with only $11,000 and eventually servicing over 35,000 customers before being purchased. Steve also co-founded Pipe Industries in 2001 and has spent a large chunk of his life learning about business and how to successfully thrive in the business industry. This opportunity to meet speakers like Steve and Bettina, who are both very experienced in their fields, teaches me to think differently and allows me to learn about certain issues and perspectives which are lacking in our university campuses.