My Berkeley Talk
By David Henderson
On Wednesday evening, I gave a talk at UC Berkeley to a group called the Students for Liberty, UC Berkeley. I’ve talked to a number of college audiences, but it has been a while since I’ve spoken to a campus libertarian group. I had a blast and the main purpose of this post is to tell any other speakers that if they want to give a talk to a good group of libertarians who are big-tent libertarians and who also attract non-libertarians, then you should consider speaking to this group.
The talk went well, the discussion was active, even some of the libertarians criticized some of my points but in a civil way, one conservative posed a good gotcha question about violent Muslims, and the Indian food before the talk was great.
I led off by reminiscing about giving an anti-draft speech on the Sproul steps in the fall of 1979, when Senator Sam Nunn was pushing to re-introduce the draft. I forgot to mention that I had given a talk at Berkeley in October 2002 in which I had made the case against going to war on Iraq. It was at an Independent Institute event with Dan Ellsberg, Barton Bernstein, Edwin B. Firmage, and Jonathan Marshall.
I think I surprised many of them by pointing out that the main costs of the two current wars borne by Americans (as opposed to Iraqis and Afghanis) are borne by high-income people.
It was fun to be at a campus that is still buzzing with life after 9:00 p.m. I really like these chances to be around people in their late teens and early 20s. Afterwards, they invited all of the people at the event (there were about 40) back to the apartment of one of the libertarians. Mainly libertarians showed up but I liked the outreach. I told them that they were the most normal libertarians (that’s good) I had ever met.