Why is a free society the best kind of society?

Helen Shibut

            Seven members of Madison Liberty attended the International Students for Liberty conference in Washington DC this past weekend.  It was so inspiring to see such a huge group of liberty-minded college students gather to listen to speakers on a wide range of libertarian issues, from Austrian economics to civil liberties to non-interventionist foreign policy.
            Nigel Ashford, from the Institute for Humane Studies, gave a very interesting lecture on the different kinds of libertarianism.  While libertarians generally agree that the state should have minimal power over the individual, they have different opinions about why this is true.  For example, some libertarians believe that people are endowed with natural rights at birth (Rand, Nozick), while others argue that freedom, especially economic freedom, is important simply because the individual can make better decisions for himself than the state can (Hayek). 
            To convey libertarian ideas to other people, we have to know why we believe in a minimal state and free markets.  Though some libertarians feel that we should focus on only our common goals in order to work towards producing the kind of free society we want to live in, I think it is important to know both the practical and the philosophical reasoning behind libertarianism.  

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