Campus libertarians weigh in on America's current political division
Is Libertarianism on the rise at Lee University?
“Leebertarians,” also known as Young Americans for Liberty, was started in 2014. According to club president and founder Nathan Meyers, it's an organization that seeks to identify, educate, train and mobilize youth activists committed to “winning on principle.” Their end goal is to pave the way for the leaders of tomorrow and “reclaim the policies, candidates and direction of our government.”
“There's a new appeal to up-and-coming parties,” Meyers said. “Our generation is tired of the establishment, whether you’re left or right. Our generation is very…revolutionary in our political thoughts. We’re tired of the corruption in both parties. We’re tired of things in our country that are issues not getting solved.”
This club is not alone in its attraction, either. YAL has 892 chapters across the U.S. at various universities. Myers started Lee's club with the idea of an organization where “everyone [can] come and speak and…have their opinion heard.”
While this club is for all people to give their opinions on popular political topic, regardless of their political affiliation, most of the members identify with the Libertarian Party’s central beliefs.
According to the Libertarian Party’s official site, the principle to which they hold is that “all Americans should be free to live their lives and pursue their interests as they see fit as long as they do no harm to another.”
Christian Dawson, a council member of the Leebertarians, said that sentiment was his main attraction to the libertarian ideology.
“I’m a Libertarian because I don’t think the government should have control over what I do, as long as I’m not harming somebody else’s life, liberty or prosperity,” Dawson said.
Myers and Dawson maintain there's a draw to outlying political parties because of the 2016 presidential election, but they don't think it is necessarily due to Trump's win.
“[Trump] is an effect of the system. The system has created these issues in which caused this kind of under-bubbling anger that has been building in America for a while,” Meyers said. “I think that’s helping drive our generation to find new parties to belong to, to create new establishments, new status quos. So yeah, I think that’s why you’re seeing the appeal of the alt-right. I think that’s why you’re seeing the appeal of antifa [anti-fascism]. I think that’s why you’re seeing the appeal of the Black Lives Matter movement. These are movements that are challenging the status quo in our country, regardless of ideology—huge factions of these groups are Millennials.”
Bryce Harbuck, a freshman who identifies as Libertarian, said he sees a more accepting spirit within his generation.
“All of these kids who were raised conservative have started to realize that they don’t agree with their parents, and they look for an alternative, which, in many cases, turns third-party or Libertarian,” Hardback said.
Myers foresees the nation's two-party system decaying completely and anticipates revolutionary ideologies permeating the fabric of the Republican and Democratic parties themselves.
“I predict the Republican party will become much more Libertarian-esque, while the left moves much farther to the left towards antifa camp— kind of that radical, leftist mindset of ‘We’re done talking, this is what we’re going to do whether you like it or not,’” Meyers said.
He pointed to the violence instigated by the Antifa movement during various rallies and protests.
"They don’t come to Trump rallies to have conversations with people; they come to hit people with bike locks in the head or to set people on fire. … There are videos on YouTube that you can look up," Myers said. “I’m not saying Trump’s side isn’t responsible for some violence—certainly the alt-right is responsible for certain things—but from what I’ve noticed, Antifa normally comes in and starts things.”
Both Myers and Dawson predict that both parties will either dissolve and new parties will take over, or the Democratic and Republican Parties as we know them will evolve into sectors with vastly different ideologies than they currently hold.
Though, for Myers, his faith is the most important motivator behind his political persuasion.
“It’s my faith in God that drives me to support the individual because, at the end of the day, we are created in His image,” Meyers said. “And with that honor comes certain inalienable rights. God didn’t create us to be abused by each other. He didn’t create us to have each other stealing each others stuff. … He didn’t pour His heart and soul into creation just to have them impede on each other. So I think, with that in mind, not only out of respect for each other, but out of respect for God, there are certain rights that should be respected.”
To find out more about Leebertarians, visit Young Americans for Liberty at Lee University on their Facebook page.