The California liberty team: David, Karrie, Conor, Henry, Nick, Kevin (Kerrie Comfort/Contributor)
Tales of a Libertarian in Washington D.C.
By Karrie Comfort Contributor
I cannot sleep on planes, which is not a delightful discovery to make at midnight on a tiny tin can. I arrived in D.C. at 6:30 a.m. local time after having slept a total of maybe 15 minutes. Welcome to the capital.
I arrived in D.C. for a Libertarian political conference, specifically the International Students for Liberty Conference, complete with around 2,000 other liberty-minded individuals.
Shenanigans were bound to follow.
Unlike my first trip for the organization back in July to Denver, I was going with a group of my now friends who, just a little under a year ago, had been complete strangers to me. And now here we all were eating mediocre Dunkin Donuts food and overly sweetened coffee. Life is rad.
Most of our time was spent listening to speakers and attending workshops at the Marriot Wardman Hotel which was not a bad hotel. I may or may not have ordered room service tea and chocolate. Spoiling myself occasionally, I have decided, is acceptable since all I am doing is completing the job of my nonexistent beau. I’m just being proactive.
The conference was wonderful. I was exposed to such a wide range of ideas that it truly was a good experience for anyone seeking out a challenge to their worldviews.
There were conservative panels on gun rights, Christianity and liberty. We were even graced with the presence of His Serene Highness Prince Hans-Adam II of Liechtenstein.
But there were also things that might be considered more “liberal” on our current political spectrum. Quite a few marijuana legalization groups were there, and even a Russian anarcho-feminist band called Pussy Riot. It hardly gets more scandalous than that.
But it does get crazier. Vermin Supreme, a satirical presidential candidate as well as local legend, arrived with his usual black boot worn atop his head. His platform? Mandatory teeth brushing to fight the “continued oral decay in America.”
Mocking socialism, he offered “free ponies,” and when asked how he would pay for these so-called free ponies, he clarified brilliantly: “they’re free ponies. That means they’re free.” Touché Vermin, touché. He also, as he points out, is the only candidate that promises to travel back in time and kill Hitler. Can’t argue with that.
But I, as always, enjoyed the people I met the most. There were a group of student leaders from Hawaii who were so kind and passionate.
One of my personal favorite student groups, Young Americans for Liberty hosted a social at a pizza place called the “Mellow Mushroom.” Not really sure what was mellow about it.
A strong Brazilian contingent, who have seen socialism ravage their country firsthand and are taking it back with freedom. There were a few Haitians too; the international crowd was the most diverse in ideas and some of the most interesting people to talk to.
There was a whole table of people arguing about whether or not Donald Trump was a liberal frontman, since he had largely funded only liberal candidates, including the Clintons, and was being used to divide the Republican party.
Did Bernie Sanders stand a chance against the establishment Democrat Hillary Clinton?
Was Ted Cruz really Count Dracula?
Only the best questions survived, as you can see.
A house known as Casa de Libertad had a house party a little outside of the city limits and, as always, lived up to its name. With a huge American flag gracing the living room’s wall and pictures of renowned liberty-minded figures like Ron Paul decorating the wall behind the staircase, it was a seriously well-decorated house.
The whole night ended with a lovely Uber ride with my favorite people, and we made yet another falafel trip.
If you ever find yourself in D.C., Amsterdam Falafel is a must. It tastes especially incredible at 1 a.m.
We all stumbled completely drained back to our hotel and—like conferences and fun people tend to do—suddenly found the energy to stay awake till 4 a.m. talking.
We talked about everything from the Dark Triad Personality Test and to what extent it predicts psychopathic tendencies to whether or not Asian men are less likely to be ‘date-able’ because they are seen as feminine.
Only the best thoughts were fed by pizza ordered by my friend’s Brazilian roommate.
The conference ended, and we all went our separate ways, taking flights back to our respective homes, with significant exhaustion accompanying everyone.
But we also have some impressive memories now. A worthwhile exchange if you ask me.