The last 24 hours included three first times for me: My first time at LibertyCon, my first time flying to my destination alone, and my first time in Prague. One can imagine I was quite overwhelmed by all those firsts on my first day at LibertyCon 2017.
On Thursday evening, after a long flight from Tel-Aviv through Istanbul, I finally arrived at the CERVO Institute in Prague, where we had our pre-social event. At the beginning, it was indeed overwhelming – unknown faces speaking foreign languages. But soon enough, I found some ridiculously cheap Czech beer, people I knew (from Israel and abroad), and shortly afterwards even people that I didn’t know, but with whom I found common ground quite easily. People who wanted to hear my stories, and I wanted to hear theirs. People who laughed at the same jokes as I did. Very quickly, all traces of my social anxiety disappeared, and I got into some very funny and intriguing conversations about politics and ideology, in which we amused each other with complaining about our respective governments. We also taught each other how curse in each other’s languages (it’s “Lech LeHIzdayen”, is it that hard to pronounce syllables?) and learned about each other’s personal lives.
I went to sleep soon after, and woke up for the first actual day of Libertycon. Before it all officially started, I toured the city with a friend, enjoying the amazing views in Prague. The events started in the afternoon: Yael Ossowski’s talk about European inter-politics from a libertarian perspective, Matt Kibbe’s event, “Beeronomics”, in which we drank beer while hearing about craft beers and anarcho-capitalist micro-breweries, and a wonderful sketch on the question of whose government is worse: France or Ireland? I knew France has some really weird nanny-state laws, but I always thought of Ireland in the context of their fight with the European Union about their low corporate tax. The fact that in Ireland you are not allowed to buy alcohol after 10pm, came as a surprise to me. As always, things are more complicated than they seem!
Afterwards, we had a social that was even more fun than yesterday, in which I learned that the electric trams in Prague were not built by the Soviets like I thought, but were rather built in Austro-Hungarian times in the 19th century. Silly me, indeed the system seems too efficient to be built by a communist regime. Another highlight of the evening was meeting and having a great talk with my personal hero – Jeffrey Tucker. Me and a friend presented him with a Hebrew “Privatize” sticker, while talking about liberal tradition and history. Tucker encouraged me to call myself a Liberal in Hebrew, as it is connected to a very proud tradition and in Hebrew it sounds much better than the longer, foreign sounding “libertarian”.
The most amazing part for me so far, is the incredible solidarity and friendliness I get from liberty minded people from all over Europe (and further!). A friend of mine once said: if you meet a person who doesn’t want to rob you, making friends with them is quite easy. But this is way more than that: We are creating a global community of amazing, intelligent and ideological people, striving for liberty for all.
Right afterwards, I realized it was St. Patrick’s day, so we went to an overcrowded bar and drank beer, and I even tried a B-52 shot. Don’t try this at home, kids. I’ll finish now, as I got a 5K Liberty Run tomorrow, hoping to see even more of beautiful and scenic Prague.
Idan Eretz is the co-head of the Tel-Aviv University SFL student group, studying Economics and History, and one of the founders of the Israeli “Liberty For All” organization. He likes to write about history, politics, economy and philosophy.
This piece solely expresses the opinion of the author and not necessarily the organization as a whole. European Students For Liberty is committed to facilitating a broad dialogue for liberty, representing a variety of opinions. If you’re a student interested in presenting your perspective on this blog, please contact [email protected] for more information.