Trent Liberty: Looking forward to the year ahead

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It is truly a privilege to be living in a country as affluent and as free as our own. We often take our freedoms for granted including the freedom to form associations, spread information and discuss ideas.

Were it not for this final freedom, I ask, what purpose would the institution of the university serve? Were it not for the freedom to discuss, speak and express ideas, the academic institutions would vest their very-specialized “professors” not with the opportunity to form arguments, but the right to dictate the history of a discipline, without becoming subject to any criticism.

Imagine what state the discipline of astronomy would take if we were forced to believe in the geocentric model of the universe, which claims that the earth is at its centre! Hence any student who values the academic pursuit should also value the liberty which allows these discussions to occur.

Surprisingly enough, it was the tradition of liberty afforded the title of “left-wing”, which might seem odd when the phrase is compared with its modern usage. However this can be explained by examining the phrase’s history. The right-left dichotomy was initially established at France’s National Assembly, the institution analogous to our Parliament.

Traditional liberals sat on the left side of the assembly, and sought to free the French society from the shackles of traditional monarchical collectivist doctrine, while those who sat on the right embraced mercantilist, imperial & protectionist policies.

In recent years, pure ideology has been exchanged for a political “branding” which profits from the blending of both distinct ideologies, picking and choosing specific “goodies” from each.

This explains why conservatives might scoff at immigration liberalization but embrace certain levels of economic freedom while modern liberals might support the opposite. The term “libertarian” or “classical-liberal” has taken the place that was once occupied by the word “liberal” in the late 18th century. It is this tradition which ours parallels, albeit roughly.

Trent student Scott Berry was inspired by the motivations of traditional liberals including John Stuart-Mill, Fredric Bastiat and the modern Milton Friedman to form a student group dedicated to the cause of freedom.

His economic education exposed him to some of the mechanics of classical, neo-classical and Austrian economic theory which lay the groundwork for the group’s establishment. Since its inception, Trent Liberty has hosted pub nights bi-weekly in addition to hosting educational seminars and film screenings.

Since its founding in 2011 Trent Liberty has focused on a number of campaigns ranging from the dissemination of classical philosophy to the Canadian Taxpayer’s Federation (CTF) sponsored “Generation Screwed” campaign, aimed at raising awareness about unsustainable financial practices.

As current president of Trent Liberty, I take pride in knowing that our organization supports some of the noblest of causes including non-violence, human rights, pursuit of happiness, and personal responsibility.

We invite anyone who has an interest in politics, philosophy and economics to attend our events, even if their field of study is unrelated to those fields entirely.

For example the people involved in Students For Liberty (S.F.L.) a non-profit international student-run organization with which we share a partnership, has student leaders studying everything from engineering to women’s studies.

Even if you just want to meet some new friends and hang out with some folks who just enjoy to talk about world issues, I strongly encourage you to attend and get a feel for our events.

I look forward to the great year that we have ahead of us, study hard but be sure to have some fun as well!