FreedomFest in the statist moment — coming to you July 8-10 from Las Vegas.
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TAS: Is this not only a moment of opportunity, but also a time of danger for libertarians?
MS: That’s why John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, and other “new” libertarians come to FreedomFest and are big fans. John Mackey wants to create a new brand of capitalism and libertarianism. This will come out, I’m sure, in the debates on “Anarchy & Limited Government” and “The Philosophy of Ayn Rand.”
TAS: I know the Washington Post just focused on a FreedomFest exhibitor with very unorthodox views — do you worry at all about individual speakers or panelists becoming lightning rods that detract from the overall message?
MS: The Post highlighted the Sovereign Society, an organization that is doing a series “Escape from America,” on how Americans can invest and live and work abroad, and maybe even take on another country’s citizenship. These are not nut cases, but real experts — CPAs and lawyers — who give people legitimate options. We had a similar session last year that was packed, standing room only. We’ve had to create a bigger room for them this year. I know this is a controversial area, and we try to find top experts so that people aren’t led astray, so they don’t get involved in crazy tax evasion schemes or get into trouble.
TAS: Freedom Fest always meets in Las Vegas. Why? Have you ever considered other cities?
MS: We hold FreedomFest in Las Vegas, because it is truly the only libertarian city in the United States, if not the world. And it works. Yes, the old Las Vegas is there if you want it — the gambling, the strip clubs. But led by Steve Wynn, there’s a new Las Vegas, with the great entertainment, five-star restaurants, top hotels, spas, architecture, even museums. It’s also the cheapest place to hold a convention, much cheaper than Orlando. I doubt if we will ever move.
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