At the beginning of October this year, I went to the Freedom Summit in Phoenix for a fun-filled weekend, listening to intellectuals give their warnings, their reasoning for them to learn more about what other libertarians are doing and to meet and chat with some of the people whose books I've read over the years.
This year, I'd arranged a lunch date with an old friend who lives in Phoenix. I arrived at the hotel earlier than I expected, after a wonderfully peaceful drive across the California desert overnight. The hotel graciously gave me my room at 8AM, upon my arrival. I was able to change, freshen up and relax a little before Anne arrived.
Anne turns out to be a joy to talk to. We chatted about a number of things: our mutual friends, what we each are doing and I asked her questions about the Phoenix area by way of gathering information to be useful for a possible move to the Phoenix area in a year or so. We talked about conditions in California and Arizona and how they differ. And how they are similar. Seems a lot of people, disturbed over how bad business and working conditions are in California, are moving themselves and their businesses to other states--not the least of which is Arizona. Unfortunately, after many of them move, they influence the politics of their new home that it becomes more like California. Libertarians in Arizona aren't very happy about ex-Californians influencing the politics of Arizona to bring California-style regulation and taxation to their state but it goes on, and I digress....
The first event in the Summit was the Friday evening Meet and Greet Dinner. The food was, er, pretty good. We heaped up our plates buffet-style, then went looking for a table among dozens of individuals and small groups of friends already seated.
I attended last year's event, but as it was my first, I had been very subdued and actually met very few people. While I ate alone at a table in the corner of the dining room, I eventually got into a delightful conversation with a Las Vegas firefighter and his teenaged son, and with George Smith, who was to be the Keynote Speaker at Saturday dinner. The Fireman, I believe, was an Objectivist-Conservative. His son, it's refreshing to note, seemed to be actively thinking along political/philosophic lines and was not at all the typical mush-minded gov't school liberal. It was wonderful to observe this young lad thinking and answering in a way that was not obviously the parrotting of civics and sociology teachers' bromides.
As can be done in Arizona, several of the attendees wore sidearms throughout the proceedings. I found this both novel and liberating. Oddly, counter to the assumptions of the sundry members of the gun control crowd, no one was injured or killed. An armed society is, indeed, a polite society. An interesting sidebar: The girl who took our tickets as we entered the dining room asked me why I was carrying a gun. The line was moving slowly, so I had a few moments to speak to her. My first remark was, "Because I can." After a moment of thought, I added, "The weapon is for self defense, which is my right. It will never be used in an act of agression."
She seemed to accept my comment, and didn't seem upset or nervous. Either she was very good at masking her negative feelings, or she had none.
This was a summary of Friday's events. I'll continue later.