Libertarians seek roots on campus

Chris Vetter

University sophomore Shannon Daniels used to consider herself a Republican. Although pro-life and fiscally conservative, she disagreed with the Republican stance on gay rights and bolted from the GOP’s “big tent.”
Now she considers herself a Libertarian.
Daniels, who recently won a seat in the Minnesota Student Association, is open about her political opinions.
“I am very conservative on economic issues,” she said. “But I hung around with some liberal people who opened my eyes on liberal issues.”
Libertarian legislative candidate Mike Strand said his party, which held its state convention Saturday in Hopkins, has grown rapidly, gaining national attention during the last few years as more young adults are agreeing with the socially liberal, fiscally conservative message.
“Generation X tends to be favorable to our positions,” said Strand, who is running for the state House seat representing Woodbury and Oakdale. Republican Peg Larsen of Lakeland currently holds the seat.
Libertarian political positions center on the idea that government intervention in people’s personal lives is wrong at all times. The party, established in 1972, favors abortion rights and opposes discrimination against homosexuals — traditionally views held by the Democratic Party.
At the same time, the party opposes gun control and national health care and supports free trade and a deregulated economy — traditional Republican positions.
Anthony Sanders, a Hamline University student, has tried to bring Libertarian views to college students. He holds a monthly forum on Libertarian issues at Hamline and talks to students at other schools about forming Libertarian groups on their campuses. He said his group at Hamline has only four members.
“The Libertarian message isn’t getting out well because this area is so liberal,” he said.
Sanders has talked with Daniels about forming a Libertarian organization at the University. The University’s Campus Libertarians folded in 1993. Daniels said she tried to re-form the campus Libertarians this year but was unsuccessful.
“You need three people and $15 to start an organization (on campus),” Daniels said. “I had the $15 but I could not find two others.”
Daniels said she will attempt to start a campus Libertarian organization again in the fall.