Steven Macherey is not a Libertarian, but he is the head of a small libertarian group called Young Americans for Liberty on campus.
Macherey, senior communication major, became involved with the group to expand his network and meet people who are not satisfied with the status quo. Through the group, he attended a rally in Chicago, and was surprised to see people discussing controversial topics calmly and in a way that expanded view points and facilitated discussion.
Libertarians are commonly associated with the yellow “don’t tread on me!” flag that was created during the American Revolution. The group believes in minimal government interference.
The Young Americans for Liberty website states that, “WE, as Young Americans for Liberty believe: that government is the negation of liberty, voluntary action is the only ethical behavior, the individual owns their body and is therefore responsible for their own actions and that society is a responsibility of the people, not the government.”
To Macherey, libertarianism is about self-determination. “It’s about taking responsibility for where you are and what you’re doing and how you’re doing it and keeping any outside force off your back.”
The group recently handed out business sized information cards titled, “How to Deal with the Police.”
Macherey said, “The point of the cards is to inform students about their rights and to allow them to not be lied to by police. They don’t like any outside force imposing upon them. The point is smaller government and less invasive police officers.”
According to Macherey, the cards were supposed to help students know how to navigate what may be their first interactions with the police. Knowing the rules so that students can stay calm is the first step.
The goal of the group on campus is to facilitate discussion, critical thinking and conversation surrounding controversial topics and non-controversial topics that may get over-looked, such as taxes or whether healthcare should be privatized.
The purpose of discussing non-controversial topics is to get students to think critically about parts of society and government that has become commonly accepted and encourage them to think outside of the status quo.
Macherey said, “When people start having the conversations they say, ‘oh, I really don’t like that’ or ‘I don’t care for that, how do we change that?’”
Because Young Americans for Liberty is not yet recognized by the Student Government Association at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Macherey encourages students who wish to join the group to contact the national office at yaliberty.org.
Olivia De Valk