On March 15, the College Libertarians of East Tennessee State University will host guest speaker Tom Arnold. Arnold’s speech is called “Liberty: Why It Matters Most” and will address what liberty means for today’s generation.

According to Robert Claflin, President and founder of the College Libertarians of ETSU, the club looked locally to find a speaker for this event. Claflin got in contact with the TN Libertarian Party and they started giving him names. Arnold was more than eager to be their speaker. 

“Tom Arnold is the former State Chairman for the Tennessee Libertarian party and he has 40 years experience as a political operative,” said Claflin.

The College Libertarians of ETSU is a political organization on campus that was formed in light of the 2016 election.

“I realized that the current political system was failing the country: only half of the voting population actually voted, 100 million stayed home,” Claflin said. 

Claflin believes that the two candidates presented were so corrupt and deplorable that the only reason to vote for one was because they weren’t the other. 

People looked towards third party groups like Democratic Socialism, the Green Party, and the Libertarian Party in unprecedented numbers in the wake of the election. 

However, only about a third of country even knows what a Libertarian is.  The club was founded to help raise awareness on campus for political parties other than Republicans and Democrats. 

“We didn’t want the club to alienate liberty minded people who don’t necessarily follow the Libertarian platform to the letter, so the club has been designed for all people who believe that the federal government has too much power in too many places,” said Claflin. 

“This includes anarchists, libertarian socialists, libertarian capitalists, constitutionalists and everything in between.” 

The Libertarian club hopes to spread more awareness about what it means to be a libertarian to ETSU students through Arnold’s lecture.

“As of right now, both left-wing and right-wing politics are moving in a more radical direction towards authoritarian ideologies: the ‘Alternative Right’ and the ‘Radical Left.’ This political shift is almost entirely driven by young adults and students,” Claflin said. 

Claflin hopes that the speech will get students to start thinking about the dangers of big government.

“We hope that the speech will encourage students to question their own beliefs as well as the authority of the government more thoroughly,” said Claflin. 

“The College Libertarians is still a very small club of about ten members.  We are really trying to raise our numbers so that we can be more active on campus and in the community.”

The College Libertarians meet every other Thursday in Roger-Stout room 121 at 3:30 p.m. It is open to all. Tom Arnold will come to speak at ETSU on March 15 and will take place from 7:30 to 9:00 p.m. in the D. P. Culp Auditorium and is free to the public.

For more information about the College Libertarians contact Claflin at claflin@etsu.edu.