The Internets make for a great place to connect with all sorts of people and share ideas and discussion about thoughts and various topics of interest. We were fortunate to find LibertyNerd, and we knew immediately that her love of liberty and things nerdy would make her an instant friend worthy of following and learning from. For this week’s Freedom Friday, we met up with LibertyNerd in her natural habitat (on the Internet of course) for a virtual interview. Check out that interview below, then check out LibertyNerd’s Facebook page and/or Twitter feed. If you have any inner nerd, even a small bit, we promise you won’t be bored!
Freedom Forge Press: Tell us about yourself.
LibertyNerd: I’m 24 years old, currently a graduate student at GMU pursuing a dual MA in History and Education (with the teaching licensure). My undergrad was a BA in History with a focus on Russian History, and a thesis on a futuristic anti-opera from 1913 in the Russian Avant Garde. I’ve got about 24 animals as well! Along with all of that, I am a HUGE Harry Potter lover! With that comes an enjoyment and passion for reading books. I have found that if I’m not reading something, whether it’s a book, journal, news article, etc., my day is boring. For politics, I volunteered for Ron Paul 2012, was lead intern for Ken Cuccinelli for Governor in the Fairfax office, and a founder of GMU Young Americans for Liberty. Rep. Thomas Massie is my favorite Congressman currently serving.
FFP: You call yourself the “Liberty Nerd”. What is the link between liberty and “nerd-dom”?
LN: There are MANY (and I mean MANY) qualities that are coming about in the media nowadays, along with freedom/liberty aspects that people may not have picked up on before. From Star Wars’ Han Solo being anti-government and marrying a capitalistic Princess Leia, to looking at how the Ministry of Magic in “Harry Potter” tries to meddle with the education system at Hogwarts, there are things that society can take and learn from and try to see the connection between fantasy and reality.
Also, look at Facebook news feeds: they are downright depressing half the time. My goal with my page is to help liberty-minded activists and lovers unite with others that are passionate about things other than just politics. Studying this… “nerd” culture in a liberty-minded way can help others understand our message without some being all up in everyone’s face. I feel like there are many self-proclaimed libertarians that go around and shout at those different from them because they aren’t libertarians, and how is that helping us win people over? It’s not. It pushes people away. By combining what people have been exposed to in Hollywood and the media with liberty-minded philosophies, I think it can be a very strong and winning argument for us (and we don’t have to be mean about it!)!
FFP: What do you think an average person can and should do to increase his/her own personal liberty?
LN: Just be themselves and constantly learn about the OTHER side of things. If you strictly focus on just honing in on your beliefs, that’s fine…but you will never be able to justify your beliefs by not exposing yourself to the other side of the coin, you know? I remember reading how someone only read stuff by X economist because this individual didn’t believe in understanding any other type of economist’s viewpoints. That’s such a shallow argument! Be well-rounded in your beliefs by understanding and reading up about both sides! Besides, if you stop learning in life and just focus on yourself and you 5ft radius, you’re going to live that shallow life.
FFP: What is your favorite book/movie/story and why?
LN: I have two (I can’t pick just one!). It’s “Peter Pan” and the “Harry Potter” series. I have always loved the story of “Peter Pan” and the idea of never growing up. Even though I’m continuously growing up (I feel we never stop growing intellectually, anyways!), I embrace my childhood and my old imagination. Why live a life without fun and imagination? I feel like that is the message from Neverland: even if you grow up, stay true to who you are inside. This also goes into how to grow your own personal liberty: just being yourself!
Then, there’s “Harry Potter.” I was absolutely part of the Potter generation. Growing up, I was teased in school for being so in love with it, however, I found friends who shared my passion for the books and we all became such great friends. Honestly, that book series taught me more about life and friendships than any other show or book series ever has. There’s truly something magical about those books, and I will always be thankful that I decided to pick up “Sorcerer’s Stone” on a random whim when I was 10 years old. Also, to go along with Potter, the fifth book, “Order of the Phoenix” has MANY anti-government qualities and themes to it, and Rowling herself believes we should always question authority. It’s very interesting to see how things from that book are playing out here in our education system or our government today (education reform, spying, torture, control, etc.)
FFP: Who is your favorite pro-liberty hero in a sci-fi or fantasy story (book or movie)? Why?
LN: I’ve got two, a male and a female. This is going to sound really generic, but I heavily connected to Katniss Everdeen from “The Hunger Games.” Even from a non-political standpoint, I connected to her. Like Katniss, I also have a little sister that reminds me of Primrose Everdeen, and I would have absolutely volunteered as tribute for my sister as well. Politically speaking, Katniss is strong and hates what the Capitol has done, yet she remained apolitical and went along with it for a while, until she worked out a way to get around the government. I mean, how badass is that? Infiltrate the system by getting to know it, then demolish it from within. She also doesn’t like the attention, but she accepted it in order to prove a point to the Capitol. She’s also headstrong, stubborn, skillful, and when all is said and done, loving.
Also, Captain Malcom Reynolds from the show “Firefly.” He cares for his crew, hates the government, and will do what he can to evade it. You don’t want to cross this guy, especially when he’s wearing a “pretty floral bonnet.”
FFP: Flip side: who is your “favorite” anti-liberty villain in a sci-fi or fantasy story? Why?
LN: Professor Umbridge from “Potter.” I absolutely hate that character more than Voldemort who was the epitome of evil! She’s my favorite, though, mainly because there’s a plethora of things we as a society can learn from her. She doesn’t want us to defend or protect ourselves because there’s “nothing out there to harm us”? Ha, apply that to the world today! Look at what’s around us. Our right to defend ourselves is bring infringed upon, just like Umbridge tried to do the same to students. No wands were allowed in class, and the students revolted and were like, “Oh hell no we’re gonna do our own thing,” and they did and became very strong wizards. Umbridge is the character we love to hate, and also just flat out hate.
FFP: Education seems to be a priority for you. Why is this a concern/priority for you, and what do you want to change?
LN: Well, I want to be a teacher in the system…so take what I said about Katniss and apply it here! I think there are ways around the system in order to teach students. Many believe we have to just teach students with an outline and teach them the what’s and the who’s of history…but why not the how’s and the why’s? History is an abstract concept, and yet it’s taught to be either black or white. Not acceptable. I want to change how history is taught in school, and I want to show people how it is being taught. There’s a video on my Facebook page of an American History textbook for 11th grade, and it doesn’t have ANY documents in it! No Constitution, no Bill of Rights, no Articles of Confederation, no Gettysburg Address (even THAT’S surprising). It’s downright pathetic that this is how the State expects students to learn. It’s all about profit instead of actually teaching students nowadays. It’s all about how well students can memorize instead of learn and think for themselves, which causes students to expect the answers right in front of them, instead of applying what they already know. It’s all about how well students do well on a standardized test. Whatever happened to how well students can perform individually, think for themselves, or take personal responsibility for their own grades? It’s a sad state of affairs for education.
FFP: Where can people find you online?
FFP: What can people expect when they visit your site/page?
LN: A mix of nerdy things (books, movies, shows), space articles, political things, maybe a pic or a million of my cat Tootsie. It’s being designed to be a FUN page to brighten up news feeds, a place to post articles/pictures of nerd culture combined with political thought. Also, expect interaction from me! I think it’s great when admins of pages personally respond to people. It creates a sense of community instead of anonymity.
FFP: Is there anything you wanted us to ask that we didn’t (and answer!)?
LN: My political beliefs are liberty minded. I do have libertarian qualities, but I also have a few conservative ones as well (example, many libertarians are pro-choice while I am pro-life for personal reasons!).
I’m terrible with economics, I really am, and I don’t hide this factor. It bothers me when people think they know all the things in the world and that they’re always right. I don’t hide behind the fact that I don’t know everything – no one does, and I’m okay with that. Another factor with my page is that I hope to learn from others about certain topics, such as economics, and build upon it.