This article was published in the Winter 1997-98 issue of Formulations
by the Free Nation Foundation
International Conference in Rome
by Bobby Emory

(to table of contents of FNF archives)

The 1997 conference of the International Society for Individual Liberty (ISIL) was held in Rome, from 28 September to 3 October. Two Directors of FNF, Roderick Long and I, attended. And I took along my friend Suzanne. The conference program lasted four days and there was a post-conference sightseeing trip. A good time was had by all.

For the libertarian movement the most important event was a speech by a Randian suggesting that libertarians and Randians could get along. In his talk titled "Building bridges between libertarians and Objectivists," Bob Bidinotto, of the Institute for Objectivist Studies (, suggested we make common cause in those areas where we already agree. I feel this might be an important turning point for the movement. Recently I found a paper that Vince Miller (chair of ISIL) wrote in 1986 discussing the schism, so it is very fitting that he have a hand in bringing us back together.

For FNF the most important speech was given by Rigoberto Stewart ("The REAL Limon project"). He is from Costa Rica and has a plan to turn his province (Limon) into a free region. He is the director of a think tank and will be using his institute to educate the people of his province. Once he has a significant number of people agreeing that the province should be free, he will go to the central Government and ask for their agreement. I feel that this is unlikely to be successful but he knows his country better than I do (I've never even been there while he graduated from North Carolina State University, so he knows my country better than I know his). In 1999 the ISIL conference will be held in Costa Rica.

The only big name libertarian speaker at the conference was Walter Block, who was enjoying himself by "Defending the Undefendable." He has updated his message somewhat but hasn't changed his basic thrust at all._ The speaker that was the biggest name outside libertarian circles was the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs (for Italy) Antonio Martino ("Euro: an Insider's View"). His daughter was one of the conference organizers. His speech was very libertarian. In a discussion with other attendees, someone suggested that he had tailored his message to the audience. Another attendee assured us that he was well-known for being libertarian.

Roderick Long's speech ("Building a Free Nation from the Ground Up") was well received and provoked discussion. Roderick took sixty packets, almost as many as there were attendees at the conference, to introduce FNF. All of these packets, which included the Autumn issue of Formulations, were picked up. Several people brought up FNF in discussions with me, so I feel we have made a good start at taking FNF international.

The sightseeing (Naples, the Amalfi coast, Capri, Pompeii) trip was fun, but not much libertarian content.

All and all, we had an enjoyable week. So much so that Suzanne agreed to go to the next conference. If you have considered going to one of these conferences, I would highly recommend it. The next one is in Berlin in August 1998. D

ISIL may be contacted at:

836-B Southampton Rd., #299
Benicia, CA 94510

(to table of contents of FNF archives)  (to top of page)