A yellow piece of cloth and a red poster don’t usually say much about a person, but in the case of Ryan Troyer and Garrett Cannizzo, they certainly do.
On the wall of the men’s apartment living room hangs a yellow Revolutionary War flag with a snake in the middle and a line of text underneath which reads “Don’t tread on me.”
Across from the yellow flag is a TV, on which the film “For the Love of the Game” plays, and a huge red poster from Rawlings—a sports equipment company that specializes in baseball gear.
Although they might not agree on their favorite sport—Troyer plays soccer and Cannizzo loves baseball—they do agree on one thing: liberty is a philosophy for life.
This mutual interest brought them together two years ago when they began to talk about founding a club that promotes freedom of individual expression and thought. Troyer, a senior computer science major, came up with the idea as a result of the alienation he from the rest of the campus in his understanding of the concept of liberty.
“I tended to feel isolated,” explained Troyer. “I almost felt like I was the only one who knew about the philosophy of liberty.” For Troyer, liberty as a philosophy means that freedom should be applied to all aspects of life, rather than just certain ones.
Troyer and Cannizzo’s idea became a reality when they co-founded Sons of Liberty, which was recognized as an official club on campus in 2010.
“Our first mission is to spread the ideas of liberty to people who don’t know about them. The second mission is to support people who believe in liberty,” said Troyer.
The club’s goal is to “provide information and space for people who have different ideologies from the majority on campus,” said Cannizzo, a senior accounting major.
Although they agree with most people on campus about freedom of speech, expression, and personal relationships, one idea they view differently is government regulation of the economy. “Government should have little or no role to play in the economic realm,” Troyer said.
Since the establishment of Sons of Liberty, the club has held regular monthly meetings and organized two book distributions and webinars.
In November the club distributed free copies of the book “The Morality of Capitalism” to people who were interested in the topic. The club also contributed to the book collection at the library.
“Last year we donated two copies of “Anything that is Peaceful,’” Cannizzo said. They plan on donating several other books this year as well.
Free webinars are also part of Sons of Liberty’s agenda. Cannizzo described the events as live YouTube interactions. “A webinar is a streaming web cast of a speaker after which there is a Q&A session,” he explained. One of the webinars they attended last year featured the governor of New Mexico as the speaker.
As they plan their activities for the next semester, the club intends to organize another free book distribution and attend a webinar to be announced soon. Also in the works is a collaboration with the Middle Eastern and Arab Club for a joint club event.
Students who are interested in contacting Sons of Liberty can attend the club’s next meeting on Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. in SA 306. The club is also active on Facebook and Twitter.