Grove City College alumni and “libertarian power couple” Matt ’85 and Terry (Schott ‘86) Kibbe will return to campus next week to talk to students about their personal relationship with the liberty movement and new ways to effectively spread the message throughout the culture.
At 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 3 in the auditorium of the Weir C. Ketler Technological Learning Center on campus, the Kibbes will give a talk inspired by the book they are writing together, “Love, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness,” which tracks their lives from the time they met as students at Grove City College, their careers, and how libertarian ideals have influenced and impacted them.
It is a personal story that Matt Kibbe said is an effective way of explaining why liberty is important to a potentially huge audience of young people.
“We call them liberty curious because they're trying to figure things out, and they're turned off by hyper partisanship, and generally turned off by people telling them what to think. But if you can translate free market economics and the great Austrian thinkers and libertarian philosophy into common sense, emotionally compelling stories, I think that's how most people process information,” he said.
The Kibbes have had successful careers in conservative politics and advocacy.
A Grove City College and George Mason University trained economist, Matt Kibbe is a leading spokesperson for libertarian ideas. He worked in academia and for the Republican Party before founding FreedomWorks, the influential grassroots advocacy group that helped popularize the tea party movement. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller “Don’t Hurt People and Don’t Take Their Stuff: A Libertarian Manifesto.”
After earning an engineering degree from Grove City College, Terry Kibbe spent a decade working as an industrial engineer before disrupting her own career in favor of a more personally fulfilling challenge. She became part of the liberty-based nonprofit and philanthropic world, where she has raised millions to advance nonprofit and political causes.
About five years ago, they founded Free the People, an educational organization dedicated to turning the next generation on to the values of liberty through social media, video, and storytelling. Through their organization and other ventures, the Kibbes produce a stream of content – from videos to podcasts and op-eds to T-shirts – to advance the libertarian cause and want to encourage others to do the same.
“The story of liberty is broader than economics and we want to reach audiences that don't necessarily process the world through supply and demand but do believe in the dignity of the individual and the power of community and all of those broader implications of the freedom philosophy,” he said.
The Kibbe’s own marriage is a good example. Matt Kibbe said he was initially resistant to tying the knot because he was a “nutty libertarian who didn’t want the government’s permission to get married.” Terry eventually won him over, but a closer look at marriage and how it has changed over the centuries from a necessary economic relationship to a personal one highlights a benefit of free market capitalism. “We didn't even consider the economic viability of us getting married,” he said. “We have the luxury of choosing each other because we loved each other. So, love itself, or perhaps marriage for love, is a luxury good created by the prosperity that can only happen when people are free.”
The Grove City College Libertarians student organization is hosting the Kibbes, who are looking forward to returning to their alma mater to speak to students and visit the place that shaped them so profoundly.
“It’s going to be particularly enjoyable and awesome to be back. We really wanted to come back and share these stories and share this idea that every one of us has within us really powerful stories that that could connect to a broader audience, whether it be neighbors or poor people halfway across the globe, and we want everyone to kind of steal this this idea and take it places where Terry and I haven't been able to,” he said.
For more about the Kibbes’ work, visit freethepeople.org.