Monthly Archives: April 2013

Originally published in The Huffington Post by Arin Greenwood:

WASHINGTON — Aaron Fitzgerald used to help coordinate a group called Liberty on the Rocks.

“A monthly happy hour,” he says. “It’s a group of liberty-minded folks coming together and partaking in happy hour functions.”

One day, Fitzgerald’s co-organizer made a radical proposal. “He had the idea that maybe we shouldn’t have just alcohol all the time,” he says. “And I thought that was a great idea.”

Fitzgerald’s newer endeavor is alcohol free (albeit with a boozy name) and is composed in a way that could seem oddly regimented, and maybe even ironically located, for people who value freedom and small government. It’s a libertarian-oriented Toastmasters group that meets twice per month, in a U.S. Senate meeting room.

Toastmasters International, you may know, is an organization founded by Ralph C. Smedley in 1924, to help California men develop their speaking skills.

Now open to women (as of 1973) and those who aren’t in California (as of much, much sooner than 1973), there are, according to Toastmasters International’s website, 13,500 Toastmasters clubs around the world at which 280,000 members give impromptu and prepared speeches of various lengths, and also watch and critique others’ speeches, working on their leadership and oratory skills in ways that comport with the organization’s many manuals and exercise books. Continue reading