Free Societies

Discussing 'Self-control or State Control' in Indonesia

Self control Indonesia

Indonesia's government is facing challenges due to some growing support for radical Islam in the country — a movement coming, in part, from Indonesian universities. To help remedy this precarious situation, Atlas Network partner organized a series of talks and workshops, advocating for freedom among Indonesian students in North Sulawesi.

“In our opinion, radical Islamist uprising is the current challenge, especially with the upcoming local and national elections,” said Muhamad Ikhsan, president and founder of “Yet, could work hand in hand with other like-minded organizations to promote moderation with an open and honest discussion of many issues related to the role of government in personal life, economic development, and the continuation of political development.”

First, held a seminar at the Islamic University of Manado, which attracted an audience of 80 students. The seminar examined the impact of freedom on economic development and featured three panelists: Arhanuddin Salim (Association of Young Lecture), Juan Mahaganti (Mises Club Indonesia), and Rofi Uddarojat (

“Liberty is a genuine value the people of Sulawesi believe in,” said Ikhsan. “However, governments and politicians try to make those free people dependent on political assistance. To change these disastrous people-government relations, cultivating the seeds of liberty for youth and students is a necessary calling.”

Students participate in discussion around the book Self-Control or State Control? You Decide.

The second event was a lively discussion of Atlas Network Executive Vice President for International Programs and George M. Yeager Chair for Advancing Liberty Tom Palmer’s book, Self-Control or State Control? You Decide. regularly holds their Ngopi Sore untuk Kebebasan (Afternoon Coffee for Freedom, or Ngopsor) at a popular coffee shop, where local freedom champions discuss the ideas of liberty. At the Ngopsor, Amato Assagaf, the founder of Amagi Indonesia, presented a paper that provided a local understanding of self-control. The discussion attracted more than 50 students.

Lastly, hosted a three-day workshop for North Sulawesi students on free markets and small government. Specifically, the event focused on how to apply these concepts to Indonesia, and examined the status of the country’s economic development. The workshop attracted more than 20 students.

“The activities had two aims: first, the seminar book launch and afternoon coffee for freedom promoted free market ideas and the disastrous impact of state intervention,” continued Ikhsan. “By discussing Self-Control or State Control, we also embraced the personal responsibility that follows personal freedom. Second, the student workshop was designed to introduce the market economy and current issues in government policies, especially in the context of local politics. The workshop also targeted student leaders in order to prepare them to be agents of change at their respective campuses.”