ISIL began in 1980 as Libertarian International, founded by Canadian libertarian activist and publisher Vince Miller. LI started the international libertarian conferences in Zurich, Switzerland in 1982.
The current ISIL was formed in 1989 through the merger of LI with the Society for Individual Liberty, the first explicitly libertarian grassroots organization which had been founded by Jarret Wollstein, Dave Walter and Don Ernsberger in 1969;
The original SIL emerged out of an historic split between conservatives and libertarians at a Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) conference in St. Louis, Missouri in 1969.
Many say that this event was the birthplace of the modern libertarian movement. The issues causing the split/purge included non-interventionist versus belligerent foreign policy, the military draft, and civil-liberties issues. SIL became an umbrella group for the people who would ultimately form many of the modern libertarian movement’s publications and organizations.
ISIL has carried on the work of SIL, but expanded it worldwide – creating a remarkable network of the world’s top activists.
ISIL’s Board of Directors, Advisory Board and International Representatives reads like a “who’s who” of the libertarian movement: in the US, Canada, South Africa, Europe, Costa Rica, Peru – and increasingly in the former communist world.