Wow, the Young Americans for Liberty chapter at the University of Central Florida has been busy this spring semester! YAL@UCF started the semester by attending our university's "Spring Club Showcase" where more than 200 clubs tabled to showcase themselves to new and returning students.
We decided to use the classic YAL political quiz to help start a conversation about liberty and YAL. We got over 40 sign-ups by the end of the event.
During the last week in January, YAL @ UCF joined thousands of other organizations to celebrate National School Choice Week. For our event, we brought awareness to other students about the alternatives to public education. We took pictures of other students stating why they support school choice. Below are some of their answers.
We all had a blast with this event and had a lot of interest in YAL and "School Choice."
In February, YAL@UCF welcomed back Mark Schmidter who is a local liberty/FIJA activist in Orlando. Mark came by to discuss (Common Law) Grand Juries. We learned how, in theory, the grand jury should act as a check on the government — the people's watchdog against arbitrary and malevolent prosecutions.
During the last week of February, a couple of YAL@UCF members made the trek to CPAC where we had a great time "Standing with Rand," meeting Gary Johnson and watching him in the Marijuana legalization debate, watching Judge Napolitano debate the Constitutionality of the NSA and it's tactics, and many other things.
Lastly, a couple of YAL@UCF members attended the Alabama YAL State Convention where we had a lot of fun learning about Melony Armstrong's journey to renovate archaic and restrictive government regulations to open her own hair braiding salon; Bill Frezza's story of dealing with regulatory reform, crony capitalism, tax policy, and ways to restore US economy; and Tom Woods' talk that went over 45 topics in 45 minutes. It was also great to meet and get to know other YAL chapters in the state of Florida.
These are just some of thing things YAL@UCF has been up to this spring semester. Expect to here more about our chapter's activism as we head into the last leg of the semester.
The National Rifle Association worked with our chapter to host a NRA University. The purpose of the event was to get students informed on and off campus about their rights. The event focused on learning more about the NRA, the Second Amendment, gun safety, legislative threats to gun rights and the gun control debate.
All students who attended received a free one year associate membership to the NRA, as well as entry to the NRA Annual Meeting and Youth Conference to be held in Nashville April 10-12, 2015. We had around 24 students in attendance which is great for a Monday afternoon. Some had to leave early, yet we still had 18 students fill out memberships to the NRA.
This event was a great success for our YAL chapter. We hope to see some of you at the NRA Conference in Nashville.
Last Wednesday at the University of Virginia we hosted Rebiya Kadeer. Ms. Kadeer is a native Uyghur from the East Turkestan region of China, also known as the Xinjiang autonomous region.
She was a successful entrepreneur and businesswoman before speaking out against the human rights abuses of the Chinese government, which resulted in her arrest and imprisonment for nearly six years—two of which were in solitary confinement. She negotiated her transfer to the United States and has since been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.
Through translator and confidant Alim Seytoff, Ms. Kadeer described systematic human rights abuses against the Uyghur people to around 60 students, staff, and community members. She said that East Turkestan “is a police state” with tanks, armored cars, and heavily armed soldiers patrolling at all hours. Ms. Kadeer also explained that China tests many of its nuclear and chemical weapons above ground in East Turkestan, leaving many Uyghur deformed and diseased.
Ms. Kadeer was a polarizing figure on the school grounds. Several UVA students from her region of China attended the event and were very excited to see her. They took pictures afterwards and talked with her at length.
But several UVA students from other regions of China also attended the event and attempted to discredit Ms. Kadeer. They asked questions implying that she was linked to terrorist groups and drilled her on the historical precedence of the land. One student in particular made a prolonged statement about terrorism before Mr. Seytoff interrupted and diffused the situation. The room was tense for much of the question and answer portion.
During her speech Ms. Kadeer and Mr. Seytoff explained that the Chinese government uses terrorism as a justification for its human rights abuses in the region. Chinese propaganda promotes the idea that the Uyghur harbor terrorists from the Middle East, but Ms. Kadeer believes that the Chinese government is exploiting her Muslim faith and its association with terrorism.
She told us that before 9/11, the Chinese narrative against East Turkestan was similar to its narrative against Tibet, but afterwards, the narrative was aimed more specifically at religion, language, and ethnicity. We asked her what it feels like to be called a terrorist and she answered that it happens everywhere she goes. It seems like she has become numb to the term.
At dinner she told us she cannot fault the Chinese students who do not believe her story because they are essentially brainwashed by the Chinese government’s propaganda. Although the FBI has been involved, the Chinese embassy continues to harass Ms. Kadeer in the United States. Chinese agents follow her around and take pictures, and on two occasions, cars rented by the Chinese Embassy have crashed into her car.
While Ms. Kadeer’s struggle is very similar to that of the Dalai Lama, her story is not well known. I encourage you all to visit her website, uyghuramerican.org, to read the documents and reports that Ms. Kadeer and the Uyghur American Association have released to dispute Chinese propaganda. I would also recommend you read the book about her life story entitled, Dragon Fighter: One Woman's Epic Struggle for Peace With China.
At the beginning of the spring semester at St Cloud State University in St Cloud, Minnesota, our YAL chapter participated in "Side Street," the student organizations fair. It was a great success for our chapter, we managed to get 5 new dedicated dues paying members as well as over 50 additional sign-ups.
We also managed to pass out every single pocket constitution given to us by YAL in the Recruitment Drive kit. Our chapter looks forward to doing more activism events in the future, our next one being Incarceration Nation.
LATTC YAL chapter kicked off the year 2015 at Los Angeles Trade Tech College implementing the ideas of liberty on campus.
We had a chance to table for Spirit Week in February and got our students excited about our Young Americans for Liberty club at LATTC. We wanted to challenge ourselves to get as many sign-ups as possible.
We tabled in the morning for students to sign up for the YAL LATTC weekly update email. We gave out free coffee cakes and drinks as a good morning breakfast meal. The LATTC students all seemed to be happy with their free morning meals.
We wanted to show the students that we want their attention on Liberty by offering them free candy, waters, books, and Reason magazines. Students learned about the Constitution and I talked with some students about the tenth amendment of the constitution. The tenth amendment is what most Libertarians focus on.
We stressed everyday for the students to implement these ideals in the local community college area. We want to thank Ms. Bianca, currently the chapter historian, for giving her full energy to Young Americans for Liberty.
Finally, I painted the Young Americans for Liberty meeting flyer at LATTC. We got at least five active Los Angeles Trade Tech students to become official YAL officers.
In the meantime, I shall see all of the west regional young americans for liberty at the California State Convention on April 25, 2015.
Thank you, YALers and Nathan Fatal for making all of these events possible. I Hope to meet all of the Young Americans for Liberty leaders at the California State Convention this month.
On March 10, 2015 Young Americans for Liberty at San Francisco State University held our first official debate. The topics were income inequality, the deficit, and free speech. We finally finished editing the first debate. We uploaded it on YouTube, so check out our Facebook page at YAL SFSU.
We hope to inspire other YAL chapters to participate in recorded sessions like ours. This is the fourth debate our members have participated in. So we decided to represent YAL to the max.
On Wednesday, March 25, Bill Nye "The Science Guy" spoke at the State University of New York at Albany promoting his new book Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation. The speech began well, with Nye speaking about his debate on evolution recently with Ken Ham but quickly transitioned to preaching for a Carbon Tax in order to "redistribute wealth".
Thankfully, some students for the SUNY Albany Young Americans for Liberty chapter were in the audience and knew exactly what to do in such a circumstance, they began to film. After the event, the YAL members submitted a tip along with the video to Campus Reform and the next day Campus Reform picked up the story and it has since received viral attention.
What turned out to be a politically charged event was funded and sponsored by the Student Association at the University, the student government which is funded by a $100 per semester fee on all undergraduate students. Thankfully, YAL was on the watch.
When Raphie called in to Freedomain Radio to argue for an end to the market economy, he didn't do so as a sociology student whose only exposure to economics came from a required reading by Marx.
Instead, at the time he called, Raphie had been a Canadian businessman with 21 years of experience running his Montreal-based shoe repair service. He charged money prices, pursued profit, charged interest, and paid hourly wages, just as his competitors did, without a second thought, before one day in his mind "it just clicked." Raphie found himself looking in the mirror, questioning what worth to society these activities had:
"What bothered me most in this traditional way of doing business was the lack of connection I had with the customers. Then I went deeper into the philosophy of my way of thinking and asked 'why don't I charge...my daughter to fix her boots? Why is it free for her? Why is it free for friends, family, loved ones? Why do I charge to strangers, to customers?"
Raphie arrived at the answer which seems intuitive to the contemplative layman: man is a selfish creature, who does not make great sacrifices for others unless he stands something to gain. Profit exists solely as a motivator for some to do good for others. But man willingly makes sacrifices for loved ones out of compassion.
Why then is it not possible to regard everyone on Earth as your "loved one," and make sacrifices for the neediest among them, without expecting anything in return? Without a meaningful answer, Raphie concluded that money, interest, wages, private ownership, and profit could be done away with, without a tear shed, if only we humans weren't so greedy.
To see why the invisible hand wags its finger at Raphie's conclusion, let us first consider one model that economist Ludwig von Mises uses in Human Action, called the "Evenly Rotating Economy" model. In this purely hypothetical construction of the economy, all needs are continually being satisfied, and these needs do not change from one "rotation" to the next. Thus, there is perfect certainty about which goods need to be produced, in what quantities, and which people will consume them.
Let us contrast this with a real economy. We live in a world of unlimited desires but limited resources. There is no formal distinction between "want" and "need," and everyone prefers more goods to fewer. To produce goods, we need to expend time and energy—time and energy that could be spent doing other things.
Given all these facts of reality, we need some convenient way both to discover and to communicate among our seven billion brethren whose desires are most worthwhile trying to satisfy. Without this information, worldwide cooperation is impractical to impossible.
This is the role of the price system. It allows us to communicate in standardized terms (money) which desires are most urgent to satisfy. Because we live in a world of uncertainty where desires change based on circumstance, we need to make educated guesses about what to produce. The entrepreneur assumes this task.
If an entrepreneur's predictions about what, how much, and for whom to produce are correct, that information is recorded in terms of profit. If his predictions are incorrect, the corresponding loss is noted. Financial markets exist to make this information known quickly, for all to see, so its participants can direct money resources into the lines of production that are most profitable (satisfy the most desires).
In the linked video, Stefan Molyneux makes this point, albeit vaguely, with the example of a banana producer. His point is that no matter how altruistic the banana producer may be, no matter how motivated by compassion he is to produce, he cannot serve his fellow man effectively without the sort of information that the price system provides.
Today, Raphie does not charge a standard price to his customers. For a year, he has allowed his patrons to offer whatever price they can afford. He has not given up money for barter however, and he still buys from his suppliers at prices determined by supply and demand. Like a good father should, he continues to fix his daughter's shoes for free. He is able to provide for her because of the prosperity he inherited from a system where worldwide cooperation becomes ever more possible—the system we call capitalism.
After a few weeks of waiting, YAL at George Washington University is finally starting to take off. Today we received word that our application to gain official recognition by the university and become a listed student organization was accepted! We're all so excited to get things started and host our Incarceration Nation event, which is tentatively scheduled for Tax Day 2015!
Aside from all of this great news we received today, I also participated in our first event on campus today. It was pretty informal, and I was joined by John Nagle of the AU chapter of YAL and Emily Larsen of the Leadership Institute. Thank you guys so much for your help today, all of us here at GW are looking forward to working closely with both of you in the future. Stay posted as we continue to grow as an organization on campus!