This semester has been a very hectic one for Kansas State Young Americans for Liberty. We kicked off spring recruitment with the activities carnival the last Thursday in January, where we handed out flyers, copies of Why Liberty and Economics in One Lesson, and YAL "swag" such as bottle openers and pens.
This was followed by a YAL-U style meeting to talk about the basics of what our chapter is planning for this spring. Although the recruitment carnival was a major recruiting event (leading to over half of our members being new attendees this year), we haven't really had a "recruiting week" — we've had a recruiting semester.
After recruitment, the following week (the first week of February), we participated in School Choice Week, where we tabled on campus and asked students to voice their passion for freedom of choice in education. We also handed out some nifty yellow scarves alongside over 100 meeting flyers.
Following recruitment and school choice weeks, K-State Young Americans for Liberty packed up and drove to Washington D.C. with several other Kansas chapters to attend the International Students for Liberty Conference, hosted by Students For Liberty. We participated in several panels, applied for internships through partner organizations, and were even filmed for last week's edition of Stossel.
After that we started planning for an event that was held yesterday evening at
Dan Johnson of People Against the NDAA (PANDA) is coming to our campus! We are still working on what room will be available but the time and date is confirmed: Thursday, March 20 at 3 p.m. Mark that on your calendars, and make sure to bring a friend!
This young activist is a shining example of what can be accomplished despite the harsh push back from the establishment. If you want to know more about the NDAA and what you can do, please come! If you don't know what the NDAA is, you NEED to come!
For Valentine's Day, Kevin Pittman, Dean Harman and I recruited seven students to our Young Americans for Liberty chapter here at Mesa Community College. Many of them are very excited to educate other students about the "Gift of Liberty"!
The Cleveland State chapter of YAL held an NSA Awareness Day on Tuesday, February 25th. The NSA is an issue that students should be aware of and realize just how much of their privacy is being violated. We also tried to help students realize that just because you cannot see the actions of the NSA directly and it may not seem like it's affecting you as an individual doesn't make it right.
We passed out flyers that showed students that 1 in 3 are being spied on by the National Security Agency. A lot of them were unaware of the organization. We also had them write their thoughts on the NSA. Many said they didn't like what the NSA does while some said they thought it was necessary and
Exactly two weeks ago, Young Americans for Liberty at Arizona State University published an open letter to ASU President Michael Crow condemning the university's continuing support of the out-of-control National Security Agency and calling for an end to the school's relationship with the agency. The letter was signed by four other student organizations, including the ASU College Republicans and the Green Party of ASU. Soon after, we put a petition on Change.org, asking ASU students and alums, concerned Arizonans, and anyone else sympathetic to our cause to join us.
The response was incredible. As of now, we have 400 signatures on our petition, almost all of which come from residents of Arizona. Our efforts have already been covered in the university newspaper and on the OffNow.org blog, and we expect even more coverage this week. On Wednesday, we're holding a demonstration in the university's most busy area. There will be signs, signatures for the petition will be collected, brochures will be distributed, and students from all political backgrounds will be invited to stand up for their right to privacy.
The spring semester at Marshall University started off with huge success for our Young Americans for Liberty chapter. The first few weeks our chapter spent a lot of time and resources tabling for the recruitment drive. Using some of the amazing resources that YAL provided us we had a great deal of participation in the student center.
The World’s Smallest Political Quiz was a hit with administration, students, and even faculty who all stopped to see who they were closest to on the diagram. A lot of students were surprised to find their location was not where they had expected, many of them realizing they favored more conservative fiscal policy and others more protection of rights. Though highly controversial, we did give liberty pong a shot but it was not popular with the administration though we reminded them it was just water. We also used this recruitment drive to push our then upcoming event with a speaker from FIRE!
Due to weather our follow up meeting was not largely successful, with only a few new members stopping by to check out what are chapter was all about. We followed up the next week however with an interesting meeting that brought out new and returning chapter members.
We had two speakers from the Heritage Foundation come and discuss their Sentinel program as well as how to hold our elected official accountable for their actions on legislation. It was an interesting meeting discussing the poor scores of Senator Manchin as well as Representatives Capito and Rahall. The discussion went into how calling and emailing your representatives can truly make a difference. Students gave a positive response to this and many decided to join the sentinel program!
Our biggest goal for this recruitment drive was not only to get new chapter members but to spread the word about our event that was on February 17, where we brought out Will Creeley, an executive at FIRE, to speak to students about the speech codes at Marshall. It has become a mission of our chapter to educate students about the horrible speech codes Marshall University employs.
In 2011, our university was ranked in the top twelve worst schools for free speech in the ENTIRE country. The codes are so vague and subjective that many students can be brought up on harassment charges for speech that are actually in all reality, constitutional protected. Our chapter has taken on this fight by beginning to talk to student government and the administration about beginning the revision to these codes.
What is unfortunate is the administration has communicated to students as well as FIRE that the process has been started, when in reality it is not on any agenda. We brought Will to campus to kick start our petition process to the administration for revisions to the speech code. You can look at the article from our school newspaper in 2011 discussing this.
Our free speech event was a huge success! We had a packed room with barely any empty seats in the house. We got over four pages of new sign-ups interested in learning about our chapter.
To make it even more exciting, Delegates Sobonya, Miller, and Folk of the West Virginia Legislature made an appearance. They stayed after the presentation was over to discuss with students a bill that want to propose in the house that would support free speech in public universities state wide. Students responded to Will’s presentation with surprise at the insane charges students at other universities have had to face due to the codes that mirror our own.
The event went on for almost an extra hour due to students discussing the code and asking questions. We also passed out copies of FIRE’s “A Guide to Free Speech on Campus.” Since we had such a large success with our free speech wall last semester we decided also to start a Free Speech Banner at this event, so we could keep it for future events and to help with the petition process. The event ended with the presentation of our chapter’s petition, and we are excited to say we are off to a great start on signatures!
UW-Oshkosh YAL started the 2014 spring semester by attending the campus recruitment fair. We used the YAL version the World's Smallest Political quiz to help students identify where their political beliefs lie. We had an excellent location right next to the Campus Bookstore entrance, were able to introduce ourselves to many of our students, and signed up 21 new members!
Hello from the Champlain College YAL chapter in Burlington, VT!
Our recruitment drive went well, although I would have liked to see a larger number of students show interest. Even still, we got seven new sign-ups on our list and we have meetings now every Sunday evening. A few of my first and more involved members and I tabled at the recent student activities fair, thinking this was a good way to catch more people passing through, and catch more of those students looking to get involved with extracurricular activities on campus.
Champlain College is a fairly small school, and only a handful of the students are politically inclined one way or the other. We plan to do a politically homeless event soon to hopefully change that. Overall, I am happy with the sport we have gotten so far, we just need to keep at it and keep spreading the word about the chapter!
Being “pro-choice” is seen by many as being an open minded and progressive stance, and is one of the most popular single-issue voting topics in the country. It is a common sight on college campuses to see individuals flaunting a dozen pieces of "pro-choice" flair on their backpack or bumper. But often this label is proudly worn by someone who interprets it in the narrowest way possible, refusing to apply the same basic dignity of choice to any individual outside the abortion clinic.
Let’s have a little thought experiment on what it really means to be “pro-choice”:
Would most self-described pro-choicers support abolishing the compulsory school system? Buy drugs not approved by the FDA? Would they support allowing individuals to choose to take jobs below the minimum wage?
Doesn’t seem too likely. And yet this is one of the premiere talking points that American progressives love to hold over their opposition: they are the party of social freedom and choice. This right to choose, they often claim, arises from the concept of self-ownership — that a woman must be able to do as she pleases with her body — a vital pillar of liberty that must be protected at all costs.
But just how consistent are "pro-choicers" in fighting for this sacred principle of self-ownership? I don't see them lobbying for the right of private business owners to choose who they serve. I don't see them campaigning for the right to choose to put whatever you want in your body — ranging from raw milk to heroin. And, of course, you can’t choose to peacefully opt out of the political system itself. Ironically, this radical but logically legitimate extension of choice would certainly be met with scoffs by most "pro-choicers."
Even though Planned Parenthood dropped the label last year, the fact that many progressives still proudly masquerade under the “pro-choice” label is a reflection of the political process itself. Political figures love to remind us that this “choice” is the greatest triumph of democracy — the right of each and every person (over 18 and non-felon) to have an equal vote in choosing their leaders. Many regard this right to vote as one of our most sacred rights. But if this qualifies as choice, then next time you’re hungry, first try taking a poll of 300 million Americans to mandate whether you have to eat at Pizza Hut or Domino’s. And if you so happen to not like cheese pizza, then tough luck. Maybe in another eight years you can throw on a couple pepperonis.
Not only does this process naturally cater to the lowest common denominator of political appeal, but it completely stifles any sort of meaningful individual choice. And this is the system that supposedly represents the pinnacle of human freedom.
However, there is still a resilient beacon of freedom shining through the stifling smog of the state. Although the government may stifle any sort of meaningful choice, the market allows choice to flourish on an individual level. This means that you can choose to go to a healthy vegan restaurant for dinner, eat a mock-sandwich at Subway, or simply to fast for the night. Not only do you have the choice of what you want, but you can choose to not support certain establishments at all. This allows consumers to have ultimate control over everything that exists in the marketplace. It is no coincidence that it is so much easier to return something to Wal-Mart than to get your license renewed at the DMV. And, unlike the state, men with guns will not break down your door if you abstain from doing business with them.
You don’t need to look further than gay marriage as an example. If the state had not long ago hijacked the religious contract of marriage, it would be incredibly easy to find someone to conduct a gay marriage virtually anywhere. The market quickly adapts to niche markets without any bureaucracy or voting referendums. But when the state forces itself into anything, you can be sure that vital choices will be smothered.
Real choice implies that a decision is voluntarily made on an individual level. Like everything that becomes politicized, the canard of the “pro-choice” label is almost always a cherry-picked bastardization of the truth. Next time you see someone who calls themselves “pro-choice,” remember that forcing your choice on others is not choice at all.
Content published on the Young Americans for Liberty blog is only representative of the opinions and research of the individual authors. It does not necessarily reflect the views, goals, or membership of YAL.