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.
January has been an exciting and successful month for Indiana University. YAL @ IU started out the new semester with newly elected executives who are excited to spread liberty to even more students! The new executives are: Suzanne Schaefer — President, Janie Reed — Vice President, Hollie Dobay — Director of Finance, Betsy Fish — Director of Communications, Andrew May — Director of Publicity, and Marissa Gentry — Director of Activism.
YAL @ IU got started this semester with a successful effort to reach out to others by tabling and actively recruiting through the Indiana University involvement fair. The week before, we got together to make posters and our call-out sheets. Working late into the night, we also prepared our materials for tabling.
The days of tabling, Indiana was not blessed with warm, inviting weather, but cold and snow doesn’t stop liberty! We worked hard through the freezing temperatures and the continuous snow to set up our tabling space and speak to students about liberty. We handed out pocket Constitutions to those who passed by and gave everyone the chance to take the World’s Smallest Political Quiz. Many were interested and surprised to find out where they landed on the scale.
For the student involvement fair, we used a similar approach with our tabling and were able to reach out to a lot more students given the warmer temperature inside. Passing out Constitutions, engaging in conversation, giving out free stickers and other items, and offering every person who went by a chance yet again to take the World’s Smallest Political Quiz gained a lot of attention and interest and was a big success overall!
We worked hard through the weather the past weeks and are enthusiastic to continue this hard work to reach even more students in the weeks to come! We are excited to continue and can’t wait for further activism!
After more than a semester of struggle with SU's student association, our YAL chapter is in full swing!
We set out in January ready to recruit new members, get recognized by the university, and get involved in promoting liberty on campus. Now, two months and a few pocket Constitutions later, we've recruited a dozen new members, and have collaborated with the Syracuse College Republicans to bring liberty activists to campus, including (hopefully) Ron Paul himself!
The students on both the main Syracuse campus and the SUNY-ESF campus next door particularly loved our latest addition: the Worlds Smallest Political Quiz. Many were surprised to find out that they had libertarian views despite identifying as Democrat or Republican. Some were even clueless as to what a libertarian was, so it provided us with a great opportunity to reach out to them about their newfound political leanings. We look forward to connecting more with our new members and continuing to lead our chapter into the future!
Here at UMass Lowell, our YAL chapter is off to a great start for 2014. I have been working side by side with Nathan Fatal, a graduate of UMass Amherst that has actively worked with SFL, YAL, and many other organizations; and Daniel Morris, a CC for SFL and Chapter Leader for the Salem State YAL Chapter.
Our efforts have included posting flyers across all three campuses and tabling outside of high traffic areas to show students what YAL has to offer. We have interested many students and have also given many the chance to voice their opinions!
Here at UMass Lowell, YAL will give students the opportunity to become more involved with their communities to help them change the world into a better place. We are freedom fighters and dreamers, a generation with much too offer. Though we are still going through the process of becoming a club recognized through the school, we are appealing to many which is always a good sign. We hope that the progression stays with us throughout our time here.
Susquehanna Young Americans for Liberty had our first meeting on February 19. We introduced ourselves and discussed why we believe liberty is important, along with some potential recruiting options. We then discussed current events and how they affect liberty and how to move ahead in expanding this chapter on campus!
Here at Penn State-Schuylkill in the heart of the Anthracite Coal Region of Pennsylvania, it was a cold day to table at the Spring Activities Fair, our first recruitment and informational event. Currently, there are no student political groups on campus and we think YAL can be a catalyst for a more engaged and questioning student body.
Only about ten students attended the Fair. Undaunted, we walked around to the other tables at the Fair and made some great connections with other campus groups interested in liberty and peace; many indicated that they would like to partner with us on future events. Dr. Andel, the faculty adviser, went out to the Mall Walk and distributed Constitutions to student going to class. If the students wouldn't come to the gym, we'd come to them!
Joe Shevokis, our founding student member, has been actively recruiting new student members since the Fair. We are scheduling our first meeting before Spring Break to plan our Fall events and recruitment.
Getting off the ground is difficult, yet we are confident that we will be ready to fly in the Fall!
This Valentine's Day, the Western Kentucky chapter of YAL set up shop by the Political Science classrooms to catch some students and inform them about the new YAL chapter on campus.
Several students came to find out what our chapter stood for and took information with them. A few professors even stopped by, curious about the club. By the end we had a handful of sign-ups for the next meeting!
One issue we encountered was that Friday is a weak day to choose to table because there was relatively fewer students there that day. Next time, we will set up at the beginning of the week instead that way we will catch more students. Moreover, we had an issue setting up earlier in the day due to scheduling conflicts. This likely made us miss students as well.
The next step of the club is to hold official elections as per our Constitution. Several members are interested in particular positions that suit their skill sets.