Using the Recruitment Kit materials and the new banner from YAL, we reserved a table for the school's RSO Block Party and were able to sign up 19 potential members despite the rain and humidity.
Armstrong Atlantic State University is small public university located in Savannah, Georgia. The feel of the campus seems to be either apolitical or strongly belonging to either one of the major political parties. However, neither party has a strong, solid membership in their respective college groups.
There were a few people that came to our table who were already familiar with YAL. Several people were actively seeking out a libertarian group on campus, and the rest seemed genuinely interested even though they were unfamiliar with both YAL and libertarian philosophy in general, but decided to sign up when I explained it to them. The materials sparked some great conversations, and I can conclude that Young Americans for Liberty at AASU has the potential of becoming a strong chapter!
In the last decade, nearly 160,000 Minnesotans have lawfully obtained the Permit to Carry a Pistol — and now you can add a few more to that statistic. Last week, YALers from across the state got together to successfully complete the first step in gaining approval to carry a firearm for purposes of self defense.
While the 2nd Amendment to the Bill of Rights clearly states, "...the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed," the democratically-controlled Minnesota legislature severely threatened our individual rights to do just that in its last legislative session. They worked to make it even more difficult to obtain a Permit to Purchase, tried to increase fees on law-abiding gun owners, and even tried to ban any magazines that held seven or more rounds. These attempts were fortunately met with fierce resistance from the general public, and after several weeks of intense hearings, testimony, and rallies at the Capitol Building, we prevented the legislation from being enacted...for now.
Because this issue was at the forefront of the political discussion for most of the year, YALers decided to act upon our convictions and practice our rights. With the help of Blue Line Defense and one very gracious donor, 12 of us were able to take our training course at almost no cost (usually $125+). We took an extensive five-hour indoor training, and an additional hour long training out on the gun range.
In our training, we learned how to safely handle a firearm,
The event, put on by Georgia's Republican Governor Nathan Deal, was the subject of a literature canvass by volunteers from the group Georgia Gun Owners stating that Deal "killed pro-gun bills in 2013" and asked if he would "do it again in 2014."
Deal has taken heat since the end of the 2013 legislative session, being accused by gun-rights advocates and various organizations for using backroom deals to help kill pro-gun legislation, including a bill that would have all but ended "gun free" zones in the state.
I propose in the following discussion to call one's own labor and the equivalent exchange of one's own labor for the labor of others, the "economic means" for the satisfaction of need while the unrequited appropriation of the labor of others will be called the "political means."
— Franz Oppenheimer, The State
On a recent trip to Arlington, Virginia for the 5th Annual YAL National Convention a question was asked by one of the speakers: “How many of you are political science majors?”
The vast majority of the hands in the room went up. I found this phenomenon exceedingly interesting. As a matter of fact, one could certainly understand why Young Americans for Liberty, a group founded for the purpose of political activism in youth circles, would attract university students who also happen to be political science majors, and who also most likely have ambitions for professional life.
Yet what does this represent? Is the goal of liberty a purely political goal?
Liberty certainly is the essence of what Oppenheimer termed the economic means. Such as it is, can a political movement, based on the ‘economic means’ of voluntary exchange, property rights, self-defense, etc. achieve a goal which is antithetical to the very means which it has professed to abolish?
It is no secret that the origins of Young Americans for Liberty & Students for Liberty work together regularly. Both organizations began in 2008, and both focus on spreading liberty movement on college campuses — but despite these similar missions, the structures and goals of the two organizations complement each other rather than competing.
While Young Americans for Liberty is a chapter-based organization, Students for Liberty is an international organization that uses a network of organizations to distribute resources to any liberty-minded organization ranging from college libertarian societies to single-issue groups to — you guessed it — Young Americans for Liberty chapters. So far, this partnership has dramatically altered both the political and philosophical landscape on college campuses everywhere. There is nowhere to go but up!
Students for Liberty just announced that it will be hosting eighteen regional conferences this fall! This is three more conferences than last year. Much like the Young Americans for Liberty state conventions held each spring, Students for Liberty regional conferences bring the best and brightest intellectuals and activists within the liberty movement together for these incredible, liberty-oriented events.
Students for Liberty also assists Young Americans for Liberty chapters across the country attain activism kits, books, and other resources free of charge. Help spread the word and join us this fall for the conference nearest you!
At National Review Online last week, author Robert Costa penned a piece titled "Iowa Divided," where he detailed the crevasse between the libertarian and moderate coalitions of the Republican Party of Iowa. As an Iowa native and right-wing individual, I was very interested in the comments of those interviewed and Costa's take on the divide. And for those interested in the "first-in-the-nation state," it's a pretty good read.
It's not shocking that there's a slight slant toward the moderate coalition, led by Iowa's longtime, on-again-off-again governor Terry Branstad by National Review. Throughout their storied history as a highly influential publication of conservative thought, much of their ranks are skeptical of libertarian sentiment. You can sense it in this piece, but it's not offensive or egregious.
Costa presents the rupture between the coalitions as "Big Liberty" versus "Branstad's center-right circle." This presentation is largely accurate. I attended the 2012 State Party Convention as a delegate, and the contention between the two groups was on full display. Nearly every proposed change to the state party platform was met with passionate debate. Proposed rules changes by the moderate bloc garnered a raucous response. I detailed all the antics via Twitter in realtime.
I found my way to the liberty movement through the writings of Ayn Rand. I therefore admit some bias when I say that the best way to get new people to explore the ideas of freedom, individual rights, and capitalism is to illustrate the points in a story.
Of course, it's not always possible to get people to read something as lengthy and complex as Atlas Shrugged.
It was with great pleasure that I stumbled across A. G. Fredericks on social media. His Twitter bio presents him as "#Libertarian, son of a US Marine, Fiscal Conservative Author of acclaimed Indie thriller #TheTroyStandard & #LibertyGulch."
I quickly procured a copy of his first book, The Troy Standard, and was very impressed. It is the story of a man who is courageous enough to point out the problems with status quo and he suffers dearly for his convictions. It is also an engaging discussion of Austrian economic policies.
In the words of Evey from V for Vendetta, “Artists use lies to tell the truth.” Encouraging friends or coworkers to read an engaging story is often much easier than handing them an economic treatise, or scholarly article. The Troy Standard is only 192 pages long and contains touching emotional drama, harrowing suspense, and action-packed thrills. In short, it is a perfect summer read.
The George Zimmerman trial finally came to a close this weekend when the jury acquitted Zimmerman of all charges, including second-degree murder and manslaughter. For those who followed the case objectively, there was little disagreement that the prosecution failed to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin in cold blood. Despite the court of public opinion declaring him a murderer from day one, the jury did the sensible thing by finding Zimmerman not guilty. It is a modern example of Lady Justice extolling fairness and equal protection under the law for those that are not adored or wanted by society.
The saga began over a year ago when Zimmerman shot and killed Martin on February 26, 2012. Over the course of the following month, the Associated Press, ABC News, The New York Times, and other media organizations pounced on the opportunity to develop a narrative that would encourage the public to side against Zimmerman on the basis of race. Among these other organizations was NBC News, which aired an edited 911 tape on the Today Show on March 27, 2012 that intentionally displayed Zimmerman as a racist.
Fortunately, America remains the greatest place in the world to live and call home. We celebrated the essence of that greatness over the weekend for Independence Day — the fabled anniversary of July 4th, 1776, the date that the Founding Fathers declared independence from the tyranny of King George III. It's a celebration of freedom and radicalism, and one that we should take more seriously as a country.
Though it's hard to appreciate the message behind the holiday when actions that subvert our freedom occur every day. Ask yourself: Are we truly free?
Now take this video for example, which went viral this weekend thanks to sites like Reddit:
The nearly 3 million-view video shows 21-year-old Chris Kalbaugh being harassed and constitutionally violated at a DUI checkpoint in Rutherford County, Tennessee by Deputy A.J. Ross and other officers. Despite not having committed a crime nor been charged with one, the officers swarm his car and use a K-9 to issue a "false alert" in order to search it. Kalbaugh ever expressed his rights to the officers, but no such luck. From the video:
Deputy Ross: “Are you an attorney or something? You know what the law is?”
Kalbaugh: “Yes sir, I do."
Deputy Ross: “OK, what is the law?”
Kalbaugh: “The law says at checkpoints I have to stop. And I did. That is all. I’m not required to answer any questions. I have Constitutional freedom to travel without being randomly stopped and questioned."
The officers continued their search unimpeded. When nothing turned up, Deputy Ross says, "He’s perfectly innocent and he knows his rights. He knows what the Constitution says.” Another officer off-camera says, "It wasn't a very good alert."