On Thursday, March 14, YAL at Ohio Northern University took advantage of a unique opportunity to spread awareness concerning U.S. foreign policy. ONU hosted nationally-renowned historian Gordon Wood that evening, and YAL was first on the scene to distribute information about an unsustainable foreign policy.
Most shocking to students was the reality of a decade-long struggle. As we mentioned U.S. involvement in a 'Generation of War,' the foremost reaction was 'which war?' Our foreign policy has so disillusioned young people that we no longer recognize who the enemy is overseas. Turnout at the event was sublime, and most of the crowd left the event understanding our presence on campus, if not our message as well.
Furthermore, Gordon Wood's speech dealt with the founding fathers and the constitutional era. As a result, YAL at ONU was able to relate both Wood's message and our own message. Between an engaged student population and a remarkable presentation from a Pulitzer-winning historian, Generation of War activism received success at Ohio Northern.
Last week, freedom fighters from the University of Minnesota YAL Chapter set out with one goal: to spread liberty. And so we embarked out on an adventurous journey in the cold tundra we know as Minnesota (many of our members are notorious for tabling outside in below-zero weather for Ron Paul).
As we all know, it's crucial to message to your audience. Our campus was once filled with peace-loving, anti-war student groups...until suddenly they disappeared and became inactive with the election of Barack Obama. But using YAL's Generation of War materials, we set out to reignite the issue on campus — and with the help of our awesome Midwest Regional Director Charlie Vidal, we did just that.
Over the span of just a few short hours, we were putting on quite the display. Fortunately, after being asked "Do you want to carry out your own drone strike today?", several students replied disgust. Many more were eerily delighted to take out some anger with a strike of their own.
On March 20 the 10th anniversary of the Iraq war, Young Americans for Liberty at Harper College set out to leave a lasting impression on the student body about the real cost of war.
Our initial plan was to have a memorial flag display for the 162 Illinois troops who have died in the Iraq war outside in the quad. But the weather took a nose dive right before the event and the ground was too hard to plant the flags. So we had to adapt and overcome and we decided to integrate our flag display with our timeline of all the engagements America has been in since a majority of college kids have been borne.
The event started with a memorial dedication ceremony where Daryl Knight, the Director of Harper College's ground plan and retired Marine Corps officer, gave the official Harper College dedication of the memorial. Daryl spoke of the strength and devotion of our military, and how we should be proud of their sacrifice. Our keynote speaker was Col. Roman Golash of the United States Army. Col. Golash gave a riveting speech on how our Americas military is the most dedicated group of citizens and how the sacrifices of the men, women, families of our military should not be forgotten.
The event was held in Avante which is the most high traffic area at Harper and the students were very receptive to the ceremony. After the ceremony ended we started phase two of our Generation of War event. Our timeline started in 1988 until present. We should casualty statistics from every conflict the United States has been and showed graphic pictures that showed the real cost of war. We also included drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somolia. We passed out all of our Generation of War palm cards and had discussions with many students. We expressed our views on war, and showed the students that war is hell, and before we send our troops to war we need a constitutional declaration of war in order to send our troops to fight.
We expressed our belief that the President's war powers need to be restrained, and we promoted a policy non-interventionism.
Ron Paul libertarians are typically labeled “radicals.” I don't like this word because it carries a pejorative (rather than merely descriptive) connotation and thus is often used to glibly dismiss the views of people without bothering to thoughtfully engage them.
Radicals are often dismissed as impractical people who uncritically hew to abstract principles no matter the real-world consequences. But this criticism misses the broad social impact of radicalism.
By virtue of their existence, radicals help frame debates. Social science has shown that if a “radical” position (minarchist Ron Paul libertarianism, let’s say) is perceived to have a politically significant following, then the “mainstream” (or "median") in some respects moves to accommodate their views. By developing a politically significant (if still "radical") following, libertarians won’t be able to compel them to legalize all drugs, but they’ll make a difference in legalize marijuana; they won’t abolish the Military Industrial Complex, but they’ll cause the nation to consider more severe military budget cuts than it otherwise would have. They may not (yet?) be able to abolish the Federal Reserve, but they'll compel Congress to seriously consider a thorough audit of it. These are the pragmatic, real world consequences of radicalism.
One of the more persuasive criticisms of radicals is that they dogmatically adhere to abstract, a priori principles, and that this prevents them from engaging the real world. Yet there are two sides to this coin. For mainstreamers, by being so entangled in often trivial battles of "real world" politics, can lose sight of the moral principles that supposedly inspire his or her activism.
If there’s a single issue on which the average American decidedly wants less government, it's foreign aid. Polls show that even more Americans want to cut foreign aid than taxpayer funding for “the arts.”
Understandably, then, foreign aid is a not-uncommon libertarian talking point. Defenders of foreign aid, however, have a prepared response: the American public grossly overestimates foreign aid numbers. While the average American supposes that the federal government spends about a quarter of its budget on overseas assistance, the official number is closer to 1%.
Libertarians rebut by pointing out that this 1% adds millions each day to an already plummeting debt, but we don’t need to stop there. Instead, we should go on the offensive by questioning the narrow way that government statistics define foreign aid.
Suppose foreign aid were defined in accordance with common sense: money sent overseas that does nothing to benefit the taxpayers who are required to provide it. On this view, the median American is essentially correct; the U.S. spends more money policing any number of foreign borders than its own. We can reasonably say most of the $729 billion we spent on “defense” in 2012 actually constituted “foreign aid."
This video and unofficial transcript were provided by Sen. Paul's office. Follow YAL's live coverage of this historic filibuster on Facebook and Twitter.
I rise today to begin to filibuster John Brennan’s nomination for the CIA I will speak until I can no longer speak. I will speak as long as it takes, until the alarm is sounded from coast to coast that our Constitution is important, that your rights to trial by jury are precious, that no American should be killed by a drone on American soil without first being charged with a crime, without first being found to be guilty by a court. That Americans could be killed in a cafe in San Francisco or in a restaurant in Houston or at their home in bowling green, Kentucky, is an abomination. It is something that should not and cannot be tolerated in our country. I don’t rise to oppose John Brennan’s nomination simply for the person. I rise today for the principle. The principle is one that as Americans we have fought long and hard for and to give up on that principle, to give up on the bill of rights, to give up on the Fifth Amendment protection that says that no person shall be held without due process, that no person shall be held for a capital offense without being indicted. This is a precious American tradition and something we should not give up on easily. They say Lewis Carroll is fiction. Alice never fell down a rabbit hole and the White Queen’s caustic judgments are not really a threat to your security. Or has America the beautiful become Alice’s wonderland? ‘No, no, said the queen. Sentence first; verdict afterwards. Stuff and nonsense, Alice said widely – loudly. The idea of having the sentence first? ‘Hold your tongue, said the queen, turning purple. I won’t, said Alice. Release the drones, said the Queen, as she shouted at the top of her voice.
Lewis Carroll is fiction, right? When I asked the President, can you kill an American on American soil, it should have been an easy answer. It’s an easy question. It should have been a resounding and unequivocal, “no.” The President’s response? He hasn’t killed anyone yet. We’re supposed to be comforted by that.
The President says, I haven’t killed anyone yet. He goes on to say, and I have no intention of killing Americans. But I might. Is that enough? Are we satisfied by that? Are we so complacent with our rights that we would allow a President to say he might kill Americans? But he will judge the circumstances, he will be the sole arbiter, he will be the sole decider, he will be the executioner in chief if he sees fit. Now, some would say he would never do this. Many people give the President the – you know, they give him consideration, they say he’s a good man. I’m not arguing he’s not. What I’m arguing is that the law is there and set in place for the day when angels don’t rule government. Madison said that the restraint on government was because government will not always be run by angels. This has nothing, absolutely nothing to do with whether the President is a Democrat or a Republican. Were this a Republican President, I’d be here saying exactly the same thing. No one person, no one politician should be allowed to judge the guilt, to charge an individual, to judge the guilt of an individual and to execute an individual. It goes against everything that we fundamentally believe in our country.
This isn’t even new to our country. There’s 800 years of English law that we found our tradition upon. We founded it upon the Magna Carta from 1215. We founded it upon Morgan from Glamorgan and 725 A.D. We founded upon the Greeks and Romans who had juries. It is not enough to charge someone to say that they are guilty.
Now, some might come to this floor and they might say, “Well, what if we’re being attacked on 9/11? What if there are planes flying at the Twin Towers?” Obviously, we repel them. We repel any attack on our country.
Obama’s presidency has been a busy one for American interventionism.
His administration has overseen a costly troop surge in Afghanistan, a disastrous police action in Libya, and an unprecedented campaign of drone warfare across Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. With the largest military budget since World War II, the president has kept US forces stationed in over 150 countries around the world. This includes a contingent of 28,000 troops protecting the Korean border – 6,000 more than the number of agents employed by the entire border patrol of the United States.
With our national debt climbing beyond $16.5 trillion, one might expect our government to scale back its litany of overseas entanglements and look inward. In fact, according to a January 2011 Gallup poll, more Americans favor cutting foreign aid than any other area of spending. Our government, however, seems to think that America is still not policing the world enough.
In his January 2012 State of the Union address, President Obama announced that “America is determined to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and I will take no options off the table to achieve that goal.” Although it’s been just over a year since U.S. troops completed their withdrawal from Iraq, our policymakers apparently have short memories. We may now be closer than ever before to the fulfillment of the president’s Iran threat.
YAL is excited to debut our brand new foreign policy palmcards. Starting next week, these will be available to YAL chapters for FREE in their Generation of War kits (part of our March activism project).
And soon, you'll be able to purchase this palmcard by the hundred in the YAL store!
For now, here's a special preview of this exciting new resource (click on each image for a larger size):