No, we aren’t talking about boxing. We’re talking about debating, and FEE is halfway through the “Arena K.O.” debate series where they livestream debates at each of their summer seminars.
The debate topics range from marijuana legalization to immigration, and whether technology makes us more or less free. Distinguished participants include The Freeman’s Max Borders, Jeffrey Tucker of Liberty.me, and Jason Brennan of Georgetown University.
There’s still time to catch future debates. FEE is hosting six more before the end of the summer! The next debate is Wednesday, July 16 at 12:45 p.m. ET between Judge James Gray, former running mate of Gary Johnson, and Kevin Sabet, a former Obama senior aide, on the topic of legalizing marijuana. Grab your friends and plan to watch the debate live!
For a full list of upcoming “Arena K.O.” debates, click here!
Marxism is typically seen as the far left on a linear political spectrum. But is there a sense in which it's actually conservative?
I don't mean, of course, "conservative" in the way we typically use it. Obviously, Karl Marx and communism are not about free markets, low taxes, and the Constitution. Rather, I mean it in its more literal sense: interested in conserving, or preserving, a given situation. It is not uncommon for counter-movements—which Marxism is—to arise out of conservative impulses or desires to maintain a state of affairs which is perceived to be lost or under attack.
Let's look at a little history: The first aspect to look at is community purposed assets in the open field system. It was very typical within the feudal system to find lords with common farming land, housing, and equipment set aside for serfs. They would still have to farm the lord's land, but a smaller segment of land was set aside for them to grow whatever they liked. However, with the rise of the industrial Revolution, the community land seized and privatized, through the acts of Enclosure. This forced many serfs to move to cities, where they would get factory jobs and participate in the capitalist
This is a collection of essays written by Rand or other Rand-inspired authors focusing on the moral nature of capitalism. It goes beyond arguing that capitalism is merely an economic function, but provides a moral defense of laissez-faire economies that completely severs the market from government.
I would particularly recommend this collection to all of you econ majors. I often feel that economics curricula speed through the morality aspect of the subject. It may just be the philosophy major in me, but morality is an essential piece of the freedom puzzle.
This is one of my favorites. Nozick outlines perfectly what a limited state should look like. His minimalistic approach addresses four responsibilities of government: to protect against force, fraud, and theft, and to uphold contracts. Simple and to the point.
Super easy, quick read for a pretty deep philosophical book. Mill really delves into the role of government, and the fragile relationship between liberty and authority.
I would especially recommend this to all of our drug policy nerds out there. Although it discusses the role of government as it is applicable to many areas of interest, the section “Applications” outlines the most solid argument for substance decriminalization/legalization that I have ever come across.
Today, we're excited to announce award-winning journalist, lawyer, author, and Edward Snowden confidant Glenn Greenwald is confirmed to address and answer questions at the 6th Annual YAL National Convention!
That's right, this is a rare opportunity to send us your questions for Mr. Greenwald on Facebook and Twitter by using the hashtag #YALcon14 or posting a comment at the bottom of this page.
The best questions will be selected for a private message recorded by Mr. Greenwald and broadcast exclusively at the big event.
A large chunk of our leadership team was lucky enough to attend ISFLC 2014 in February and do some serious networking and training! We met some key players in the liberty movement and mingled with other young activists like ourselves.
We also attended a panel on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies featuring Jeffrey Tucker, Marianne Copenhaver and the Leadership Institute's own Jackie Silseth.
On April 9, 2014, Jacob Hornberger and Sheldon Richman, the President and Vice-President of the Future of Freedom Foundation, made the third stop of their Northeast Libertarian Angle tour here at Binghamton University.
The event started with Hornberger and Richman discussing libertarian philosophy with each other for about half an hour, offering an insightful conversation for the audience to enjoy and learn from.
For the next hour, our many participants joined in the lively discussion. Our participants involved many
Libertarians are often met with an ideological resistance from those on the left offering questions like, “But who will protect the environment?” or “What about those who can’t help themselves?”
Of course we can concoct a rebuttal with conventional political strategy by framing the issue, creating a scapegoat, or changing the subject altogether, but what some of the greatest pro-libertarian apologists have done is refer to a time of great humanity: when friends, family, churches, and community were (voluntarily) relied upon in times of need. The problem with this argument is that it is only lip-service to what many would describe as a context of long-abandoned social antiquity.
I am a volunteer at the Wetlands Institute in Stone Harbor, New Jersey.
For me, though, volunteerism is very much part of the present day. I volunteer at the Wetlands Institute for two big reasons: First, I love the creatures of this world. And second, it's my response to the question “What have we done to exemplify that our ideology is the opposite of uncaring?” I’ve always believed in leading by example, and I think that political and ideological change of the minds and hearts of those around us can best be achieved through action.
How does the old saying go? “Actions speak louder than words…”
This is my way of internally screaming, “YES I’m a libertarian and I care about the environment and the welfare of other living beings.” “YES I’m pro-capitalism and I’m volunteering my time & money at my own free will to
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.
It was a cold, yet snowless, winter night in California (yes, be jealous), as the stars drew at a slow moving pace around the clear mountain skies as I lied on my bed at the inter-YAL chapter Winter Retreat I helped organize.
Here, I had a light bulb moment to start a new blog series called, “Consider the Otherwise” where I play devil’s advocate for the sake of keeping an open mind on things and to gain empathy for the other side. But let me give you some back story first!
So a couple weeks ago on Facebook, while idly browsing and procrastinating my time away from assignments, I was invited to like a satire page named “The Libertarian Purist.” There, emblazoned with a high-nosed, self-righteous looking, pompous, collared gentleman as the page’s mascot with a cover picture laying out, “I am elitist” loudly and proudly. The page surely does fit the description of “So you think you're a libertarian, huh? Not without my blessing. I am the decider, I am the anointed one, I am...The Libertarian Purist!" The whole thing satirically pokes fun at the stereotypical libertarian purist.
I liked the page because I know too well actual purists, some of whom are not helpful to the liberty movement, to be blunt, when they refuse to work with others. Then, it dawned on me: Why is it that we must delineate ourselves back to obscurity? As fellow YALer Elijah O’Kelley noted previously his blog post, "The Road to Obscurity," throwing potential allies and friends under the bus as some purists have done makes us an easy target for our political enemies and dooms us to
Lately there has been a lot of discussion about whether libertarians should focus more on “privilege checking.” I recently wrote an article that said, although there’s nothing wrong with using “privilege” as an exercise in perspective, attempting to ram it into the heart of libertarian philosophy is highly problematic. I was rewarded a couple days later with a shout out by Gina Luttrell at ThoughtsOnLiberty.com, in an article called In Order to Achieve Individualism, We Must Acknowledge Privilege Exists.
Gina writes that “If we want a world where everyone is truly valued for their individuality and the particular aspects that they bring to the table, then we must first start by dismantling privilege.” Completely ignoring the vagueness of what is meant by an individual being “truly valued,” let’s jump right into the part that matters: the “let’s do something” part.
“Dismantle” is a strong word that implies action. So, if we are going to “dismantle” privilege, we better figure out what exactly it is. In another article Gina describes “privilege” as a social power system propagated by society. She writes, “When a system is created in which people with certain characteristics are valued above others, a cycle is created.” This assertion necessarily begs another question: What is this “system” that makes people value certain qualities over others and how was it “created”?
If she’s talking about the state, fine—I agree that the state is the single biggest perpetrator of inequality and injustice to ever exist. But since