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One of our speakers for the upcoming 2015 ISFLC  on February 13th-15th will be Tom G. Palmer!

Tom G. Palmer is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, and director of Cato University, the Institute’s educational arm. Palmer is also the executive vice president for international programs at the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, and is responsible for establishing operating programs in 14 languages and managing programs for a worldwide network of think tanks. Before joining Cato he was an H. B. Earhart Fellow at Hertford College, Oxford University, and a vice president of the Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University. He frequently lectures in North America, Europe, Eurasia, Africa, Latin America, India, China and throughout Asia, and the Middle East on political science, public choice, civil society, and the moral, legal, and historical foundations of individual rights. He has published reviews and articles on politics and morality in scholarly journals such as the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, Ethics, Critical Review, and Constitutional Political Economy, as well as in publications such as Slate, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Die Welt, Caixing, Al Hayat, the Washington Post, and The Spectator of London. He is the author of Realizing Freedom: Libertarian Theory, History, and Practice, published in 2009, and the editor of The Morality of Capitalism, published in 2011. Palmer received his B.A. in liberal arts from St. Johns College in Annapolis, Maryland, his M.A. in philosophy from The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., and his doctorate in politics from Oxford University.

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The follow is a guest blog post from  SFL Campus Coordinator Tuck Kennedy.

With the Obamacare exchanges fully in place, an efficient, consumer-oriented health system becomes less of a possibility. We can change this by explaining the downsides of government-run health care and by convincing our campuses that market-based reforms are the way to go. Outlined below are some activism tips for this topic.

Information:

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This post is part of a new “Student Spotlight” SFL blog series in which we honor the best and brightest student activists in our network by highlighting the top student, group, and event of the week and share their accomplishments to inspire other leaders to step up their game in advancing the cause of liberty. 

Congratulations to SFL’s student of the week, Alieu Bangura! He is a  senior at the University of the Gambia majoring in Computer Science. Alieu is also a founder and Program Coordinator of Students For Liberty in the Gambia.

How did you find out about SFL?

I found out about SFL through the Charter Teams Program. I also recall having signed up to receive newsletters. I learned more about it through Irena Schneider, the International Programs Associate, and since then I have been building a strong group that advocates  liberty.

Who are your favorite figures or topics in liberty? 

What sorts of projects and activism have you been working on or done recently? 

Shortly after the AEB retreat in Ibadan, Nigeria, I got my group together and proposed that we should have at least one event per month. We have had two major events: the  Leadership, Liberty and Enterpreneurship Seminar  and a Talk at the American corner on the topic, “Africa And Her Blame Game.” Our next project is a march pass to make our voices heard, calling for freedom of speech. This will be followed by a Regional Conference in November.

The SFL team knows that you have received criticism and threats for spreading libertarian ideas, could you tell us more about that?

It happened sometime ago in 2013 when I was still a trainee CT member. Taking advantage of an invitation sent to me from a youth group in the Gambia, I used the platform to formally introduce SFL to the audience.  The response was really positive, until someone posing as a participant threatened me and tried to talk me out of SFL for no genuine reason. I stood my grounds to what I am today and my belief never changed! I went on to receive emails from anonymous senders who never signed their names.

The recent threat was more like an open letter to me. It wasn’t signed yet again and this time I got it from one of SFL-Gambia’s members. According to her, a guy in a car stopped and handed the letter to her because she had an SFL T-shirt on. She further went on to say the guy didn’t say much. The whole content of the letter can be accessed on my Facebook timeline here.

I just can say that I am really happy everything went well in the end and that I got support from SFL.

What has been your favorite aspect (or aspects) about your involvement with SFL so far?

One of my favorite aspects of my involvement with SFL is that I have discovered my passion for  entrepreneurship, capitalism, and free markets as well as the training and exposure I have received to the libertarian movement. SFL made me realize I could tap onto my keyboard not only to write source codes and do HTML or CSS, but also to inspire others through blog posts and articles.

What are your long-term goals once you are finished with school?

I recently joined the Atlas Leadership Academy in the hope that I will be exposed to even greater avenues for pro-liberty activism. Apart from my wish to work for SFL, my long term goal is to be able to start as many civil society groups in diverse regions in the world to help spread the message of liberty. In a nutshell, I want to make activism a career. My aim as a leader is to advocate for liberty throughout my time and beyond!

The following is a post by Matthew La Corte and Juliana Perciavalle 

Getting young people interested in the world around them is an uphill battle, and it’s been beaten to death that the ones who do take interest have radically different ideas on politics, culture, social issues, religion, and a myriad of other specific concepts than their parents.

As a recent Fusion poll revealed, young voters on the whole aren’t exactly pro-liberty; although the economy was listed as the highest concern, millennials still identify most closely with the Democratic Party. Rock the Vote thinks that we need to see Lil Jon holding a comically large joint at the polls to “care like crazy” about elections, but the poll revealed that only about half of us are in favor of full cannabis legalization. Also interesting is the results on police; African-Americans surveyed were pretty evenly divided on how much they trust the police to protect them and their families.

The numbers shift significantly when broken down by race. Sixty-five percent of black millennials and sixty-two percent of Hispanic millennials said the Democratic Party represented their views best. Only fifteen percent of African-American millennials and seventeen percent of Hispanic millennials responded favorably with the GOP.

According to the millennials surveyed, the immigration impasse is a bipartisan failure. Surveyed individuals spread the blame for the non-passing of immigration reform across today’s Congress. When asked who is most to blame – Congressional Republicans, Democrats, or the President – thirty-three percent chose Republicans, thirty said them all, fifteen percent said President Obama. Forty-three percent of young Hispanics blame the Republicans solely, thirteen more percentage points than white millennials.

About sixty percent of white millennials, sixty-five percent of black millennials, and seventy-percent of Hispanic millennials favor allocating additional resources to address the current immigration problem. When divided by party affiliation it translates into about seventy for Democrats, fifty for Republicans, and sixty for independents.

Forty percent of millennial Republicans think the motivation for unaccompanied children is that they are using violence in their home countries as an excuse. While seventy-three percent of millennial Democrats and sixty-one percent of Independents agree they have a legitimate fear of violence in their home countries and should be protected.

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The follow is a guest submission from  SFL Campus Coordinator, Kelly Kidwell.

The War on Drugs is wasteful, discriminatory, and unjust.  It costs the United States more than 50,000,000,000 dollars per year.  In 2012, the U.S. arrested 749,825 for marijuana charges, 88 percent of which were possession only.  The War on Drugs is notoriously racist, as blacks are 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for drug use than whites, although drug use is consistent across racial lines.  Many drug policy activists see the problem with the War on Drugs, but they often focus on the legalization of marijuana for medical use.  After all, legal medical marijuana would be better than our current system of mass imprisonment for nonviolent crime.  Legalization of medical marijuana may seem more achievable than legalization for recreational use.  But medical marijuana does not go far enough.

As activists, our goal should be to liberate nonviolent “criminals,” not to encourage drug use.  When activists focus on marijuana for medical use, we exaggerate the drug’s benefits, and ignore its risk factors.  Marijuana can help treat pain, poor appetite, seizures, and anxiety. The drug is especially helpful for patients with cancer or chronic illness.  On the other hand, long-term use of the drug can lead to chronic bronchitis and has been linked to schizophrenia.  While not shown to be physically addictive, marijuana causes dependence in 9 percent of users.  When we treat marijuana like a miracle drug, we surround ourselves with unhealthy confirmation bias and delegitimize those who struggle with addiction.

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