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In response to increasing levels of expatriation over the past few years, the United States government has hiked the fee to denounce citizenship by a whopping 422%. From now on, if you would like to renounce your United States citizenship, you must pay $2,350 to the State Department. The government is effectively holding its citizens hostage.

The State Department defended the hike by saying it’s necessary due to demand for their services and increased workload. While I’m sure State Department officials are working hard to process all the expatriations, this brings up the question of what good all this work does in the first place. Who exactly do citizenship renunciation fees help besides the leviathan?

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“A Mari Usque Ad Mare” or “From Sea to Sea” is the Canadian national motto, first officially used in 1906 during one of the first meetings of the Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly, representing the union of Canadian citizens: strong enough to span 9,970,610 km² (3,851,809 sq. mi.) from one ocean to another. If we, as Canadian citizens, can share a nationality (not to mention a supposed obsession with beavers, polar bears, and moose) then why not share ideas? Opinions? Ideologies? Turns out, we most certainly do. Unsurprisingly, the ideas, beliefs, and ideology I just mentioned stem from good ol’ libertarianism, and boy, does it ever feel good to encounter libertarian beliefs from sea to sea. I am referring to an event recently completed by the Institute for Liberal Studies, the pro-liberty organization I mentioned in my previous blog on Canadian libertarianism. This event was called Freedom Week and took place over five days in mid-August 2014. In this blog, I wish to convey my appreciation for the nation-wide spread of libertarian ideas in a country that I, until fairly recently, thought had very few pro-liberty ideals at all.

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There seems to be a timeless tendency for the latest generation to be perceived by their predecessors as being alarmingly narcissistic. The Greatest Generation said this about the Baby Boomers, the Baby Boomers said it about Generation X, and now Generation X says much the same about us millennials. The current incarnation of this trend is the claim that the millennial generation does nothing but take selfies, drink over-priced coffee, and demand free stuff. While this criticism certainly applies to many of this generation, it is largely an overblown, irrational reaction to a changing technological landscape. The idea of generational differences persists only to give older people something to complain about.

Baby boomers often point to millennial advocacy for further debt relief as evidence that our generation has an especially “entitled” mentality. However, the whole issue of the cost of tuition is driven by those currently in power. Now this isn’t to say that if you foolishly allow yourself to fall into tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of debt you’re entirely innocent, but the state of higher education in this country is degrading rapidly as the government continues to interfere and drive the prices up. Not only do we have to pay more for education than did Generation X, we also have to give a sizable portion of our paycheck to these crotchety complainers. We have inherited crippling debt from the Baby Boomer generation and most of my generation understands that we will likely never receive a cent back from the Social Security ‘safety net’ that we are forced to finance, so our concerns about the costs of education are entirely justified.

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The following is a guest post by SFL campus coordinator and  Grande Prairie Regional College student, Chance Davies.

The monopolization of the monetary system by governments through central banking is wreaking havok on the West’s economic standing, and it’s hitting Millennials the hardest.

Central banks, like the Federal Reserve or the Bank of Canada, have no contractual obligation to maintain their issued currency’s value or to redeem issued currency in full. For this reason, a central bank can increase the money supply (a.k.a. quantitative easing), thereby devaluing it, lowering consumer purchasing power, and causing higher inflation. Since the founding of America’s Federal Reserve system in 1913, the relative real value of a $1 commodity that year has increased to $23.30 in 2013, and though wages have increased, they haven’t come to par with the inflation rate. No wonder the prices of our beloved Sriracha, post-secondary education, and healthcare costs have started doing serious damage to our personal budgets. The markets can only do so much to keep costs from increasing too much through innovation, and this artificial devaluation of our money supply is contributing heavily to the current inflation levels we are experiencing.
To add to the woes of Millennials, central banks can issue money to the government to spend (carelessly I may add), which compromises a strong balanced budget. Just like all loans, that money still has to be paid back to their creditors with interest, something our government neglects to do. This is only pushing us further into debt. As a member of a generation that already has an immense amount of personal (student loans anyone?), and public debt saddled on us, and no indication of this slowing down anytime soon, we run the risk of economically bankrupting our countries. Central planners’ attempts to artificially grow the economy are jeopardizing the success of our financial future.

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“As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.” – H.L. Mencken. (1880 – 1956)

Henry Louis Mencken’s Baltimore was much different from the Baltimore you might know from The Wire, but the city retains its appreciation for one of its most notable residents, holding several events related to him around his birthday, September 12th, and regarding his estate as an integral landmark rather than merely a tourist attraction.
H.L. Mencken was a journalist, editor, literary critic and satirist who was sometimes called the “sage of Baltimore,” He is remembered for his caustic, witty attitude towards American life. His vehement opposition to press censorship, prohibition, war, representative democracy and fundamentalist religion makes him a must-read for the liberty movement, especially for those of us who find tomes of political theory boring.

Mencken described reading Huckleberry Finn at age nine as “the most stupendous event in my life.” After ditching his first job at his father’s cigar company, he applied for a job at the Morning Herald newspaper after a single class in writing at the Cosmopolitan University. In all of his vast body of work, Mencken is perhaps best-known for his satirical coverage of the Scopes trials, using language and descriptions that flew in the face of so-called objective journalism while maintaining the integrity of the events.

In the New Individualist Review of summer 1962, Murray Rothbard wrote one of the best tributes to Mencken calling him “the joyous libertarian:”

“If Mencken was not a nihilist, what positive values did he hold? His values included a devoted dedication to his craft – to his work as editor, journalist, linguist. This in turn reflected his thorough-going and pervasive individualism, with its corollary devotion to individual excellence and to individual liberty. They included a life-long passion for music. They included a perhaps excessive zeal for science, the scientific method, and medical orthodoxy; along with the zeal for science came a mechanistic type of determinism which undoubtedly helped to shape his pessimistic view of the possibility of changing the ideas and actions of men.”

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