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Harvard_University_Widener_LibraryWith the right kind of practice and training, anyone can debate like a pro. Just ask the inmates who formed a debate club after taking classes through a Bard College program and went on to beat Harvard’s national champion debate team in an exhibition round last month. With a bit of passion and creative argumentation, the Eastern correctional facility team put up strong arguments and convinced the judges to grant them victory.

Many news outlets are sharing the story as a feel-good example of underdogs overcoming the odds. But the outcome isn’t as surprising as you might think — and illustrates one of the most interesting aspects of formal debate: all that matters is the validity and persuasiveness of arguments made. And sometimes, a unique perspective on life can be a real asset in making empathic arguments and in understanding different perspectives on an issue. Indeed, one goal of the Bard program is to push folks to become “more empathic people” and “help students master arguments that they don’t necessarily agree with.”

Rather than requiring an extensive background in complicated philosophy or access to an enormous vocabulary as many think, success in debate relies primarily on one’s ability to think and speak clearly and concisely. That and a whole lot of practice. This is how a prison team can come to defeat some of the top ranked debaters in the country — by putting in the hours to understand the proposition and anticipate the other side.download (4)

There a lot of personal benefits to learning to think like this, such as better understanding your intellectual opponents, speaking more eloquently, and hey, maybe even defeating some Harvard big-shots. In the meantime, you can grab a bit of the glory by competing in Students For Liberty’s upcoming debate program which involves several rounds of tournaments and culminates in a live debate round at the ISFLC itself!

The grand prize for the winning team includes a free trip for each member to attend FreedomFest 2016 in Las Vegas, NV! And you’ll also be invited to this year’s Awards Dinner with special guest and master of eloquence, P.J. O’Rourke. Before the big day, we’ll cover the basics of formal debate as well as logical argumentation and presentation. Get involved today for a chance to be part of the inaugural SFL debate class all the excitement leading up to the final round in February!


What exactly does “liberty” mean? It’s a question Students For Liberty gets asked a lot from curious onlookers at our outreach efforts. After all, “liberty” is a word used and abused by politicians that it can seem like a hallow concept.

To libertarians, on the other hand, liberty is more than a buzzword. It is a necessary condition for human flourishing.

photoThat’s why SFL teamed up with Learn Liberty to produce Liberty 101 — an online course aimed at explaining key concepts of libertarianism to beginners. Users will explore the 10 fundamental principles of a free and prosperous society as they relate to philosophy, economics, and law. Each section is narrated by a knowledgeable expert and includes an engaging quiz question and supplementary materials.

Liberty 101 is broken up into the following three sections:

  • Philosophy & Liberty – Prof. Peter Jaworski from Georgetown University covers the concept of liberty, individualism, toleration, and peace.
  • Economics & Liberty – Prof. Diana Thomas from Creighton University covers the market process, skepticism of power, and civil society.
  • Law & Liberty – Prof. Christopher Koopman from George Mason University covers spontaneous order, rule of law, and limited government.

Best of all, Liberty 101 is completely free and open to everyone! Check out the trailer below and navigate to our landing page to begin the course.

 Begin Course



IHS_logo_RGB_stackedAre you considering graduate school to advance classical liberal ideas? Would you like to receive constructive feedback from a panel of scholars on your research? How about advice on developing journal-quality research for grad school?

If you’re planning to attend the big SFL Regional Conference in Chicago, check out the special Student Research Workshop hosted by the Institute for Humane Studies on Friday, October 23—the day before (How convenient!).

It’s a great opportunity to present research on a topic that delves into the classical liberal tradition. The faculty panel will offer you constructive feedback and advice on crafting journal-quality research for graduate school and beyond. The workshop format will consist of a 15-minute presentation followed by a Q&A.

The workshop will run from 1 pm – 8 pm on Friday, October 23. And like the SFL Conference, it will be held at Loyola University’s Lake Shore campus.

To entice you even more, IHS will also be providing student presenters with dinner and a $200 honorarium (How cool is that?).

For complete details and to register, please visit the IHS Student Research Workshop web page.

This is an awesome opportunity to pick up the kind of research skills you’ll need for graduate school and a career in ideas.

  • What: IHS Student Research Workshop
  • When: 1pm – 8pm, Friday, October 23
  • Where: Loyola University – Lake Shore Campus

13334048894_db638d5080_kStudents For Liberty has joined the Niskanen Center and Tech Freedom in signing an open letter urging President Obama to support the individual’s right to protect their data with strong encryption.

US law enforcement is concerned that strong encryption will make it easier for criminals and terrorists to hide their activities. Many believe that the government should have a back door into private systems. However, any attempt to weaken encryption means making users more vulnerable to malicious hackers, identity thieves, and repressive governments. There’s no such thing as a backdoor that only the government can use. Defending the right to encryption would allow Internet services to flourish, make users more safe and secure online, and allow them to communicate and associate in private. (more…)


Students For Liberty is pleased to announce that applications for the 2016-2017 Campus Coordinator class are now open!

SFL’s Campus Coordinator Program is the premier program for actively advancing the ideas of free markets and individual liberty on college campuses. SFL Campus Coordinators (CCs) are the face of liberty on their college campuses. CCs are the on-the ground activists, empowering students in their areas to defend the ideas of liberty. This highly competitive program seeks out strong student leaders and community organizers to spread the ideas of a free society from the grassroots level by starting new pro-liberty student groups, organizing events to promote the ideas of liberty, resourcing student groups and identifying and mentoring other pro-liberty students.

Click below for more information about the program and how to apply.

Apply Now