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home-schoolIt’s National School Choice Week, which means it’s time to reflect on the education systems in America. National School Choice Week is about supporting the right for parents and children to choose the method of education that works best for them. For some that’s good, old-fashioned public school, for others, it’s homeschooling. For those rich snobs, there’s private school. Despite what the miserable, anti-school choice lot may have to say about it, homeschooling is a valid method of schooling and one that many parents seriously consider for their children. In the spirit of supporting school choice and homeschooling, let’s take a look at some pros and cons of the controversial practice.

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Dr. James Stacey Taylor holding a Flossy the sheep while giving the "Freedom for Scottish Perverts!" lecture

Dr. James Stacey Taylor holding a Flossy the sheep while giving the “Freedom for Scottish Perverts!” lecture

I’d like to mention some things about myself before I reflect upon my experiences at last year’s International Students for Liberty Conference. Going into the conference I wasn’t really sure what to think or what to expect. I’m a bit of a curmudgeon and am not a big fan of meeting new people. I wouldn’t go as far to say that I’m antisocial, but often times large groups of people tend to annoy me, especially a large group of people who all share a belief that in some ways is seen as an identity. That being said, I was nevertheless looking forward to gaining some new ideas and perspectives as well as the mythical free books which were rumored to be plentiful at this conference.

My concern that I would be entering a weekend long experience whose name is a pejorative for a group of people sitting in a round formation was quickly defeated when I found a talk called “Freedom for Scottish Perverts!”. I was immediately both interested and slightly put off by what this may entail. I sat down in the back of the room (as I was somewhat late) and had an awful headache due to the lack of coffee in the building. Despite this, I was both entertained, perplexed and at times disgusted. I had never considered the correlation between the work of John Stuart Mill and intercourse with animals, yet the discussion immediately made me realize that this weekend was going to be something very different than anything else I’d ever attended.

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Milton Friedman famously said, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” Friedman wasn’t just making a point about going out to eat. Rather, he was trying to convey a fundamental economic principle: we live in a world of scarcity, which forces us to economize on goods. After all, if we lived in the Garden of Eden with infinite abundance and didn’t have to make trade-offs, then what use would economics be to us? This is the most basic premise of the economic discipline and must never be forgotten or ignored…especially by legislators.

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davies1With the Supreme Court of Canada preparing a landmark ruling on euthanasia and assisted-suicide in regards to the Carter v. Canada case, the question on whether or not an individual has the right-to-die is reemerging in Canada. Countries like Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxemburg, and Colombia have all successfully implemented right-to-die legislation, but currently the Criminal Code of Canada constitutes euthanasia and assisted-suicide (similarities and differences are noted here) as “murder” liable to 14 years of imprisonment. Throughout the decades, there has been a lot of opposition to this classification as illiberal and unethical. While their advocacy was ignored for many years, the tide seems to be turning in favor of right-to-die legislation. Last June, Quebec became the first province to pass right-to-die legislation, which treats euthanasia as part of end-of-life care, though it has been met with opposition by religious groups and the federal government. This sparked calls to re-examine the current federal legislation regarding euthanasia and assisted-suicide, prompting the upcoming review by the Supreme Court. But why does the right-to-die legislation matter so much and why should it be supported?

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     “As such, the least practicable measure of government must be the best. Anything beyond the minimum must be oppression.”~ The God of the Machine.

paterson2Born on January 22, 1886, Isabel Paterson is undoubtedly not as widely known as she deserves to be. Of course, we all know Ayn Rand but did you know that Rand admitted she owed an intellectual debt to Paterson? Well, you see, someone had to teach Rand about the wonders of the free market, and that teacher was Isabel Paterson. Paterson led a young group of writers in the late 1930s, and she would stay up all night long answering all of Rand’s and Rose Wilder Lane’s questions.

Paterson, Rand, and Lane, are considered to be the three founding mothers of libertarianism in America. So besides tutor those two ladies all night, what exactly did Paterson do? Paterson is noted for being a journalist, novelist, political philosopher, and a literary critic. According to her biographer, Stephen Cox, Paterson is the “earliest progenitor of libertarianism as we know it today.” She wrote about free trade and opposed the major economic program of her time, known as the New Deal. Paterson was in favor of less government involvement in both economic and social issues.

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