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By Cathy Reisenwitz

Recently, SFL board member and Young Voices Advocate Eglė Markevičiūtė penned an op-ed for the Daily Caller calling for Western military intervention in Ukraine. I have great respect for Eglė, and must defer to her greater understanding of Eastern European geopolitics. However, as a libertarian and staunch non-interventionist, I must also present the case for not intervening militarily in Ukraine.

Eglė writes, “The West should show a military presence in the Black Sea, for example. This is the only way to stop Putin.” But this leaves unstated what a military presence would look like. “Limited military presence, such as an increased NATO presence in the Baltic States and Poland or troop deployment in Ukraine, is something that liberty-minded individuals should reconsider as a preventive measure to stop the spread of Putin’s conquests further into Eastern Europe.”

Eglė calls for “using limited intervention to secure Ukraine’s Eastern borders.” But limited by what? After initiating violence, there is absolutely no way to predict how deadly an engagement will be. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were both “limited.” Military engagement without a clear timeline or goals is deadly folly.

In this case, it’s simply impossible to predict how much bloodshed would be required to secure Ukraine’s Eastern borders.

And as Anthony Gregory recently pointed out, “NATO is not a benign organization.” Not even in Eastern Europe. In the course of trying to stop genocide in Yugoslavia, NATO bombs killed more than 2,000 civilians, including 88 children. Thousands more were injured. NATO airstrikes destroyed more than 300 schools, libraries, and over 20 hospitals.

As recently as 2011, NATO forces killed either hundreds or thousands of Libyan civilians, depending on which reports you believe, in the course of forcing regime change in the country.

Eglė writes that military intervention is the only way to stop Putin, but does not specify what invention would stop him from doing. She admits that his “moves are hard to predict, and his strategy is difficult to comprehend even for the most calculating Western politicians.” Western countries should not violently force an outcome in a situation they hardly understand, without knowing the outcome they’re fighting to prevent.

“The Western world’s lack of military action only encourages Putin’s regime,” according to Eglė. “A lack of military response could only be worse by encouraging further land grabs.” But these statements depend on the assumption that the West is responsible for Putin’s actions, and that inaction is action which encourages Putin’s land grabbing.

In actuality, Putin is responsible for the reprehensible, illegal, murderous actions of his regime. No one, currently, has responsibility for how he acts and which land he grabs other than him. Any responsibility borne by the West for Ukraine or Russia’s actions is a direct result of previous foreign intervention, and serves as a lesson in the folly of foreign interventionism, not as a reason to repeat yesterday’s mistakes.

To invoke Gregory again, “The primary libertarian reason to oppose U.S. wars, of course, is that they kill foreigners, that they divide people into tribes based on nationality, that they are acts of nationalist aggression.”

Libertarian ideology comes from a place of profound humility. Not knowing what’s best for people underpins our respect for individual liberty. We understand the beauty resulting from voluntary exchanges and peaceful interactions. But we live in a world where not all exchanges are voluntary and not all interactions are peaceful. The desire to force actors behaving badly to conform to our ideals is strong, and understandable. Libertarians must acknowledge that violence exists, and decry it in all forms, while resisting any temptation to engage in it ourselves.

To learn more about peace and libertarian non-interventionist foreign policy, pre-order 500 copies of SFL’s new book, Peace, Love, & Liberty today.

Cathy Reisenwitz is an Editor at Young Voices and a D.C.-based writer and political commentator.

By Rasmus Brygger

We here at Students For Liberty want to share some of the many success stories of liberty worldwide, so we have launched a series of “Facts For Liberty” in an attempt to tell you just why we think that liberty is the way to solve many of the world’s problems.

The story we’re trying to tell here isn’t about how one reform suddenly turned everything alright – many of the countries mentioned still have many issues – but rather that a little good can come out of trusting each other and believing that the market and the communities are able to solve problems better than centralized agencies and politicians. Feel very free to share these facts on social media or print them out and use them on campus for tabling purposes.

So without further ado I would like to introduce our first two Facts For Liberty:

New Zealand’s agriculture experienced heavy growth after removing farming subsidies.

As mentioned in the picture, agriculture now counts for two-thirds of New Zealand’s exports. That wasn’t always the case, but in the 1980’s the government decided to remove all subsidies, tax concessions and price supports – making New Zealand’s farming some of the most free-market oriented in the developed world. 

Decriminalization of drugs in Portugal has positive effects

In July 2001 Portugal decriminalized possession of all types of drugs – and while drug trade still is illegal, the reforms have been “a resounding success” according to Cato Institute. One of the interesting results are that deaths related to overdoses fell by 50% in the first couple of years. It is worth noting that the decrease in deaths did follow years with many deaths, but Portugal does, in any way, still disprove that decriminalization leads to more addicts and more deaths. Basically, drug laws hurt the people, they’re meant to protects.

These are just the first two of many Facts For Liberty. We will be posting more of these in the upcoming weeks here on the Blog and on SFL’s Facebook.

The following was written by SFL Campus Coordinator Max LaFave. 

Mainstream news sources and libertarian social circles alike have been abuzz lately with the story of “Cliven Bundy – the “last rancher in Clark County, Nevada” who “has since 1993 refused to pay fees to the federal government for the right to raise cattle on land his family has ranched since the 1870s, according to the Washington Free Beacon.”

Cliven and his family have been harassed and intimidated by the Bureau of Land Management, which Cliven claims has no jurisdiction over the issue of his cattle grazing in county-owned lands. Over 200 of his nearly 1000 cattle have been wrangled by federal agents, and his friends and family members have so far been threatened, tasered, and thrown to the ground, including one pregnant woman and recent cancer patient.

With tough-guy, bellicose threats and insults coming from Clark County Commissioner Tom Collins, the BLM not backing down, and more and more voluntary militia members pouring in from around the region to aid Bundy’s cause, it was looking like the start of a more serious fiasco. (more…)

The following was written by SFL blog team member and Ecuadorian Local Coordinator Victoria Ramirez.

Talking about spontaneous order can be complicated. The idea of a self-generated order that can regulate itself without turning into chaos can be difficult to believe for some, which is ironic giving that most of our daily experiences are spontaneous orders: pedestrians on the streets, flack of birds in the sky, a line in a coffee shop. And the funny thing is that some of the most interesting human experiences are spontaneous orders in their maximum expression.

The other day I was talking to some male friends brag about their love quests (or attempts) from the previous night. As I listened to the way they narrated their adventures I started noticing that all the stories, even though they were of the most diverse nature, had very specific things in common. At the end, I came to the conclusion that hooking up was a process that is conducted by individual planning and is governed by rulest. During this process, knowledge is created and a benefit is produced, i.e. it is a spontaneous order.

You would think is too much theory for something so informal, but as a friend told me: no hook up is the product of destiny. It is the product of someone’s planning and the rules that planning follows.

I asked my friends if they could describe these rules, to which I thought they would laugh at my face and tell me there weren’t any, but it turned out that they could elaborate and agree on a few, and not only that, they were able to establish principles and some common errors to those principles.

  1. “He who is not willing to risk it, never wins” and the common error “one thing is to risk it, another to be that annoying guy”. In order for you to succeed, you need to be willing to go outside you comfort zone because if you stay inside, you will accomplish nothing.
  2. Do not try to fake personalities, people can tell. You have to be talkative, but too much will scare away people.
  3.  You have to make the other person feel comfortable. Make them laugh, ask them about themselves, but try not to sound excessively friendly, or you will fall into the friend zone.

All of these rules are actually very simple to understand and not very restrictive. They are guidelines based on previous experiences of trial and error, proven and confirmed by many people, but that does not represent a specific course of action.

The individual planning of every person makes each experience different and unique that is why even though you can have certain guidelines of what you have to do, you find a thousand ways to get to the same place.

In the end what you have is a bunch of people trying to get something, and they know there certain things they should avoid if they want to succeed. Just with these notions, millions of interactions occur in the most diverse ways.

The most important aspect of this is that everything happens at the hands of every individual in the process, not from one single person trying to solve everyone’s problems. Imagine if instead of planning how you´re going to get the girl or the guy that you want to spend the night with, someone else is in charge of deciding who is going home with who. I can assure you, it is not going to work. It doesn’t matter that the guy has the best studies and metrics to decide with whom you are going to have a better time. Controlling lives at any level never works because we cannot know all the things a person knows about him or herself.

It is up to us what happens in our lives, but the planning we do can be enriched by the planning and the knowledge of others. This can only happen if there is no central planner telling us what to do, and we are aware of the things we can and cannot do

Of course everything I’m writing is just an opinion. But the next time you are bored in a party try to imagine how it would be like if someone would plan every minute of it: who talks with who about what, when to dance, when to eat. And the next time you want to hook up with somebody go on and try to do it without a plan. Spontaneous orders are found everywhere, and the moments when you think people cannot be more out of their minds could be the moments were it is more planned than ever.

 

Disclaimer: of course this is a subjective view, there are a thousand ways to hook up with someone and that rules may change, but the point is that individual planning leads to an order that benefits everyone involved, without a central power planning everything. 

If you’re on the hunt for an exciting and challenging job that will allow you to promote the ideas of liberty, then the Students For Liberty Events Associate position is one you’ll have to check out! As the International Conference continues to grow in size and we plan to run more North American Regional Conferences then ever, the SFL Events Team will need even more manpower to handle their workload. This is the perfect entry-level job for someone who has some experience hosting events on campus or through internships, but hungers to take their experience to the next level.

At SFL we pride ourselves on fast growth, hard work, quick advancement to a high degree of autonomy, embracing entrepreneurship within the organization, and a passion for the final product: liberty. If this sounds like an intriguing career opportunity then check out our job openings page more information and to apply. Please direct any questions on this opportunity to Director of Events, Kelly Jemison at kjemison@studentsforliberty.org

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If events aren’t your thing but you have a passion for spreading the ideas of liberty, we’re also still looking to fill the role of Activism Associate as well. More info can be found on the job openings page.

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