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The following was written by SFL Campus Coordinator Nikki Burgess. 

In light of the recent discussion about birth control spurred by the controversial Burwell v. Hobby Lobby ruling, I want to shed light on a solution both sides of the heated back-and-forth dialogue have largely overlooked. Instead of talking past one another on the subject of government mandates, proponents of female empowerment and corporate autonomy alike should focus on a remedy that would increase women’s access to cheaper contraception while protecting the rights of businesses: making contraception available over-the-counter.

Currently, women must spend valuable time and money visiting a doctor to receive a prescription and if they are unsatisfied with the side effects, they must shell out money for further medical bills to get a different prescription. These unnecessary costs to women are substantiated by a plethora of studies demonstrating that both consumers and insurance providers would save money if the pill were to become OTC. The studies consider avoided medical costs related to unwanted pregnancies, forgone laboratory tests, and unneeded physician visits. In fact, the American College of Clinical Pharmacy determined that OTC birth control would save $4 on every $1 spent. That’s the kind of efficiency only a free market could generate.

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What does an average guy from the West like myself know about China? Tienanmen Square, the Great Firewall, communism, and collectivism. One can still find remnants of these generalizations in Chinese society today, even after the free-market reforms introduced by Deng Xiaoping in 1978. However, there is no doubt that China is radically changing. While there, I observed expensive luxurious cars on the street, lavish malls with ice skating rings, an abundance of technological products, and people using mini segways instead of walking.

I spoke to many Chinese students, some sporting Rothbard shirts, and realized that they want to be individualistic and create their own paths in the world. They all question the information blockade and know about Facebook, Twitter, and their government’s restrictive policies. Their willingness to listen to my and other outsider views on China demonstrate their eagerness to learn more. This open mindset will not go away and is sure to influence political opinions in the future.

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The Marijuana Policy Project, the organization that ended marijuana prohibition in Colorado, is hiring a Membership Assistant. This is a full-time, paid internship; it pays $10 per hour, and applicants should be able to commit to working for at least four months (although longer is welcomed). Most MPP interns are recent graduates, although that’s not required.

  • You’ll be responsible for a significant portion of MPP’s donor research, using the Internet to track down contact and background information on high-value prospects for our fundraising team.
  •  You’ll also be responsible for researching and summarizing news articles on some of MPP’s biggest supporters and donors and providing that information to the appropriate MPP staffer.
  •  Other administrative tasks as assigned by the membership coordinators, such as checking MPP’s P.O. Box, assisting with various projects, occasional front desk duties, and some manual labor (such as helping bring in packages).

You should have a meticulous attention to detail and be highly accurate. You should also have strong Internet research skills, the ability to work independently, and a professional demeanor. Candidates should expect a fast-paced, professional environment where excellence is valued.

Learn more and apply here.

 

Little Guides to Big Ideas is an SFL educational series introducing important libertarian thinkers. Each post is written to give liberty-minded students a starting point to learn from the great minds that have contributed to the ideas of liberty.

Who: Sir Karl Popper (1902-1994) was an Austrian professor at the London School of Economics and is generally regarded as one of the greatest philosophers of science of the 20th century. He founded the Mont Pelerin Society alongside Hayek, Mises, Stigler, and Friedman to advocate freedom of expression, free market policies, and the political values of an open society. He died on September 17, 1994 at the age of 92.  A fervent anti-authoritarian, he fought for greater freedom against dangerous trends in political and scientific philosophy.

Why he matters: Although he was not a dogmatic libertarian (he supported social safety nets and piecemeal social engineering), in the words of Brian Doherty, “The spirit of free inquiry and an open society that Popper championed will go a long way toward ensuring that his often-expressed optimism about the future of freedom and civilization will be borne out.” His epistemology counsels caution, as he believed there was no final authority for determining truth. His principle of falsification argues the true test of a theory’s scientific status is that it can be refuted with empirical evidence, thus championing the spirit of free criticism which is so integral to an open society.

If you only read one thing: In The Open Society and its Enemies (1945), Popper passionately and cogently condemns the authoritarian views of government and society found in the works of major thinkers including Plato, Hegel, and Marx and defends liberal democracy and open society in general. In it, he critiques historicism, which he defines as the theory that history follows an inevitable projection towards a determinate end. Popper argued that historicism underpins most forms of totalitarianism and fails to consider the limits on society’s ability to predict its own future states of knowledge.

Major works:

  • The Logic of Scientific Discovery (1934)
  • The Poverty of Historicism (1936)
  • The Open Society and Its Enemies (1945)
  • Conjectures and Refutations (1963)

Favorite quotes:

  • “Those who promise us paradise on earth never produced anything but a hell.”
  • “A theory that explains everything, explains nothing”
  • “We do not choose political freedom because it promises us this or that. We choose it because it makes possible the only dignified form of human coexistence, the only form in which we can be fully responsible for ourselves. Whether we realize its possibilities depends on all kinds of things — and above all on ourselves.”

The Hertog Foundation, an educational philanthropy in New York City, is offering a two seminars on economic liberty in NYC and Jerusalem this November. These events will cover many important thinkers in the classical liberal tradition, including Adam Smith and F.A. Hayek.

All the programs come with stipends to cover travel, lodging, and time. The deadline is August 10.