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On Friday, members of Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) marched from the State Department to the White House and then to the Supreme Court to call attention to a global advocacy campaign called “Support. Don’t Punish.”  The campaign seeks to bring awareness to the failures of the War on Drugs and human rights violations inflicted by various drug policies.

According to a report from Harm Reduction International, thirty-three countries or territories worldwide have the death penalty for drug offenses.  The report points out that, while the number executed per year is likely over a thousand, an estimation is difficult to arrive at since several countries keep their death penalty records secret.photo-3

“The purpose of Support. Don’t Punish. is to not only spread global awareness about the failures of drug criminalization, but to demand that world leaders place human rights at the forefront of any conversation around global drug trafficking,” says SSDP Outreach Coordinator Jake Agliata.  “Executing people for nonviolent drug offenses should not be considered acceptable.  The United States has an opportunity to start shifting the dialogue by joining a growing list of countries around the world who are calling for an end to this archaic practice.”

Support. Don’t Punish. organized events in over 140 countries for their third annual Global Day of Action.  Elsewhere in the United States, the Harm Reduction Coalition organized a flash mob in front of the UN Headquarters in New York City.  The San Francisco Drug Users’ Union also held an event in their city, as did SSDP in Denver. (more…)

2010-07-13-881780380How do you contribute to SFL in your new job role?
As the new Director of Alumni For Liberty, I’ll be connecting new college graduates to the professional opportunities AFL has to offer as well as re-connecting our experienced alumni with our programs. My hope is that we’ll build a robust network of alumni who will support student opportunities as well as continued advocacy for liberty.

How did you first get interested in liberty?
I grew up in a strong conservative, Republican household, started working in Republican politics when I was 12-years-old, and had a love for free enterprise, but not necessarily for social freedom. When I got to college at Campbell University, I was introduced to a number of libertarian professors and faculty who helped me understand the importance of a consistent philosophy of liberty across both economics and social matters. From that, I was involved with the Adam Smith Society and supported their activities after I graduated. I later had the opportunity to experience these ideas first-hand by starting a company and feeling the direct impact of regulation. After we sold the company, I became a college professor for seven years teaching economics, which helped solidify my libertarian thinking and how to communicate liberty to students and other individuals.

Who do you think is the most underrated libertarian thinker?
Three contemporary thinkers come to my mind: Michael Munger at Duke University, Paul Cwik at University of Mount Olive, and Derek Yonai at Florida Southern College.  These professors have helped me the most to understand and articulate libertarian ideas.

On a non-liberty note, what do you like to do in your free time?
I am politically active. I love bar trivia, karaoke, and love mowing grass on my John Deere tractor.

 

Every year, SFL makes a point to keep ISFLC fresh by introducing new speakers, events, and programs to the conference. Today, we’re pleased to announce the first new element of ISFLC16: the Referral Rewards Program.

SFL will reward North American attendees for referring their friends to ISFLC. Every attendee will receive a unique referral code via email upon completing registration. Share yours on social media, you’ll receive a $5 refund off the cost of your registration for every friend who uses your code to register. If you are successful enough to receive a full refund, you will subsequently receive $5 credit to SFLiberty Outfitters — SFL’s online store — for every additional registrant who uses your code. That’s right, you wipe off the cost of your registration and receive free liberty gear for promoting ISFLC. So, register today and share your code before someone else beats you to it!

Please note that this offer is only valid for North American attendees and will only count for paid registrations. For any questions about the rules of the contest, please contact Director of Organizational Measurement Kyle Hartz at khartz@studentsforliberty.org.

Register for #ISFLC16
isflc-liberty-vote-rotator

ISFLC-2015-1035I am pleased to announce the theme for the 2016 International Students For Liberty Conference: The Liberty Vote. Disillusioned by the two-party system, tens of thousands of students have become involved with Students For Liberty since our founding in 2008 in search of an alternative to the empty rhetoric and broken promises of our elected officials.

This is because the Millennial generation is a politically independent one. According to Harvard University’s latest youth survey, 41% of 18- to 29-year-olds identify as Independents, as opposed to Republicans (24%) or Democrats (33%). Our generation is not easily categorized according to the historical political mold. We do not rally around a single political party, strategy of social change, or philosophical stereotype. We are an unpegged generation that will soon decide the intellectual, entrepreneurial, and political destiny of the world.

This is what makes the ISFLC so important. For one weekend every year, thousands of student leaders from around the world descend into Washington, DC to discuss and debate all of the available avenues for bringing about a freer future. Will the two-party system survive? Is a third-party alternative possible? Or, is social change best created outside of the political realm altogether through entrepreneurial innovations like those which make up the sharing economy?

These are the discussions that will shape the future, and we are the generation having them. We are the Liberty Vote.

Register for #ISFLC16

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NixonOn today’s date in 1972, President Richard Nixon sat down with White House Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman and a tape recorder to discuss the recent Watergate break-in. In the resulting tape, which became known as the “Smoking Gun,” you can hear the President propose using the CIA to get the FBI to halt their investigation by claiming that the break-in was a national security operation. Just a few days after the botched break-in, Haldeman and Nixon worried what the FBI would find if they continued to “follow the money.” The scandal they uncovered cost Nixon his presidency.

A case study in executive overreach, the Watergate scandal remains a stain on the United States’ history and a cautionary tale to wayward politicians who might think they can do no wrong. That power corrupts is old news, but it is no less a problem today than it was in the 1970s.

Politicians, more often than not, put their chances in the next election in front of what’s best for the country. That’s what happens when the institutions of government are co-opted for the profit of the political class. The Watergate break-in is just one example of how willing our leaders are to skirt the law when elections (or “national security” or the “good of the nation” or plain old personal gain) are at stake. It’s all too rare that such actions lead to consequences for the guilty parties involved.