Quantcast
SFL Calendar
SFL's Network
Support SFL
Make a Donation Join the Network Attend a Conference Start a Group
Blog

The following was written by Michael Howe-Ely and first appeared on the Ineng blog

African Students for Liberty Cape Town‘s first event: Fixing our Energy Crisis

The Independent Entrepreneurship Group (Ineng) and the South African Institute of Race Relations (IRR) had the pleasure of sponsoring the first event for African Students for Liberty‘s Cape Town chapter.

Mienke Steytler from the Institute of Race Relations (which published Andrew Kenny’s work on energy policy reform as The Rise and Fall of Eskom – and how to Fix it Now) spoke on the IRR’s extensive policy work, looking at numerous issues affecting South Africa.

Andrew Kenny, an independent energy and electricity policy expert, gave a talk on South Africa’s current power crisis, including its history, causes and possible solutions. Although the facts paint a grim picture of the road ahead, Kenny’s talk was not all doom and gloom. He detailed his own ideas on policy reforms and changes at Eskom that would get South Africa back on its feet and mentioned the role of entrepreneurs in helping South African households to cope with the lack of power. He remarked that there were thousands of ways in which entrepreneurs could help South African households cope with the power crisis through innovative business ideas.

(more…)

Join usApplication to join ASFL blogging team is just a week away!

Are you a student or recent graduate interested in gaining writing
experience? Would you like to share your opinions and ideas on several
issues regarding liberty with thousands of viewers? Now is your chance
to do so. Apply to join African Students For Liberty’s blogging team
of highly motivated student writers. Prior blogging experience is not
required.

The ASFL blog features a wide diversity of content including
philosophical musings, campus activism and student organizing
features, news coverage, pop culture commentary, interviews, and
profiles of influential libertarian figures and works.  We seek to
maintain a free and open dialogue and encourage people of all
ideological stripes interested in liberty to apply.

If you are accepted to be on the blogging team, you will be expected
to blog twice per month throughout the 2015-2016 school year. For
one-time submissions and any other direct questions regarding the
blogging team, please contact the Blog Content Manager, Ajibola Adigun
at:  aadigun@studentsforliberty.org.  Apply by July 31st here!

 

The following was written by Pretoria-based ASFL Local Coordinator Martin van Staden 

Libertarian pioneers were certainly not shortsighted. From general philosophical works like Murray Rothbard’s The Ethics of Liberty to legally-inclined texts like Bruno Leoni’s Freedom and the Law, libertarian authors have covered it all. It comes as no surprise then that some within our movement made the conscious decision to not focus on philosophy and deeper understandings of governance, but simply on the machinery that will underlie this philosophy: leadership and management for liberty.

Students For Liberty, far from being only a debate or philosophical club, focuses overwhelmingly on training, equipping and placing leaders. A leadership manual of over 200 pages, which is arguably more of a book on leading libertarianism, is one of these resources SFL provides its leaders; excluding all the webinars and talks. Leonard Read of the Foundation for Economic Education wrote an actual book on the topic: Elements of Libertarian Leadership. These works move beyond the theoretical and into the practical, something which is often lacking within our movement.

Read says that several thousand libertarian leaders with a deep (constantly improving) understanding of freedom as a concept will naturally attract the masses. He calls this the power of attraction. But he further stays that we as libertarian leaders should recognize our shortcomings – he lays much emphasis on this – since we risk becoming authoritarian if we fancy ourselves omniscient, and thus able to decide what is best for others (even if it is rooted in libertarian philosophy). We as libertarian leaders should concern ourselves only with ourselves (and not others), and through the power of attraction as we improve, others will come. If we concern ourselves overwhelmingly with others, we are in fact exhibiting authoritarian tendencies, for the authoritarian goes through life “not building his inner self,” but attempting to fight others. Freedom cannot be marketed or sold. It can only be bought by those who do not have it when they are attracted to those (our libertarian leaders) who do.

Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 2.58.05 PMA precondition for libertarian leaders to achieve this magneticity is to be able to listen and receive other ideas. The SFL manual and Clark Ruper, in a leadership webinar, also touched on this. Libertarian leaders, especially student leaders at places of learning, cannot spread ideas and the philosophy of freedom without understanding where their opponents are coming from. An example from my own experience is the case of ‘critical theory’ (more commonly known as ‘cultural Marxism’), as developed by the Frankfurt School. When I first came into contact with the ideas of critical theory earlier this year, I was profoundly interested. While I came to realize its authoritarian, and eventually, totalitarian nature, I was fascinated by how well this nature is hidden. (more…)

The following was contributed by ASFL Local Coordinator Olanrewaju Elufisan

yemi osibajoNigeria, Africa’s largest economy and most populated country recently enthroned a new administration at the polls, with President Muhammadu Buhari at the helm of national affairs. Since the emergence of the former dictator turn democrat, Nigerians have been looking forward to the ruling party’s delivery of their promise of change. One of such promises is the monthly payment of 5000 Naira, about 30 dollars, to the unemployed. The administration seems resolved to deliver on this promise.

It is at a period of economic downturn in the nation’s history, when the APC campaigned to provide security, curb corruption, and create millions of jobs. While these changes are needed and expected in the country as soon as possible, at its best, the promise to pay unemployed graduates and poor Nigerians a monthly benefit is tilting at windmills because it does not address the real causes of unemployment and poverty. The proposal at its ugliest and truer face is to curry political gains.

The Vice President who is also the head of the National Economic Council, Prof Yemi Osinbajo at a lecture delivered at Crescent University last month said that about 66% (112 millions) of Nigerians live in extreme poverty below $1.25/day. He added that such programs needed to be established to save people from poverty. But as good as it is to want to alleviate citizens from poverty, what is questionable is this method of doing so.
The numbers just don’t add up. If a hundred million Nigerians will get five thousand naira monthly, it will require five hundred billion Naira – which is a little more than two billion dollars per month – to afford and sustain this at the current exchange rate. Eventually, the government will realize that it cost so much, then it will devise a means of determining who is or who is not qualified for this benefits in order to cut cost. This in itself will cause problems of patronage and people will find corruptible means to be qualified. Populist policies like this incurs debt and when debt rises, the government will likely take on some inflationary policies which could lead to currency devaluation, and many more interventionist strategies will be exercised to deal with the financial crisis that will emerge.

 

Exemplars of such institutional failure of welfarism to learn from is the US looming debt and the economical bankruptcy of Greece. The costs of such programs rise unsustainably as the years go by. David Kelly’s A life of one’s own provides the rising cost of the US Medicare programs inherent in such welfare plans. Greece’s present trouble and debt crisis is a precautionary tale of unsustainable populist programs.

 

The larger problem, however, is that poverty programs as such dampen the incentive to become self-supporting through work. The human consequence is becoming inured to a life of dependence.

 

Although the intentions are good, but their outcomes are not good enough as the unintended consequences when weighed are often negative, often leading to financial crisis. The question of affordability then arises. How will the government get so much for this purpose? Given its present financial state or even at boom? Simply, the government will use up its reserve, raise taxes, borrow a lot, or use the monstrous strategy of printing more money.

 

This will hinder capital accumulation and stifle innovation that is required for economic growth in a free economy. Whether Nigeria will take the tough road of individual responsibility and economic freedom to prosperity or a populist agenda to debtitude is a discussion of will. Given however the failed records of welfare statism, it is not in the best interest of unemployed and poor Nigerians to embark on such populist policies, because it is often unsustainable and causes more harm than good for those it was intended to help.

The following was written by Pretoria-based ASFL Local Coordinator Martin van Staden 

Libertarianism is not a philosophy of appeasement. Unlike our social democratic colleagues, most of us do not dress libertarianism up as a vehicle for utopian outcomes. When we ask for welfare systems to be dismantled, we understand that some will be stripped of their immediate income, and so to say, be thrown under the bus (although, merely temporarily). When we ask for military intervention to cease, we understand that some civilian in a far off place may be deprived of protection he has become accustomed to. When we demand that the State should not violate privacy until there is no doubt that a liberty-depriving crime has been committed, we acknowledge that some crimes may not be averted and that some people may suffer as a consequence. Quite maturely, and with the application of logical reasoning and rationality, we know that the implementation and the construction of a free society, although perfectly practical, will not be an easy ride for anyone, and that the ride will be more difficult for some than it is for others. But we regard only one principle as mandatory imperative: individual liberty.

Screen Shot 2015-06-24 at 2.24.44 AMLibertarianism is about realizing that in all circumstances when dealing with people with agency, the individual is the best judge of their own interests. If you are of the Rothbardian school, you believe the State should move out of the way because it is a criminal entity which violates our natural rights. If you are inclined toward the ideas of David Friedman, you believe the State should move out of the way because as a matter of fact, it is always effectively inferior to the operation of the free market, an idea which Rothbard also broadly agrees with. ‘The State moving out of the way’ obviously has its own consequences, many of which are unknown, but which we believe in any case will be preferable than having a supermassive institution extorting us on a continual basis in every facet of our existence. Stefan Molyneux has been clear in this regard. A popular rebuttal of his when someone asks him “how would x be done without the State?” is to say that he does not care. However it will be done, is a better alternative to having people in costumes with guns doing it with purported legitimacy. Any voluntary acts are to be preferred over the coercion of government, even if they prove to be more difficult or uncertain. (more…)

The following is a guest submission by Phumlani M. UMajozi

 

Omar al bashirWhen Martin Luther King Jr. made the famous I have a dream speech in 1963, he spoke of a country where people will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. Like MLK, I too have a dream. Mine is about the continent Africa.

 
There is a sense of exasperation amongst many Africans today. They feel that for centuries, their continent has been looked down upon, disrespected by many around the world. I do not only see this exasperation on social networks, but also on my interactions with many people I know.
I have felt the same way too, at times. But instead of spewing vitriol against those who I believe undermine us; I have rather chosen to try and be analytical – ask myself why do they undermine this continent?

(more…)

The following was contributed by ASFL local coordinator Olufemi Ogunjobi

 

jonathanPresident Goodluck Jonathan’s administration ends May 29. It is a day that commemorates the restoration of democracy in Nigeria. Also, the day marks the day for the change of power from the present administration to the newly-elected government officers.

Nigeria’s President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan will on that day hand-over as the Grand Commander, Federal Republic of Nigeria to General Mohammadu Buhari, a former military head of state, after six years of democratic rule.
In 2010, the then Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan took over the mantle of leadership from the 58-year old President, Umar’ Musa Yaradua, who died in office after a long illness. Yaradua’s election in 2007 marked the first transfer of power from one civilian president to another since the nation got her independence in 1960. He (Yaradua) came into power promising a long list of reforms, including tackling corruption and reforming the inadequate power sector and flawed electoral system. He made progress in banking reforms, but analysts say he made the most progress in the oil-rich Niger Delta, by offering an amnesty to rebels.
Mr. Jonathan came into power with lots of promises too for the Nigerian people. He tagged them “Transformation Agenda’’. By and large, he kicked off as the President of Nigeria. His administration was not without successes, but with many lapses.

(more…)

The following was written by ASFL Local Coordinator Babajide Oluwase

 

africans on seaWhen we are discussing about Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and its impact in Africa today, we are often carried away by investment figures committed, rather than the most important resource involved – Africans.
Africa’s greatest asset is its people. If Africa is to ever jump-start its development to be on par with other developed continents, it will have to significantly invest in its own people. In consequence, there can be no effective investment in Africa’s future without equipping the people that will contribute to her overall advancement.
Following the recent news circulating in the media on the issue of migration, one will get so worried about the influx of sea-borne migrants from Africa. People risking their lives on the Mediterranean Sea, all in the name of seeking for a better life in Europe, that is not even guaranteed. The remedy to this occurrence is not far-fetched; African governments simply have to make Africa more attractive to Africans.

(more…)

The following was written by Pretoria-based ASFL Local Coordinator Martin van Staden

 

The last few weeks have seen the second significant wave of xenophobic attacks by citizens on foreign nationals, some legally and some illegally, living in South Africa. Xenophobia has been an issue in South African society before and after our democratization in 1994, with foreigners having been assaulted variously in 1996 and 1998, when three individuals were thrown off a train by persons returning from a rally organized by the ‘Unemployed Masses of South Africa’ group, which sought to place much of the blame for the country’s vast socioeconomic issues on foreigners.

 

The 2008 xenophobic riots left 62 people dead, 21 of which were citizens. zulu kingJoblessness among citizens was said to be the chief cause of the attacks. Now, in April 2015, we are seeing the same pattern. The King of the Zulus, Zwelithini, is said to have started the current wave of violence by remarking to a crowd of his supporters that foreigners must pack up and leave the country. According to a BBC report dated 19 April; six individuals have already been killed. Thousands, many of whom are refugees, have had to move into camps for their own safety. Foreign governments have expressed serious intentions to start repatriating their citizens from South Africa.

 

 

Unfortunately, it is ironic that many of them have had to flee their own violent circumstances abroad, and met largely the same treatment by South Africans. Many from our northern neighboring Zimbabwe fled to South Africa specifically for economic reasons. The Zimbabwean economy has been in shatters since the early 2000s when the State launched a massive land grabbing program aimed at the largely successful commercial farming sector. Hyperinflation since 2003 caused the country to abandon its own currency, and it now uses the U.S. dollar and S.A. rand. Indeed, one of the Zimbabwean government’s “solutions” to their massive economic crisis was in 2007 to introduce a law which forced all white business owners to hand 51% of their ownership over to “native” black Zimbabweans.

(more…)

The following was contributed by ASFL Programs Associate Chukwuemeka Ezeugo

 

acfl 2On the 13th of March 2015, over 70 students converged on campus to take part in the first African Christians For Liberty Conference. Five institutions of higher learning were represented and the line up of speakers included Mr. Olumayowa Okediran, the African Programs Manager for Students For Liberty, Mr. Chukwuemeka Ezeugo, the African Programs Associate for Students For Liberty and Mr. Dominic Agumba, Local Coordinator with Students For Liberty.

 

Mr. Dominic who is also the President of the Overcomers Student Fellowship and the host of the event, introduced the participants to Students For Liberty as a student-run international organization dedicated to the promotion of individual liberty, principles of a free society, effective leadership among other things. He encouraged the students not to wait until after graduation from the university before they can be agents of change in the society, as Students For Liberty provides the necessary support and platform for those who wish to be a part of the largest student libertarian movement in the world. Using himself as an example, he narrated how he attended the first African Students For Liberty Conference held at the University of Ibadan in July 2014. He learnt a lot from the various speakers who dwelt on topics in Economics, Law, Politics and personal development. Mr. Dominic eventually applied to take part in the Local Coordinator training and after successful completion, became a leader with African Students For Liberty. He has continued to work with African Students For Liberty ever since, even though he presides over other youth organizations.

 

The next speaker was Mr. Olumayowa, who explained in great detail what Libertarianism is and also the general idea of how a free society really works. Choosing the works of selected Libertarian scholars like Ludwig von Mises, Ayn Rand and F. A Hayek who influenced his decision to join the Liberty train, Mr. Olumayowa discussed various issues that borders on the economy, the rule of law, individual liberty and even entrepreneurship. On the latter, he reiterated what Mr. Dominic told students about developing themselves now, using himself and the founding of African Students For Liberty as an example. In conclusion, he also shed more light on the work of African Students For Liberty and Students For Liberty International, explaining the opportunities that abound for students in the Libertarian movement.

(more…)