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Do you aspire to be a young professional? One step on this path is an opportunity presented by our friends at the Adam Smith Institute (ASI) in London.adamsmith

ASI hosts an annual ‘Young Writer on Liberty’ competition centered around a certain theme and this year’s theme is the opportunities, challenges, and obstacles that come with new technologies.

Think of how modern technology will change the world and what policy implications will come along with genetic engineering, driverless cars, augmented reality, or anything else which will fit the essay theme. Essays focusing on the principles of free markets and individual liberty will get special consideration. (more…)

Students For Liberty and our network of activists are regularly featured in national and international media outlets on a wide variety of topics. Below are some examples of SFL’s media presence during December 2016.

  • We’ve been leading the fight against counterproductive vaping regulations in North America. In the USA, our Senior Development Officer Yaël Ossowski criticized the Nanny State’s anti-vaping bias here.
  • Meanwhile, our Director of North American Programs David Clement joined Ossowski in arguing against proposed e-cigarette regulations in Canada here as part of our ongoing #NoNanny campaign. Clement has also made appearances on various radio stations to discuss SFL’s activism in this area.
  • The growth of Students For Liberty was highlighted in French newspaper La Croix as a key example of how classical liberal ideas are becoming more popular amongst young people. Read the full article in French here.
  • Bill Wirtz, a local coordinator at European Students For Liberty, wrote about Europe’s war on tobacco for the Mises Institute here.
  • Jake Goldberg, a sophomore at Tufts University and guest contributor at Students For Liberty, detailed his experiences of fighting against harmful campus speech codes on Rare.us. Read the full article here.

 

This report was prepared by the project steering team which is made up of ten Club Presidents and staff members of SFL Burundi. The Country Director of SFL Burundi and ASFL East African Regional Director, Aimable Manirakiza, approved this report.

Student leaders over at SFL Burundi have just completed a project that aimed to bolster their members’ knowledge of the principles and foundations of the capitalist system. Through the support of the Atlas Network and the Eastern African Policy Center,  SFL Burundi distributed 500 books that discuss the benefits of capitalism.sfl-burundi-lead

Aimable Manirakiza deserves special mention. After being selected to sit on the African executive board, Aimable wanted to share materials in Burundi — materials that discuss the ideas of liberty. Aimable was faced with the problem of how to distribute the material to the students. He received a grant from the Atlas Network to print the books in Kenya. Following the printing, Aimable transported the books on the road.

Aimable spent November and December traveling around Burundi, visiting ten different campuses. It was at these schools that he set up a presentation detailing the ideas and ultimately ended up distributing 500 books to students. (more…)

People from all sides of the political spectrum are concerned about climate change and rightly so. There is an overwhelming abundance of evidence that the climate is changing in ways that will make it harder for the Earth to sustain its current population levels. There is also an abundance of evidence, contrary to what the Trump administration would like you to believe, that humans have played a role in accelerating climate change. 

downloadMany consider climate change an issue that libertarians cannot address without violating the non-aggression principle. Since it’s always more advantageous in the short term for a country to be using fossil fuel resources, every country will do so unless some coalition forces everyone not to. It’s the old tragedy of the commons example writ large. The tragedy of the commons is the observation that with commonly owned resources, some percentage of people will take actions that benefit them in the short term, but leave few or no resources for anyone else. Common examples are unsustainable fishing practices or dumping of toxic waste.

The situation is not as hopeless as it first seems, though. There are ways to save the environment that do not stray from deeply held libertarian principles. You just need to be a bit clever and audacious. One solution to the tragedy of the commons is to simply not have commons. If all land is privately owned, then someone is responsible for every single square mile of the earth. This extends to the oceans as well; one can easily imagine someone buying a section of the ocean to secure fishing rights or salt mining rights. There’s even a certain amount of gold and other precious metals suspended in the water column. Who’s to say they won’t be mined one day? (more…)

2016 was a year of change, and 2017 will be the year much of that change starts to set in. There are no certainties, but we can clearly see the 2017 trends in American politics forming.

Republicans Rule Now

It is a staple of the American system of government that power is fractured between various divisions and levels of government. Unlike parliamentary systems, where the party with the most seats in the legislature gets to form the entire government, the House of Representatives, Senate and Presidency are all formed independently, and power is distributed between the Federal and State governments, which all have their own branches of government.

This distinction is less significant starting in 2017, because the republicans have taken everything.

Presidency

Donald Trump won the Presidency. What would be restraints on his authority are all controlled Republicans and he is riding the wave of continuous executive empowerment. Donald Trump will be the most powerful President in American history, with all the powers of Barrack Obama and none of the restrictions.

Congress

The 115th Congress will take office on January 3, 2017. Republicans will have 241 of the 435 seats in the House of Representatives (55.4%) to the Democrats 194 seat (44.6%).

 

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Republicans will also control 52 of the 100 seats in the Senate, to the Democrats 48 seat (2 senators are registered independents who caucus with Democrats).

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This means that republicans control the whole of Congress and can pass any legislation that has republican support. The only obstacle to this is the filibuster in the Senate, which makes it necessary to have 60 senators vote for cloture to end debate and start a vote on a bill or confirmation.

Even that may be a dead opportunity for democrats. When they controlled the Senate before the 2014 elections, the filibuster continually frustrated them, as it was the chief tool of what they called “obstructionism.” It only requires 50 senators to change the rules of the senate, however, so the democrats changed the rules in 2013 to end the filibuster’s application to lower level executive appointments.

This, however, sets a precedent for the republicans to do the same thing, and modify senate rules to stop democratic obstructionism of President Trump. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in an interview with CNN “I wish it hadn’t happened [The Change in Senate Rules].” (more…)