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Back in 1997, the famous actor Charlton Heston called the Second Amendment “America’s first freedom.” The recent battle to defend this freedom is the subject of Shall Not Be Infringed, a book co-written by former president of the National Rifle Association David A. Keene and prominent attorney Thomas L. Mason. The authors paint a detailed but accessible picture of the history of gun control post-1990, focusing primarily on Congress, the Supreme Court, national media, and the United Nations.51w4KgDD8XL._SX333_BO1,204,203,200_

With endorsements from the editor of the Washington Times and the National Chairman of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), Shall Not Be Infringed is a formidable tool in the hands of any American concerned with defending gun rights. Releasing the book shortly before November’s election, Keene and Mason predicted that if Hillary Clinton became president, Americans would “lose their individual right to keep and bear arms.” Although this has not come to pass, Second Amendment activists and the liberty movement in general should still read this book cover-to-cover. Gun control remains a priority for many politicians after decades of bitter debate, and you can be sure that this trend will continue long into the future.

Part One of the book concentrates on recent developments in the domestic gun control debate, beginning with an overview of the key players in the contemporary arena of gun politics. Of particular interest is the book’s discussion of the highly-publicized “Fast and Furious” scandal, which saw the U.S. government force gun shops near the Mexican border to allow Mexican criminals to buy guns without passing background checks. (more…)

14956477_1205807156124391_4375239080887209463_nLast Wednesday, the day after the election, the Troy University Young Americans for Liberty/Students For Liberty chapter held an event for the campus to express their opinion of the election from their “Soap Box.” We built a small platform to act as the “Soap Box” and gave people a megaphone to proselytize to the masses their thoughts and opinions on the election, the future of America, and honestly whatever they wanted. It started off slow, with people confused as to what was going on, and then more and more people came by and caught onto the idea and participated.

Troy is a fairly conservative school overall, but we also have a large international population, so it was interesting to see people come up and speak on various social issues across the political spectrum. We had people bashing on Trump and him winning, others rejoicing that Clinton lost.

There was one solemn young man who was just disgusted with the election and the future of America with a Trump presidency. 14440618_1205806272791146_8336600232128622873_nOthers came forward in support of Trump and had a soothing optimism for the future. Many more got up and encouraged unity in this time of transition. International students got up and spoke of their thoughts about America and future relations with their countries.

Many people expressed a need to turn towards religion and faith going forward. And as I was ready to wrap up for the day, something interesting happened. A Trump supporter who had spoken earlier in the day came back and got back on his soap box to speak again, and unlike much of the typical hate and negativity that was wrought by this election he spoke to the people with a great fiery support for the future and as he spoke a crowd gathered around to listen and instead of the Trump supporter just rambling on a dialogue opened up, all of the sudden people from across the political spectrum were talking about issues, not just promises and fear mongering, but real issues. (more…)

The following is an open letter from all of us at Students For Liberty.

For more information, or to join the SFL network, please subscribe here or reach out to North American Programs Director David Clement at dclement@studentsforliberty.org.

Dear College Democrats,

This election has left progressives and liberals feeling scared about the prospects for America’s future. Many libertarians share your concerns about the direction the country is headed, and we at Students For Liberty are no exception.

Considering the widespread outrage at the results of the election, we want to make this clear: if you are a College Democrat (or Democrat-affiliated) group and share our concerns on certain issues, we are more than willing to work with you and provide you with any resources you need.

After this polarizing election, we’re taking a stand to advocate for people and education over politics and division. You’re invited to become part of this much-needed conversation by joining the SFL network. Pro-liberty students and liberals/progressives share similar perspectives on many different issues, and we’d love to support your activism in areas such as:

  • Police brutality
  • Criminal justice reform
  • Defending press freedom and the right to privacy
  • Anti corruption initiatives
  • Freedom of speech and expression

We provide grants, training, activism resources, and access to a network of pro-liberty students not just in the United States, but all around the world.

Whatever your issue of choice is, we’re here to help make sure pro-liberty beliefs, whether expressed by libertarians or liberals/progressives, are represented on college campuses across the country (and world)! We’ll never subject you to a purity test or demand allegiance to any particular candidate or approach. As long as your message is pro-liberty, we’re more than happy to help.

Since we’re not a chapter-based organization, College Democrats groups can retain their status while still taking advantage of resources from SFL. We want to build coalitions with student groups who share aspects of our vision for a better society, and we want to provide student activists with the support they need to act on their frustrations following the election. Working together, we can bring about positive change. Are you with us?

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Sincerely & For Liberty, 

SFL North America 

 

The way we talk to each other matters. Approaching political discussions with charity for the other side is difficult, especially when we think we are on the right side of an argument against evil. We think denying that evil, exposing its ugliness, is enough to make our actions worthwhile. There is, however, a real danger in communicating with anger.

When we talk in a way that respects each other and ourselves, we grow. We exchange ideas and evaluate ourselves. Engaging another person in conversation lets us bring them to see the world as we do. But when we talk past each other, or when we talk in ways that do not engage each other, we cannot make our lives better.

Many on the left are reeling from the election of a man whom they detest. Many have resorted to angry rants and name calling. I understand that impulse. I respect the underlying rejection of values that I too find horrifying. The trouble is not that anger is wrong. The trouble is in the method of its expression.

I wish that calling a spade a spade were enough. I wish that by saying “drug prohibition is racist,” or “immigration restrictions are xenophobic” I could convince everyone to agree and decide to eliminate these policies. But I also understand that angry declarations are never enough. Much of the reason Trump supporters liked a supposed “government outsider” whose unfiltered remarks so horrified the rest of us was that they had been the recipients of untold amounts of elitist sneers. Even though many Trump supporters are unashamed white supremacists, simply calling them racist will never convince them to stop supporting Trump (let alone to abandon their implicit racism). If anything, these accusations, which they find absurd, will only serve to strengthen their resolve.

Consider how you would feel if your ideological opposites started a conversation by calling you names, none of which you agreed applied to you. For a libertarian, this might look like being called a “fascist apologist for the rich.” The conversation would almost surely result in two angry people, both more convinced than ever that the opposite ideology was pure moral corruption and stupidity. No one grew, no one learned, no one experienced the world through new eyes.

Now, imagine your ideological opponent approached you by saying “You seem to believe X, but I believe Y, and I worry that people who believe X are guilty of moral/intellectual error Z. Can you explain X to me?” In this scenario, they may not come to see any value in X, but you have the opportunity to learn both what others think of your views and how to communicate them more convincingly. In this scenario, there is some possibility that you convince your opposite that they should be more like you, and they might convince you to modify your own views in some way.

The way we talk about controversial topics can either vent our anger or make lives better. It cannot do both. In every effort to convince others we may either meet them where they are and sweet talk them into following us down our chain of reasoning, or we may call them names, blame them for problems, and deepen the divide. The latter feels good. I have done a lot of it. Sadly, it does not make the problems we are angry about go away. Swallowing our pride, loving those we “should” hate, and building bridges is the only way we can change minds. If the mountain will not come to Mohammed, Mohammed must go to the mountain.

So which of these two ways of approaching conversation should we adopt? To me, the choice seems clear, if hard.

Anger drives us to action. Anger makes us want to destroy the evil we see in the world. Anger is often a good, important, even necessary emotion, but we have to direct it. We cannot simply let it rule our actions. Everyone is entitled to their anger, but I intend to use mine to make the world a better place, not to drive my ideological opponents further into their trenches. People are not irredeemable. No one is entirely incapable of learning and changing. If we talk to them like they are, we deserve the hate they return.  I plan to talk to people whose opinions I find deplorable with dignity and respect, because the way we talk to each other matters.


This piece solely expresses the opinion of the author and not necessarily the organization as a whole. Students For Liberty is committed to facilitating a broad dialogue for liberty, representing a variety of opinions. If you’re a student interested in presenting your perspective on this blog, visit our guest submissions page

As you watch the election results roll in tonight, there will be a lot of angry posturing, name-calling, and frustration. But this is not the America we know, and it’s not the America that matters. Here are a few reasons to stay positive tonight! 

Join Students For Liberty in a conversation about moving forward, regardless of who takes the White House tomorrow morning. And if you need a break from checking the polls, take a minute to go register for #ISFLC17! Early bird prices end tonight at midnight.

#1: Americans are increasingly disillusioned by politics and power – and that’s a good thing.

The rise of Bernie Sanders made two things clear: socialism is pretty popular (at least theoretically) among millennials, and many people distrust those in charge.

Why isn't she on the ballot?

Why isn’t she on the ballot?

Corruption, whether due to corporate or political greed, is increasingly important to reform-minded young people. That’s not all bad. As Hillary’s paid speeches come to light, and as her use of a private server has been questioned, it’s caused a lot of former-Bernie supporters and the like to question the role power plays in politics.

Though it may not influence their choices this time around, more people are considering what sort of people should be in charge and how the political system shapes an individual’s character and motives. Seeing their guy lose makes libertarian arguments about the growing power of the presidency more convincing.

Libertarians tend to be skeptical of the way power is used and abused in government, and this is often a justification we give for reducing the size of the state. Now, we’re seeing proposals for criminal justice reform and scaling back the drug war from more corners than ours alone. As non-libertarians see the issues play out, they’re beginning to realize something key: power corrupts and changes people. Politicians don’t focus on doing what is right, but rather what is popular. Realizing this  — and seeing the connection to the size of government — can make a big change in the way we vote and make policy.

#2: Many people don’t feel represented by elites in Washington (and this doesn’t make them evil).

This Cracked article explains it perfectly: the Trump phenomenon shows a battle between elites and average Americans, who feel largely ignored. This doesn’t make them evil (though some might have horrible stances on issues related to gender and racial equality), and this doesn’t mean that they’ll go away after election day. If anything, this election is a reminder that acting like we’re in ivory towers of enlightenment often alienates people and makes them feel unrepresented in our political process. (more…)