Like any college aged person, my room is well-decorated. However, my decorations are a little different then what you might expect. My collection includes a V for Vendetta poster, a Gadsen flag, an End the Drug War poster, and a Jolly Rodger. However, there is one piece that will always stand out for me more then the rest. Near my desk, hangs the flag of the 69th New York Infantry Regiment, better known as the “Fighting 69th” which was part of the Irish Brigade during the American Civil War.

It may seem ironic that a passionate antiwar activist would have the flag of a military regiment hanging in his room. Is that not a confirmation of militarism, nationalism and unfounded patriotism? Not for me.

For me, this flag represents another story — one of principled patriotism, tolerance and activism. It’s the story that gives me a historical, political, cultural background for my work as an activist. It’s one worth revisiting now.

The history of immigration and assimilation in America is a complicated one fraught with discrimination and fear. Many waves of immigrants have lived through this cycle, but for me, the Irish experience has particular relevance: My family is mostly blue-collar Irish Catholics, based in and around New York. My father was born in New York City, but lived in both NY and Ireland. My grandfather was born in Ireland and later drove a fuel truck that was used to power the cranes that built the World Trade Center. My great-grandfather lived in New York City in the early 20th century and served in the United States Army during the First World War as an infantryman. Their hard work and dedication not only helped build our country, but gave me many of the values I still hold today. Unfortunately, life in America was not always easy for them. (more…)

Screen Shot 2016-03-29 at 6.33.29 PMIn 2012, I was given a free copy of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged at the International Students for Liberty Conference and my life changed forever. Rand’s philosophy – Objectivism – permeates through her novels and has taught me important lessons about being a self-made individual and a value creator in society. Adopting her philosophy into my life has helped me become what I am now – an activist advancing prosperity and freedom while fighting for women and families. Now, through Students For Liberty’s Campus Coordinator Program, I’m able to make a truly significant impact on campuses in my area. But it all started with Rand.

That is why I want to invite you to be part of a transformative event that provides you the opportunity to join with hundreds of value creators and top scholars in promoting Rand’s philosophy: The 2016 Objectivist Summer Conference (OCON). Let us join together in beautiful Seattle, Washington from July 2nd to 7th and explore how we can work towards making our irrational culture into one that upholds reason, purpose, and self-esteem.

To make this affordable to students, the Ayn Rand Institute (ARI) offers a discounted student registration rate of $100 and an additional 25% discount if you register by March 31st. Also, you can apply for ARI’s student scholarships for up to $1,500 towards your travel, lodging, and registration expenses. You must act now, as funds are limited. (more…)

The following was written by International Executive Board Member Milica Pandžić

Read the original in Spanish at EsLibertad.org.

Margit and Mises2We libertarians know for a fact that human beings always act with their own ends and improvement in mind; that individuals have dreams, goals and tastes that match their own values; that through peaceful cooperation social progress is achieved; and that unfree societies end up withering.

But before being a political doctrine or a set of economic principles, for me, liberalism is a way of life. If one has really internalized this philosophy and is consistent with the ideas, then to be libertarian is to assume the defense of certain abstract and general principles that become concrete in our daily lives. And this is an aspect that many libertarians forget.

Although we could relate liberalism with many aspects of our personal lives, there is one aspect in particular that I believe is closely related to freedom, and that is love. Both are values that drive human beings to the pursuit of happiness. We love because it makes us happy, and we value freedom because it allows us to look for happiness as well. (more…)

At about this time last year, I was tabling for the Western Libertarians in the cool Bellingham weather at Western Washington University when I met someone whose story exemplifies the importance of the fight for school choice. It was National School Choice Week and all day I’d had people curiously come up to the table to see what was going on. I made pleasant conversation with lots of people who were unfamiliar with education alternatives. But he was different.

12522988_3856651129939_3012753679400946618_nWhen he asked what the table was for, I gave him my usual spiel, pointing to the list National School Choice Week provided and highlighting the many forms of schooling. He responded positively, saying that he went through one of those programs. Because of trouble he got into at a young age, participating in alternative education got his life back on track. Hence, he was able to get into Western and have this conversation as a student on-track to graduate.

I asked him if he wanted to fill out the “I support school choice because…” card, and he agreed. When completed, the card said, “I support school choice because…I would be homeless or dead without it.” After reading it, I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t press him for details, but, with his permission, I took a picture of him with his card. Before he went on with his day, he took a copy of The Morality of Capitalism to give to a professor.

Thomas Tullis is a former SFL Campus Coordinator and a student at the University of Oregon who took advantage of last year’s Not Just a Gun grant program. 

Freedom of expression is under attack at the University of Oregon. This Friday, my on-­campus group, Young Americans for Liberty at University of Oregon, is hosting a Liberty Poker Night as part of Students For Liberty’s #NotJustAGun campaign. Our event is a protest of our university’s firearms policy and specifically the on­-campus concealed carry ban. With mass shootings happening overwhelmingly in gun free zones across the nation, it is vitally important to examine the perverse effects of university gun control as a campus community.

Thomas Tullis is a former SFL Campus Coordinator.

Thomas Tullis is a former SFL Campus Coordinator.

This is our second year putting on the event and, after an extremely successful attendance last year, we reserved the university ballroom and have prepared for over 200 people to attend. We have already secured private donations and sponsorships for a prize pool of over $2000 in donated value, including three firearms.

Unfortunately, universities in America are becoming increasingly hostile to freedom of expression and the marketplace of ideas. First, the university housing office told us that we couldn’t market our event in dorms because our flyers picture guns. They said the guns “violated the student conduct code” and could not even be pictured in our material. When we told them we would remove the picture from the flyer, they still refused to market our event saying, “Unless the prizes for the event are no longer firearms the posters won’t be approved since the prize is something that is against our code of conduct.”

Then, on Wednesday November 11th, the student senate voted against funding our event. Since we need student fee money to pay the reservation fee for the university space, this was an attempt to block the event from happening. At UO, where the student government controls a massive budget of nearly $17 million, this is one of the first times that a recognized student group has been denied event space funding for an on-­campus event. (more…)