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…)

Throughout the past week, the world has been shocked by the devastating riots that have broken out in London and across the UK. As the government struggled to gain control of the situation, people began calling for authoritarian measures to be put in place. Rash solutions were proposed that oversimplified the situation and trampled on the basic civil liberties of all UK citizens. For example, David Cameron stated, “When people are using social media for violence we need to stop them,” and ridiculously planned to interfere with mobile networks and social media sites, such as Twitter, claiming that, “It will just be a temporary suspension of the freedom of speech.” The government even seriously debated implementing curfews, as well as mobilizing the army against the rioters.

In the face of the possible adoption of such authoritarian measures in the UK, ESFL’s Anton Howes spoke up. Over the course of the week he wrote a series of articles for the Adam Smith Institute’s blog, which challenged the measures the government was considering and dug deeper than the shallow explanations offered for the cause of these violent outbreaks. In such alarming times, it is more important than ever that we make sure our voice is heard – the voice that will stand up for the strength of communities, not armies, and the unconditional defense of individual liberty. As Milton Friedman once warned us, “‎Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program.”

Check out some of Anton’s articles and posts on the subject:

“If this is about poverty, it is poverty of spirit amongst a young few, rather than any widespread material poverty.” – The London Lootings Need Real Solutions (Tuesday, August 9th)

“We need to recognise that the rules of the game have changed, just as with every leap forward in communication technology.” – Freedom of Communication is Helping Communities Defend Themselves. Don’t Curb It. (Wednesday, August 10th)

“[…] you curtail civil liberties for immediate security at the peril of never regaining them” – Stop This Authoritarian Knee-jerk (Thursday, August 11th)

“Gleeful malice rather than anger at the system is not the sign of the young person with limited opportunities.” – What Really Caused the London Lootings? (Friday, August 12th)

The cause of liberty knows no boundaries.  Ever since SFL’s first conference in February 2008, we have endeavored to support students around the world in the cause of liberty.  Toward that end, it is my pleasure to announce SFL’s most significant endeavor to date to help students outside the United States with the formation of European Students For Liberty.

Over the Spring, SFL selected 8 European students to form the first European Students For Liberty Executive Board:

  • Carlo Cordasco, University of Pisa (Italy)
  • Anton Howes, King’s College London (United Kingdom)
  • Jan Hayen, EM-Lyon Business School (Belgium)
  • Egle Markeviciute, Vilnius University (Lithuania)
  • Frederik Roeder,  (Germany)
  • Nick Roskams, University of Leuven (Belgium)
  • Gabrielle Shiner, Queen Mary University (United Kingdom)
  • Wolf von Laer, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Madrid (Germany/Spain)

ESFL Executive Board plus Adam Smith the Adam Smith Institute.

Each member of the ESFL Executive Board brings significant leadership experience from running already existing pro-liberty student groups such as the Flemish Classical Liberal Student Association and the Lithuanian Liberal Youth as well as a deep-seated passion for spreading the message of liberty to students across Europe.  After a rigorous online training program that spanned 4 continents (some students were studying abroad), the team met in person to plan for the upcoming school year at the first European Students For Liberty Leadership Retreat.

The retreat took place in London at the hallowed ground of the Institute for Economic Affairs, the first modern libertarian think tank founded by Sir Antony Fisher.

Over the coming year, students can expect:

  • The first European Students For Liberty Conference (coming up in November 2011)
  • Special European online seminars
  • Resources for student groups in Europe
  • Local support for student groups in Europe to start and grow
  • Much more!

The consensus at the ESFL Leadership Retreat was that the biggest problem ESFL would face this year is keeping up with the demand for these opportunities.  Just as was the case in the US before SFL was founded, there has been a growing number of students in Europe interested in liberty, but without an outlet to express their views.  The time has come to give them the resources to become effective advocates of liberty.  If there is any team that can keep up with the demand, it is this ESFL Executive Board.