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IES Europe offers you an opportunity to learn about classical liberal ideas and explore them with insights from our faculty into the study of history, economics and philosophy! Join us and deepen your understanding of ideas that allow humans to flourish and prosper.

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LECTURES  – FRIENDS  – DISCUSSIONS  – FUN

“ I cannot think of any other intellectual experience as eye opening and intellectually challenging as those two IES summer seminars I took part in. They allowed me to meet top scholars from several countries, learn more than I ever thought possible in one single week and make new great friends with whom I am still in touch. IES seminars affected my intellectual interests and career decisions in such a decisive way that it is hard to acknowledge in a few lines. And yes, they were great fun too!”
Stefano Adamo - IES Alumnus : Gummersbach, Germany (1999) and Lauenburg, Germany (2000).

List of seminars:
.
• Germany: July 20-26
• Bulgaria: July 27-August 2

• Romania: September 16-20

Participation is free !

Through the generosity of our partners, IES-Europe is able to offer the seminars for free. Lectures, housing, meals are provided by IES-Europe. Participants only pay for their own travel.

Partners : 

 Solib         Logo_Cadi

CEI

More information on IES’ website.

This post was written by Yavnika Khanna, Regional Leader, SFL- Asia

This year commemorates the 25th year of the fall of the Berlin Wall. European Students For Liberty celebrated this milestone in an international conference in the Humboldt University in Berlin during March 2014.

The conference was attended by 550+ students from across Europe. The European experience for SFL has been tremendously successful with 236 student groups from 28 countries being part of it. I represented the Asian teams of SFL. ESFLC was a great starting point to meet all those who have been instrumental in this incredible journey till now.

There could not be a better venue to discuss the past, present and the future of the European economic, political and social scenario than the Humboldt University. Berlin is a historical location, split between the World War victors. The city was reunified after bearing the brunt of continual conquests and persecution. The fall of the Berlin Wall marked the end of the Cold war. Humboldt University is situated in the heart of Berlin, and is named after the famous educator, linguist and philosopher Wilhelm Humboldt. Humboldt is credited with laying the foundation of modern education systems in the US and Japan. His book, On the Limits of State Action is said to have inspired John Stuart Mill.

The highlight of this year’s European Students for Liberty Conference (ESFLC) were the three keynotes. Tom Palmer, spoke on the preciousness of the three values of Peace, Love and Liberty. His lecture was followed by series of Q&A where he explained the recommended foreign policy stances in view of the recent Ukraine situation and the values in discussion.

Max Kibbe, of FreedomWorks, simplified the meaning and understanding of the cause propounded the six basic tenets of Liberty and spoke about these ideas and his book “Don’t Hurt People and Don’t Take Their Stuff: A Libertarian Manifesto”.

Johan Norberg, classical libertarian and Swedish free-marketeer, provided a socio- economic overview of the ‘European’ understanding and applications of Libertarianism. He reminded us that several fruits of liberty, diversity openness and globalization are easily forgotten and underrated by many.

Besides the lectures, the conference saw evening socials, an interesting concert and yes, some of the attendees participated in a protest against the recent acts of aggression in Ukraine. The evening socials provided a chance for attendees to mingle and network. Interestingly, Dorian Electra’s concert at the ESFLC was preceded by an intensely successful crowdsourcing campaign.

The two lectures that really stood out for me, were by Prof. Ilya Somin (George Mason University) and Prof. James W. Lark (University of Virginia). Prof. Somin’s lecture concentrated on “Democracy and Political Ignorance”. The problem of political ignorance especially plagues the youth in modern democracies. Prof. Somin correctly observes that many people understand that their votes will not be instrumental to change or reflect the outcome of an election and don’t see the point in learning about politics. While this attitude may be rational, this ignorance is at the heart of irrational governance choices. He argues that political ignorance is best mitigated and its effects softened by decentralizing and limiting the role government. By enlarging scope for civil action, the political ignorance gives way to an enlightened, involved and self- interested citizenry.

Dr. Lark spoke about combating ‘knee-jerk responses’ to the libertarian perspective. I found this topic relevant while communicating liberty and handling frequently asked questions about libertarianism in action. His core idea was that mere faith in libertarianism is not enough! We must be well- informed to present facts to people, we should target those who are open to new ideas, show them the benefits of liberty in practice and not lose patience as people take time to embrace values. Very importantly, we must maintain the highest standards of intellectual integrity, ourselves, despite the provocations. Ultimately we cannot convince everyone — if people feel they are already free, we must show them how more freedom can be better.

Overall, ESFLC was an enriching experience to be part of these discussions and meet to obtain a world view from my colleagues at SFL. I was impressed by the dedication of the speakers, the organizers and its sponsors to bring together more than 550 attendees from Europe and beyond.

I am confident that everyone who attended it this year, await to improve the proceedings of the next year’s conference. We at SFL-Asia have lot to learn from this conference!

Prior to her engagement with SFL, Yavnika served as the founder member and elected National Coordinator of Liberal Youth Forum- India (lyfindia.org). LYF is a youth organization promoting the ideas of liberty, market principles and self- governance in India since 2008. At LYF, she has been instrumental in conceptualizing  designing and implementing outreach programs that promote ideas of liberty, leadership and responsibility. Since 2009, LYF has reached out to more than 3000 students through its various programs across the length and breadth of India.

She has served as delegate and ambassador at various prestigious global platforms including International Students Committee, World Business Dialogue and South American Business Forum. She has been a presenter, delivering workshops about youth and leadership at many libertarian forums, including at the Asia Liberty and Economic Forum in Jakarta. She is a graduate of the International Leadership Academy, Germany.

Apr
16
2014

By Rasmus Brygger

We here at Students For Liberty want to share some of the many success stories of liberty worldwide, so we have launched a series of “Facts For Liberty” in an attempt to tell you just why we think that liberty is the way to solve many of the world’s problems.

The story we’re trying to tell here isn’t about how one reform suddenly turned everything alright – many of the countries mentioned still have many issues – but rather that a little good can come out of trusting each other and believing that the market and the communities are able to solve problems better than centralized agencies and politicians. Feel very free to share these facts on social media or print them out and use them on campus for tabling purposes.

So without further ado I would like to introduce our first two Facts For Liberty:

New Zealand’s agriculture experienced heavy growth after removing farming subsidies.

As mentioned in the picture, agriculture now counts for two-thirds of New Zealand’s exports. That wasn’t always the case, but in the 1980’s the government decided to remove all subsidies, tax concessions and price supports – making New Zealand’s farming some of the most free-market oriented in the developed world. 

Decriminalization of drugs in Portugal has positive effects

In July 2001 Portugal decriminalized possession of all types of drugs – and while drug trade still is illegal, the reforms have been “a resounding success” according to Cato Institute. One of the interesting results are that deaths related to overdoses fell by 50% in the first couple of years. It is worth noting that the decrease in deaths did follow years with many deaths, but Portugal does, in any way, still disprove that decriminalization leads to more addicts and more deaths. Basically, drug laws hurt the people, they’re meant to protects.

These are just the first two of many Facts For Liberty. We will be posting more of these in the upcoming weeks here on the Blog and on SFL’s Facebook.

Many of you have seen or at least heard of the tremendous success of this year‘s European Students for Liberty Conference (ESFLC) in Berlin. The fact that there were over 570 attendees left no doubt that the liberty movement in Europe is taking off. ESFL has seen an almost exponential growth in the three years since it was founded: Currently there are 236 student groups in 28 countries, supported by a growing network of friends and advocates.

This enormous success has created more visibility for ESFL. As Matt Kibbe said in his ESFLC 2014 keynote, the movement is now “significant enough to be noticed”. And not only has there been more coverage on ESFL events recently, but thanks to Young Voices Advocates, affiliates of SFL have also been published in media such as The New York Times or The Economist. Politicians also seem to notice the meteoric rise of ESFL: In a Huffington Post article entitled “The Future Belongs to Students for Liberty“, German politician Frank Schäffler openly endorsed the movement a few weeks before the third annual ESFLC.

ESFL is growing, and at the same time, it’s growing up. Many of those who joined as students have by now graduated. At the conferences you meet more and more attendees who have never been a Student For Liberty (simply because they had already graduated when the movement started), but nevertheless consider themselves part of the movement. Having attended ESFL‘s events as non-students – and by far not the only ones – we, the creators of European Alumni For Liberty (EAFL), believe it‘s time to leverage the potential of this vibrant and growing not-only-student community. This is why, with EAFL, we are building up a follow-up organization equivalent to the Alumni For Liberty (AFL) that is already quite active in the United States. Just like its sister organization, EAFL is a community of former Students for Liberty or non-student affiliates of the movement that will:

++ complement ESFL and support its cause (through a financial commitment and by providing assistance to students)
++ discuss, promote and spread the ideas of liberty – just like ESFL, but with a focus on the interests and concerns of professionals
++ serve as a networking and career platform for students and professionals (by providing exclusive networking and career advancement opportunities)

For a mission statement and information on membership you can also visit our recently launched website.

Stay hungry. Stay foolish. Stay free

Providing a platform for non-students who strongly associate with the movement is not our only goal. We also think of liberty as a lifetime project. Graduation is not the end of the road from serfdom to a freer society. In fact, professional careers often pose even greater challenges to your beliefs and personal liberties than your college and university years: Now you really have to pay those taxes you always railed against. Now you really have to deal with all those bureaucratic nuisances that never seemed nearly as unnerving when you tried to imagine life as an entrepreneur. Now you have to get along with co-workers who do not share any of your political views. Now you have less time to consult your inner political compass.

Welcome to a reality full of compromises that is still far from the ideal libertarian society you have been working for! This is why the backing of a strong like-minded community can be a great help after graduation. It will encourage and remind you to keep up your commitment to liberty, to stay informed and involved, and to never stop learning about thinkers and theories promoting the principles of a free society.

In its original meaning, “alumnus/alumna” referred to someone who is “nourished” (lat. alere) or fed. So, to appropriate Rashmi Bansal‘s book title, famously quoted by Steve Jobs: Stay hungry. Stay foolish. Stay free.

Toward an ESFL ecosystem

Alumni may not have as much time and as many academic resources available as students. What they do have, though, is experience, practical skills, professional networks and financial resources. This is why EAFL ideally complements ESFL: It will help students translate their visions into real-life decisions and activities that actually have a transformative impact on society.

A positive side effect of a growing community of Alumni will be a greater number of businesses, entrepreneurs, media, artists etc. involved, which means that the student initiative will be surrounded and supported by what one might call an ‘ecosystem’ of ESFL affiliates. So, to use a rather over-used word, EAFL is also about making the EAFL network sustainable. Great synergies between students and professionals will ultimately lead to long-lasting ties, a greater permeation of various parts of society, and more public visibility (as shown by Young Voices Advocates).

Unlike many university alumni networks you may have come across, EAFL is not all about reunions and nostalgic memories of the good ol‘ days. Needless to say, reminiscing of previous conferences and meet-ups will be part of it ;)

But rather than looking backward at the things we did and didn’t do, we prefer to think about what lies ahead and what we can do now for a freer future.

So join now! There are no bureaucratic hurdles apart from a one-time registration and a small donation we ask for, so nothing should hold you back. We look forward to welcoming you aboard!

https://studentsforliberty.org/europe/eafl/

Request up to 500 free books for your student group!

Students For Liberty & the Atlas Network are pleased to announce our next book project: Peace, Love, & Liberty. We will be printing 350,000 copies for mass distribution to students around the world this fall. While our previous book projects addressed topics ranging from economics and morality to a broad libertarian framework, we have not yet discussed a topic critical to the libertarian worldview: peace.

Edited by Dr. Tom G. Palmer, Peace, Love, & Liberty brings together contributions from intellectual heavy weights to show that libertarianism is the philosophy of peace. To declare that we young people believe that peace is a choice. War is not inevitable, we can do better. To show that the power of peaceful cooperation – harnessed through free markets, trade, and mutual respect – can and is changing the world.

Drawing on the disciplines of history, philosophy, poetry, literature, and psychology, Peace, Love, Liberty shows that peace is possible and how we can achieve it. Contributors include Harvard University professor & bestselling author Steven Pinker, the Washington Post’s Radley Balko, United States Military Academy professor Robert M. S. McDonald, and more.

Students can request up to 500 free books for their student group to distribute on campus this fall. These books will be delivered in August 2014 in time for the start of the school year. Supplies are limited and request orders will be filled on a rolling basis, so get your order in now to reserve your copies!

We have separate request forms depending on where you go to school:

 

This article is a response to Cory Massimino’s noble, but confused, blogpost on what libertarianism is. There is one thing I agree with, and that’s Cory’s title, “Libertarianism is More Than Anti-Statism.” Everything after that is, unfortunately, an argument that his specific preferences and views are actually the core of libertarianism. Some of those views are very reasonable views that I also support, but just because Cory and I happen to like the same pizza flavor, doesn’t mean that pizza is part of a joint political philosophy.

Before we start, it is necessary to make an etymological point. Historically, there was (classical) liberalism, a philosophy with anti-state anarchists like Lysander Spooner on the one hand and (very confused) welfare state liberals such as John Stuart Mill on the other. It is very clear from history that “classical liberalism” was a broad spectrum of ideas. This is also the reason I refer to myself as a classical liberal most often — I feel proud to be part of a tradition with economic, political and moral analyses, as well as a general framework rooted in good social science.

One possible interpretation sees libertarianism (which is, in itself a stolen word – a topic I will not address here to avoid further complication of the issue at hand) as a part of the classical liberal tradition, but a more specific part focused on property rights and non-aggression, that is only compatible with minarchy (e.g., Nozick) or anarchy (e.g., Rothbard.) Personally, I think this is the most proper usage of the word. This would mean that SFL is most properly termed a “classical liberal” organization, welcoming libertarians, Objectivists, minimal welfare liberals, etc.

However, this is a battle that I won’t win in the short run. In the short run, at least, it seems usage of the word “libertarian” is more in line with how I use the term “classical liberal.” Which is fine, still leaves a confusion in Cory’s essay. The historical tradition of classical liberalism – henceforth “libertarianism” – is indeed not about anti-statism. Libertarianism is about safe-guarding voluntary interaction, where the key mechanism to guard this is (broadly spoken) Lockean rights. A respect for Lockean-esque rights also includes property rights arrangements like Ostromian private common resources, mutual aid organizations and worker cooperatives, as well as hierarchical religious arrangements or for-stockholder-profit businesses.

Anti-statism is an implication of libertarianism because the state is an organization that limits, encroaches upon, or is even parasitical in nature to property rights and voluntary interaction. I am open to the argument, and including those who think, that minimal welfare (Hayek, Milton Friedman) or minarchist governments (Mises, Rand, Nozick) can have a meaningful role in increasing voluntary cooperation within society — they are also part of the libertarian tradition.

The core question that libertarianism historically attempted to answer was: how can people with different views of the good life live together peacefully and cooperatively? This, to me, is the key emphasis on what libertarianism is (as well as why we are still, intellectually, cousins to modern day high liberalism (Rawls and all).

It might well be that Cory sees very similar reasons to be a libertarian as he does to advocate feminism, anti-racism, gay and trans liberation and worker empowerment. To some extent, I am sure the overlap can be reasonably defended. Just like the view that a minimal welfare state can be defended within libertarianism, large parts of the ideas that Cory defends are part of the tradition.

But other views be reasonably defended as well. Hoppe famously wrote that in voluntary communes based on conservative, religious family values, it might be necessary to eject certain people from the commune with values and preferences that are antithetical to the commune’s overall philosophy. The question for a libertarian is: should people have the right, and be free to make, such communities and eject people based on these seemingly arbitrary preferences?

Not only do I think the answer should be a resounding “yes” based on moral arguments that their property rights really are theirs to control – even if one disagrees with the decisions they take, – I also think that there is an additional non-moral argument. If we focus on voluntary social interaction, and if we believe that mandating (or prohibiting) social interaction hurts social cooperation in society, then this is also true in cases where we disagree with people.

Let’s quote Cory:

“My aligning myself with the ideas of feminism, anti-racism, gay and trans liberation, and worker empowerment is an outgrowth of my libertarianism. I am committed to those principles for the same reasons that I am committed to anti-statism,” he writes.

This might well be the case – and I’ll readily admit there is some possible overlap in one’s foundational views. But remember: regardless of one’s foundations for libertarianism, the core of it is voluntary social interaction. People who have different foundations, might not necessarily see the same implications – for example, if your foundational view is a hard-line property rights structure, the implications are surely different.

Rather than making those ideas the core of libertarianism – which is voluntary social coordination based on broadly Lockean rights and then discussing what maximizes this – it is “merely” a part of the broader tradition. For example, Cory talks about “the avoidance and disavowal of authoritarian relationships.” But obviously, not all authoritarian relationships are equally problematic: a politician’s power over you, a burglar robbing you, your parents telling you what to do, your boss ordering you, your partner mandating you to help in the household and your friends insisting that you come to a party with them can all be reconstructed as authoritarian. One might have opinions on what the best ways to deal with all of these situations are, but not all of these are a necessary part of your political views.

Obviously, one could argue that all of these are part of libertarianism, which would cut out everyone who has different views on these. This seems like an intellectually wrong move to make. Even from a strategic point of view, it seems better to analyze the core (and what the correct institutional answer is to this core question) and differentiate it from auxiliary cultural goals that one wants to achieve, even if one strongly believes that there is a big overlap.

Within philosophy there is a debate on how authoritarian political beliefs are. If Cory wants to make libertarianism at it’s core an all-encompassing political view, then, at it’s core, it’s far more authoritarian than anything Rockwell or Rothbard ever wrote. It would cut out the wide diversity and plurality that is possible within a libertarian world. Now, I don’t think that all diversity and plurality is equally desirable, but I also don’t think that it is desirable that at the core of political philosophy one limits all diversity and plurality, even if one disagrees with it.

None of this implies that I don’t agree with, for example, Sheldon Richmann, when he says that some values, although theoretical compatible with libertarian, are potentially corrosive to a libertarian society. However, this still doesn’t mean that it is part of the core. As a libertarian with values, I care about those issues, and there are good reasons to use similar kinds of arguments. But that doesn’t equate them. Political philosophy is not all encompassing, nor does it need to be.

If one wants to fight racism, sexism and wants to work on worker empowerment, that is all fine. But just because you are also a libertarian, does not mean that these goals are part of libertarianism. These venn diagrams might intersect partially or heavily, but they do not overlap completely. And, more importantly, other venn diagrams might overlap as well.

So to end with a revision to Cory’s pizza metaphor: voluntary social cooperation is the libertarian pizza. Feminism, anti-racism and other social goals are who we want to share our pizza with. But if someone wants to share his pizza with conservative, religious values or even actual despicable ideas, that is libertarian too. We can criticize them, but they are still eating and sharing pizza, in sharp contrast to the state who is stealing our pizza and throwing it into our face if we disobey.

Lode Cossaer received master’s degrees in philosophy from the University of Antwerp and the Catholic University of Leuven and is currently working on a PhD proposal.

He teaches economics in Brussels, at a private business school. Cossaer was a political officer of the LVSV. He is an executive board member of European Students For Liberty and president of the Murray Rothbard in Belgium.

This post was submitted by Salvo Genovese

From 16th March to 21th March 2014 a Referendum took place in the Region of Veneto in the north-eastern part of Italy. It was organized by the online platform www.plebiscito.eu. The voters had the possibility to vote online or in polling stations. The main question was simple—”Do you want Veneto to become an independent and sovereign federal republic?” – followed by three sub-questions on membership in the European Union, NATO, and the euro-zone.

Furthermore, they guaranteed no manipulation by corresponding voters to the registry office. The numbers showed a wide support for an independent and free Federal Republic of Veneto: 2,6360,235 million voters, equivalent to 73.2 % of the electorate. Of those, 2,102,969 voted yes for independence, against were 257,276 votes, plus 6,615 invalid votes.

But why do they want to secede from Italy? Many people may assume its citizens are proud to be Italians and part of Italy. The origin and the desire to secede has various reasons, mainly economic and political in nature.

The origins go back to 1861 to Italian unification, when Italy, a made-up nation hammered together in the 19th century, then annexed within a centralized institutional architecture, regardless of the local cultures, traditions and linguistic peculiarities. With the unification, uniformity and Italianization were enforced.

In the wake of a socioeconomic collapse in the historical part of Venice, a consequence was mass emigration mainly to Latin America. Just for the record, people of Veneto never felt fully Italian. Even the French philosopher Joseph-Pierre Proudhon back in 1862 affirmed entire lack of belief in the unitary process that was going on at the time, he believed the unification process was unnatural due to the history of the peninsula with several sovereign states.

In addition, he was convinced the unification process was a project of centralization, rather than choosing a federal architecture. The fathers of the Risorgimento, only had efforts to centralize power, at the expense of local autonomy and different populations. According to Proudhon, historically it was not possible to accept the existence of an Italian ‘race’ and a ‘nationality’; the latter defined as “an invention.”

Nevertheless within a difficult institutional framework, Veneto was able to establish a stable economy as well as reliable public finances. An independent Republic of Veneto could be assigned a Triple A and enhance the rating of the region.

A huge impact of today’s economic decline is a so-called ‘residuo fiscale’ which is a system of financial adjustment. Veneto as a second net contributor pays every year 15 billion Euros to Rome, subsidies privileges, inefficiency, clientelism, bureaucracy, and in return, the worst case shows low services or no services at all coming back from Rome.

In short ‘residuo fiscale’ is a system of theft. Families from Venice lose around 12.072 Euro per year. Moreover, the arrest of development comes about by a high taxation level, inefficient and heavy bureaucracy. As a result of these harsh conditions, the foundations of the Veneto economy are degraded, namely the small and medium-sized entrepreneurial class. Hence, a new phenomena has emerged especially in the last two years: an increasing number of entrepreneurs committing suicide; at least 60 cases since 2012. A recent popular case was a well-known publisher Giorgio Zanardi, 73 years old hanged himself. All these suicides are connected to the economic crisis.

Let’s get back after a brief outlines of historical and today’s reason for secession.

This referendum was organized based on the highest democratic standards.

An interesting fact is that www.plebiscito.eu is a platform in joint cooperation with various secessionist movements and associations from the civil society. The president is Gianluca Busato, a software entrepreneur. In the Region of Veneto, there is a wide consent from the left to the right for a future Republic of Veneto. Inside the regional assembly is a bill proposal known as ‘progetto di legge 342’ signed by Stefano Valdegamberi, and is expected to initiate a legal referendum which should soon pass through regional assembly.

This is all outside of the Northern League (Lega Nord), a federalist and regionalist political party in Italy considering itself from the right. Apparently the Northern League used secessionist ideas just as a slogan to hold on to power. During the referendum, only the foreign media wrote about this popular vote, whilst nationwide media ignored this consultation. After the results came out the establishment composed of journalists, comedians and politicians didn’t take it seriously or, worse, even contributed in a sarcastic manner to this question.

Italy is a centralized monster with a totalitarian and bureaucratic administrative apparatus and politicians exercise as a gang of thieves. The establishment has no interest and is probably frightened, because today Italy needs Veneto, but Veneto does not need Italy. Even if the plebiscite has legal value, after the proclamation of independence last Friday at ‘Piazza dei Signori’ in the city of Treviso with about 8,000 participants, Gianluca Busato pointed out not to pay taxes for central government, and underlined the phase of transition begins after the consultation.

From a legal point, article 5 of Italian constitution does not allow a secession because the Italian republic is one and indivisible. But for this question we have international law to allow self-determination. In any case, the voters of Veneto chose the correct way. They acted on their own responsibility and were not waiting for the inner ring of politicians and bureaucrats in Rome. The author would like to emphasize that this is the only way that the peninsula emerges with a new prosperity, as the current institutional system in Italy is not prone to be reformed. I repeat it again: Italy is not prone to be reformed! If Veneto will be a free and independent republic, it will lead to a chain reaction and other regions will follow and the current state of Italy will collapse.

No state can prohibit secession under all circumstances. Individuals are the ultimate sovereigns in matters of social organization: individuals are the beings who are entitled to choose the organizational-institutional structures under which they want to live.

Concluding with a quotation of Ludwig von Mises of his book ‘Liberalism’:

“The right of self-determination in regard to the question of membership in a state thus means: whenever the inhabitants of a particular territory, whether it be a single village, a whole district, or a series of adjacent districts, make it known, by a freely conducted plebiscite, that they no longer wish to remain united to the state to which they belong at the time, but wish either to form an independent, state or to attach themselves to some other state, they wishes are to be respected and complied with. This is the only feasible and effective way of preventing revolutions and civil and international wars.”

Who We are Looking For

If you have a passion for liberty and have the energy and commitment to spread these ideas to a broader audience, you’ve come to the right place.

Through the Local Coordinator program, European Students For Liberty is looking for pro-liberty students who have an unrelenting drive and want to dedicate part of their time to making this world a freer place, but aren’t sure exactly where and how to begin.

We are also looking for students who are already organizing for liberty but would like to elevate their activities to a higher level and professionalize their work and their organizations. In general, you need the willingness to work hard on the subject of social change, show an entrepreneurial spirit to go out and take initiative, and you’re all set.

APPLY HERE

Much has been made about the worsening business climate in Europe in the past year or so, with France being the front-runner with its increasingly hostile tax and regulatory environment.

Recently I heard a fact which was hard to believe.

When going bankrupt for the first time in Italy, one can’t do business for 4 years. But things are not that bad everywhere in Europe.
As an Estonian, I can say that compared to other countries we have quite transparent and simple business climate (although as a libertarian I would say that things could be even better). For example, Estonia has no corporate income tax and dividends are flat taxed with 21 percent.

At the beginning of the year, the Heritage Foundation compiled a report placing Estonia 11th the world for economic freedom, just one notch above the USA.

Estonia also arose in Ron Paul’s speech in Mises Institute “Do We Live in a Police State?”, where he had some good words and a story about Estonia. The ecosystem for entrepreneurs is quite good, but obviously due to our relative smallness, the main problem is lack of venture capitalists and angel investors acting as mentors to start-ups.

Being small geographically and demographically is not a bad thing, because that has allowed Estonia to easily adjust to economic situations and implement various measures to nurture entrepreneurship and technology with considerable ease. That has bought us a somewhat tech savvy reputation, which others would like to copy.

One example is the ID-card system, which to some of my fellow foreign libertarians might evoke fears for privacy, but allows anyone to start a fully functioning company in 15-20 minutes without leaving their computer.

There are more benefits, like the ability to give digital signatures, which are equal with hand written signatures, voting in elections, having digital health records, and more. Furthermore, data on ID cards is encrypted. More about it can be read here.

Currently, Estonians and other people permanently living in Estonia can take advantage of those solutions, but recently an ambitious project was started on the initiative of the President of Estonia, Toomas Hendrik Ilves and includes local IT visionaries. It proposes to move and duplicate all the Estonian data systems to cloud or into servers which reside all over the world in friendly countries.

That means starting a cyber war or occupying Estonia would be pointless as databases such as Business registry, E-Health, E-Court, E-School, and more can still function seamlessly. Furthermore, and what is the most exciting, is that it has been suggested that in the future foreigners anywhere could also acquire our e-identities and become “satellite citizens” and enjoy all the same benefits.

For more info, you can visit http://www.start-company-in-estonia.com/.

Haver Järveoja studies Finance in Estonian Business School. He discovered liberty movement about 3 years ago after joining the Ludwig von Mises Institute — Estonia. His main interests are history and economic theory.

On the weekend on the 14-16 of March, 2014, a new European generation of freedom-loving youth assembled in Berlin, Germany for the 3rd Annual European Students For Liberty Conference.

It was an event which united over 570 students and young professionals from 40 countries.

Apart from the rich experience of uniting hundreds of individuals interested in the ideas of liberty, the conference was addressed by 40 different speakers from across academia, business, political activism, and strong pro-liberty organizations fighting for free markets and individual rights in Europe and beyond.

Specific to this conference, the celebration of the passing of 25 years since the passing of the Berlin Wall, not more than a few hundred meters from the conference location, served as a great reminder to the preciousness of human liberty and the ongoing need to protect it and preserve it for everyone concerned.

Taking place at Humboldt University in Berlin, the opening of the conference was both well-attended and well-received. The opening keynote, Matt Kibbe of Freedomworks, explored the core tenants of the libertarian philosophy: “Don’t hurt people and don’t take their stuff.” It was an interesting discussion about principles and compromising in the broader political sphere. It would serve as a perfect theme for the rest of the conference.

After the first day of the conference, participants were able to relax and party at the Berlin hot-spot Felix Club and Restaurant, booked exclusively for several hours.

The main keynote of the conference, Johan Norberg, the Swedish author and historian, gave a clear and succinct overview of the current situation in terms of the essential freedoms which make Europe unique. He provided the enthusiasm and motivation many students and young professionals will take back to their campuses and implement in their activism to increase awareness of the ideas of liberty.

In between keynotes, students had the opportunity to network with their peers from across the European continent and listen to break-out sessions on topics as diverse as Feminism versus Individualism, Lessons from the Icelandic Banking Collapse, Libertarianism in Russia, Hactivism in the 21st Century, the True Cost of Environmentalism, and many more.

YouTube sensation Dorian Electra, a darling of the libertarian music scene, gave a lauded performance on the Saturday evening, entertaining the more than 500 students who were also enjoying the drinks provided by conference sponsor Berliner Pilsner.

Other great sponsors for the event included the Atlas Network, our platinum partner, our gold partners Hayek Gesellschaft, Uber, Diamond Code, and Opel. Our silver sponsors were New Direction Foundation and the Liberales Institute. Bronze sponsors included the Institute for Economics Affairs, Freiheitswerk, and the Institut für Weretewirtschaft.

Atlas Network’s Tom Palmer, a scholar and libertarian jack of all trades, concluded the conference with his speech: “Peace is a Choice.” It gave an uplifting message, especially in light of the recent events in Ukraine which have worried so many peace-loving peoples across the European continent.

All in all, it was a great accomplishment for the pro-liberty youth of Europe. Hundreds of people gathered to discuss the ideas of liberty, and they’ll be informed and proactive in taking the message to their universities and starting their own pro-liberty groups to strengthen the ESFL network.

For more pictures of the event, check out our Facebook page and engage with us on our Twitter account.

Thank you to all our participants, speakers, sponsors, and partners for making the 2014 European Students For Liberty Conference a raving success! 

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