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ISFLC-2015-1035I am pleased to announce the theme for the 2016 International Students For Liberty Conference: The Liberty Vote. Disillusioned by the two-party system, tens of thousands of students have become involved with Students For Liberty since our founding in 2008 in search of an alternative to the empty rhetoric and broken promises of our elected officials.

This is because the Millennial generation is a politically independent one. According to Harvard University’s latest youth survey, 41% of 18- to 29-year-olds identify as Independents, as opposed to Republicans (24%) or Democrats (33%). Our generation is not easily categorized according to the historical political mold. We do not rally around a single political party, strategy of social change, or philosophical stereotype. We are an unpegged generation that will soon decide the intellectual, entrepreneurial, and political destiny of the world.

This is what makes the ISFLC so important. For one weekend every year, thousands of student leaders from around the world descend into Washington, DC to discuss and debate all of the available avenues for bringing about a freer future. Will the two-party system survive? Is a third-party alternative possible? Or, is social change best created outside of the political realm altogether through entrepreneurial innovations like those which make up the sharing economy?

These are the discussions that will shape the future, and we are the generation having them. We are the Liberty Vote.

Register for #ISFLC16

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NixonOn today’s date in 1972, President Richard Nixon sat down with White House Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman and a tape recorder to discuss the recent Watergate break-in. In the resulting tape, which became known as the “Smoking Gun,” you can hear the President propose using the CIA to get the FBI to halt their investigation by claiming that the break-in was a national security operation. Just a few days after the botched break-in, Haldeman and Nixon worried what the FBI would find if they continued to “follow the money.” The scandal they uncovered cost Nixon his presidency.

A case study in executive overreach, the Watergate scandal remains a stain on the United States’ history and a cautionary tale to wayward politicians who might think they can do no wrong. That power corrupts is old news, but it is no less a problem today than it was in the 1970s.

Politicians, more often than not, put their chances in the next election in front of what’s best for the country. That’s what happens when the institutions of government are co-opted for the profit of the political class. The Watergate break-in is just one example of how willing our leaders are to skirt the law when elections (or “national security” or the “good of the nation” or plain old personal gain) are at stake. It’s all too rare that such actions lead to consequences for the guilty parties involved.

If you’re interested in educating your peers about our country’s fiscal troubles, apply for this year’s Up to Us competition!  Up to Us is a nonpartisan, natioheader_imagenwide contest that gives participants the chance to educate their peers about the national debt and the long-term fiscal challenges it creates.  This unique, hands-on learning experience is open to current students (both graduate and undergraduate).  Team leaders will get to attend the 2015 Net Impact Conference and participating teams will receive funds to execute their project, including a stipend.  The winning team will be awarded $10,000 and will recognized by President Bill Clinton at the Clinton Global Initiative University 2016 annual meeting.  The application deadline is Sunday August 16, 2015 at 11:59pm PT, so hurry and apply for this incredible opportunity!

Daniel PryorHow do you contribute to SFL in your new job role?

As an Editorial Intern for Young Voices, most of my work involves updating the Young Voices website. The material I produce includes summaries of media hits for our advocates, daily links to provide inspiration for articles, my own blog posts/op-eds, and most recently the Young Voices podcast. I also update YV’s Liberty.me site and manage their social media.

How did you first get interested in liberty?

I attended a Sixth Form conference that was hosted by the Adam Smith Institute in London. A few of the talks they gave on classical liberalism and libertarian thinking really resonated with me, and I soon began immersing myself in relevant literature. A few months later, an awesome teacher I had introduced me to Mises.org and anarcho-capitalism, which fascinated me as it seemed like one could push the ideas of liberty to their greatest extent. He was a natural-law theorist, however, which I remain unconvinced by, so I started looking into the consequentialist arguments for market anarchism. That’s how I found David Friedman and other thinkers in his area, which I found far more convincing.

Who do you think is the most underrated libertarian thinker?

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SUMMER_greenSummer is a weird time to be a college student. The friends who are usually on the same campus are scattered all over the country, if not the world. Your student liberty group that meets regularly suddenly can’t. So what can you, the leaders of your group do to make sure that you can hit the ground running in the fall? You don’t want to spend all of September and October getting your club up and running again because by that time, people will find other clubs to join, and then the statists win. Don’t let that happen. Follow these simple tips.

 

Establish Communication Between Old And New Leadership

Ideally, your executive board will be a mix of old and new faces (you never want your entire e-board graduating at the same time). Make sure that experienced leaders tell new leaders what to expect. Make sure new leaders have a chance to share their fresh perspectives about the previous leadership’s shortcomings. Decide as a group what worked well last year, and what can be done better. Summer is a great time to make sure all your leaders are on the same page about what the mission of the club is and how to best achieve it. Take advantage of this time so that your e-board is a well-oiled machine ready to take on the world in the fall.

Stay Active on Social Media

FaceBook and Twitter make it a lot easier to remind everyone how awesome your club is all summer long. If you haven’t already, set up an account for your club and continue posting content throughout the summer. Not sure what to post? Follow other liberty-minded pages and share the content you like. Use Throwback Thursday to remind your followers about all the great events you had during the school year. Are any of your members doing cool libertarian internships or attending exciting libertarian seminars or conferences? Make sure to post about it! Simply reinforcing that your club exists and provides great opportunities to its members can be a big help when it’s time to recruit in the fall. (more…)