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Why is it so controversial when the government commissions art? Is it crazy to spend millions of dollars on a painting? What is the most valuable art you own? The answers to these questions, and what they can teach us about life and each other, might surprise you. 

Join an interactive, online discussion with host Janet Neilson and Dr. Sarah Skwire, a scholar on literature, freedom, and economics, on July 22 at 7:00 p.m. EDT.

Register for free today to learn:

  • About the fundamentally subjective nature of art
  • Why each person values things differently
  • How our different preferences enhance culture and life

The early bird gets the worm! Secure your spot for the 8th Annual International Students For Liberty conference taking place February 13-15, 2015 in Washington, D.C. Register here!

The following was written by Tesla Kavanagh, the National Communications Director of Australia and New Zealand Students for Liberty.

On July 5th 2014, Australia and New Zealand Students for Liberty held our first ever Regional Conference at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. With 47 attendees from over 11 different institutions and faculty backgrounds, the event was a resounding success for our first regional conference.

The weekend featured academic and student speakers alike, covering topics from the regulatory state to the drug war; left-libertarianism to freedom of speech; internet censorship to the market for sex. We were graced with the support of Professor Jason Potts of RMIT University’s Economics Department; Dr. Julie Novak, Senior Fellow with the Institute of Public Affairs; Chris Berg, Policy Director of the Institute of Public Affairs; Simon Breheny, Director of the Legal Rights Project and 2014 Young Libertarian of the Year (ALSFC); and Tim Wilson, Human Rights ‘Freedom’ Commissioner with the Australian Federal Government.

Saturday morning started with the simplest of questions from Professor Jason Potts: “What is the end goal of libertarianism?” “Freedom!” the room echoed, myself included. Potts laughs, flicks the slide over, and shows us that this is exactly the answer he was expecting. “Freedom is the answer appealing to under 35’s” … but freedom is merely the mechanism we use to achieve our end goal. The real end-goal, that we all should work towards, that we should share with others to promote our means and mechanisms, is building a society we want to be in. In that society, spontaneous order is the centrepiece.

But we wanted to do more than have amazing names speaking ‘at’ our attendees since workshops, skill training, and student engagement mark core aspects of being a member of Students for Liberty’s Charter Teams. Topher Field, liberty communications professional, opened a dialogue about how we can communicate the message of liberty in media. “The left woke up a long time ago to the power of popular culture, and it’s time we did too.”

We were lucky enough to have Yaël Ossowski, Program Manager for European Students For Liberty, join us as a panelist on ‘SFL Clubs for Dummies’– teamed with ANZSFL Vice President (Australia) Rachel Connor, and ANZSFL Treasurer Lara Jeffery, the trio introduced us to common problems experienced when leading a SFL team on campus, and had a hands-on engagement with team problem solving and possible solutions to the experiences that some of our Charter Team Leaders have had.

Attendee students were also encouraged to network with their interstate colleagues during ‘Liberty on the Rocks’ Friday Night, a pizza and drinks event on the Saturday Night (generously provided for by the Civic Group), and Sunday night farewell drinks at Federation Square, held in conjunction with the 2014, Australia and New Zealand Students for Liberty held our Australian Liberal Students Federation’s Conference opening drinks. Building a sense of community and support regardless of geographical location was a core goal of ours in organizing the conference. We organized scholarships to cover flight costs for Western Australian and New Zealand Students with the Mannkal Group, and students unable to attend were engaged online via our Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr tag #ANZSFLC.

Additionally, we expanded the networking opportunities for our student attendees by inviting liberty-community names and local organizations to engage with our attendees by 1) providing material in our ‘goodie bags’, and 2) attending as tabling guests on Sunday afternoon. Our goodie bags featured publications and information from the Institute of Public Affairs, the Centre for Independent Studies, the Australian Sex Party, the Liberal Democratic Party, Freedom Goat, and our own publication: Liberty, 2014. The tabling session involved representatives from the IPA, the Smokers Rights Party, the Australian Sex Party, the Liberal Democratic Party, Australian Liberal Students Federation, and Drug Law Reform Australia being available for informal Q&A with attendees on Sunday afternoon.

Saturday afternoon marked our organization’s first Annual General Meeting, with ratification of our Constitution, and election of our 2014 Executive Team. Austen Erickson was re-elected as ANZSFL President; Rachel Connor as Vice President (Australia); Aidan Carter as Vice President (New Zealand); Kerrod Gream as Secretary; Lara Jeffery as Treasurer; Tesla Kavanagh as Communications Director; and Nick Umashev joined us as a General Executive. Our outgoing General Executive John Humphreys is owed a special mention for all his work with us during the first half of 2014, and we are sure he will continue his great work while being engaged with ANZSFL in a membership and team leading capacity.

The new executive team is thrilled to have been elected and looks forward to serving as a network for communication, support and resource production for Students for Liberty teams across Australia and New Zealand. In the words of ANZSFL Secretary Kerrod Gream, “We’ve got to have a supportive attitude. Doing what we do, it’s easy to get pessimistic. But we have to keep fighting, we have to keep supporting each other, to be able to go to each other.” It is this support, this ongoing engagement and sense of inclusion and community that made the Australia and New Zealand Regional Conference an absolute pleasure to run and attend.

GOLDEN, Colo. – FEE will be holding a debate on marijuana legalization before a live audience of college students at the Colorado School of Mines on July 16 at 10:45 a.m. MDT, featuring both Judge James P. Gray, former running mate of Gary Johnson, and former Obama Administration senior advisor Kevin Sabet. This debate will be broadcast live here

Gray, representing Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) and taking the affirmative, will be debating Kevin Sabet, Director of the Drug Policy Institute. The debate is anticipated to last 45 minutes with time for questions and answers. Media interested in attending should contact FEE’s College Programs Manager, Jason Riddle, at jriddle@fee.org for directions to the event.

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I first met Andrew Kaluza in March of 2010 in rural Kentucky even though we were both native Texans. We had come to the bluegrass state to fulfill what I now recognize as an initiatory mission for a cause that would change our lives forever. We were there to help Rand Paul become the next junior senator, although years later Andrew and I would laughingly recall this story as we had since developed a mutual indifference towards day-to-day politicking. After our week in Kentucky, I sensed that Andrew and I would work well together. What I didn’t realize is that he and I would spend the next four years developing a deep brotherly bond that I, an only child, had never quite experienced before.

This wasn’t unique to me, however. I was routinely amazed by Andrew’s uncanny ability to connect meaningfully with everybody he ever met. When he joined the movement for liberty in 2009, he quickly became known for his ability to craft spaces of fellowship — a quality which would ultimately mark his legacy. Andrew was an individual whose optimistic, joyous, and eager spirit defied what outsiders wrongly thought to be a hopeless, terse, and cold cause. Andrew would later say that the cause of liberty was simply about “being good to others.”

For Andrew, the principles of individual liberty, free markets, and peace were ultimately a reflection of his kind, compassionate, sincere and respectful character. It was these traits along with his warm, gentle, happy spirit that won him the admiration of everybody who had the privilege of meeting him.

Andrew was my brother in this common cause we call liberty. We worked together in SFL’s inaugural class of Campus Coordinators, and later we represented Team Texas on SFL’s student-led executive board. While Andrew identified closely with SFL as an international organization, he foremost viewed Texas’ student movement for liberty as his baby. We often laughed at him during executive board discussions when he would preface every statement with “Well, in Texas…” He established the necessary foundations that have led to Texas’ reputation as the strongest region for libertarian student activism in the world. Impressively, the newest SFL executive board recently named Texas its own separate and distinct region, which has in it 30+ incoming Campus Coordinators. Undoubtedly, Andrew would have been thrilled to meet and encourage each leader in the Lone Star region, reminding them that in his time, there were merely four SFL leaders.

I’ve hardly known anybody since Andrew’s days as a student activist who was able to organize so many flighty college kids towards a common purpose. Among Andrew’s proudest achievements in SFL were organizing the Dallas and Austin regional conferences. These events were given a special treatment by Andrew. They were organized as grand celebrations of a crucially urgent cause. As such, he poured forth innumerable hours doing the dirty work: preparing promotional content, making lodging and travel arrangements for those in need, and scheduling the best line up of speakers available.

Logistical details aside, I remember that Andrew insisted upon his conference revolving around a theme, requesting speakers to incorporate an element that would touch on the importance of entrepreneurship and then of empowerment. Andrew was convinced that innovation was the key to reducing the scope of government. Regarding empowerment, he sought to encourage students to see and act on ways to change the world rather than slavishly asking, “How can I help?”

After months of preparation, his conferences were of the highest quality and well attended. In retrospect, it is apparent to me that students not only came to learn the content but also to see Andrew. His affable nature drew hundreds of students to conferences over the years. There was hardly an attendee that didn’t know Andrew personally, and many had been introduced to the cause through him.

It was not through the force of argument that Andrew won over students to our cause, although he was certainly prepared to offer eminently logical cases for a free society. Instead, Andrew was a master of empathy. He was known for greeting everybody with a Texas-style, sweaty bear hug (he’d do so while wearing the kitschiest American tie you ever saw, and he loved for people to kid him about it). When his friends needed a sympathetic ear, he was there to lend one. This applied politically, too. Andrew never conceived of the libertarian movement as a game of intellectual one-upmanship, but instead a very serious effort to spread ideas that he felt would draw the world’s poor and helpless out of desperate poverty. He walked the walk, too. After the fires that plagued Bastrop County, Texas in the summer of 2011, Andrew twice rounded up a group of Young Americans for Liberty chapter members at the University of Texas-San Antonio to help rebuild the home of one family who had lost everything.

It feels strange referring to Andrew by his first name. In SFL, he was always endearingly referred to as Kaluza. During his first executive board retreat I roomed with him along with our colleague and friend Frederick Roeder. Fred being the fun guy he is would help Kaluza wake, but it was in a decidedly German fashion as he would crouch down near Kaluza and chant “KALUZA, KALUZA, KALUZA, KAZAHH!!!” Since that time, Kaluza was welcomed to every party and SFL event with this chant.

The leadership of SFL and the broader liberty movement loved Andrew a great deal. To us, he was a larger than life character, legendary to those who were newcomers to the movement. As such, there will be no shortage of profoundly moving stories that will continue to celebrate the life that Andrew led. In my case, I’m fortunate to have shared a spiritual connection with Andrew, one that I will forever cherish. I’m deeply saddened that so many others won’t have the opportunity to know Andrew personally. He will always serve as the model of what it means to be an effective advocate for liberty. But more than that, Andrew was the quintessence of warmth, humility, positivity, earnestness and kindness. We will miss you, Kaluza, but you will not be forgotten. May you rest in peace, brother.

At this time, there are memorial services planned for Andrew in Texas and Washington D.C. Andrew’s family will be hosting a memorial service on Saturday, July 26th and Students For Liberty will host a celebration of Andrew’s life this Thursday, July 17th.