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Webinar Wednesdays continue tomorrow night, January 25 at 8PM. Join us for a discussion of “A Libertarian Foreign Policy for the 21st Century” to be led by Chris Preble. Check out the deets!

Wednesday, January 25 at 8pm (Eastern Time)

“A Libertarian Foreign Policy for the 21st Century” 

*This webinar will be hosted LIVE from the Georgetown Hoyas For Liberty! Webinar participants will still be able to ask questions*

Chris Preble will talk about general libertarian ideas about foreign policy, and then apply these to the most prominent foreign policy stories in the news today, including U.S. relations with countries in Asia and Europe, revolution and reform in the Arab world, nuclear weapons proliferation, and the threat posed by violent extremists such as al Qaeda. The talk will draw distinctions between libertarian approaches and that of the two dominant ideologies that guide U.S. foreign policy, neoliberalism and neoconservatism

Speaker: Chris Preble 

Register Here Facebook Event Here

Where? On your Computer

Christopher A. Preble is the vice president for defense and foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute. He is the author of three books including The Power Problem: How American Military Dominance Makes Us Less Safe, Less Prosperous and Less Free (Cornell University Press, 2009), which documents the enormous costs of America’s military power, and proposes a new grand strategy to advance U.S. security; and John F. Kennedy and the Missile Gap (Northern Illinois University Press, 2004), which explores the political economy of military spending during the 1950s and early 1960s. Preble is also the lead author of Exiting Iraq: How the U.S. Must End the Occupation and Renew the War against Al Qaeda (Cato Institute, 2004); and he co-edited, with Jim Harper and Benjamin Friedman, Terrorizing Ourselves: Why U.S. Counterterrorism Policy Is Failing and How to Fix It (Cato Institute, 2010). In addition to his books, Preble has published over 150 articles in major publications including USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, the Financial Times, National Review, The National Interest, the Harvard International Review, and Foreign Policy. He is a frequent guest on television and radio.

The following is a guest submission by Kieran Conrad, a student of Middlebury College.

The movie and music industries’ heavy lobbying, seen through the recently failed Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA), demonstrates their outmoded value in today’s market. With the advent of the Internet, musicians, artists, writers, and filmmakers are now freer than ever to disperse their work directly to their fan base, allowing for cheaper albums, art, books, and movies, as well as higher profits for their creators. Meanwhile, the consumer gets the most for his dollar, since the purchases do not include middlemen such as industry executives and agents that inflate the product’s cost. This is what a free market looks like.

Take, for instance, the movie industry. With websites like Amazon and Netflix offering the feature to stream movies directly to consumers’ living rooms, traditional notions of cinema seems somewhat irrelevant in the digital age. The fact that people pirate movies and prefer to watch them in the comfort of their home should signal to the movie industry that it needs to adapt to the new market or suffer the consequences. If movie distribution evolved from production to cinema to production to digitizing for streaming capability, consumers would have their desires fulfilled.

The movie and music industries ought to look at the book publishing industry to learn about adaptability. Consider the number of bookstores that closed and notice how, despite the supposed dearth of places to buy tangible books, publishing and reading is booming now more than ever thanks to digital technology like e-publishing and e-readers. Authors now have the opportunity to utilize epub and djvu formats by distributing their work to e-readerships at a lessened cost, allowing for maximum profit. The Internet, with websites such as Reddit, allows people to distribute their written works freely to gain a readership. This strategy works well in the age of viral marketing, given the possibilities of fan pages on Facebook or channels on YouTube, creating an atmosphere of individualized markets of which any person with some common sense and drive can take advantage.

The biggest criticism from the movie and music industries regarding this new era of marketing is the absurd notion that piracy steals from the creator. The only criminal activity and instance of injustice revolves around those who pirate and sell intellectual property for profit. Otherwise, piracy merely serves as promotion and advertising in an era when promoters and advertisers are becoming unnecessary. It is not to say that these people are useless, no more than horse-and-buggy drivers were after the advent and proliferation of affordable automobiles; it simply says that the profession is unneeded, so laid-off middlemen merely need to find a new market in which they can serve or new talents that prove useful.

To see the benefits, take the musician, as an example, whose music is pirated and distributed through peer-to-peer networks. The artist has a Facebook fan page and a YouTube channel in which they are able to communicate with fans. With these tools, the musician is far more capable to write, produce, and share music, without having to share profits with agents, executives, and advertisers as much as in the past. Furthermore, a musician has the ability to analyze feedback and ratings to see which songs should be placed on an album, allowing the creation of more perfectly crafted art. One of the finest features in the digital music age is allowing the consumer to pick and choose which tracks they want to buy, instead of having to buy and album and be disappointed with most of it. It acts as an incentive for the artist to create their best work and the consumer to better reward the artists who serve them.

The publishing industry has adapted to the Internet age, so why won't the film and music industries follow suit?

Two examples of this mutual reciprocation in the age of piracy are the artist Skrillex and the comedian Louis C.K., each of whom addressed his fans regarding the use of piracy. A few fine examples of this mutual reciprocation in the age of piracy are the artist Skrillex and the comedian Louis C.K., each of who addressed their fans regarding the use of piracy. Skrillex, for instance, simply tells his fan base on Facebook that he knows people can pirate his work and even encourages them to do so, but he also asks that they donate some money to him for his work, an arrangement that has worked out to his advantage. The comedian C.K. Louis did the same thing with astounding results. Creators are able to self-advertise, self-generate, and self-capitalize in a self-reliant free market.

These are just two examples of how in a free market, with the removal of agents, executives, advertising, distribution, and legal costs, the consumer and the creator benefit and are rewarded the most, while industries that refuse to adapt fail. But, outmoded industries should not succeed on their own volition through turning to Congress to deny the free market at the expense of the consumer and creator, which is precisely what has been happening in Washington lately. Instead, they should embrace change and start innovating to make better products for the consumer and thereby more profit.

Would you like to see your work on SFL website?  If you are a libertarian student interested in writing a guest submission, please email Blog Content Manager Casey Given at cgiven@studentsforliberty.org.

Students For Liberty is pleased to announce that the Cato Institute will be hosting 6 breakout sessions during this year’s International Students For Liberty Conference.

The Cato Institute’s breakout session topics will include:

  • Restoring Constitutional Liberty
  • Privacy Under Attack
  • Liberty and Foreign Policy
  • Global Warming: How State-sponsored Science Threatens Liberty
  • Government Schooling for a Free Society? It Sounds Wrong Because it is Wrong
  • Free Markets: The Best Healthcare You’ve Never Had

Be sure to check out the full line up of breakout sessions, and register for the conference by Friday, February 3!

This year’s International Students For Liberty Conference is shaping up to be the largest gathering of libertarian students ever. Last year, over 500 students from all over the world attended the fourth annual International Students For Liberty Conference, and this year we are on pace to easily break that attendance record.

This year’s conference will feature such guests as John Stossel, Peter Thiel, and GoRemy, as well as breakout sessions hosted by the Cato InstituteGOProud, the National Rifle Association, and many other fantastic pro-liberty organizations.

If your publication is interested in covering the year’s premier event for libertarian students, we want to make the process as simple as possible. Media outlets will be given a media pass, which includes:

  • Free registration
  • Priority seating in general sessions
  • Exclusive access to speakers and students for interviews
  • Complimentary internet access at the Grand Hyatt Hotel.

If your newspaper, magazine, student publication, news website, Youtube channel, blog, or other form of media outlet is interested in covering the conference, simply fill out this form and SFL will be in touch with you shortly.

If you have any further questions relating to media or communications, please contact SFL Communications Manager Megan Roberts at mroberts@studentsforliberty.org.

We are proud to announce that European Students For Liberty’s Executive Board member, Wolf von Laer, has earned 2nd place in the European Center of Austrian Economics Foundation‘s prestigious International Vernon Smith Prize.

The Vernon Smith Prize is highly competitive. This year alone the ECAEF received papers exploring the topic, “The Rule of Law in Decline,” from 21 different countries. The three winners, decided upon by an international jury, are granted thousands of euros and invited to present their papers at a special event in Vaduz, the Principality of Liechtenstein on January 30th. You can download Wolf’s paper, “The Decline of the Rule of Law and the Emergence of Regime Uncertainty,” here.

Wolf von Laer is currently working towards his Master’s degree in Austrian Economics under Dr. Jesus Huerta de Soto at Universidad Rey Juan Carlos in Madrid. He learned about the Vernon Smith Prize through the Institute for Humane Studies‘ Graduate Student Newsletter, which provides information on many great opportunities open to graduate students. Do you want to stay in the loop? Subscribe to the Graduate Student Newsletter and learn more about the great resources that the IHS provides for both undergraduates and graduate students. And remember that you can get updates about additional contests and opportunities by joining SFL’s network and following us on Facebook!