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The International Society for Individual Liberty, Libertarian International and the Tea Party Italia invite you to the ISIL 2011 World Conference, to be held 29 August – 2 September on the idyllic island of Vulcano, off the coast of Sicily.

Expect a memorable event. Catch up with foreign friends and meet new ones.
Recharge your moral batteries. Draw inspiration from speakers at the cutting edge of libertarian philosophy.

The intellectual heavy-hitters you love, Antonio Martino, Tom Palmer, Mary Ruwart, Ken Schoolland will be present; along with young, exciting thinkers Mark Pennington, Nicola Ianello, Josie Appleton, Valérie Hartwich, Detlev Schlichter and many others.  They will be pushing the boundaries, exploring radical scenarios, and inspiring ideas into your life.

After the intense sessions, step outside of the friendly hotel, be still, and take in the magic beauty of this island where you’ll be staying.

Ignite your mind this Summer. Join fellow liberty advocates at the ISIL 2011 World conference.

More info at www.vulcanoconference.com.

Our friends at Liberty in America, a grassroots organization that uses a liberty-themed tour bus to educated citizens on the ideas of liberty, hosts webinars featuring great speakers on a variety of issues.  Their next speaker is Kathleen Hartnett White of the Texas Public Policy Foundation on “The Approaching EPA Avalanche”:

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is churning out new regulations in unprecedented number, speed, scope, stringency, and cost. The Wall Street Journal called it “an EPA regulatory spree unprecedented in U.S. history.” With converging effective dates in the next three years, the rules risk basic electric reliability according to the National Electric Reliability Council. Kathleen Hartnett White, Director of the Armstrong Center for Energy & the Environment at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, will review 10 of these EPA rules and assess their impact – particularly on Texas, the nation’s leading manufacturing state. She will also identify strategies to roll back these rules.

Advanced Registration is required.  Click here to register now: https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/864732910

The following piece by David Boaz was posted on the Encyclopedia Britannica Blog on June 13th, 2011. David Boaz is the Vice President of the Cato Institute.

The current debate in the courts and many state legislatures over same-sex marriage is drawing more attention than usual to the 44th anniversary Sunday of the Supreme Court’s 1967 Loving v. Virginia decision, which struck down state bans on interracial marriage. Mildred Jeter, a black woman (though she also had Native American heritage and may have preferred to think of herself as Indian), married Richard Loving, a white man, in the District of Columbia in 1958. When they returned to their home in Caroline County, Virginia, they were arrested under Virginia’s anti-miscegenation statute, which dated to colonial times and had been reaffirmed in the Racial Integrity Act of 1924. The Lovings were indicted and pled guilty. They were sentenced to a year in jail; the state’s law didn’t just ban interracial marriage, it made such marriage a criminal offense. However, the trial judge suspended the sentence on the condition that they leave Virginia and not return together for 25 years. In his opinion, the judge stated:

Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay, and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.

Five years later they filed suit to have their conviction overturned. The case eventually reached the Supreme Court, which struck down Virginia’s law unanimously. Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote for the court,

The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men. Marriage is one of the “basic civil rights of man,” fundamental to our very existence and survival.

Here’s how ABC News reported the case on June 12, 1967:

David Boies and Ted Olson, the two lawyers leading the challenge to California’s Proposition 8, which outlawed same-sex marriage in 2008, connect the Loving case to the current case of Perry v. Schwarzenegger here:

Boies and Olson recently spoke at the Cato Institute, joined by John Podesta, president of the Center for American Progress, and Robert A. Levy, chairman of Cato. Podesta and Levy serve as co-chairs of the advisory committee of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, the nonprofit group that brought the Perry case. They wrote in the Washington Post last June:

Now, 43 years after Loving, the courts are once again grappling with denial of equal marriage rights — this time to gay couples. We believe that a society respectful of individual liberty must end this unequal treatment under the law….

Over more than two centuries, minorities in America have gradually experienced greater freedom and been subjected to fewer discriminatory laws. But that process unfolded with great difficulty.

As the country evolved, the meaning of one small word — “all” — has evolved as well. Our nation’s Founders reaffirmed in the Declaration of Independence the self-evident truth that “all Men are created equal,” and our Pledge of Allegiance concludes with the simple and definitive words “liberty and justice for all.” Still, we have struggled mightily since our independence, often through our courts, to ensure that liberty and justice is truly available to all Americans.

Thanks to the genius of our Framers, who separated power among three branches of government, our courts have been able to take the lead — standing up to enforce equal protection, as demanded by the Constitution — even when the executive and legislative branches, and often the public as well, were unwilling to confront wrongful discrimination.

In his remarks at Cato, and in this newspaper column, Levy argued that it would be best to get the government out of marriage entirely—let marriage be a private contract and a religious ceremony, but not a government institution, a point that I have also made. For some, that’s a libertarian argument against laws and court decisions that would extend marriage to gay couples: it would be better to privatize marriage. But Levy goes on to say:

Whenever government imposes obligations or dispenses benefits, it may not “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” That provision is explicit in the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, applicable to the states, and implicit in the Fifth Amendment, applicable to the federal government.

(more…)

This week we are featuring one returning and one outgoing Executive Board member.  The first interview is with Brandon Wasicsko from Florida Gulf Coast University.

The second interview features Executive Board member Irena Schneider, recent graduate from American University and soon to be a member of the Alumni For Liberty Board.

Keep an eye out to see who’ll be featured next!

With the New Hampshire Republican Presidential Debate coming up, SFL has started to receive inquiries about where we stand on the 2012 election as well as words of encouragement for SFL to openly endorse particular candidates who are running in 2012. This post is to clarify SFL’s position on the 2012 field of candidates and the election in general. In short: SFL has none.

SFL is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that does not endorse or oppose any political party, candidate, or legislation. We focus on the ideas of liberty. We are not involved in the political process and do not take sides in political debates. In addition to being legally restricted from doing so, such activity is simply not the focus of SFL as an organization. Our work in promoting liberty is to spread the principles of liberty. We believe that by educating more people about what liberty means and preparing and empowering young people to be effective advocates of liberty, we can do more to create a free society than by engaging in politics. From now until November 2, 2012, SFL will provide commentary on the election and advocate the principles of freedom for all people. Individuals involved with SFL may engage in political activity on their own time and without the assistance of SFL, but as an organization, SFL will not be involved. We have focused on being activists for ideas since our founding, and that will not change.

SFL’s theory of social change has drawn inspiration from Friedrich Hayek’s “The Intellectuals and Socialism.” In this essay, Hayek explains that “once the more active part of the intellectuals have been converted to a set of beliefs, the process by which these become generally accepted is almost automatic and irresistible,” and that “it is merely a question of time until the views now held by the intellectuals become the governing force of politics.” Mises, too, understood Hayek’s argument when he stated that: “What determines the course of a nation’s economic policies is always the economic ideas held by public opinion. No government whether democratic or dictatorial can free itself from the sway of the generally accepted ideology.”

Additionally, SFL has given consideration to what F.A. Hayek told Antony Fisher (later the founder of the Institute for Economic Affairs in London) when contemplating how best to further the cause of liberty; Fisher asked Hayek, “What can I do? Should I enter politics?” To this question Hayek replied with a resounding “No.” He explained that “society’s course will be changed only by a change in ideas. First you must reach the intellectuals, the teachers and writers, with reasoned argument. It will be their influence on society which will prevail, and the politicians will follow.”

SFL believes, like other great libertarian thinkers of past and present, that the future of liberty will be won with sound ideas. Students who go on to be business leaders, opinion molders and community organizers for liberty will best benefit from a strong foundation in the ideas of liberty. Therefore, SFL is dedicated to providing the resources necessary to reach that end.

While SFL does not engage in the political process, we do not disparige those who choose to do so. Such work is important and valuable for the cause of liberty. We, as an organization, simply focus our efforts on organizing, training, and educating future leaders of liberty.

To reiterate, we do not have a side in the 2012 elections. We expect individuals not involved in SFL’s leadership to attempt to categorize SFL as being “pro-CANDIDATE X” and “anti-CANDIDATE Y”, however, such labels miss the point of SFL’s mission as an organization. We are neither pro- nor anti- any political candidate and do not encourage or oppose people voting for anyone in any election. We are simply not involved in the political process.