Interventionism in foreign policy has been a crucial element of mainstream political platforms for decades in U.S. politics, but many libertarians see a foreign policy based on restraint as an essential element in the fight for freedom and prosperity across the world. With the quagmire of Iraq dominating political discourse during much of the past two decades, foreign policy is an area in which the ideas of liberty are sorely needed.
Many libertarians see American hegemony as dangerous both domestically and abroad. At home, the military-industrial complex represents a cornerstone of government power. As journalist and political activist Randolph Bourne once put it, “war is the health of the state.” Meanwhile, the United States’ continual presence in more than 70 countries and endless military interventions are both costly and destabilizing, distracting from pressing issues at home and driving growth of government.
As young people become increasingly hesitant to promote interventionist foreign policy, libertarian ideas of restraint and peaceful diplomacy hold significant appeal.
To this end, SFL is providing grants of up to $250 for activism aimed at promoting non-interventionist foreign policy until December 28th.
We want peace, love, and liberty around the world.
Activism could center around a few topics, including the human cost of war, the financial cost of war, or the way that the War Powers Act has changed presidential power and congressional checks and balances. It could also focus on famous whistleblowers like Chelsea Manning and Thomas Drake, who have released state secrets regarding unconstitutional war practices, but have been given disproportionately harsh sentences as a result.
Peace, Love, Liberty Grant Details:
The goal of this project is to promote foreign policy based on restraint to North American students and to supply our campus activists with plentiful ideas and resources to help engage people in creative ways.
To qualify for the grant, you must carry out an activism event related to libertarian ideas on foreign policy. This could include, but is not limited to:
- Highlighting the human cost of war
- Showing students the financial costs associated with interventionist foreign policy
- “Guess the Sentence” tabling for war whistleblowers
- Raising awareness of expanded Presidential power over foreign policy
- Hosting a speaker or debate on the theme of Peace, Love, Liberty
- Creative ideas not included above (submit a description in your application)
The following section provides more detailed ideas for potential Peace, Love, Liberty activism. The deadline to apply is December 28th, 2016.
Refugee displacement, domestic troop deaths, genocide, and drone strikes that harm civilians are all potential elements of war that are not always talked about. Although quite upsetting, raising awareness about the severity of the human cost of war is a valuable way for liberty-minded groups to bring the ideas of pacifism or non-interventionist foreign policy to others.
Activism could feature vigils for innocent drone victims and anti-recruitment fairs.
Check out these tips for tabling from North American Chair Wade Craig.
The Financial Cost Of War
Putting the cost of war into numbers that people can more easily fathom could be valuable (for example, taking overall cost and dividing it out by number of people living in the U.S. so it is a more accessible number) for making the case that defense spending is far too high. You can also provide examples of alternatives uses of the money squandered on “defense” spending.
“Guess the Sentence” for War Whistleblowers
Some whistleblowers, like Chelsea Manning, have been given unprecedentedly harsh sentences due to releasing documents that shed light on unconstitutional military or governmental practices during times of war. To engage fellow students on this important topic that has corroded both our justice system and our sense of transparency, SFL leaders can hold a “Guess the Sentence” tabling that asks students what they think various whistleblowers deserve and compares them to the punishments they actually received.
This brings awareness to not only the ways in which war is detrimental for societies, but also the government’s poor transparency when dealing with matters of war: a truly undemocratic facet of our society.
Less Power To The President
For many libertarians, the degree of executive power in matters of war is seen as highly detrimental to democracy because it increases discretion to commit American troops to foreign conflicts. By educating others about how undemocratic such a system is, you can help them begin to understand how various elements of the way we wage war are detrimental and don’t fully honor democracy or the constitution.
Find out more here.
Host a Speaker (or Debate)
Inviting prominent anti-war activists to speak on your campus, or holding debates between different student societies on foreign policy, are both great ways of engaging your campus!
Check out SFL’s Virtual Speakers Bureau for ideas.
Ideas Not Included Above
You can also submit any idea or activity that is not mentioned above provided it is consistent with the intent of the funding. Proposals can be described in the online application and should include a few sentences about the actual activity, a few sentences about the logistical components and expected costs, and a sentence about how it is consistent with the intent of the grant and able to accomplish desired objectives.
SFL is happy to fund creative projects, provided they still achieve the desired goals of spreading the ideas of non-interventionist foreign policy to other students.
To apply, you must:
- Be a current student.
- Take several photos of your event to share with SFL.
- Write a short blog post (250-500 words) upon requested about your activity.