August saw a number of great events and announcements from Students For Liberty. Here are some highlights!
Jonathan Haidt announced as first speaker at ISFLC17
At the beginning of August, we announced world-renowned social psychologist Jonathan Haidt as the first confirmed speaker for the 2017 International Students For Liberty Conference (#ISFLC17).
Haidt is an engaging figure for young people interested in the ideas of liberty, thanks to his passion for free expression and open-mindedness. He played a key role in establishing and promoting Heterodox Academy: a politically diverse group of academics from various disciplines who are concerned with a lack of viewpoint diversity in American higher education.
He also co-authored a highly-praised 2015 article for The Atlantic, titled “The Coddling of the American Mind.” The article argues that protecting college students from words and ideas they don’t like (in the name of emotional wellbeing) is disastrous for both their education and mental health.
We at Students For Liberty are (unsurprisingly) huge fans of the Gadsden flag. For us, it’s a reminder that every human life is valuable and worthy of self-direction without excessive interference from the government or anyone else.
August saw attempts to restrict and regulate this symbol of freedom, with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission looking to make it a punishable offense for employees to wear attire with the Gadsden flag or similar insignia on it.
Our #SaveTheGadsden campaign took social media by storm. Read more about it here.
No to the Nanny State in Canada: Corner Store Takeover
This August, SFL Canada generated a massive buzz around their #FreeToChoose activism! Taking its title from Milton and Rose Friedman’s famous defence of free market principles, the campaign has focused on combating the rise of paternalistic lifestyle regulation in Canada. Recent instances of government overreach in Canada include proposals to require plain packaging for cigarettes and soda, as well as citywide bans on ridesharing services such as Uber.
The highlight of the #FreeToChoose campaign has undoubtedly been the Nanny State Corner Store stunt, which took place on August 11th. SFL Canada took over a Toronto corner store and stocked it with plain-packaged pop, chips, and chocolate.
Tens of thousands have watched the promotional videos for the corner shop stunt on SFL Canada’s Facebook. #FreeToChoose memes in English and French have reached over a million Canadians. David Clement, SFL’s Director of North American Programs, was interviewed on the campaign by several Canadian radio stations. National and international news outlets are covering our activism, and additional exposure in local newspapers is helping us spread the ideas of liberty to Canadians across the country.
Get Out The Liberty campaign launch
Later in August, we launched our Get Out The Liberty activism grants. The GOTL campaign offers activism grants of up to $250 for students with creative ideas about how to spread the message of a free and prosperous society on their campus. We want to attract new students to our movement: ones who are sick and tired of the current election cycle and demand an alternative.
To date, we’ve approved over 60 of them!
Student activists at Hamline University, Minnesota hosted a screening of the documentary “Deep Web” as part of our nationwide campaign to highlight the failures of drug prohibition (in cooperation with Young Americans for Liberty and Students For Sensible Drug Policy).
Members of the audience were so inspired that they are now starting up a liberty-leaning organization at the university!
Eastern Washington University saw liberty-minded students take advantage of our grant to host a successful tabling event. What made it interesting was the fact that there were no College Republicans or College Democrats at the campus recruitment fair! Young people are disillusioned with the status quo, and it showed.
Libertarians having a monopoly on campus politics? About time!