Steve Mariotti: What is Students For Liberty?
Wolf von Laer: Students For Liberty is a non-profit organization that trains students to become better advocates of the ideas of liberty. We are pro-liberty students who stand up for economic, individual, and academic freedom. We are active in over 110 countries and have trained over 3,000 students worldwide since 2008. Last year alone, our volunteers organized close to 500 events with more than 28,000 attendees.
Despite the fact that our core is in the U.S., we are truly an international organization. We are represented on all inhabited continents. Every society has its own unique narratives of oppression and liberation.
We value the ideas of liberty and the thinkers behind it: Smith, Tocqueville, Hayek, Buchanan, Ostrom, and many others. We are not affiliated with any party or politician. We value principles, not personality or political expediency.
In the days of Adam Smith, a central planner who believed he could create utopia was called a “man of system.” The man of system is still attractive to many of us today. Why? Fear, in part. There are many things in our world that induce fear, including economic turmoil, terrorism, and people who look different than oneself. This fear is a strong motivator in politics. A strong man or woman who promises to unify citizens against the apparent threat of globalists, deep statists, the media, or any other collective enemy is attractive and powerful. In the mind of the modern “man of system,” government is a hammer and every societal ill is a nail. The view that a single person can wield state power to create heaven on earth is a simple, appealing story. It is also incredibly dangerous, completely false, and all too often repeated throughout history.