Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Banned SNL skit addresses bailout

I came across this video posted on the Bureaucrash Social website. It is a recent SNL skit that apparently did not make it to the air concerning the bailout and the circumstances that prompted it. While the clip begins with the usual caricaturization of Bush, it eventually ventures into territory not typically covered by network programs such as SNL. It (gasp) alludes to the fact that some personal responsibility should be taken and that the events leading to the current fiscal crisis implicate both Wall Street and Main Street. 

You can find the video here

Monday, October 6, 2008

Socrates: Objectivist?

I came across this passage in Plato's Apology (Socrates' speech given at his own trial), and it struck me as having a distinctive Randian flare. I would be curious to hear the interpretations of others as well.

"For I go around doing nothing but persuading both young and old among you not to care for your body or your wealth in preference to or as strongly as for the best possible state of your soul, as I say to you 'Wealth does not bring about excellence, but excellence makes wealth and everything else good for men, both individually and collectively.'"

This reminds me of a certain money speech, and I think that this is a point we don't make enough in response to our critics. We are not pro-money or pro-business per se. We as libertarians are pro-excellence, pro-choice (not necessarily in the abortion sense- that's a little more tricky), pro-market and recognize that people should be compensated according to their achievements. It is not merely about hedonism and greed as it is often construed. It is about worth

As mentioned before, your opinions are more than welcome on this and any matter on this blog.

Friday, October 3, 2008

David Boaz event a success!

The speaking event at the National Constitution Center with David Boaz and Bob Barr followed by the Vice Presidential debate watching party that was mentioned before was a smashing success! Approximately 20-30 students from Philadelphia colleges attended, and it was well-received by all. After the debate itself, which was held in a beautiful space on Drexel's campus, David Boaz gave an impromptu speech on the state of freedom today as well as on the election itself. He was then kind enough to answer as many questions as we had before everyone finally dispersed around 11:30. 

There was one part of the impromptu speech that struck me in particular. David Boaz made the point that if Julius Caesar had visited Thomas Jefferson, nothing would have seemed different. He would have found a brilliant man pouring over books and papers by candlelight while slaves took care of everything else. He would have arrived by horse and transactions between the two men prior to his arrival would have been slow and laborious. Over the course of thousands of years very little had changed. But then there was liberalization led by libertarians of sorts, and if either man visited an individual of brilliance 100 years further into the future they would have found themselves in a different world. They would arrive by train, called the individual to let him know they had arrived. Gone would be the candles, replaced by electric light, ad nauseum.

All of this progress was made possible only after the liberalization of people, governments, and markets. Encouraging to say the least. It is now up to us as students, as the future of this great movement, to ensure that this progress is not undone. And not only that, but to ensure that it continues to grow. 

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Cato Out Loud: On the Bailout

The Cato Institute has posted a variety of clips from its experts discussing the financial bailout. Given that it's such a hot topic right now, this seems like a valuable clip for people to watch and use: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A1DWHwSph58.

David Boaz and Bob Barr on the Libertarian Impact on the Upcoming Election

Tonight marks the second major libertarian event of the year, and it's only October 2nd- very encouraging! This is a perfect illustration of the potential of the Philadelphia Forum for Freedom. It was going to be difficult for any single school to organize and host this event individually, but together, students from Penn, Drexel, and Temple were able to bring into being something great that could not have happened otherwise. Here is a description of the event:

"On October 2, barely a month before the presidential election, the National Constitution Center will host a public event about the impact of libertarian and independent voters on the 2008 presidential race. The Cato Institute’s Executive Vice President, David Boaz, and Bob Barr, former U.S Congressman and current Libertarian Party presidential nominee, will explain libertarian perspectives and ideas, and then address the crucial role that will be played on election day by millions of voters in the U.S. today who are either fully libertarian or who view many key issues from a libertarian standpoint."

After the speaking event, David Boaz will be spending the evening watching and discussing the VP debates at Drexel's Ross Commons with students from Penn, Drexel, and Temple.

This will be an exceptional opportunity for students to interact with influential members of the libertarian world in an informal, intimate setting discussing and debating all of the relevant issues of our time.

Stay tuned for pictures and details of the event!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Facebook for Revolutionaries- Bureaucrash Social

Hello fellow liberty-lovers and welcome back to another year with the Penn Libertarians! While this blog is used for a wide range of purposes, I would really like to dedicate the first one of the year to a new opportunity that can benefit all of us. 

I want to encourage all of you to join Bureaucrash Social, a social networking site for libertarians of all stripes. Bureaucrash has been on the up and up ever since Pete Eyre took over as "Crasher-in-Chief" and they have really outdone themselves with the creation of this website. (For those of you who are not as familiar with this organization, they are the ones responsible for most of the clever liberty-themed shirts out there and were involved in the now infamous arrest for silently dancing in celebration of Jefferson's birthday. You can learn more at http://bureaucrash.com) It is not only easy to use and navigate with tons of features (profiles, groups, chat rooms, events and networking) but also with the added benefit that everyone on the site is working toward the same aim- spreading the message of liberty. 

Through this site, we can advertise events, brainstorm, learn from the successes and failures of others, and meet some new friends along the way. I hope to see you all there soon!

Most importantly, here's the website: http://social.bureaucrash.com/

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Venezuelan Student Leader Receives Prestigious Honor

Students are able to change the world. While we all think that as idealistic college students, an international committee of the world's foremost leaders of liberty just said the same thing. The 2008 Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty will be awarded to Yon Goicoechea, the leader of the pro-democracy student movement in Venezuela. Yon joins the esteemed list of recipients before him of Matt Laar, Hernando de Soto, and Peter Bauer.

The Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty is a biennial award begun in 2002 to honor those individuals who have made a significant contribution to advancing liberty. With the award comes an unrestricted $500,000. It is the most prestigious award available today for those who advance liberty.

The pro-democracy student movement in Argentina began in May 2007 in reaction to increasing government oppression. The movement is nonviolent and of an enormous size. The movement has been praised with such tangible successes as defeating a constitutional amendment that would have given the Venezuelan government unprecedented power.

Here is a quote from Yon that illustrates his passion and what he has done:

“We have come to tell the ombudsman that there are 182 jailed students who were imprisoned because they were protesting on the streets in favor of Venezuelan democracy… The students of Venezuela are standing up for civil rights that have taken centuries to build… the cry from the students is peaceful."
What makes Yon's selection so important to us is that it recognizes the power of college students to fight for liberty. Yon has been ranked alongside the minister of Estonia who helped transform the country from communism under the rule of the USSR to a thriving capitalism. A 23 year old has been declared one of the foremost leaders of liberty in the world.

It's not just in our heads. As students, we can change the world.