Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Seasteading and The Seasteading Institute - A Q&A with Tony Dreher

In continuing our mission of hosting educational events on topics in libertarianism, we hosted this meeting on Sept. 26th to educate members on the concept of Seasteading and the work of The Seasteading Institute. We screened a TEDx presentation by Patri Friedman followed by a Q&A with Tony Dreher, an ambassador for The Seasteading Institute.

Patri's presentation can also be viewed on YouTube and is embedded below.

Patri Friedman is the founder and chairman of the Board of The Seasteading Institute and the CEO of Future Cities Development Inc. He earned a BS in math from Harvey Mudd College, an MS in computer science from Stanford University, and an MBA from Cardean University. While in school he experimented with technology startups, ran a small consulting business, and co-founded two intentional communities. In 2004 he joined Google to work as a software engineer.

In 2008 he left Google and co-founded The Seasteading Institute with seed funding from entrepreneur, investor, and philanthropist Peter Thiel. He is also a prolific writer on political theory and philosophy, and has appeared in hundreds of media stories worldwide, including NPR, BBC, and The Economist. Patri comes from a line of great revolutionary thinkers, his grandfather Milton Friedman was the 1976 Nobel Laureate in economics, and his father David Friedman is a well-known political theorist and festival founder.

Learn more about The Seasteading Institute and its ambassador program:

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

What Ever Happened to the Constitution?

In continuation of our celebration of Constitution Week, on Sept. 19th, we held a screening of a lecture by Andrew Napolitano, titled “What Ever Happened to the Constitution?” In this lecture, Judge Napolitano explores the historical experience of the colonists under English rule that influenced the limitations on government power present in the Constitution, the nature of the rights ensured in the Bill of Rights, and how these governing documents have been compromised and violated outright from the early days of our republic.

The lecture can also be viewed on YouTube and is embedded below.

Andrew Napolitano is a former New Jersey Superior Court Judge, the youngest at the time, and senior judicial analyst for Fox News. He has also worked as an adjunct professor of law and is perhaps best known for his television program Freedom Watch, which aired on Fox Business Channel. He is the author of six books on government and law with a particular focus on the Constitution.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Constitution Day 2012

Sept. 17th 2012 marks the 225th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution. Young Americans for Liberty at Vanderbilt University celebrated Constitution Day 2012 by handing out over 500 free pocket constitutions to promote the principles of limited government embodied in the Constitution. Students also got the chance to sign a full-size replica of the Constitution and test their knowledge of the Constitution with our Constitution Quizzes. A wild gorilla also happened to be crossing campus when it discovered a passion for the Constitution ...

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Welcome new students!

The new school year is about to begin and Young Americans for Liberty at Vanderbilt are excited to start our fall recruitment drive. We'll be at the student organization fair on Friday between 3pm to 6pm. We'll also be tabling inside the Commons Atrium and Rand Terrace from Aug. 27th thru. 31st. Our interest meeting will be on Monday, Sept. 3rd 8pm in Commons Center 235. See you then!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

4/20 Bake Sale & Radley Balko on the War on Drugs

In a free society, individuals should be able to make their own choices about their own bodies. We believe that individuals have the right to consume, smoke or drink any substance as long as their resulting actions do not harm another individual who does not wish to be harmed. But regardless of their initial intentions or motives, those individuals who choose to exercise this right must also take full responsibility for the choices that they make while under the influence of any substances, including any actions that cause injury or death to another individual.

In direct contradiction to libertarian principles is the war on drugs that has been ongoing in America since alcohol prohibition, from 1920 to 1933. Since 1971, the war has been focused on the prohibition of a wide range of illegal substances including marijuana.
During these periods of prohibition, the statistics gathered clearly indicate that homicide rates and police enforcement costs have increased as a result of the drug war. A simple economic analysis shows that whenever a consumer good is prohibited, a black market will result in order to meet supply with demand. However, a black market lacks both a legal system and assurances of product quality, often becoming a dangerous trade.
This is exactly what has happened in the U.S. and in almost all countries in the world that have prohibitionist drug policies. Prohibition has made it extremely profitable for major drug cartels to traffic drugs into the U.S., while causing unnecessary violence and death to innocent bystanders and law enforcement officers.
To protest the drug war and raise awareness of its failures,  YAL@VU hosted our first annual 4/20 Bake Sale on Rand Wall from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday, April 20th.

On April 23rd, we hosted guest speaker Radley Balko who discussed the collateral damage from America’s ongoing drug war.

America’s century long war on drugs has cost hundreds of billions of dollars and left a catastrophic trail of damage in its wake. There is no area of public policy — or even our public and private lives — that it hasn’t impacted. And yet, illicit drugs are as easy to obtain today as they were in the early 1900s, as they were in the 1960, and as they were in the 1980s. Radley Balko will survey the damage — from the tens of thousands of homicides in just a few years in Mexico and poisoning of the land in South America, to the damage wrought here at home, including the corruption and militarization of police; the erosion of the Fourth Amendment; and the destruction of the doctor-patient relationship and handicapping of palliative care.
We had another great turnout at this event and the video of the presentation can be watched below:

(As you can see, we were also competing with Vanderbilt's Habitat for Humanity that day.) 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

2012-2013 YAL@VU Exec Board Annoucements!

Yesterday, after passing proposed constitutional amendments, YAL@VU elected next year's leadership team. The board members for the upcoming year are:

President: Kenny Tan
Vice President: Thomas Choate
Treasurer: Brian Rizzo
Secretary: Emily Crowe
Creative/Outreach Director: David Moore

Congratulations to everyone elected. If you didn't win a position or weren't able to make the meeting last night, but still want to get involved in the organization, we also have appointed positions that can be opened up.

In addition, keep an eye out for further information about our April activism event. Our plans include a 4/20 bake sale and a guest speaker on the War on Drugs. Please let us know if you'd like to help prepare the baked goods on Thursday night (4/19).

Monday, March 26, 2012

Dr. Ming Wang and Ralph Weber

On Monday, March 26th, YAL@VU hosted a healthcare panel featuring MediBid CEO Ralph Weber and ophthalmologist Dr. Ming Wang.

A Canadian philanthropic entrepreneur, writer, Certified Financial Planner, Registered Employee Benefits Consultant, Chartered Life Underwriter, and Chartered Financial Consultant, Weber endorsed a free-market health care system to help patients save money.  He discussed problems with "Obamacare," especially pertaining to how the new healthcare policies will affect students.

Surviving China's Cultural Revolution and appreciating freedom and choice in America - Dr. Ming Wang, Harvard & MIT (MD, magna cum laude); PhD (laser physics) spoke about his childhood and teenage years in China and how he came to be a doctor in America. To expound upon Weber's points, Wang spoke about how he, as a physician, viewed healthcare and the recently passed healthcare bill.  Ultimately, Wang supports a mostly free market in healthcare, but believes, due to social responsibility and human dignity, there should be at least some regulation in place to help those without access to healthcare.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

YAL@VU Spring 2012 Recruitment Report

YAL@VU had an extensive spring recruitment drive this year, hosting four events to garner interest in the organization, and signing up over fifty new members.
In January, we held a Teach-In on the National Defense Authorization Act, along with a Presidential Debate Watching Party. We also hosted a dinner discussion with Libertarian Vanderbilt Sociology Professor Richard Pitt. In February, we hosted a lecture by libertarian Radley Balko on The Militarization of Main Street. We also participated in the national activism event, Crony Capitalism = Phony Capitalism.
Here are some pictures of our events along with mentions in the press.

Radley Balko: The Militarization of Main Street

Radley Balko is a senior writer and investigative journalist for Huffington Post, where he writes about criminal justice and civil liberties, and also writes about Nashville music and culture. He was previously a senior editor at Reason magazine, and he has been published in a variety of media outlets from Playboy to the Wall Street Journal.

On February 13th, YAL@VU hosted Radley Balko for a dinner discussion on The Militarization of Main Street. About 60 students, faculty, staff, and local community members attended the event. Comments about the presentation were very positive.
The video of the event can be watched below.

Examining the rise of SWAT teams and America’s increasingly reactionary, militaristic approach to policing, Balko mentioned the gradual decline of the Law of Posse Comitatus – the principle that there should be a total separation of the military from civil law enforcement. He went on to discuss botched raids and the terror and intimidation, and sometimes death, suffered by civilians as a result. Balko ended the discussion by emphasizing the importance of holding our politicians accountable for these issues and that real change can only be brought about by a mentality change over time.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

An Open Letter to Our Friends and Alumni

Thursday, January 26, 2012

An Evening with Vanderbilt Sociology Professor Richard Pitt

On January 23rd, YAL@VU held the first dinner discussion of the semester, "Living in Liberty: Possible in a 21st Century America?" 

The speaker of the event was Dr. Richard Pitt, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Vanderbilt University, who discussed how his characteristics and beliefs, many of which may seem conflicting when viewing politics simply as "blue" versus "red," led him to classical liberalism and libertarianism. Pitt also focused on how his views affect him as a professor of sociology and his teaching method of wrestling with different sides of a topic rather than presenting it as black and white.
Pitt was an engaging speaker and left the audience enthusiastic and charged with questions in the aftermath of his lively presentation.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Spring Kick-off Event Report

On January 16th, YAL@VU held its first event of the semester, a teach-in focusing on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and its provisions for indefinite military detention of terrorist suspects, combined with a presidential debate watching party. We had one of our largest ever turn-outs, with close to 50 people in attendance during the 3 hours. As part of our spring recruitment drive, we also added 16 new emails to our mailing list. Two local TV stations, WSMV and WKRN, came to report on the event.

Our teach-in was led by John M. Drake.
John Drake was born in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1968. He earned his baccalaureate degree in computer science from UAB in 1991. He then completed a Masters in computer science. In 1998, Drake relocated with his wife to Nashville so that she could pursue research at Vanderbilt. A friend whom he was helping prepare for the LSAT suggested that he sit for the exam as well. He attended Vanderbilt University Law School and graduated in 2011. He currently works in the Nashville area, where he lives with his wife, Dr. Wonder Drake, and their twin sons, Cameron and Miles.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

NDAA Teach-In & Debate Watching Party

On the holiday commemorating the birthday of a great civil rights advocate, Martin Luther King, Jr., YAL@VU will be hosting a teach-in on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), a critical threat to civil rights in the modern era.

After the teach-in, we will also be hosting a presidential debate watching party starting at 8PM.

Also come to learn more about Vanderbilt's libertarian student organization and get a preview of our plans for the semester!