Monday, September 23, 2013

Constitution Day Success!

09/17/13 YAL's Free Speech Wall at Vanderbilt University

This Constitution Day, in celebration of our First Amendment rights to freedom of expression, Young Americans for Liberty @VU erected a Free Speech Wall outside Rand and hosted David Hudson, a scholar with the First Amendment Center.

Our free speech wall received such a great response, we decided to leave it up for the week.  The positivity and lack of hate speech expressed on our wall reflects well on Vanderbilt students.  Thanks to everyone who participated.

Find more, higher definition pictures on our Facebook page!

Mr. Hudson was excellent in his discussion of modern threats to our First Amendment rights.  He focused on four topics:
  1. Free speech in public schools
  2. Free speech for public employees
  3. Freedom of sexual expression, barring child pornography
  4. Excessive enforcement of intellectual property rights
Hudson concluded by stressing that protecting freedom of speech is not a partisan issue, and that there have been infringements from all parts of the political spectrum.  He emphasized the need for a robust interpretation of the First Amendment, as free expression leads to a better society.

Vandy Law Professor and First Amendment Law Scholar, David Hudson Jr.

What did you think of our Constitution Day events?  Love them?  Hate them?  Please take a minute to fill out this quick survey.  We want to take your opinions into account.  That's kind of the idea.

Speaking of ideas...
Tuesday, September 24th (tomorrow!) at 7:00pm in Buttrick 212, we are having our first general body meeting and brainstorming session!  We'll be covering logistics/plans for October.  We also want your feedback, ideas, and the topics you'd like to cover. Feel free to bring dinner, along with all your great ideas!

RSVP here on AnchorLink.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Fall 2013 Interest Meeting: Kicking Off the New Semester!

What a great turnout!  After a successful Student Organization Fair on August 23rd, twenty-five potential new members attended our Fall 2013 interest meeting the evening of Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013.

The magnitude of interest in YAL@VU this year has been staggering and inspiring, but comes as no surprise, considering our mission as an organization, our impact on campus, and our dedication to issues and principles that resonate especially well with young people. 

After the interest meeting, old and new members enjoyed smoothies, coffee, and good conversation at Au Bon Pain. 

Check out more photos of the meeting on our Facebook page!

If you were unable to make it to our interest meeting, worry not!  Here's a short recap of what was covered:
  1. We welcome libertarians, classical liberals, and small-government conservatives, and those who want to learn more.  You don't have to agree with us on everything.  Diversity of opinion is a beautiful thing!  As YAL@VU, let's work together on issues upon which we do agree.

    Our key issues include...
    • protecting civil liberties, 
    • increasing personal freedom, 
    • ending corporate welfare, 
    • increasing government transparency, 
    • reducing government waste and abuse, 
    • lowering taxes, 
    • promoting a peaceful and diplomatic foreign policy, 
    • and promoting private charity.
  2. General body meetings will be Tuesdays at 7:00pm.  Meetings will range from socials to discussions to planning to speaker events.  We also go to regional, national, and international conferences, and this year, we are hosting a conference here at Vandy! Check out the schedule below for details.
  3. Schedule of events for Fall 2013
  4. Subscribe to our email list, join on AnchorLink, and like us on Facebook!  To take it even a step further, become a dues-paying member at and get a free t-shirt!  Drop in on any of our meetings or events -- we are delighted to have you.  
If you have any questions feel free to contact Emily Crowe, or anyone else on the executive board!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

2nd Annual "End the Drug War" Bake Sale

On April 19, YAL@VU held our 2nd annual "End the Drug War" Bake Sale to show support for an end to the war on drugs! We tabling on Rand Wall and gave out delicious brownies along with free swag from the Marijuana Policy Project, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, the Foundation for Economic Education, and Students For Liberty. We signed up over 20 new members while tabling that day. To follow-up, the next week we hosted a screening of Breaking the Tabooa 2011 documentary about the global war on drugs.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Thomas Schwartz: A Historical Look at America’s Position in the World

Thomas Schwartz, Professor of History, Political Science and European Studies at Vanderbilt, addressed a special meeting of Vanderbilt Young Americans for Liberty on April 9th as part of YAL's national Generation of War event series.  Speaking on the history of the military involvement of the United States, Professor Schwartz outlined the increasing role for our armed forces in world affairs since the nation's founding.  Dr. Schwartz described the changing foreign policy doctrines of the executive branch and their lasting effects, specifically linking US action in the Caribbean during the the late nineteenth century to the much earlier Monroe Doctrine and our current commitments in Western Europe and South Korea to the Cold War doctrine of containment.  After concluding his remarks with a list of potential issues and questions for the future of US foreign policy, Professor Schwartz opened the floor to a lively Q&A and discussion session.

Professor Schwartz's primary research interests are the foreign relations of the United States, modern European history, and international relations.  He recently received the 2013 Madison Sarratt Prize for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. Professor Schwartz has been teaching at Vanderbilt since 1990 and was previously on the faculty at Harvard University. 
Vanderbilt YAL extends the greatest thanks to Professor Schwartz for sharing his time and his expertise with our organization.

Vanderbilt YAL promoted Professor Schwartz's lecture and participated in the national Generation of War campaign by tabling on the major Vanderbilt thoroughfare of Rand Wall.  YAL members engaged their fellow students in discussions of the impact and costs of the interventionist foreign policy of the United States.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

John Lachs: Victims of Our Kindness and the Problems of the Welfare State

John Lachs, Centennial Professor of Philosophy and faculty adviser to Vanderbilt Young Americans for Liberty, addressed a general body meeting of our organization on March 13th.  The topic of his remarks was the intersection of human nature and systems of government care for those in need. With his characteristic wit and proclivity to illustrative anecdotes, Professor Lachs contrasted the human inclination to help others who are helpless with the less virtuous tendency to benefit oneself to the detriment of others.  A conflict arises in organized systems of aid as they create incentives for those who do not truly need help to demand it, victimizing both those in actual need and the greater population that financially supports the system.  Professor Lachs then opened the floor for a lively discussion of possible solutions, including the advantages and disadvantages inherent in private and government welfare systems.

Professor Lachs' research interests center on human nature with general work on American philosophy and German Idealism.  He received his Ph.D. from Yale University and has been on the Vanderbilt faculty since 1967.  Professor Lachs is well known on campus for his engaging lectures, particularly his introductory ethics course.  He is a past winner of the Outstanding Commitment to Teaching Freshmen Award and the Graduate Teaching Award.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Luke Froeb: The Debt Crisis and the Long-Term Consequences of Short-Term Economic Policy

Luke Froeb, Associate Professor in Free Enterprise and Entrepreneurship at Vanderbilt's Owen School of Management, spoke to our group at our first meeting of the spring semester on January 30. His talk focused on the debt crisis and the long-term consequences of short-term economic policy. Topics discussed included the fiscal stimulus after the recent financial crisis, the relationship between unemployment and automatic stabilizers such as unemployment insurance, the growing fiscal burden of Medicare on future generations, the difficulty in changing course because of low youth voter participation and special interest groups, and tough to swallow solutions that may have to be considered in the future.

Professor Froeb is an expert on anti-trust, and his research is focused on the economics of competition policy. After receiving his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Wisconsin, he taught at Tulane University, was a fellow at the University of Chicago Law School, and worked as an economist at the U.S. Department of Justice before moving to Vanderbilt's Owen School of Management. Professor Froeb has also previously served as the Director of the Bureau of Economics at the Federal Trade Commission where he managed over a hundred civil servants dedicated to tearing down barriers to competition (often erected by well-meaning bureaucrats), in addition to enforcing the antitrust and consumer protection laws of the United States.