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Future of Freedom Foundation with Young Americans for Liberty at UVM

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On 4/11/2014, Jacob G. Hornberger and Sheldon Richman of The Future of Freedom Foundation held a talk at UVM hosted by the UVM chapter of Young Americans for Liberty.

It was a very good talk focused getting government out of our daily lives and out of foreign affairs. It seemed that the biggest area of discussion and perhaps disagreement with the audience was over US involvement overseas. It seems that it’s seen that it may be our duty to police the world in order to keep our allies and ultimately ourselves safe, as opposed to focusing on defense.

Here is a video taken of the discussion:

Below are some notes I took during their talk/discussion:

(“J” is for Jacob and “S” is Sheldon)

J : Instead of trying to reform health care, social security we should just repeal them… government should also get out of education.

S : We need a theory of social change. We need a huge change in the way people think. Friedman taught many about the free market.

J : Freidman wasted time. I advocated against school vouchers.  Vouchers entrenches the government in education. We need a total separation of education and state. We need to shoot for the goal.

S : Incremental steps are good such as 50% tax reduction. Opposed school vouchers as it’s not a step in the right direction.

J : Conservatives are for reform, Libertarians are for complete freedom.

S: Saying you want to abolish doesn’t do anything. People need to be open to ideas.

J : Problem is people believe they are free. Libertarians say they want freedom and people don’t understand what you mean.

S : In good measure people are free compared to Cuba. We can buy books and move around freely. Not wacked out, as we can live fairly free. It’s just not enough.

J : If you can vote and do what you want Saturday morning you feel free. Why can you not work the job you want such as a doctor, lawyer or keep all your income or do the drugs you want without permission from government.

S : To many ancients freedom meant being able to participate in government through voting. Modern freedom is the right to do as you want with yourself and property. As a society we are heading back to the ancient meaning of freedom.

J : We’re born into system that says your free when you’re really not. It’s a surprise to people when they discover libertarianism and learn just how unfree we are. Also many laws such as minimum wage actually hurt the poor.

S : Many people don’t understand economics. Don’t realize that economics should by self-running. It should run itself. We need to educate people. Many of us libertarians read something that clicks but many don’t.

J : Safety nets sound comforting but free markets are the ultimate safety net for people. National security issues keep people fearful and believing they need them and they provoke problems.

S : If you are ignorant of the history of US intervention overseas you don’t understand why we’re being attacked. We need to educate people that the best way to defend ourselves is to stop provoking people.

J : We need to stop causing problems in the middle east going back to Iran with US overthrowing the government and placing the Shah of Iran in power who was unpopular.

S : Lack of information. People believe big military is better than the alternative of chaos.

J : The real way to maintain freedom is to dismantle big military and the welfare state.

Questions summarized:

Members of audience very concerned about nuclear weapons, unstable countries, humanitarian aid, problems like Somalia. Believe the US government needs to be involved to remove weapons and help allies of the US government.

Responses from Jacob and Sheldon:

S : Sceptical that government makes it better such as Libya with huge flow of arms. People here don’t know enough about societies and end up making matters worse such as in Iraq. The people making policies don’t know what they are doing based on history. Often the people we support are just as bad as the people we fight. Any modern problem is caused by past actions of outside entities such as creating borders that don’t make sense, splitting tribes and grouping people that don’t get along that fight for control of the government.

J : Rational for other countries to develop nuclear weapons because the US is a threat to their freedom. John Quincy Adams in “In Search of Monsters to Destroy?” stated we will not help you outside the US but you are free to come here no questions asked with open immigration. Private people can go over and do what they want to help.

S : History in US is clear that we’ve always had empire on the mind under the guise of national security.

J : Look at what it has done to us. We lead the world in torture and assassination. We would never have approved of this previously but now we look the other way.

S : Libertarians don’t promise a utopia, but won’t make matters worse.

J : As young people you live nice lives now and many register for draft to get educational funds and the us government would have no problem sending you to your death for nothing.

Another person said that libertarians telling people that they don’t promise safety scares people and they like being told by government that they will do whatever they need to do to make it them safe. People like the large military and support the troops.

J : Fear is important to the government. How do we overcome the fear citizens have and willing to trade freedom for safety. Don’t know how we change that.

Recommended Reading: Hazlet, Mises, Hayek, Bastiat wrote great stuff on economics.

Visit http://www.FFF.org for more information on The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Below is another video Jacob G. Hornberger and Sheldon Richman did after the talk discussing their trip throughout the northeast and some highlights of the discussions.

Liveable Wage at UVM

UVM Over the last week there has been much news and talk over this UVM protest over the starting wages of $10.60/hour, which would be $22,048/year. The protestors, or UVM SLAP, are asking for the “liveable wage” for them, which is $13.62, or $28,330/year. This implies that a single person making $22,048 is not living.

Heavenly and I did not make that much together last year and I think we lived… on approximately $5.00/hour!

There were statements made that employees in this range have to starve all year round, not just the one week, like the protesters did. I just don’t see how it would be possible for one person making $22,048 could possibly starve when Heavenly and I made around $10,000 each last year and had plenty to eat… so much in fact that we are now going on a diet as I mentioned in the previous post

Where is all the money going?? It cannot possibly be on necessities… they obviously must be spending it on other non-essentials if they do not have enough for food.

One thing that the protesters are not factoring in is UVM’s very generous health insurance plan. A single employee making $22,048 a year pays only $27.90/month for health insurance. UVM pays the rest of the premium which is $320.82/month! What a steal! This benefit alone brings up the hourly wage to $11.94/hour.

UVM also offers a retirement savings plan where UVM contributes 10% of your base salary to the fund after 3 years of employment. This has a $2,204.80 yearly value, adding another $1.06/hour value. This would now bring the total hourly wage up to $13.00/hour.

…and there still much more that UVM offers, such as free tutition for classes so that you can develop your skills to get a better job down.

In a recent Burlington Free Press article, Tom Gustafson, vice president for student and campus life, stated that the $10.60 per hour starting wage was “dramatically above the market rate” and “higher than at any other higher education institution we can find.” If benefits were included, he said, that compensation might work out to $14 to $15 per hour.

There you have it… they are already making above the “liveable wage” I feel that while the protestors feel they are doing a good thing, they simply don’t understand just what a good deal the workers are getting. I feel that UVM has been very generous with their starting pay and benefits offerings. The protestors don’t realize that there are many people who would love to get that kind of opportunity and it’s my guess that any new hiring position UVM has, gets filled very quickly.

More Information:

Peter Christ Speech on Why Drug Prohibition Doesn’t Work

Peter Christ made a speech and held a Q/A session on Why Drug Prohibition Doesn’t Work at UVM today, which was sponsored by Students for Sensible Drug Policy. For those who don’t know him, Peter Christ is a speaker for LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition – www.leap.cc).

Christ often begins and stresses in his speeches that Drugs are so dangerous that they MUST be legalized so that their can be more control over their production, distribution and usage.

There are many arguments for legalizing drugs including that is should be a right as long as you’re not hurting anyone and that’s it’s none of the government’s business to be prohibiting what one wants to do in their own home or business, but the argument above should appeal to everyone as it should be so obvious that drug prohibition isn’t working. Prohibition of any kind has never worked in history and most likely never will. It should be a no brainer.

LEAPAbout Peter Christ:
Peter Christ is a retired police captain. Throughout Christ’s 20-year career enforcing drug laws, he believed that “the drug war can never be won, and is doing more harm than good.” After retiring from the police force in 1989, Mr. Christ began speaking out publicly against the Drug War. In 1993, he became one of ReconsiDer: Forum on Drug Policy’s first members, and quickly became the group’s leading spokesperson. Mr. Christ’s topics include: the Drug War’s impact on the judiciary, police activities in the drug war, the drug war’s impact on prison populations and minority communities, sentencing issues, and the effectiveness of drug education programs in reducing drug use.

About LEAP:
LEAP members feel the role of law enforcement should be to protect and serve. That means we should be interested in lowering the incidence of death, disease, crime, and drug addiction — four categoris made infinately worse by the war on durgs. To do that we must end end prohibition and legalize drugs — Legalize All Drugs so we can control and regulated them and keep them out of the hands of our children.

More information on LEAP: http://www.leap.cc
More information on Peter Christ: http://www.leap.cc/who/peterbio.htm