Quantcast
SFL Calendar
SFL's Network
Support SFL
Blog

In the winter semester of 2015/2016 at the University of Passau I’ve taken part in an academic research to compare via a qualitative analysis the Wikipedia articles on various conflicts, like the Palestine-Isreali conflict, the Ukraine conflict from 2014 or the Refugee crisis in Germany, in different languages. The aim of the group research was to find out whether Wikipedia is a reliable source of information in the field of current international or non-international conflicts.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Source: Flickr

Wikipedia as you know is a free, open content online encyclopedia created through the collaborative effort of a community of users known as Wikipedians. Anyone registered on the site can create an article for publication; registration is not required to edit articles. The site’s name comes from wiki, a server program that enables anyone to edit Web site content through their Web browser. “Wiki” is a Hawaiian word meaning “quick”.

The results of the research were stunning since we discovered that there is a clear connection between an article in a certain language and it’s governments position on a certain conflict. I researched the Wikipedia-entries on the Russo-Georgian war of 2008. The article in Russian used 86% Russian Media as their source and another 3% of sources from Russian influenced territory. The English article used approximately 89% Anglo-Saxon sources. Even the article from a tiny country like Lithuania in the Lithuanian language used 25% of it’s own national media as their source of information. This shows that there is a lot of trust in the national media, which mostly reflect a governmental position towards a certain conflict. When I looked at the other 11% of the English Wikipedia article’s sources, they were mostly from countries that have a strong alliance with the US Government. The Lithuanian Wikipedia article on the other hand used 15% Georgian sources and 8% Russian media sources – so clearly the Lithuanian audience considered the Georgian information as “more reliable”.

(more…)

Two French municipalities banned the so called burkini this summer, a full-body swimwear worn by Muslim women for the purpose of following their faith. The fact that this not only made international news but developed into a national conversation shows how inadequately prepared France still is when it comes to dealing with the Muslim faith, especially under the current context. 

On the 28th of July the municipality of Cannes, one of the iconic tourist destinations on the French Riviera, banned the use of the burkini on public beaches. The edict that has been decided on by the conservative mayor states that swimwear should ‘respect the principles of common mores, hygiene, security and secularism’.

On the 13th of August the municipality of Villeneuve-Loubet joined Cannes in their ban. The mayor was quoted as follows:

“Being in the republic means that you don’t come to a beach to show your religious affiliation, especially since this is a false conviction: the religion doesn’t ask for this behavior [of covering up].”

He also accused the women who wear burkinis of isolating themselves in ghettos.

In the light of the recent terror attacks in France, let’s not pretend that this measure is without context. But even if the two mayors did not have the intent of targeting Islam in particular, the media and public discourse made the discussion about religion.

(more…)

Beginning in 2011, European Students For Liberty partnered with the Liberty Fund Inc. and the Austrian Economics Center to host a new project for students with a passion for developing their intellectual understanding of liberty – The Students For Liberty & Liberty Fund Symposia: Exploring the Foundations of a Free Society. In the last few years, this has enjoyed a great success in Europe.

Founded in 1960 by Indianapolis businessman and lawyer Pierre F. Goodrich, Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.

Their logo, the Amagi, is the earliest-known written appearance of the word “freedom”.

Following a series of SFL-Liberty Fund co-sponsored seminars in the United States over the last two years, we are proud to announce the search for 15 bright students to participate in a new Liberty Fund Colloquium co-sponsored with the Austrian Economics Center in Vienna on The Institutions of Liberty.

What is a Liberty Fund seminar like?

These three-day events are built around a Socratic discussion of the topic between fifteen student participants and an academic discussion leader.  Over the past fifty years, scores of aspiring intellectuals have attended Liberty Fund events to discuss and debate the ideas of liberty with their brightest peers.

Application to this seminar is very competitive.  The ideal candidate is eager to contribute to a lively intellectual discussion on the topic at hand.  Each attendee will be required to complete a set of readings leading up to the colloquium (readings will be provided).  Participation in the entire colloquium is mandatory, so do not apply unless you can attend all sessions.

Do I have to pay for it?

Housing, meals, transportation, and materials will be provided by Austrian Economics Center and Liberty Fund for you.

What is This Conference About?

The Institutions of Liberty seminar seeks to address the relationship between freedom, markets, and culture in both a narrow and broad sense. While competitive markets lead to wealthier societies with superior opportunities for individuals to employ their talents and labor, questions remain for many regarding the proper cultural and moral underpinnings of markets. Criticisms are frequently leveled against markets that they undermine familial and cultural stability by promotion of a ubiquitous individualism unmoored from any tradition or larger social order.  Another key aspect of this conference will be to evaluate (through several readings by Friedrich Hayek) the proposition that free markets are not derivative of a larger political, social, legal, and cultural order, but that they act as the pillars of a free society. Markets are not parasitical, but are instead crucial to the continual advancement of individual liberty and to the overall health and stability of any society.

  • Dates: November 24th till November 27th
  • Location: Vienna, Austria
  • Application Deadline: 16th October 2016

The reading list includes passages from:

  • Adam Smith: An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, Volume I
  • Deidre McCloskey: The Bourgeois Virtues: Ethics for an Age of Commerce
  • Ludwig von Mises: Human Action: A Treatise on Economics, Volume I
  • Milton Friedman: Capitalism and Freedom
  • James Buchanan: Afraid to be Free: Dependency as Desideratum
  • Joseph Schumpeter: Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy
  • F.A. Hayek: The Collected Works of F.A. Hayek: Socialism and War
  • F.A. Hayek: New Studies in Philosophy, Politics, Economics and the History of Ideas
  • F.A. Hayek: The Use of Knowledge in Society
  • Wilhelm Röpke: The Social Crisis of Our Time and a Humane Economy
  • Wilhelm Röpke: A Humane Economy: The Social Framework of the Free Market

Click here to apply.

Ever since robots were conceived by science fiction writers, they captured the fascination of humans and created a lot of fears. One of the most widespread fears of late has been that robots will soon displace humans in most jobs thus creating a permanent underclass. The most recent voice to add credence to this idea is Adam Smith Institute’s Sam Bowman on Medium:

Eventually someone may invent a robot that is better than humans at virtually any given job — cheaper to produce and maintain, faster, smarter and better at learning. Before then, we will probably invent similar kinds of robots that are better than a significant portion of the labor force at any given job that they could do.

If a significant portion of the workforce cannot produce anything more efficiently than a robot they will become permanently unemployed. The market cannot be relied upon to ‘work something out’: human labor is an input and markets are about outputs. There are lots of basically-useless inputs that the market does not use much, like toxic waste and whale oil. There will probably come a time when the labor of a large number of human beings is included in this category.

I would argue that the widespread belief, approaching conventional wisdom, that robots are capable of permanently displacing human labor is based on a misunderstanding of what computers (and thus robots) actually do when they are used by their human creators to solve problems.

For most people, the functioning of computers is deeply mysterious. Thus, when computers achieve impressive results like beating the world champion at chess, it indeed creates an impression that they will soon overtake us in terms of intelligence. However, once we realize what they actually do, it becomes clear that they are incapable of genuine understanding of anything.

Computers rigidly fulfil sets of instructions they are coded to fulfil. The designers of computer programs may miss some logical implications of the programs they designed but that doesn’t mean that a computer that produced an unexpected result this way is an instance of Skynet suddenly gaining awareness and deciding that it better get rid of its masters. Such a computer would still be blindly implementing the code.

(more…)

Despite the recent court suspension issued in Villeneuve-Loubet, the problem surrounding the burkini is not yet over. There are important points to be made on this issue in light of libertarian principles. Beyond the objection to the existence of victimless crimes, issues of secularism, intercultural dialogue and private property play their parts here. The simple, manichean formulae that we often find available in all sorts of media, portray conflicts between the liberty of Islamic women and the conservatism of western “freedom fighters”, whose defense of the French burkini ban assumes both conservative and ‘liberal’ overtones. However, a principled libertarian stance should take into account the balance between the right to wear whatever cultural symbols one choses to wear and the meaning these convey, both to himself and ourselves.

28598356043_8dd9ea51a7_o

Source: Flickr

The burkini does not simply equate with the skirt length regulations, now invoked as examples of previous moral policing imposed on women. The burkini, along with other types of clothing, represents a religious morality that challenges values held dearly in western societies. A centuries long struggle for equal rights of man and woman now bears its weight when suddenly we find women suppressing their own identity, by covering their body in order to follow religious tennets. The terrain is ripe for a conflict of perceptions in the public opinion, where even European libertarians find themselves divided, being simultaneously against state coercion and what they perceive as a religious tool of oppression. However, policy-making, being a sensible art, should mirror principles and not emotions. A public outrage naturally represents a ripe opportunity for politicians to promote their own agendas, while inconsequently perpetuating a misunderstanding on how to accommodate cultural differences.

(more…)

If you hadn’t heard of Gary Johnson before, then you probably have now that his Aleppo gaffe is all over the media. But who exactly is Gary Johnson? Did you know he was named CEO of a marijuana company a couple of years ago? Or why the former New Mexico Governor earned the nickname Governor Veto? Luis Pablo de la Horra gives you his view on the Libertarian candidate. 

The US Presidential Election that will take place in November will go down in history for several reasons. For the first time in history, a woman will be running for President in one of the major parties. Hillary Clinton has secured the Democratic nomination, beating the socialist Bernie Sanders in a very intense and controversial primary process. In addition, an independent and non-professional politician will be on the Republican ballot for the first time since General Eisenhower ran for President in 1952. Donald Trump has become the presidential nominee thanks to a campaign based on spreading an anti-immigration, protectionist and nationalist message that has appealed to a large segment of the American population; irrefutable proof that the American society is not exempt from succumbing to populism.

28326610981_c55c4d4579_o

Gary Johnson speaking at FreedomFest 2016 (source)

Also, it will be the first time since 1992 that a third-party candidate has real possibilities to be in the Presidential debates (the Commission on Presidential Debates requires that candidates “have a level of support of at least 15 percent of the national electorate as determined by five selected national public opinion polling organizations.”) The person who might be debating Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is none other than Gary Johnson, presidential candidate for the Libertarian Party.

Political Career

Gary Johnson started his political career in 1995 as the Republican Governor of New Mexico, where he served for two terms. During his time in office, he rightfully earned the nickname “Governor Veto” after vetoing nearly 800 bills passed by the State Senate and the House of Representatives, both controlled by Democrats. As governor, Gary Johnson tried to push a free market agenda: he favored school choice through vouchers, sponsored a wide range of tax cuts, introduced legislation to deregulate the electricity market and reformed Medicaid. In addition, he was one of the first relevant figures in US politics to advocate the legalization of marijuana.

(more…)

In an attempt to better share our current activities with our network, SFL is beginning an SFL Around the World blog post series.  At the beginning of each month, each region will post an update to their regional blog page to share their current activities.  Please stay tuned for more updates next month!

Fresh academic year is starting across Europe. That also means that summer holidays are right behind us. However that is not the case in European Students For Liberty where traditionally July and August have been busy months for all of the movers and shakers in the student liberty movement in preparation for an intense fall, full of learning, challenging ideas, discussions and opportunities to confront different and opposing ideas in a setting made for exactly that – University.

TOP 100 Retreat

top100In the preparation for the new academic year as well as the upcoming Regional Conference season, ESFL organised it’s first ever TOP 100 Retreat bringing several generations of pro-liberty leaders active in ESFL from all across Europe to discuss strategies for promoting liberty in the coming year, work on regional plans to further the causes they are working on and continue planning on different campaigns such as the continuing No Nanny Campaign.

Take a minute to check out this great video compiled by our leaders from the TOP 100 Retreat.

LLY Summer Academy

LLY AcademyThirty students participated in the traditional five-day long Summer Academy organised by leaders from our partner Lithuanian Liberal Youth. With an attendance of various international lecturers, the academy is a great opportunity to learn more about the principles of liberty in the history of Lithuania as well as more practical skills such as events management. The participants also got the chance to work on several projects during the academy.

Icelandic Free Summer Academy

IMG_1573Attended by nearly forty students, Icelandic Free Summer Academy was organised in order to reinstate the tradition of having a classical liberal/libertarian summer academy each year on Iceland. The FSA was oraganised from 8th to 10th of July. It started with a Friday social at Professor. Hannes Hólmsteinn Gissurarsson (member of Mont Pelerin society) estate and continued throughout the whole weekend with the total of 7 lectures on philosophy, economics, environment protection, entrepreneurship and more.

ESFLC17 Website and Theme

We are proud to to announce the new European Students For Liberty Conference website. In the past few years we have been seeing an extraordinary success of sharing economy and modern technology in general. We have seen an astonishing rise of the Blockchain technologies, hundreds new start-ups being started up in the fields of fintech, communications and elsewhere. We have been hearing both practical and philosophical discussion on the future of singularity and AI. For this reason, we have chosen the theme LetShare for this year’s conference.

1200x630web.png

You can check-out our new website esflc.org and keep coming back to for new announcements. Our first group of speakers announced includes Jamie Bartlett, blogger, journalist and author of the bestselling book The Darknet, Dr Stephen Davies, Head of Education at Institute for Economic Affairs, Lars Tvede, author and entrepreneur and Iyad El-Baghdadi a notable Arab Spring activist who used technology and social media throughout his activism.

Our partners from the IEA are currently hiring for two roles in the Programmes Department.

They also offer several internship positions throughout the year; you can find out more about them here.

Jobs

Programmes Assistant and EPICENTER Outreach Officer

The IEA seeks to recruit a highly motivated individual to work full time on one of our major projects, EPICENTER. This role would suit someone with a keen interest in European policy who is looking for an exciting new challenge. The successful candidate will be given the opportunity to develop and build on the initial successes of this exciting network.

The position will be based at the IEA offices in Westminster, London although it will involve regular travel to Brussels and elsewhere in Europe. The role will involve working directly with the IEA’s Director of Programmes and the EPICENTER Director. There is significant scope for career progression if the candidate does well in the role.

This is an excellent opportunity for an entrepreneurial, detail-oriented and fiercely deadline-driven individual to gain experience working at a one of Westminster’s leading think tanks. We are looking for someone who is very reliable, with a can-do attitude who gets things done.

This role would suit a highly organised, friendly and personable individual who is an excellent communicator and enjoys regularly meeting new people and working in an exciting and challenging environment. European language skills would also be helpful but are not a requirement.

EPICENTER Research Fellow

The IEA seeks to recruit a highly motivated individual to work full time on one of our major projects, EPICENTER. This role would suit someone with a keen interest in European policy who is looking for an exciting new challenge. The successful candidate will be given the opportunity to develop and build on the initial successes of this exciting network.

The position will be based at the IEA offices in Westminster, London, although it may involve occasional travel to Brussels and elsewhere in Europe. The role will involve working directly with the EPICENTER Head of Research and its Director. This is an excellent opportunity for a conscientious researcher to gain experience working at one of Westminster’s leading think tanks. We are looking for someone who is reliable, analytical and prolific.

This role would suit a highly organised individual who is an excellent writer and has a background in economics. Candidates with European language skills – particularly German, French and/ or Polish – will be preferred.

Screen Shot 2016-08-23 at 5.06.20 AM

Please visit this page for more information on requirements and how to apply!

Have you ever dreamed of spending a fair amount of time in a beautiful scenery, surrounded by smart liberty-loving people, developing your skills at work that you simply like? Well, then we might have something for you. Project Arizona is a brand new endeavour of our friend and former ESFL Local Coordinator, Jacek Spendel from Poland.

Project Arizona is designed for young people (age 20-30) who aim to strengthen their career perspectives, educate themselves in the American freedom tradition, and broaden their professional networks. Organizers from the Language of Liberty Institute (LLI) underline that their goal is to inspire participants with successful examples of implemented libertarian solutions. The state of Arizona is currently going through very interesting changes that are freedom oriented in their nature. This is happening at the crossroads of the third sector, the judicial branch and local government. Project Arizona is an excellent opportunity to explore it.

The core of Project Arizona is constituted by four elements:

1. Education: A week-long Academic Seminar on Free Markets and American Political History at the Arizona State University. The seminar will be co-sponsored by LLI partners: ASU Center for Political Thought and Leadership and ASU Center for the Study of Economic Liberty.

2. Internships : Project Arizona’s bank of paid internship providers is quite rich and includes think-tanks, law firms, the office of AZ Supreme Court Judge Clint Bolick, and tech companies. An internship will last four months.

3. Networking opportunities: Exclusive weekly meetings will be an opportunity to get to know high-profile people: businessmen, think-tank leaders and politicians.

4. Charity: Participants will be encouraged to dedicate some time to local charities, for instance by helping orphans or preparing food for the poor – since libertarians are not as cold-hearted as others like to portray them.

Project Arizona is not a project for the masses. Quite contrary, it will accommodate only 10 people who will live in one house in Phoenix. The first edition of the project will start in February and end in June 2017. There is a participation fee which will be reduced by scholarships granted to individuals. Scholarship receivers will be chosen based on merit and needs. European Students for Liberty is the partnering organization for Project Arizona and students associated with ESFL will be prioritized. Recruitment has already started on the project’s website www.projectarizona.us and will last until October.

In an attempt to better share our current activities with our network, SFL is beginning an SFL Around the World blog post series.  At the beginning of each month, each region will post an update to their regional blog page to share their current activities.  Please stay tuned for more updates next month!

July was another exciting month which ESFLers have mostly spent by making a lot of preparations, training, and improving skills as well as promoting and organising events throughout Europe. After weeks of preparations, all registrations for the new season of regional conferences were launched. Moreover, ESFL announced the date for its biggest event of the year, the ESFLC 2017, which will take place on March 17th-19th 2017. The following update highlights some of the most successful events organised by ESFL leaders.

Leadership Forum Lviv

13923362_600793686760139_4421919464004359651_o

Twenty highly motivated students participated in the Leadership Forum in Lviv for two days of training, discussion and networking. Pictured here is Katarzyna Cyrbus, the Regional Director for Eastern Europe, discussing the strategic development of the region with ESFL leaders from Ukraine, Belarus and Poland. Yauheni Preiherman, an economist at Liberal Clap of Belarus, the biggest liberal organisation of Belarus, was a speaker at the Leadership Forum. Through our contact with this organisation, we now have two student leaders from Belarus!

Online Marketing Training

In order to provide additional training in marketing, branding and design, we organised a five-week long Advanced Marketing Training for our leaders. The attendees got the chance to acquire new knowledge, skills and practice in both online and offline marketing, social media, advertising, branding and visual identity and also events promotion. In addition to that, the online course will be followed with a gathering of the most successful participants.

‘Poverty: who to blame’ lecture by prof Bryan Caplan 

DSC02172-768x512Professor Bryan Caplan, associate professor of economics at George Mason University and adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute, gave a lecture to Students For Liberty Heidelberg. The lecture was titled “Poverty: Who to blame”, a complex question indeed, and was followed by lively discussion with the dozens of students in the audience, concerning questions on the relationship between happiness and prosperity.

Lithuania Summer Festival

From 22-24 July, the traditional Summer Festival of Lithuania took place near the Rubikiai Lake. The event aims to attract liberty minded people from all over the country, and create a bond between them. Besides ESFL, the organisations involved in the event included Lithuanian Free Market Institute, Latvijas attīstībai Jaunatnes nodaļa and Tallinna linna noortevolikogu. During this years edition, more than 150 young people gathered to share their ideas and activities, to network and meet new people, and to have a great time and spread liberty.

vf88