Saturday, February 18, 2012

Young Americans for Liberty

Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) is likely the only club at Kansas State University that has had an in depth discussion on the pros and cons of the increase in the purchasing power of money known as deflation.

Young Americans for Liberty is a libertarian political organization. YAL often hosts a table in the K-State Student Union during lunchtime to spread information on libertarianism and Ron Paul to interested students and faculty.

Ian Huyett is the president of Young Americans for Liberty.

I am a full spectrum libertarian; I don’t discriminate in my indignation. I support the right of communities to manage their own internal affairs independently of overarching states and I support the right of individuals to control their own lives and bodies and to meet the consequences of their decisions, good or bad, and I apply that thinking to any issue, that means not inundating your citizenry with taxes, that means not babysitting the entire planet at their expense.

Ron Paul was asked at a Republican debate who should pay the medical costs for a healthy 30-year-old man who decided not to buy health insurance, goes into a coma and requires intensive care. Part of Ron Paul’s response was, “that is what freedom is all about, taking your own risks,” implying that the man should face the consequences of his actions. You can watch the full exchange here.  Ian Huyett defended Paul’s answer.

I agree with Ron Paul, I agree that he hit the nail on the head when he said that in order to have liberty you have to have responsibility. We are not free if we are only free to make good decisions; we have to be free to make bad decisions also. Ron Paul as a doctor treated many patients for free and strongly supports private charities, Ron Paul simply wouldn’t want to fix that man’s problem and save him from the consequences of his mistakes by putting a gun to someone else’s head and making them pay for it. That’s essentially when you do anything with taxes, you are using force because taxes have to be ultimately enforced through some sort of violence and that is something that has to be considered whenever we are doing something through taxation.

Taylor McFall shared a concern that was widespread among the members of YAL, the prospect of the United States going to war with Iran and Syria.

I’ve got a lot of issues that I am interested in. One of the main ones is the bad habit that our Presidents have of getting us into foreign entanglements, specifically wars and other armed conflicts. I was particularly upset about Libya because we went to an international body rather than our own Congress for permission for that one. When I was younger I was not as much against the wars and I actually supported Afghanistan and Iraq, but I was very young at the time. Now I’m upset about how we went into those and what the reasons were, especially Iraq, the reasons we went into there not turning out to be true. I’m especially concerned because I see us doing the same thing with Iran again. Syria is more similar to Libya probably, but Iran is going to be more similar to Iraq. We have basically taken these same arguments saying ‘oh they have weapons of mass destruction’ but we are not using the same term, now we are saying ‘we need to take them out.’

McFall also believes that many taxes and regulations are harmful to small businesses.

I am also concerned about the economy, taxes, regulations. As a person who works for a small business, I see regulations as harming small businesses because it is much more difficult for a small business to conform to regulations than it is for a corporation that has huge amount of money. They just have to pay someone and they can meet all of the regulatory standards. Small businesses can’t pay anyone, they have to figure it out themselves or pay off a larger portion. So I see regulations as really hurting small businesses and medium sized businesses, and helping corporations.

Jamie Michel supports the legalization of marijuana and is concerned about the wider drug war.

That’s what really got me into wanting to be an activist. We started trying to get together a NORML group here in Manhattan, National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, of course. Just realizing that I didn’t really actually have the freedom to live the lifestyle I wanted, just doing all the research, seeing that we are allowed to partake in alcohol and all the horrible things that does.  Learning about cannabis, both recreationally and for medical uses, and just realizing that there are a lot of people who are pro-cannabis who just stick to the medical side, but since I adapted more libertarian views, I mean we get to drink alcohol recreationally, why can’t we do this recreationally? I just basically realized that I didn’t have the freedom to choose that lifestyle if I wanted to.

Michel also supports the legalization of other drugs like cocaine and heroin. “When they get into a situation where they get addicted, I think we need to treat it not as a crime but as a health issue. They are somebody that needs help, not somebody who is going to change by throwing them in jail.” Michel also said, “I personally do not recommend that you do heroin or cocaine or whatever, but if you choose to do so, who am I to tell you what you can put in your body.”

Michel criticized President Obama’s dismissiveness on the issue of Marijuana legalization.

A lot of people bring up the issue. Even President Obama in the last interview thing he did where you can ask questions on YouTube, the most questions were about cannabis and he just kind of laughed and was like, ‘that tells you something about people on the internet.’ It makes me angry that people don’t take the issue seriously; they just don’t realize how serious it is. If anyone today were to bring up alcohol prohibition again everyone would freak out about it and I just wish people would see it from that point of view.

YAL widely supports the candidacy of Ron Paul. Christine Varjabedian expressed one of the reasons for his appeal, his consistency.

I think that the biggest thing for me is that he is very consistent in his opinion and his beliefs and he holds to them. He is not a flip-flopper. He isn’t going to change under pressure. I think that is probably the most important thing to me that someone is consistent and willing to hold onto their potentially unpopular beliefs.

Cameron Nedland, the vice president of YAL, also supports Ron Paul because of his uncanny predictions of two of the most important tragedies of our time: a terrorist attack that was partially caused by US foreign policy, 9/11, and the housing bubble that burst in 2007-2008 that was a major cause of the resulting economic collapse.

He doesn’t only say the things that I agree with, but if you look back at his voting record back to the 80s, he has not only talked the talk, he has walked the walk. He warned about a potential terrorist attack, due to our foreign policy, to the letter, in the year 2000. In 2003, he said ‘this housing bubble is crazy, it can’t last’ and he was right. Everyone laughed at him and mocked him and said he was some kind of economic illiterate but he knows what he is talking about and he seems by far the most honest and consistent man running for president. I don’t want to idolize him, but he seems like the best choice by a clear margin.

Michael Thomas is the only member of YAL who told me he did not plan to vote for Ron Paul, not because he doesn’t support Ron Paul, but because he’s an anarchist.

I do support Ron Paul in that I support what he espouses, his philosophy. Personally speaking, as an anarchist I will not vote in the election so I will not be supporting his presidential campaign. Mostly for the reason, although you will see me with a Ron Paul button on my backpack because I will point people toward Ron Paul because he says everything I… he is my spokesman. But if Ron Paul were to be elected, he would immediately be the face of what I consider evil, he will be the representative of the American government, of course I don’t defend anything the US government does. I like the guy to much, I don’t want to put him into that situation, so I will not be willing to do that.

Young Americans for Liberty meets every Monday at 7 PM in room 207 of the K-State Student Union.


  1. Good article Jason. I hope we see you again at our meetings.

  2. The last part I found particularly intriguing because the anarchist community is very bitterly divided when it comes to any form of support for Ron Paul. The reasoning is far more complex than what a simple quotation can clear up.

    On one hand Paul is consistent in his views that are of some importance for anarchists, and on the other hand there's elements of his background that are in opposition to anarchism. For example, his involvement with Austrian economics, which is a tradition steeped in "anarcho"-capitalism - which is strange because historically anarchism has always been an anti-capitalist philosophy, is clearly unacceptable to most, if not all, anarchists but those that support him feel that he's the lesser of the evils on display and that any support is a part of a diversity of tactics and shouldn't be seen as an endorsement for government. Needless to say that not all anarchists agree with the concept of voting (in the context of governments) so even this sort of defense is seen with suspicion.

    I've been reading this blog for some time but I never expected to see anarchism mentioned at any point. Will we see any more on the subject?

    1. I do not currently plan to do a story on anarchism, but I do enjoy interviewing citizens with a variety of political viewpoints and if I become aware of an active anarchist organization in my area (central Kansas) then I may very well write an article featuring their opinions.

      I am very glad to hear that you are a regular reader. Feel free to comment on any of my articles, I love comments!