For many, a mentor or a book opened their minds to the possibilities of a free society. For others, an affinity toward liberty happened through experience. As I discovered during the recent Atlas Network Liberty Forum, a great many leaders in today’s worldwide liberty movement did these things along with attending a FEE seminar.
FEE, the Foundation for Economic Education, has been prompting that “ah ha!” moment in people for decades, and now works exclusively to light the flame of liberty in the hearts of high school and college students.
Now FEE is calling on you. Are you a FEE alumnus or alumna whose worldview was changed for the better through a FEE seminar? Are you an entrepreneur or liberty movement leader who once interned at FEE? Have you been a loyal reader of The Freeman magazine?
We want to hear from you. Send us a short note with your contact information and the program and year you attended FEE so we can cite your success.
And for those particularly accomplished among FEE alumni, we invite nominations for the inaugural Leonard E. Read Distinguished Alumni Award. Named after FEE’s founder and teacher to many, this award recognizes one alumnus or alumna who has made a particularly strong impact for liberty. The award will be given at a dinner following FEE’s Inspire, Educate & Connect Summit in Naples, Florida on February 1st, 2014. The award includes a $2,000 cash prize and recognition among the more than 10,000 FEE alumni.
Nominations are open now through December 6th, 2013, so feel an urgent sense of unease and act now!
Richard Lorenc is the Director of Programs and Alumni Relations at the Foundation for Economic Freedom.
On January 29th, the Atlanta chapter of America’s Future Foundation hosted a discussion panel on school choice as a part of National School Choice Week. The panel consisted of Kelly McCutchen, President of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation; Brett Bittner member of the Marietta school board; Rich Thompson, a grass roots activist and founder of 100Dads; and Oak Martin, a home school student.
The discussion began with a visual presentation by Brett Bittner involving a wooden box and several balloons. Bittner displayed what happens when a school system tries to satisfy educational needs of children with a one-size-fits-all solution. Some balloons popped in the demonstration and Bittner explained that likewise many children will give up trying to fit into the box. The panel was unanimous in believing that having more options is essential to effective education.
Parental involvement also seemed to be a key aspect for both Bittner and Thompson. Bittner is a member of the Marietta school board and has personally witnessed open forum meetings to which only a handful of parents actually showed up. Thompson argued that no education system will be successful without parents taking an active role in the educational development of their children.
When asked about the role that money has and its importance in education, McCutchen responded that creating a “no excuses” environment of high expectations in both behavior and academics has been shown to deliver significantly higher student performance than otherwise comparable schools with nearly twice the budget.
Oak Martin shared his perspective as a home school student and explained how technology has unlocked educational opportunities for him to learn from the brightest minds in the world outside of the traditional classroom setting.
The group of nearly fifty was treated to a wonderful evening in celebration of National School Choice Week.
This week, parents, students, and organizations nationwide are celebrating National School Choice Week. From January 27th to February 2nd, many of AFF’s local chapters are joining the effort to educate the public about school choice.
In addition to a whistle-stop tour that has begun in Los Angeles and will end in New York City, AFF’s local chapters are celebrating with events of their own. AFF chapters in Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Minneapolis, and Raleigh are organizing roundtable discussions and screenings for young professionals interested in this important issue.
The Atlanta chapter of America’s Future Foundation is excited to announce that we will be hosting a panel of school choice experts: Kelly McCutchen, Georgia Public Policy Foundation; Brett Bittner, Marietta City School Board; Rich Thompson, 100Dads, and; Oak Martin, age 12, home school student. Please RSVP by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or sign up on our Facebook event page. More details here.
America’s Future Foundation- Chicago invites you to a screening of the movie “Won’t Back Down,” starring Viola Davis and Maggie Gyllenhaal. Based on a true story, two determined mothers and a teacher look to transform their children’s failing inner-city school. Facing a powerful and entrenched bureaucracy, they risk everything to make a difference in the education and future of their children.Location: Sullivan’s Steakhouse (415 N. Dearborn, Chicago) RSVP: email@example.com or on Facebook. More details here.
AFF-Denver, Liberty on the Rocks and the Independent Institute invite you to an evening of FREE drinks, appetizers and a viewing of the movie “Won’t Back Down.” Based on a true story, two determined mothers try to make a difference for the education and future of their children. Come sporting your school colors and/or logo and you’ll be entered to win a $50 gift card to Root Down! More details here.
Join AFF as we discuss the future of school choice–including charter schools, private schools, and home schooling–in North Carolina. Part of National School Choice Week! Panelists: Terry Stoops, Director of Education Studies at the John Locke Foundation, and; Donald Bryson, Field Coordinator at Americans for Prosperity. More details here.
Join AFF’s Minneapolis Chapter as we shine the spotlight on effective education options for every child! Our guest speaker on School Choice topics in Minnesota is Tom Coulter. We look forward to seeing you, raising a glass, & celebrating together at this fun School Choice Week event! AFFrodisiacs (drinks) & AFFetizers (food) discounts available. Come meet old friends & new friends at this fun networking event! More details here.
By AFF-Buffalo chairman Dustin Snyder
On Wednesday, October 24th, the brand new Buffalo, NY Chapter of America’s Future Foundation held their kickoff event at Coles Restaurant on the cultural mecca of Elmwood Avenue. The event was titled, “The Dangers of Cronyism” and focused on the questionable ethical considerations as well as the political and socio-economic impact of government and business getting in bed together. As a city which practically operates by such crony business practices, Buffalonians had a lot to say about the topic.
Four enthusiastic panelists joined AFF-Buffalo from a variety of backgrounds to speak in a roundtable-style format. The first panelist was Jim Ostrowski, attorney and plaintiff in New York’s famous “pork lawsuit” against cronyism in the state, as well as a regular contributor to LewRockwell.com and adjunct scholar at the Ludwig Von Mises Institute. He was joined by Jason Sorens, professor of political science at the University at Buffalo, founder of the libertarian Free State Project, and Mercatus Center scholar. Third was Chris Smith, journalist for the local Artvoice Magazine, small business advocate, and founder of CashMob. The last panelist was Bryan McCannon, professor of economics at St. Bonaventure University whose research focuses on law and behavioral economics, and the effects of re-election pressures on the decision making processes of elected officials.
Following an hour of excited mingling and milling around the buffet and bar, the festivities began with the panelists visiting a myriad of topics within the umbrella of cronyism. Each of them began by providing their own definitions of cronyism, and moved onto discussing its impacts. The panelists visited ideas such as the “chicken or the egg” question of whether business or government is to blame for cronyism, its influences on campaign spending, and what steps local populations can take to prevent such practices. They also touched on whether cronyism and corruption in government is an unavoidable or even necessary part of democratic government.
The discussion flowed extremely well, and created a great deal of back-and-forth with the audience – to the point where the moderator was forced to curb the number of questions so the discussion could continue. In fact, the dialogue was so engaging that even the venue’s bartender asked a few questions all the way from the back of the banquet hall.
Following the structured discussion, the guests and panelists continued to mingle and debate. The exchange was so lively that Coles’ staff offered to extend the open bar and our occupancy of the room well beyond our scheduled time. Both Mr. Ostrowski and Mr. Smith commented their pleasant surprise at the event’s success, stating, “It’s high time we had an organization like this in Buffalo, and seeing such great attendance means you’re definitely doing something right.”
After such a well-received kickoff, the Buffalo chapter of AFF looks forward to an exciting future. If interested in joining AFF-Buffalo, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
By AFF-New York City chairman Ashok Chandra
On October 17, 2012, America’s Future Foundation’s New York Chapter relaunched with a heated discussion on the history of the gold standard and its relevance in the modern day at the private room of the Irish Exit in midtown Manhattan.
The panel of speakers, featuring Europacific Capital’s Andrew Schiff, co-author of “How an Economy Grows and Why it Crashes,” Joseph Weisenthal, of Business Insider and a frequent guest on MSNBC and CNBC and Josh Barro, of Bloomberg View, a frequent guest on MSNBC and Bloomberg TV. The debate, moderated by AFF New York’s own Jared Stone, lasted for about 45 minutes with great interaction from 60 guests in attendance.
Following the discussion, we opened the floor up for questions. The discussion ranged from the historical growth of commodity backed currencies to the implications of what would have happened in Europe with a backed currency and the process and pains that would occur in the United States if we attempted to implement a commodity-backed currency.
The event served both as a platform for the attendees to learn about a very complicated topic and as a forum for New York’s young finance professional population to interact and exchange ideas with each other. In the coming months, AFF-New York will maintain the same quality of its first event and will feature discussions on the implications of Dodd-Frank, the Volcker Rule and a discussion of municipal defaults.
Stay tuned for more news from AFF-NYC! In the meantime, “like” us on Facebook for updates and news.
On Monday, August 13, 2012, the Atlanta chapter of America’s Future Foundation was joined by Robert A. Levy, chairman of the Cato Institute and author of the book The Dirty Dozen: How Twelve Supreme Court Cases Radically Expanded Government and Eroded Freedom.
Dr. Levy began his presentation by contrasting conservative, liberal, and libertarian constitutional perspectives, each of which leads to very different conclusions as to the proper role of government. He then detailed the importance of viewing our political system through the prism of the 9th and 10th Amendments.
As Dr. Levy explained, “If you understand the concepts of the 9th and 10th Amendments then you grasp the whole structure of the federal constitution.”
Dr. Levy then explored several modern Supreme Court cases that have expanded the power of the federal government and restrained the rights of individuals. During his discussion of Helvering v. Davis (1937)–a case centered on Congress’s ability to tax in order to provide for the general welfare, Social Security specifically–Levy explained that the Supreme Court effectively granted the federal government general, rather than enumerated powers. This decision legitimized expansive federal welfare programs and was instrumental in the ruling to uphold President Obama’s health care legislation on the grounds of Congress’s taxing power.
While Helvering v. Davis ushered in a redistributive government, Dr. Levy maintained that it was Wickard v. Filburn (1942) that gave the government the power to regulate nearly anything under the rubric of the Commerce Clause, including activities that are neither interstate nor commerce.
Dr. Levy corrected a few common misrepresentations of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010) and explained how this decision rightly overturned two key restrictions to political speech from McConnell v. Federal Election Commission (2003).
Finally, Dr. Levy explored the case of Kelo v. City of New London (2005), which involved the use of eminent domain to transfer land from one private owner to another private owner if there was public benefit.
Although the Supreme Court cases shared by Dr. Levy on Monday are not well known to most Americans, they have all had a tremendous impact on our individual liberty. During his closing thoughts, Dr. Levy stressed the importance of vigilant courts willing to “bind the legislative and executive branches with the chains of the constitution” if we hope to preserve liberty.
- By Jason Riddle, Chairman, AFF-Atlanta
In the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s ruling to uphold the “Affordable Care Act” (known also as “Obamacare”), one hundred young professionals gathered in Chicago for a discussion on the future of healthcare policy and the potential for introducing free market reforms to improve service, cost, and accessibility.
Following a cocktail reception, Nina Owcharenko of the Heritage Foundation spoke of the unintended consequences of the health insurance mandate (raising healthcare prices for all), what the Supreme Court ruling means for Medicaid, and how government interference in health care generally changes the nature of personal healthcare.
AFF has chapters throughout the country. Today, we’ll profile one of our most established chapters along with one of our newest and fastest growing.
Coming up, on Thursday, July 26th, AFF-Atlanta is hosting an evening with liberty luminary Lawrence W. Reed, President of the Foundation for Economic Education. After Mr. Reed delivers his talk on the “Great Myths of the Great Depression” we will join in a roundtable discussion about the similarities between what happened during the Great Depression and the events of the current economic crisis.
Then, on Monday, August 13th, AFF-Atlanta will be joined by Robert A. Levy, chairman of the Cato Institute. Dr. Levy will provide legal and historical perspective on “How the Courts Have Subverted the Constitution.”
The liberty movement is alive and well in Atlanta. We are encouraged by the warm reception thus far and look forward to continuing to grow the chapter in the months ahead.
AFF-Pittsburgh is one of our most established chapters. Under the leadership of Elizabeth Stelle, it has become a center for young, liberty-loving people in Pittsburgh to gather. The Pittsburgh chapter’s May happy hour marked the beginning of our summer programming break, and the leadership team is busier than ever planning three exciting events for this fall.
In September (date TBA), AFF-Pittsburgh will talk about communism and how big government destroys community, morality, and wealth. They will welcome former journalist David Satter who lived in the USSR during the 1980s and wrote a book about his experiences entitled The Age of Delirium. Then, as the General Election nears, we’ll discuss the value of voting and debate the most effective ways to influence government on October 23rd. Closing out the year (date TBA), they will welcome the Charles Koch Institute to Pittsburgh to talk about the benefits of economic freedom and introduce a variety of career and internship opportunities.
AFF is thriving in Atlanta, Pittsburgh and many other places throughout the country. If you’re interested in joining your local AFF chapter in either of those cities or Chicago, Raleigh, Denver, New York or Minneapolis, contact Richard Lorenc.
Richard Lorenc is Chicago Chapter Chair and National Chapter Coordinator for America’s Future Foundation. You can reach him at email@example.com.
For the second year in a row, visitors to Chicago’s Printers Row Lit Fest had the chance to learn about free markets, individual liberty, and limited government. Among the many Baby-Boomer communist booksellers that line the street during the annual weekend festival, AFF’s Chicago leadership team stood proudly, distributing copies of F.A. Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom, Leonard Reed’s “I, Pencil,” and Frederic Bastiat’s masterpiece, The Law.
In addition to chatting with passersby about current events and the philosophy of freedom, AFF also offered visitors a chance to discover where they landed on the World’s Smallest Political Quiz. After taking ten questions, visitors could be placed in one of five distinct quadrants: libertarian, conservative, liberal, centrist, and statist. Although most landed in the left-liberal quadrant, many were surprised to land in the libertarian area given that they either were unfamiliar with the word or had a misunderstanding of it.
AFF-Chicago committee member John Yackley provided an overview of the results at the end of the second day of the festival. AFF color-coded stickers by quiz-takers’ guesstimated ages: red is Millennials (and younger), green is Gen Xers, yellow is Baby Boomers, and blue represents members of the “Greatest Generation” (senior citizens).
You’ll notice most Boomers end up in the left-liberal quadrant, while younger folk tend to be left-liberal to libertarian.
AFF gathered nearly 100 email addresses at the festival and gave away dozens of copies of Hayek and Bastiat’s work to interested young people. Many books came courtesy of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, so our thanks go to them for their support.
AFF expects to appear again next year at the festival to open more minds to the ideas of freedom.
For more information on AFF’s Chicago chapter, join our Facebook page.
AFF-Denver chairwoman Jennifer Shirley recently led the chapter’s relaunch with an event cosponsored with the Heritage Foundation. Jennifer writes this recap:
First of all, I would like to sincerely thank the Heritage Foundation for allowing us to co-host an event focusing on the federal government’s fiscal crisis. As the re-launch platform for Denver’s AFF chapter, it was really great to meet the genuinely interested people who attended. As for our speaker, Bill Beach–Heritage’s Director of Data Analysis–presented in-depth knowledge about the fiscal crisis our country is facing. Coining the phrase “The Debt-Paying Generation,” Beach outlined the seriousness that the upcoming generation of 20- and 30-somethings face. He details this in his upcoming new book, in his soon to be released book Slay the Beast – How You Can Save US From Our Massive Debt.
Beach says, “Indeed, those of you in the Debt-Paying Generation could end up your working lives as the least-improved generation.” He goes on to say, “You will marry later, have fewer children, poorer health and lower incomes.” Beach helped to bring home the point that if the federal government continues down this path, it will have dire consequences for generations to come. The time to act is upon us and I believe that’s the message those who attended took home with them. Much thanks to Angelise Schrader and Bill Beach from Heritage for helping us to put on a successful and meaningful re-launch event. I hope members of Denver’s pro-liberty will attend our next event this summer.
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