On April 25th, the Atlanta chapter of America’s Future Foundation (AFF) received a very warm welcome from a gathering of over twenty local young professionals interested in building community around the ideas of free markets and individual liberty.
The Atlanta chapter’s kickoff event “What is Liberty?” was held at Fado Irish Pub in Buckhead and featured three excellent guest panelists. Dr. Andrew Cohen, Director of the Jean Beer Blumenfeld Center for Ethics and Associate Professor of Philosophy at Georgia State University, provided an engaging account of both positive and negative liberty and challenges philosophers offer to each. Chuck Donovan, airline pilot of 33 years and former US Senatorial candidate, shared his own story of discovering the philosophy of liberty and explained why it is important to analyze policy against a consistent standard of liberty. Finally, the group was treated to a thought provoking answer from radio talk show host, Monica Perez, when asked “What would a free society look like?” Monica’s response, reminiscent of Leonard Reed’s classic essay “I Don’t Know”, reminded the group that our biggest challenge is not necessarily to explain exactly how a free society will be ordered, but rather to explain that the uncertainty of an unplanned economy is not something that should be feared.
The Atlanta chapter kickoff was a great success. AFF is excited to be a part of the liberty community in Atlanta and we look forward to building on this momentum in the coming months.
If you have any questions, please contact AFF-Atlanta chairman Jason Riddle: firstname.lastname@example.org
AFF is growing across the country. This winter, chapters in Chicago, Pittsburgh, and Raleigh organized events aimed at connecting young professionals with a certain penchant for freedom.
AFF’s brand-new chapter in Raleigh, North Carolina launched on March 13th with a debate over an upcoming constitutional amendment on marriage. 45 people attended AFF-Raleigh’s very first event, which was coordinated by local committee members Joe Coletti, Jenna Robinson, Marissa Farrell, and Fergus Hodgson. AFF-Raleigh is building a community of young professionals who love liberty who live in the Raleigh and Research Triangle region. Contact email@example.com if you would like to get involved with this new group. And be sure to check AFF-Raleigh’s page on our website for upcoming events.
AFF-Pittsburgh has continued its long run of excellent events for that city’s liberty community, including an event with the Pennsylvania chapter of the NFIB. They discussed how government regulation is impacting job creation in the economy. You can read more about this event here.
Additionally, AFF-Minneapolis continues to move forward with programming for conservatives and libertarians in the North Star State. Chapter co-chairmen Ebani Boutlier and Scott Thompson have developed a strong group in their city, and held an event on March 28th on the question of whether voters should be required to present identification at the polling place. Details on this event are here.
Lastly, AFF-Chicago also held an event on March 28th on how statism impacts culture and what free market advocates can do to better address common myths about free enterprise and liberty among the general public. Larry Kauffman from the American Culture Institute spoke on this and other ideas. More information is here.
Events are already planned for this spring Atlanta (its first), Chicago, Denver, Minneapolis, and Pittsburgh. If you are interested in participating in an AFF chapter in any of these cities or New York or Nashville, please contact Richard Lorenc.
We’re very proud to announce that AFF is forming a new chapter in Atlanta, GA!
Local radio host Jason Riddle, attorney Danielle Hudson, and wine wholesaler Phred Barnet are the new leaders of AFF-Atlanta. In this capacity, they are building a community of Atlanta young professionals interested in free markets, individual liberty, and limited government. They will hold cocktail hours, networking events, and roundtable discussions in convenient locations throughout the year.
I can’t wait for their launch event on Wednesday, April 25th. The roundtable topic will be “What is liberty?” and will cover some of the basic ideas, thinkers, and texts of our movement. Watch this space for further details.
Contact AFF-Atlanta chairman Jason Riddle at firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about the new Atlanta chapter.
Congratulations to the whole AFF-Atlanta team, and welcome aboard!
AFF is hot in the states!
This week, AFF chapters in Chicago and Pittsburgh are having events, and the Raleigh chapter’s first-ever event takes place next week.
On Tuesday evening, AFF-Pittsburgh is teaming up with the Pennsylvania Chapter of the NFIB to ask (and answer), “Where have all the jobs gone?” They’ll discuss excessive regulations that are making it difficult for businesses to open, serve people, and create new jobs. Click here for more information on this event.
On Wednesday evening, AFF-Chicago will ask another question: “Is America still a meritocracy?” Is success based on what you know or who you know. We don’t know what the consensus will be by the end of the roundtable, but attendees will certainly get “just desserts” from the cupcake and candy bar. Click here for more info.
Last week, the Chicago chapter got AFF’s name in the Chicago Tribune in a letter to the editor on the closing of Chicago’s famous Hull House, which performed work for the State of Illinois without ever receiving the compensation it was promised. Scroll down on this page to see this letter.
Finally, AFF’s Raleigh chapter is gearing up for its first-ever event: “Should the constitution define marriage?” On March 13th, they’ll be discussing a proposed amendment to the North Carolina constitution, which is being offered to voters this May. Click here for the details.
As always, if you’re interested in any chapter activities or in beginning your own local AFF chapter, contact Richard Lorenc.
Yesterday, the New York Times published a letter I wrote in response to a very silly news article on regard for the U.S. Constitution internationally. Apparently, fewer countries are using our constitution as a model for theirs. Not that it matters much. You can have a great, liberty-protecting constitution and a government that ignores it completely.
Here’s a snippet of what I wrote:
A good constitution enshrines general principles rather than specific rights. It acts as a lens through which people of different opinions and status can live together peaceably regardless of changing norms and circumstances.
If you want a constitution that is lengthy and new, look no further than the Constitution of India, which was adopted in 1950. It takes 395 articles to explain all the ways in which India’s government will advance a just, equal, free, friendly, secular, socialist government.
It would have been more precise had I replaced that last “government” with “state,” but the point stands.
Getting these 150 or so words in that bastion of statism that is the Old Gray Lady wasn’t easy. I’ve had a few letters in the Wall Street Journal and a couple of the Chicago Tribune, but, before now, never one in the Times.
The secret is writing. A lot.
I model my letter-writing after Don Boudreaux at George Mason. He writes letters to the editor like no one’s business, posting all of them on his blog Cafe Hayek. What may surprise you about someone of Professor Boudreaux’s knowledge and status is that newspapers publish relatively few of his letters. But he continues writing and submitting them.
I don’t write as well or as much as Boudreaux, but I write every day. I write on blogs (check out Chicago Libertarian), Facebook, and Word. Sometimes I submit something I’ve written to a newspaper or a magazine, but most of the time I write for myself or people I know.
I practice writing every day. Sometimes I write something good. Regardless of whether someone publishes my writing or anyone likes it on Facebook, every time I write is an opportunity to get better.
Only about 10 percent of the letters I send to newspapers get published. Ten out of 100. That’s a lot of writing, but you really need to work at it if you want to make your voice heard.
Yesterday I got a pro-liberty message published in the New York Times. And you can, too.
Tomorrow is the deadline to apply for a free, seven-week program offered by PolicyMic.com that will train you to become an effective, pithy, publishable political news and opinion writer for the cause of liberty.
PolicyMic.com is AFF’s partner in getting the liberty message out to new audiences of young people. We’ve worked with them to host debate questions from the Chicago chapter’s event last week (“Is income inequality unjust?” “Does the presidential race actually matter?” and “Is Ron Paul’s foreign policy dangerous?”). And last week, they published a widely-read (and commented) piece I wrote on Ron Paul’s long-term impact on U.S. politics.
Now you can learn how to post great content on their website and elsewhere through this program.
PolicyMic’s Political Journalism Bootcamp will train you to write provocatively and persuasively about politics. As a member, you will complete a series of challenges over the course of seven weeks designed to test and train your writing and new media skills. Along the way, there are prizes to win and our editors will give you feedback on everything you write. When you’re done, you will have a polished portfolio of writing and an audience of readers.
All work can be done remotely, with a flexible time schedule. To apply, please send a resume to email@example.com.
The deadline is tomorrow (February 3rd), so apply now!
AFFers inside the Beltway may not know it, but AFF is also flourishing outside of Washington, D.C.
From Chicago to Pittsburgh, AFF is bringing inquisitive, open minds together to discuss and debate the issues of the day.
For example, the Chicago chapter, just last week held “Debate-a-palooza Part Deux!” Following last September’s successful Debate-a-palooza, we reprised it in January. AFFers and old pros alike debated whether income inequality was unjust, whether the presidential race actually matters and is worth the $6 billion it will cost, and whether Ron Paul’s foreign policy is dangerous. Like with most of our chapter’s roundtables, the majority of the speakers in our debate were young professionals working in news media, consulting, and business, but we also included the CEO of the Illinois Policy Institute, John Tillman.
In Pittsburgh, AFFers have already tackled Ron Paul’s foreign policy, Ayn Rand, and other subjects. This year they plan to hold even more events to bring their city’s young classical liberal population together. Elizabeth Stelle and her team have been doing an excellent job there.
The Minneapolis chapter–led by Scott Thompson–has also been active, holding six events last year. And I was lucky enough to join Roger at the launch of the New York City chapter last November. Chadwick Ciocci, a NYC-area activist, put together a great program with Wall Street Journal columnist Joe Rago.
AFF also has some new chapters starting this year. The first among them is AFF-Raleigh, which has a great leadership team being led by Joe Coletti and others from the Raleigh-area liberty movement. Their first program this winter will tackle North Carolina’s upcoming referendum on gay marriage, which is set for this spring.
Soon, we’ll have news to report about new chapters in Denver (actually a chapter restart) and Atlanta.
AFF’s chapters outside of D.C. have a special role. Where the D.C. chapter is a place for young liberty movement pros to network with peers and movement elders, AFF’s chapters are developing excellent communicators on free market economics, civil society, and limited government within the business, cultural, and technology worlds. Plus, they’re bringing liberty-loving young people together in cities where they might move for a job, but be unaware of people whose values and world views align with theirs.
So the next time your buddy from college laments that there’s no one in Chicago, Pittsburgh, Minneapolis, Nashville, Denver, New York, or Raleigh with whom they can have an intelligent conversation on free markets and liberty, steer them toward one of our excellent chapters in those cities.
In the coming weeks, I’ll be posting more about what AFF’s local chapters are doing to advance understanding and discussion of liberty. AFF’s chapters are a vital part of our movement, and one of the best ways to set the stage for a popular, pro-liberty movement in the years ahead.
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