“When you allow [citizens] to associate freely in everything, they end up seeing in association the universal and, so to speak, unique means that men can use to attain the various ends that they propose.” – Alexis de Tocqueville
This evening I had the pleasure of participating in a meeting of the University of Florida chapter of the Young Americans for Liberty. The organization was founded only nine years ago, and already boasts 900 chapters nationwide. The UF chapter of Young Americans for Liberty commits itself to educating fellow students about the meaning of liberty, advancing and defending the natural rights of all citizens, and advocating this simple creed:
“WE, as Young Americans for Liberty believe:
that government is the negation of liberty;
that voluntary action is the only ethical behavior;
that respect for the individual’s property is fundamental to a peaceful society;
that violent action is only warranted in defense of one’s property;
that the individual owns his/her body and is therefore responsible for his/her actions;
that society is a responsibility of the people, not the government.”
One thing that really impressed me about the Young Americans for Liberty was the diversity of views of both the current members and the interested new students. Attendees ran the gamut from traditional conservatives to liberal activists. It is great to see how seeming disparate ideologies can come together to work for common goals of individual rights and non-aggression. During this meeting, there was an election for the chapter officers, and one of the candidates for the position of president was a newly-minted American who still carried a copy of the U.S. Constitution that he received at his citizenship ceremony. The displayed dedication to the founding principles of America was truly inspiring.
As a libertarian, a concerned citizen, and a student at the University of Florida, I look forward to participating in future events planned by the Young Americans for Freedom chapter. One of the possibilities they are exploring is a free speech protest to highlight the University of Florida policy that unconstitutionally limits free speech to certain areas on campus. While I feel that UF scores well on freedom of speech, this short-sighted policy needs to be addressed before it can be misused. Another demonstration in the planning stages brings attention to the fact that the United States has the highest incarceration rate among all developed nations. I have seen the lives of family members and friends ruined by prosecution for the victimless crime of minor drug possession. I look forward to doing what I can to help further the cause of reducing incarceration and treating addicts rather than jailing them.
If you would like to keep up-to-date with what the University of Florida Young Americans for Liberty are doing, I invite you to like their Facebook page. I am certain this group of students contains some of the future leaders of the liberty movement.