By Justin Hinh
Image: Students for Liberty Logo
President, USU Students for Liberty
Note: The February issue of Aggie BluePrint featured an article about each political campus organization and promised that each group would have a chance to write or tell about their own organization, no middle man. Here is a brief overview of Students for Liberty, in Justin Hinh’s own words:
USU Students for Liberty is one of the youngest and most active political groups on campus. In spring 2011, a small group of libertarian students organized and started the USU College Libertarians group. We quickly began to grow, attracting people from many different ideologies to our weekly political discussions at the Quadside Cafe. Among many of our focuses, we intended– unlike the Parties’ clubs– to be a free organization, able to speak freely for or against whichever party, bills or candidate we desired.
Among some of our earliest events, we hosted a Hookah Bar and brownie bake sale on 4/20 to protest the drug war, as well as protests against anti-immigration bills. We had dozens of students join us for these events, and both attracted much attention from both supporters and detractors for our causes.
Over the following summer, some of our leadership and active members had the opportunity to travel to San Francisco for a seminar hosted by the Independent Institute. We learned much more about the philosophies of liberty-oriented politics, and strengthened the friendships between us all.
After this, we reorganized into Students for Liberty in order to become more open to different ideologies, other than simply libertarianism. In doing so, we were also able to create contacts with the national SFL group so we could have more outside support and supplies for our club.
Since reorganizing, we are proud of the diversity that our club now contains. We have members ranging from constitutional conservatives to anarcho-pacifists to minarchists and everywhere in between. Although many of us differ in our overall understanding of political philosophy, we are all united in the desire to advance freedom and liberty within today’s society.
In general, we agree on what the many problems with our current political reality are and wish to use our power as democratic citizens to find the solutions. Our goal is to educate people about these problems and the strength of liberty-oriented politics in fixing them. Luckily, we have a few other clubs on campus who have similar goals, and we are happy to work with them on many of our events.
This past year we have had some excellent events. Our opening event was the creation of a free speech wall on the TSC patio. For three days, we allowed anyone interested to come and write whatever they wanted on our wall. It was an excellent way to allow a real-life demonstration of the strength of truly free speech. We were lucky to have no negative repercussions as a result of some of the more controversial statements written on our wall, although we were watched by university police for the majority of the event.
Wall-writings ranged from the inspirational: “Life is short: Play naked” and “Love one another” to the controversial: “**** the police!!” (written dozens of times) and “I wish Mormons thought for themselves”; as well as sobering statistics including a listing of the number of countries bombed by the US in the last decade and the estimated number of children killed in those strikes. The end result was a couple hundred square feet of quotations, poetry, artwork and political discussions.
One of our biggest events was to bring Robert Levy, chairman of the CATO institute, to Utah to talk about his role in the gun rights movement. Mr. Levy was the financier and one of the litigators in the now famous D.C. v. Heller case. In this case, the Supreme Court ruled for the first time in history that U.S. citizens had a constitutional right to own a gun.
What made hosting Mr. Levy so unique was that many members wanted to come to USU openly carrying their weapon. The campus police were extremely concerned and threatened to shut down our event. With over 100 people in attendance and many attendees brandishing their weapons, the event went on without a single problem. We even raffled a gun away.
We also hosted a speaker from the Charles Koch Institute, who gave an excellent lecture on the importance of economic freedom in the improvement of prosperity and quality of life around the world. This was an excellent event that was also well-attended.
Most recently we aired a showing of the movie “Waiting for Superman,” which highlights some of the many problems with our current education system and outlines a path towards fixing them. For those interested in pursuing a career in education, we highly recommend this movie.
We have several more exciting events planned for this semester and we encourage anyone who is interested to join our Facebook group (USU Students for Liberty) or contact our leaders at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can add you to our email list. If you are interested in advancing freedom and liberty within our society, if you feel dissatisfied with our political parties and the status quo, if you are interested in learning more about politics or if you simply want to meet other intelligent people to discuss politics with, then our group is right for you.