Spreading the ideas of liberty at Stony Brook University

Stony Brook Young Americans for Liberty launched anew in Spring 2015. As our first event, we did tabling with the Incarceration Nation activism kit in May. In September, we participated in the Campus Involvement fair (pictured).  

Stony Brook YAL tabling in May

The response at the involvement fair was great. We shared our table with a new organization, “Stony Brook Students for Rand Paul” . A large number of people we talked to had never heard of libertarianism, but once we explained the basics of what libertarianism is, they were receptive. Most people are libertarian, but they just don’t know it yet! 

Right now we are laser focused on growing the club. We will be doing tabling in the Student Activities Center every every week until the end of the semester (next is Nov 4, 1 PM).

Stony Brook YAL at the campus involvement fair in September

The vast majority of people at Stony Brook are politically apathetic. Both the college Republicans and College Democrats have low numbers of people, considering that Stony Brook has over 24,000 students.

To help cure this apathy, Stony Brook YAL hopes to engage students about pressing issues of government overreach happening just off campus, around Long Island, NY: Crackdowns on rentals around Stony Brook
In the Stony Brook area, a few angry locals have been able to convince local legislators to pass egregiously strict codes that make it very difficult for landlords to rent out rooms to Stony Brook students. The University has not built enough apartments so there is intense demand for off-campus housing, both among undergraduate and graduate students. There are several private developers who would like to build in the area, but they cannot because of draconian zoning regulations. 

Codes have been passed that forbid more than 4 unrelated people from living in the same house and even for houses to have more than one kitchen!  Basement apartments (although common) are usually illegal, unless they comply to unnecessarily complex safely standards, such as a requirement to have two exits directly to the outside.  Local codes also require that landlords purchase permits Most do not, so technically most student housing is illegal, and students are faced with the possibility of being force-ably evicted at any time. Most recently, there is a push to passing codes about how many cars people can own, and to have car counting patrols to root out illegal housing!  I believe Stony Brook YAL can play a vital role by being a voice for liberty and standing against these outrageous regulations. These regulations cater to the whims of a small, politically-connected minority at the expense of Stony Brook students. 

Uber banned in the Hamptons
The ban of Uber in the Hamptons this summer is a recipe for more drunk driving accidents in the Hamptons, especially during big party weekends in the summer.  There is a shortage of cabs in the Hamptons, and local cab operators are unable to adapt to increases in demand during busy party weekends. Uber drivers provide a useful service, especially during times of peak demand. During the summer, Uber drivers faced jail time. The local struggles of Uber in our community are a perfect example of crony capitalism at work. Government officials are serving the interests the owners of traditional taxi cab companies and limiting customer choice.  

We are looking forward to using these stories to show how the government is restricting our personal liberties right in our own backyard. From there, we hope to start larger discussions about the role of government, the philosophy of liberty, free market economics, and the blunders of US foreign policy. 

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