YAL at Florida State University, starting the spring semester strong

January was a relatively productive month and began with a meeting of the Libertarian Youth Caucus (affiliated with the national Libertarian Party) at Birds Aphrodisiac Oyster Shack (bar and grill) in Tallahassee, FL on Thursday, January 11. The meeting consisted of US immigration policy debate, specifically related to several known bills up for session that would attempt to address the question of DACA recipient status and proposals for citizenship pathways that extended to 1.8 million undocumented immigrants as outlined by the Trump administration. The discussion hit a wall between open-border anarchists and a coalition of both small government neoliberals and skeptical paleolibertarians. Following disagreement, the debate shifted to a discussion on federal withholding of funds from sanctuary cities as per Senator Toomey’s remarks in mid-December. Everyone unanimously agreed that, while it was a pretty rude thing to do, it was relatively irrelevant because taxation is theft.

The following Saturday, on January 13th. The Libertarian Film Club (LFC), a project of YAL at FSU, convened to watch Fight Club at a members house. LFC film proposals are selected for libertarian qualities and democratically voted on by members in polls on our Facebook group. Before the film, members discussed the effects of Trump’s tax cuts on businesses and generally agreed that this move was a net positive because when it comes to taxes, less is better than more. The film was played, drinks were had, and members who had seen it before generally agreed that it was better the first time around.

On Tuesday, January 16th, several members joined College Republicans for a “Noles Against Communism” event, to counter a speaking event with Angela Davis hosted by the university. Some members thought this was dumb and it probably was, but those in attendance reported that they had fun and that the CRs were pretty cool people. Later that day, Tuesday meetings were suspended in favor of supporting bills at the capital at the start of session and attending events hosted by College Republicans provided they weren’t too ridiculous or LARP-y.

On Wednesday, January 17th, officers met impromptu and agreed to use the extra time on future Tuesdays to focus on preparing for conferences during the remainder of the semester including the Deep South Leadership Forum in Birmingham, LibertyCon in Washington D.C., the Rothbard Woodser Leadership and Camping forum somewhere in the woods of Central Florida, the Libertarian Party of Florida Annual Convention in Fort Walton Beach, the Young Americans for Liberty regional conference in Charlotte, and an IHS book club, the details of which are still being discussed.

Later that day, several members attended the Turning Point meeting on campus to discuss activism events for the semester. This meeting was led in part by Cait Dexter, senior active member of College Libertarians, who reported the ongoing formation of a separate Turning Point affiliate at our sister institution, Tallahassee Community College, led by Gen Sanchez. At the same time, other members attended the Economics Club meeting on campus, but made no report on the details of the event.

On Thursday, January 18th, Mike Avi spoke for the first General Body Meeting of spring 2017 and gave a presentation on Cryptoanarchy. He went over standard encryption methods, discussing protocol designs, differences between encryption methods, free deployed anonymity systems and relevant products, the nature of anonymity on the internet, the reasonable right to internet privacy, censorship resistant publishing, and common knowledge of privacy law as it branches from the fourth amendment. Discussion was engaging albeit mildly heated.

Later that night, members voted on the California two-state resolution through a Facebook group poll and concluded the following: 44.7% for Zero Californias, 21.3% for Two Californias, 19.1% for 39.25 million sovereign Californias, 8.5% for 420 Californias #BlazeIt, 6.4% for Independent California, and 0% for continuing California’s current status. The social was held at Los Compadres Mexican restaurant where freshmen were forced to endure unfair drinking age laws while the seniors enjoyed margaritas. The after social was held at a member’s house and included a birthday party with vegan pudding shots.

On Sunday, January 21st, Women For Liberty had their first meeting of the semester and decided on hosting a wine social. Male members maintained that this was definitely sexist. No one knows what happens at those meetings anyway.

On Thursday, January 25th, Jonathan Greenstein led a talk for the second General Body Meeting on the topic of firearms. Several members of left-leaning organizations at the university attended the meeting to challenge his points, but conversation remained civil and he directed discussion well, going over gun safety, statistics on gun-related injuries and deaths, legislation related to the second amendment, and ongoing controversies related to gun control. The social was held at Miller’s Ale House and the after social split into groups after a short gathering at a member’s house.

On Friday, January 26th, students and local members of the Libertarian Party of Leon County, a county affiliate of the Libertarian Party of Florida (LPF), met to discuss policy and network with officers of the LPF executive board who were travelling through North Florida at the time. The event took place at a local microbrewery called Brass Tap. The event was technically claimed as the second meeting of the Libertarian Youth Caucus, but discussion topics were not set and meeting minutes were not kept, so we’re going to have to pretend it counts. The after social was held at Gaines Street Pies.

On Sunday, January 28th, the second meeting of the Libertarian Film Club convened. This time, students democratically selected the 1930 version of All Quiet on the Western Front. They again gathered at a members house and several members of FSU Faculty and staff were present for the screening. Students discussed wartime policy afterwards and drew comparison’s between the experience of German’s in World War I and the rhetoric of US politicians during the Vietnam War. Following the screening, students then elected to watch Kung Fury because it’s awesome.

On Monday, January 29th, the local affiliate of the Republican Party of Florida as well as the FSU chapter of College Republicans invited members of College Libertarians to a State of the Union watch party. The event took place at the Southern Public House, another local microbrewery, and included free finger food. Students debated Trumps policy decisions with the republicans in good-natured conversation and everyone generally agreed that this Kennedy guy looks pretty crazy and needs to stop drooling.

On Wednesday, January 31st, the FSU College Libertarians partnered with the DeVoe L. Moore Center for Public Policy Analysis in the College of Social Sciences to host a Social Entrepreneurship Pitch Night. Students in the FSU Entrepreneurship program at FSU pitched ideas for companies that they would like to start and students in the audience voted on which they preferred more. A panel of three faculty judges convened and two students won the popular prize and the faculty prize, both of which were stipends to cover the fees of incorporation should these companies actually be started up. The popular winner was a company for sports equipment in Haiti. The panel winner was a company for reduced-cost study materials targeted at high school students in the foster care system. There were over 70 people in attendance.

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