As the school year ends, many high schoolers prepare for their transition into college life. American high schools have encouraged the idea of going to college as the only option. Around 65.9% of high school students enroll in college after high school, though this large push for Americans to go to college is actually counterproductive. In reality, most Americans have no reason to be going to a traditional University or College.
Griffen Smith | United States
Green grass lawns and Victorian styled buildings have been a staple of higher education for the past 300 years. These institutions give out degrees and diplomas, which are the surest way to increase a person’s salary for life. Furthermore, College is also what most middle-class Americans consider the metamorphic period in which a person truly finds their own individuality, which is why enrollment nationwide has increased from 1900 to 2010. However, though there is some need in having a college education, there are fewer people actually enrolling in higher education. The National Student Clearing House Research Center in May of 2018 found that student population has decreased for the past 7 years, and have hurt The Midwest and Northeast the most. Further estimates explain that the need for highly skilled laborers will go up, even as college participation will continue to drop. Researches are often split on reasons for the decrease, but there are a few critical reasons college is less desirable.
By. Joshua D. Glawson | United States
This is a list of libertarian and Liberty-friendly organizations. It is in no specific order of hierarchy, and each of them plays an amazing role in fighting for Liberty in the US and the world. Each of these organizations is not for profit, and they could each use your generous donations to help more students and people learn about Liberty giving Liberty itself a better fighting chance for a freer future. Along with these amazing organizations, 71Republic also accepts donations to help continue our work promoting Liberty.
The first of many organizations, FEE, The Foundation for Economic Education, has produced some of the greatest libertarian work around, from some of the greatest minds in the Liberty Movement. Two of their books are among my most recommended for students of Liberty- Clichés of Socialism, and Excuse Me, Professor: Challenging the Myths of Progressivism. Additionally, the short work, ‘I, Pencil,’ available in print and video format is a fantastic and simplistic way of introducing people into the concepts of economics, division of labor, and Justice.
If you sign up for their email list, they often have free events for students around the US that include some of the best thinkers and teachers. Lawrence W. Reed, not to be confused with their founder Leonard E. Read, is one of the nicest and most interesting scholars to have the opportunity to hear or read. You will learn some of the best rebuttals to the most common misconceptions about Liberty along with libertarian approaches to history, economics, and government. FEE also provides books, magazines, pamphlets, and other merch for students, while they also sell some on their website. Personally, I have learned more from FEE than most other organizations, and every moment was enjoyable. FEE is definitely in my top 5 organizations.
Independent Institute is a fantastic organization that encompasses a list of some of the greatest professors and scholars from around the US advocating the idea of Liberty. If I were to declare another organization that will teach you more than you could have ever imagined about Liberty, this would have to be in the top 5, easily. This organization also throws free events around the US for students. I recall staying at UC Berkeley for a few days learning economics, principles, history, and understanding the growing problems in the world from a libertarian perspective, all covered by this organization. Sign up for their email list to stay informed of their work, magazine, and events.
YAL was my first introduction to the Liberty movement and will always be dear to my heart. They help college students to start libertarian clubs on campuses, while also providing materials and other resources to learn and teach others. Some of the best events are also thrown by YAL which include speakers such as Ron Paul, David Friedman, and many others. They also provide many of these events at little to no cost for students, with only a one-time $10 initiation fee- totally worth it. Just watch out, I have noticed once Trump became president, they have collected many Trumpers with MAGA hats thumping their war rhetoric at events these days with no repudiation from the organization. Nevertheless, this is still a great organization, and they do a fantastic job getting students into the Liberty movement. I have made some dear friends and met some of my biggest Liberty idols from this organization. I highly recommend registering, and starting or joining a club on your campus (top right of their home page).
SFL is a great organization that helps other organizations such as YAL and others get the materials and funding they need in order to push the Liberty movement further. In fact, when I first sat down with YAL, I also spoke with a person representing SFL, and they shared how they empower students while helping students get the books, pamphlets, and other materials to have successful libertarian clubs on campuses. They do hold some events, but tend to be more exclusive for student leaders of Liberty-friendly clubs on campuses, such as YAL. I had the pleasure of attending one of their intimate events that had, maybe, 15 students, and the phenomenal law professor and scholar from Chapman University, Tom W. Bell, in Marina Del Rey with all expenses paid by the organization. That was one of my more memorable events I have attended, and I learned so much while making some great friends. Whether or not you have a libertarian club on campus, I still recommend signing up for their email list to stay in touch with this organization (bottom of their home page).
If I were to put another Liberty-friendly organization in my top 5, the Ayn Rand Institute would have to be in there. Contradictory to what most people think of when they think of Ayn Rand, this is the most generous Liberty organization I have come across to date. They provide literature from Ayn Rand and other Objectivist thinkers, including the work of Yaron Brook, Onkar Ghate, and others. This is another organization of a mixed bag of political ideologies, but consistent in the pursuit of Liberty. First and foremost, this organization focuses on the philosophy of Ayn Rand, and out of her philosophy comes a political ideology. If political philosophy of an Aristotelian origin interests you like it does for me, I highly recommend signing up to be on this organization’s email list. They also throw an event that covers college students’ flight, hotel, and materials in Atlanta every year, and it is always one of the greatest experiences of learning and making friends from around the world. When the conference days are over, it is perfect timing to hang out with the scholars, in a more relaxed setting such as a mixer, debating and discussing ideas and politics. Plus, if you are a student and really want to add some works of Ayn Rand to your growing library, this organization is happy to help out with that.
This is more of an Objectivist organization from the Nathaniel Branden line of thinking, making it a little less dogmatic than that of ARI, and more relaxed in discussion. Currently headed by Jennifer Grossman, this organization does a great job at teaching basic principles of debating against the growing State and those that wish to oppress people through Communist and Socialist ideologies. They have been making some amazing videos for those interested in learning more about Ayn Rand and her philosophy. Be sure to sign up for their email updates.
If you want to learn the absolute most about libertarianism, Liberty, economics, history, ideas, philosophy, debating, and much more, no one does more than the Cato Institute. This is most definitely in my top 5 Liberty organizations, and my Amazon Smile account is set up to donate to them. They host several prolific websites and podcasts that are an absolute must to check out, such as libertarianism.org and the podcast Free Thoughts, along with others. This organization is not only a political think tank that has helped with policymaking and research for all major US political parties and politicians, but they also encompass the largest list of scholars and writers for the Liberty movement. If in the Washington D.C. area, I highly recommend finding out when their next event is to attend, one of great interest is when they host debates between conservatives and libertarians. For professors and other scholarly types, they also have lectures on their website on a large range of topics. Sign up for their newsletter to stay in touch.
This organization is the leading organization for anarcho-capitalists and other various forms of anarchy, i.e. without a government- not chaotic. They push for Liberty beyond most others, and host some of the greatest thought provoking events around the US. The Mises Institute is an organization based on the philosophy and writing of Ludwig von Mises and Murray Rothbard. Sign up for their email list to see if there is an event near you to check out. You can also sometimes find Mises events on Meetup.com in various areas around the country.
Based on the work of one of the original grandfathers of the Liberty movement and thought, Frederic Bastiat, if anything I highly recommend his book The Law and his essay “That Which is Seen, and That Which is Not Seen.” This organization has some events in which they push for Liberty and peace. Subscribe to their email list to stay informed.
If you are looking to go to grad school while also pushing for Liberty as a career choice, this organization may be able to help with that, as they present funding for grad students that are accepted and win their awards for advocating Liberty. They also have an amazing online education course for those that wish to learn more about libertarianism through their program called “Learn Liberty.” I highly recommend their videos and lessons. The organization is based out of George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. Their biggest influencer of political philosophy is surely F.A. Hayek who wrote one of the best Liberty books of all time, The Road to Serfdom. Sign up for this organization’s email list to stay informed.
The FIRE is another amazing organization that not only pushes Liberty, but they also defend students and staff at college campuses around the US for First Amendment rights such as freedom of speech, which is their biggest focus. They defend any student no matter their political ideology, as long as they agree to defend them, and they do it at no upfront out-of-pocket cost for the student or staff. The work this organization has done for Liberty goes beyond just the world of college campuses, but also into the legal sphere where they maintain the concepts of Liberty in the legal system, which are constantly under attack from both the political left and right. Another fun detail is their ranking of freedom on your campus. If you are having any troubles on your campus, or your club wants a lawyer to come speak about Constitutional rights on your campus, I highly recommend contacting this organization and signing up for their email lists. They also provide school clubs with US Constitutions to pass around campus at no cost to you.
Reason Foundation is a great organization that pushes Liberty, especially through magazine format and online videos. I am a subscriber to their print magazine, Reason Magazine, and I thoroughly enjoy every issue. They occasionally host events at their headquarters in Los Angeles, CA, with speakers from various fields. Not only do I highly recommend signing up for their emails, but I sincerely believe every libertarian and Liberty-friendly student should subscribe to Reason Magazine for the best and most interesting libertarian news available.
Have you been to a libertarian event or booth and seen the “World’s Smallest Political Quiz?” Well, this is the organization responsible for this easy way of determining where someone stands on the political map. Such a great organization that helps students as well as those that table, aka booth, for Liberty. Stay informed by signing up to their email list.
14) Liberty Fund
This organization is one of the greatest contributors to not only the Liberty movement, but also to the scholarly world by printing books of many classic and hard to find works. At the SFL event I attended, they provided 10 books of our choosing at no additional cost, and they always have great deals for select books on their website. If you are looking to find lists of libertarian works, books on economics, books on history, or books on history, this is the place to check out and support. Sign up for their email list for deals and events.
15) Free The People
If you are looking for some fun work in the Liberty movement, Matt and Terry Kibbe run this organization and do an excellent job at making more youth-friendly content for Liberty. They have produced some amazing stickers and posters, along with other libertarian swag. I look forward to seeing more from this organization. Be sure to sign up for their emails to see what they do next.
The man, the myth, the legend himself, Dr. Ron Paul, is who got me into libertarianism. I am forever grateful to this man and his work. I had the honor of meeting him once through a YAL event, and it took everything I had not to shake his hand off because I was soo thrilled to meet him. His organization, the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, has great video content advocating for Liberty and peace around the world. I cannot speak highly enough of Ron Paul and his organization, as he pushes his age in his 80s, he continues to do more for Liberty than most of us young men could ever even imagine. Be sure to sign up for his emails and stay motivated by his ongoing work.
If you are running into issues that potentially conflict with your Constitutional rights, I suggest reaching out to Pacific Legal for advice in getting legal advice. This organization will help you beyond just your dealings on campus, but also in the ordinary world of dealing with the legal system. They fight for Liberty and help to maintain our Natural Rights in the system that is forever working against these foundational and prelegal principles. While, notably, also winning 10 of their 12 Supreme Court cases. Be sure to sign up for their emails in order to not forget this key organization for Liberty (bottom of main page).
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By Adam Burdzy | United States
“Trade school? Is that, like, a place where you learn how to trade things?”
Every parent thinks that his or her child is smart in their own special way. This leads to Mom and Dad pushing Johnny to go to a nice university, where he will learn how to think, how to be a productive citizen, and most importantly, how to be a lawyer, doctor or even a professor.
Johnny decides to apply for a school that he seems to like, and is lucky enough to get accepted. Little does his parents know, Johnny doesn’t have what it takes to become a doctor, he can’t argue his way to become a lawyer, and he has no people skills, so there is no way that he will become a professor. But he tries anyway, and in his third year, he drops out. Not only did he waste three years of his life, but now he is in massive debt. After realizing he isn’t good enough for these kinds of careers, Johnny becomes depressed and has to work two jobs, the McDonald’s morning shift and the Taco Bell night shift, just to make enough money to get by.
This is something that occurs too often. About half of the people who enlist in a college or university will graduate. Johnny should have gone to trade school. Trade school is the university for people who aren’t good at the career choices offered by colleges. With the rise of labor jobs in the United States, we need more people to fill these shoes. These people are the backbone of society. Sure, some of the jobs offered may not seem that pleasant. In the end, however, the positives of attending a trade school are higher than attending a college.
To graduate from a trade school, you need about two years of schooling. To receive a bachelors degree, you need to have four years of schooling. And to make matters worse, most students will then apply to another school to get their masters degree, which takes another two years. Most people with a bachelors degree won’t be able to find a job as easily as a person with a masters degree. So you just wasted six years of your life, compared to two.
Not only do you save time in a trade school, but you also save money. Lots of money. To graduate with a bachelors degree, you will spend anywhere from $100,000 to $200,000 in those four years. Most of this money will come from student loans, or from outside scholarships. Trade school, on the other hand, costs about $33,000 to attend for 2 years. This is the average amount that students pay for one year at a university.
At a trade school, you get more opportunities to become whatever you want, and you focus in on one specific career. These career options are vast and can vary from construction work to being a commercial pilot. The wide array and the fact that you focus on one certain skill allows for you to dedicate your time to become what you want, and you don’t need to take all those classes that universities require you to take, even if they don’t relate to your major or minor. If you are going for a biology major, there should be no reason as to why you should be required to take an intro the 1700’s literature, unless you really want to.
Before you go to college or send your kids to college, take into account the benefits of attending a trade school. I am not against universities, and if the job you want requires a masters degree, then, by all means, go to college. However, if you are undecided like many college students are, then visit a trade school, find out about their work programs, and inform yourself before you make a decision that could cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars.
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Craig Axford | Canada
Our reasons for moving north in the summer of 2010 are at once clear and rather hazy. Like a magic eye image, they come into and go out focus from one moment to the next. It’s necessary to keep our attention fixed upon them in a particular way to get a picture of all the events and thinking that led up to the day we drove away from our now empty home, the for sale sign waving us a gentle goodbye in a slow late July breeze.
The U-Haul truck was crammed to capacity with our remaining possessions when we pulled away on that sunny summer day. Behind it, a trailer towing our Volkswagen Jetta lengthened the entire ensemble to around 25 feet. The Jetta too was packed from floor to ceiling with the detritus of our former lives.
Isis, our cat, was perhaps the most perplexed of all by the radical change of circumstances being imposed upon her. Our dog, Zeus, on the other hand, was in typical black lab fashion just happy to be going for a ride. He undoubtedly would have preferred to have the passenger seat all to himself rather than having to share space in the cab with my wife and the cat, but from his perspective, an uncomfortable trip was better than no trip at all.
Most Americans, whether they are the overtly patriotic type that proudly displays the Stars and Stripes every chance they get or not, tend to be convinced of the myth that whatever its faults, the United States beats all the alternatives. Even the loudest complainers from both ends of the political spectrum that we know personally, including those with the means to live just about anywhere in the world they want, still showed no strong desire to join the large and growing community of American expats happily living elsewhere.
Whether it was really there or not, we always perceived a bit of suspicion when it came to our decision to leave the country. From passive to passionate patriots alike, questions both subtle and blunt about our motivations were common. We weren’t traitors, but we were hardly as enthusiastic about our native country as we were supposed to be either.
Health care was one reason we could readily offer for heading north. The cost of higher education was another. Even for international students tuition tended to be at least as reasonable as it was in much the United States for the locals. We were entering Canada on my student visa, with plans to take advantage of the three-year work permit all graduates were entitled to afterward. Hopefully, during that post-graduation period, I could find a skilled job that would allow us to become permanent residents. That was the initial plan anyway.
We had a strong intuition that the culture in Canada must be more relaxed and less polarized. They wouldn’t provide people with universal health care coverage or invest more in education otherwise. And of course Canada lacked America’s enthusiasm for guns. We had seen Michael Moore go door-to-door randomly twisting doorknobs in a Toronto neighbourhood in Bowling for Columbine and liked the idea of living in a nation where people were so comfortable leaving their doors unlocked.
There were other reasons too. Both my wife and I had been raised Mormon and had been living in Salt Lake City for our entire married lives. Though Utah’s capital is itself majority non-Mormon and represented entirely by Democrats, it is still an island in a slowly retreating sea that consists largely of both the state’s dominant faith and conservatism. That sea was retreating rather too slowly for our liking.
I had left Mormonism years earlier and my wife had stopped attending church long before the move as well. None-the-less, we wanted to live in a more secular society where one of the first questions so often out of someone’s mouth when you first met them wasn’t either “what [Mormon] ward do you live in?” or “where do you go to church?” The slightly less presumptuous would ask the latter question while the more presumptuous typically preferred the former.
It was somewhat ironic, then, that our first landlord in Canada turned out to be a born-again Christian who took it upon himself to politely but rather insistently attempt to dissuade me from my alternating atheism and agnosticism. He was a nice man originally from Ontario struggling through the breakup of his marriage. He had somehow found himself saddled with a home in the countryside outside of Victoria, British Columbia that desperately needed some repair and often said he preferred Toronto to his current surroundings. Feeling as though my resistance to attending church with him might be hurting his feelings, I agreed to go once. If the spirit didn’t move me we agreed that would be the end of it. It didn’t and it was.
The rent at our first apartment was too expensive and the location, though beautiful, was too far from the university and downtown for our liking. After nine months we put everything in storage and departed again with the dog and the cat upon a trip across Canada with the intention of returning to the states by June to work for the summer and save up for the following year.
This had not been how things were supposed to go. Unfortunately, our house had taken longer to sell than we had planned. For our first few months in Canada, we were paying both rent and a mortgage. When the house finally did sell we made only a few thousand dollars on the sale. A hoped-for source of revenue had failed to materialize in time to do us much good.
Of the two of us, my wife, Chris, is the long-term planner and the one who does most of the worrying. I’m more interested in a little adventure. Like most gamblers, rolling the dice suits me just fine — except when I’m on a losing streak. At the end of that first year, the losses were adding up and fast. In spite of some assistance from family, we were headed back to Utah for the summer hoping to pull a rabbit out of the hat that would facilitate our return to Canada again by late August.
Isis was not pleased. We spent a week at a campsite on the shores of Cowichan Lake where she settled in. When the time came to leave she disappeared into the woods rather than get back into the car. For better or for worse her traveling days were over. Hopefully, she turned up again for the camp hosts. They had cats of their own roaming around the campground and assured us they would keep their eyes and ears open for her. We left our cell phone numbers and spent a night or two in town so we could drive back to see if she had made an appearance, but we never saw or heard from her again.
In the weeks ahead we drove slowly across Canada, stopping for a few days in Alberta’s Kananaskis Country near the BC border. We also camped on a small lake just over the provincial line in western Ontario. It was so calm on that particular night that one could look down into its still dark waters and see what seemed a perfect reflection of the thousands of stars shining overhead. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen the universe so clearly without having to crane my neck.
I don’t believe I’ve ever seen the universe so clearly without having to crane my neck.
We eventually ended our eastward trek in Kingston. There I met up with a friend who traveled with me to Algonquin Provincial Park while Chris stayed in town recuperating from too many days on the road. My friend and I spent a couple of nights in the park where I had my first real intimate experience with the haunting call of Canada’s famous loons, and also with eastern Canada’s infamous black flies. Zeus was there too, always the happy companion under any conditions.
Once back in Utah we moved into the basement of some friends biding our time until we could return. Chris and I both took a job with the Utah State Democratic Party helping them prepare for the annual state convention, organizing other events, and doing some data entry. Before leaving for Canada in 2010, I had worked as a DNC party organizer assigned to the Utah Democratic Party’s office, so it was good to see everyone again. It was also nice of them to have me back on the payroll for the summer given I had left in something of a huff shortly after the public option was dropped from consideration during the 2009 health care debate.
It’s been said here and there by people who have experienced serious setbacks that if they had known in advance all the difficulties that awaited them, they would never have embarked on their adventures in the first place. This being the case, a certain degree of limited foresight is necessary to progress.
The list of problems I hadn’t anticipated and the stress all the accumulated uncertainty had created was immense for both of us as we approached the conclusion of those first twelve months. Had we seen it coming the previous summer we would have taken our house off the market and stayed put. Zeus was the only member of the family to remain perpetually happy no matter where he landed. He came to work with us each day becoming something of an office mascot as well as a consistent source of comfort.
But we did return in August of that year, and this time we remained for six more years. I graduated from the University of Victoria with two degrees in 2014 and was able to get a three-year work permit following graduation. In spite of countless interviews, age and a lack of permanent residence status plagued me. Eventually, I took a job with UPS and settled into a routine there, making new friends that would turn out to be both a comfort and a resource in the future in the process. But alas, my position with the company wasn’t considered skilled labor, so once again it was necessary to look into other options if we were going to remain in Canada beyond the expiry date for my existing permit.
Pursuing those options landed us back in the US. I arrived in early September of 2017 and Chris followed a few months later. It’s a long story involving a mistake on my application to renew our stay and the necessity of resolving the issue from outside the country. But now we’re back. I’ll shortly be pursuing a master’s degree at Royal Roads University on southern Vancouver Island. Hopefully, I’ll at last be able to translate my time spent at Canadian universities into permanent resident status and eventually citizenship for both of us. We may not be the most skilled navigators of Canada’s immigration system, but we’re persistent.
After seven years here we’ve established a network of friendships that provide considerable emotional as well as tangible support. That was almost completely absent at the end of our first year. I’m now able to quickly move back into a job and Chris in particular has become a very savvy shopper when it comes to locating what we need on the rental market. Each bump in the road we’ve experienced has been a little smoother than the last.
People often see the border as a kind of finish line for immigrants. That’s incorrect. Immigrating to a new country is a process that really is just getting underway after making that initial crossing. I’ve gained a great deal of sympathy for those attempting to establish a new life in another country. It’s the kind of experience one can only barely begin to understand from the outside. The stories people see on the news and read in the newspaper or online at best only provide half of the picture. The sleepless nights and emotional turmoil that come with wondering if you’ve made the right decision or whether you’re going to make it are rarely even mentioned.
We’ve had the advantage of sharing a common language with the country we moved to. Our home and family is only a relatively short flight or long day’s drive away if we ever need to return or wish to pay our old home a visit. Those coming to Canada from war-ravaged Syria or other troubled parts of the world aren’t nearly so fortunate.
None-the-less, the United States does seem increasingly alien to us. Gridlock and anger have become the new normal. Political differences are in the air at family gatherings and are explicit on TV or online. The animosity building between people doesn’t seem poised to go away anytime soon.
Meanwhile, the working class, in particular, remain alienated as health care costs continue to skyrocket and the kind of educational opportunities I’ve been pursuing in Canada move further beyond the reach of everyday Americans. It’s not sustainable. That all of this is totally avoidable and far easier to fix than most people south of the 49th parallel seem to think makes all these self-inflicted wounds intensely agonizing to witness even from our perspective north of that line.
Some immigrants are pushed out of their homeland with a shove by war, famine, or some other major calamity. Others, like my wife and I, are just responding to gentle nudges. We have never endured anything like extreme violence or poverty, but we did feel more and more like square pegs trying to fit comfortably into a round hole. The events that have taken place in the years since our departure leave us increasingly convinced that the welcome mat has been taken in. Because we’re citizens with passports, social security numbers, and all the rest the door remains unlocked but behind that door the house is increasingly falling into disrepair.
As Chris was putting things into storage late last year and preparing to follow me back to the States while we attempted to renew our status in Canada, one of our old landlords told her that she was sad to see us leave. She said we were more Canadian now than American. That rings true, and I think that will always be the case no matter what the future holds.
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