Women for Liberty

As the world gets ready to celebrate International Human Rights Day this Friday, SFL is thrilled to announce some timely news: Women For Liberty will be launching a brand new website this Friday, December 10th! (Check back here for updates.) Women For Liberty (WFL) endeavors to raise awareness about women’s rights violations and educate, develop, and empower women to promote liberty worldwide. Speaking from the standpoint of individualist feminism, WFL envisions a free and prosperous society for every individual while recognizing that women often face a particular set of challenges that require focused attention. The program is primarily an educational forum, spreading awareness on a wide range of issues including economic well-being, employment, reproductive rights, gender expression, and family, as well as training women in how to be entrepreneurs, academics, and and much more. Our goal is to build a pro-liberty social community that supports classically liberal feminist ideas while encouraging peaceful dialogue across ideological, national, and even gender boundaries. Recently, you might have noticed the #OrangeTheWorld hashtag around the web, as people express support for the United Nation’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign. The idea behind the campaign is to raise awareness about gender-based violence. Through Women For Liberty’s participation in this campaign, we aim to present the individualist voice against gender-based violence and demonstrate that we stand together with people of all ideological persuasions in raising a cohesive voice for the rights of women to own property, to be safe from gender-based violence, and to direct their own lives. Gender-based stereotypes have restricted the ability of both men and women to express themselves as individuals in tremendous ways. These stereotypes aren’t confined to any one society. Due to the idea that women are less capable or deserving than men, in many parts of the world, …

Political Freedom: A Matter of Life and Death

Dr. Mary Ruwart shows how having political freedom is ultimately a humanitarian issue.  She talks about the history of poverty in the world, and the miracle of freedom in pulling the world out of poverty. She gave her talk at CYCLE 15, an online libertarian conference hosted by Liberty.me and the International Society for Individual Liberty. Dr. Ruwart asked, “What does wealth have to do with life and death?” She continued, “The more money we have enables us to have a longer life expectancy . . . Wealth isn’t just about having fancy cars or fancy houses, it’s literally a matter of life and death.  And since freedom is what helps you create wealth, it also is a matter of life and death.” Video attached below:

Pakistan, and the Rise of State Aristocracy

Khalil Ahmad, Executive Director of the Alternate Solutions Institute, a libertarian think-tank based in Lahore, Pakistan gave a lecture at the 2015 Summer World Conference on Market Liberalization in Bali, Indonesia about his new book, “The Rise of State Aristocracy in Pakistan” Goodmorning.  (This talk) is not about my personal journey.  Rather it’s about this book, which I wrote and published in 2012 in Pakistan.  In English, it means, “The Rise of State Aristocracy in Pakistan”. I have distinguished between two terms: aristocracy and elite.  So when I read my paper, then you will come to know what’s the difference between the aristocracy and the elite class. In 2011, our Institute wanted to hold a series of seminars on the theme, “Not for Ashrafia — Pakistan for Everyone”. Ashrafia is a Urdu word meaning, ‘those who are of higher decent’. In Pakistan, the word ‘elite’ is in vogue.  The word ‘elite’ means “a class of persons superior to others, because of their intelligence, wealth, social standing . . .” etc. That’s why the nearest word for Ashrafia is aristocracy. Aristocracy is a class.  And at the same time makes the ruling class also. (What) does the slogan, “Not for Ashrafia – Pakistan for Everyone” mean?  (It means) Not for the Aristocratic classes, but Pakistan for everyone. For the same seminar, I thought of writing a 2-3 page explaination of the slogan.  But the paper kept on expanding, and I let it.  In that sense, it’s not a planned book; rather it’s an elaborated argument. Here are some of the important points of my thesis that this book presents. First, the book tries to argue that rule of this or that class suggests rule of philosphers or rule of the proletariat puts one class in conflict with other classes, and does …

Rizal Mallarangeng: Liberalism Already Won, No Need for Celebrations

The following interview is re-posted with permission from Suarakebebasan.org. Let’s talk about the freedom in recent years, Bang Rizal. The government has systematically control our website and internet. Then recently the government also banned alcoholic beverages with low alcohol percentage and that includes some beer. What’s going on with the people’s acceptance to our freedom? Sometimes a restriction does not have a deep philosophical foundation. Policies which are prohibiting were only based on cultural background of “the parents forbid their children from doing things”. But we should be able to see the larger context of freedom from time to time. If we see the fundamental problem, a system that guarantees individual rights, there is actually quite a big progress. In the last 15 years we’ve laid a sufficient foundation for democracy to maintain freedom. In the system, it is much better than before. 32 years under Soeharto’s presidency we had very limited civil liberties. Certainly there are many shortcomings that need to be improved. However now it is much better. These restrictions are made because there are people in our government which are reactionary. They have an erroneous understanding, and happen to have power. Or perhaps because the idea of freedom has not been working effectively in Indonesia? Again, look at the big picture. It clearly has an effect. If it is not working we might not have democracy, decentralization, and a constitution that respects freedom of speech and association. History is as a linear line, up and down. Well, maybe there will be some people opposing the idea of liberalism. But is there a match to the idea of liberalism? No, there is not. The issue on the Islamic liberalism which has no party to it is another matter. Idea of religious tolerance and religious pluralism has become stronger. …

Equal Freedom For Men and Women!

In Chile this year’s International Women’s Day was marked by president Michelle Bachelet’s announcement of a new Ministry of Women and Gender Equality to be installed this year. Aimed at ending gender inequality and violence and discrimination towards women, the ministry will propose and implement public policies to combat the perceived gender gap as part of a National Program of Equality. Other measures that have been passed recently include the obligation for political parties to have at least 40 percent of their candidates be female. Female participation in the Chilean labor force has historically been below that of comparable countries, although it has been on the rise in the last decade. On the surface Bachelet may seem like a brave crusader for justice on this issue, and perhaps she even perceives herself as such. Yet it is worth examining what she is really advocating for. After all, no matter how noble one’s goals, the specific actions taken to achieve that end should themselves stand up to ethical scrutiny, even aside from the question of their effectiveness. In fact the nobler the goals the more important choosing the right steps toward them becomes. What is that old saying about the road to hell? Being a Socialist Party president it is easy to identify the ideological bias upon which Bachelet’s actions are based. At the root of this ideology lies the utopian idea that society can be molded and formed into perfection from the top down. This basic premise has many ramifications, all founded on the idea that paradise can simply be legislated into existence by the stroke of a pen. In short it is the sort of thinking that leads to 40,000 new laws taking effect in a single country in a single year. After any initiatives aimed at the aforementioned …

Be Free with English

Would you like to be free? Learn English. It is a language that connects the world. Despite the fact that Chinese is still spoken by more people in the world, on an international level English is more useful, since it is not concentrated in the same geographic area and thus it is used as the language of business, science and technology and aviation. Latin used to be the Lingua Franca that crossed over borders. However, it was the language of the select few. Modernity made education available to more people and with English, these people can break free from the confines of their national borders and interact with people from all over the world. What if there was a still better option? Not only to help people learn English, but to take it a step further and teach them about liberty? The good news is that there is such a possibility now! The Hungarian Free Market Foundation’s exciting new project, called Be Free with English teaches the language using pro-liberty, libertarian material. In the process of furthering the English skills of the learners, they are also presented with the idea and practical side of liberty. With the help of material such as I, Pencil, a video of a speech by Milton Friedman and Hayek’s ideas on society the basics of the libertarian idea gradually unfold and in the meantime people will be better and more skillful in the English language. This is done with the help of a software called Lingo, which integrates into the browser and pops up on the sites of the materials asking various questions testing both grammatically and contextually the learners. It goes further than this however. When an unknown word is found in the text, upon clicking on it lingo will explain its meaning and …

Brazil: Time For a Property Rights Revolution

During the Language of Liberty Institute’s Liberty Seminars in the south of Brazil last May, the attendees were treated to a talk about freedom and human prosperity. Using the Economic Freedom of the World report CATO’s Latin America expert Juan Carlos Hidalgo made a convincing case for (economic) freedom as a prerequisite for human progress. One of the points he made about underdeveloped countries relates to how poor protection of property rights stifles economic growth. In Brazil this lack of recognition of property rights is most pronounced in the infamous favelas. In the years and months leading up to the World Cup the evictions generated some press, but now that the international spotlight has shifted elsewhere it is business as usual. While major sporting events in third world countries have become somewhat notorious for leading to these practices, they certainly are not a requirement. One state over from Rio de Janeiro is Minas Gerais, epicenter of Brazilian coffee and milk production. Its capital and largest city Belo Horizonte boasts the third largest metropolitan area in the country after Rio and São Paulo and is a major financial hub in South America. Consequently it has attracted swaths of lower-class jobseekers who, lacking the financial resources necessary to buy a home in the city, opted to build their own communities on the outskirts of town. Now, local authorities are threatening to forcibly evict the 8,000 families who have taken up residence there. Leaflets spread over the region announced military police would – absent a court decision – follow their orders to repossess the land “in accordance with the constitution and the fundamental principles of human rights”. Residents of the three communities, however, have unanimously decided to stay in their homes after the state government pulled the plug on negotiations with them. The …

Reflections on Kazakhstan: Ideas & Performance

I’ve traveled a lot, but never to such an exotic destination as Kazakhstan. The country and the people are a mix of everything Asia—Russian, Mongolian, Turkish, Indian, modern, prosperous, intellectual, traditional, proud, friendly, and aware. I landed on the vast steppes of Astana, the amazingly glamorous new capitol fueled by vast new oil riches of the Caspian Sea. And departed from Almaty, the old capitol nestled at the foot of spectacular snow-capped peaks that skirt the ancient Silk Road. Through the auspices of Pavel Kotyshev, Executive Director of the Institute for Development and Economic Affairs (IDEA), and the Entrepreneurship Development Fund (DAMU), I was fortunate to have been invited to join 10,000 other participants at the Astana Economic Forum & the UN World Anti-Crisis Conference. It was truly a gala affair. I am grateful to Aigerim Zhumadilova, Galiya Zholdybayeva, and all wonderful folks at DAMU for their extraordinary hospitality. If you are looking for a man of action to promote entrepreneurship and the ideals of liberty in Central Asia, Pavel Koktyshev is the star. Pavel is efficient and capable, he is a superior intellect, and he is good friends with everyone. At every turn, there were people and projects familiar to him. Why such global events in Central Asia? I think the preeminent purpose was to showcase the strategic prominence of Kazakh oil and the leadership of President (for life), Nursultan Nazarbayev (above left). On a tour of a local park I found this quote from the national constitution: “The Republic of Kazakhstan proclaims itself a democratic, secular, legal and social state whose highest values are an individual, his life, rights and freedoms.” This was surely music to a libertarian’s ears. Yet, one could wonder if this was a reference in practice to the natural rights of all—or to one individual …

Egypt Seeking a Path to Freedom

Dear My Americans, European, Japanese, French, and friends from all other nationalities, I am writing this post because by discussing what has been going on in Egypt, I found out that, unfortunately, the news does not tell the whole story regarding two issues. 1. The death penalty that was given to 529 members of Muslim Brotherhood. Regarding this issue, unfortunately the news only talks about the verdict, they do not talk about why these guys were convicted. So why were they convicted? Did you know that these guys killed fifteen policemen and 44 other Egyptians? Did you know that these guys burnt down eight churches and four mosques. Did you know that these guys badly injured more than 400 Egyptians? Did you know that these guys belong to a group that has been the source of all the radical Muslims in the world? If the USA and UK waged war in Iraq just to be sure that their oil sources were secured, do we Egyptians not have the right to make sure that our lives are secure? If you have a very well organized group that has hundreds of thousands of members that are very determined to rule you or kill you, what would your opinion be then? As an Egyptian that loves his country, I believe that people who do that do not deserve to live among us. If you think that these guys are defending their rights in power, do not forget that when young Egyptian people went in to the streets to send the message that the leadership’s way of running the country is against democracy and freedom, they killed many of them. Just few steps from the presidential palace. Moreover, a few hours later, Dr. Mohamed Morsi, the president of Egypt at that time, actually came …