The Mariel Boatlift: Voting With Boats

It is said that freedom always wins when people are allowed to vote with their feet…they move from locations of high tyranny to places of relative freedom—always in very great numbers. 34 years ago today, on April 20, 1980, Fidel Castro announced that any Cubans who wanted to leave could do so without punishment from the port town of Mariel. In the clearest possible expression of their hatred of Castro’s rule, Cubans voted by boat. More than a hundred thousand took to rickety, makeshift vessels in what came to be known as the Mariel Boatlift. Americans in Miami grabbed whatever boats they could find to reunite with friends and relatives across the channel. Braving hurricane winds, exposure at sea, pirates and sharks, desperate refugees crowded aboard anything that floated, regardless of seaworthiness, because freedom seemed so worth it. At first the U.S. government of Jimmy Carter lived up to the ideals of the Statute of Liberty and embraced these refugees. The U.S. Coast Guard didn’t actually go to the port of Mariel to provide safe transportation for those eager to leave, but the U.S. armed services did a commendable job of rescuing many of those who became stranded on the high seas. After all, the U.S. had sanctioned Cuba for 20 years, condemning Castro’s regime for the brutality of his communist dictatorship, for the forced economic squalor and repression of free speech and civil liberties. The U.S. had even attempted to overthrow or assassinate Castro. So why wouldn’t Americans at least welcome those who tried to flee Cuba? Then the mood turned against refugees when it was rumored that Castro’s trick was to release “undesirables” from prisons and mental hospitals, sending them all to America. Jimmy Carter, in an election year, then agreed with Castro that they would both put …

ISIL at the hottest young libertarian event this year!

From Jim Elwood, ISIL Executive Director The seventh annual International Students For Liberty Conference was held over this past weekend in Washington DC. Starting with just 100 students in 2008, this year’s event drew nearly 1,500, with sizeable numbers from Europe, Brazil and Africa. Numerous movement luminaries addressed either general sessions or breakout sessions. There was also a taping of the John Stossel TV show for Fox Business Channel. Several organizations held major evening social events. Three major SFL awards were given out. Event of the Year went to “Restart Balkans” by Students For Liberty Greece; Group of the Year went to Students for Liberty CZ of Masaryk University (Czech Republic); and Student of the Year was awarded to Isack Danford of Tanzanian SFL who recruited 1,100 members in just one year! We found the SFL students to be clean-cut, well-dressed, articulate and friendly. They are the cream of today’s college campuses, and the growth of the organization is astounding. Of course, the government is helping a lot with recruiting. 🙂 There were also many brand-new organizations at the conference. This is the first year ISIL ran an exhibit table, in conjunction with Language of Liberty Institute, which runs most of the Liberty Camps with substantial sponsorship by ISIL. We had a world map showing the locations of our conferences and Liberty Camps on the wall, and three big colorful poster about ISIL activities that were designed by ISIL Director of Development Kenli Schoolland, first displayed at last year’s ISIL conference in Lausanne. From Dr. Jim Lark, Secretary of the ISIL Board of Directors I had the honor of addressing the conference on Friday (Feb. 14); I gave an address entitled “Challenges to Liberty: Substantive Criticisms and Questions Concerning the Libertarian Perspective” to a standing-room only audience. I am delighted …

What’s behind $7 gallons of milk in Hawaii?

ISIL president Ken Schoolland was interviewed by Hawaii News Now this week on what is behind the rising milk prices. The interview was shortened significantly for the TV spot, but the point has still been made. He highlighted the some of the government interventions that result in much higher food prices for consumers in the country, the farm bill in particular. Hawaii News Now – KGMB and KHNL Ken initially wrote his book The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible based on his observations of the terrible incompetency and intervention of the local government in Hawaii, yet people around the world are able to relate, because governments everywhere do the same. A reader from Poland once commented: “I’m simply amazed by your book: The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible. To tell you the truth I’m also a bit scared of your accuracy and sharpness…I couldn’t help but thinking how long you’d been in Poland!” —Monika Lukasiewicz For more from Ken Schoolland, check out the interview conducted by Joe Kent of the Maui Libertarian Show after the 2013 APEE Conference on Maui. They go over a range of Hawaiian issues from a free market perspective, with Ken offering many solutions to Hawaii’s economic challenges. In the interview, some of the questions covered are: – Why is everything so expensive in Hawaii? – Could public transportation work better without the government? – Why are airfares going up? – Why are there no mobile homes in Hawaii? – Public parks are a mess. But is the solution simply to sell the parks off? – Are GMOs a threat to Hawaii? – If there were no public education, how would kids become educated? – Would free market capitalism ruin the beauty of Hawaii?

20 Years of NAFTA: Has Trade Been Made Any Freer?

Twenty years ago today the North American Free Trade Agreement was put in to action. Ideally “the world’s largest free trade area” should be reason to celebrate——finally a large scale example of free trade in the real world!——but unfortunately there’s less to celebrate than one might hope. From the photo of the North American Free Trade Agreement binder one can see that it was not a simple deal. Thousands of pages and sections by battling lawyers filled this tome spelling out all the details and conditions of controlled trade opening. Each paragraph, sentence, and word was worth thousands, if not millions, of dollars of lobbying to shape this agreement. Time and again libertarians need to stress that free trade is something to be declared, not negotiated. Hong Kong derived success by simply declaring unilateral free trade. It didn’t matter whether other nations reciprocated or not. Consider Frederic Bastiat’s great scenario, the city downstream versus the city upstream. If one way trade barriers were some kind of advantage, then cities upstream and on mountaintops would have prospered and the nations downstream nearest the ocean would have languished because of all that “easy access.” The reality of life is just the opposite. The natural flow of a river gives ease of commerce for those downstream and “protective” obstacles upstream and on mountaintops that cripple their enterprise. Nations of the world would be better off by declaring unilateral free trade, but the powerful special interest lobbies of politicians stand in the way. NAFTA was filled with these obstacles, as boulders on the road, but one has to conclude that the trend of gradual reduction of barriers has been in the direction of more openness. This has been much to the benefit and general prosperity of the people of North America.

Parents for Liberty Conference announcement

October 12th in Austin, TX An all star lineup of dynamic presentations… Learning, the path to achieving liberty, prosperity, and joyfulness, in our lifetime. This event will sell out. Only 100 tickets available. Our speakers have been carefully chosen to offer a unique perspective to the meaning of education, and to explore how the love of learning may truly set us free. While other conferences give you tools to teach your children what they “need” to know, our conference focuses on the critical thinking skills needed to distinguish propaganda from useful—and truthful—insights. Home schooling can be more than just an education. Unlike “regular” schools, home schooling provides an ideal environment where students can be encouraged to reason things out for themselves, to become fully immersed in their interests, and to create an adventurous life that follows a ‘curriculum’ of real experiences. We understand that home schooling isn’t for everyone. A couple of our presenters have started their own academies and have the insight to help you explore other options. Without the ability to think critically, children and adults can easily be duped, cheated, and robbed. Government-run schools—and even some private ones—do not teach our children to question or reason; instead, they demand acceptance of the viewpoint presented. Instead of learning to think independently and evaluate what they hear, our youngsters are taught to be subservient and accepting of whatever “authorities” tell them. This orientation makes the next generation more susceptible to propaganda and manipulation by those who would control them, including the political elites and special interests. Physical control of a population by a government or a minority is virtually impossible without some level of consent from the people. If our children are taught to defer to “authorities” rather than their own internal compasses, propaganda can more readily get them to …

ISIL Puerto Vallarta Conference Spurs Movement Growth

Advancing Liberty In Latin America ISIL Puerto Vallarta Conference Spurs Movement Growth – by Vince Miller – ISIL’s world conference was held this year (2002) from July 28 to Aug 1 at the luxurious La Jolla de Mismaloya hotel in the Pacific Coast resort of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Mexico and Latin America in general (with the exception of Chile) over the past decades have produced seemingly unending spectacles of economic chaos, grinding poverty and massive political corruption. Not an area where one would pin much hope for a libertarian renaissance. But a libertarian movement has been emerging in the region, and the goal of this year’s ISIL world conference was to strengthen the network and inspire an acceleration of its growth. As you will read, these goals were met, indeed our expectations were exceeded. We assembled many of the titans of a powerful radical libertarian movement for change in Latin America: Manuel Ayau, founder of the free-market Francisco Marroquin University in Guatemala; Roberto Salinas León, vice president of Mexico’s TV Azteca (the second largest television network in Latin America); Ricardo Valenzuela, a former Mexican banker who is in the process of forming a libertarian political party in Mexico; and Venezuela’s Alberto Mansueti who has just formed “La Salida” (The Way Out) think-tank. And of course there were Enrique Ghersi, ISIL’s Rep in Peru, co-author of the famous El Otro Sendero (The Other Path) book on underground economies, and ISIL Argentina Rep Martin Krause (Dean of ESEADE grad school of business administration in Buenos Aries) – both giants in the emerging classical-liberal movement in Latin America. With such powerful intellects and high spirits – all with a passionate sense of moral purpose, one got the feeling they were sitting in on a meeting of the “Founding Fathers” of a new era …