This week’s meeting: bitcoin

This week we’re talking about the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. 

Bitcoin has been in the news a lot lately, with the price of a single Bitcoin climbing from $30 to $260 in about a month, then falling to its current price at around $120. We’ll discuss the economics of Bitcoin – is it a viable alternative currency, a financial instrument, or something else? 

If you don’t know what Bitcoin is, take a second to learn the basics. This is a good place to start: https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Introduction

The meeting is at 8 pm in 81 Evans. Remember to RSVP on Facebook here!

bitcoin

Tomorrow’s Speaker Event: Dr Nigel Ashford Speaks About Changing the World for Liberty

Changing the World for LibertyCalSFL invites everyone interested in the ideas of liberty to our second speaker event of the semester. Dr Nigel Ashford of the IHS will be speaking about: “Changing the World for Liberty: Ideas Versus Interests.”

Dr Ashford is senior program officer at the Institute for Humane Studies. He has lectured in 16 countries and is the author of Principles for a Free Society. He is well known for his talks about the different strains of libertarian thought, from the Chicago school to anarcho-capitalism.

Anyone interested in promoting liberty in their lifetimes should definitely come to this event. As usual, the event will be followed by a social!

Time: 7 pm; Tuesday 9 April, 2013

Location: 24 Wheeler Haller

RSVP to the Facebook event here!

Upcoming events

Clear your schedules for the next few weeks because we’ve planned a legendary series of events. Look forward to: Dr Nigel Ashford speaking about changing the world for liberty, John Nantz explaining how we can prove our Obama friends wrong, and a grand debate between campus libertarians, republicans, and democrats!

Tonight’s Meeting: Government and Science

This week we will discuss the intersection of government and science. To what degree, if any, should the government fund science research? What kind of research should be the focus of this funding?

As usual, the meeting will be followed by a social. Please note that the meeting will be starting at 8, not 7, and will take place in 55 Evans Hall. Don’t forget to RSVP on Facebook

science

Anthony Gregory Speaker Event: How the Militarization of the Police Is Making Us Less Free

policeCalSFL is proud to announce our first speaker event of the spring 2013 semester! Anthony Gregory, alum of UC Berkeley and Research Fellow at The Independent Institute, will be speaking about how the militarization of the police is detrimental to our liberty.

Anthony spoke at the NorCal SFL Conference and the International SFL Conference, and has written hundreds of articles spreading the message of liberty.

This event will be a great one, and as usual it will be followed by one of CalSFL’s legendary socials, so don’t miss out!

Don’t forget to RSVP on Facebook!

For those of you without a Facebook account, the event will be on Wednesday 27 February at 7 pm in 87 Evans Hall.

Rescheduled: Slavery and the Civil War

Civil War soldiersWith the scheduling issues finally resolved, this week we’ll be discussing the long overdue topic of slavery and the Civil War. Was the war justified? Were the overall effects positive or negative? Was Lincoln a good guy or a war criminal?

Please note that our usual location has changed! The meeting this week will be held at 7 Evans Hall. As usual, the meeting will be followed by a social.

 

First Meeting of the Semester

GunsWelcome back to Cal Students for Liberty!

Our first meeting of the year will be held Wednesday in 258 Dwinelle at 7PM. In light of recent events, we will be discussing gun control and gun rights. Should “assault weapons” be more strictly controlled to prevent another tragedy, or should Americans retain the right to bear arms in order to protect themselves?

After the meeting there will be a social. This one will be wet, so bring a towel and swimming suit.

Also, don’t forget to RSVP on Facebook!

The truth about gun control laws

This article by club presidents Will Skinner and Bobby Saxton was originally published in The Daily Californian on Friday, January 25, 2012.

Since the unspeakably tragic Newtown school shooting of Dec. 14, there has been an outpouring of media attention focusing on the problem of gun violence in the United States.

Many politicians, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein, have called for a renewal of the so-called assault weapons ban, while others have advocated banning semiautomatic weapons entirely. In their haste to apply their chosen solution, gun control advocates too often fail to consider whether that solution would actually be effective. If, as the evidence overwhelmingly indicates, banning guns would fail to solve that problem, it should not be entertained as a solution.

Most of the gun control legislation currently being considered in Congress in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre has focused on reinstating an “assault weapons” ban. While the intentions of such policies are certainly noble, we must rationally consider whether the proposed legislation will truly have the desired outcome.

The major assumption behind the proposed bans is that they would prevent criminals from obtaining the weapons needed to commit mass murders. It is difficult to see how this could be the case, as around 300 million guns are already in circulation in the United States.

Therefore, even if we banned the sale and manufacture of all new guns, determined criminals would likely still have very little difficulty obtaining guns illegally in secondary markets. Already, the vast majority of gun crimes are committed using illegally acquired firearms, indicating that laws restricting access have little effect on criminals.

Because no law can truly prevent criminals and psychopaths from obtaining and using guns, attempting to prohibit law-abiding citizens from having the ability to defend themselves from these criminals is not only morally incomprehensible but will likely only worsen the problem of gun violence.

Given the impracticality (not to mention unconstitutionality) of removing all privately owned guns from American society, what can we say about the possibility of banning people from possessing guns in certain areas? Many have argued for designating areas with a high risk for mass shootings — schools, movie theaters and so on — as gun-free zones. In fact, such gun-free zones already exist, and it is no coincidence that these very places have been the setting for every mass shooting in recent memory, with the exception of the attack in Tucson.

Preventing trained, law- abiding citizens from carrying guns in such places only ensures that they remain entirely vulnerable to any psychopath with a gun. The minutes it takes for police to arrive at a crime scene are often the difference between life and death. While the idea that a citizen with a gun can stop a shooter in his tracks is indeed a common pro-gun trope, that doesn’t mean it isn’t true. There is little doubt that had the shooters at Newtown, Virginia Tech or Aurora been confronted by another person with a gun, fewer innocent lives would have been lost.

Attempts to ban guns are simply dangerous distractions from the real social problems that drive people to commit violent crimes. This moment of heightened awareness will be wasted if energy is directed toward a renewal of the ineffective Assault Weapons Ban (violent crime is down since 2000, when the ban was in full effect).

Guns may make it easier to kill more people, but the real problem is that there are people in our society who want to commit such acts at all. Maybe someday that won’t be the case, but in the meantime, people must be allowed to defend themselves.
Requiring background checks in order to prevent the wrong people from legally buying guns is certainly a good idea, but criminals are already able to easily obtain guns illegally.

Increased attentiveness to mental health would probably help as well, but we should be wary of simply allocating funding for some new program and then forgetting about the problem until the next massacre. Mass killings are a symptom of social illness, and we must work toward a world in which they occur with less frequency. As long as there is evil in the world, there will be guns and people who misuse them. The only sane policy is to protect the right of law-abiding citizens to defend themselves and their families, even if that means using a gun.