Young Americans for Liberty spread libertarian awareness

Reporter and Reporter

The local chapter of the group Young Americans for Liberty hosted its first official meeting in Olscamp Thursday night since becoming a registered student organization.

“We advocate a few basic principles like self-ownership – you own your body, through your own reason and choices you lead your own life, and we feel you should be able to do that to a certain extent,” said Chance Stoodt, group founder and political science major. “We also believe in a non-aggression principle … we’re very anti-war. We’re not pacifists, we believe in self-defense and national defense, but we really don’t support aggression.”

Stoodt said he began planning the group in November. He was approached by a Leadership Institute representative from Columbus who was seeking to find “liberty-minded students … looking to move the message of liberty along.”

“College campuses are a big demographic for liberty,” he said. “A lot of campuses are very liberal, but I feel that’s just because libertarians haven’t gotten to them yet.”

In attendance at the meeting was Eric Eberly, a member of the Wood County Libertarian Party and candidate for state representative to Ohio’s third congressional district.

In his presentation, Eberly outlined his party’s positions, such as advocacy for business freedom with emphasis on small businesses, freedom of sexual orientation rights and opposition to the income tax.

“Taxation by the income method is theft,” he said. “It didn’t always used to be this way.”

Eberly also advocated for the legalization of drugs and promoted the use of industrial hemp and medical marijuana. Though he does not personally promote drug use, Eberly said it is the individual’s decision.

“Alcohol prohibition led to a sharp increase in crime,” he said. “Move forward to today and the war on drugs – same situation. In this country we are treating drug use as a criminal matter, when it’s really a personal health matter.”

Questions were fielded from the crowd on matters such as sexual harassment laws and education policies. Both matters, Eberly said, would be better handled by the private sector.

At the meeting was senior political science and economics major, Alex Benson. Benson said he is attracted to libertarianism because it is the only political ideology he has seen that “doesn’t tell people what to do,” and that his economics background lines up with libertarian free-market values.

“The group is small right now, but as the message starts to get out and we start doing more events we can start to grow.”

Students looking to get involved with Young Americans for Liberty at the University can contact the group at [email protected]