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Introducing Young Voices’ New Staff

It’s been a busy month for Young Voices. First, we gave a lecture to 50+ young libertarian writers at the International Students For Liberty Conference (check out SFL’s recording from Facebook Live). The very next weekend, our writers took the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) by storm, with Advocate Natalie Le featured in Teen Vogue and executive director Casey Given quoted in Vice on the alt-right.

Now, we’re getting ready to onboard three new hires for Young Voices at the end of the month. Our expanded team presents an unprecedented opportunity for Young Voices to identify more rising stars in the liberty network and empower them with the media training needed to get their bright ideas out in the public.

Introducing Young Voices’ new staff:

Screen Shot 2017-03-06 at 3.37.06 PMLiz Wolfe graduated from the College of William and Mary in 2016 after taking breaks from school to live and work in D.C., Chile, and Mexico. As a Young Voices Advocate for over one year, her writing has been published in Bustle, Reason, Truthout, FEE, and the Richmond Times-Dispatch on a myriad of topics (most of them related to criminal justice). As Young Voices’ new Managing Editor, Liz will be Young Voices’ primary programs officer, editing and pitching our Advocates’ commentary to media outlets around the world. When she’s not writing and editing, she’s rock climbing at her local bouldering gym and eating tacos at home in Austin, Texas. Liz is already on her first assignment for Young Voices, covering South by Southwest. You can follow her on Twitter at @lizzywol.

headshot2Lucy Steigerwald is a writer whose work has appeared in publications such as Playboy, Reason, The American Conservative, Vice, the Daily Beast, and the Washington Post. Previously, she worked as an associate editor for Reason Magazine, as a freelance editor for the New York Observer, and is currently a contributing editor at Antiwar.com. As Young Voices’ new Assistant Editor, Lucy will be focusing on mentoring our young writers as well as contributing her own pieces. Steigerwald graduated from Chatham University, and takes the occasional photograph. She’s angry about war and prisons. You can follow her on Twitter at @LucyStag.

Headshot for YVStephen Kent is a graduate of political science from UNC-Greensboro. After college, he was a Field Director for Generation Opportunity in Raleigh, North Carolina and went on to serve as deputy press secretary and then digital strategist for the national millennial-focused organization. As Young Voices’ new Public Relations Manager, Stephen will be focusing on getting our Advocates onto radio and TV as well as managing our web presence. Stephen is passionate about millennial politics, criminal justice reform and consensus building in an increasingly polarized world. When he is not working or podcasting about Star Wars, Stephen loves long hikes with his wife and young daughter. You can follow him on Twitter at @Stephen_Kent89.

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“Europe of Multiple Speeds” is already here

Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission, recently presented a White Paper on the Future of Europe outlining five possible scenarios for the Union’s future. In a joint statement, the French and German foreign ministers have already endorsed one of these, the so-called “Europe of multiple speeds”.

The concept is not new, and bears some risks, but is the only conceivable option given the current political circumstances. Europe of multiple speeds, or as the White Paper frames it “Those Who Want More Do More,” means that countries willing to integrate further in certain policy fields can do so without an obligation for others to follow their lead.

In fact, this is already a reality. The EU currently has 28 member states, 22 of which form the Schengen area that also includes non-members such as Switzerland or Liechtenstein. 19 states have accepted the Euro as their common currency, and Denmark has an opt-out clause in the field of foreign security. However, until now these differences have been exceptions. This could change now. Europe’s leaders realise they need to find a way forward in a Union that is under threat from many sides. “Carrying On” is not an option anymore.

Continue reading at Freedom Today.

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Commercialism in Music Is Totally Justified

Commenting on the events of the Academy Awards last month, Amanda Petrusich writes in The New Yorker an ambiguous column about the commercial phenomenon and success of Justin Timberlake. Timberlake opened the ceremony with a performance of “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” from the animated movie Trolls. Petrusich runs through the highlights of Timberlake’s career and observes that “[t]hese days, we have mostly divested ourselves of any notion that art and profit are inherently at odds, or that work made in service of consumerism is fundamentally compromised….Timberlake might be, at present, our most expressly and unapologetically commercial artist.”

The notion that art and profit are inherently incompatible is inconsistent with the historical record, and this is exactly why Timberlake is as omnipresent in the entertainment industry as he is. He consistently delivers a product that consumers enjoy and are willing to buy.

Artistic Value

According to Petrusich, Timberlake’s career has been shaped by corporate and commercial designs. He began his career with “The Mickey Mouse Club” and then joined the band N’Sync, a group “designed primarily to make money.” He recorded a jingle that was widely used by McDonald’s for advertising in the early 2000s. He has also “had a fashion line, a record label, restaurants, a golf course, and a minority stake in the Memphis Grizzlies; he cheerfully endorses many products, including a fragrance, a car, and Sony electronics. In 2012, he hosted a corporate meeting for Walmart shareholders.” All the while, his solo albums have sold almost 30 million records worldwide.

The amalgamation of Timberlake’s talent, public persona, and commercial presence has turned out to be a winning combo for him. Much like the corporations and businesses he has acted as spokesperson for, his products create value for listeners (and moviegoers), which is why they are willing to depart with their earned income to purchase them.

Continue reading at FEE.

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Cuba’s self-imposed embargo is hurting Cubans more than the US embargo

At the end of January, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., introduced the Agricultural Export Expansion Act aimed at removing restrictions on United States agricultural exports to Cuba. Following the steps of 16 other states, Virginia also launched its Engage Cuba State Council, an initiative of the Cuba Engagement Coalition that seeks to promote trade and travel with Cuba and eventually lift the embargo.

Supporters of these initiatives believe ending the embargo will alleviate Cuban poverty while helping state economies grow. The president of Engage Cuba, James Williams, said the Agricultural Expansion Act would “increase US agricultural exports, create jobs across the country, and provide the Cuban people with high-quality American food.” While these efforts are an important step in improving American relations with the Caribbean country, Cuba also needs to reform its system of import taxation for trade liberalization to have its desired effect.

The U.S. embargo against Cuba has been controversial since it was implemented in the 1960s. Opponents of the embargo argue that restricting the population’s access to cheap foreign goods makes the country poorer and gives the government someone to blame for its widespread poverty. Proponents of the embargo believe that it is the one thing keeping the Communist Party of Cuba in check, providing justice for dissidents and keeping money out of the pockets of regime officials.

While they have valid arguments, advocates on both sides are missing an important factor: whether or not an external embargo exists, most goods will never reach the Cuban people because of a state-imposed internal embargo.

Continue reading at Washington Examiner.

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Individuals, not government, fixing discrimination in Philly

The city of Philadelphia is pushing new rules to fight discrimination. Eleven bars in the Gayborhood, the city’s LGBT hotbed, will be required to participate in fair business practice training and implicit bias training. The bars will also be required to post fliers made by the city’s Human Relations Commission about the city’s fair practice ordinance.

These efforts come as a response to a report released by the city in January, which found that women, minorities and transgender people have been discriminated against in the Gayborhood for decades. The city’s heavy-handed approach, while well-meaning, adds yet another expense and burden to local businesses. Mandating these implicit bias trainings will take workers away from their actual productive duties and force the bars to pay employees to attend diversity training sessions that have largely been found to be ineffective.

Meanwhile, residents of Philadelphia are doing a better job of preventing discrimination than the city’s government. Individuals and the market have already acted to scale back the level of discrimination in the Gayborhood, before the government ever could.

Continue reading at Watchdog.