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liberty

Oppression is the default government-to-citizen relationship in socialist Venezuela. Corruption, police brutality, violation of civil liberties–all of these are commonplace in the people’s paradise that is post-Hugo Chavez Venezuela.

However, some folks are fighting back. News recently emerged that a group of Venezuelan college students thought they could fight back against the violation of their liberties by–what else?–taking nude pictures of themselves and posting the photos online.

This naked protest movement comes in the wake of an attack on students by a group of government-allied militants known as “collectivos” who view themselves as “defenders of revolutionary socialism.”

I like that cute little name, “collectivos.” How delightfully Stalinist! Or, should we say, Chávezist? (Don’t even try to pronounce Chávezist, by the way. You will injure your tongue.)

We have no love for the collectivos of the world here at The College Fix. And we are sympathetic to the cause of the student protestors. But we do wonder what adding a few more naked pictures to the porn-saturated internet is going to do to stop these thugs from robbing people of their freedom.

Anyway, if you are interested, the naked kids are readily visible online under the hashtag truism #MejorDesnudosQueSinLibertad (better naked than without liberty).

The slogan is solid gold. You can’t argue with that logic. Being pantless is indeed far better than being libertyless.

Take that, bad oppressive government!

Just imagine if the founding fathers of America had adopted a similar philosophy during the drafting of the U.S. constitution. Madison, Hamilton and Washington could have rid themselves of those tight breeches and stifling collars. What a difference that would have made. With such a palpable sense of freedom, the delegates would probably have overcome their differences and ratified a new constitution in a matter of days rather than months.

Alongside freedom of the press and the right to vote, freedom to post naked selfies to the internet would have been enumerated as a constitutional right.

On second thought, perhaps the decision of America’s founding revolutionaries to keep their clothes on was for the best.

Read (and see) more about the Venezuelan protestors at Reason.com

Nathan Harden is editor of The College Fix and author of the book SEX & GOD AT YALE: Porn, Political Correctness, and a Good Education Gone Bad.

Follow Nathan on Twitter @NathanHarden

(Image: Kijkwijzer.WikimediaCommons)

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The College Fix has identified college students from across the nation who agreed that if the U.S. government were to end its unconstitutional surveillance state and warrantless spy programs tomorrow – and the students were to die a month later in some sort of terrorist bombing – they would count their death as the justifiable price for freedom and liberty in America.

Take Hassan Sheikh, a 26-year-old libertarian working on his law degree at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., who told The Fix he would definitely be willing to sacrifice the government’s assurances of security for the reinstitution of constitutional rights, even if that results in his death.

“All across the world … our armed forces put their lives in harm’s way to protect our way of life,” Sheikh says. “Why is it so ludicrous that ordinary citizens might give up the protections of domestic surveillance so that when our veterans return, they come back to the same America?”

Most of the students who agreed to the hypothetical scenario presented to them by The Fix are budding leaders in various liberty movements and groups on college campuses.

Among those students is Adam Wolter, 19, a self-described libertarian Republican studying software engineering at Iowa State University, who said he would “certainly consider my death in a terrorist attack justifiable for the preservation of freedom.”

Wolter went on to say that, as a software programmer, he sees “big data” as far more dangerous to “our safety and freedom” than terrorist attacks. As soon as data collection snowballs into larger and more comprehensive pieces, the constitutional freedoms that Americans enjoy will discontinue, Wolter said.

Bennett Morris, a 23-year-old liberty-leaning Republican and Illinois State University grad, also told The Fix that “I would much rather die having been free than die a slave to the police state.”

Morris said NSA’s security apparatus sacrifices freedom and privacy for the canard of security, adding Americans are probably more likely to be killed by a police officer than by a terrorist. Morris argued terrorism is too rare an action to warrant the abrogating or curbing of constitutional freedoms.

Kristie Constabileo, a 23 year-old libertarian attending William Rainey Harper College, echoed her peers’ sentiments.

Constabileo says she considers American liberty and freedom—as laid out by America’s Founding Fathers—to be sacrosanct and non-negotiable. With that in mind, she urges people not to take constitutional rights for granted when balancing security and freedom, saying “I hope that everyone would agree that our personal freedoms should not be so easily taken away.”

Elliot Young, a 20-year-old libertarian working toward an economics degree at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tenn., said that “with all liberty there is a price.”

“There is a semblance of danger in liberty and freedom,” he said. “It is something that is unavoidable.”

In total, The College Fix interviewed 13 students via email and telephone for the survey, most of whom agreed to the hypothetical scenario that in the event that the U.S. surveillance state ended its unconstitutional activities the students would count their death in a subsequent terrorist attack as a justifiable price for freedom and liberty.

However a few students said that while they were inclined to agree with the notion that liberty is more important than a security state, they found it difficult to wholly commit to the idea of a hypothetical death. Other students agreed, but declined to have their names published.

The students were posed the question in the wake of ongoing revelations that began in June with whistleblower Edward Snowden’s disclosures about various National Security Agency programs that track and analyze Americans’ cell phone calls and personal Internet activity.

In defense of its programs, the NSA—as well as President Obama—has explained there are filters in place to prevent the abuse of gathered data, which, the NSA says, helps strike an appropriate balance between security and constitutional freedoms.

Many top Republicans, including former President Bush – who led the charge for the approval of the Patriot Act in 2001 in the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks – have also defended the surveillance tactics as a necessary part of keeping Americans safe.

The Patriot Act is what is cited by the feds today to justify their surveillance programs, however many scholars disagree with the constitutionality of their arguments, calling the spy programs a violation of Americans’ First and Fourth amendment rights.

As the tumult around the National Security Agency swirls, more and more young Americans have voiced frustration with increasingly troublesome news of how the NSA programs operate and what data is collected and analyzed.

Various news reports in just the last week have disclosed that the NSA has dramatically increased its communications gathering techniques, and is capable of sifting, mining and recording 75 percent of all Internet traffic in the name of targeting foreign terrorism cells; that the agency has repeatedly misled the court that oversees its American surveillance operations; and that it agents have collected tens of thousands of emails with no connection whatsoever to terrorism.

In fact NSA officers, according to Wall Street Journal reports, have, over the course of a decade, used their vast surveillance capabilities to spy on lovers and love interests. The occurrences of NSA officers spying on loved ones is frequent enough to warrant the NSA giving said occurrences the label of “LOVEINT.”

College students and Millennials have become some of the most prominent groups of citizens voicing their concerns over the situation, deeming it an encroachment on personal privacy and constitutional liberties.

The students cited in this article, in emails with The College Fix, say they understand they are echoing the ideals of those such as Benjamin Franklin’s “He who sacrifices freedom for security deserves neither” and Patrick Henry’s “Give me liberty, or give me death!”

Fix contributor Christopher White is a University of Missouri graduate student, an editorial assistant for The College Fix, and Missouri state chairman of Young Americans for Liberty. He may be reached at [email protected].

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After hearing Sandra Fluke speak at American University recently, one female student wasn’t impressed.

In an op-ed titled “How Sandra Fluke Gets It Wrong,” sophomore Julia Morriss writes in The Eagle student newspaper that Fluke’s feminism charms didn’t work on her, and offers a pretty compelling argument against Fluke’s infamous claim to fame.

“Fluke presents an appealing position: someone else paying for contraception. For a college student on a limited insurance plan, this sounds pretty good. It’s easy to work up self-righteous anger about it. Lots of insurance plans cover Viagra and vasectomies, so why not my birth control? Isn’t this just another example of sexism in our society? It’s not my fault I was born a woman, so why should I have to pay extra for my contraception?

Once worked into a frazzle, we demand our “equal” treatment and push the government to ensure we get it. The result is Obamacare’s Contraceptive Mandate. While there are numerous problems with the mandate, some are especially poignant. It seriously infringes on religious liberty, and it denies any concept of responsibility for one’s actions and choices.

Though Catholics have been among the most vocal opponents to the mandate, it goes against the religious practices of many others, including some Jewish and Muslim groups. To them, contraception is considered immoral for a variety of reasons that they’ve explained on numerous occasions.

But they shouldn’t even have to explain. The First Amendment guarantees anyone the right to their religious practices, and no branch of government is authorized to take away constitutional rights. Religious groups are private institutions whose mission is not only their product or service but their desire to foster an environment where they can practice and share their faith. As a country that prides itself on religious tolerance, why are we punishing some for their beliefs and forcing them into practices they find immoral?

… Another problem with Fluke’s demands is that she refuses to accept responsibility for her choices, a problem our generation seems to struggle with on a continuous basis. We are constantly told that a woman has a right to her privacy and her own body and that her choices are her own. No one else gets to make them and the government should stay out of her bedroom. But then the government should pay for her decisions? If my choices are my own and only I get to make them, why does someone else have to shoulder the responsibility?

The choices we make come with consequences and responsibilities. That is no one else’s fault and no one else’s burden to bear. Live your life how you want. Just don’t ask me to pay for it.

Fluke embodies our generation’s sense of entitlement. As a woman, I understand her appeal, but I also recognize that in an economy already crushed with debt, we should not try to expand government spending for something that both hurts religious liberty and removes our responsibility for our actions.

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Rollins College in central Florida is the latest institution of higher learning in the U.S. to wage war on student religious groups. College officials determined that Christian groups on campus were in violation of the school’s “non-discrimination policy.”

All Christian student groups who refuse to allow non-Christian leaders will cease to receive university funds, according to the school’s new interpretation of its “non-discrimination policy.” Because, of course, when a faith-based group wants its leaders to actually abide by its faith and beliefs–THAT’S DISCRIMINATION!!!!

Give me a break.

Now Rollins has reportedly ruled that students cannot even gather in their own dorms for a simple Bible study:

Four students affiliated with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship were holding an informal Bible study in the common area of a dorm suite. Midway through the study, a resident hall assistant entered the room and asked the student leading the study to step outside.

“He was told they were no longer allowed inside the dorm – even with the express consent of the students to do Bible studies,” said Greg Jao, InterVarsity’s national field director. “They said it was because InterVarsity was no longer a registered student group on campus.”

A Rollins spokesperson told Fox News that the rule was simply a miscommunication.

“No group is allowed to hold meetings in the common space of residence halls,” the spokesperson said. “A fraternity was recently in violation of this as well, and they were asked to meet elsewhere – so it was not just InterVarsity.”

Let’s get this straight because the logic employed by Rollins College in this story is very complicated.

1) Four students gather–not to hold an official meeting for their campus religious group–but rather in an informal setting to read the Bible together, and that’s suddenly a “group” holding “meetings?”

2) Students are told to leave the building because the religious group they happen to have been affiliated with is no longer recognized on campus.

3) Campus officials, when pressed by the news media, insist that the fact these four students were kicked out has nothing to do with the religious nature of the gathering, even though that’s what the students were told by the resident hall assistant.

4) The official says the reason the students were given for being kicked out was wrong, but that it is was right, nevertheless, for them to have been kicked out (for an entirely different reason).

Conclusion: If those four students had gathered instead to talk about the weather, or the Lakers, or to share celebrity gossip, that would have been OK–but talking about the Bible made the meeting not OK.

But it still has NOTHING to do with the students’ religion, they tell us.

Makes perfect sense, right?

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A series of miscalculations on voter turnout caused the Romney campaign to misread the polls in the final weeks of the campaign. When election results started coming in on Tuesday night, the numbers came as a shock, CBS News reports:

“There’s nothing worse than when you think you’re going to win, and you don’t,” said another adviser. “It was like a sucker punch.”

…Both wives looked stricken, and Ryan himself seemed grim. They all were thrust on that stage without understanding what had just happened.

“He was shellshocked,” one adviser said of Romney.

Romney and his campaign had gone into the evening confident they had a good path to victory, for emotional and intellectual reasons. The huge and enthusiastic crowds in swing state after swing state in recent weeks – not only for Romney but also for Paul Ryan – bolstered what they believed intellectually: that Obama would not get the kind of turnout he had in 2008.

They thought intensity and enthusiasm were on their side this time – poll after poll showed Republicans were more motivated to vote than Democrats – and that would translate into votes for Romney…

Those assumptions drove their campaign strategy: their internal polling showed them leading in key states, so they decided to make a play for a broad victory: go to places like Pennsylvania while also playing it safe in the last two weeks.

Those assessments were wrong.

What a bitter night for Romney after running for president almost non-stop for six years–and coming so close.

Indeed, what a bitter night for America.

Here at The College Fix, we believe standing for what’s right and true is always worthwhile, no matter the outcome. Liberty, freedom and opportunity, the right to life–these causes are the noble and just and worthy. In that sense, Romney, who may have worked harder than any man in history to become president, did not labor in vain.

And we who are of like mind must continue to work, and likewise do our utmost to defend those who cannot defend themselves, and to resist the attacks that, history shows, are ever being directed at human liberty.

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Freedom

by Nathan Harden - Fix Editor on July 4, 2012

In these troubled days, when the constitution is under attack and Americans’ individual liberties are imperiled, may this be a day in which we reflect on what’s at stake and resolve to do our utmost to guard those liberties. We at The College Fix wish you the very best this Independence Day.

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