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"Little else is requisite to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence from the lowest barbarism, but peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice" - Adam Smith

Does the GOP need a new stool?

Written by Charlotte Bowyer | Monday 10 March 2014

"Does the GOP need a new stool?"

This is the question that upcoming TNG guest Tim Stanley's been asking in a recent blogpost for the Daily Telegraph. To give a bit of context:

"..the Republican stool is at risk of losing its balance. As William F Buckley once argued, support for the GOP historically rests on three conservative legs: free market libertarians, social conservatives and foreign policy hawks." 

However, in the absence of a strong anti-communist message American politics has drifted leftwards, whilst the GOP's 'Middle American' unity has been replaced with a "discordant alliance between wealthy grey technocrats and populist crazies". The legs of the Republican stool now look wobbly and unbalanced, leading to some uneasy and often contradictory politics. As a consequence, the Republicans fail to provide a convincing or consistent alternative to the liberals and Obamanomics. 

So, what's the solution? Tim suggests that it lies in a 'rugged constitutionalism', where politics is conducted at a state level, individual freedom carries real significance, and Republican governments promise to largely get out of the way. Certainly, this has real appeal to libertarian-leaning conservatives both in America & the UK, but what's the likelihood of it actually becoming an election strategy?

Fortunately, under 30s are invited to ponder this question further at the TNG with Dr Stanley on this very subject tomorrow.

The event starts at 6pm in the ASI offices, and RSVP either on Facebook or to

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Freedom Forum 2014

Written by Anonymous | Thursday 06 March 2014

It's that time of year again- building on last year's fantastic conference, Liberty League Freedom Forum 2014 is only a month away!

Put the 11th- 13th April in your diaries, and head down the the UCL Institute of Child Health for a weekend of seminars, workshops and socialising with liberty-minded individuals.

The line up for this year's Freedom Forum is looking the be the best yet, with speakers coming from across the world. Amongst those confirmed are Cody Wilson, creator of the 3D-printed gun and bitcoin annonymising DarkWallet, and fellow American and serial liberty-promoter Dr Tom G. Palmer. There's also world expert on the universal basic income Phillipe Van Parjis, Detlev Schlichter, author of Paper Money Collapse, director-general of the IEA Mark Littlewood, and pro-drug law reform ex-cop Tom Lloyd, with loads more to be announced - and of course, there's the ASI's own Sam Bowman. 

Seminars cover topics from lifestyle freedoms to macroeconomic policy, immigration to the age-old question: But who will build the roads? Plus, there's workshops in journalism from City AM's Mark Sidwell, public speaking from Peter Botting, and an entrepreneurial session curated by The Entrepreneurs Network. 

All of the above, plus meals, drinks and evening events from only £29- and accommodation tickets a mere £39.

To find out more visit the Liberty League website, and book your tickets here.

Event: Liberty League Freedom Forum 2014
Date: Friday 11th April (7pm) to Sunday 13th (5pm)
Location: UCL Institute of Child Health, and Clink78 Hostel

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Isn't it wonderful how student loans are starting to actually work?

Written by Tim Worstall | Sunday 29 December 2013

I thought this was an amusing little complaint from some recent student. They seem to have rather missed the entire point of having student loans to pay the tuition fees in the first place:

I see friends of mine recently out of university struggling to find graduate schemes, permanent jobs or anything beyond zero-hour contracts. My degree has been vital to my job, but it saddens me to say that, were I 18 again, I wouldn't choose the subject about which I felt passionate – I'd make my choice based on job opportunities and pay.

What amuses me about this is that of course this is the very reason that the system was changed.

There was indeed a time when it didn't matter all that much which subject you did at university. And it was also at that time that you not only didn't have to borrow to pay the fees, you got a government grant to support you while there. But the other side of that system was that only 10% of the age cohort went. Thus a degree was indeed a signifier of having some brains to get in and further, the persistence to then graduate as well.

Now we have near 50% of the age cohort going. And thus the simple possession of a degree is not going to be a useful signifier to future employers. And it's also true that with 50% going it's not going to be the taxpayer that picks up the entire bill. Which leads us to our system of loans to pay the fees. And look at what then happens as a result of that.

Students start to think about where the pay will be good after they graduate. Good pay for any particular job of course being a signal that there is a (relative) lack of people both qualified to and willing to do that job. So by making the students responsible for their own costs (in however subsidised and dilatory manner those loans are collected) we have actually provided them with the incentives to study something that is of use to the rest of us.

Isn't it wonderful, introduce market signals into the university system and we get people preferentially studying for those careers where we've a shortage of good people? My word, quite remarkable, markets and incentives work.

One more thing we might note: there have indeed been some governmental actions over recent decades that can be said to have worked just as this one has. They're always when the government decides to bring in more of those market incentives and price signals though. There might be a more general lesson in that somewhere....

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Liberty comes home to Manchester

Written by Jonathan Basnett | Wednesday 16 October 2013

For those not living in or around the London area it can be difficult to attend the top events on the libertarian calendar. It makes sense for the capital to be our focus, but it doesn’t have to be to the detriment of elsewhere.

The Liberty League is currently organising its first one-day regional conference. It takes the best quality speakers to create a day-long event much larger than the average libertarian society social.

Our first one will be held in Manchester on Saturday, the 26th of October. This city was a natural choice given its liberal heritage and the emergence of a strong libertarian society in the last few years. The conference is open to all not just students and we're sure that the bargain ticket price of £4 and brilliant speaker list will be a big attraction.

Make sure to put the date in your diary as we have:

Jamie Whyte on 'Tax Evasion and Democratic Predation’

John Meadowcroft on 'Prostitution: for and against'

Kevin Dowd on 'Private Banking’

Steve Davies and Tim Evans: A panel discussion on the case for private healthcare

If that isn’t enough we have a room with a buffet dinner included in the ticket cost and a final speech from the ASI’s very own Sam Bowman. Tickets are available from

It’s important to keep reaching out to those on our periphery. Part of doing this is making libertarian events as accessible as possible to as many as possible, and Liberty League is committed to helping to do so. These one-day events are a great way to kick-start libertarian groups in towns or cities and refresh those that are not as active. We need a strong broad and inclusive movement right across the UK, and the more chances people have to network and interact the better. 

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Rothbard Summer University is coming

Written by Lode Cossaer | Wednesday 03 July 2013


The Murray Rothbard Institute and Institute for Economic Studies Europe are this summer holding the Rothbard Summer University, a 5-day seminar in (beautiful) Ghent, Belgium.

The seminar features such prominent lecturers such as Tom Palmer (Atlas Network), Tim Evans (Adam Smith Institute), Adam Martin (King's College London), Lawrence Reed (President of Foundation for Economic Education) and Stephen Davies (Institute for Economic Affairs).

The event is held from 17th to 21st September, scholarships are available and free books distribution will also be organized.

More information can be found on, and any remaining questions should be directed to

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Gap Year work at the Adam Smith Institute

Written by Sam Bowman | Tuesday 21 May 2013

The Adam Smith Institute is looking for a bright, enthusiastic student on their gap year between school and university to come and work for us. The role would be a mixture of administrative work around the office and helping the ASI team with their research and policy work on an ad hoc basis.

It’s a great opportunity if you want to gain some experience in an exciting think tank. We are nice, fun people to work with, so candidates should enjoy working with others as part of a team. You should be interested in our work and willing to roll up your sleeves to do some of the less glamorous work around the office too.

This position pays £6.31/hour, and depending on the candidate is either a six-month or year-long position.

If you’d like to apply, send the following to

  1. an up-to-date CV;
  2. two hundred words about yourself and why you think you’d be good for the job;
  3. a four hundred word blogpost in the style of the ASI blog about why liberty is the best policy in an area of your choosing.

Applications close on June 22nd.

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Gap year vacancy at the ASI

Written by Blog Editor | Wednesday 13 March 2013

On a gap year and looking for something interesting?

If you are already on a gap year and looking for something stimulating, rewarding and worthwhile that can also enhance your CV and your experience, you might consider spending some time with the Adam Smith Institute.  We have space for someone currently on a gap year who might join us to help on some exciting new projects. 

You know what we do and where we stand.  If you feel this is compatible with your own position, get in touch with us at with a copy of your CV and a few paragraphs about yourself. We will cover expenses and compensate you for your time.

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Freedom Forum 2013

Written by Anton Howes | Friday 01 March 2013

It's that time of year again. After the roaring success of last year's inaugural conference, the Liberty League Freedom Forum 2013 is only weeks away.

For just £35 per ticket, they've booked out the UCL School of Pharmacy in central London, and will be providing your accommodation, meals, drink and books for the entire weekend, as well as giving you the chance to meet other young pro-liberty activists from all over the UK. If you're based in London, it's £25 without accommodation.

You'll have the chance to meet and debate some of the liberty movement's best speakers, and take part in seminars and lectures with topics such as Bleeding Heart Libertarianism, free-banking and currency reform, the feasibility and desirability of anarcho-capitalism, why healthcare costs seem to always rise, whether the private sector can really build the roads, how innovation undermines Leviathan, libertarian conceptions of the law, free market environmentalism, out-innovating dictatorships, and a whole lot more too.

This will be alongside activism and training sessions exploring and improving skills in journalism, public relations, public speaking, and how to set up and run pro-liberty student societies on campus.

With even more speakers to be announced over the next few days, the list already includes Sam Bowman, Research Director of the Adam Smith Institute, along with Mark Littlewood, Dr Richard Wellings, Brendan O'Neill, Steve Baker MP, Douglas Carswell MP, Abebe Gellaw, Dr Anders Sandberg, Dr Terence Kealey, Dr Kevin Dowd, Professor Mark Pennington, Chris Snowdon, Dr Steve Davies, Linda Whetstone, JP Floru, Wolf von Laer, Professor Randy Barnett, Mark Wallace, Alex Singleton, and Jamie Whyte.

Date: 5th-7th April

Venue: UCL School of Pharmacy, and Generator Hostel, London.

Check out full details all of the sessions and speakers, and book your ticket right away by clicking here:

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European Students for Liberty Conference 2013

Written by Wolf von Laer | Thursday 17 January 2013

On March 8th-10th, European Students For Liberty (ESFL) will present the second ESFL Conference, hosted by the Classical Liberal Students Association at the Catholic University of Leuven (15 minutes away from Brussels) in Belgium. Inviting students, graduates, and guests across the continent, ESFLC will feature lectures from scholars and activists in the liberty movement, free meals, books, pamphlets and campus swag for student groups to take back to their universities. Students will be able to connect with top liberty organizations to find information on internships, jobs, seminars and conferences at the liberty fair. Evening socials with speakers and students will top off Friday and Saturday nights in the Leuven area for lively discussions and good cheer for liberty.

Confirmed speakers include James Turk of the GoldMoney Foundation, Tom Palmer of the Atlas Network, David and Emily Skarbek of King’s College, entrepreneurs like John Chisholm and Daniel Model, and more. A lively student debate on rival concepts of liberty will give students an exciting and thought-provoking opportunity to engage with their peers. ESFL invites all students to participate and join the largest pro-liberty network among young people across Europe. With registrations currently spanning over twenty five countries, this will be a prime opportunity to forge new friendships, share ideas and further advance key debates and conversations about the philosophy of liberty. All conference details and registration information are located on ESFL’s conference webpage.

Seats are going fast, so those interested should reserve their spots sooner rather than later! We expect more than 300 friends of liberty to come to the ESFLC. The ESFL team is looking forward to seeing you and your friends in March!  Gathering the brightest young minds interested in liberty helps bring us one step closer to a free academy and a free society.

Check out last year's conference video.

When: 8th-10th of March 2013

Where: Leuven, Belgium. Located 15 minutes outside of Brussels

Conference fee: 30 Euros students / 45 Euros non-students (until 31st of January). Late registration: 40€/55€

Your registration fee includes: all meals provided, three days of speakers, Liberty Fair, networking, and awesome socials

Expected number of participants: more than 300

Conference website and registration link: ESFL’s conference webpage

For more updates please check out Facebook and Twitter.

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Opportunities for students this spring

Written by Pete Spence | Friday 04 January 2013

2013 is shaping up to be a good year for young fans of liberty. Here are some opportunities available to them.

Free Books for Schools
In October we began sending out books for A‐Level students studying politics, economics and philosophy. By December we mailed out over 1,000 books to Sixth Form students. The books available are listed below, and we can provide up to three copies of each to your school.

Freedom 101 (Free PDF)
Freedom 101 gives answers to 101 common errors made by opponents of free markets and open societies.

A Beginner’s Guide to Liberty (Free PDF)
A short, accessible introduction to liberal ideas from free trade to banking to legalized drugs.

The Condensed Wealth of Nations (Free PDF)
An explanation of Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations that uses Smith's own words and explains them for a modern audience, point-by-point, to allow his great ideas to shine through.

Win £500 in our Young Writer on Liberty Competition
If you’re under 21, there is still time to enter our writing competition before the closing date on February 1st. The first prize includes £500 and an internship at the Adam Smith Institute. You can find more information here.

Independent Seminar on the Open Society (ISOS) March Student Conference
The Independent Seminar on the Open Society (ISOS) is a free one-day seminar for sixth-formers, held in London twice a year. This March the conference will focus on free market economics. Topics covered will include:

Limits of knowledge
The benefits of trade
The fallacy of evidence-based policy
The private supply of public goods
Debate: Should we be able to sell our organs?

Students are welcome to attend independently, or with teachers. Refreshments will be provided.

If you are interested in finding out more about any of these, do contact us at

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