I spoke to a youth group at the South Valley Unitarian Universalist Soceities Youth Conference - once again introduced to someone for this type of thing by my friend Warren. I'm convinced that in this sort of thing, business or not, networking (i.e. "who you know") is everything.
Anyway, the event was a lot of fun. I met several great teenagers who have a lot to look forward to. I tried to press upon them that they must start doing something now if they want to ensure that they will have any kind of freedom later.
The topic was the USA PATRIOT Act, but I focused mainly on freedom, rights, and liberty. I was glad to see several of them had a decent grasp on the U.S. Constitution, what the First Amendment REALLY says (not just popular belief), and some had even participated in grassroots political action before (in the second group, 100% of the kids in attendance had written a letter to the editor while about 1/5 had been published, which is average).
In the second group, the attending chaperone (i.e. "token adult") was also a libertarian and because he asked questions of a libertarian nature, I felt comfortable pushing some political dogma on the group - explaining what a libertarian is, what the Libertarian Party is, and so forth.
I brought up many things during these 45-minute presentations, but mainly stuck to these points:
- Who I am: webmaster of this site, of CivilDisobedience.us, Secretary and Press Liaison for the Libertarian Party of Utah, general PIA to Orrin Hatch and Co., etc.
- Questions about the U.S. Constitution, our rights, and what the participants know about it.
- Questions about what the USAPA means, is doing, is capable of doing, etc. (note: many of their beliefs are actually somewhat unrealistic and far-fetched, but for the most part, they knew at least the popular knowledge of the USAPA)
- The actual USAPA and a very broad overview of some of its provisions, especially Title III dealing with banking.
- ...and the USAPA's "sunset provisions" and what they actually effect (which is very little of the act, all contained in Title II) and what they don't affect.
I also pointed out the following books and why I believe they are great reading for anyone interested in our nation, our rights, and the USA PATRIOT Act itself:
|I pointed to this book as a very well-written and useful analysis of the USA PATRIOT Act. Mr. Michaels does an excellent job of breaking down the provisions of the USAPA, though he is a little bit dry and academic at times. Incidentally, he was on the Jim Dexter Show last year and was AWESOME. I highly recommend this book to anyone who's interested in sinking their teeth into the USAPA and doesn't want to wade through hundreds of pages of legaleze, government-style.|
|I recommend this book because it's a great overview of most of the things (including, but not limited to the USAPA) that are going on now that trample our freedoms and liberties. "Velkom to Amerika. Fingerprint, please." The author talks about current events (including Bush's "War on Terrorism") and how they are eroding our basic freedoms in this country. There is some great stuff in here and a LOT of good statistics and information you can use in your activism.|
|Finally, I recommended this book, which is a great overview of the founders of this great nation, our system of government, and more. It deals with them not as facts and statistics (my biggest reason for hating many academic biographies), but deals with them as humans and men. To me, the facts and figures on what they did means little. It's the reasoning and the why they did it that matters to me. Knowing this is essential to understanding our system of government and the core papers (U.S. Constitution, Declaration of Independence, etc.) that created it.|
Anyway, it was a great time. My wife was there and took some pictures, but they weren't very good so I won't include any. I doubt you all need to see more pictures of me talking. Although the ability to talk continually about almost any subject is one of my greatest strengths (go ahead: ask me something, I'll talk all frikkin' day about it), you probably don't want to see pictures of me talking here. :)
On another note, I may have mentioned that John Stossel of 20/20 had a new book out. Last night, he did a show (solo, Barbara Walters was on vacation) about the top ten myths in our society. These included things like "guns are bad," "chemicals are killing us," and "you can catch cold by getting cold." It was a great show. I'm a big fan of Stossel, who is a libertarian for sure. Well, I haven't read it yet, but I got his new book today. My wife started in on it tonight and says it's very entertaining, so I'm sure there's a lot of good Stosselism in there.
I'm currently reading "Boston's Gun Bible," by Boston T. Party (2002 Revised Edition). I'm impressed so far and will tell you what I think of it when I'm done.
Got comments? Email me, punk!