Seated between the Case Democrats’ and Case College Republicans’ representatives was Young Americans for Liberty’s representative, freshman Barton Ziganti. Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) is a nonpartisan Libertarian group that is lesser-known on campus than the two main parties’ student organizations, but had a significant influence in the recent student political debate on Thursday, Oct. 25.
This political group, as stated in the Student Activities Guide, stands up for peace, civil liberties, privacy, and free markets. Ziganti continuously highlighted its main message of civil liberty during the debate.
Because the group is nonpartisan, it does not advocate for a particular candidate. Instead, its goal is to promote individual liberty through education and activism. However, many members of the group, including Ziganti, support presidential candidate, businessman, and former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson.
YAL welcomes fiscal conservatives, classical liberals, or anyone that wants to spread the message of liberty, even though it is technically the campus Libertarian group. They want students to realize how their natural rights and civil liberties are being infringed upon. They also wish to convey the message that the federal government is too involved in students’ lives, which is, in turn, destroying their freedom. They want to make students understand that economic, social, and political freedoms are intertwined and that when one is reduced, so are the others.
There are many Libertarian values and views that Ziganti brought up throughout the debate.
When asked about America and the world, Ziganti urged that the United States should stop putting its nose in other countries’ business. He stated that the U.S. is wasting time and money with its defense spending. He said that instead of spending so much money overseas, the government should bring the soldiers home and use the defense spending at home.
Another point Ziganti made was in regards to drone usage in Afghanistan. He said that drones should not be used since they violate human rights by killing innocent people, which he deemed as unacceptable.
When the topic of business and America was introduced, Ziganti expressed some passionate views. He stated that the U.S. needs free trade and better business policies that help corporations make profits. He argued that America is not as competitive in the global market as it should be.
Ziganti labeled the regulations on corporations a hindrance of capitalism. He brought up a story about how a small business was not able to open its doors because its bathroom mirrors were a little too high. He said that as long as a business makes good products, it should be allowed to participate in the markets.
He concluded that that minimum wage should be eliminated and the government should let the markets work by themselves. He argued that if there were a corporate tax of zero, there would be 12 million more jobs.
When asked about Social Security, Ziganti said that the government should make no changes for retiring Americans. However, for the rest of the citizens, he said that the government should be taken out of the picture and people should be able to save money on their own. He concluded that the government is not efficient at creating safety nets.
Ziganti stated that the 7.8 percent unemployment number is misleading, since people have stopped looking for jobs because they think they can’t get one. He believes that the government should cut entitlements and make taxes easy and quick to fill out.
The message in regards to higher education was made very clear by the freshman representative. He preached that government should not have any role in education at all. He pointed out that education isn’t discussed in the Constitution, so it is not the government’s responsibility. He said that the choice should be left up to parents.
During the CWRU Speaks section of the debate, the representatives were asked about child poverty and social issues.
As Ziganti humorously phrased it, children have the highest unemployment rate. His response to how the U.S. should address child poverty was to change the welfare system.
As far as social issues, he claimed that the government is overstepping its boundaries. He referred, yet again, to the fact that none of these issues are addressed in the Constitution.
In his closing statement after the debate, Ziganti repeated that the government is overstepping its boundaries. He believes that the U.S. should make the governmental role smaller and decrease foreign spending.
The debate was an opportunity for YAL to voice its opinions and values to an audience that may not have previously been very familiar with them. The debate was also an opportunity for YAL to show how different Libertarians are from both the Republicans and Democrats in many ways. They abide by individual liberty in every aspect of policy. They make it a point to highlight that they do not pick and choose. In addition, YAL challenges the two major parties to help prove how both parties have betrayed Americans and have not fulfilled their responsibility to the citizens.
YAL president Victoria Granda said, “We are really glad that The Observer and general campus community are including YAL and the Libertarian view in political events. I believe more and more people are realizing that our government is destroying individual liberty and that voices like ours need to be heard.”