Students for Liberty (SFL) will start a revolution. A real revolution, one in which a standing government steps down before they otherwise would have, as a direct result of the actions of members of SFL. Now, while my claim will strike many as radical, I do not think it is. I have been telling people this privately for the last two years, and I figure I might as well make my prediction on paper. Though, before I begin, full disclosure, I am a member of Alumni for Liberty and consider many members of SFL and their staff to be personal friends.
My argument is fairly simple, many revolutions are student led. Over the next 20 years, yes, 20 years is my timeline, one of those revolutions will be led by members of SFL or sparked by an SFL event. An echo of this was seen the last year in Venezuela. Because I am not bullshitting, I am willing to bet up to $100, even odds, that SFL members are named in a major news source as being the primary instigators in a revolution. Either their actions would spark the protests, or they would become leaders in nascent protests begun for a different cause.
Of course, my claim depends on several factors. First, the continued expansion of SFL around the globe. SFL is not going to lead a revolution in Western Europe because the governments in Western Europe are stable. The ability of SFL to lead a revolution depends on SFL having members in governments with less than firm foundations, Africa is the prime example, but Latin America, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East should all be included. As of now SFL has yet to have a critical mass in many these countries, but with the continued rate of expansion SFL should have a critical mass in 5 years in the majority of those countries.
Now, my claim is not that SFL will actively seek to overthrow an existing government. They have wisely stayed out of politics and I encourage them to continue that trend. However, there are a number of scenarios which could unfold. For example, Honduras won Event of the Year at the International Students For Liberty Conference the past year. They won because they literally fought a group of Marxists who tried to shut down a University. However, what if those Marxists had ties to a local political party. The event nearly turned violent, and easily could have. This could have led to more demonstrations and started a movement.
Of course, most such events remain relatively obscure. If not for SFL, the Honduras event would be quickly forgotten. However, such events are how many revolutions are sparked. A student group toes the boundary one too many times. There is a heavy handed government response. There are protests against the heavy handed response. The government over compensates leading to an increasing cycle of protests.
In a larger sense this is simply another part of the transformation of society in this day and age. A group like SFL could not have existed 20 years ago. Without the internet and low travel costs, forming a community like SFL would be impossible. However, that community has been formed, the average payoff of protests has increased, you might go on Stossel, and the support network is stronger than ever. So, if there are any doubters, take my bet, it should be easy money.
Edit: Lode Cossear has accepted by bet. $100 dollars, here are the parameters further specified.
It must be reported in a top 10 US newspaper or a top 5 European newspaper, judged by circulation. At least one SFL member must be mentioned by name, along with the organization, and there must be a clear statement that an SFL event was a key instigator in the revolution or that SFLers are key members of the opposition. Lastly, the president, prime minister or equivalent party must step down. The deal will be if these conditions are met at any time in the next twenty years you pay me. If after twenty years these conditions are not met, I pay you. The outcome of the revolution is not important, merely that it happens. Some of the parameters are open to interpretation. We will negotiate in good faith what constitutes “key instigator” or “key member” when the time comes.