CHESTER COUNTY, PA — Chester County high school students Natalie Gildea, Christopher Goodrich, and Shivam Shetye were selected as winners of the Future of Freedom Essay Contest sponsored by the Libertarian Party of Chester County. Winners were awarded certificates and cash awards after their announcement at the June meeting of the LPCC.
The theme of this year’s contest was ‘Unlawful Laws.’ LPCC Vice-Chair Jacquelyn Crane explained, “One of our members, Kevin Anderson, asked the group why people seemed so eager to believe we can legislate our way out of problems, while no one seems to consider the large number of pointless, biased, and outdated laws that should no longer be on our books. We loved the idea. Even here Chester County, for example, we continue to prosecute for minor drug offenses while our taxes fund expensive government programs and seizure of private property through eminent domain.”
The Future of Freedom Essay Contest was open to all Chester County high school students including public, private, charter and home. “The response blew past our expectations for our opening year,” said Crane, “We received dozens of submissions, which were anonymized and judged against standard criteria including Adherence to Theme, Strength of Supporting Ideas, and Style and Mechanics. It was important to us to remain open to ideas and topics that were not traditionally Libertarian, and we were thrilled to receive so many high-quality entries. The selection committee was truly challenged to choose the best ones.”
The collection of essays covered a wide range of topics, including wages and taxes, electronic communications, policing and warrants, mental health, drugs, and even War Powers. First-place winner Natalie Gildea wrote about the notorious Stop and Frisk laws that are “an ineffectual and invasive practice in policing.” Second place winner Christopher Goodrich’s essay focused on the 100-year-old Jones Act, which he described as creating an “economic hardship for American island territories …. which ultimately harms the very same hard-working Americans the Jones Act was intended to help.” The third-place essay by Shivam Shetye described the threat to safety and security inherent in no-knock warrants.
Crane noted that “while we had no requirement that essays align to our Libertarian philosophy, we were encouraged that so many submissions presented thoughtful views on restricting the power of government and putting responsibility back into the hands of the public. It is evident that we have a wonderful base of liberty-minded youth right here in Chester County.”
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