The election is over. Many of my friends were very pleased with the results. “Change is coming,” they say, “just wait and see.” They were among the throngs of young Obama supporters that came out in record numbers to voice their opinion. A month after the election, I ask, “Where have they gone?”
Not to say their support was shallow or to trivialize their efforts, but to truly be in support of a man whose campaign was centered on a call for “Change” one has to wonder why there has been no obvious backlash to President Elect Obama’s cabinet selections. Assuming that individual politicians were something more than a gear in a flawed machine, one would find a problem in Barack Obama choosing someone who voted for the Iraq war as his Secretary of State. Not to mention Secretary of Defense Robert Gates hanging around and New York Federal Reserve Bank President Timothy J. Geithner, the same man helping to oversee Bush’s bailout failure.
At this year’s Mises Supporter’s Summit in October, Dr Paul said he really believes these people, these young people, truly do want change. Whether they are misguided in their beliefs about the problem or the solution is irrelevant at this point. The election is over.
From a young, conservative, liberty-minded standpoint the liberal youth movement is actually beneficial. It means they recognize that the past eight years under the Bush administration isn’t what they’re looking for, it wasn’t working. Frankly, I don’t know many true conservatives that would disagree. Even a phony conservative like John McCain recognized the need to distance himself from the Bush Doctrine.
Liberals, as convinced as they may be of social programs and their success, tend to have a soft side. They value fairness and hate corruption as much as anyone. Liberals also tend to value peace and prosperity. I also don’t think you will find a liberal who “hates freedom” and if you do, chances are they aren’t aware of it.
These are reasons for young Americans who value freedom and liberty above all else to feel hopeful about the future political minds of today’s youth. Reading the above characteristics of liberals, a word might be popping into your head – contradicting. Ah, the contradiction, an age old dilemma of intellectualism and practicality. Thankfully, a small dose of logical reasoning can solve this problem long before the next presidential election and in time for many state and local elections.
In order to combat the contradictions happening in the hearts of our liberal friends and peers, the young conservative is going to have their work cut out for them. For one, the message needs to become more mainstream, more compassionate and tactful. Libertarians have been seen for a long time as that marginalized subculture of people, forced to step over the sick and dying, driven over by self interest and greed… Having met many fellow libertarians and conservatives, I know this to not be true.
One thing for certain more political discourse and organized effort is needed on college and university campuses. In the future YAL is going to serve as a great facilitator of this discourse, but until then it’s going to have to happen on the individual level. Engage your friends and especially your professors. One method I have found to be effective is asking those you disagree with to read one of your books and offer to read one of theirs. Ron Paul’s Manifesto is a great policy overview. Many introductions to the Austrian School can be found at Mises.org, such as Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt. Just know what you’re getting yourself into, one time I got stuck with Stalin, while my self-proclaimed communist friend got to read Mises. Needless to say that is still an on-going debate.
To borrow words from Dr. Paul, this will be an ongoing battle of ideas. Our biggest obstacle right now is being heard. This will never happen until young Americans start sharing this message with as many people as possible. This will be necessary to gain the national coverage we need. The scale is tipping in our favor. The Obama presidency has a lot to live up to, especially in regards to the Iraq war and economic prosperity. The youth have already shown they are willing to become political when called upon. While the Republican Party scrambles to find their conservative roots, it is up to young conservatives and libertarians to find a message we can agree on and start talking.Published in