On September 15th, 8:30pm, American University’s YAL chapter held its first meeting for the fall 2017 semester, hosting The Cliff Maloney Jr. as the speaker! By reaching out to newly signed up freshmen, as well as communicating to our long-time members, we were able to fill the room with well over 60 attendees! In a room filled with chairs, students had to sit on tables in the back and sides in order to have a place to sit once Cliff Maloney Jr. entered the room.
Cliff Maloney Jr. has had a long history in the liberty movement, reaching out to youth activists and getting them motivated in the pursuit of liberty. Our DC state Chair Annamarie Rienzi introduced him, using this as an example of the many things the American University chapter can do. The presentation was on “Principle vs. Politics,” a thoughtful discussion on the relationship between principle and practice, but was also a well-constructed introduction to what libertarianism and YAL is all about.
The presentation went over what type of people go into politics, making a contrast between those who want power and those who care for principles. It was clear in the talk that in a government controlled by leaders only concerned with their elections and ambition, what YAL is about is forcing those in government to not force their will onto us. The audience was fully engaged in the talk, following along as Cliff paced at the front of the room. As he asked questions, the audience responded, giving suggestions and asking follow-up questions. The pinnacle moment was when Cliff Maloney Jr. wanted to show just how easily an enthusiastic group can make a difference. He drew a circle to represent the whole population of a congressional district, he then had people guess what percent of people do we need in order to have our side win. As students guessed, he narrowed it down into smaller and smaller circles, excluding those who can’t vote, aren’t registered, or will not vote. Of the people who are undecided, we only need less than 2 percent.
At the end of the presentation, the audience was able to ask questions and hear about the things YAL was able to do to affect change in the pursuit of liberty. Cliff was enthusiastic to answer questions and give his thoughts on how to reach out to those who differ in party, but can unite on specific issues. After a lengthy applause and a group photo, the American University YAL chapter e-board introduced themselves. The chapter President, Matt Adams made sure to thank everyone and made sure to let them know of our next events coming up.