By: Anthony Hadford, Sarah T. Hermann Intern Scholar
The 35th annual National Conservative
Student Conference (NCSC) hosted by Young America's
Foundation provided hundreds of students with the opportunity to
hear from more conservative speakers in five days than they would
in four years of college.
James O'Keefe, one of the most successful
investigative journalists in the nation, told students how he had
exposed corrupt and leftist organizations, like Planned Parenthood,
ACORN, NPR, New Jersey Teacher's Unions, and Laborers International
Union of North America. O'Keefe encouraged students to use modern
technology and social media to reveal the ugly, yet true, nature of
many liberal organizations, stating that, "The truth is stronger
than anything...I would encourage you to be a disruptor, to not fit
in, to not comply...but to actually challenge things."
Dr. Ben Carson inspired the audience
with his personal story of achieving the American Dream after
growing up in dire poverty in the streets of Detroit. His soft
spoken and wise words encouraged students to use the gifts that God
has given each of us, like his Mother told him, "You have a brain,
use it." Dr. Carson also discussed his stance on several public
policy issues such as health care, immigration, and the economy. He
stated, "Political incorrectness is one of the most detrimental
things facing our nation."
Senator Rick Santorum energized the
conference attendees claiming, "What you are fighting for as young
conservatives is America's greatness." The Senator from
Pennsylvania also spoke on topics including national security,
human rights, the Founding Fathers, and the many shortcomings of
the Obama Administration. He ended by asking students if they were
ready to accept the challenge to save our country and fight to
return to our founding principles and reassuring students that
Santorum has faith in them.
Senator Ted Cruz rallied YAFers Wednesday
evening when he discussed the tumult of Washington, D.C. and
offered a simple solution: "Abolish the IRS!" Senator Cruz
reflected on his own life and how his immigrant father championed
the American Dream to become successful after coming to the United
States, "the Land of Opportunity."
Stephen Moore, from the Wall Street
Journal, and T. Boone Pickens, an oil and gas
entrepreneur, engaged in a friendly dialogue discussing America's
Energy Future. Boone asserted "Do not let the federal government
get in the way of regulations on drilling-leave it to the states."
Moore concurred that the federal government needs to avoid
interfering with the oil and gas industries.
NCSC ended with conservative activist Dinesh
D'Souza explaining how "American Exceptionalism is
linked to American Universalism," teaching students how to use a
"moral case" to support capitalism, and emphasizing the importance
of attracting other young people to the ideas of free markets and
the American dream. Dinesh encouraged students; "We must be active
in preserving American ideals in a hostile academic
This conference is the best opportunity for young people to
learn more about conservatism and determine what set of principles
they believe should lead our Nation into the future. It is a time
for discussion and camaraderie with peers, and a time for personal
growth. MicKenzie Roberts-Lahti of Princeton University commented, "NCSC will successfully open your eyes to the importance of being
bold in defending the fundamental principles of this nation. This
conference introduces you to the people, tools, ideas, and
relationships that will best help you stand firm for self-evident
truths in a relativistic society."
While many college students are hanging out at home and relaxing
with friends, NCSC attendees seized this opportunity to learn from
some of the best and brightest minds in the county.
*Anthony is a rising sophomore and the founding
chairman of the UVA Young Americans for Freedom chapter.