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    By: Anthony Hadford, Sarah T. Hermann Intern Scholar

    Carson1The 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."

    BoonePStephen 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 environment."

    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. 

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