At Wednesday evening’s opening banquet for YAF’s 20th Annual National High School Leadership Conference, Senator Rick Santorum delivered a moving and passionate call to conservative action.

A packed room of students learned about the roots of conservative thinking as Santorum traced the rich history of conservative leadership from Russell Kirk to today’s leading voices and the next generation of conservative activists gathered for the conference.

The Conservative Movement is a “wonderful place to be,” commented Santorum. “But it’s not what the world is about today. The world is not about truth,” he added.

Commenting on the concerning trend of liberal students being unable to handle dissenting thought, Santorum reminded the high school audience that their generation “is probably the most distorted when it comes to the idea of feelings versus reason.”

“It’s why the colleges are the way they are. It’s all about relativism, not about truth,” concluded Santorum, drawing on his own experiences touring America’s campuses during the last school year as part of Young America’s Foundation’s campus lecture program.

When asked by students how to better prepare themselves to advance freedom’s principles in their classrooms, Santorum instructed students to first  “have the courage to stand up.”

“Since you are part of a movement that is based on reason and logic and trial and error and evidence, you should be able to win every single argument,” Santorum added. “Learn your subject matter, understand the evidence, understand what the core principles are and why they work, but also understand the human side of it,” Santorum advised.

Santorum reminded students that while YAF activists have been the driving force for advancing conservative ideas over half a century, today’s conservatives have “a much bigger job” than conservatives before them.

Harkening back to yesterday’s celebration of America’s independence, Santorum urged students to remember where their freedom comes from. “The Declaration of Independence says that our rights come from God–the government doesn’t give you rights,” reminded Santorum. “Those rights are in order for a reason: the highest value is life. You can’t be happy, can’t be free, if you’re not alive.”

As for the reward of boldly advancing conservative ideas at their schools, Santorum simply reminded students that “truth feels good.”

“America is not in a good place right now,” noted Santorum. “This country is not going to turn around on its own. It’s going to take a huge effort … YAF provides the opportunity for you to learn, to understand. You will be the leaders of the country–you’re in the right pipeline.”

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