By Orlando Duarte
I am an unapologetic young adult conservative who refuses to believe our “rendezvous with destiny” has come to an end. Our children will not enter into “a thousand years of darkness.” I refuse to let this happen. As of now, my generation is to blame for the current crisis we have allowed to happen, but this must change!
This is no longer the “America” of our parents. We have enjoyed the benefits of our modern conservative forefathers who believed in the founding principles of our great Constitution which let our free markets reign and created peace through strength. The benign tyranny currently upheld by my generation will soon move us to despotic tyranny.
This can still be stopped, but it will require the same endurance of those who have gone before us. The first generation of YAF activists were packing out Madison Square Garden in the 1960s, while the media and SDS sought to speak for the nation. The liberal narrative of the sixties continues to be taught in many classrooms as a righteous cause, but it is incorrect.
It took over a decade of Johnson’s Great Society and Carter’s stagflation to cause conservative forces to unite into the conglomeration of conservative voices which recognized that the Reagan Revolution was imperative. We cannot wait over a decade—the time is now!
How will this be accomplished? We must change the face of conservatism by making conservative values relevant to a younger generation. As John Adams once believed the American Revolution was a consequence of a revolution of the mind, so the same must take place for my generation and those after us.
The “takers” have become the status quo. Hollywood punditry has become the voice of our generation. It is time for young conservatives to carry the banner of conservative values of the 20th century into our current time. Where are the Buckleys, the Goldwaters, and the Reagans of our generation? It is time for the conservative truths of limited government, free markets, and individual sovereignty to be communicated by new fresh voices. Young libertarians, social conservatives, fiscal conservatives, and whatever other forms of young conservatives must coalesce and trounce the incoherent arguments of the Left.
Manifestoes of conservatism must abound and create a Conservative Renaissance. There have been some great works in recent years, but we need a larger literary arsenal to attack the academic bastions of liberalism. The liberal ideologies birthed in the sixties have successfully indoctrinated the last few generations who support our current President. Paternalism is becoming the order of the day for all Americans. Our generation has bought into the lie that government gives rights instead of protects rights.
This new Conservative Renaissance must—again, must—use every form of social media to disseminate the greatness of conservative values. As our conservative forefathers applied tactics of the Left to make themselves relevant in the sixties, we must also do the same in this new America which is forming. New and veteran conservative authors, entrepreneurs, church leaders, public policy leaders, lawyers, pundits, journalists, and supporters must come together to form a conservative bulwark. The Conservative Renaissance must flood the minds of our generation and turn back the tide of liberalism.
The principles of the Sharon Statement
created in 1960 are still applicable to us today, but need to be repackaged to inspire the generations of the 21st century. Let us always return to the truths of those conservative giants before us, but at the same time move forward to defeat the liberal entities attempting to overwhelm us. Conservatives need a new guard of young vibrancy which lets my generation and the generations that follow know that being a conservative is the better message and the only viable message. There are many young conservatives frustrated now due to being the ideological minority, but it is us who must make the conservative message a majority again. Our movement must again become mainstream and relevant. It was done once before in 1980 and can happen again.
As I write, I wonder if these words are filled with platitudes which may not impact many, but my guess is that after this fall we are all looking for hope. Our hope may be temporarily dimmed by the shadow of a liberal eclipse, but we will re-emerge as there is no greater “time for choosing” to move the Conservative Movement in a new direction as now.
Orlando Duarte is a faculty member at Christian High School in California and the advisor to the YAF chapter on campus.