By: Sara Epstein, Daniel O’Dowd, Bryan O’Shea, Tatiana MacNamara, Teresa White, and Gary Kavanaugh
Edmund Burke once said: “[i]n a democracy, the majority of the citizens is capable of exercising the most cruel oppressions upon the minority.” Only by virtue of citizens committed to the tenets of freedom, and imbued with the will to persevere in spite of the odds, are such tyrannical majorities kept in check.
Upon returning to Ireland after attending Young America’s Foundation’s National Conservative Student Conference, we soon learned that this oppressive majority was the new liberal orthodoxy which has come to rule the Emerald Isle. And we – young, budding conservatives – were meant to be the sacrificial lambs slaughtered upon the altar of leftism. Ten Irish students who dared to choose Friedman over Marx were set upon by the collective forces of the amassed Irish media and political class.
First came the opening attack from Irish Independent journalist Hugh O’Connell, who dubbed YAF as a training ground for conservatives but only saw fit to cite “far-right White House adviser Stephen Miller” among its alumni. Then came the Editorial Board of the Irish Examiner which suggested there was ‘commonality’ between conference attendees and the perpetrators of the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio. This was followed by the Limerick Leader who said that Ben Shapiro – the figure most targeted by anti-Semitism from the alt-right – was in fact a leader of the alt-right movement, who was affiliated with YAF.
Day by day, vitriol spewed forth from across the liberal oligarchy. Politicians called for our exclusion from society, journalists for our re-education in acceptable ideologies, and the whipped up crowd for the worst of things to happen to us…
However, if those who oppose us wish to know what YAF actually taught us, they taught us to fight. So when the onslaught came, we conservatives did not break.
What was expected to be an easy week of virtue signaling from the Left, turned into a victory for freedom-loving, Reagan conservatives.
After a statement of support from Young America’s Foundation, media outlets such as The Federalist, Gript Media, Daily Wire, and Lone Conservative rallied to defend our attendance and spotlight the hostility to conservatives in Ireland. Organizations such as Free Speech Ireland and the Conservative Dissent refused to accept the faintest cross-word against our actions or characters. Stalwarts of the Conservative Movement both in the US and Ireland, from Dana Loesch and Ben Shapiro, to Cora Sherlock and David Quinn, brought their influence to bear and refused to let the matter rest.
The reason we are targeted is because our ideas are an abomination to liberals. Our ideals, rooted in principle, compassion, and patriotism, are the ideals upon which mankind has touched the stars, and reached the mountaintop. If we were not right, if we were not the bulwark against tyranny, if conservatives were not the gatekeepers of all that is good in our tradition – they would stick us in front of every microphone and let us talk. Yet the Left are too afraid to do so, because they know that if they did – leftism would die, and they’d be out of a job.
YAF taught us that the conference was only the start. There is so much to fight for – the life of the unborn, our Judaeo-Christian values, our freedom, our country. President Reagan taught us: “If you can’t make them see the light, make them feel the heat.” If this experience has taught us anything, it is that the Irish political elite and media that govern us need both the light and the heat, and we need to give it to them.