By Ross Dubberly, YAF’s Center for Entrepreneurship & Free Enterprise
In preparation for challenging the message of collectivism that awaits us on campus, committed conservative student leaders and activists-in-training gathered at Young America’s Foundation’s national headquarters in Reston, Virginia, to close out the summer. YAF’s Center for Entrepreneurship & Free Enterprise proudly hosted students from across the country—from 16 states and Washington, D.C., and from 26 colleges and universities—to take part in the annual Road to Freedom Seminar, whose goal is to educate and inspire students with free market ideas.
That free enterprise actually needs to be defended is quite a sad statement about today’s campus climate. As YAF Vice President Patrick Coyle put it in his opening remarks at the program, “Ideally, we wouldn’t even need to be at such a seminar . . . But here we are.” And thank God for it.
We students, on a daily basis, find ourselves on campus at the mercy of activists and even many professors who preach the false salvation that is economic collectivism. And though many professors use their degrees and prestigious positions to attempt to sway students to see the world through a collectivist prism, many students like myself, as well as other Road to Freedom Seminar attendees, simply don’t buy it. And after this recent seminar, we are now more certain than ever that Margaret Thatcher’s quip—“the facts of life are conservative”— applies equally to economics.
At the Road to Freedom Seminar, we students had the unique opportunity to hear from, and engage with, some of the most prominent advocates of free enterprise in the Conservative Movement today. From tax economist Jonathan Williams to policy expert Jared Meyer to economics professor Dr. Anne Rathbone Bradley to Donald Trump advisor and economics expert Stephen Moore, the seminar was jam-packed with brilliance, as well as solutions for the economic challenges that America and the world face.
If I had to briefly summarize the seminar’s theme, I would do it as follows: Enough with collectivist experimentation. We must get back to the simple, yet not simplistic, economic ideas of lower and fewer taxes, fewer regulations, and less government intervention in the economy.
Such talk is nothing short of heresy at virtually any university in the country, yet such talk is exactly what our campuses and country need. Just as there are laws of physics, there are also laws of economics. And though a society may temporarily succeed in avoiding the consequences of poor economics, it can’t hide from those consequences forever.
Fortunately, an increasing number of college students are beginning to understand this. They are beginning to understand that the economics of Barack Obama, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren is the problem, not the solution. And for this positive development, it is YAF and its cultivation of campus activists through conferences and seminars like the annual Road to Freedom Seminar that are largely to thank.
The free enterprise system needs young activists today perhaps more than ever. It needs advocates every bit as devoted to their cause as the collectivists are to theirs. Luckily, if the Road to Freedom Seminar was any indication, such bold advocates not only exist, but are also increasing in number.
Ross Dubberly is the co-chairman of the University of Georgia Young Americans for Freedom chapter.