Students Pushing Back Hard for American Liberties


For many years, college campuses and high schools have been dominated by liberal faculty and administration, becoming in effect factories of indoctrination for big government instead of free-thinking education.

Conservative, libertarian and pro-life views have been suppressed or shunted aside. Students who have espoused the natural rights of life, liberty and property enshrined as in the Declaration of Independence as God-given and the Constitution have been marginalized by big-government philosophies that are socialist, fascist or Progressive in nature.

But students increasing are rebelling in peaceful ways through the power of persuasion, education and demonstration, and sometimes lawsuits.

Let’s take just three examples of expanding student organizations—Young Americans for Liberty, Young Americans for Freedom and Students for Life in America. Members may not agree about every issue or policy except for their commitment to the principles of the American founders.

All of the groups, and others like them, have had to battle to have their views heard on campus and have had to resort to lawsuits or threats of lawsuits to push through. “It’s disturbing when you have liberal students that think it’s within their rights to shut down or defund” people who don’t agree with them, said Patrick X. Coyle, vice president of 46-year-old Young America’s Foundation, which sponsors YAF.

He cited examples where David Horowitz, founder of Students for Academic Freedom, spoke at Westmont College, Santa Barbara, Calif., but supporters were not allowed to take photos or video, and an address by “Bay” Buchanan, sister of columnist Pat Buchanan, that was defunded by Virginia Tech after liberal students complained.

He said interest in conservative ideas is growing so fast, YAF is building more chapters, reaching more campuses, and is having to double the size of its conferences. “Students are tired of learning only one viewpoint,” he said. YAF promotes individual freedom, a strong national defense, free enterprise and traditional values, according to its mission statement.

Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) could easily be confused with YAF but is an outgrowth of students groups that supported libertarian Ron Paul for president. It has grown from 96 chapters to more than 570 and is what Deirdre Hackleman, director of communications, calls “a big tent” under which libertarians, limited-government conservatives and classical liberals can work together where they agree.

“People are really sick of the two parties being their only options,” she said. “Both parties have failed to advance liberty” because they’ve promoted bigger, more intrusive government, she said, calling YAL’s growth as a symptom of this disillusionment

Its mission statement, in part, says “WE, as Young Americans for Liberty believe:

that government is the negation of liberty;

that voluntary action is the only ethical behavior;

that respect for the individual’s property is fundamental to a peaceful society;

that violent action is only warranted in defense of one’s property;

that the individual owns his/her body and is therefore responsible for his/her actions;

that society is a responsibility of the people, not the government.”

Like the other groups, YAL has to fight for its First Amendment right to free speech on campus, which should be a forum for “a diversity of ideas,” Hackleman said.

A new idea called “microaggression,” discussing or displaying anything that anyone says hurts their feelings, is the latest tactic used to block free speech.

—Kristan Hawkins, Students for Life of America

Begun in 2006, Students for Life of America expects to have 900 affiliates on college, law and medical school, and high school campuses by year’s end. Like the other two groups, SFLA’s national leaderships works to train local leaders.

In trying to give unborn babies the same rights as other Americans have, SFLA faces the same kinds of opposition to their free speech as YAF and YAL experience. Events may get delayed or refused permission, stopped or moved to a less-visible location, and suffer actual physical attack and destruction, Kristan Hawkins, its president, said.

A new idea called “microaggression,” discussing or displaying anything that anyone says hurts their feelings, is the latest tactic used to block free speech, she said. So showing fetal models or any pro-life talk about sexual assault or postabortion syndrome (that some women reportedly suffer emotionally after an abortion) are examples of what could trigger the microaggression ploy, she said.

Because of so many successful lawsuits filed by out-of-favor groups, college administrators are beginning allow access after getting an attorney’s letter, she said. High school administrators have been a bit slower to catch on, she added.

Again, these organizations are just examples of a growing youth movement for the founding principles of America, and there are more like them.