The excitement was high for Hillsdale YAL's first meeting of the semester. After finishing fall with our successful event hosting former presidential candidate Austin Petersen, we have had an increase in membership and pure interest in our group and our ideas. Our first main push during the meeting was for the regional conference in Pittsburgh, and people were excited. Our goal is 35 people, which can be difficult for a college the size of Hillsdale, but we are already well on our way towards that goal as our members have spread the word to other groups on campus as well.
This led into our two discussion topics for the night: an interesting Twitter conversation I'd had and the future of the liberty movement. The first had to do with a Twitter debate I'd had with other people who claimed to be libertarian. They wanted to ban the right to vote for those who believe in the ideas of communism. After presenting the arguments of these people, our group then discussed if their points had merit, and whether or not they were correct. We quickly decided that the idea of preventing someone from voting because of their ideology is against the ideas of liberty and definitely tyrannical. Enacting tyranny in an effort to prevent tyranny is inherently flawed. We did consider their arguments though, and we understood why they would be concerned with a communist potentially winning an election, but one of our members had a fantastic statement. He said that we must win without coercion, by convincing people and winning their hearts and minds. If we have the best ideas, as we believe we do, we must uphold those principles in the face of opposition, not abandon them because of fear.
This path of discussion led somewhat into our next topic: what is the future of the liberty movement? Is it within the GOP, the Democrats, the Libertarian Party, a combination, or none of them? This was where the diversity of our group came out, as we had conservatarians, left-wing students with some libertarian leanings, more pragmatic libertarians, and purist libertarians all discussing the future of the liberty movement. We quickly came to a consensus despite our different starting points. The party does not matter, the ideas do, and we must promote our ideas in every possible party in which we can have an audience. Our members drew examples from Rand Paul, Justin Amash, and Thomas Massie in the Republican Party as well as many Democrats who hold strong views on civil liberties. Despite how the election went, we were optimistic, as we see the ideas spreading throughout our campus and beyond, among both the right and left. This is how we win, and we must approach people where they are and as friends instead of political rivals.
I have been amazed to see how receptive and open our group has been to people of different ideas, as we are one of the few places on campus that people are comfortable presenting their ideas that may not align with the overall conservative leanings of the school, progressive leanings of many students overall, or even our group's libertarian leanings. We have managed to create an environment for liberty focused discussion and respectful debate, a real community, and I'm constantly proud to be a leader within it. We are looking forward to a fantastic semester of discussions, ideas, and promoting liberty!