YAF — Young Americans For Freedom — was a great vehicle for ideas and action, back when there was no money in being conservative. The group often fell on hard times, and has attempted to resuscitate the cadaver more than once, most recently under the guidance of a young man whom I supported and encouraged.
Nonetheless, the sun is setting on YAF, and they respond with a fit of pique, rather than respect, aimed at the man who has earned the mantle of the champion of freedom in our own age — Representative Ron Paul.
“(Washington DC — 2/12/11) The National Board of Young Americans for Freedom (YAF)—America’s oldest conservative-libertarian activist group—has, per curium, voted to purge Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) from YAF’s National Advisory Board.”
I have no idea who the “national board” is — they have had so many internecine and juvenile board purges over the years, I lost count long ago, around when Bill Buckley graciously asked me to cover one of their national conventions in the 1970s for National Review.
Just as YAF roiled the conservative movement 50 years ago, Dr. Paul and his Liberty Army is roiling it now. As an OAF — an Old American for Freedom — I suggest that YAF allow its jealous ire to subside, to tell the troubling truth about some of its “heroes” turned “zeroes,” and applaud Dr. Paul for engendering the most electrifying freedom movement in America since Barry Goldwater, the hero of us Original YAFers.
I wrote the new kids the following note in response to their tantrum:
Gentlemen and Ladies — as a member of YAF in the 1960s, may I suggest that your outburst regarding Ron Paul is a very big mistake, the product perhaps of rash judgment and also perhaps a bit of jealousy. Has YAF really embraced the dialectic? Are you now the Young Party of War? Will you next advocate a resumption of the draft, so that all your young friends will join you in liberating the world of evil and anti-democratic sensibilities?
I urge you to reconsider your fit of pique. Ron Paul is not your enemy, but his ideas are indeed competition for the neocon credo of expansion by force of American “ideals,” especially war.
I have only good wishes for the oft-resuscitated YAF. But you might find yourselves isolated by this kind of splenetic sectarian self-diminishment. YAF was never a neocon enterprise, even at its worst. Don’t make it so now. Please reconsider.
All the best,
Original YAFer Chris Manion9:58 pm on February 12, 2011 Email Christopher Manion