Activists catch the liberty bug at local convention with Ron Paul
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In the modern history of American government, political choices have been in the context of either Republican or Democratic policies. This binary choice has been the hallmark of political decision making for generations, with the first major change coming in the past three election cycles.
In 2008 Dr. Ron Paul began his campaign for president as a Republican, having previously run through the Libertarian Party. As part of his grassroots efforts to gather support for his election, he started an organization of college students named Students for Paul.
This group was meant to gather and inspire activism in college-aged students who shared beliefs that the government should be limited in size, so that citizens can express the true freedoms given to them by the Constitution.
After Paul announced the end of his candidacy, his organization continued to grow and flourish, evolving into, Young Americans for Liberty (YAL). The continued actions of this group intend to bring, what are hoped to be, label-free political values to the public eye of politicians and voters throughout the country.
Saturday, the 2017 YAL event arrived in Boston, looking to share their ideas with the locals of this historical center of liberty and freedom. Throughout its eleven hours, more than 450 attendees had the opportunity to explore the community that has fostered around this value set.
YAL currently leads more than 900 college chapters around the country in promoting shared values of liberty, and it has hosted several events throughout the United States. Today, at the head of this group sits President Cliff Maloney Jr., just three years after graduating from University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown.
Maloney recounted the many circumstances people his age find themselves in: living through a war for as long as they’ve been alive, struggling through a period of economic recession and feeling that the right to privacy and free speech is threatened.
When asked to define the millennial libertarians that are a staple of the movement, Maloney said, “We are a huge coalition of people that are sane.”
The event radiated themes of independence and hard work, showcasing many prominent leaders from the libertarian community, the height of which was a final talk by Paul himself.
Throughout the day, many young and excited individuals were given numerous opportunities to take time to connect with the members of the community they so eagerly were a part of. Speaking events highlighted what YAL members can do out in the real world to help the cause.
In the words of President Maloney, “That’s the theme of the event, to make liberty win.”
To YAL members, liberty is synonymous with the barring of taxation by the government, with complete and total rights to privacy and free speech, and the elimination of federal programs they believe reach much too far into the lives of American citizens.
Although many of these traits are shared specifically by members of the libertarian party, the event made strong efforts to avoid being pinned down with one label. For President Maloney, the issue of attaching a set of ideas to one title is one that, “makes me quiver,” he said.
“The obstacle is making sure that when somebody labels you something it actually is what you stand for,” said Maloney.