YALCon, a conference hosted by Young Americans for Liberty began on Wednesday, July 27 at the Sheraton Hotel in Reston, VA.
Hosted annually, speakers are prime influencers and leaders in the liberty movement with some being new to students and others being favorites on campus in libertarian circles. These speakers included U.S. Congressman Rod Blum (R-IA); Paul Jacob, Executive Director of the Liberty Fund; former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli; Judge Andrew Napolitano, along with keynote speeches from Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), Congressman Justin Amash (R-MI) and Congressman Thomas Massie (R-KY).
In addition to high profile speakers, participants at YALCon were granted the opportunity to engage in panel discussions and breakout sessions on a wide variety of topics from leading a liberty club on campus, war, taxes, criminal justice reform, legislative processes, gaining employment in the liberty movement, and fiscal policy, to name a few.
Yet, despite the array of topics covered in panels and breakout sessions, few could match the enthusiasm exhibited by students for the debates of the conference. The first debate featured Austin Peterson, former Libertarian presidential candidate and Republican candidate for the United States Senate in Missouri, and David Friedman, economist, legal scholar, and son of famed economist Milton Friedman. Titled miniarchism vs. anarchism, participants argued what scope should government be reduced to: none or minimal. Others included Reading vs. Voting with Jeffrey Tucker, Content Editor for FEE.org and Jack Hunter, columnist.
Booths from various organizations, such as PragerU, Conservatives Concerned about the Death Penalty, FEE.org, Charles Koch Institute, Students for Liberty, and countless others are recruiting students to participate in their organizations and in the movement in general.
The most anticipated speech of the evening was the keynote speech from Congressman Justin Amash. Amash is a favorite among the liberty movement for his consistency in application with the U.S. Constitution and his opposition to President Trump. Asked by the crowd, “Will you run for President?” His reponse was simple but unexpected. “If you will vote for me, yes!”
YALCon will continue to Saturday afternoon with more panels, breakout sessions, and speeches.