On Saturday, February 17, eight students from Nazareth got up before 4:00 A.M. to make the trek down to Teaneck, NJ (just outside New York City) for the annual YAL Summit. YAL stands for “Young Americans for Liberty” and is a nationally recognized political organization that supports the views of approximately 90% of American political beliefs. These beliefs include the support of free speech, little government interference, low taxes, and equal rights for all. The organization stemmed from Ron Paul’s campaign during the 2008 Presidential election, where he instilled libertarian beliefs in many young americans and college students. YAL is a nonpartisan group that encourages open-minded thinking and free speech across college campuses. This seems even more important right now due to our increasingly controversial political climate. The Nazareth chapter of YAL has been slowly growing since the beginning of the Spring 2018 semester. The students who were interested and able to attend were given the opportunity to listen to multiple political speakers and think about politics in a different way. Opening your mind is extremely important when weighing out different viewpoints. Thinking about politics as a collection of views, not just your own views, is extremely important when diving into some hotly debated topics such as gun control, government regulation, health care, etc.
For only $10, students were provided three meals, networking opportunities, access to several speakers, and a unique experience like no other. Throughout the day, attendees had a fully packed schedule. With multiple networking breaks in between speakers, the summit provided an irreplaceable professional setting that encouraged students to make connections and expand their current method of thinking. The highlights included a debate between libertarianism and conservatism and the keynote speaker of the night: John Stossel. The debate between libertarianism and conservatism showed students two different sides of the political spectrum as well as how to successfully and respectfully conduct an organized debate. To sum it all up, libertarianism supports the conservative views of free markets, but supports freedom for all, contrary to some dated conservatism beliefs. They debated topics such as liberty, immigration, government regulation, and the actual definitions of libertarianism and conservatism. It would be extremely beneficial if debates such as this one could be hosted on Nazareth’s campus in the future. John Stossel, a former Fox Business show host, shared his insight on regulations for businesses in America. In short, he’s very against government regulation and fully supports free enterprise and laissez-faire economics. While it is not required that students agree with his views, or any of the speakers’ views, the environment of YAL encourages students to listen with an open-mind to understand these points of view better; this in turn will assist in the shaping of their own political, social, and economic views.
The Nazareth College chapter of Young Americans for Liberty started early this semester by President PK White, a political science major. There have been two informational meetings and it is well on its way to being a club on campus! The organization hopes to bring in political speakers, hold debates, and plan other interesting and fun events on campus that any students can attend to expand their horizons. In a time of current political uncertainty, this could be the opportunity we need to learn about and appreciate new viewpoints.