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How the Right can shape America’s future—and why it must
Can American freedom, civil society, public order, and constitutional government be preserved if young people embrace illiberal ideas and empower illiberal leaders? Freedom Conservatives don’t think so.
That’s why we devote so much time and effort to engaging Millennials and Generation Z. From the start, we included young conservatives, libertarians, and classical liberals in drafting our Statement of Principles, recruiting signatories, and promoting our cause.
They understand the audience we’re trying to reach. And they know our success requires not just the right principles but the right tone. We must be aspirational, courageous, and authentic.
In a recent op-ed for USA Today, Du praised Freedom Conservatives for crafting a political vision that can appeal to young people who eschew identity politics of any sort — who disdain woke attempts to curtail speech but are also left cold by the “own the libs” stunts of populist provocateurs.
“FreeCons affirm America’s founding principles by recognizing that individual and economic freedom are essential to prosperity and happiness,” Du wrote, “yet they have adapted these ideals into nuanced positions fit for the challenges facing our 21st century electorate.”
Millennial and Gen Z voters will make up nearly half of voters in 2024 — and according to polls, they are less likely to identify as conservative as previous generations were at their age.
“Freedom Conservatism, if the right chooses to pursue it, can reverse this trend and offer a home to young people who feel alienated by the dominant politics of both sides,” Du concluded.
Easy way out
André Béliveau serves as policy and outreach manager at the National Taxpayers Union Foundation. A former firefighter, police dispatcher, and emergency medical technician, he has also worked in legislative offices and political campaigns.
Like their counterparts on the woke Left, these New Right figures seek the “easy way out” — attempting to use government to compel virtue rather than “evangelizing and cultivating virtue” within families, congregations, community organizations, circles of friends, and other institutions of civil society.
“What they want is not masculine,” wrote Béliveau, a FreeCon signatory. “It’s cowardly and weak.”
By contrast, Freedom Conservatives understand that living a virtuous life isn’t easy, he argued. It requires us to “man up, work harder, and make peace with those who do you no harm but pray differently than you or don’t pray at all.”
“That’s difficult. That’s hard work. That’s conservative.”
Pluribus and unum
FreeCon signatory Tyler Syck recently joined the faculty of Kentucky’s University of Pikeville as an assistant professor of political science.
Co-founder and editor-in-chief of the online journal The Vital Center, Syck penned a recent Law & Liberty essay defending pluralism, localism, and compromise as essential principles of American self-government.
Criticizing “New Right” versions of conservatism that would centralize power in pursuit of virtue, Syck argued that “like it or not, the country is not prepared to give way to nationalist tendencies.”
When the Left uses state coercion to promote progressive ideology, the Right shouldn’t try to employ the same means. Instead, conservatives should emulate America’s Founders by championing “space for local communities to define goodness for themselves while also offering rules that prevent mistreatment.”
“To promote some of their goals, national conservatives will need to join forces with localist liberals and establishment conservatives. Attacking pluralism and praising political inflexibility are exactly the wrong ways to go about doing this.”
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