Sent to me by a recent Wharton Graduate. We’re getting a beer next week after work. The future of this country hinges on the Millenial generation. They are overwhelmingly being drawn to Ron Paul and his ideas of liberty, freedom and personal responsiblity. Does any other candidate generate the enthusiasm and dedication of his followers? There are millions of young people out there seeking the truth.
Ron Paul’s Ideas Spark the Imaginations of America’s Millennial Generation
The following is an unabridged version of an op-ed written by South Central Regional Director Clint Townsend, originally published in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on February 3, 2012:
Eleanor Roosevelt once said that “poor minds talk about other people, average minds talk about events, and great minds talk about ideas.”
If you listen to the speeches of the Republican presidential candidates, you will likely notice a lot of talk about other people, with the exception of one, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas.
At any given Paul campaign rally, you will not leave without hearing about the ideas that are central to his campaign: individual liberty, free markets, peace and limited government. Indeed, this has harmed his status as an electable candidate. Truthfully, the media probably isn’t far off as they have routinely reminded the public that Paul will never win. After all, he has no particular affinity for the electable qualities of politically expedient bromides and platitudes expected from today’s politicians. While Paul may not win the nomination, there is something else up for grabs far more significant than the presidency; it is the chance to shape the hearts and minds of the next generation, and to that end Paul and his ideas will win a landslide victory.
It baffles many pundits that so many in Generation Y — the millennials — espouse the principles of Paul. You see, it isn’t about the man himself. Undoubtedly, Paul as an individual has shortcomings. Rather, it is Paul’s ideas that attract the rising generation.
We are worried about the sustainability of social safety nets, and Paul is one of the few voices saying we should be allowed to save and invest our money as we see fit. We have grown up under the conditions of perpetual warfare and are growing weary of it. Ultimately, we want to see government returned to a more proper role of maintaining the integrity of the free market and protecting civil liberties.
Young people aren’t just talking the talk, we’re walking the walk. If you haven’t been to a college campus lately you may be surprised that the most active political organizations are those dedicated to the principles that Paul’s campaign has made popular. I am amazed to see the growth of interest among my generation in the ideas of liberty since my work on his 2008 campaign.
An intellectual revolution that is manifesting in the form of a highly mobilized and energetic youth movement has developed since that time. Each week, hundreds of student groups across the country meet to discuss topics varying from the flaws of command-and-control economic policies to the proper role of government in regulating personal habits. For the past four years a national organization known as Students For Liberty has hosted conferences across the country, bringing together like-minded students to learn about social and economic freedom. The most recent series of conferences received over 1500 students. My personal experience organizing the Texas Forum for Freedom, a network of pro-liberty student groups across the state, meets at different locations within Texas three times per semester and is growing in size and excitement. This February young people from across the country will descend upon Washington, D.C. for the Fifth Annual International Students For Liberty Conference, a gathering expected to surpass 700 students. During the summer hundreds of students attend seminars at a number of institutions dedicated to teaching the ideas of free market figures like Robert Nozick, Ayn Rand, and Nobel laureates F. A. Hayek and Milton Friedman.
As a college student and experienced student organizer, I can personally attest to the profound effect of Paul’s presidential candidacy on America’s future movers and shakers, the consequences of which are much further reaching than any single election. I’m reminded of the rise of the progressive movement nearly 100 years ago. Undoubtedly, the intellectual and political victories of big government began among student groups. The energy and ideas spread from the university to the broader public and put pressure on Washington, D.C., to react with harmful programs that continue to burden our country.
Young libertarians: the true heritage of the Ron Paul Revolution
Or take the example of Barry Goldwater’s unsuccessful 1964 White House bid, a campaign that attracted youth, that ultimately manifested in the form of the Reagan revolution only 16 years later. Likewise, Paul’s influence on my generation will inevitably bring a shift toward free-market capitalism and greater individual liberty.
It’s OK that media elites write off Paul as the Republican Party’s crazy uncle. They’re right that he won’t win the nomination. But who cares? Ultimately, defenders of the status quo will be obligated to heed the forces of a sleeping giant — a restless minority of young people keen on reestablishing a vision of America that doesn’t fit within the confines of the current debate. It is this battle for the future that Ron Paul wins. This is one victory the establishment can’t deny.