Young Americans for Liberty, the Ron Paul rEVOLution's national youth affiliate, was officially launched on December 2, 2008. That same day, Paul himself helped start things off with an email message to his supporters and a press release endorsing the fledgling organization.
Says Paul, “a youth-based movement for liberty is essential to our cause. It is these young men and women who will become tomorrow's champions of liberty. That's why I am giving my enthusiastic endorsement to Young Americans for Liberty (YAL); an organization that is built directly on the success of Students for Ron Paul.” (1)
The young man behind YAL is National Coordinator Jeff Frazee. Not the goalie: This Jeff Frazee is 25, from College Station, Texas, and (according to CBS News) “a low-key Texas A&M grad whose swept blond hairdo makes him look more likely to pull out a skateboard than your typical campaign functionary.” (2)
Frazee first worked with Paul as a congressional intern in 2005. (3) When Paul launched his presidential campaign in 2007, Frazee founded Students for Ron Paul (SRP) as the campaign's unofficial youth wing.
After SRP raised more than $30,000 for the Paul campaign, Frazee was hired as the campaign's National Youth Coordinator. In that capacity he organized “Ron Paul's Christmas Vacation,” which saw hundreds of students from across the country converge on Iowa to spend their vacation canvassing for Paul just before the January 3 caucus, attracting national media notice. The Washington Post waxed particularly eloquent about that event:
The Ron Paul boys have come to this great state by bus and borrowed ride, with long johns under their jeans and little in their pockets.
All day, they go door-to-door in the snow on behalf of their hero, the libertarian and 10-term Republican congressman Ron Paul. At night, they sleep in YMCA cabins, one of which has no hot water.
“A lot of guys in a small area,” says Jeff Frazee, the Paul campaign's youth coordinator. “Doesn't smell the best.”
During spare moments, which are rare, the Paul boys watch guy movies such as “Transformers” and wish there were more girls around. (4)
SRP eventually grew to 26,000 members, organized in 500 chapters throughout all 50 states. As early as spring there were plans to turn it into a permanent organization, Daniel McCarthy (Paul's campaign blogger) writing in The American Conservative in April: “A new youth movement is also coming into being as Students for Ron Paul reconfigures into a permanent libertarian-conservative activist organization, Young Americans for Liberty.” (5)
YAL was originally to be launched with a national student conference last summer; however, plans for that were shelved when Paul announced the September Rally for the Republic. Instead the time was spent in organizing local chapters. As Paul puts it: “My National Youth Coordinator, Jeff Frazee, is launching this organization with an ambitious goal of starting over 100 campus chapters in 2009. They have already started 47 chapters this semester.”
YAL's website, YALiberty.org, went live in October. (6)
“What Young Americans for Freedom was to Goldwater and Reagan,” wrote McCarthy, “Frazee hopes his group, Young Americans for Liberty, will be to future Ron Paul Republicans.
“Its mission is winning on principle,” Frazee says of YAL. “I like to see it as a kind of a variation on the Leadership Institute mission to identify, train, and place conservatives in media, public policy, and government — training and placing right-wing libertarians and learning how to win on principle, taking the Leadership Institute and putting more of an ideological bent on it.” As Frazee explains, the Leadership Institute — Republican activist Morton Blackwell's organization, where Frazee once worked as deputy national field director — is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that cannot turn anyone away from its programs or endorse candidates or legislation.
YAL will have a 501(c)(4) component: supporting and opposing candidates will be very much part of its mission, and it won't necessarily be open to everyone. “It will be restrictive in the sense that it will be identified with some philosophy,” Frazee says. The group's activities are planned to be “kind of a take off of the tradition of Young Americans for Freedom, in terms of the amount of activism and youth organization. But at the same time it's very different from Young Americans for Freedom, too, because of its issues and its philosophy” — which will parallel the ideas of Ron Paul. (5)
Young Americans for Freedom was founded in September 1960 (at William Buckley's Sharon, CT, estate) and merged the following year with Students for Goldwater, the campus wing of Barry Goldwater's 1960 presidential campaign. “Goldwater lost the Republican nomination in 1960,” McCarthy noted, “but his volunteers built the infrastructure that allowed him to win it four years later, and although he lost the general election, the conservative movement rose from the ashes of his campaign.” (5)
In his December 2 email, Ron Paul evokes the same precedent: “Back in the 1960s, an influential youth movement formed around another anti-establishment presidential candidate. His name was Barry Goldwater. The organization was called Young Americans for Freedom; and without it, we may have never seen Ronald Reagan in the White House. I have high hopes for Young Americans for Liberty, and wish them a similar fortune.”
(YAF also spawned the modern libertarian movement, which began with a walkout of libertarians from its 1969 national convention. But that's another story.) (7)
The YAL website pays particular homage to YAF's national magazine, New Guard: “YAF recognized the importance of a unified youth movement and a national publication to sharpen their ideas. Their publication, The New Guard, served as a mouthpiece for the positions and direction of a rising youth movement. Many of the famous political writers that shape public opinion today got their start with Young Americans for Freedom.” (8)
YAL intends to copy that success with its own national print publication, Young American Revolutionary (YAR). Says the website:
YAR will encourage student involvement and solicit the work of young people. It will teach our movement how to recruit, communicate our message effectively, and garner media attention. It will report on campus activism and the destruction of liberty in academia. And, it will educate and advance our philosophy of liberty.
YAR serves as the voice for a generation of inflamed youth that doesn't accept the status quo or consent to the forceful grip of government. We see through the deceptive cloak of Obama's false change and settle for nothing less than the full restoration of our social and economic liberties. Real change is only found in the revival of our constitutional republic and the end of fascism, socialism, and collectivism. (8)
The first issue of YAR is scheduled to publish early next semester, and will be mailed to the over 26,000 students who joined SRP.
First, though, comes raising the funds to pay for all this. Besides his endorsement, Paul also gave YAL $25,000 in seed money; a tidy sum, but not nearly enough to satisfy all the ambitious plans. Fortunately, Paul also gave YAL access to his coveted donor list, which the boys at YAL House have used to launch a furious fundraising blitz, making over 900 telephone calls in the two days after Paul's email went out. (9)
The base is responding; Frazee says they are enjoying roughy a 50% success rate with live calls. Everyone who donates $50 or more will also be mailed the premier issue of YAR.
Just as a youth movement is essential to the ultimate success of the rEVOLution, so is a successful year-end fundraising drive essential to the immediate success of that youth movement. As Ron Paul reminds us:
The importance of YAL to the future of liberty cannot be overstated.
Young people have the passion, energy, and dedication that many of you can relate to from this past year and a half. But, young people do not have very much money. It is up to you and me to give them our support.
So please go to Young Americans for Liberty's website http://www.YALiberty.org , sign up for their free E-Newsletter, and read about the future of our youth.
YAL Statement of Principles
We are the Young Americans for Liberty (YAL). As Americans we recognize the God-given natural rights of life, liberty, and property set forth by our Founding Fathers. Our country was created to protect the freedoms of the individual and directed by we the people.
We recognize that freedom deserves responsibility and therefore we hold ourselves to a high moral character and conduct. Integrity emphasizes our stance towards action. Principle defines our outlook towards government. Peace and prosperity drives our ambitions towards our countrymen.
We inherit a corrupt, coercive world that has lost respect for voluntary action. Our government has failed and dragged our country into moral decay. The political class dominates the agenda with a violent, callous, controlling grip. And, for this we do not stand.
We welcome limited government conservatives, classical liberals, and libertarians who trust in the creed we set forth.
WE, as Young Americans for Liberty believe:
THAT government is the negation of liberty;
THAT voluntary action is the only ethical behavior;
THAT respect for the individual's property is fundamental to a peaceful society;
THAT violent action is only warranted in defense of one's property;
THAT the individual owns his/her body and is therefore responsible for his/her actions;
THAT society is a responsibility of the people, not the government.
(1) All quotations in italics are from:
Ron Paul, “I endorse Young Americans for Liberty,” Campaign for Liberty, Dec. 2, 2008.
(2) Eve Fairbanks, “Ron Paul's Loyal Student Surrogates,” CBS News, Jan. 2, 2008.
(3) Jeff Frazee, “Life as a Congressional Intern,” LewRockwell.com, Sep. 7, 2005.
(4) Libby Copeland, “To Be Young And in Love With Ron Paul,” Washington Post, Jan. 2, 2008. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/01/01/AR2008010102235.html
(5) Daniel McCarthy, “The Ron Paul Evolution,” American Conservative, Apr. 21, 2008.
(6) Bob Bollas, “Young Americans for Liberty,” Campaign for Liberty, Oct. 14, 2008.
(7) Jerome Tuccille, “The Revolution Comes To YAF,” Libertarian Forum, I:12 (Sept. 15, 1969). http://18.104.22.168/search?q=cache:ZRF_VCIyp_8J:mises.org/journals/lf/1969/
(8) “Young American Revolution,” Young Americans for Liberty (accessed Dec. 7, 2008).
(9) Jeff Frazee, “Hey y'all, it's YAL, pick up the PHONE!,” Yaliberty blog, Dec. 5, 2008.
Washington Post, Jan. 2, 2008. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/video/2007/12/28/VI2007122800073.html