The Georgetown Review sat down with Michael DeRenzi, a senior who decided to bring a Young Americans for Freedom chapter to Georgetown, to discuss conservatism, government, and his vision for Georgetown’s new chapter of YAF.
Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) is an ideologically conservative youth activism organization that was founded in 1960 as a coalition between traditional conservatives and libertarians on American college campuses. It is a non-profit organization and the chapter affiliate of Young America’s Foundation. The purposes of YAF are to advocate for public policies consistent with the Sharon Statement, which was adopted by young conservatives at a meeting at the home of William F. Buckley in Sharon, Connecticut.
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
Georgetown Review: What is YAF and why is it important to have at Georgetown?
Michael DeRenzi: Young America’s Foundation is a conservative youth organization that advocates for the ideas of limited government, individual liberty, free enterprise, traditional values and a strong national defense. Our chapter, Young Americans for Freedom, hopes to proliferate these ideas that the founders stapled into America’s governing architecture.
It is imperative that organizations like YAF are present on college campuses because the further away our country drifts from its ideological origins, the further removed citizens are from the truest understanding of its foundational principles that have led us to this point in history. In other words, the vestiges and interests of our country have been preserved while its principle has been abandoned. This has introduced toxic infiltrates to the American political system. For example, many people today, both left and right, hold onto the interest of equality. As a result, when people notice that there is inequality, some slander the founders, Constitution and conservatives as its source and further propose to supplant our governing system with something alien to it. Moreover, it is this attitude that is uncomfortably prevalent on college campuses that makes organizations like YAF necessary. If our generation wants to move forward and make progress, tearing America from its roots cannot be resorted to.
Georgetown Review: What do you hope to accomplish?
Michael DeRenzi: We hope to spread the ideas that were promulgated by our founders to our fellow students. We want students to get a deeper look into the convictions held by the founders through explaining the political philosophy that undergirds America’s governing institutions. Not only do we want to examine these and prove why they are so remarkable, we also want to help students be able to identify the threats that are currently being imposed on our country’s system of governance.
Georgetown Review: What inspired you to open a chapter at Georgetown?
Michael DeRenzi: I would say that the fragility of freedom is the main impetus the motivated me to start a YAF chapter at Georgetown. If someone were to ask me to define the today’s condition of America’s political system, I would probably say that it is a post-constitutional republic, moving towards statism. It frightens me to hear fellow students advocate for something that makes government more present in our daily lives like socialism. Roughly 70% of our annual budget is spent on health and social security entitlement programs that have contributed to massive debt, which will inevitably fall on our generation. I do not understand why anyone our age would want to stand alongside something that will plunder them without any mercy in the future. In order for our generation to maintain freedom, alien infiltrates that threat our freedom and American way of life should be opposed. However, many take the freedom we are ensconced in for granted and are willing to stand up for the forces that will lead to its destruction. Once one sees the how dear the threats to our freedom are held by many, there is no option but to get involved.
Georgetown Review: How can people join/get in touch with the chapter?
Michael DeRenzi: Right now we have a Facebook group, “Georgetown University Young Americans for Freedom.” We will be announcing and hosting an open meeting in the future to formally introduce our chapter to students who are interested.