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YAF – Redefining Conservative Communication
The YAF therefore offered a home to a broad array of conservatives, explaining its growth at the flagship university of Texas. The Austin YAF promoted their conserve values via magazines, fliers, hosting speakers, and sponsoring debates. They did this because they had to make clearly articulated points, as opposed to those involved in direct action, who assumed that everybody was familiar with the present issue of “the war” or “racial discrimination” etc. According to Kristen Elizabeth Hoerl’s doctoral thesis on retrospective perceptions of 1960s protests, as protests became more mainstream some students reported that it was “oppressive to individual spirit and authenticity.” In the age of authenticity, people gravitated toward YAF sometimes only because they were seeking something different and personally appealing.
The YAF therefore attempted to portray itself as an antithesis of the New Left culture popular at UT. In February of 1969, The Daily Texan reported that “UT-YAF sponsored a debate on ‘Revolution on Campus’ between former Communist Phil Luce and leftist Prof. Larry Caroline… The debate was attended by at least 800 students who filled the aisles and the halls of Batts auditorium to hear what both sides had to say.” At this point, YAF only had 65 members – so more than 700 students attened in order to discuss and debate the issue. This offered a stark contrast to the chants, parades, and rallies popular with the local New Left, where chants and snarky signs did not have as their primary purpose the goal of debating/discussing ideas. YAF presented conservatism in a way that was non-threatening, engaging, and ideally educational. Authentic, effective communication was critical to YAF’s success as a group.
SourcesDavis, Mary. “Group Dedicated to Preservation of US.” The Daily Texan, March 9th, 1969. Doyle, Ruth. “YAF Cards Go Up in Smoke As New Rightist Group Born.” The Daily Texan, December 11, 1969.
Fartula, Faye. “Campus Foes Meet YAF Demonstration.” The Austin American Statesman. April 16, 1970. Hoerl, K.E. (2005).
The Death of Activism?: Popular Memories of 1960s Protest (Doctoral Dissertation). Retrieved from https://www.lib.utexas.edu/etd/d/2005/hoerlk26758/hoerlk26758.pdf.
Klatch, Rebecca E. (1999). A Generation Divided: The New Left, the New Right, and the 1960s University of California Press. p. 21. ISBN 0-520-21714-4.
“Our History.” liberitarianparty.org Accessed April 20, 2016. Retrieved from https://www.lp.org/introduction/our-history. Schneider, Gregory L. Cadres for Conservatism: Young Americans for Freedom and the Rise of the Contemporary Right (New York, NYU Press, 1999), pp 3.
“The University of Texas Chapter of Young Americans for Freedom Statement on Nuclear Testing.” AF University of Texas Social life & Customs U4500 (8), Austin History Center, 810 Guadalupe St, Austin, TX 7870.
Ward, Brian. The 1960s A Documentary Reader. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2010. 153-154.
Wayne Thorburn (2010). A Generation Awakes: Young Americans for Freedom and the Creation of the Conservative Movement. Jameson Books Inc., p. 250. Yaf.org.
"The New Guard Archives." Accessed April 19, 2016. Retrieved from http://www.yaf.org/The_New_Guard_Archives.aspx.
Austin, TX 78712
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