OBSERVER A Journal of Free Voices A Window to the South Sept. 24, 1971 250 The Observer goes to a YAF convention Houston The national convention of the Young Americans for Freedom held at the Shamrock Hilton Hotel Sept. 2-5 was actually a plot, a nefarious conspiracy conceived, arranged and executed by Allard Lowenstein. In this parlous era, when one comes across one thousand young people standing on their chairs, giving the double thumbs down signal and screaming in unison, “Dump Nixon! Dump Nixon! DUMP NIXON!,” what else is one to conclude? No one knows how Lowenstein managed to infiltrate and subvert the right’s foremost under-30 bastion of ideological purity, but we trust Bill Buckley will do something about it ere long. Those of you who have not previously encountered the YAF phenom should know that this is not the right wing’s SDS. I suppose I should confess at the beginning that I am soft on YAF. In its own way, it’s a jolly group. YAFers have no more use for George Wallace that does Mark Rudd. YAFers consider the John Birch Society a collection of dingalings. As for the KKK, the Minutemen, the White Citizens Council, the Young Mazis, et al, YAFers view them as the impedimenta and excreta of cerebral pygmies \(YAFers talk like that, rightwingers; they are conservative. What is more, . they consider themselves the intellectual elite of American conservatism. In general, YAFers are distinguished both by extraordinary seriousness and extraordinary certitude. YAFers KNOW, which is comforting to those of us who are eternally waffling around in existential sloughs, muttering that the answer is not the question. YAFers have it All Worked Out. Their comprehensive socio-politico-economic systems embrace everything from the nature of God and man to the price of baloney. They are against big business, big labor unions, foreign aid, communism, taxes, the draft, welfare, East-West trade, the minimum wage, urban renewal, student power, Social Security, Medicare, the war on poverty, recognizing Red China, discriminating against South Africa, the federal government in general and the State Department in particular, price supports, wage-price freezes, Mack trucks, disarmament talks, the proposed Family Assistance Plan and much, much more. And as of their 1971 convention, they’re agin’ Richard Nixon. YAF is not an idologically monlithic group. One finds therein three distinct strains: libertarian, traditionalist and objectivist. To oversimiplify, libertarians place liberty above all other values, which occasionally leads them to conclude that anarchy is the ideal social structure. Traditionalists are your basic, garden
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