by Michelle Easton

One hundred students and only five girls! That was my first Young Americans for Freedom event—a convention in Tarrytown, New York—when I was a college senior in 1972. It was a very different time for women in the Conservative Movement, and that experience would inspire my later work.

I had joined YAF four years earlier, as a freshman, after picking up a promotional brochure on a table in my dorm at Briarcliff College in Briarcliff Manor, New York. I had sent in a membership check because I was conservative, had been named “Class Politician” in my senior year of high school, and agreed with the Sharon Statement, YAF’s founding document.

But it wasn’t until I spent my junior year at the University of London that I gained motivation to become an activist for freedom in YAF.

England in the early 1970s was a tired and failing socialist country. Living there taught me first-hand about the hopelessness of people, particularly the less affluent, suffering under ssocialism. In England, the wealthy knew enough to pay for private healthcare rather than rely on the National Health Service, and they sent their children to non-government schools. Entrepreneurs and businesses were discouraged by burdensome taxes and regulations.

Thankfully, a great woman, Margaret Thatcher, often denigrated as a backbencher, would become Prime Minister in 1979 and straighten England out.

Read the full story in the Winter 2020 Libertas.