Letter to the Editor
The Irish Independent
Aug. 5, 2019
Re: Hugh O’Connell, ‘Anger as Fine Gael Youth leader attends US right-wing conference’ The Irish Independent, Aug. 5, 2019, 2:30 AM, <https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/politics/anger-as-fine-gael-youth-leader-attends-us-rightwing-conference-38374027.html>.
Hugh O’Connell tells the reader that the “mission” of Young America’s Foundation (“YAF”) is “to groom future conservative leaders.” He cites The New York Times. But there is no good reason to look to the NYT for a statement of YAF’s mission—any more than one would inquire from YAF as to the Times’ mission. YAF’s mission statement is right on its website, and has its roots in the famous Sharon Statement from 1960.
Contrary to what Hugh O’Connell and his sources at the Times believe, YAF has little to do with abortion or same-sex marriage—issues which, in the United States, are generally left to the states. Historically, YAF had three core missions; they related to supporting and educating the American public—particularly on college campuses—in regard to:  individual liberty / limited government;  the free-market economy; and  a strong national defence / anti-communism.
For a good history of YAF and other similar American right-of-centre organisations, which like so much of American conservatism is misunderstood in Ireland and in wider Europe, see George H. Nash, The Conservative Intellectual Movement in American since 1945 (1976). It is a short book, and so very helpful for the beginner.
Seth Barrett Tillman
YAF website link: <https://www.yaf.org/about/>;
Sharon Statement link: <https://www.yaf.org/news/the-sharon-statement/>;
Seth Barrett Tillman, Letter to The Irish Independent on Young America’s Foundation, New Reform Club (Aug. 5, 2019, 6:06 AM), <https://reformclub.blogspot.com/2019/08/letter-to-irish-independent-on-young.html>.