By Rachel Zakharov, CSU President
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” -The Declaration of Independence.
The values expressed in this Declaration are rights that every American seeks to achieve. The Conservative Student Union (CSU) was created so that these goals and values are promoted on campus. The conservative ideology believes in individual/civil liberties that are aligned with the values ingrained in the Declaration of Independence. Conservatives believe that a big part of achieving these values comes from our belief in limited government and an economy with free trade. That is a fundamental trait when seeking out to achieve the values set forth by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence.
Conservatism values small government, deregulation of the government, economic liberalism and free trade, as the fundamental traits of democracy, in contrast with more liberal approaches which generally place a greater value on social equality and a bigger, more powerful government.
A large portion of conservative ideology and values are rooted in the philosophy of Ronald Reagan. He believed that freedom is a universal principle not exclusive to Americans, and that the government should provide that freedom–not just stand idly by, acting as “the keeper of the flame of liberty.” Conservatives believe in the exceptionalism of America; it is the “shining city” full of so many opportunities. The belief in the individual is always greater than the state and every individual has a unique perspective and unique values.
This year, we have collaborated with the student councils to create a new club on campus. Our club represents all conservative organizations on campus under one umbrella: College Republicans, Young Americans for Freedom, and Turning Point USA.
CSU’s role on campus is to unify all factions associated with conservatism, providing a medium through which students can converse and learn about free markets, free speech, liberty, and aspirations toward goals in which conservatism plays a focal role.
“We hope the CSU will create a forum for students to learn about, discuss, and engage with conservative values. We want to provide students with opportunities to bond with their peers about issues that are important to them, to challenge each other to think critically about the state of the world, and to engender within them the knowledge and skills needed to be a leader in our school and in their future lives. We hope this club will foster an environment where the game of politics is not at the forefront, but rather, the discussion of how to adhere to conservative values in today’s day and age.” –Sarah Casteel, Co-President of CSU.
We have many exciting developing events and ideas this year. Since CSU represents College Republicans, the majority of our events will be co-hosted. We have debates, speaking engagements, panels, and many more things in store coming this fall and next spring. We are also looking at the prospect of working alongside other like-minded clubs on campus like the Yeshiva University Political Action Club (YUPAC), the Israel Club, and College Democrats.
As Dan Schneider, the Executive Director of the American Conservative Union, puts it simply, “Conservatism is the political philosophy which states that sovereignty resides in the person.”
Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness lie within the individual. CSU’s mission is to educate and promote this political philosophy to the best of our ability.