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Young Conservatives Need Heroes Today

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
AP Photo/John J Lent

Never before has it been harder to be a young conservative than today.  The rising AOC-socialist generation and social justice warriors are doing everything they can to silence or “cancel” conservative voices.  


Young people today are fed a continuous, non-stop dish of political correctness, are constantly told that their country is systemically racist, and that anyone supporting Donald Trump is a racist, bigot, or deplorable.  

Terms like “woke,” “trigger warnings,” “microaggressions,” systemically-fill-in-the-blank, etc. have been introduced in our lexicon as a way to muzzle any opposing opinion to the general globalist, progressive worldview orthodoxy.  

The culprits enabling this come from our public education systems, universities, Hollywood, mainstream media, Big Tech, and our entrenched Administrative State.  

We hear countless stories of punitive measures being brought on our students on Campus Reform, or whenever a conservative speaker, like Ben Shapiro, is barred from speaking on a campus, or Critical Race Theory being forced on our young workers in the public and even private sectors.  

To be a politically-engaged conservative on a college campus, or working in our nation’s capital, or really anywhere in America these days, takes a great deal of courage.  

This extends not just to our college students but to young professional conservatives and liberty-minded individuals who dare to speak up and have their voices heard, believe that our country is exceptional, and that the American way of life is worth preserving and fighting for.


These rising patriots need heroes and role models to know they are not alone. One way in which to recognize these young adult patriots is through America’s Future Foundation’s Buckley Awards, which recognize young professional conservative leaders around the country.   

The awards are given annually to five deserving individuals for either organizing an important grassroots or media initiative, significantly contributing to the advancement or understanding of the ideas of a free society, meaningfully impacting news coverage of a high profile issue, and/or displaying courage and grace under fire.

The award is in honor of William F. Buckley, Jr., who before the age of 30 became the leader of the early intellectual conservative movement, championing conservative “fusion” – a philosophy that brought together various strands of conservatism to work together to achieve political success and conserve America’s founding principles.

The Buckley Awards were originally started by the Young Conservatives Coalition (2010-2016). The YCC was a DC-based, young professional conservative, leadership, educational and networking organization dedicated to fostering valuable working relationships to advance the conservative movement during the Obama years, and prepare the next generation of conservative leaders.


The Buckley Awards are a way to recognize rising leaders making a difference in the early part of their careers. Some noteworthy winners who received a Buckley early in their careers include The Federalist senior editor and Fox News contributor Mollie Hemingway, current OMB Director Russell Vought, Townhall.com editor and Fox News contributor Katie Pavlich, and current Claremont Institute president Ryan Williams

I served as president of the YCC throughout its eight-year run. The reason we started the awards was because these behind-the-scenes heroes were usually overlooked and were never given credit for their achievements in advancing the cause of liberty, and would never be recognized by the establishment cultural institutions.   

Ten years later, and after we handed the reins to America’s Future Foundation, these awards are now more important than ever.  Social justice warriors, Antifa, the rioters, BLM, and their counterparts will be the model for future generations if we do not provide an alternative.

Courageous young patriots need to be recognized to serve as examples to future leaders, and to remind the rising generation of the generational sacrifice needed to keep the flame of liberty ablaze.  


As William F. Buckley Jr. did during his generation to fight the tide of socialism, communism, and radical liberalism, so must our generation embody his boldness, courage, achievement, and example.

Nominations can still be submitted through Wednesday, October 14, 2020.

Christopher N. Malagisi is based in Washington, D.C. and is currently the Executive Director of Outreach for Hillsdale College | Washington, D.C. Campus, but expresses these views in his own personal capacity. He previously served as CPAC Director & Director of External Relations at the American Conservative Union, and as Editor in Chief of Salem Media’s Conservative Book Club.

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