The Network of enlightened Women at the University of South Florida had the privilege of hosting Morgan Zegers, CEO and Founder of Young American’s Against Socialism (YAAS), on September 19 to discuss the dangers of socialism and why it’s intriguing to the younger generations. The discussion was led by chapter president Ashley Busby. Both Zegers and Busby were joined virtually by many leaders from NeW chapters at University of South Florida, Colorado State, Notre Dame, Indiana University, Florida State, University of Tampa, and Boston University chapters.
To begin, Zegers applauded the women at the meeting for becoming active in the conservative movement while in college. Zegers shared that she never got involved in any political organizations during her time as an undergraduate at American University, and unfortunately, Zegers let the fear of not feeling smart or educated enough on conservative principles hold her back from using her voice.
During her senior year, she had an openly communist roommate who proudly displayed her “welcome to the party” poster featuring Joseph Stalin, Fidel Castro, Mao Zedong, Vladimir Lenin, and Karl Marx. Zegers had seen these men in textbooks and knew they were communists, but didn’t know the extent of their destruction. It wasn’t until she did her own research that she discovered the real legacy those leaders left behind. She learned these men were responsible for the murders of hundreds of millions of people and that their regimes had resulted in the socioeconomic disparity of millions around the world.
The biggest take away that Zegers learned from her roommate was that leftist students view conservatives as “mean” and not compassionate. Her roommate helped her to see that young people frequently view offering taxpayer dollars and encouraging government action as tools to care for people. It was not hard for Zegers to see why 70% of Generation Z views socialism favorably and would openly vote for a socialist candidate. However, Zegers pointed out that while the majority of Gen Z may like the way socialism sounds, she doubts that many actually know that socialism is an economic theory which advocates for the nationalization of major industries as well as the means of production.
During the meeting, she reminded the women to remember that these young socialists believe they are advocating for basic human rights through large, government-run social welfare programs. Zegers reiterated that young socialists are not the enemy. Instead, they are the misguided audience.
Zegers provided a few examples of how young conservatives can continue to spread awareness and change the hearts and minds of our peers. One example was through advocating for an executive order to make sure that classes on the evils of socialist policies are taught to our youth at the primary and secondary level. This includes going deeper than the black and white textbook pictures of Stalin and Castro, and making sure all young Americans know the extent of their socialist and communist roots.
Another example is to continue sharing first-hand accounts of individuals who survived socialism and fled to the United States in pursuit of freedom. During the meeting, four women attending shared personal stories of their families having to leave the socialist countries of Cuba, Venezuela, and Romania in the hopes of a better life. Zegers encouraged these women to share their story and to continue to show their peers and other young Americans the downside to socialist policies. She encouraged and inspired the women in attendance to strive to be proactive to make sure that we are giving Gen Z the information they need to change the tide on socialism.
Following her speech, Zegers stayed to answer questions directly from members about the importance of economic freedom and her passion for conservative politics.
After listening to Zegers speak, the NeW leaders and members left better understanding that it is more important than ever to equip themselves with logical and reasonable arguments against the evils of socialist policies.
Thank you, Morgan, for inspiring these women to get out on their college campuses and have challenging conversations to change the narrative around socialism.
This blog was written by Madison Kutruff, NeW Campus Program Coordinator.