With a mother who fled communism in Cambodia and a father who fled fascism in Taiwan, liberty isn’t an abstract concept for Ethan Yang, but, as he says, “liberty is also personal to me.” He told SFL that “because of my family’s experience, I am inspired to continue advancing the ideas of individual liberty and prosperity, ideas that have allowed my family to go from fugitives fleeing persecution and genocide to living examples of the American dream.” He says, “I hope to extend that opportunity to more people.”
While he says he enjoys “nerding out about economic theory, regulatory policy, constitutional law, and politics,” Ethan’s yearning for liberty is also a little more personal.
Because of his family history, Ethan was already a pro-liberty advocate when he heard about Students For Liberty. In fact, he learned about SFL at a conference for like-minded students and signed up “thinking this would just be one more affiliation out of the many liberty groups that exist.”
In fact, he was running his own liberty-based student group at Trinity College, so he didn’t think he’d get very involved. That changed when Ethan saw SFL in action.
“After going to a few SFL events in different parts of the country, I realized how special this group was, and how I could make a difference,” he told us. “I saw all the amazing things people my age were doing around the world and I told myself I was going to be one of those leaders one day.”
Once he got involved, he says, “SFL gave me the opportunity to accomplish things I would have never even imagined myself doing.”
He hosted conferences in New York and Boston, recruited and networked with students, and mentored other students so they would be ready to take the helm on campus after he graduated in 2020.
While still in college, his student group reorganized and was renamed The Mark Twain Center for the Study of Human Freedom. Speaking of the experience, he says it went from “…a handful of students meeting in a basement to a professional organization with frequent guest speaker engagements ranging from relevant scholars to corporate leaders.”
A standout favorite memory was when Dr. Ed Stringham, Ethan’s top professional and intellectual role model, called him a hero.
Ongoing work in liberty
Ethan Yang is currently working as a writer and podcaster at the American Institute for Economic Research and will be attending law school soon. He says SFL prepared him for each of those roles by “sharpen(ing) my advocacy and research skills,” which he calls essential.
In addition, he says, “being able to work with all sorts of people and run organizations with multiple moving parts has also made me more confident than ever in my leadership abilities.”
He also continues to advance liberty with SFL, serving as the coordinator of our mid-Atlantic region. He explains, “I have the tremendous privilege of being a researcher and writer as well as the host of the AIER Author’s Corner Podcast at the age of 22. I tend to write about Covid-19 lockdowns, economic freedom issues, constitutional matters, and book reviews. My supervisors have placed tremendous trust in me to be able to write and publish at my own discretion. I believe I have this unique position because of the intellectual and professional development I underwent as an SFL leader in college. Because of this opportunity, my work has been republished in countless news outlets and I have appeared numerous times to speak about my articles on the radio and on TV. I have also been included or cited in academic journals and books.”
Here at SFL, we might each be inspired to fight for liberty in different ways, but we have that goal in common. Thank you for supporting volunteers like Ethan who are working to promote liberty on campus and beyond.
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This piece solely expresses the opinion of the author and not necessarily the organization as a whole. Students For Liberty is committed to facilitating a broad dialogue for liberty, representing a variety of opinions.