R: Lose the Lottery

The first recorded lottery dated back to 1445 when a region in modern day Netherlands used a lottery system to raise money to build walls and town fortifications. And to this day, the government continues to use the lottery to raise money for schools, roads, and the elderly. But is it right for governments to exploit the weakness of its citizens to build the roads? Does the lottery undermine civic virtue? Or does it provided for the basics of society in a tax-averse political environment? How does a government lead its citizens away from vice and into a life of virtue? 

Moreover, what are the impacts of the lottery on the individual and society? What happens to the economy when our disposable income goes to gambling? What happens to an individual that comes by money so easily? With more lottery winners depressed, divorced, destitute or dead, is it even desirable to have that much money? 

Even with all these lingering questions, millions turn out to buy tickets every week. Do we justify our purchase with promises of better education, the thrill and mystery of gambling or is it thinly veiled greed? Is playing the lottery a part of living the good life? 

Join us this Wednesday, January 27th at 7:30 pm in the Calhoun Parlor to debate this and other questions on virtue and vice. All are welcome!


Edmund Burke Weekend 2015

EBW Banquet


Welcome, Yale Class of 2019!

The Federalist Party is a conservative debating society, and one of the seven parties in the Yale Political Union (YPU). We hold weekly debates—typically on Wednesday nights—and come together with the other parties at YPU debates on Tuesday nights. Our debates tend to address issues of particular interest to American conservatives, including economics, religion, family, culture, foreign policy, and—true to our name—federalism. We also debate deeper philosophical questions relevant to broader conservative thought in an effort to better understand what it means to live the good life. In addition to debates, Federalists spend time together over meals, toasting sessions, movie nights, basketball games, and other impromptu gatherings. We also host several guest speakers throughout the year.

Our inaugural debate of the year, on Resolved: It Is Evil to Negotiate with Evil, will be held on Wednesday, September 2nd, at 7:00 pm in the Mendenhall Room of Berkeley College’s North Court (immediately adjacent to the north entrance of Bass Library; see map). This resolution was inspired by the ongoing debate over the Iranian nuclear agreement, which many have labeled a futile attempt to appease evil. Our debates—and other events—are open to everyone, and this debate in particular should be of interest to students of all political creeds. We look forward to seeing you!

If you'd like to get in touch with us, please use this form to send an email, or contact any of our officers.


R: Disarm the Police

The nation is ablaze with the tragic fallout of Ferguson. No one needs a briefing of what happened there, but at the center of it all are serious questions regarding the use of overwhelming force and the common use of firearms—both light and heavy—in American policing. Honest mistakes or systematic institutional perversion—either becomes much deadlier when policemen draw their guns.

Would America be better off, then, with a drastically demilitarized and even disarmed police force? Has America become tyrannized by the weaponized mechanisms of state enforcement, or are we simply begging for the chaos of communal helplessness in the face of disorder?

We are no strangers to broken trust, injustice, riots of all stripes, and the darker elements of human nature. The police are there to protect and serve the people, and to combat nemeses to peaceful existence. We must determine whether such combat is best done well-armed, or if it is hampered by the wielding of such power as an instrument. We, of course, must keep in mind the fine men and women who protect us by risking their lives, citizens of every walk of life, and those who will inherit our legacy.

Join us this WednesdayDecember 3rd at 7:30 pm in the Calhoun Parlor to debate this sensitive and important issue. All are welcome!


R: Unlock Your Doors

Living in a country that values property rights and home ownership, we often take it for granted that there is a clear divide between the public and the private, the outside community and the home. We value both of these spheres tremendously, but independently. We don't want the community at large to intrude upon our private property, and we want to keep family and other personal matters away from the public—for the public's good and ours.

But do Americans put too much stake in property rights? Does it lead to a harmful compartmentalization of our communal and private lives, partitioned at the doors to our homes? We don't have to give up all private property (history shows us this can have pretty terrible consequences), but perhaps we should treat it as an extension of the community—and of its public spaces—rather than as something distinctly our own. This would allow us to interact with our communities more fully, while also preserving some autonomy to develop our property as we see fit.

But is this vision too idealistic? Does it ignore the fact that not everyone in our communities is trustworthy? And if we treat private property as an extension of communal property, what bulwarks will we have against its seizure—say under the guise of eminent domain? Perhaps, then, we should be very explicit about where the public sphere ends and where the private one begins.

Join us this ThursdayNovember 13th at 8:00 pm in the Calhoun Parlor as we debate the value of land and locks. All are welcome!