God and Man at Yale: The Superstitions of 'Academic Freedom'

In 1951, a twenty five year old Yale graduate published his first book, which exposed the extraordinarily irresponsible educational attitude that prevailed at his alma mater This book rocked the academic world and catapulted its young author, William F Buckley Jr into the public spotlight.
God and Man at Yale The Superstitions of Academic Freedom In a twenty five year old Yale graduate published his first book which exposed the extraordinarily irresponsible educational attitude that prevailed at his alma mater This book rocked the acade

  • Title: God and Man at Yale: The Superstitions of 'Academic Freedom'
  • Author: William F. Buckley Jr.
  • ISBN: 9780895266927
  • Page: 346
  • Format: Paperback
  • 1 thought on “God and Man at Yale: The Superstitions of 'Academic Freedom'”

    1. This is a marvelous expose by Buckley and one I wish I had read before writing my own university-slammer, The Bubble Boys. Buckley's main concerns are that under the guise of "academic freedom" many faculty at Yale in the early 1950s were pushing ideas which were consistent with totalitarianism--against which the United States was at war then, against Korea, as it had been for half the preceding decade against Germany and Italy--and antithetical to the old American values of individualism and Ju [...]

    2. I read a lot of Buckley back in the day, but had never read this one, the book that put him on the map. Reading it now, I can certainly see why it put him on the map. Good stuff.

    3. Reading this book is primarily for historical value. It is William F. Buckley, Jr.'s first book that he wrote while a student at Yale (published after graduation). In it you will find all the major themes of modern American conservatism that have shaped American politics since Goldwater. Following graduation, Buckley would go on to found The National Review magazine, which would be the standard bearer for the American conservative movement until the late 80's, when Rush Limbaugh becomes the stan [...]

    4. While dated this book is a good place to start in examining the premise it puts forward in comparison to the situation as it exists today.The names in the book and the specific examples listed come (1951 but continuing through)1970s. The "changes" that are presaged by the situation Mr. Buckley goes into have continued through to the present. The examples of instructors (professors) in the religion classes who are irreligious or even outright hostile to religion compared to what the alumni and pa [...]

    5. Here WFB sets forth with the primary thesis that alumni, being both customers and donors to Yale University, should be able to dictate the values that are taught at that University. This is a reaction to the belief that Yale had, at the publishing of this book following WFB's tenure as a student there, had moved away from their core values of individualism and christianity, toward a collectivist and atheist agenda. There are lots of problems with Buckley's ideas here, the most obvious being that [...]

    6. You can sometimes judge the effectiveness of a writer or that writer's work by the visceral reactions they generate from those who hold an opposing view. This book is a shining example of that effectiveness.Even as a young man, when he wrote this book, Buckley showed a superb command of the language and its intricacies, and his simple premise -- that academia, which is supposed to embrace free thought, speech and expression but in fact is skewed toward a particular world view -- is more true tod [...]

    7. It's rather sad to see just how much of an arrogant tosser Buckley was even as a young man, one more suited to the reactionary world of Metternich than the post-war 1940s. Reading Buckley's early work, it's easy to understand the anti-communist witch hunts of the 50s. The motto of the so-called New Right? Don't engage intellectually, simply ban, fire, and excoriate anything that doesn't conform to your tiddy WASP world view. (and full disclosure: I tend towards conservative politics myself, but [...]

    8. A very good analysis of academic freedom and the Communist threat to higher education. I am not one to disparage a work of such a great man. However, I find the book is a product of its times, people, and events of a particular place, and this itself is a weakness.

    9. Do not be fooled by the title. Buckley's book has very little to do about Yale. It serves merely as a backdrop for his arguments against the concepts of academic freedom and for individualism (conservatism). William Buckley is a renowned political conservatist, and apparently this book kicked off his life's work. He wrote it two years after graduating Yale in 1951, and his immature, overly flatutent writing style is evidence of a young writer. Nevertheless his arguments are well thought out and [...]

    10. The book is well-reasoned but dry as an old dishcloth. Buckley's conservativsm was the genteel philosphy carved from very basic axioms. Not the most interesting book but it has held out well in the last 50 years for its disdain of the muscular fascist conservative cousin now masquerading as genuine politics today.

    11. Difficult, dry, and dated in most respects. Buckley examines the institution and influence of Yale in the late 40s. Some of the issues, such as academic freedom, free speech on campus, protests, and attitudes toward politics and religion are particularly relevant today.

    12. GAHHHH that was dull. DNF at 50%. The book was mostly just excerpts from various economics textbooks. WFB has a reputation for being a sparkling wit, a firebrand, and an iconoclast, but this was a snoozer. Is there a better intro to WFB?

    13. Even more frightening (and pertinent) that it is now more close to the 65th anniversary of this work, unsurprisingly Buckley's book is necessary, enlightening, and apropos. Buckley's introduction to the 25th anniversary reveals his growth as a critic, thinker, and writer (the writing is much better than the book itself, which should not be surprising, considering he doubled his life experience and honed his writing output in the meantime). It is more enjoyable to read than the book, but the book [...]

    14. A reviewer said of this book that it would have been remarkable had a Professor read it, let alone a 25-year-old recent college graduate. He was right, of course. Buckley's analysis of the culture, politics, and ideology of Yale in the late 40's/early 50's was spot on, which of course is why it struck such a nerve and won him so many enemies, as well as friends. His analysis of the situation is flawless, particularly given the benefit of hindsight, and he was not only right about Yale, but (as h [...]

    15. I can see why people like McGeorge Bundy called this book "fascist" at the time, as Buckley seems to delight in throwing rhetorical bombs and tweaking the academic establishment. But it really is nothing of the sort and relies on fairly basic principles:- The customers of a private university are its alumni and donors, who should be able to expect that the university will inculcate their values in instruction.- We should be comfortable with private universities inculcating the values of individu [...]

    16. The second-edition introduction to this book is skillfully written. Unfortunately, the original body only remains interesting for showing the specific offending progressive or atheist views that many younger readers presume were expounded in lectures in the sixties but were in fact already heard by Yale students by the early fifties. On the issue of economics, the tone of the book is threatening, while on the topic of religion the author sounds more like he's grieving. A journalist once remarked [...]

    17. Strictly of historical interest, except the chapter on academic freedom, which is suitably provocative.

    18. I wonder who is writing the updated version of this based on the issues of academic freedom under attack today.

    19. The blueprint for the modern conservative movement. Brilliant, and quite simply one of my favorite all time books!

    20. Bill Buckley has just graduated from Yale. His first book points out how Yale failed its undergraduates Specifically it was in their religious teaching. particularly in the lack of a religious focus. He felt that as since they claimed religious affiliation as a university they ought to at least support the belief in God. Instead they went out of their way to teach that Government was the answer to everything and their focus included collectivism, atheism and agnosticism. This was accomplished [...]

    21. Not what I had expected. Though his arguments apply to many universities, I was surprised by how Yale-specific his writing was. (In fairness, the title suggests that it would be Yale-specific). Reading about lecturers at Yale is not exacting exhilarating. That said, it took courage for Buckley to name them and his argument against so-called "academic freedom" is convincing. Knowing where Yale stands now, it's clear that the alumni unfortunately did not listen to Buckley's critique.

    22. I mean the book was fine. The writing is top notch as one would expect by Buckley. I can see why it would be popular when it was first written. But in the current climate it is simply less impressive.

    23. The whole book is written on the assumption that Yale alumni at the time saw Christianity as important and worthwhile and worthy of attention at Yale (or universities in general). Doesn't hold a lot of relevance for the present day when most people don't hold that view.

    24. *Rating should be taken as a reflection of my opinion on the quality of writing style and argumentation, rather than an endorsement of any tenets of the argument itself.*

    25. In the theory of creationism, the "big bang" was the initiating incident that resulted in the creation of the universe. For modern conservative ideology, meanwhile, the equivalent of the "big bang" may have been the publication of William F. Buckley, Jr's God and Man at Yale - a critique of academia's leftist bias which enabled the nascent right-wing movement to mobilize and become a powerful force in U.S. politics.A member of Yale's graduating class of 1950, Buckley wrote 'God and Man at Yale' [...]

    26. This book is a tour de force and explores the fundamental question of higher education in a democracy wherein freedom of thought coexists with capitalism. Most importantly, it is still relevant today (as I will discuss).This book, contrary to the suggestions of some of the more ill-informed reviews, is not a defense of conservatism or a condemnation of a particular philosophy. Buckley makes three main points: 1) Yale is an anti-Christian environment; 2) Yale is an anti-individualist (i.e. pro-co [...]

    27. “I believe that if and when the menace of Communism is gone, other vital battles, at present subordinated, will emerge to the foreground. And the winner must have help from the classroom.” (Author’s Preface, p.lxvii) “Even so, the student’s basic attitudes are not, in my experience, conditioned by community life, locker-room chatter, debates, conferences, and the like. His disciplines and values will be got from the hours, no matter how few spent in the classroom and with his books.” [...]

    28. It was an honor to read God and Man at Yale, by William Buckley, Jr. In his book, Mr. Buckley writes (in his incredible prose that is unmatched by any other political pundit around) that the 1950s Yale has reached a turning point: it can continue to move towards secularism and socialism, and ultimately work against the public good, or it can choose to proselytize the virtues of individualism and spiritualism (the Christian sort, according to Buckley).Buckley argues that Yale should stand for som [...]

    29. This was not exactly what I expected, but I read it because it's a classic. The section on religion at Yale was a little dull, but he raised some very probing questions about religious schools and teaching religion, which I found very interesting since I attended a religious university.The section on economics had much more bite to it. With one or two exceptions, the entire faculty was teaching and promoting forms of communal/socialist economic activity. He, of course, rejected this, but many of [...]

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