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"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

The Godless Men at Yale

Posted on | November 8, 2015 | 48 Comments

Every time I mention William F. Buckley Jr.’s God and Man at Yale here, it sells a few copies via the Amazon Associates link, a surprise that is both pleasant (because I need the money) and troubling, because it bugs me to realize that today, in 2015, there are conservatives who have not yet read that 1951 classic. Buckley’s book, published not long after he had graduated from Yale, immediately ignited a firestorm among the liberal elite. God and Man at Yale was published amid the Cold War tempest that history has called “McCarthyism,” and Buckley pointed out the ways in which “the superstition of academic freedom” was used to protect teaching that was clearly hostile to capitalism and Christianity.

More than that, Buckley documented how Yale had become confused about its own mission and, as a result, had betrayed the trust of the alumni whose contributions funded the university. God and Man at Yale, while focused on one particular Ivy League school, was in fact an indictment of American higher education generally, and especially of the academic elite whose embrace of New Deal-era liberalism had made it difficult for them to recognize the menace that Communism posed to our civilization. Though written at a particular time about a particular set of issues at a particular university, God and Man at Yale is nevertheless a work of timeless value and highly relevant to many of the controversies we encounter today, especially in higher education.

The recent absurd racial controversy at Yale, which resulted in an incident with an enraged student shouting obscenities at a dorm headmaster, calls our attention to why we cannot disregard (or treat as a joke) what is being taught at our nation’s universities. The cultural and political climate on campus today will shape the beliefs and attitudes of America’s future leaders, and incidents like this should give us cause for great concern. Yale is run by cowards:

In a closed-door meeting Thursday night, Yale University’s president apologized to a large group of minority students for the school’s failure to make them feel safe on campus.
“We failed you,” Peter Salovey, a psychologist, told more than 40 students gathered in the ornate room where the Yale Corporation meets, on the top floor of the president’s office.
“I think we have to be a better university. I think we have to do a better job,” he said, according to several students in the room who were taking notes.

You can read more at Reason magazine and at Hot Air, where Jazz Shaw points out the meaning of this abject surrender:

So it’s no longer good enough to admonish the actual practitioners of controversial speech . . . Now the faculty needs to go on the chopping block if they don’t proactively go out and squelch any offensive thoughts. This is the price we’re paying for generations of liberal thinkers encouraging the coddling of students and stamping out any competing ideas.

In other words, administrators now must vet their faculty, to make sure they never hire anyone who could harbor opinions that any student might find offensive, and sternly instruct professors to be sure that they do not tolerate any potentially offending expressions. This is the “better university” that President Salovey promised Yale’s students, and all because of Halloween costumes.

The laughably trivial nature of this controversy is, in fact, the point.

Go back to 1951. The Soviet Union had acquired nuclear weapons, the Rosenberg case had exposed the espionage by which this had happened, the Alger Hiss case and the Amerasia case had further exposed Soviet subversion, which was implicated in the Communist takeover of China, U.S. troops were fighting Red Chinese troops in Korea, and Joe McCarthy was investigating the lax security policies implicated in this national security crisis. Amid this cauldron of controversy, Yale student William F. Buckley Jr. wrote an erudite and thoughtful book about what all this meant for America’s institutions of higher education — he was not screaming dirty words while demanding that the campus be made a “safe space” to protect him from offensive Halloween costumes.

America’s cultural elite is decadent and depraved, and it has become so because our intellectual class failed to heed the warnings that Bill Buckley sounded in 1951. Yale University rejected Buckley’s criticism, and has proceeded in subsequent decades to do the exact opposite of what they should have done, had they taken Buckley’s criticism seriously. The true threat to “academic freedom” is not, as Yale’s defenders in 1951 imagined, from right-wingers like Buckley, but rather from the totalitarian impulses of the Left.

The truth about what is being taught at Yale, and at other colleges and universities, is of concern to every citizen, because it is abundantly evident that the pursuit of soi-disant “academic freedom” has now created a climate that excludes from campus the expression of any fact or opinion which the Left does not approve.

God has been banished from Yale, and the godless men who now exercise authority in academia — pusillanimous neurasthenic cowards like Yale President Peter Salovey — are evidently prepared to surrender to the puerile tantrums of young heathens whose “education” has rendered them incapable of even pretending to be civilized people.



48 Responses to “The Godless Men at Yale”

  1. Mike G.
    November 8th, 2015 @ 10:51 am

    God has been banished from Yale, and the godless men who now exercise
    authority in academia — pusillanimous neurasthenic cowards like Yale President Peter Salovey
    — are evidently prepared to surrender to the puerile tantrums of young
    heathens whose indoctrination has rendered them incapable of even
    pretending to be civilized people.


  2. RS
    November 8th, 2015 @ 11:40 am

    Here’s the thing. At Yale, or any of the top 20 universities and colleges in this country. it doesn’t matter. The students are not there for an education which is several orders of magnitude greater that “Directional State University.” Rather, there matriculation is a ticket to a specific class. It is a tribal insignia which opens doors to wealth and prestige which is rarely based upon merit. For that reason, the administration’s response to this sort of thing is irrelevant to the students involved.

    Where it is relevant. is the reaction of all the other colleges and universities who seek to emulate the Ivy League. It matters to those universities and colleges who are seeing the effects of the “Higher Education Bubble” and are fighting for student tuition dollars in an age where the demographics of college aged students are in decline. Make no mistake, there are market forces at work. Students are now “customers” and must be appeased. If they are not, they will take their risk free student loan dollars somewhere where there are plush stuffed animals and happy thoughts and minimal intellectual rigor for four years and what will amount to a worthless piece of paper.

  3. RS
    November 8th, 2015 @ 12:12 pm

    Amplifying on the above, note that in the video of the verbal assault on the headmaster, the student makes reference to “our [the students’] right to this university.”

    Where does this right originate? Obviously, there is no right to matriculate or be accepted as the legions of disappointed high school applicants to Yale can attest. The only right I can see presumably obtains from writing the check for tuition. Thus, in the shrieking student’s mind, she is entitled to a specific customer experience, which it seems includes be insulated from the vicissitudes of life for four years. Know this: faculty are well-aware of this mindset and adjust their behavior accordingly, whether it comes to grades, workloads, syllabi, etc.

  4. Steve Skubinna
    November 8th, 2015 @ 12:16 pm

    That is absolutely true. None of the “top” schools give a better education than a good state school does, assuming that they educate anyone at all. They provide credentials and entree to a specific class. I wonder if the first year’s subscriptions to the NYT and The New Yorker come with the diploma? They probably come in an NPR tote bag.

    After all, who goes to Harvard or Yale for an engineering degree? Anyone hiring engineers doesn’t think one from Brown will be better than one from Texas A&M. In fact, the A&M grad would probably have an edge.

  5. Steve Skubinna
    November 8th, 2015 @ 12:17 pm

    That was the first WFB book I ever read. It was offered as a subscription incentive to National Review in the mid eighties.

  6. Fail Burton
    November 8th, 2015 @ 12:31 pm

    Being a better university at this point would mean bulldozing it into the ground and sowing the area with salt. For their part these students of misery are very shrewd at creating an industry that will give them easy careers when they graduate. They are inventors… kind of. They won’t be able to retool an auto plant to help create armored divisions but they will be very good at irritating their guards in whatever slave pen their great grand children find themselves in.

  7. RS
    November 8th, 2015 @ 12:41 pm

    Case(s) in point: South Dakota School of Mines and Missouri University of Science and Technology have higher starting salaries for graduates on average than the Ivy League Schools. Tuition is about 25% of Yale.

  8. Art Deco
    November 8th, 2015 @ 12:50 pm

    Yale’s a punchline. Whenever you see the name in print, especially on a resume, burst out laughing.

  9. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    November 8th, 2015 @ 1:07 pm

    You generally don’t go wrong with the question “what would WFB do?”

  10. Matt_SE
    November 8th, 2015 @ 2:49 pm

    What really needs to happen on campus is for right-thinking students to band together into powerful gangs, and physically confront the malcontents. They also need to stage counter-protests in academic offices to let TPTB know that there’s going to be violence one way or the other.
    However, that probably won’t happen out of concern over one’s future and because most of the students don’t understand the necessity for this action (that’s why they went to university to begin with, ostensibly).

  11. SouthOhioGipper
    November 8th, 2015 @ 4:31 pm

    My question is what these University presidents are afraid of? They have to know this is insane! They have to know that mainstream America doesn’t operate this way and that no employer is going to put up with someone acting like that female student acted. If some female employee screamed at me about providing a safe space I would laugh in her face and tell her that no where is safe where I call the shots.

    Will rich parents stop sending their kids to the Ivy League If’ they aren’t coddled this way? I just can’t see a university president being so kooky liberal crazy as to believe all this crap. A leadership position is inherently conservative. There has to be aa money or funding concern in there somewhere.

  12. Dana
    November 8th, 2015 @ 4:44 pm

    Is anyone really surprised that pussies act like pussies?

  13. Dana
    November 8th, 2015 @ 4:49 pm

    Our esteemed host recently wrote that sensible parents ought to home school their children. Alas! We are not able to home college our children, are we?

    These mental weaklings and cowards might well be able to push the universities into making themselves safe spaces, in which the abnormal among us won’t get their precious little feelings hurt, but the vast majority of them will eventually ave to leave the hallowed halls of academia, and get jobs out in the real world. In the real world, they’ll have to compete to survive, and their competitors won’t hesitate to hurt their poor little feelings if it helps the competition to get ahead.

    Our universities are helping to set up their students for failure.

  14. Fail Burton
    November 8th, 2015 @ 4:55 pm

    If you’ve ever wondered at how a core group of sociopathic Nazis were able to gull and cow a naive public into thinking kicking Jews out of Germany was a good idea, wonder no more. The mechanism by which hate speech is mainstreamed into the public arena is plain before you. It’s nothing more complex than a Gods/Devils smear tactic based (here) on race and sex accompanied by superficially plausible theories that fall apart in any sensible society. The reason they don’t fall apart is because they emanate from trusted institutions. It was our own Dept. of Education which sent out the “Dear Colleague” letter to EVERY school of higher-ed and which sanctioned the smear of “rape culture.” It is our own media and universities signal-boosting this madness. Kids in gradeschool are being taught about their “white privilege” and how they should be allowed to choose their gender.

  15. CrustyB
    November 8th, 2015 @ 5:13 pm

    Obama’s tragic election and re-election were not eh last fired in the Civil War. They were the last shots fired in the Cold War and the USSR won.

    All those warnings from Republicans since 1951 about Communism, Leftism, perversion & race-coddling in society weren’t scare-tactics, they were precognitions.

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    November 8th, 2015 @ 5:23 pm

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  17. Steve Skubinna
    November 8th, 2015 @ 6:35 pm

    There’s nothing wrong with a vocational training program. Plumbers and electricians and mechanics are more employable than Lit Crit majors.

    And as RS and I discussed above, many state colleges and universities are prime engineering schools. Of course, that requires the sort of discipline shrieking safe space babies conspicuously lack.

  18. Steve Skubinna
    November 8th, 2015 @ 6:38 pm

    It starts with proclaiming that “the personal is political.” Once every aspect of life is politicized, which is the goal of progressive statists throughout history, no idea or opinion or statement is innocent.

    In Nazi Germany and the USSR, every aspect of life was under party control. There were no hiking clubs or book clubs in Hitler’s Germany – they were all National Socialist hiking and book clubs. Likewise in the USSR the most innocent activities were managed by Party organizations.

  19. mole
    November 8th, 2015 @ 6:40 pm

    “..Rather, there matriculation is a ticket to a specific class. It is a tribal insignia which opens doors to wealth and prestige which is rarely based upon merit…”

    This is an extremely valid point, in many cases it seems uni is for building contacts with the “right’ group of people.

    My friends cousin did a “soft” degree, then went and joined a religious cult for 5 years which involved a guru and a harem of ladies who signed over all their wealth to him.

    She broke away and without missing a beat picked up a job in a large company on 6 figures, with a resume like that.

  20. mole
    November 8th, 2015 @ 6:43 pm

    They live in a bubble, where womens studies department s stalk the land looking for testicles to harvest and ‘otherkin” howl in pain (or is it pleasure) on the full moon.

  21. mole
    November 8th, 2015 @ 6:44 pm

    Is the book worth a read for a non American or is it fairly time/place specific?

  22. Daniel Freeman
    November 9th, 2015 @ 12:42 am

    The high school redpillers are going to just not go to those schools. If you’re stuck on a campus, see if you can convert the football team (or rugby if they have that instead). It’s basically the biggest and toughest gang.

  23. Daniel Freeman
    November 9th, 2015 @ 12:50 am

    No, that’s the weird thing, college presidents are really removed from real life. They can’t actually lead. They need to be given direction.

  24. Daniel Freeman
    November 9th, 2015 @ 12:53 am

    I bet it happened sooner in England.

  25. steve
    November 9th, 2015 @ 2:58 am


    Student Union officials desperately seek positions in formalized power structures for external validation as they are socially inept and cannot establish and maintain informal social power (as most healthy minded students can). These students are threatened by students that wield informal power, as they know that they are not capable of establishing that kind of power.

    These social outcasts harass and bully the teaches to protect them from the realities of social power. The teachers advise them to join student unions and reform the student “culture”. Once these students establish formalized power they attempt to turn the student culture inside out so that the socially inept outcasts can thrive, and students who wield informal social power are sanctioned/censored and harassed until they yield.

  26. steve
    November 9th, 2015 @ 4:13 am

    We are being ruled by that lack self-awareness. The same spoilt brats that cried to mummy and daddy that they are getting bullied and the worlds unfair, instead of trying to fit in.

  27. hank
    November 9th, 2015 @ 5:32 am

    Dorms? Do you realise these and their culture are weird American creations? They have nothing to do with academic education. Shut them down. This is like sitting around pondering a cancer. Cut it off! Destroy! Wipe it clean. Start again, from the original intention, to provide career education. These things you have now are are excrescences and cancers.

  28. Sarah Pawlowski
    November 9th, 2015 @ 5:36 am

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  29. Martin Davies
    November 9th, 2015 @ 6:38 am

    President Salovey is descended from a famous Rabbi:

    Shame he doesn’t seem to think quite as clearly as his ancestor.

  30. Quartermaster
    November 9th, 2015 @ 8:05 am

    It would also be far better if we ended the academic bazaar model. No one leaves a university a “well rounded” citizen regardless of what is done. By allowing the idiots in the humanities and so called “social sciences” a say in what a university program contains, we cheat society and the students. For example, an Engineering student should be required to study only that which is germane to their program, Math, Physics, and professional courses. The rest is just academic sewage glomed onto their programs.

  31. Quartermaster
    November 9th, 2015 @ 8:09 am

    My son went to UM Rolla (now MUST). The name change kicked up a stink among students and alumni. One alumnus simply tells fundraisers he went to UMR and won’t give them a nickel now.

  32. Quartermaster
    November 9th, 2015 @ 8:10 am

    Given what WFB actually turned out to be, that’s not a question I don’t care to ask or answer.

  33. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    November 9th, 2015 @ 9:33 am

    Okay, What did WFB actually turn out to be?

  34. Quartermaster
    November 9th, 2015 @ 2:55 pm

    You mean you didn’t keep up? Basically, the man was a hoax.

  35. AMartel
    November 9th, 2015 @ 3:39 pm

    Are there men (or women) at Yale? ‘Cause all I see are a bunch of whiny little crybabies.

  36. AMartel
    November 9th, 2015 @ 3:40 pm

    Daycare Center for the Damned.

  37. DeadMessenger
    November 9th, 2015 @ 5:03 pm

    I think he is exactly so kooky liberal crazy as to believe all this crap. He’s the head lunatic in an asylum full of liberated lunatics.

    Worse, within a few years, this same crap will spread to an HR department near you. This means that the cross I wear around my neck will “trigger” these retards (apologies to actually retarded people, who are smarter and more emotionally mature than these students). Or maybe they are “triggered” by the Ann Coulter book they see me reading in the lunchroom. Or perhaps triggered by my failure to use idiot nonsense words like “trigger”.

    Take a guess who will be on the losing end of such an encounter?

  38. SouthOhioGipper
    November 9th, 2015 @ 5:45 pm

    Glad I fell in with a small family run business where this crap won’t fly.

  39. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    November 10th, 2015 @ 1:05 am

    Really, so I suppose RSM and Rush are rubes too? Ok, what are you relying on? I know Gore Vidal thought so. Is that your source?

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  41. Quartermaster
    November 10th, 2015 @ 7:31 am

    I base my opinion on how he acted in the purges in the early 90s when he defenestrated people like Brimelow and Sobran. I also look at the morons he turned NR over to. Buckley was a “Respectable Conservative” who would not brook anyone that would upset his little patrician world and stain him in a way he wouldn’t be accepted as a tame conservative among the left.
    Since Buckley’s death, NR has continued to slowly slide to the left. Lowry demonstrated how much of a moral coward he is by his behavior with Derb.

  42. Denise Baker
    November 10th, 2015 @ 8:41 am

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  43. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    November 10th, 2015 @ 11:23 am

    QM, with all due respect, that is a rather weak indictment of WFB, Jr.

    Buckley was establishment in he purged elements such as Birchers from NR when he first started it and continued to do so over the years. His point catering to the far right, weakened the brand (it is exactly the problem the Democrats face now with the far left). It is fair criticism to disagree with that approach. But when Rush Limbaugh says Buckley was like a father to him (and RSM says every conservative should read Buckley’s Yale book), I find you calling Buckley a hoax just a tad over the top.

    I am not going to blame Buckley for mismanagement of NR after his death.

  44. Quartermaster
    November 10th, 2015 @ 2:08 pm

    You’re welcome to swallow anything you like. I refuse to accept Buckley as anything other than what he was.
    When he went after the Birchers, they were going off the deep end. A lot of people rode that hobby horse thinking it absolved Buckley of a lot the sins he committed. They’re welcome to their opinion.
    Birchers weren’t the far right, they were simply loony while Welch was around. Saying they were far right betrays a basic ignorance of the political spectrum which places statism on the left and anarchy on the right.
    Given the NR purge that took out Brimelow, Sobran and Buchanan, it isn’t over the top to call Buckley a hoax. Buckley was simply shoring up his image in the salons of New York and DC. It was all about optics.
    I’m not saying that Buckley’s book about Yale is not profitable reading. It is, with the caveat of what Buckley became while he worked with the CIA.
    Buckley is to blame for the mismanagement of NR after his death. He was the man that set it all in train, and it is the final black mark on his name as a faux-conservative.

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