Heather Hendershot, a Professor of Film and Media at MIT, visited the Buckley Program to discuss her recent book “Open to Debate: How William F. Buckley Put Liberal America on the Firing Line.” Prof. Hendershot is a Yale alumna, where she was in Berkeley College. The following transcript has been lightly edited from an interview just before she spoke with Buckley Fellows.
By: Pranam Dey
Pranam: How did you decide write a book about Buckley?
Heather: I had been researching right-wing media and Evangelical media for my second book, on conservative Evangelical media. My third book was on Cold War right-wing broadcasting, and Buckley was sort of a bit player in that book because these broadcasters were a bit conspiratorial and some were quite nutty. Buckley wanted to push the nuts, people who thought the fluoridation of water was a conspiracy and so on, out of the conservative movement. Buckley wanted to forge a respectable, intellectual image for the conservative movement.
The following letter written by professors from Yale, Harvard, and Princeton was first published on 8/29/17 by our friends at the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University. With permission, I have re-printed it here. I wish I had the opportunity to read this letter when I was a freshman. Perhaps you too will find it as insightful as I did. If you’re interested, James Freeman (Yale ’91) at the WSJ had valuable commentary on the letter.
– Pranam Dey, Editor-in-Chief of The Beacon
We are scholars and teachers at Princeton, Harvard, and Yale who have some thoughts to share and advice to offer students who are headed off to colleges around the country. Our advice can be distilled to three words:
Think for yourself.
Now, that might sound easy. But you will find—as you may have discovered already in high school—that thinking for yourself can be a challenge. It always demands self-discipline and these days can require courage.
In today’s climate, it’s all-too-easy to allow your views and outlook to be shaped by dominant opinion on your campus or in the broader academic culture. The danger any student—or faculty member—faces today is falling into the vice of conformism, yielding to groupthink.
By: Zach Young Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey came to speak at a Firing Line Debate on “Privacy and Security […]
By: Abhay Rangray
Music is one of the most fascinating aspects of a nation’s culture. Music not only reflects the mores and values of a given culture but also acts as a medium for emotional expression and human exaltation. Looking at the current state of popular music however, one finds troubling trends. For a variety of reasons, popular music in America seems to be deteriorating and we, the listeners, suffer because of this decline.
By: Emily Reinwald
This interview with Charles C. W. Cooke was conducted before his discussion at the Buckley Program’s dinner seminar on Thursday, February 16th. This transcript has been condensed and lightly edited from a longer interview.
Mr. Cooke is the editor of National Review Online. His work has focused especially on Anglo-American history, British liberty, free speech, the Second Amendment, and American exceptionalism. He is the co-host of the Mad Dogs and Englishmen podcast, and is a regular guest on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher. He has written for The New York Times, the Washington Post, and The Los Angeles Times.
Emily: What made you want to write on the topic of the blend of libertarianism and conservatism?
By: Pranam Dey
This interview was conducted before J.D. Vance spoke to the Buckley Program and its guests at the Omni Hotel in New Haven, CT on February 1st, 2017. The transcript has been condensed and lightly edited from a longer interview.
J.D. Vance grew up in the Rust Belt city of Middletown, Ohio, and the Appalachian town of Jackson, Kentucky. He enlisted in the Marine Corps after high school and served in Iraq. A graduate of the Ohio State University and Yale Law School, he has contributed to the National Review and The New York Times and has appeared on Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, and CNBC. Currently, J.D. works as a principal at a leading Silicon Valley investment firm. Hillbilly Elegy is a #1 New York Times bestseller and widely considered one of the most important books of 2016.
Pranam: Kentucky, Ohio, the Marines, a degree from Ohio State summa cum laude in two years, and then Yale Law School here in New Haven. In the midst of this, when did you first think of writing Hillbilly Elegy? In the book, you talked a bit about meeting Yale Law Professor Amy Chua and how that influenced your writing this book.
By: Zain Anthar
The following essay received an honorable mention at the Buckley Program’s spring semester high school essay contest. The topic was “What can we learn from William F. Buckley, Jr. today?”.
In today’s media landscape, political discussions have swayed towards partisanship at the expense of meaningful, probing dialogue. Politicians opt to conduct interviews with their congenial news outlets in order to avoid the “toughies” – questions that penetrate through any attempt at feigning comprehension of an issue.
By: Gabrielle Vozzi
The following essay was the third-place winner of the Buckley Program’s spring semester high school essay contest. The topic was “What can we learn from William F. Buckley, Jr. today?”.
Today, the United States is a divided nation as political polarization can be seen in every corner of the country. Now, more than ever, this nation needs the wisdom of William F. Buckley, Jr. Buckley’s conservative beliefs and overall view of government can greatly influence the nation today.
By: Emma Weinheimer
The following essay was the winner of the Buckley Program’s spring semester high school essay contest. The topic was “What can we learn from William F. Buckley, Jr. today?”.
William F. Buckley, Jr., certainly was a strong, conservative political mind with much to offer to the world. One could meander for hours through his commentaries and learn what he believed about many controversies of today’s world or how he could cleverly refute liberal arguments. From the same readings one can also learn that one can add wit to an argument and still make sense. However, I personally feel that we can learn a lot about gratitude from Mr. Buckley.