Buckley College Essay Contest: 1st Place Winner

This semester, the Buckley Program held a college essay contest with the topic: If you could propose an amendment to the U.S. Constitution, what would it be? The following essay by Jeffrey Hendricks, a senior in Silliman College, won 1st place. 

Political observers understand the difficulty of amending the U.S. Constitution. A two-thirds majority of both congressional houses must propose the amendment, or two-thirds of the states must request a convention. If the proposed amendment wins these supermajorities, three-quarters of the states must ratify the amendment. These high thresholds guarantee the necessity of bipartisan support. In the era of 50 states, the 89th Congress (January 1965 – January 1967) presented the only unified government with a House of 290 or more members of one party and a Senate with 67 or more members of the same party. 290 is two-thirds of 435; 67 is the first whole number larger than two-thirds of 100. Continue reading

Buckley College Essay Contest: 2nd Place Winner

This semester, the Buckley Program held a college essay contest with the topic: If you could propose an amendment to the U.S. Constitution, what would it be? The following essay by Noah Daponte-Smith, a senior in Berkeley College, won 2nd place. 

In 1913, after winning the approval of three-quarters of the state legislatures, the Constitution was amended for the seventeenth time. This was a grievous mistake, one which obliterated the traditional and proper structure of American constitutional democracy, permitted a noxious sort of popular sentiment to pervade the American system, and introduced into our governance a fatally confused sense of the will of the people. The 27th amendment to the Constitution should repeal the seventeenth, returning American governance to the system the Founders envisioned. Continue reading

Interview with Guy Benson and Mary Katharine Ham

On September 13th, the Buckley Program hosted a conversation with Guy Benson and Mary Katharine Ham on their book End of Discussion: How the Left’s Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun)Ham is a CNN contributor and moderated a 2016 Republican Primary debate. Benson is a frequent Fox News contributor and has also been published on many conservative sites. This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity. 

By: Rachel Williams

Rachel: Thank you so much for being here. How did the original idea for the book come about, and what was your primary motivation? I expect for each of you, your time in media and journalism has shaped your views on free speech and its preservation significantly. Continue reading

Professor Noël Valis on Free Speech and “Thinking for Yourself”

Earlier this Fall, Professor Noël Valis was among a number of professors at Yale, Harvard, and Princeton to sign a letter (republished by The Beacon here) urging students to “Think for yourself.” In the following interview, lightly edited for clarity, Prof. Valis discusses the need for the letter and why she signed it. 

By: Noah Daponte-Smith

Noah: How did you coordinate this? You have professors across many different fields, across three different universities, some not even in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences but in the Law school — how did this all come together? 

Prof. Valis: This was not me – this was [Princeton Professor] Robbie George. He’s really the spearhead of all this. He’s the one — and I assume he did this with the other people — he wrote to us; he invited us to sign the letter. I believe he wrote the original writer, and I believe he had some feedback. By the time that he contacted me, the letter was basically already written. But I agree with absolutely everything he said in it. It was beautifully crafted, and he wrote to only a small number, and really almost everybody he did write to said yes. Once I read the letter I said “Yes, yes, of course.”

Continue reading

Some Thoughts and Advice for Our Students and All Students

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. Continue reading

Honorable Mention: Buckley High School Essay Contest

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. Continue reading

Third Place: Buckley High School Essay Contest

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. Continue reading