Category: Uncategorized

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 “Buckley College Essay Contest: 2nd Place Winner”

Buckley College Essay Contest: 3rd 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 Abhay Rangray, a sophomore in Benjamin Franklin College, won 3rd place. 

Many justifications for changing the constitution have been used; two are particularly important. To solve practical problems facing the nation and to limit the power of the federal government. The 21st amendment demonstrates the utilization of both criteria. The 21st amendment repealed the 18th amendment thus ending alcohol prohibition. This amendment fulfilled both justifications for amending the constitution. The amendment solved the practical problem of illicit alcohol consumption and organized crime. Furthermore, the amendment limited the power of the federal government over the individual. The freedom of an American to drink increased while the power of the government to prohibit decreased. Thus, the 21st amendment met both justifications. Continue reading “Buckley College Essay Contest: 3rd Place Winner”

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 “Interview with Guy Benson and Mary Katharine Ham”

Firing Line Debate on Brexit: James Kirchick and Dr. Nile Gardiner

On Tuesday, October 3rd, the Buckley Program hosted a Firing Line Debate on Brexit with James Kirchick and Dr. Nile Gardiner. James Kirchick, of the Brookings Institution, is the author of The End of Europe. Dr. Nile Gardiner, of the Heritage Foundation, is a former aid to Lady Thatcher. The transcript below has been lightly edited for clarity. 

By: Kevin Olteanu

Kevin: Thank you so much for being here. I have a couple of questions on Brexit. The first question is: was Brexit a good idea in your opinion and why? Continue reading “Firing Line Debate on Brexit: James Kirchick and Dr. Nile Gardiner”

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

Book Review: Heather Hendershot’s “Open to Debate”

By: Abhay Rangray

As I watch contemporary political media, I find the sound-bite style of discourse and the meaningless platitudes underwhelming. I wish that a more formal, long-form style of debate were present on television today. Dr. Heather Hendershot shares this lamentation in her book Open to Debate: How William F. Buckley Put Liberal America on the Firing Line. Thoroughly researched and well written, the book provides thrilling and energetic descriptions of “Firing Line,” William F. Buckley Jr., and the conservative movement. Continue reading “Book Review: Heather Hendershot’s “Open to Debate””

On Buckley and the Modern Media Environment with MIT’s Heather Hendershot

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. Continue reading “On Buckley and the Modern Media Environment with MIT’s Heather Hendershot”