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

Second Place: Buckley High School Essay Contest

By: Calla Bai

The following essay was the second-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?”. 

Champion of conservatism and celebrated founder of the National Review, William F. Buckley Jr. was one of the most influential figures in American politics who is remembered today. He had studied at Yale; written over 50 books on topics more imaginative than imaginable; hosted the popular television show, “The Firing Line”; and most importantly, in the predominantly liberal landscape after the World War II, he managed to make conservatism respectable and mainstream. Even apart from politics, there is a clear lesson that can be learned from Buckley’s life: to conform is to sacrifice risks, yet also greatness.

First Place: Buckley High School Essay Contest

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. Continue reading

Third Place: Buckley College Essay Contest

By: Sophie Dillon

The following essay was the third-place winner of the Buckley Program’s spring semester essay contest. The topic was “What can we learn from William F. Buckley, Jr. today?”. 

Last November, America experienced one of its most surprising elections to date, when Donald Trump edged out a win in a presidential race so close they couldn’t call a winner until three in the morning. Clinton supporters watched in astonished agony as the votes were tallied—what about the polls that had been promising a Hillary presidency for months? What about the reputable news sources who had denounced Trump’s comments as racist and sexist? The morning after the election, many Americans found themselves wondering—How could this have happened? Continue reading

Second Place: Buckley College Essay Contest

By: Bernard Stanford

The following essay was the second-place winner of the Buckley Program’s spring semester essay contest. The topic was “What can we learn from William F. Buckley, Jr. today?”. 

Yale today has a delicate relationship with the concept of “namesakes.” On a university filled nearly to bursting with names (such that poor Messrs. Sterling, Sheffield, and Strathcona have all been forced to share), the regular students hardly engage with them at all, and when they do, it’s generally to point out that one or other is racist and offensive and must be blotted out. Not one of the hundred-and-twenty-odd freshman residents of Durfee Hall, for example, likely thinks at all about what he or she can learn from the example of Bradford M.C. Durfee, a man who, upon realizing the fortune he inherited as a young man, set about giving it away to worthy causes as fast as he could. Not once in four years have I ever seen a Yale student draw a positive lesson from a namesake about the university. Continue reading

First Place: Buckley Program College Essay Contest

By: Zach Young

The following essay was the winner of the Buckley Program’s spring semester essay contest. The topic was “What can we learn from William F. Buckley, Jr. today?”. 

“The best defense against usurpatory government is an assertive citizenry.”

– William F. Buckley, Jr.

Upon exiting the 1787 Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin purportedly encountered an excited group of citizens, who asked him which form of government the delegates had chosen. “A republic,” Franklin replied curtly, “if you can keep it.” Franklin’s answer inverted an age-old power structure. Rule by elites, he suggested, was to be supplanted with government of, by, and for the people. 230 years later, this experiment has proven successful in the United States and influential abroad. Yet there remains no guarantee that American citizens will continue to “keep” their republic. Today, with the advent of social media and proliferation of online news, America faces a crisis of public discourse. To resolve it, the public would be well served by consulting the legacy of William F. Buckley, Jr. His 57-year career provides a compelling illustration of the potential of vibrant, productive debate. Continue reading