August 18, 2014
“The largest cultural menace in America,” declared Bill Buckley in 1955, “is the conformity of the intellectual cliques which, in education as well as the arts, are out to impose upon the nation their modish fads and fallacies.”
Almost sixty years later, Buckley’s words still ring true. And Yale, his dear alma mater, has not been impervious to the strong currents of intellectual conformity. Groupthink and its near relative, ideological intolerance, manifested themselves this past year when, for example, Dwight Hall—Yale’s umbrella service organization—denied membership to a pro-life group on campus because its work with mothers and their infants didn’t align with Dwight Hall’s notion of “social justice”; and when, months earlier, members of Republican Paul Chandler’s campaign were sent to ExCom while those of Democrat Sarah Eidelson’s were not—despite both campaigns violating the same rules against oversized posters.
These circumstances derive from a number of factors: a student body largely hostile to, and ignorant of, rightist views; a faculty almost unanimously supportive of one political party (as seen in 2008 and then even more so in 2012); and an administration fully dedicated to promoting diversity of every sort but intellectual.
A group of undergraduates saw these conditions before them four years ago and, as a result, founded an organization with a mission in Buckley’s honor: fostering open political discourse, exposing students to differing viewpoints, promoting intellectual diversity. Since then, the Buckley Program has provided a forum for dozens of public officials, political commentators, and academic scholars, who have challenged rigid ideologies in their respective fields. On everything from economics to foreign policy, culture, law, ethics, and history, the Buckley Program has striven to elevate and broaden the discussion. Its efforts continue to this day.
With this new blog, The Beacon, we hope to expand and reinforce the Program’s mission. In Bill Buckley’s legacy, we aspire to provide an outlet for Yale students to articulate and discover underrepresented views. As such, The Beacon will feature the commentary of students and supporters of the Buckley Program—and, from time to time, Bill Buckley himself—on matters ranging from campus culture to national politics.
Electing to name ourselves The Beacon, we pay homage to Yale’s motto by endeavoring to shed a little more Lux on a little more Veritas, illuminating Yale’s course to escape her adrift state. Though our project may be ambitious, we are resolved to continue the work of the Buckley Program, and to continue shaking things up.
Time to get to work.