Bryan (Beej) Jones's Reviews > God and Man at Yale: The Superstitions of 'Academic Freedom'

God and Man at Yale by William F. Buckley Jr.
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May 19, 10

Read in May, 2010

Do not be fooled by the title. Buckley's book has very little to do about Yale. It serves merely as a backdrop for his arguments against the concepts of academic freedom and for individualism (conservatism). William Buckley is a renowned political conservatist, and apparently this book kicked off his life's work. He wrote it two years after graduating Yale in 1951, and his immature, overly flatutent writing style is evidence of a young writer. Nevertheless his arguments are well thought out and persuasive regardless of your political leanings. I think it is important to read this book in the context of the times in which he wrote. Written not long after the Great Depression, I think it is safe to say that America was swept away with Roosevelt concepts of bigger government, etc. It was anathema to think otherwise. Buckley swims against the tide in this book, and presents a counterview that many have gone onto to say fomented the current liberal vs. conservative nature of American politics. You couple that with the fact that in 1953, the ineffectiveness of communism hadn't completely shown itself, and many academics were still espousing its merit even in America. Buckley weaves these huge topics almost accidently into his bigger point that professors should not be completely insulated under the umbrella of academic freedom. Rather they should be accountable to teaching students in accordance with certain principles (e.g. capitalism vs. socialism).

All interesting stuff regardless of your political views. I think it is about 160 pages. It seems a little longer because of Buckley's writing style, but nevertheless a very interesting read.
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