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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  January 1, 2012 1:00am-2:30am EST

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tears in her eyes where she talked about a time and how his -- her con son was treated. he still talks about those times, very emotional for him as well. but he also is refreshing in that he now sees that as a challenge in his life that he overcame, and that it meant something, and now when he sees the students on campus now and the alumni chapter that was formed in his dad's name, and the building on the campus that was named for his dad, in the number of students, black students getting a good education. ...
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he calls himself a christian individualist. the only thing he repeatedly identifies as conservative is yale or rather yale's reputation
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as quote a citadel of conservatism unquote. would everyone makes of the difference for 60 years has brought at yale and elsewhere no one would be moved to think of el now has a citadel of conservatism. either by reputation or in reality. to discuss these questions and their ramifications we have three excellent panelists this afternoon and my principle duty is to introduce them. midge decter is a neoconservative royalty, the wife and the mother of the editor of "commentary" magazine. [laughter] >> that's a mean trick. [laughter] >> two successive editors of "commentary" magazine, which i think makes it dynasty. in our own right of course she
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is a distinguished critic of contemporary morals and politics. she was the executive director of the committee for the free world, which disbanded after he had say the free world. she is an author of among other books, an old wife's tale and serves as a board member of the heritage foundation. roger kimball who will speak second wears an amazing number of hats. he is the publisher and president of encounter books, one of the leading and best conservative publishers in the country. he is the author -- i am sorry he is the editor and publisher of the new criterion, the distinguished magazine of cultural criticism and he is the author of many books including tenured radicals, how politics has corrupted higher education and his forthcoming volume, the fortunes of permanence, culture and anarchy in the age of
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amnesia. with linda bridges who is here and will be chairing the third panel this afternoon, mr. campbell edited the sprightly and indispensable anthology of bill buckley's writings that appeared last year. our third speaker will be r. emmett tyrrell, the founder and editor-in-chief of the distinguished magazine, the "american spectator." he has written many provocative books and certainly none more provocative than "the new york times" best-selling boy clinton, the political biography. his latest volume which came out just a few months ago is called, after the hangover, the conservatives road to recovery. ladies and gentlemen we will begin with midge decter. >> can you hear me?
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i never live at peace with this technology. it is difficult for me to tell you adequately just how delighted i am to be here on this occasion, especially here in new haven, where i have not been since sometime in the winter of 1970 on a few days visit. from the sights and sounds i will tell you has never quite lets me. vacation i'm seeking of took place what was either the first or second year, i can't remember anything and i certainly can't remember that. [laughter] the first or second year that young women had first been accepted as undergraduates in this school. and as you may not made not now break into imagine, because things have progressed so happily, the interest in the presence of these new female students on this campus was, it
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is no exaggeration to say, both deep and wide. i have been invited by yale to spend some time here as a visiting journalist, which meant in my case that i was then working as an editor on a certain national monthly magazine which had recently, with no more than a mild degree of accuracy acquired the reputation of being white in those days was called and a half up. i tell you this to explain why a fairly large group of these new female undergraduates had, or shall we say had first believed they had a keen interest in what they imagined i had to tell them. mostly, i spent time roaming around, my first time here and chatting both with the young
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women and who had been submitted to the campus and with the young men who mostly complained that the shall we say social opportunities they believe this new state of affairs would present them with had turned out to be utterly disappointing. [laughter] in addition to such one-on-one conversations, rather large meetings with those though famously high achieving young women had been arranged for me to speak to and to this day, as you can see, these occasions have remained this vivid in my mind. as i am sure i don't have to tell you of all people, neither of these gatherings was taken up with conversation about god or about man eat there. at least man in the sense with which bill buckley had come years earlier to set a certain -- excuse me significant and growing part of the
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intellectual world on fire. but rather most specifically with their own men, their fathers, their brothers if they had any and if any code in any meaningful sense rightly be called back, their lovers. in the course of our first meeting together i will confess these girls there are after many gears and i finally had the nerve to call them that, these girls got them quickly beyond the bounds of what could be called discussion. for one by one they left to their feet to complain of about this or that aspect of what turned out to be their lifelong mistreatment as females. to be sure, the women's movement that had for some years by then been supplying them with all the finer points of such grand and high-powered analysis had been around and exhaustively familiar to me, but that these new gail
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undergraduates good for the sake of mere cultural fashion has become so quickly and so completely hostile to the truth of their privileged existence, chosen by yale as they had been from among what were surely thousands upon tens of thousands of eager, hard-working and accomplished young females, applicants from all over the country. their complaint had, i will confess to you, taken me by surprise. arrogant and snooty and sure of themselves, and i thought i might find yes of course. after all, not without considerable relief but oppressed? [laughter] i listen to their complaints for some time with a growing sense of unreality. however, before the evening's discussion was over, god as is
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as sometimes mysterious, did not -- for the back of the room i saw a girl whom i knew well. she had indeed for some years been the best friend of one of my daughters. i saw her stand up and declare that she had since her earliest days in the cradle been socialized. you remember all this stuff? socialized to be no more than a proper lady, thought that it was wrong for her to drive and brought up nearly to be in every aspect no more than a wife and accomplished and successful has been. many of you may not load these 40 years later been fully introduced to every detail in this description of women's oppression. the the times and the indictments have quieted down considerably since then, but it probably would have been impossible to become a viable candidate for studying at yale
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without having been instructed in it least it's main lines of argument and i should have course have known that. in any case as i said, god did not desert me on that occasion. amalie i said when the young woman had finished ranting, i have known you for a long time and i know your family well. if there is one girl in this university who was brought up with the idea that nothing would do short of becoming at the very least the first female president of the united states, it's you. [laughter] need i say that after the eruption of shouted objections that followed, the meeting did not last for much longer and indeed i further say that the next gathering arranged for me to meet with the young women was considerably more sparsely attended. the conversation on the second
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occasion would at least not have taken me by surprise, for this meeting was to be devoted to a discussion of publishing, a field that had in fact for some time by then, as was the case, then aspired to by women and not without a considerable amount of success. but by now of course, had come to be almost alarmed by my conversation with a female underclassmen at yale than i had been meeting those bad radical tracks written by women who are now busy leading the movement they so perversely called -- in any case i was by then well prepared for what would be facing me and feeling more than a little mistrust. now for my stay at the college i have been given a rather luxurious dorm room, featuring what word to me, to highly impressive accoutrements.
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the first was a switch with which one could warm the tiles that made up the room's floor. no matter what happened to that dorm at yale, cold feet would play no part in it. [laughter] and the second was a night table and which were piled a variety of outlets and pamphlets informing the room's arguments -- occupants of the many and various conveniences available to her either on or near the campus. among them, in addition to the various institutions and locations nearby for her entertainment, a a birth-control dispensary, offering an impressive variety of means available for such, and emergency psychiatric office and need i mention an abortion clinic. does finally have when we have settled down for our discussion
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and the question so predictably arose as to how myself had managed as the young aspirants put it, to break into side, publishing. i succeeded in bringing both the conversation and my time at yale to their collective and by answering perfectly truthfully by the way, that i had studied typing. now for you face bookers and twitterers, by the way that needs the rapid and accurate use of a now discarded piece of technology called the typewriter. [laughter] in other words, that i had luckily for me taken a class in typing during my second year of high school. from there in my case, as in many and other, i could tell them off, my future in publishing, side, had resulted from a various combination of
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sweat, financial need for both unhappy and happy reunions and luck of the good and bad kind. naturally the outcry that followed was not much less audible than that of the earlier more general discussion. i cannot remember exact way how long this gathering lasted but any interest on it on my part as well as there is instantly vanish. now that visit to this campus to place more than 40 years ago, which is a long, and has been a far from uneventful time for me, for yale and even i would venture to say for the young ones who have brought us together here today. wars have been thought and wars that should been fought have been at great cost avoided. radical political movements have been created and died and been reborn and only slightly altered form.
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this country and its people have grown rich, sometimes wisely and/or creatively and beneficially for others and sometimes the squandering too much of the nations blessed good fortune on cheap and easy intellectual conceit and if anything even cheaper and easier national policy. please do not misunderstand me. i don't need me to sit here this afternoon and end dell intel you about all the dreadful goings-on of my neighbors like one of those classic old ladies of the neighborhood that i am every day growing more, at least physically, to resemble. [laughter] actually though it is important to remember that in matters political and even more so in matters ideological, no victory is ever more than temporary. one has reason to be full of hope and cheer for the lasting influence of the idea so
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brilliantly nurtured and tended by william buckley along with others on this platform and in this room in washington and many places over the country. i don't have to go into that. you have heard wonderful things about it before and will again this afternoon. and yet, in new york city where i live and spreading to cities across the country, we are at this moment witnessing the return of the leftist demonstration, replete with occupations, marches, garbage, filth, violence, now and then even including rape and it turns out, accompanying a variety of complaints of social injustice. on account of the country's problem of joblessness. now the complaint of joblessness
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is more justified nowadays perhaps in those once given voice in the 60s and 70s by the privileged students of elite institutions like this one. i have only one more minute and therefore, i am going to stop my sad story of a re-radicalization and get to what i have really come here to say today. the irony is a course that if anyone is presently entitled to feel cheated, it is not those demonstrators on wall street. it is america's students, along to be sure with their parents for no machinations of evil banks and mortgage lenders and wall street ben eckler's can begin to touch what has for two generations now banned wreaked upon this country's public by far too many of its best
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universities. not yale of course. [laughter] and the more highly refuted the school of course the worse the reading. for instance, when the government set out to offer the country students loans with which they might pay for their higher education, the tuition demanded of them rose to distracting. just ask dave boards of government of -- allow me. i will stop there. just ask them for the number of the dollars now happily at rest in their endowments. and why while you are at it, ask them what percentage of their undergraduate students are actually privileged to sit in a classroom with someone who has the status of professor. asked them what are sundhage of
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that which is per day to students even in such a condition of special privilege is derived from some, any serious and time time-honored intellectual or literary tradition rather than some currently and fleetingly fashionable transatlantic fad or currently sanctioned political slogan. of course i speak here of general education. if history is any guide, shouldn't a student -- students aspire to be a steve jobs he need not attend the university at all. he would be better off looking for an empty nearby garage. i don't speak this way to depress you and we have been having such a good time anyway with the preceding panel. some weeks ago, i did reread "god & man at yale," bring a book and of course nothing less
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than a tour to course when one considers the condition of the country when it was written and its author stage but i kept saying to myself, this brilliant young man ain't seen nothing yet. and of course he had, or rather he had seen the general ground in which his future as the nurture and day-to-day leader of the lasting intellectual political movement that would first be sprouting and then growing taller and wider found to this very day. now i have spoken to you about the condition of the university. first, to bless you organizers and members of the william buckley society and second, to underline for you, if you needed any such underlining, that's where you find yourselves is that the red-hot center of a
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critical issue, critical both for yourselves and for the country. bess, as the denizens of the other you are not in any sense jr. to any of the efforts to make fresh and vital the great tradition, that despite everything, continues to sustain us. you are at its very heart. just stay there and keep on keeping on and who can say what national high spirits might overtake us at all. thank you. [applause] >> thank you, mitch. roger. >> thank you very much. we know there is a story about the poet. he said to, recounting a priest who is hearing confession, the
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priest is always in the habit of saying be brief, be blunt and be gone. [laughter] and i am going to do that. it is not through, it is not sure that i am wearing this sling because of some altercation with an heir to george bundy or tm green or any of the other spoiled professorial's that weighed in on "god & man at yale." but before i get to that book i want to mention one aspect of bills life and work that i don't think has come up today yet. namely, he was a very accomplished man at many things. one of his greatest talents was as a kind of talent, and there are many people in this room, looking around, i know who it and abetted from that activity
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and i just want to mention one and in a new book that he has, my friend wally olson just published america's premier conservative publisher whose name i will not tell you come a book called schools for misrule. and you won't be surprised when you conjure their word misrule that one of the institutions that figures prominently in this book about american law schools has its headquarters just down the street here on wall street. it's a remarkable book and i urge you all to pick it up. well, "god & man at yale," our charge here was to ponder the question, is it still relevant? i think mitch is absolutely correct. she says that 1951, bill hadn't seen anything yet and yet when i wrote my book tenured radicals it was about the corruption by
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politics in one form or another, the corruption by politics of the liberal arts and humanities. i have not yet read "god & man at yale." i subsequently did and i have that flash of insight that philosopher yogi berra talked about, déjà vu all over again. obviously there is a difference in some of the characters but so many of the concerns in this book felt incredibly contemporary and they still are incredibly contemporary. my own feeling is that famous formulation at the beginning of the book, the fundamental struggle in the world today is between christianity and atheism or that is to say, between individual and collectivism on another claim, wasn't really what bill was interested in. curious, the second part of that weren't even his words.
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his mentor at yale, wilmore kendall actually added that in his green egg. but i think you know, i spoke to bill about this on several occasions and it seems to me although he was certainly an ardent and i forget the other adjectives al use this used this morning, and militant catholic, and he took his religion very seriously indeed, to me, what this book is about is freedom and its many entrapments, let us say the false freedoms that are so popularly brought and which seduce us from genuine freedom. one of the phrases that looms large in this book is academic freedom. now, one section is called the hoax of academic freedom and i
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think we have seen in recent years how this virtue can be twisted and turned and turned into almost its opposite. someone this morning mentioned tenure so the idea tenure was not mentioned at all or at least at that was not prominently in this book. that is true, but how curious tenure is. here's an institution that was brought in not so long before bill buckley wrote this book and it was meant to be an institution that would safeguard academic freedom, and encourage the diversity. well, where are we now with the institution of tenure? many institutions i know including this one, tenure is largely an institution to
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enforce intellectual conformity on any contentious issue and then when you think about it, you realize that although i am sure that yale like most other colleges, that you can't open any official publication without running into the word diversity which of course is a good thing, you realize that what they mean by diversity is a curious kind of intellectual and moral conformity. if you agree it's free speech for us, for the liberal professors but not for you, not for anyone who dissents from that liberal orthodoxy, just a couple of years later after god and man that yell and bill started national review, his inaugural editorialists editorialist had mentioned a few times but he said national review will be out of step in
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the same way that "the new york times" and the league of women voters and he could have gone on and on, our ends step. in other words here is a magazine that was going to challenge the liberal consensus about a whole host of things whether it was foreign-policy, matters and morals, what a real education man and i think the magazine has done a very good job of doing that. is "god & man at yale" still relevant? how could it be more so? so many of the things that we read about here, these instances of you know, intellectual irresponsibility and for lack of a better term, sort of moral attitude, are if anything bigger now than they were then. you can't go to a campus these days without having some wild
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left-winger acting badly in public and then wrapping himself in the mantle of quote unquote academic freedom to justify it so probably some of you in this room will remember the case of ward churchill who in the aftermath of 9/11 wrote an article about how the real villains, the real villains of 9/11 were the people who worked in the world trade tower because they were like adolph akin, just making sure the trains ran on time to their destination. well, this of course was the kind of thing that college campuses love. here's a guy who is really anti-american. we thought at least he would be rallying around the united states united states when it comes to people piling jetliners into skyscrapers but no ward churchill thought the people that worked in the trade towers
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were the real villains and when he went around the country to speak on campuses and he was very popular for a while, it was always under the rubric of academic freedom and free speech they said. well, and academic freedom is not a blanket right. it is a privilege afforded to people who are engaged in a certain activity, namely the pursuit of truth. that is what academic freedom is. academic freedom means you are free to pursue the truth. freedom of speech is something quite different and something very valuable. i'm glad that people can make fools of themselves and their personal hygiene leaves something to be desired and their behavior in other ways but you know it is marvelous that people can do that, just like speakers corner in london.
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you can get up on the soapbox and say whatever silly thing you want but that is not academic freedom. these three things up in border together on many college campuses today. i think there is something, although we didn't talk about free speech, there something about that is that at the core of "god & man at yale." there is a biblical tag i always like to, when i think of bill buckley i think of the book of genesis, god made the world and saw it was good and i think that really is right at the core of what bill buckley was. here's somebody who delighted in the panoply of the world, whether it was racing or the music of bach or helping young people or whatever, but what is that kind of delight and relish depend upon? one of the things it depends upon is freedom and freedom
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especially, freedom against this kind of deadening homogeneity that you see in an institution devoted to diversity that is ruled by political correctness. who would have thought that institutions devoted to higher education to the liberal arts, the arts that are supposed to free us, that's why they're called liberal, but at the same time absorbe d this toxin of political correct this which is kind of the enforcer of this ideology of diversity? and that is certainly one of the lessons i took away from this book. and just one other thing, and toward the end of the book bill refers to a supreme court decision as far as i know, never overturned, pierce versus the society of sisters and a supreme
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court and the unanimous decision said that teachers shall be of good and moral character and disposition and certain studies plainly essential to good citizen should be taught and that nothing be taught which is manifestly inimical to public welfare. now can you imagine any university having the temerity to put that on its mission statement today? quite amazing. i think the fact that you can't imagine any elite university doing -- shows not only for how far we have fallen but also the continued relevance for this very eloquent book. >> thank you roger. [applause] >> bob. >> first of all i would like to address a question that was raised earlier i think by bruce,
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a question of young when you are liberal and conservative when you're old. churchill was the first one you raise that formulation and i put it a little differently. when i was young, i was conservative. and as i got older, i became very very conservative. [laughter] and, i look forward to a full life of becoming really and surely conservative. [laughter] because it make's the liberals crazy. that is kind of a lazy way of saying it is they were born crazy. [laughter] but, i gave a little thought to
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bill and to his book and to several of his books actually and i thought about many times when i was with bill, the lectures, the public addresses and things like that. you all know about things like that but you don't know about one aspect of his life that i ran into with him all the time. i remember once we were crossing park avenue, and i was looking over at bill and bill had a mound of manuscript held up to his chest and he had something in his hand, a red ink pen probably and i thought to myself, he is not going to get 10 pages across park avenue but this whole thing is going to cascade down to the ground and
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sure enough it did. papers everyplace, red pens and glasses, and people came from all over to help him scurry around and pick up his papers because bill was, even in manhattan, one of the most famous man in america, one of the most famous minds in america. he was as famous as henry kissinger who hasn't been replaced and many people like bill from that era haven't been replaced. there is a judge from chicago, you perhaps know him. he is a moral idiot at any rate. i think it's probably an idiot. he is excellent at crossword puzzles or something. [laughter] but at any rate, he wrote an essay some years ago about
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lamenting the loss of public intellectuals from the square. i would ask the learned judge where the hell that public intellectual would perform today because who would listen to him or her? there is not such a creature because as burkart said there is a time and place for things and things reach their fullness at a time and frankly we have kind of pass the time today for public intellectuals. that was bill's time and i guess i would also say that i got to thinking about this and i thought, what is necessary for it public and select? i hate the term. let's just say an intellectual. i think maybe the first celebrated intellectual in the 20th century, and that's about the time that was ripe for this
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economy, was h.l. mencken. he was right because they mackie was very thoughtful and very witty, but also there was in place a mass media to broadcast his words to lesser people. here for, therefore. he would have to talk out through his publication, whatever it might be or three letters to people and like montagne people like that. now he could be a part of the mass media and he could kind of cross fertilize so to speak with hollywood. there is a lot of that in those days. and the time was right for him and the time was right for bill,
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and bill was a terrifically famous and versatile intellectual. but how this kind of brings us back to "god & man at yale" is that mencken was a very famous atheist and i think now we see that mencken tri-amped. the book is not at all relevant to any university i have ever been that because universities have gone so far toward modernity that it's hard to imagine them to come back. on the other hand, another way of putting it is the university is so irrelevant to our lives. we heard a speaker earlier speak about how you go -- he go to the university for four years and most of them leave and leave
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exactly what they came in thinking and i think that is probably pretty to. university is never changed my mind and i have never been on a university campus and which i have been an ascendancy. i think the universities have kind of lost but where bill tri-amped was in society, was in america. it was in sophisticated rounds of american life and of the world life. bills views weren't original but his views on economics, whether people admit it or not, are around the world. bills views on foreign policy or held around the world. bills views in general are the views of adults america. liberalism today is dead.
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you will find out in 2012, if you don't know now, liberalism is dead. conservatism is in the ascendancy and it was in the ascendancy in 2008 when we outnumbered the liberals and 40% to 20% and now we have got the independence and the moderates on our side. so i think an odd, funny way, mencken one the competition for men's souls. but bill won the competition for his point of view for conservatism and i thank bill buckley for that and i thank you all for being here. [applause] >> thank you, bob. are their comments from panel members before we go to questions?
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>> just one comment, bob. your observation that you can't see four years of education make much difference. people seem to come out believing the same thing that they went to college for. i don't know, my observation has been a little different. it used to be that, this is one of the reasons why bill appealed to parents of alumni. you have this nice 18-year-old child that you nurtured with care and you send them off to an elite institution that cost in excess of $60,000. and then within a year, they come back having rejected every principle of haberdashery and personal hygiene, moral aptitude. [laughter] >> that is one of the things when bill was repealing to -- appealing to trustees, alumni and parents, i was going to write a book called retaking the
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university and i got so far as to write an article about it and my thought was well, let's appeal over the head of the tenured radicals to alumni trustees and so on who if they only knew what was going on, some of them would be appalled and regard the university degree as a kind of job ticket primarily, $250,000. but i realized that this wouldn't work. why? for one reason the universities and colleges are now so inc. you aided by money from accountability that they don't have to pay attention to the alumni fund. a tiny college like hamilton college in upstate york has about 1500 students a thing. they have in a downward of a billion dollars a would would ie
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care of whether the fundraising is offer a couple of years? >> well they do care and irving crystal wrote some years ago that the university of bombs know what's going on in the universities and they don't like what is going on in the universities and they got on boards and kept inflating those peoples in dominance over and over again. but the truth is, i don't think, universities are taken very seriously. i understand that harvard state university has football players that are as big as the chicago bears. i know that and they are very proud of it but what they teach at universities don't really make much impact certainly by the time a kid is ready to get serious about life and that is about middle age. [laughter]
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>> i would like to, as a footnote to this discussion, i would like to read you from a story in today's "new york post." at jersey shore star vinnie quadagnino, made a surprise cameo this week as a guest lecturer at columbia university. [laughter] i don't know what the tuition to colombia is this year but i would like to think about it or not too long. where he traded in his traditional fist pump for a hearty hi five with coeds. now, there is more and more of the story but i want to read you one significant quote from tim rich, a 33-year-old graduate student. quote, if he brings more people into the sociology department, who cares?
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[laughter] [inaudible] that says it all. >> out earlier, we had referred to and quoted lionel trilling who said something untrue and ghastly, which is that conservatism was a nervous intellectual whatever. >> was seen to be indigestion. >> irritable indigestion. [laughter] but lionel trilling is a 50-foot tall giant compared with the sociology department. [laughter] >> i looked at that quote i trilling and i actually used it in my book that comes out this
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spring called the death of liberalism and i went over that quote. it didn't ruffle my feathers terribly and i think that were he alive today he would be completely on our side. i think he was talking about a kind of conservatism that he couldn't quite imagine. within two years of course it had popped up in the person of no buckley and then i wonder, and i am sure he was more generous towards conservatism in the end than he was in the beginning. >> not as i recall. [laughter] >> alright let's invite the audience into the discussion. you must come down to one of these microphones, please, and make your question brief and blunts and then as roger suggests, you may be gone. [laughter] >> something mr. campbell said got me to thinking about the whole question of herd instinct.
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at the beginning of the century when stokes was the secretary of this university university he was an episcopal argument. he chose not to go wobbly to ordination. he was a deacon because he felt this was quite probably a congregational institution. religion was important and. as you pointed out today, the new god is diversity, and the great thing about "god & man at yale" was that it wasn't contrary in work and i think what we need to do, whether liberal or conservative, is to make the university the academic world free for contrary and thought again. it would be difficult i'm sure to be a liberal at the jones university and very difficult today to be a conservative here, certainly the dartmouth review proves that. so i would love to hear thoughts from any of the three of you
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about ways to make contrary and thought more possible. >> roger? >> well i think one thing is to describe -- subscribe to publications like the "american spectator" and the "national review." [laughter] i think you know, you know, can't remember what it cost to have a yearly subscription to the american spectator but it's $40 for the -- so from one point of view it is a pretty good deal. i mean a i think, you know to some extent education is a recovery project. project. i mean, it is terra incognito when you come here when you're 17 or 18 years old and it would be nice to learn something about it, to learn what you know the most important questions like
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how shall should we live our life? that is what our liberal arts education up is about. that is not what happens on many college campuses today. >> one thing, i must say, princeton is george's work and he is kind of gotten institute just set up on campus where you can get -- take courses and graduate and he's just like a real princetonian. and i think at dartmouth too i believe. at any rate, and paul singer set one out at williams college. so i mean somehow, these universities are being colonized by cancers that we call conservatism, conservative institutes and i find that very promising and robbie george has done an excellent job at
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princeton. >> i agree with bob's characterization of that but remember that princeton administration noticing how popular robbie is, has recently decreed that any fellow he brings in much have an academic. >> that's great. i don't want to go there. i like to go to nightclubs. i'm not -- >> i have long had a proposal for what would strengthen the american university, because there is a notion may be that you cannot have a career or a really well-paying job unless you have a degree and this is a notion that parents have and so they sent themselves to the poor house to provide this to their kids and then the kids come home as they have been described here.
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i think if 10 major american industries, institutes, businesses announced that from henceforth they would not be hiring college graduates, i kid you not, i am dead serious. [laughter] within five years, you would see a rough allusion in this country. you really would. and what's more they could all say that the kids want to read shakespeare, give them shakespeare at night though we will teach them how to do the work that we need done here. the world once worked that way and i tell you, you would get the attention of people you wouldn't dream you would ever see serious. >> next question. >> american higher education be
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called the high ground of american politics. you talked about getting around that high ground and dr. campbell? >> no it was the other guy. [laughter] >> anyways, you talked about the strategy of trying to go through the alumni. how do we get back to the high ground in american politics? is it possible to send smart people to get their ph.d.s and become professors? >> well, i don't know. that is the brief answer but i think both wet midge said and what bob said, we need a thing to encourage alternatives. the real irony of our moment here is somebody who has heard independent minds by harold rosenberg. diversities on everyone's list but conformity is on everyone's
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heart so what we need to do is sponsor some genuine alternatives, things like the medicine center at princeton. that is one thing. unfortunately it's ghetto wise there. now that they are refusing to have people from outside the brotherhood of the academic guild, you know it becomes suddenly less of a tonic force. but i think you know one of the lessons of "god & man at yale" is that heterogeneity and freedom are good things and what we need is to figure out strategies to promote them. it's not complicated. and it doesn't require a program. bill was talking about something else. is or what i'm offering you hear is not a program. call it a no program if you will. what it requires is that most uncommon of virtues, common sense.
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>> next question. >> i'm listening to all of your comments. i am struck first of all by how enormously much american society has changed in 60 years and one of the questions that goes through my mind is, if somebody wanted to set about to write "god & man at yale" today as opposed to the early 60s, what would the book look like? what would the argument be? one of the huge differences that has happened in those 60 years is the enormous increase in religious, i would say, in religious practice in informal forms versus formal forms? this takes place in meditation. takes place in a whole variety of ways. and people who are on the formal side tend to ignore this but in ignoring it, they are ignoring the enormous commonalities that exists and the commonalities that exist against the
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rationalist, utilitarian scientific material essence of what is taught in the universities. probably no one in this room knows that the san francisco unified school district today has become a major institution committed to transcendental meditation as a means of performing at schools. the san francisco unified school district iraq as he is not only committed to this, but a majority of the bureaucrats in the downtown bureaucracy have become regular meditators and the motto of the san francisco unified school district, which might be regarded as the most quote liberal bureaucracy in america, is change begins with an. for the schools in the district are now tracked dissing meditation, and the extraordinary increases in learning and reduction in behavioral -- 10 other schools
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are lining up to do it gets there is no recording of -- reporting of this in the press and there is no reporting in the press for the same reason that there is no expanded version of what the struggle here really is and it has to do with a rigidly objective five scientific materials essence in the intellectual idioms which still dominates the universities. i would love to hear your comment on that. >> and the teachers union. [laughter] >> well, i agree with you about the problems of a programmatic materialist secular society, but i did not know that about san francisco. of course it's california. but i do remember chesterton was talking about, to use the phrase, some of the new age things, the most horrible of all religions, the religion within. what he meant was i think there
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is something, there is something important about religious institutions in the sort of social glue they provide. i mean, one of the ways in which this book could have been written differently today i think is that the author, the author of "god & man at yale" in 2011 wouldn't say that the struggle is between atheism and christianity.
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