ERIC Number: EJ1144530
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
The Academy on the Firing Line: William F. Buckley, Jr.'s "God and Man at Yale" and the Modern Conservative Critique of Higher Education
Laukaitis, John J.
American Educational History Journal, v40 n1 p129-140 2013
In 1951, William F. Buckley, Jr. was a recent alumnus of Yale University and former editor of the "Yale Daily News" when his first major work, "God and Man at Yale: The Superstitions of 'Academic Freedom'," became a controversial polemic that attracted national attention. In his work, Buckley claimed Yale's faculty advanced secularism and collectivism and, therefore, threatened the principles of Christianity, individualism, and free market economics. Buckley's critique of Yale came to symbolize to a wider audience a growing concern of the secularization of Christian colleges and universities across the country. Buckley claimed Yale's Christian identity had eroded not as a consequence of increasing secularism in America but rather by the hands of Yale's overwhelmingly liberal Departments of--for instance--Religion, Philosophy, Sociology, and Psychology. In addition to his concern about the faculty's failure to promote Christianity, Buckley believed that individualism and capitalism were under direct assault by the majority of Yale economists. In this historical examination, the author positions "God and Man at Yale" as an early modern conservative critique of higher education, for Buckley's work laid a foundation for later conservative critics and their charges of higher education's politically liberal bias and growing antipathy toward the ideals of Christianity and Western civilization. The author argues that the history of this seminal work provides a better understanding of conservative critiques as well as how conservatives frame academic freedom.
Descriptors: Criticism, Educational History, Higher Education, Social Systems, Political Attitudes, Academic Freedom, College Faculty, Collectivism, Individualism, Christianity, Church Related Colleges, Economics Education, Western Civilization, Books, Religion, Universities, Educational Change, Educational Philosophy
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Connecticut