Sunday, January 27, 2013

Man, Sex, God, and Yale

January 2013

Man, Sex, God, and Yale

Nathan Harden
Editor, The College Fix

NATHAN HARDEN is editor of The College Fix, a higher education news website, and blogs about higher education for National Review Online. A 2009 graduate of Yale, he has written for numerous publications, including National Review, The Weekly Standard, The American Spectator, The New York Post, and The Washington Times. He was a 2011 Robert Novak Fellow at the Phillips Foundation, a 2010 Publius Fellow at the Claremont Institute, and is author of the recent book Sex and God at Yale: Porn, Political Correctness, and a Good Education Gone Bad.

The following is adapted from a speech delivered at Hillsdale College on September  20, 2012.

IN 1951, William F. Buckley, Jr., a graduate of Yale the year before, published his first book, God & Man at Yale. In the preface, he described two ideas that he had brought with him to Yale and that governed his view of the world:

"I had always been taught, and experience had fortified the teachings, that an active faith in God and a rigid adherence to Christian principles are the most powerful influences toward the good life. I also believed, with only a scanty knowledge of economics, that free enterprise and limited government had served this country well and would probably continue to do so in the future."

The body of the book provided evidence that the academic agenda at Yale was openly antagonistic to those two ideas-that Buckley had encountered a teaching and a culture that were hostile to religious faith and that promoted collectivism over free market individualism. Rather than functioning as an open forum for ideas, his book argued, Yale was waging open war upon the faith and principles of its alumni and parents.

Liberal bias at American colleges and universities is something we hear a lot about today. At the time, however, Buckley's exposé was something new, and it stirred national controversy.
The university counterattacked, and Yale trustee Frank Ashburn lambasted Buckley and his book in the pages of Saturday Review magazine.

Whether God & Man at Yale had any effect on Yale's curriculum is debatable, but its impact on American political history is indisputable. It argued for a connection between the cause of religious faith on the one hand, and the cause of free market economics on the other. In a passage whose precise wording was later acknowledged to have been the work of Buckley's mentor Willmoore Kendall-a conservative political scientist who was driven out of Yale a few years later-Buckley wrote:

"I consider this battle of educational theory important and worth time and thought even in the context of a world situation that seems to render totally irrelevant any fight except the power struggle against Communism. I myself believe that the duel between Christianity and atheism is the most important in the world. I further believe that the struggle between individualism and collectivism is the same struggle reproduced on another level."

This idea, later promoted as "fusionism" in Buckley's influential magazine National Review, would become the germ of the Reagan coalition that united social conservatives and free market libertarians-a once-winning coalition that has been lately unraveling.

I graduated from Yale in 2009, fifty-nine years after Buckley. I had a chance to meet him a couple of years before his death, at a small gathering at the home of a professor. Little did I know at the time that I would write a book of my own that would serve, in some ways, as a continuation of his famous critique.

My book-which I entitled Sex and God at Yale-shows that Yale's liberals are still actively working to refashion American politics and culture. But the devil is in the details, and it's safe to say that there are things happening at Yale today that Buckley could scarcely have even imagined in 1951. While the Yale of Buckley's book marginalized or undermined religious faith in the classroom, my book tells of a classmate who was given approval to create an art object out of what she claimed was blood and tissue from self-induced abortions. And while the Yale of Buckley's book was promoting socialist ideas in its economics department, my book chronicles Yale's recent employment of a professor who publicly praised terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah.

My, how times have changed!

There is clearly a radical sexual agenda at work at Yale today.
Professors and administrators who came of age during the sexual revolution are busily indoctrinating students into a culture of promiscuity. In fact, Yale pioneered the hosting of a campus "Sex Week"-a festival of sleaze, porn, and debauchery, dressed up as sex education. I encountered this tawdry tradition as an undergrad, and my book documents the events of Sex Week, including the screening in classrooms of hard-core pornography and the giving of permission to sex toy manufacturers and porn production companies to market their products to students.

In one classroom, a porn star stripped down to bare breasts, attached pinching and binding devices to herself as a lesson in sadomasochism, and led a student around the room in handcuffs. On other occasions, female students competed in a porn star look-alike contest judged by a male porn producer, and a porn film showing a woman bound and beaten was screened in the context of "instruction" on how students might engage in relationships of their own.

And again, these things happened with the full knowledge and approval of Yale's senior administrators.

As might be expected, many Yale students were offended by Sex Week, but university officials defended it in the name of "academic freedom"-a sign of how far this noble idea, originally meant to protect the pursuit of truth, has fallen. And the fact that Yale as an institution no longer understands the substantive meaning of academic freedom-which requires the ability to distinguish art from pornography, not to mention right from wrong-is a sign of its enslavement to the ideology of moral relativism, which denies any objective truth (except, of course, for the truth that there is no truth).

Under the dictates of moral relativism, no view is any more valid than any other view, and no book is any greater or more worth reading than any other book. Thus the old idea of a liberal education-that each student would study the greatest books, books organized into a canon based on objective criteria that identify them as valuable-has given way to a hodgepodge of new disciplines-African-American Studies, Latino Studies, Native American Studies, Women's Studies, Gay and Lesbian Studies-based on the assumption that there is no single way to describe the world that all serious and open-minded students can comprehend.

Indeed, Yale administrators have taken their allegiance to cultural relativism so far that they invited a sworn enemy of America to be a student, admitting Sayed Rahmatulla Hashemi-a former diplomat-at-large for the Taliban-in 2005. Talk about diversity!

Sitting for my final exam in International Relations, I found myself next to Hashemi, whose comrades were fighting and killing my fellow citizens in the mountains of Afghanistan at that very moment. The fact that the Taliban publicly executes homosexuals and infidels, and denies girls and women the right to go to school, gave no pause to the same Yale administrators who pride themselves on their commitment to gay rights, feminism, and academic freedom. In an interview, Hashemi boasted to the New York Times: "I could have ended up in Guantanamo Bay. Instead, I ended up at Yale."

It's hard to overlook the paradox:
By enrolling Hashemi in the name of diversity, Yale abandoned the principle of human rights-the very principle that allows diverse individuals, including those of different faiths, to coexist peacefully.

It was my aim in writing Sex and God at Yale to bring accountability to Yale's leaders in hopes of reform. Yale has educated three of the last four presidents, and two of the last three justices appointed to the Supreme Court. What kind of leaders will it be supplying in ten years, given its current direction?

Unfortunately, what's happening at Yale is indicative of what is occurring at colleges and universities across the country. Sex Week, for example, is being replicated at Harvard, Brown, Duke, Northwestern, the University of Illinois, and the University of Wisconsin. Nor would it suffice to demand an end to Sex Weeks on America's college campuses. Those events are, after all, only symptoms of a deeper emptiness in modern academia. Our universities have lost touch with the purpose of liberal arts education, the pursuit of truth. In abandoning that mission-indeed, by denying its possibility-our institutions of higher learning are afflicted to the core.

The political freedom that makes a liberal arts education possible requires an ongoing and active defense of liberty. Try exercising academic freedom in a place like Tehran or Kabul! Here in the U.S., we take our liberty far too much for granted. To the extent that Yale and schools like it succeed in producing leaders who subscribe to the ideology of moral relativism-and who thus see no moral distinction between America and its enemies-we will likely be disabused of this false sense of security all too soon.

"We live in a culture of Peter Pans"

Jason Barney
Latin Teacher, Clapham School

Friday, April 06, 2007

Federal Court Overturns Injunction against National Scout Jamboree; American Legion Hails Decision

INDIANAPOLIS (April 5, 2007) - The leader of the nation’s largest veteran’s organization hailed yesterday’s decision from the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago that dismissed the ACLU’s lawsuit against the Dept. of Defense for supporting the National Boy Scout Jamboree.

“This is a victory for not only the youth of our nation but also for the preservation of tradition and common sense,” said American Legion National Commander Paul A. Morin. “For more than 25 years, Boy Scouts have held the National Scout Jamboree every four years at Fort A.P. Hill near Fredericksburg, Va. for ten days of activities emphasizing physical fitness, appreciation of the outdoors, and patriotism. It is especially fitting that the Scouts will be able to go forward with the 2010 Jamboree as they celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America.”

In 1999 the ACLU sued DoD over its support for the Jamboree. In 2005, a federal district court in Chicago concluded the Jamboree statue was unconstitutional under the Establishment Clause because Scouting has a nonsectarian “duty to God” requirement. DoD appealed the district court’s injunction against military support under that statute for the 2010 Jamboree. The American Legion filed a “friend of the court” brief supporting the Dept. of Defense in Winkler v. Gates.

Seven Presidents have attended the Jamboree since President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1937. The Jamboree grounds at Fort A.P. Hill are open to the public and an estimated 300,000 visitors attended in 2005 along with 43,000 Scouts and their leaders. The U.S. Congress called it an incomparable training opportunity for our armed forces; it requires the construction, maintenance, and disassembly of a “tent city” capable of supporting tens of thousands of people for a week or longer.

“Patriotism and mentoring youth are pillars of The American Legion,” Morin said. “When Scouts have the opportunity to interface with members of the finest military in the world, they acquire many of the leadership skills that will guide them throughout their lives.” The American Legion is one of the nation’s largest sponsors of scouting units across the country.

Media Contacts: Joe March, (317) 630-1253; Cell (317) 748-1926 or Ramona Joyce, 202/263-2982; Cell, 202-445-1161. This text and a high-resolution photo of Cmdr. Morin can be downloaded at

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Senate Passes Iraq Surrender Provision,
American Legion Urges Presidential Veto

Washington, DC (March 28, 2007) - The National Commander of The American Legion criticized an amendment narrowly passed by the U.S. Senate that would add a timeline of withdrawal to an Iraq spending bill.

“You don’t have to be a military strategist to understand the advantage a withdrawal date gives to the enemy,” Paul A. Morin said. “First the House passed a blueprint for disaster and now the Senate passes a recipe for surrender.”

Morin called on the president to honor his promise to veto legislation that includes timetables to withdraw from Iraq. “The American Legion supports the troops. You cannot support the troops if you want them to cut and run. Congress authorized Operation Iraqi Freedom, now it needs to let the troops finish the job.”

Morin pointed out that Congress cut off funding in Vietnam, even though the troops won every military battle. “Let’s not repeat the mistakes of the past. The American people need to support the troops and their commander in chief, even if Congress won’t.”

The Senate voted 50-48 for the provision containing the withdraw requirement, which was supported by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV. Reid did not seem willing to compromise with the White House, saying that he is “not anxious to strip anything out of the bill.”

Morin added that the United States has only one commander in chief. “The American people did not elect 535 legislators to be armchair generals. It is outrageous that Congress would leave our troops on the battlefield without the funding that they need. It’s time for the president to veto this surrender bill and for Congress to pass a serious war-funding bill, which would provide the money without the micro-management. I call on my fellow Legionnaires to let their senators and representatives know where we stand on this war.”

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The American Legion accepts Kerry’s apology; renews call for better GI Bill

INDIANAPOLIS (Nov. 1, 2006) Late this afternoon, Senator John Kerry issued a statement which said: "I personally apologize to any servicemember, family member, or American who was offended" by comments he made about being “stuck in Iraq."

“On behalf of The American Legion, we accept the senator’s apology for his intemperate remark,” said Paul A. Morin, National Commander of The American Legion.

“We hope that the senator will use this opportunity to join with his colleagues in both houses to pass a GI Bill that gives members of the National Guard and Reserves educational benefits equal to those received by their regular Army counterparts,” said Morin.

“Both are standing in Harm’s Way and both deserve educational benefits sufficient to pay for a first class education in a decent college. To date the Congress has been unwilling to give Guardsmen and Reservists the same benefits given to other servicemembers, and, compounding the error, the Congress has not seen fit to award any servicemember a level of benefits sufficient to pursue an education full time. It’s time to correct this error,” Morin said.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


A very good read. Sent to me by our friend, Jim Stoll.

By Frank Schaeffer

John Kerry disrespected our troops by saying they get sent to Iraq because they don't study hard. George Bush attacked Kerry for calling the troops dumb and told us again how great he thinks our troops are. Meanwhile Senator Hillary Clinton called for a "fundamental change in course" in Iraq. All these politicians have something in common: none have a child in uniform.

As the father of a Marine that served in Afghanistan and Iraq, and as a writer of many books and articles on the military family (including "Keeping Faith A Father-Son Story About Love and the United States Marine Corps" and my new book "BABY JACK," about redemption through service and many op-eds for the Washington Post), I've heard from more military families than just about anyone in this country. And the military family is sick of our leaders!

With a few exceptions like John McCain and James Webb, who have sons serving, our leaders talk about service but make sure their children are on a fast track of academic and material success uninterrupted by something so mundane as risking anything for our country. So Bush just "loves" our soldiers, but apparently he never imparted that love where it counts: to his own children. And Kerry also just "loves" our troops and is outraged by those terrible Republicans that would twist his remarks for political purposes, but he never inspired his kids to serve either. And Hillary Clinton has pictures taken of herself standing next to the troops, but her daughter isn't one of them.

Franklin Roosevelt led a wartime military in which his children were all serving. One of the things the Roosevelts shared with the military family they led was personal anxiety about their children in uniform. In her diary Eleanor wrote: "[Franklin] would have liked to have taken [his] son's places." Our museums are filled with portraits of the scions of leading families who led fateful charges, all of whom did their part. A lot has changed since our elites encouraged their children to serve as something that many American just did.

Today, the number of Congressmen and Congresswomen who are veterans is about one-third the figure it was a generation ago, and almost none have children in uniform, and where, in the 1950s, about half the graduating classes of the Ivy Leagues served, today less than one third of one percent do. Our elites have turned their back on America, but they still claim the privilege of leadership, only now it's leadership without dues-paying. (Barack Obama is considering a run for "Commander in Chief" and his best "qualification" was that he was on Oprah!)

They aren't fooling us. Here is a letter from a military parent that represents literally thousands I've received: "In a time when all my neighbors, in an affluent and very Republican district, sport 'support the troops' bumper stickers on their cars, you see no blue star emblems in the windows of their homes signifying a son or daughter serving . . . I feel we have been duped by cunning political opportunists . . . They talk the talk but do not walk the walk..."

Democrats and Republicans in Washington, leading liberals and conservatives and neoconservatives, the consultants, the lobbyists, the publishers, the talking heads, all have something in common: Almost none of them, have a picture on their desk of their son or daughter in uniform. The people who do the loudest talking and the most deciding about the fate of our sons and daughters aren't connected to the military family. We in the military family don't really give a damn what Kerry said or didn't say. (Though his excuse that his vile comment was a "joke" is lame, no better than saying a racist remark was "only a joke.")

What we do long for is leaders who can look the American people---and especially the military family---in the face and call for sacrifice. But they can't do that credibly any longer. They have no skin in the game. To the military family our elite look more and more like Persian pontentates, not democratic leaders sharing the fate of those they lead.

In the closing days of this election here is a request from the military family to our leaders: Please stop abusing our sons and daughters as political cannon fodder. Unless you have a child in uniform standing shoulder-to-shoulder with ours please just shut the hell up about how you "feel" about those who serve!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

American Legion to Sen. Kerry: Apologize Now

INDIANAPOLIS, October 31, 2006

The National Commander of The American Legion called on Sen. John Kerry to apologize for suggesting that American troops in Iraq are uneducated.

"As a constituent of Senator Kerry's I am disappointed. As leader of The American Legion, I am outraged," said National Commander Paul A. Morin.

"A generation ago, Sen. Kerry slandered his comrades in Vietnam by saying that they were rapists and murderers. It wasn't true then and his warped view of today's heroes isn't true now."

While addressing a group of college students at a campaign rally in Pasadena, CA., Monday, Kerry suggested that they receive an education or "if you don't, you'll get stuck in Iraq."

"While The American Legion shares the senator's appreciation for education, the troops in Iraq represent the most sophisticated, technologically superior military that the world has ever seen," Morin said. "I think there is a thing or two that they could teach most college professors and campus elitists about the way the world works.

"And while we are on the topic of education, why doesn't the senator and his comrades in Congress improve the GI Bill so all of today's military members - reserves and guard included - can achieve the educational aspirations that the senator so highly values?" Morin said.

"The senator's false and outrageous attack was over-the-top and he should apologize now."

The 2.7-million member American Legion,, is the nation's largest veterans organization.

Friday, September 22, 2006


I'm sure that George Washington was your best guess. It is what all the schools teach, and what we have heard all of our life. After all, no one else comes to mind.

But think back to your history books - The United States declared its independence in 1776, yet Washington did not take office until April 30, 1789.

So who was running the country during these initial years of this young country? It was the first eight U. S. Presidents.

In fact, the first President of the United States was one John Hanson.

The new country was actually formed on March 1, 1781 with the adoption of The Articles of Confederation. This document was actually proposed on June 11, 1776, but not agreed upon by Congress until November 15, 1777.

Maryland refused to sign this document until Virginia and New York ceded their western lands (Maryland was afraid that these states would gain too much power in the new government from such large amounts of land). Once the signing took place in 1781, a President was needed to run the country.

John Hanson was chosen unanimously by Congress (which included George Washington). In fact, all the other potential candidates refused to run against him, as he was a major player in the revolution and an extremely influential member of Congress.

As the first President, Hanson had quite the shoes to fill. No one had ever been President and the role was poorly defined. His actions in office would set precedent for all future Presidents.

He took office just as the Revolutionary War ended. Almost immediately, the troops demanded to be paid. As would be expected after any long war, there were no funds to meet the salaries.

As a result, the soldiers threatened to overthrow the new government and put Washington on the throne as a monarch.

All the members of Congress ran for their lives, leaving Hanson as the only guy left running the government. He somehow managed to calm the troops down and hold the country together. If he had failed, the government would have fallen almost immediately and everyone would have been bowing to King Washington.

Hanson, as President, ordered all foreign troops off American soil, as well as the removal of all foreign flags. This was quite the feat, considering the fact that so many European countries had a stake in the United States since the days following Columbus.

Hanson established the Great Seal of the United States, which all Presidents have since been required to use on all official documents. President Hanson also established the first Treasury Department, the first Secretary of War, and the first Foreign Affairs Department. Lastly, he declared that the fourth Thursday of every November was to be Thanksgiving Day, which is still true today. The Articles of Confederation only allowed a President to serve a one-year term during any three-year period, so Hanson actually accomplished quite a bit in such little time.

Seven other presidents were elected after him:

Elias Boudinot (1782-83),

Thomas Mifflin (1783-84),

Richard Henry Lee (1784-85),

John Hancock (1785-86),

Nathan Gorman (1786-87),

Arthur St. Clair (1787-88),


Cyrus Griffin (1788-89)

all prior to Washington taking office.

So what happened? Why don't we hear about the first eight presidents? It’s quite simple - The Articles of Confederation didn't work well. The individual states had too much power and nothing could be agreed upon. A new doctrine needed to be written - something we know as The Constitution.

And that leads us to the end of our story. George Washington was definitely not the first President of the United States. He was the first President of the United States under the Constitution we follow today. And the first eight Presidents are forgotten in history.


(It took 8 years for us to establish a successful government. Remember this when you hear that so little progress has been make during these last 3 years in establishing a Government in Iraq.)