College English professor who loves classic literature, psychology, neurology and hates pop trash like Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey.
Haidt does an amazing job here of showing us how it is our intuition that often decides for us in regard to controversial (and even trivial) subjects, and then "uses" rationale as an ad hoc reasoning machine to justify the decision. Haidt also shows how this is not always a bad thing, that "gut instincts" can be truer and better than those come to entirely on rationale (if the latter were even possible, which, it seems, it isn't in most normal people.) Rationale can temper intuition, but if someone's mind is truly to be changed, it must be the intuition that is addressed first, not the rationale. If one can understand this, violent arguments can often be defused and the "opponent" can be understood as something other than "someone who is stupid" or who "refuses to accept MY logic." A must read!
Buckley's message, that traditionalism has been steamrolled in academia by modernist relativism and its trappings is still as relevant today, and maybe more so, than it was when he wrote God and Man At Yale. There are flaws in the logic in places, for instance, when Buckley argues that the students, not the faculty, should have more say in the spirit of the curriculum, implying that students at Yale wanted religion over atheism and then just a few pages later complains that a professor who was "ardently atheist" taught classes that were "hugely attended." If a lot of the time and place particularities are strained through the overall message, that is, that somewhere along the line, traditionalism became taboo in American colleges, the book ages well. As a college humanities instructor with conservative leanings, I can certainly relate to much of what Buckley has written here, if, at times, I wince a bit at his line of reason.
and for the most part, it deserves its reputation. It is a compelling and inspiring story of a man on an unswerving mission of duty to himself and to the world. It is not what one would call an enthralling narrative (like MANHUNT: THE 12 DAY SEARCH FOR LINCOLN'S KILLER or TEARS IN THE DARKNESS), although it is quite well-written and without major flaws. And the true story told here makes it all worth while and makes us want more from the world--and from ourselves.