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.
of the hidebound, ideologically-driven fundamentalism that has made for the wasteful and unproductive political stand-off in the American two party system over the last forty or so years. The book has flaws. For one, its title is far too apocalyptic, and the book itself acknowledges this tacitly, making suggestions for revitalizing the conservative party; and too, it underestimates the stagnation of the liberal party, which has come about for the same reason that the conservatives have become so steadily ossified, that is, the espousal of a hard party line, conformity over consensus. The book's highlights are its reflections on the political theories of Burke and Disraeli, too brilliant men who should be read by all, but are, alas, probably beyond the uninformed and unintelligent masses which have made for the unthinking, unreflective ideological systems we currently have in place. (I will suggest a modern-day Burke/Disraeli, and study him if you have the heart: the vastly undervalued Peter Hitchens, brother of vastly overvalued Chris Hitchens.)