Category Archive 'Yale Political Union'

27 Sep 2019

Yale Political Union’s Liberal Party Changes Its Name and Flees Union Over Insensitive Free Speech Policies

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The Yale Political Union in 1973. I was there.

The YPU’s Liberal Party (dating back to the Union’s founding in 1934, which had McGeorge Bundy, Dick Posner, John Kerry, and Jorge Dominguez for Chairmen) has recently (in a fit of honesty) changed its name to the “Socialist Party,” and its current chairman announced today that it’s quitting the Yale Political Union because the Yale Political Union (O! God! O! God!) allows members of the Party of the Right to say flaming un-PC things, and has no mechanism to punish WrongSpeech.

Chairman Ian Moreau explains why the lefties are seceeding:

The debate over the Union’s usefulness has long been rumbling within our Party. For years now, the Union’s debate format has rendered the meaningful development of political beliefs nearly impossible. The quality of student speeches varies wildly and a few unfocused questions at the end of each speech limits direct engagement with a speaker’s arguments. The ideas that members espouse, however, can be even worse. Just last year, members of the Union stood behind a podium to spew blatant transphobia and question whether women should have the right to vote, all without reprimand. In September 2017, the Party of the Right released a whip sheet in which they referred to Indigenous people as savages. Not a single individual was formally censured.

Such incidents have unfortunately become commonplace within the Union and have wrought significant damage on our Party. Members of marginalized communities — the people who are crucial to building an authentic Left — don’t wish to sit through the needless denigration of their identities nor should they be required to in order to participate in spaces like ours. We have watched as the constant debasement of low-income people, people of color, women and queer folks has led both members and potential recruits to distance themselves from Union and therefore from us. Although our Party has made our concerns explicit and sought reform innumerable times, the structure of the Union itself has made it resistant to change. To be clear, this is not an issue with the current Union leadership; the problem is institutional, not personal.

By leaving the Yale Political Union, we hope to revitalize our Party and construct a better leftist space for future generations of Yale students. We will welcome the people we need to create the networks necessary for thoughtful activism and solidarity-building. We will cultivate a stronger sense of love and community amongst ourselves in order to ensure that our friendships last long after we leave this university. And, perhaps most importantly, we will think, interrogate and theorize as we fight for a better Yale.

We will no longer settle for the detached debate that defines the Yale Political Union. The political nature of our university, of our world, demands to be squarely grappled with. It is not enough to question the Canon, debate the research or criticize the corporation, for intellectual engagement alone will not suffice. Real leftism is bold and unyielding in its battle for greater justice for all people. As conscious inhabitants of this Ivory Tower, we are obligated not only to envision a brighter future, but also to take part in its creation.

RTWT

Being Leftist today means that you cannot “meaningfully develop your own political beliefs” in an atmosphere that exposes them to different beliefs.

29 Oct 2010

Newsweek Visits the Yale Political Union

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Even the pinks are disappointed by the Chosen One and seriously worried about their own employment prospects.

Hat tip to David Wagner.

08 Oct 2009

Cambridge Union Cancels Savage Debate Invitation

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WorldNetDaily
:

Just one week before Michael Savage was scheduled to debate via video link at the Cambridge Union in England, the co-presidents of the two-century-old society informed the top-rated radio host they have canceled the event.

…(T)he invitation from the Cambridge Union Society for the Oct. 15 debate was issued in July after Savage was banned from entering the United Kingdom by Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s government along with Muslim extremists and leaders of hate groups.

In an e-mail today to Savage producer Beowulf Rochlen, Cambridge Union leaders Julien Domercq and Jonathan Laurence wrote, “It is with great regret to inform you of the difficult decision we have taken to cancel the event.”

Domercq and Laurence pointed to problems with the cost and feasibility of setting up the necessary video link, but they also cited “legal issues.”

“We have reconsulted with our counsel, and been informed that there are numerous legal issues with Dr Savage speaking here,” they wrote, “and so because of all of the technical, financial and legal problems involved, we have come to the reluctant conclusion that the event cannot proceed.” …

The July 2 invitation to the debate said the Cambridge Union had been following his case “with great interest” and believed he was “more qualified than anyone to talk about the subject of political correctness in American and Britain.”

The student society at the University of Cambridge wanted Savage to speak for the opposition in a debate titled “This House Believes Political Correctness is Sane and Necessary.”

The society, founded in 1815, has hosted the likes of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and American presidents Ronald Reagan and Theodore Roosevelt.

The cancellation of speaking appearance by controversial political figures on the right at student debating forums at elite universities as the result of pressure from on high has quite a long tradition.

I don’t think much of Michael Savage, née Weiner, myself, but this sort of thing only ever happens to controversial speakers from the political right. The most loathsome communist, the most extreme anti-humanity environmentalist, the noisiest representative of any kind of leftwing craziness can be allowed to speak on campus. Columbia can even host Mahmoud Ahmedinejad for a speech denouncing the United States.

An invitation to George Wallace to speak at the Yale Political Union was canceled by union officers under direct pressure from Yale President Kingman Brewster in the early 1960s. A decade later, the administration intervened again, forcing the YPU to rescind an invitation to speak to William Shockley. That second time, Yale conservatives determined to test free speech at Yale simply passed the responsibility for the invitation from one captive student organization to another, as the Yale administration continued to try forcing a cancellation. When the event actually was held, leftwing activists prevented Shockley from speaking at all. The embarrassment of a second public address at Yale (the left had also forcibly shut down a speech by General William Westmoreland a bit earlier) prevented from happening by force provoked a serious reexamination of Yale University’s commitment to free speech by the Woodward Committee, which issued a report strongly affirming the principle of Free Expression.

The Woodward Report resulted in Yale being one of relatively few major universities to escape the adoption of politically correct civility codes.

It sounds like the Cambridge Union caved in the face of pressure from the Labour Government rather than from the University. Free expression in Britain is clearly in trouble not merely at the university but at the national level.

01 Feb 2009

Conservatism at Yale (Acording to the Yalie Daily)

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So completely marginalized are conservatives at Yale today that the sympathetic liberal Judy Wang regards them as a flamboyant and threatened rarity in need of their own wildlife refuge and support group.

28 Jul 2008

The Right at Yale

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James Kirchik, a liberal writing at the libertarian DoubleThink, describes undergraduate political life at Yale, the parties currently making up the Yale Political Union, and winds up ruefully paying tribute to an organization I belong to: The Party of the Right (POR).

Mr. Kirchik is misinformed on one detail. The current Conservative Party was formed in the 1990s by a gentleman who had been defeated for a second time seeking election as Chairman of the Party of the Right. The name “Conservative Party” was technically vacant, since the real Conservative Party, tracing its history back to Union’s 1930s beginning, had in a moment of 1980s flaccidity changed its name to the “Independent Party,” having become ashamed even to be called Conservative.

The Party of the Right, early in its history, chose to create a cult of devotion to the memory of King Charles I of England, on the basis of his martrydom for the simultaneous causes of Legitimacy and Liberty. The POR Chairman wears a medal commemorating Charles I, and POR toasting sessions (a formal drinking bout held at Mory’s) are opened by the Chairman reciting Charles I’s scaffold speech, which, in part, goes:


For the people. And truly I desire their Liberty and Freedom as much as anybody whomsoever. But I must tell you, that their Liberty and Freedom, consists in having of Government; those Laws, by which their life and their goods may be most their own. It is not for having share in government, that is nothing pertaining to them. A subject and a sovereign are clean different things, and therefore until they do that, I mean, that you do put the people in that liberty as I say, certainly they will never enjoy themselves.

Sirs, It was for this that now I am come here. If I would have given way to an Arbitrary way, for to have all Laws changed according to the power of the Sword, I needed not to have come here; and therefore, I tell you, (and I pray God it be not laid to your charge) That I Am the Martyr of the People.

It’s easy for the average student to poke fun at the bow-tied, intellectual conservative. The conservatives have fewer (though closer) friends; they are not members of the once-vaunted secret societies (with few exceptions, visible campus conservatives have been unofficially barred from Yale’s secret societies); they are not characters on the campus party scene, opting instead for “game nights” with their fellow party members. But, I suspect, many Yale students know, deep down, that they are missing out on something by avoiding the political union and its misfits. Amidst all of the average Yalie’s resume-whoring extra-curricular activities, hard-partying, and frantic searching for top internships and jobs, the intellectual life they had hoped to find at Yale, indeed, that they assumed would just appear the minute they walked through its ivy gates, proves ever elusive. Having become pre-professional training colleges, the modern liberal arts university is simply not what it appears to be in the movies and novels of old. Meanwhile the right-wing subculture at Yale has become the bastion of intellectual life on campus. At the PU, I always knew that getting into a debate with a Tory, Con, or a member of the POR would be more challenging than any classroom discussion. Yale students suspect that this is more or less the truth of the matter. They just wish it weren’t so.

As the POR chairman said in a recent YPU organizational meeting speech, “Getting drunk and hungover at every opportunity may be intense, but without something more, you’ll wake up one day and find yourself as empty as the keg by your head. You may find something intense in varsity sports, musical organizations, secret societies, and debating clubs, but make sure that your college experience informs your life. You need authenticity.”

I will forever remember my days in the Yale Political Union with great fondness. There really is no body like it in the world. I know that new characters will replace the old ones, but the PU will remain its lively, irascible old self. And while I will not soon be joining any secretive conservative organizations, I will, at the very least, have a greater appreciation for Charles the Martyr.

Hat tip to Matthias Storme.

31 Oct 2006

Conservatism at Yale

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La plus ça change, la plus c’est la même chose.

James Kirchik Y ’06, at the America’s Future Foundation blog, serves up an account of the recent Conservative political scene at Yale, describing the current character and ethos of the various political parties of the Yale Political Union.

Meanwhile the right-wing subculture at Yale has become the bastion of intellectual life on campus. At the PU, I always knew that getting into a debate with a Tory, Con, or a member of the POR would be more challenging than any classroom discussion. Yale students suspect that this is more or less the truth of the matter. They just wish it weren’t so.

As the POR chairman said in a recent YPU organizational meeting speech, “Getting drunk and hungover at every opportunity may be intense, but without something more, you’ll wake up one day and find yourself as empty as the keg by your head. You may find something intense in varsity sports, musical organizations, secret societies, and debating clubs, but make sure that your college experience informs your life. You need authenticity.”

I will forever remember my days in the Yale Political Union with great fondness. There really is no body like it in the world. I know that new characters will replace the old ones, but the PU will remain its lively, irascible old self. And while I will not soon be joining any secretive conservative organizations, I will, at the very least, have a greater appreciation for Charles the Martyr.

This blog’s author is, for the record, a member of the Party of the Right.

Hat tip to SC Maggie Gallagher Y’82.

28 Jul 2006

Bolton Nails Kerry

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Two old Yale Political Union debaters clashed at Senate hearings on John Bolton’s confirmation as UN Ambassador.

And John Bolton. former Conservative Party Chairman, Yale Class of 1970, got the better of John Kerry, former Liberal Party Chairman, Yale Class of 1966.

video

20 Mar 2006

Yale Political Union Declines Debate

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John Fund was eager to take his journalistic Jihad against former Taliban spokesman Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi, now attending Yale as a special student, to young Rahmatullah’s current home ground in a Yale Political Union debate (to be held March 29th), featuring the indignant Mr. Fund and his presumptive ally, former Army Captain Flagg Youngblood, Y’97.

The members of the YPU’s Executive Board had the good taste, however, to decline to hold a debate on the question of whether another student at Yale ought to have been admitted in the first place. Debating such a question would be ungentlemanly, to say the least. And, frankly, if one started debating who really should have been admitted to Yale, and who should not have been, considering some of Yale’s graduates, it would only be too easy to debate nothing else. Good for the Union E-Board. They did the right thing.


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