Pod and Man at Yale

"Being a Trump supporter is like being Hitler himself," Being conservative at Yale; Faculty Prize winner Mordechai Levy-Eichel on Free Speech in the Classroom

December 05, 2023 Buckley Institute Season 1 Episode 8
Pod and Man at Yale
"Being a Trump supporter is like being Hitler himself," Being conservative at Yale; Faculty Prize winner Mordechai Levy-Eichel on Free Speech in the Classroom
Show Notes Chapter Markers

Aron Ravin ’24, Noah Riley ’24, and Trevor MacKay ’25 discuss the challenges that come with being conservative on Yale’s campus and how campus political bias can come out in surprising places:

  • Noah: “If being a social conservative is like being a Nazi, then being a Trump supporter is like being Hitler himself. It is the worst of the worst that you could be.”
  • Trevor: “Being prolife is definitely something that is very far outside the mainstream of Yale’s campus.” 
  • Aron: “In my first class in the directed studies program, my professor and my classmates started comparing the violence in the Iliad to the death of George Floyd… During parents’ weekend, my parents came to town and it started with a land acknowledgment…”
  • Aron: “…the Buckley Institute [is] more associated with being welcoming to people that are liberal and, a lot of people on this campus, even left-leaning people, are very dissatisfied with the culture of speech here… The way that they’ve seen the conversations permeate on campus around these issues has really been dissatisfying to them, and it’s kind of led to a new respect for the Buckley Institute.”

For the episode’s interview, we sat down with inaugural Lux et Veritas Faculty Prize Winner Mordechai Levy-Eichel and discussed why he goes out of his way to stimulate open discussion in the class, and why so many faculty and administrators avoid debate at all costs:

  • “Our current culture in general, and our college campus culture as a reflection of our larger culture, is so tame and so worried about offending people or saying the wrong thing, that students, when they’re confronted with a serious back and forth… they actually really usually enjoy the intellectual exercise.”
  • “I think its healthier and better to have a more freeform and open discussion where you talk about what you’re really thinking because there’s no reason you can’t… When we’re worried about holding things back, we’re cheating ourselves.”

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Interview with Faculty Prize Winner Mordechai Levy-Eichel