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Sex and God at Yale: Porn, Political Correctness, and a Good Education Gone Bad Hardcover – August 21, 2012
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The Amazon Book Review
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Referencing young William F. Buckley’s career-launching critique of liberalism, God and Man at Yale (1951), and even employing Buckley’s son, Christopher, for the introduction (Buckley fils does seem to be squirming here), young Harden (Yale, 2009) is shocked—shocked!—that a paragon among American higher-education institutions is so distracted by the notion of sex. His focus is on Yale’s biennial Sex Week, which, funded largely by such corporate interests as sex-toy maker Pure Romance, appears to hold students (and administrators?) in absolute thrall. Harden makes some important points here—the (further) corporatization of American universities and the objectification of women being two examples— but he delivers them with so little grace or wit that readers might be tempted to just stop caring. Still, interest in Yale and in sex might bring an audience. Look for Harden to show up as a conservative commentator on cable news, further advancing his brand, but it might not be pretty. --Alan Moores
“The ideology of sexual liberation that is the lasting legacy of ‘Me generation' liberalism and its imbecilic doctrine of ‘if it feels good do it,' has hardened into an orthodoxy on college campuses around the country. Not only is it uncritically embraced by many students, it is supported by a great many faculty members and abetted and even promoted in a variety of ways by academic administrators. In the spirit of the late William F. Buckley, Nathan Harden takes a hard, critical look at the prevalent sexual liberationist dogmas at Yale, exploring their damaging effects on the educational enterprise and their often tragic consequences in the lives of students.” ―Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, Princeton University
“This startling dispatch from a talented young writer will shame Yale, if the Yale he describes is even capable of feeling shame. Nathan Harden's memoir is a 21st-century sequel to Bill Buckley's God and Man at Yale and its lesson is simple: Don't send your daughters to New Haven.” ―John J. Miller, National Review national correspondent, Wall Street Journal contributor, author of The Big Scrum and Our Oldest Enemy
“Only a college administrator could love the sexual playgrounds doubling as America's elite colleges. And only Nathan Harden can give our priapic ivory tower the softoff it deserves. His insight is penetrating; his wit hits the spot; he lands a thousand blows. Most erotic commentators are lucky to make it to third base. With Sex and God at Yale, Harden scores a walk-off grand slam.” ―James Poulos, Daily Caller columnist and Forbes contributor
“Hats off to Nathan Harden for exposing the shameful truth about how some of our nation's finest universities have allowed themselves to become cesspools of perversion. Instead of teaching young people moral values and principles, "progressive" faculty and administrators actively promote moral degeneracy and perversion among the leaders of tomorrow.” ―Carol Swain, PhD, Professor of Political Science & Professor of Law at Vanderbilt University
“The press has always primly averted its eyes from Sex Week at Yale, reporting only the barest of details from this trashy parade of porn stars and sex toy peddlers, lest it be deemed disapproving or prudish. For its part, the Yale administration has hidden behind the claim that it had no responsibility for the student-organized event (a claim that was always patently false), and that it was obligated to allow the conference to proceed on free speech grounds.
Now Nathan Harden reveals that Sex Week is far more grotesque than anyone outside a university could have imagined. Worse, Yale’s eagerness to promote “glorious sex” among its students, as one bureaucrat put it, goes far beyond the sanctioning of Sex Week. Sex and God at Yale is a jaw-dropping account of one university’s loss of moral compass. Yale has forgotten its mission: to expose students to the most beautiful and challenging creations of human thought, and to confer on them knowledge. Facility in the use of a cock ring is not the type of knowledge which universities are uniquely capable of providing. Unfortunately, Yale’s abdication of adult authority is thoroughly typical of college administrations today. If there are any parents out there who still care about what their children are actually learning in college, this book will alert them to the travesties of higher learning likely occurring at their own child’s school.” ―Heather Mac Donald, a John M. Olin Fellow at the Manhattan Institute
“Now Nathan Harden reveals that Sex Week is far more grotesque than anyone outside a university could have imagined. Worse, Yale's eagerness to promote "glorious sex" among its students, as one bureaucrat put it, goes far beyond the sanctioning of Sex Week. Sex and God at Yale is a jaw-dropping account of one university's loss of moral compass. Yale has forgotten its mission: to expose students to the most beautiful and challenging creations of human thought, and to confer on them knowledge. Facility in the use of a cock ring is not the type of knowledge which universities are uniquely capable of providing. Unfortunately, Yale's abdication of adult authority is thoroughly typical of college administrations today. If there are any parents out there who still care about what their children are actually learning in college, this book will alert them to the travesties of higher learning likely occurring at their own child's school.” ―Heather Mac Donald, a John M. Olin Fellow at the Manhattan Institute
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As a geriatric Yalie - class of '67 - I was disturbed to learn that the same contempt for the broader interests of America I remember so well is still alive and kicking in New Haven.
Admittedly providing Yale floor space for dildo salesmen and class time for academic promoters of kinky sex is not as obviously treacherous as providing support for the Viet Cong and the Black Panthers - the favorites of the Yale administration in my era.
Both however represent la trahison des clercs and suggest reasons why Yale - and Harvard - help push America towards being Brazil Norte - a meaningless society of bread and circuses - for those who can afford them.
There is no doubt that many people will read Harden's book and focus on the salacious details of "Sex Week" at Yale, thus missing the forest because of the trees. The reviewer from Booklist featured prominently at the top of this list of reviews appears to have done just that.
Harden does spend a good deal of time writing about the intersection of the sex industry and Yale, but his point isn't simply to communicate his shock that such things could occur at Yale. His point is really to raise the broader question of "what is the purpose of Yale?". It's a question that applies not just to Yale but to many institutions of higher learning in the United States.
Harden discusses how Yale was originally founded as school to educate ministers and missionaries. Over the course of time, the religious purpose of the institution diminished and was replaced by t more secular and patriotic purpose of generating leaders for the nation. Yet today, Harden argues that Yale is awash in moral relativity--nothing is morally right or wrong and so there can be no truth. Yale may display "Lux et veritas" on its crest, but they are hollow words from a time long ago. Simply put, Harden argues the Yale of today stands for nothing.
Harden successfully shows that Yale's lack of purpose results in contradictions and hypocrisy. For example, he describes how Yale banned ROTC from campus but at the same time welcomed a leader of the Taliban as a student. Yale had deemed the US military "discriminatory" because it wasn't permitting homosexuals to serve, so it made the decision for its' students that they couldn't take ROTC classes on Yale's campus. Conversely, Yale's administration thought its' students would benefit from the "diversity" of having a member of the Taliban on campus who believed women should be veiled in burqas. The author describes taking an exam while sitting next to a man whose belief system calls for the very eradication of the purpose for which Yale was originally founded.
Harden spends a good deal of time describing how Yale permits the commercial adult entertainment industry to fund "education" sessions that he feels reinforces misogynistic attitudes and mankind's basest primal tendencies. He points out that while Yale's administration permitted such activities to take place on campus, it subsequently took disciplinary action against a Yale student for using the same misogynistic language expressed in the "educational" sessions.
Finally, Harden asserts that the concepts of "diversity" and "open-mindedness" at Yale apply only to factors such as race and ethnicity--not to intellectual thought. According to Harden, virtually every faculty member at Yale holds left-leaning political views and those views are communicated and reinforced even in classes having nothing to do with politics. Harden asks if an institution can truly promote free thought if its faculty and student body all share the same political ideology.
Harden raises some very good points throughout the book and there have been some changes since he wrote the book. Yale has subsequently revamped "Sex Week" to include the exploration of more serious issues such as sex-trafficking. There were some rumors that adult entertainment companies had provided kick-backs to get on campus and Yale's administration has since clamped down on for-profit companies promoting themselves on campus.
But the more serious questions remain:
Do colleges today have any higher purpose than merely serving as the means to an successful career?
What becomes of a nation led by people who feel there are no moral absolutes?