In an overflowing Linsly-Chittenden lecture hall Friday night, Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas Governor and a 2008 candidate in the Republican presidential primaries, suggested all the nation’s problems could be solved if everyone lived by one simple rule: do unto others as you would have others do unto to you.
The Huckabee event, entitled “Restoring American Values,” was the first in a series of lectures for the semester organized by the William F. Buckley, Jr. Program at Yale. The program was created near the end of 2010 by a group of students hoping to promote intellectual diversity at Yale by creating a home for conservative intellectual thought, said president of the program Nathaniel Zelinsky ’13. Zelinsky said organizers of the event hoped to bring someone to Yale with broad name-recognition as their first speaker, adding that he thought Huckabee had something to offer to Yale students of all beliefs and ideologies.
“I’m not completely devoid of understanding that probably the overwhelming majority of students here were not necessarily people voting in the republican primary this time,” Huckabee said in an interview with the News after the event. “But they were extremely kind and generous in their respect for me tonight.”
In a speech shaped by his Christian approach to politics, Huckabee focused on how American values interact with and play an active role in United States government. He explained that government grows only because of the need to regulate the behavior of people who do not act as our society expects them to, people who commit crimes. He said that if, as a nation, we instead focused on our inherent equality, recognized in the Declaration of Independence as endowed by our creator, society would be much better off.
Both during and after the event, Huckabee said he welcomed the different ideologies and beliefs the Yale student body has to offer, adding that he was not surprised to find that a conservative base, exemplified by the Buckley program, does exist at Yale.
“I think it’d be a terrible school if you had to have a certain political ideology in order to attend,” Huckabee told the News. “People need to be exposed to points of view other than their own.”