Buckley Institute's 2023 Essay Contest for U.S. High School students and Yale undergraduates

2023 Essay Contest Now Open: Ideas Have Consequences

The Buckley Institute is proud to announce that the 2023 essay contest for U.S. high school students and Yale undergraduates is officially open.

The annual essay contest is comprised of one competition for American high school students and another for Yale undergraduates. 

The first, second, and third place winners in both competitions will win $1,000, $500, or $250 respectively and be invited to the Buckley Institute’s annual conference in New Haven on December 1 to receive their awards. 

The 2023 essay contest submission deadline is Sunday, October 22 at 11:59pm. This year’s essay contest asks students to respond to the following quote from Richard Weaver’s Ideas Have Consequences, published 75 years ago, and answer the question below:

Certainly there is no more innocent-seeming form of debauchery than the worship of comfort; and, when it is accompanied by a high degree of technical resourcefulness, the difficulty of getting people not to renounce it but merely to see its consequences is staggering. The task is bound up, of course, with that of getting principles accepted again, for, where everything ministers to desire, there can be no rebuke of comfort. As we endeavor to restore values, we need to earnestly point out that there is no correlation between the degree of comfort enjoyed and the achievement of a civilization. On the contrary, absorption in ease is one of the most reliable signs of present or impending decay.

In his book Ideas Have Consequences, excerpted above, Richard Weaver argues that “absorption in ease is one of the most reliable signs of present or impending decay.” Weaver wrote in 1948 but America has only become wealthier and more comfortable since. Has an obsession with opulence and comfort put America on a path to decay or has America’s unprecedented wealth allowed it to flourish?

See the full submission guidelines here.