The Western Civilization Witch-Hunt

Editor’s Note, Winter 2016

Stanford deserves a real debate on its humanities core, not a climate of silencing and voter intimidation.

Two weeks after the Stanford Review launched a petition to bring back Western Civilization requirements, campus has never been more alive with discussion. Some students wrote in support of the humanities, common requirements, and a Western focus; others opposed specific elements of our proposal. That said, few rejected the call for more humanities requirements outright – a huge step forward for Stanford. The proposal struck such a chord that it even garnered national media attention.

Unfortunately, while some commentary on both sides of the Western Civilization debate has been civil and productive, much of it has been crass, inflammatory, and straight-up intimidating to student voters. The Review’s staff have been called everything from “dusty” to “racist” to “b**ch” to “pendejos” to “disgusting” – hardly a neutral environment in which to express an opinion if you are voting on the proposal. People have a right to say as they please, of course, but this commentary is unlikely to lead to fruitful conclusions. In response, we have been repeatedly ‘invited’ to “wonderful events” with “constructive dialogue”. Unfortunately, Review members who have tried to attend such events have been refused entry at the door.

When my volume began, I commended Stanford on its new-found ability to discuss morally charged but important issues. Disappointingly, the ground has shifted beneath our feet. People writing articles in defense of the Western canon have been marginalized and silenced within groups whose policy priorities have nothing to do with curricular requirements. Signers of the petition have reported being personally called out in dining halls and student group meetings, and have been systematically contacted to justify their signatures. They have also been publicly branded as supporters of “racism”, “elitism”, “classism” and “hatred”. Finally, two members of the Stanford activist community have publicly announced that they have downloaded the list of signatories, and intend to use it against voters in case they “want to run for office”.

Obviously, people have a right to present different perspectives so that voters can make up their own minds. But there is a clear line between news and opinion pieces that focus on the merits of the proposal, and a systematic silencing campaign. Commenters on Facebook have used the most vulgar language known to English and Spanish on our page, have asked if we will “be reading Mein Kampf”, have decried Western Civ as “bully[ing] and attack[ing]”, and have said they are “disappointed” by people voting just to discuss a policy. This is not a marketplace of ideas. It is an internecine warzone of rhetorical suicide-bombers who hold campus hostage with threats of vengeance and ostracisation should students take the bold step of calling for more debate on what our requirements should be.

Clearly, this discussion deserves Stanford’s time and attention. No issue is more central to students at a university than the classes they take. And no component of Stanford’s curriculum is more contested than its humanities requirements, which have regressed to become more lax than even those of MIT and Caltech.

Moreover, this ballot initiative is anything from final. It is a vote on whether to debate the topic itself. Only after the initiative has 350 signatures does campus gain a month to hold townhalls, discuss improvements to the curricular requirements, and vote in ASSU elections. Even if students were then to give it the thumbs-up, the initiative would only go to the Faculty Senate for consideration in liaison with students and professors.

In this climate, Stanford students cannot freely decide on the most important issue that will be debated this year in student politics. But it is more important than ever that they try. A townhall with other campus communities is being held on our initiative on Thursday night, a day after the signature deadline. If the small minority who refuse even to let people talk about Western Civ win, it will be for no purpose. Don’t let them silence Stanford.

If you would like to sign our Western Civilization petition, you can do so here.

  • kizmet paradigm

    The utterly illiterate and profane vitriol spewed from knee jerk reactionary and emotionally driven “students” provides an illuminating window into the warped and undeveloped minds of sad losers that are filled with raw racial hatred for white people and their European culture. Slavery and the Indians doesn’t even make 1% of western civilizations history! But to the Junior high maturity level “HATERS” on campus.. it’s all they know! Surprised? The verbal and physical assault on white children studying in the library was the most racist event to occur on any campus in America! Surprised? Which can’t help but to lead one to ask…Why are they even here if they hate the majority of people on campus so much? Unfortunately a logical mind will never understand people who subsist on raw emotion to the exclusion of rational thought. Surprised?

  • matt10023

    Most feminist literature and philosophy is western, and reflective of Western values. Shall we drop that as well?

  • Cromulent

    Hey hey, ho ho, Western Civ is the way to go.

  • Cromulent

    A capital idea!

  • Fat_Man

    Further evidence, as if any more were needed, that the modern American University has out lived its utility.

    Henry VIII knew what to do with institutions like the modern American University. We should follow his example.

    We should abolish the college’s tax exemptions, tax their endowments, require them to admit students by lottery, abolish tenure, abolish accreditation, abolish federal student loans and grants, fire at least 80% of the administrators and cut the salaries of the survivors dramatically. Burn the buildings down, plow them under, and sow the land with salt.

  • Akhibrass

    What are western values anyway? Is fascism a western value?

  • Akhibrass

    They don’t hate “European Culture” just European hegemony. And America is not Europe so why are we learning only their history?

  • Joe Joe

    The invasive intimidation tactics used to scare signatories to the petition are right out of the “No on Prop 8” playbook. This is not about debating issues: it is about trying to shut down the issues by fear. This SHOULD be illegal. At very least, the students doing this kind of intimidation should be in violation of some student rights and responsibilities policy and should be suspended.

  • joshuaism

    Then for an encore we could do the same to all the churches and other places of worship!

  • Mengsk

    The grand irony is that Western Civilization ultimately influenced the leftist radical politics these angry SJWs want taught in place of Western Civilization. Feminism as a movement first appeared in Europe. Many anti-colonial thinkers and activists were influenced by concepts from the Enlightenment and Post-Englightenment period. Do I even need to get into Marxism?

    I’m sorry, but colleges and universities are a lost cause at this point. The lunatics are running the asylum. Student activists are increasingly acting like radical cult members. The desire for so-called “diversity” simply does not extend to diversity of thought or diversity of opinions. Speech is policed. Racist incidents are being manufactured or blown out of proportion. Victimhood is being celebrated. Presentations and lectures given by “wrong thinkers” are invaded and disrupted. Campus papers or posters with “wrong opinions” are torn down or thrown away. Anti-white and anti-male bigotry is practically encouraged. Students who chose not to pursue STEM fields have the nerve to make a protest campaign about how few people from their supposedly marginalized demographic are in STEM fields. Meanwhile, foreign students from China, India and elsewhere get their education and diplomas and return to their homelands to become entrepreneurs and business owners while spoiled and entitled millennials latch onto the grievance industry and bemoan their non-existent “oppression”…..never mind that they are probably one of the most spoiled and pampered generation of Americans that have yet existed.

    My advice to future generations is this: Unless colleges and universities become places of ACTUAL tolerance, ACTUAL diversity and ACTUAL learning and exchanging ideas then I suggest you avoid them and seek your education online or elsewhere.

  • Mengsk

    We’re not “only learning their history”, kiddo. We’re learning about ideas and concepts from ancestral civilizations that ultimately influenced our own(this includes the radical politics which ultimately influenced things like anti-colonialism. Most colleges have become exceeding generous when it comes to Latin American history, Asian history, African history, etc.

  • Mengsk

    Uhh, how about….secularism? Free speech? Aggressive totalitarian governments with ideals akin to fascism have existed outside of Europe you know

  • Frans Alexander

    Mainstream conservatives are under this illusion that non-Whites will show interest in Western Civilization as the civilization that created values of democracy, freedom of expression, anti-colonialism and even “progressive” diversity. But why should non-Whites want to learn about the greatness of European men?

    It is obvious that Europeans achieved far more than any other people on this planet; take a look at Ricardo Duchesne’s, The Uniqueness of Western Civilization, where he explains that the West was not only the one civilization that originated the Industrial Revolution, and the Scientific Revolution, but that it was far more creative in all spheres of life since ancient times, with the Greek invention of deductive reasoning, tragic poetry, proper historical writing, etc, etc, and this creativity continued through Rome with the invention of rational legal system, best armies in the world, superior engineering, through medieval times with the invention of universities themselves, scholastic method of answering questions, and so much more leading to the Renaissance and the Age of Discoveries.

    Why would Black and Mestizo students want to sit in a class room listening about how far greater Europeans were? They would not. And so, what this vote teaches us, and what the eradication of Western Civ courses across the US teaches us, is that unless we stop the US from being a majority White nation, say goodbye to any real learning in our universities, as only the West really produced greatness in the Arts and Sciences; almost all the greatest thinkers are European, and almost all the discoveries in science, and artistic originalities. In fact, all the disciplines taught at our universities were invented by Whites. Either we keep America majority European, and affirm our heritage, since the US was created by Europeans, or say goodbye to everything that is great and noble in human history.

  • Frans Alexander

    I don’t blame you for being utterly ignorant, but see my post above, and read books on Western Civilization, and you will learn, for example, that 97 percent of the great scientists in the world were Europeans, almost all the philosophers; in fact, all the disciplines taught at our universities were invented by Whites.