One of my favorite movie lines is from Jack Nicholson’s introductory monologue in The Departed where he asserts “I don’t want to be a product of my environment, I want my environment to be a product of me.” While it might be in bad taste to idolize a fictional villain, it is unfortunate that conservatives and libertarians at Stanford are failing to assert themselves in this community—we are disillusioned, silent, and dishonest with each other while saying that everything is fine. We are quickly becoming products of our liberal environment, rather than making the environment a product of ourselves.
With an interview from Bush speech writer and renowned journalist David Frum, an eyewitness observation of the San Mateo Tea Party on tax day (and the absence of Stanford conservative groups at the event), and Hoover Institution campaign contribution data, this issue is loosely themed around finding a right-wing voice at Stanford and nationwide. This issue is just the beginning of this discussion, but it is clear that both nationally and at Stanford, many conservatives, libertarians, and independents are confused and looking for a message. They are also looking for leadership.
The Stanford Review is and has been the leading voice of conservative and libertarian thought for Stanford students for more than two decades. The Review has done much to bring the message to the students—in this volume alone we brought Senator Santorum to speak on campus on the threat of terrorism, hosted 10 Hoover Fellow lunches, and published our exclusive interviews with former Bush administration officials (and we have more to come in subsequent issues). We have made it a priority to focus on campus/investigative issues in order to stay relevant to the Stanford scene. Still, we need to do more.
Many (including one of our writers in this issue) appropriately criticized the lack of participation by any Stanford conservative/libertarian groups in the April 15th tea parties. We have to make it more of a priority to mobilize. Personally, I will be graduating and will be in the DC beltway in two months, but now and even after I leave, I will do everything I can to make sure that Stanford students feel more comfortable taking part in conservative and libertarian activity—such as attending local tea parties in subsequent occasions. For the July 4th Tea Parties, we will make certain that those here over the summer can get mobilized.
Still, this problem of conservative/libertarian sloth and sluggishness goes beyond bags of tea. We all need to do what is necessary to allow for such mobilization to occur. Ideally, the Stanford libertarian and conservative base should be strong enough to the point where we could have had our own tea party.
Having said that, there are things we are doing already that are improving our campus impact. We recently launched our blog “Fiat Lux”—named after our motto “Let there be light.” The link is
http://blog.stanfordreview.org. The blog serves as a way of reacting to events instantly—rather than having to wait two weeks for our print content to be released (often by then the opportunity to make our voice heard has been diminished or overcome by events). Our hope is that the blog will allow us to respond quickly and also will lead us to engage in dialogue with other publications (especially The Daily). While the blog adds to our arsenal for communicating a conservative and libertarian message, the primary reporting is and will continue to be in our printed editions—which will continue to be distributed every two weeks.
I am going to enjoy my remaining six weeks at Stanford regardless of what happens, but it would be nice to leave a strong politically active community behind because we as an entire university need to maintain a strong involvement that expresses interest in what is going on around us if Stanford is going to continue to be a top school. This campus might look like a bubble, but the government can still tax and burst it.
Let’s get to work.