“You wouldn't abandon ship in a storm just because you couldn't control the winds.” —Saint Thomas More
Headlines blasting Stanford’s latest broadside against reason, morality, and normalcy have flown from the pages of the Review in recent years. The cycle of outrage, an apology or clarification, and then no meaningful change has become familiar. Cultural communists have a stranglehold on power at Stanford and will continue to remake the university to fit their utopian vision. Overstepping and issuing a vacuous apology to control the outrage is just another tactic in their long march. The bleak outlook for conservatism on college campuses is no reason to give up the fight.
Stanford may be facing down a storm but we cannot abandon it—we must show that there is a better way. Construction is seemingly constant all over campus, yet nothing beautiful has been built since the early days of the University. The administration embraces nebulous rules that quash social events before they can even get off the ground. Rampant cheating persists, with most instructors choosing to turn a blind eye to all but the most egregious cases. Conformism became the norm even in the most non-conformist groups on campus. At the most innovative school in America, creativity is noticeable only in its absence.
Rome wasn’t built in a day and the American university did not fall overnight. Bill Buckley’s criticism of the rising tide of secularism and liberalism at Yale went unheeded. The Rainbow Coalition struck foundational texts from curriculums nearly four decades ago, alienating students from the great thinkers who shaped Western civilization. No article will ever be written about the student who—worried about her friends judging her views—chooses to remain silent in a discussion about a controversial issue at the dinner table rather than participate.
Twitter won’t be in an uproar over the conservative academic who is quietly passed over for tenure. But these issues pose far more of a threat to the academy, and Stanford, than a list of ‘harmful’ words from the IT department. Only recently did the extremes of cancel culture become apparent on college campuses, but over the past century the trend is clear: there has been a steady march away from genuine education and creativity towards liberal indoctrination and box-checking.
Nowhere is this decay more visible than at Stanford. Today, not only can one graduate from Stanford without reading Homer, Plato, or Cicero, but it is entirely possible to spend four years on the farm without reading a single book at all. Our enemies don’t even have to destroy the treasures of our civilization when our brightest minds simply ignore them. Stanford is directionless; it is a mere shell of its vast potential.
But not the Review. The Review endures.
We were founded with a threefold mission—to present alternative views, create a forum for rational debate, and challenge those who disagree with us. Nearly 36 years later, the Review remains essential on a campus where all three have fallen out of style. While we cannot correct all of the grave errors of generations in our four years on campus (or even in our lifetimes) that is no excuse for inaction. The failures of the administration make the light of the Review all the brighter, our arguments all the more poignant, and our work all the more essential.
In the aftermath of the French Revolution, philosopher Joseph de Maistre wrote, “To burn a city, there is needed only a child or a madman; but to rebuild it, architects, materials, work men, money, and especially time, will be required.” By providing a forum to discuss big ideas sorely lacking elsewhere on campus and pushing back against the worst excesses of the Stanford establishment, Volume LXVII will make its small—but essential—contribution to the restoration of right order.
I am grateful for the work that Volume LXVI Editor-in-Chief Mimi St Johns did to strengthen the Review and prepare me to lead the organization, and to everyone who brought me along over the years: Quinn Barry for helping me write my first article, Annika Nordquist for getting me to join staff, Maxwell Meyer and Ben Esposito for consistently pushing me to sharpen my thinking and improve my writing.
I am confident that the talent and dedication of this volume’s editorial staff—Josiah Joner, Thomas Adamo, Julia Steinberg, and Aditya Prathap—will shine through in the coming months. And, I am excited to announce that in the fall the Review will begin distributing a print edition on campus for the first time since before the pandemic.
So to the conservatives and contrarians on campus, to the curious students who are interested in a genuine discussion of ideas, come to the Review. The challenges of our time present a unique opportunity for enterprising students. If you are interested in escaping the joyless conformity that is all too common on Stanford’s campus, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or show up to one of our Monday evening meetings in Old Union.
To our donors, the Review would not be able to exist without your generosity. We have never taken a dime from Stanford and we never will; the Review refuses to be beholden to the administrative bureaucracy that seeks to impose its orthodoxy at every turn. I’d encourage readers who believe in our mission to consider supporting the Review so we can continue to beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.
Editor-in-Chief, Volume LXVII
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