Editor's Note: Where Do We Go From Here?

Editor's Note: Where Do We Go From Here?
“Always go forward and never turn back.” -Saint Junipero Serra

The motto of the Review is from Genesis, Fiat Lux. God’s first command in making the universe, “[He] said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light.” The book of Genesis sets forth certain foundational truths that have served as the bedrock of Western Civilization for millennia. Little by little, those truths have been chipped away from people’s consciousness and our social order, leading to the disarray we experience in our neighborhoods, universities, and nation. 

At Stanford, the most popular place on campus for tourists and students alike to take pictures is in front of Memorial Church. Inscribed on the building are the words “erected by Jane Lathrop Stanford to the Glory of God.” The principles that inspired Mrs. Stanford to build a Church of such beauty and magnificence are entirely foreign to the modern mind, especially at Stanford where the governing ideology could easily be described as to the glory of self

This contradiction—between gawking at the beauty of the Church at the center of campus and then leaving it mostly empty on Sundays—has led to a certain dull spirit descending over the university. The French Revolutionaries tried to remake time itself. Today’s Jacobins have tacked an “E” onto BC then act as if the “Common Era” began arbitrarily. 

The writer Michael Anton recently observed that “the main divide in conservative ranks today is between those who see clearly what the Left has done and those who deny it—and attack anyone to their right who notices.” At Stanford, it is easy to see what the Left has done. The simple question that must burn in the minds of those of us who abhor the Left’s actions and are horrified by the results: what will we do about it?

While we mock the Elimination of Harmful Language Initiative, and Stanford distances itself from the list, its guiding principles are ascendant at Stanford. When a homeless man ransacks a dorm, he is described as “houseless” and defended by the RAs. And though Stanford can claim the word American isn’t banned at Stanford, the sole American flag in the middle of campus flies outside the temporary trailers next to Green Library, put up by the workers constructing the new education building. Such instances make one wonder who—the protesting Stanford student or the humble construction worker—is really worthy of leading our great nation.

While we denounce Stanford stifling social life through overbearing rules and excessive administration, Stanford responds by creating a “Social Life Accelerator Task Force” and “action plans” to purportedly solve the issue. But in the last year, Stanford hired an additional 1,406 administrators, bringing the total number to an eye-popping 18,369 people. Meanwhile, social life on campus has remained largely unchanged.

And while we criticize the shouting down of Judge Duncan at the Law School, forcing Stanford to issue an apology (though days later, only after the uproar), then-Dean Jenny Martinez fostered the campus climate that allowed for the shutdown to happen, refused to discipline the students involved… and then was promoted to Provost. After her promotion, Stanford put an organizer of the shout-down on the search committee for her successor. Meanwhile, departments have all but blacklisted hiring professors who don’t pledge fealty to wokeness; the number of conservatives in the academy will just continue to shrink. 

Actions speak louder than words.

So where do we go from here? 

We must go forward. It is impossible to simply return to the orderly society of the 1950s or the “fun-loving” Stanford of the 1980s or even the innovative Stanford of the late 2000s. As we seek to build a better future, there are lessons to be learned from the last 300 years of ascending liberalism and others from the Classical and Christian traditions. 

An object in motion stays in motion unless acted upon by an outside force. Newton’s first law applies to more than just physics. Stanford’s administrative bureaucracy and radical student body created by the admissions office will continue hurtling down the same path unless someone, or some entity, forces real, meaningful change. Around the country eyes, and trembling college presidents, are increasingly turning to the donors who fund our institutions as they begin to wake up to the pernicious ideologies their money is being used to promote.

Perhaps the most effective way to bring about real change at Stanford is for donors to close their checkbooks and keep them closed. Starve the beast. It is understandable that alumni feel grateful for what Stanford has done for their lives, and hope to keep it strong for their children and their children’s children. But the proper response to that gratitude isn’t to fund the sprawling, unaccountable bureaucracy that Stanford has become. Writing a check to Stanford is akin to donating to the Clinton Foundation, New York Times, or DNC. Instead, give to universities and organizations committed to supporting free thought and real education, groups that will prepare young people to live good lives and lead this nation out of the present malaise. 

Nothing happens unless people step up and make things happen. Elon Musk buying Twitter had a massive impact, both in releasing the Twitter Files and restoring the fundamentally American principle of free speech to the platform. For those of us who don’t have $44 billion lying around, there are still many ways we can contribute to the establishment of right order at Stanford and in our nation. 

Two things on the decline at present stand out to me as critical to revival: community and courage. The Review’s founder Peter Thiel wrote that a “cherished myth of a diverse array of modern ideologies [is] to celebrate an utterly fictional human self that exists independent of everyone else.” We exist as part of communities—one’s family, church, neighborhood, office, and other social groups govern how we experience the world. Where community is missing or weak it is our responsibility to strengthen it. When a group is going down the wrong path, it takes courage to take whatever action is possible to right the ship. 

The Stanford Review, if nothing else, is a community of brave students willing to speak out when we see something amiss. In Volume LXVII, we published more articles than any volume of the Review in years. We broke the story of Hoover abandoning its conservative roots, drawing the ire of the former Secretary of State in the process. We reported on the weaknesses of Stanford's nebulous curriculum and abuses by the bureaucracy caused by a toxic ideology that pervades the institution. Our writers put forward ideas about politics and culture that cut against the common refrain. And we fulfilled the promise made in my opening editor’s note to put the Review back in print for the first time since before the pandemic, getting our ideas in the hands of nearly every Stanford student. 

None of this would have been possible without the tireless work of our writers and editors. I would like to especially thank Julia Steinberg for her fearless reporting, Thomas Adamo for his thoughtful writing, Aditya Prathap for his boldness and big ideas, John Puri for his prescient observations, and Sophie Fujiwara for her willingness to tackle controversial topics with candor. Most of all, I am grateful to my Executive Editor and successor Josiah Joner for his work behind the scenes to make my vision of the Review a reality. 

As I prepare to graduate from Stanford, I am thankful for everything the Review has given me during my time on the Farm. I am grateful for the mentorship from those who came before me and am confident that going forward the Review will continue to be a sorely needed voice for sanity at Stanford. To our readers who share our vision and support what we do, I would encourage you to consider donating. Our work is only possible because of your generosity. 

Saint Francis of Assisi—my Patron Saint—once remarked, "a single sunbeam is enough to drive away many shadows." The Review is a beam of light at Stanford. I hope and pray that it will continue to be that way for many years to come.

Fiat Lux,

Walker Stewart

Editor-in-Chief, Volume LXVII

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