With the New Year and a new quarter comes a new volume of the Stanford Review. At a time like this it helps to review our mission—where we are coming from and what role we plan to fill.
The Review is the only conservative newspaper on campus. As such, it is our goal to persuade and enlighten the vast majority of Stanford students who have had little to no exposure to conservative thought. The best way to go about this task is to ensure that our writing is as consistently outstanding as possible.
Now, Review staffers cover a considerable range of conservative viewpoints, from traditional conservative to devoted libertarian. The Review’s great strength lies in this composition—although we may differ on certain issues and even values, the one value we all hold dear is that of personal freedom of expression.
For too many liberals, there is no such thing as a debate with a conservative—they hold so little respect for the alternative conservative point of view, or for the principle of open-minded discourse, that their end of a political discussion will descend quickly into either name-calling or stony silence. I remember my shock at my first encounter with this kind of liberal as a freshman at Stanford—a senior staff mentor angrily stalked out of the room in the middle of a discussion on Guantanamo Bay, after I began to explain that while abuses are wrong, a retention center is entirely necessary in order for us to effectively fight the war on terror. I was startled and hurt by the incident, until I began to understand that the kind of person I was dealing with was someone whose mind was so utterly closed that they refused to even listen to an alternative viewpoint. This was not learning; it was not remotely close to the kind of exchange meant to take place at a first-rate university like Stanford.
Every one of our staff members can tell of a similar experience during their time at Stanford. Just this issue, multiple Stanford faculty members turned down an invitation to write the alarmist side for our “The Heart of the Matter” global warming debate, because to them, there is no debate—alarmism is the only acceptable viewpoint. Honorable and conservative world leaders have been turned away at Stanford’s doors because some part of the University community viewed them as too malignant to invite—a truly disheartening occurrence at a time when administrators are lauded for bringing a man like Ahmadinejad to Colombia University. The close-minded liberal acts as if an honorable and courageous conservative is much more of an ideological threat than a murderer and radicalist puppet like Ahmadinejad.
It is this type of experience which underlines the importance of speaking out. It is terribly important to not remain silent in the face of the liberal university establishment because the silver lining to this gloomy situation is that for every Stanford liberal too close-minded to hold a discussion, there is a confused, or apathetic, or simply uninformed Stanford student who must hear more than one side of the story. These students are open to changing their minds, to truly learning, and it is these students to whom we write.
So, libertarian or evangelical, isolationist or globalist, today’s conservatives are indispensable to keeping alive the true spirit of learning. We at the Review realize this, and that is why we write.