Freedom: The Absence of Obstacles

Bertrand Russell famously coined the phrase that I have chosen to use as the title of my farewell note. To be specific, he called freedom the absence of obstacles to the realization of ideas. At Stanford, that is what we are promised, and for the most part, we take it for granted that in our four years (or more) here, that is what will experience.

As the editor of the Stanford Review, I came to realize this from an entirely new perspective. We come to college from such diverse backgrounds, that we are convinced what we will experience as impediments will be the conflicting opinions of others. Yet for me, for the most part, the greatest impediment was my struggle to expand my own faculties.

The Review was founded as a paper to print libertarian and conservative opinions, and to defend liberty. The first question I asked myself was: what does that even mean? Over the course of my two years with this incredible journal, it slowly dawned on me that my duty was not to become the voice for either of these political thoughts on campus, but rather an advocate for bringing these ideas out in the open.

It takes a lot for an idea to be nurtured, but very little for it to get shut out. Unfortunately at any school, as with any community, ideas are often trampled without very many people noticing. Over the last volume, we have tried to represent as many of these voices as possible. From asking conservative and religious groups about the United States president’s stance on birth control, to supporting the plight of Chi Theta Chi in their efforts to keep their house, we wanted to uphold one fundamental conviction- that if you have an opinion, we want you to speak up.

And that has been the *Review’s *identity for the last quarter of a century at Stanford. At our 25th Anniversary Reunion earlier this year, current staff encountered alumni who had great stories to tell. The underlying sentiments were all the same- we never settle for what is simply told to us, and we will not be convinced unless we have investigated every issue without leaving any stone unturned.

In the world of journalism, the inability to explore every source of information is an obstacle. If an author allows himself to indulge in such an inability, he restricts himself in the search for the truth, and thus in turn spoils his freedom to shape an informed opinion. As the editor, this has been my lesson.

Here at the Stanford Review, we will continue to bring you excellent investigative coverage of campus news. But we will forever be known as the newspaper that does not shy away from taking difficult positions. I am confident that you can expect from us the same level of journalistic integrity and quality that I have experienced on staff, and I hope you will continue to pick up the Review when all other newspapers fail to satiate your need to find the truth.

Fiat Lux!

Nadiv Rahman

Nadiv Rahman ’13 is the Editor-in-Chief of the Stanford Review. He can be reached at

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