Why Stanford: To the Contrarians of 2024

Why Stanford: To the Contrarians of 2024
“A contrarian isn’t one who always objects — that’s a conformist of a different sort. A contrarian reasons independently, from the ground up, and resists pressure to conform.” - Naval Ravikant, entrepreneur and investor

We were all ProFros once: excited and more than a little anxious about what Stanford would bring. But high school seniors today are in a more bizarre predicament, as they sort-of-graduate, not-quite visit campuses, and choose a university for the to-be-determined Fall.

For many conservative, contrarian, and politically-independent students, the choice of college goes beyond amenities and departments. Horror stories of vicious social justice demonstrations and the prospect of social rejection are fresh in mind. Many ask themselves: is there a place for students like me on campus?

At Stanford, the answer is yes.

Stanford is a liberal place, like nearly any college campus. But here the value of freedom – in academics, politics, and campus culture – is still alive and well. Stanford’s motto is “Die Luft der Freiheit weht,” rendered from German as “The wind of freedom blows.

At Stanford, students value freedom in academics, politics, and vocation. The flexibility of the quarter system and loose general requirements make it easy to study exactly what you want, whether you’d prefer to only take classes relevant to your major, or try a bit of everything. Our engineering strength also means that the median student is less liberal than at some of our peer institutions. Startup culture brings a libertarian streak into the campus mainstream. The freedom to create new things -- technology or otherwise -- is one that Stanford students take seriously.

The opportunities at Stanford are remarkable, if you know where to look. You can start by looking up, to admire Hoover Tower.

The Hoover Institution is one of the nation’s premier conservative think tanks, home to such renowned scholars as Victor Davis Hanson, James “Mad Dog” Mattis, H.R. McMaster, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and of course Condoleezza Rice, Hoover’s newly minted director. In fact, Professor Rice is one of many prominent Hoover scholars who teach popular undergraduate courses.  Often a meal, a meeting, or even a research position with one of them is just an email away. Plus, Hoover hosts some of the best events on campus, attended by liberals and conservatives alike -- have you ever had breakfast with the Secretary of State?

The presence of the Hoover Institution is not merely an isolated element of conservative campus culture. The Review is the oldest continuously publishing conservative campus newspaper in the country. It is no coincidence that it exists at Stanford.

It’s a source of annoyance to many campus radicals that the University hasn’t yet abolished conservative student groups. Just this fall, when Stanford College Republicans brought Ben Shapiro to campus, a small mob of activists gathered outside Memorial Auditorium. But the activists couldn’t do much about the full auditorium.

We may not be the majority, but we are alive and well. While there are plenty of opportunities to get involved with conservative politics on campus, Stanford conservatives are also athletes, Rhodes Scholars, RAs, fraternity and sorority members, and friends.

The left-wing bullies and woke partisans have not won here. However you choose to define your politics, Stanford students live free. Find your niche and the opportunities are endless.

We are all anxious to get (back) to campus: to bike under the palms, walk through the arcades of the sunny Quad, and navigate a crowded roundabout. But above all, to get back to the fight against orthodoxy and continue to seek truth. We hope to have you there with us.

So, to conservatives and contrarians, the Review says: choose Stanford!


The Review wants to publish articles in the coming months that are helpful to YOU, the ProFros! For specific requests, or even personal questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to a member of our editorial staff!

Annika Nordquist ‘21, akn2021@stanford.edu
Maxwell Meyer ‘22, maxmeyer@stanford.edu
Cola Buskirk ‘22, nbuskirk@stanford.edu
Eva Davis ‘22, eva.davis@stanford.edu
Neelay Trivedi ‘23, ntrivedi@stanford.edu

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