The academic environment on our nation’s campuses has deteriorated so severely, and our colleges and universities have been so completely transformed into centers of Leftist indoctrination, that many students not only oppose the freedom of speech, but don’t even know what it is. Sam Wolfe enthusiastically writes: “Something is afoot once again on the campus of Stanford University. We see it in the arrival of Robert Spencer, and in the throng of students who marched out of his lecture….Debate, dear reader, is afoot once again.”
No, Sam, that’s not what debate is. A debate is when two (and sometimes more) people present their positions on an issue, and then offer criticisms of the others’ view and defenses of their own. I wasn’t given any opportunity to engage in debate at Stanford. (I would, however, return there at my own expense should anyone there be actually willing to debate me, but given the obvious fact that only one opinion is allowed at Stanford, I don’t expect anyone there to take me up on this offer.) Instead, I was the subject of a mendacious smear campaign by the student papers the Stanford Daily and Stanford Review, aided and abetted by faculty members who made defamatory false claims about my positions and work. Then at the actual event, Stanford administrators Nanci Howe and Snehal Naik made sure that the hall was packed with students who had no intention of attending the lecture, but were there only to sabotage it by denying seats to people who actually wanted to attend. They even kept out some members of the College Republicans, the group that was sponsoring the event.
Then, after the walkout, they refused to allow in people who actually wanted to attend, refusing repeated requests to do so. They also refused to allow the Young America’s Foundation to stream the event, clearly because they knew what was in the offing and did not want video going out live that would show just how much Stanford has deteriorated and how opposed it is to free discourse. They were so petty and authoritarian that they wouldn’t even allow the members of the College Republicans who had been kept out of the event to come in after it ended for a group photo.
That, young Mr. Wolfe, is not a debate. That is the fascist suppression of dissent. It is disquieting that this bright young man doesn’t seem to know the difference between the two. Wolfe writes: “Stanford feels like an environment more conducive to freedom of expression than it has at any point since I started here two years ago.” In that case, Stanford must have been a true nightmare of Leftist authoritarianism two years ago, but it is scarcely better now. Stanford University, like most colleges and universities in America today, has a massive problem with the fascist suppression of the freedom of speech by hard-Left elements that control the administration and faculty. It’s a scandal of immense proportions, and at Stanford, as elsewhere, they don’t even have a clue that it’s happening.
“Editor’s Note: Debate Returns in Force,” by Sam Wolfe, Stanford Review, April 5, 2018:
Something is afoot once again on the campus of Stanford University.
We see it in the arrival of Robert Spencer, and in the throng of students who marched out of his lecture.
We hear it in the protests that greeted Charles Murray’s recent arrival on campus.
And we read about it, not only in the Daily and Review, but now in the Sphere as well.
Debate, dear reader, is afoot once again. Students on both the right and the left, unhappy with the mushy, anodyne consensus that otherwise characterizes the Stanford body politic, are reasserting their right to kick up a fuss. More and more, students’ response to contentious issues is not to go with the safe option (“Yeah, no, this is a really serious issue…”) but to get to the nub of things and have a debate. Should we allow a provocative Islam critic on campus? Let’s argue it out. Should Stanford invest in fossil fuels? Debate. Tax reform? Debate again.
And it’s not only students making the push. The administration, along with many of Stanford’s flagship intellectual centers (Hoover, FSI, etc.), has thrown its weight behind Cardinal Conversations, an initiative co-sponsored by the Review that brings pairs of provocative speakers to campus for a dialogue. The first two events featured Peter Thiel, Reid Hoffman, Francis Fukuyama, and Charles Murray, an assortment of high-profile speakers that reflects the sincerity with which the university is supporting the program.
The Stanford administration has also made a welcome effort to explain and defend its decisions. The previous administration was criticized for making controversial decisions by executive ukase — for example, suspending the Marching Band — and failing entirely to justify them. President Marc Tessier-Lavigne and Provost Persis Drell, by contrast, have started Notes from the Quad, a blog where they explain their thoughts on campus culture and provide thoughtful defenses of university policy.
Are things, then, looking up? I would say yes. Stanford feels like an environment more conducive to freedom of expression than it has at any point since I started here two years ago….