Fear of China runs deep in the American psyche, as particularly evident during the recent 19th Party Congress. The New York Times declared with typical American hubris, ‘Seven Men Now Run China’ and ‘China Enshrines ‘Xi Jinping Thought,’ Elevating Leader to Mao-like status.’ These sensationalist headlines obscure a worrying truth: China now functions better politically than America.
Yesterday, President Marc Tessier-Lavigne and Provost Persis Drell released a statement entitled ‘Advancing Free Speech and Inclusion.’ Their defence of free speech was balanced, thoughtful and incisive. Indeed, it is difficult to take exception to the idea that ‘Freedom of inquiry and the free expression of ideas are fundamental to the mission of the university.’ And more importantly, the statement recognizes that the university experience encompasses so much more than the classroom. As the President and Provost wrote, ‘our strength as a university derives from our diversity.’ This diversity cannot be limited to nationality, race and gender. It must also include political and experiential diversity, meaning right and left wing thought that lies outside the narrow bounds of the Stanford liberal consensus.
In the 1980s, protestors at Stanford successfully petitioned the university to remove its ‘Western Culture’ requirement on the basis of the reading list’s ‘European-Western and male bias.’ When in 2016 the then-editor of the Stanford Review, Harry Elliot, tried to have the old Western Civilization requirement re-instated, he was met with similar cries of colonialism and racism. The ultimate failure of the Review’s campaign was greeted with great delight by the prevailing left-liberal consensus on campus. This was to some extent understandable; the Review’s campaign seemed to implicitly suggest that Western thought was superior to the canonical works of other regions.
Continue reading “The Left-Wing Case for a Western Civilization Requirement”
President Trump’s 2016 election victory must rank as one of the most significant and impressive political movements of the past half-century. This momentous election has so many diverse meanings; the bankruptcy of the Democratic Party in its current liberal, identity politics guise; the rise of the specter of white nationalism; the decline of American liberal democracy amidst the broader demise of the Western world order that has governed so autocratically for the past few centuries.