Shapes of things (21)

Hoover Institution fellows Scott Atlas, Niall Ferguson, and Victor Davis Hanson were the subject of diatribes in a recent meeting of the Stanford Faculty Senate. The four professors who disparaged them (Joshua Landy, Stephen Monismith, David Palumbo-Liu and David Spiegel) “then subsequently published a farrago of falsehoods directed against various fellows of the Hoover Institution.” To wit:

Their complaint was, first, that the Hoover fellows’ views were unapologetically conservative and, second, that they appeared antithetical to the majority of those of the Stanford community—and were therefore properly subject to some sort of institutional and personal censure.

The Stanford professors handed up a multi-count indictment against Hoover and its fellows. My favorite count is this one: “HOOVER AGAINST DIVERSITY, GENDER, SUSTAINABILITY.” One somehow begins to suspect that the indictment seeks the enforcement of a party line. It is only unintentionally funny.

Alas, the defendants refuse to confess to their crimes. They decline to proclaim “Death to me!” Indeed, defendants Atlas, Ferguson, and Hanson have joined forces to denounce the indictment in the Stanford Review column “On free speech at Stanford.” They go so far as to call out one of their accusers:

It is neither the custom nor the tradition of Hoover scholars to fault Stanford University for the excesses of a few Stanford faculty. But that forbearance does not mean we are unaware that our faculty critics are themselves politically engaged and wish to destroy the reputation of the Hoover Institution and impugn some of its scholars for ideological reasons of their own.

In August 2017, Professor Palumbo-Liu formed a new “Campus Antifascist Network,” a name not accidentally similar to the nationwide “Antifa” movement, which last year was responsible for multiple acts of violent protest, including physical attacks on opponents and law enforcement. His network’s website, until this was pointed out, referred its readers to virulently anti-Semitic literature. In January 2015, Palumbo-Liu praised Stanford students who occupied and blocked the San Mateo Bridge at peak commuting hours, endangering lives, causing minor car crashes, and getting themselves arrested.We believe his charges of abusing campus free speech better apply to his own inflammatory activities.

When Hoover fellows Atlas, Ferguson, and Hanson team up, it’s not a fair fight. It’s not a fair fight when any one of them speaks up on his own behalf. It’s a mismatch. That is of course why their prosecutors seek to silence them in the service of the party line.

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