The Level of Argumentation at Stanford

Mike Lucas, a gay porn star, gave a speech at Stanford criticizing Islam. The reaction to the speech prompted him to write an op-ed for The Stanford Daily. That brought on a torrent of comments which are remarkable for their intolerance, abusiveness, and sheer idiocy. (Warning: Strong language!) Here are a few brief ones:

• i am scared of this man.

• This is just another Jews for Israel, Pornstars for Israel, Arabs for Israel, Christians for Israel production, mean to make Israel the center of the God Universe and to make Islam, the George Bush’s World Trade Center Demolition Team, and Osamba bin Laden the center of the anti-God universe.

• hahahaha what a [bleeping] retard.
learnt some SAT words have we? adult porn star. HAH. like I’d be caught dead exchanging words with him and his merry band of idiots.
there’s a place for argumentation, and there’s a place for retards like this guy, it’s called the psychiatric ward.

• Well said R! Took the words out of my mouth. This guy has no reason to be listened to, not because I am closed minded but because he simply has no logical basis for his views. I don’t write him off because he’s gay or a porn star but because he is stupid and has no right or basis to speak with “intellectuals” at a leading university.

• The author is a [bleeping] idiot.

The last 40% of the comments are much better, motivated primarily by disgust at the first 60% and dominated by people who are not Stanford students.

What on earth is going on at Stanford? Doesn’t anyone take elementary logic?

4 thoughts on “The Level of Argumentation at Stanford

  1. Stanford is a corporation without even Harvard’s sense of mission or high purpose. The founders intended to keep religious faith at the center of a Stanford education, but the plutocratic Trustees outlived Leland Stanford, Sr. and outvoted the widow Jane, and the soul of the place soon became a vacuum to be filled with an overriding enthusiasm for wealth and earning power—the students’, the alumni’s, the faculty’s, even that of the research units within the University and Medical Center.

    Academic freedom, free speech and intellectual inquiry don’t talk at Stanford; money does. In the early 1980s Stanford and Dartmouth were the twin battlegrounds of debate over what feminists then already had dubbed, with atypical humor, “political correctness”. In Shallow Alto, PC won, Western Civ lost. Speech codes in; First Amendment out. The politics of grievance in; dead white men, shat upon.

    With a feckless and fatuous President, a Faculty Senate preeminently interested in sexual politics, and a large and prominent Anthropology Department pushing cultural relativism at all costs, the place drifted into the dans macabre of Nietshean narcissism. “No place” (utopia!) for either freethinkers or traditionalists. Rather, a place to go your own way, as long as you’ve found the victimhood from which to recover, with the very expensive help of the Stanford Corp.

    “Elementary logic”? What? By what extraparadigmatic calculus would we construct an intellectual framework with which to adjudicate “logic”, an inherently imperialistic notion of pre-Socratic Western paternalistic provenance? Whose logic?


    The 12th Century (French) founders of the University sought of course to create a haven for freedom of inquiry. They did not see scholarship as incongruent with religion. On the contrary, they were churchmen for whom Theology was the Queen of the Disciplines. They banned only paganism from the University. They were not especially on antagonistic toward paganism—at least not like the rabbinate had been. In fact they learned from paganism and respected it in many of its forms. But for one thing: they new that were they to allow paganism in, they’d be opening the gates to a flood of competing, relative truths. They could not do that, because the University of Paris, like that of Bologna, was consecrated to the Christian religion.

    Just as Stanford had been.

  2. Sorry, Nietsche, I not only used you as a modifier, but misspelled it too. Must’ve been “fate”. Ya gotta love it.

  3. I attended one of the more prominent public universities in California. Sadly, the level of reasoning (if you can call it that) and the level of civility in the student newspaper was just as bad. So I don’t think this problem is unique to Stanford. This is but a recent symptom of a civilization that’s in decline. If something doesn’t change soon, we’re in real trouble. Personally, I think our only real hope is some major catastrophe to jar us from our moral and intellectual slumber.

  4. Respecting Michael’s quite valid point, for what it’s worth I’ve worked at both UCLA and Cal (and Stanford) and have seen it at the UC campuses too, of course. It is, after all, a function of a social phenomenon, however academically driven that phenomenon may be.

    A couple differences, though. Those universities are two of the greatest, if not the two greatest, things ever achieved by the people of California, in their fitful wisdom. Each could contain more than three Stanfords. Each has many havens from the nonsense thinking exhibited here by Stanford unawares. Finally, to me it’s apparent immediately at both the UC flagships that they are institutions of high public purpose, not corporations dedicated to fiduciary purposes.

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