Yes, Stanford Has a Serious Intellectual Quality Problem Here: Why Do You Ask?

Yes, Stanford has a very serious quality control problem with its Hoover Institution: Brian Contreras, Ada Statler, and Courtney Douglas: Leaked emails show Hoover academic conspiring with College Republicans to conduct ‘opposition research’ on student: "Emails between the Hoover Institution’s Niall Ferguson and well-known Republican student activists John Rice-Cameron ’20 and Max Minshull ’20 reveal coordination on 'opposition research' against progressive activist Michael Ocon ’20...

...Ferguson resigned from his leadership role in the Cardinal Conversations program on April 16, after Provost Persis Drell became aware of the email chain. “I very much regret the publication of these emails. I also regret having written them,” Ferguson wrote in a statement to The Daily. Drell said that Ferguson “offered to resign,” and that she accepted the resignation. “The emails... were contrary to the spirit and intent of Cardinal Conversations,” Drell said....

The emails use harsh and at times war-like language to describe liberals and “social justice warriors” (SJWs). “Slowly, we will continue to crush the Left’s will to resist, as they will crack under pressure,” Rice-Cameron wrote. “[The original Cardinal Conversations steering committee] should all be allies against O. Whatever your past differences, bury them. Unite against the SJWs. [Christos] Makridis [a fellow at Vox Clara, a Christian student publication] is especially good and will intimidate them,” Ferguson wrote. “Now we turn to the more subtle game of grinding them down on the committee. The price of liberty is eternal vigilance,” Ferguson wrote.

The previous messages were interspersed with greater discussion of the Cardinal Conversations committee and planning process, as well as a discussion appearing to be about student government. In the email chain, Ferguson wrote, “Some opposition research on Mr. O might also be worthwhile,” referring to Ocon. Minshull wrote in response that he would “get on the opposition research for Mr. O.”...

When I look at the CC speaker invite list, I see: Reid Hoffman, Peter Thiel, Francis Fukuyama, Charles Murray, Anne Applebaum, Ted Koppel, Jessica Lessin, Christina Sommers, Andrew Sullivan, Danielle Brown, Claude M. Steele and John Etchemendy. Assume that a university should get the best speakers it can who are intelligent, well-informed, have interesting things to say, and are committed to engagement and raising the level of the debate rather than propaganda and driving their audience like cattle to a pre-chosen conclusion. Brown I do not know at all. Fukuyama, Applebaum, Lessin, Steele, and Etchemendy clear all three bars and would belong on the Cardinal Conversations podium. The rest do not—although you could argue for Hoffman and Thiel as development cases.