Many have criticized the Stanford College Republicans in recent years for being provocative at the expense of offering substance. Much of that criticism has taken place within the pages of this very newspaper. In anticipation of the Dinesh D’Souza event in February, Cole Griffiths wrote, “[D’Souza’s] invitation by the SCR is in bad faith, an exercise in stunt-making rather than a constructive offering of political and cultural commentary.” In another example, Micheal Brown wrote, “SCR thrives on causing chaos around Stanford.” The general charge is that SCR attempts to stir up controversy with their guest speaker choices or with other events for the sole purpose of building their brand. I sympathize with these critiques, and that is why I am excited for Andrew Klavan’s speech Tuesday evening and why you should be, too.
Klavan is a formidable figure with a long list of achievements. To give a sampling from his website bio, Klavan is the author of multiple internationally bestselling crime novels, including “True Crime,” which was later filmed by Clint Eastwood, and “Don’t Say A Word,” which became a movie starring Michael Douglas. Stephen King once called Klavan “the most original novelist of crime and suspense since Cornell Woolrich.” The latter’s essays and op-eds on politics, religion, movies and literature have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and elsewhere.
To put it plainly, Klavan is a serious voice worth considering. He is knowledgeable across broad sections of culture and politics. His experience as a conservative in the entertainment industry also gives him a unique perspective on American culture and the so-called wars being fought within it.
The title for Klavan’s speech is “Yes, America is a Judeo-Christian Nation.” I have run into multiple people across campus who have reacted negatively to this title, which is unfortunate because they do so under false assumptions. The title is indeed provocative, but only because of what it means, not because of what it does not. The U.S., as Klavan will argue, is a Judeo-Christian country because our nation’s values, such as liberty and tolerance, are rooted in that tradition. Today, these values are being challenged by ideologies such as postmodernism and cultural Marxism, which deny absolute truth and the central importance of the individual, respectively. And thus, America’s decline awaits. For a better explanation, come to the event.
Klavan will not argue, as some seem to be concerned, that America should not accept anyone who is not Jewish or Christian. In fact, he will argue precisely the opposite — that our Judeo-Christian values mandate that we be accepting of people of all backgrounds. Any concern that Klavan’s speech will be xenophobic or otherwise hateful is simply misguided.
I encourage you to attend if you want a better understanding of how and why many conservatives view the culture the way they do. Constructive political and cultural commentary will be offered on Tuesday, May 14, at 7:00 pm at room 320-105.
— Trevor Louis ’22
Contact Trevor Louis at tlouis ‘at’ stanford.edu.