Friday, September 25, 2020

Hoover Institution Under Attack By Stanford Faculty

The Hoover Institution sits on the Stanford University campus and is often identified as the Hoover Institution at Stanford. This now appears to be a problem for some at the university.

Over 100 Stanford faculty have signed an open letter calling for the Faculty Senate to discuss the relationship between the Institution and Stanford. 

Not surprisingly, the letter was initiated, according to the Stanford Daily, by a comparative literature professor, Dr. David Palumbo-Liu. Across United States university campuses, comparative-literature departments are a hotbed of critical theory and postmodernism.

At his Stanford bio Palumbo-Liu writes:
I am most interested in issues regarding social theory, community, race and ethnicity, human rights, globalization, and the specific role that literature and the humanities play in helping us address each of these areas. 
He also adds:
 Our current effort is to create a network of activists and activist organizations on campus, and to organize and act on pressing issues such as graduate health care, sexual violence, racism and other forms of bigotry.  On October 13, 2020, we will bring filmmaker and activist Astra Taylor to campus to screen her award-winning film on democracy. After the screening she will join Angela Davis and me on stage to discuss the state of democracy in the present day.

It appears that what has the professor of comparative literature riled up is that Hoover fellows are discussing COVID-19 in a manner that, I don't know, maybe violates some Miranda Fricker principle or something.

His particular focus appears to be Dr. Scott Atlas:

 In August, as the death count in the US due to COVID-19 reached 155,000, Atlas made an appearance on Fox News, and stated “There should never be and there never is a goal to stop college students from getting an infection they have no problem with.’” 

In fact, Stanford Professor Robert Siegel—who, unlike Atlas, is an infectious disease expert—has roundly rejected Atlas’s claim: “his plan for achieving these goals is completely at odds with what is known about the epidemiology of this virus.” 

And then he took a layup criticizing the commentary on COVID-19 by Hoover Fellow Richard Epstein.

But putting Atlas and Epstein together with their heads simultaneously on the same guillotine is absurd. It is the same as linking the Bible and Annemarie Jagose's "Queer Theory: An Introduction," because they both have paperback versions in print.

And this is a howler of concern from a critical theorist. The letter states:

A closely connected concern which needs to be addressed by the Senate is our relation to an Institute that has a narrow focus and a pre-determined point of view which it is committed to retain and reinforce in all its research.

The letter's conclusion: 

These [medical] opinions disseminated as facts produced at Stanford can have serious and in fact deadly effects on masses of people, and this strongly suggests that the relationship between the Hoover Institution’s way of promoting their policy preferences and the academic mission of Stanford University requires more careful renegotiation. 

We ask for the Academic Senate of the University to take up that task, and for the administration to help develop solutions with those discussions in mind.

As if central planning and socialism haven't had deadly effects on masses of people in far greater numbers than COVID-19. 

It is noteworthy that of the over 100 signees, only 5 are affiliated with Stanford Medical School which has 2,246 faculty members. There are more literature professors who signed the letter at 7.

And there are 13 signees (nearly 3 times the number of medical faculty that signed the letter) who are listed as Art History faculty. ART HISTORY FACULTY! There are only 20 art history professors at Stanford in the Department of Art and Art History. The Art History department appears to be in full uproar about the science of COVID-19 being discussed by medical professionals at the Hoover Institution.

That is, the letter is packed with signees who have likely come closest to observing a virus via a David Goodsell watercolor.  



  1. Re: your “howler”,

    The pot over a dirty smoking wood fire calling the kettle over a clean burning propane fire, black.

  2. "At his Stanford bio Palumbo-Liu writes:
    I am most interested in issues regarding social theory, community, race and ethnicity, human rights, globalization, and the specific role that literature and the humanities play in helping us address each of these areas."

    He could have been much more succinct by saying, "I am most interested in hating whites."