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Should Stanford cancel Stanford? Many questions.

Summary:
Stanford just announced that it will change the name of (David Starr) Jordan Hall, and remove the statue of Louis Agassiz that adorns it. See the link if you do not know who these people are. The announcement brings to mind an obvious question: How long can Stanford remain Stanford? Read paragraphs 4 and 9 of Leland Stanford's ...

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Stanford just announced that it will change the name of (David Starr) Jordan Hall, and remove the statue of Louis Agassiz that adorns it. See the link if you do not know who these people are. 

The announcement brings to mind an obvious question: How long can Stanford remain Stanford? Read paragraphs 4 and 9 of Leland Stanford's inaugural address as governor of California. Trigger/trauma warning: I do not post them here, as Stanford's words would likely cause this blog to be blocked. 

Another obvious question: Read the announcement. How many thousands of person-hours, compensated by Stanford, went in to this decision? In terms of dollars spent per unit of trauma relieved, how well is Stanford spending our donors' and taxpayers' money? 

More, our libraries are full of the writings of these censured people. From the Stanford library catalog. 


Should Stanford cancel Stanford? Many questions.
Should not these books be hauled out and burned, lest the hateful contents infect sensitive minds? 

The offensive building and statue, from Stanford news

Should Stanford cancel Stanford? Many questions.


But wait, have I transgressed? If the name and statue cause trauma to passersby, should not the image be banned? Will my blog be blocked? But how does Stanford News, announcing the event, publish this photo, surely passing on the trauma? 

So many puzzling questions today. 

Update:

A colleague points to this reference that points out 

John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946) was a renown British economist and active proponent of eugenics, serving as Director of the British Eugenics Society (1937-1944). 

 At the University of Cambridge, he served as treasurer of the University of Cambridge Eugenics Society upon its creation (di Mambro, 2003). Later, he also served as the director of the Eugenics Society of London (1937-1944), and gave a lecture entitled "Some Consequences of a Declining Population" (1937), that year's Galton Lecture (di Mambro, 2003). Even after World War II, Keynes did not renounce his views, but instead asserted that eugenics was "the most important and significant branch of sociology" (Keynes, 1946, as cited in Brignell, 2010, para. 19).

(Jordan and Agassiz are also canceled for eugenics.) I was all excited by the prospect "cancel Keynes and Keynesianism!" Until, reading on, my colleague points out, Et tu Irving Fisher here. Oh well, we'll have to go back to actual intellectual debate in economics. 

Update 2: 

Unbelievably, some twitter commenters are taking my cancel suggestions literally. The world has truly lost its mind. Or at least its reading skills. Duh, no, I do not think Stanford should change its name, nor do I think we should have a book burning. I figured wrongly certain people were smart enough to figure that out!  



John H. Cochrane
In real life I'm a Senior Fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford. I was formerly a professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. I'm also an adjunct scholar of the Cato Institute. I'm not really grumpy by the way!

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