Nearly three years ago, at the founding of this publication, one of our first articles echoed a sentiment by the philosopher and journalist Günther Anders that demands to be echoed once more: “It is not enough to change the world; we do this anyway, and it mostly happens without our efforts, regardless. What we have to do is interpret these changes so that we in turn can change the changes, so that the world doesn’t go on changing without us—ultimately to become a world without us.” The point is to interpret, to think through the world at as many registers as possible such that the worst can be prevented. The historical moment we currently find ourselves consigned to might be remembered as one possessed by an apocalyptic anxiety over the countless threats peeking over the horizon. Yet we must equally remember that, for many, the end of the world takes place every day. The pangs of poverty and racism, the cruelties of eviction, the criminalization of gender and sexuality, and the thoughtless terror of war continually deprive countless individuals of their equal right to exist and live lives of their own making.
The kind of politics our publication seeks to embody is not the “politics as usual” responsible for this human crisis of ours. Truly political writing instead seeks to disrupt that through the thoughtful introduction of new narratives and languages to make sense of the world. It is an effort to think the unthought in order to ensure that certain experiences and ideas are not unduly eclipsed and forgotten at our own loss. I’m not speaking here of a familiar, cheap contrarianism that posits unsurprising oppositions for the sake of argument. Rather, it is about reconfiguring the very terms on which discourses are based, guided by the fundamental conviction that there is still “something that counts as getting it right.”
As I hope can be felt in these pages, Stanford Politics has been and will continue to be a concerted effort toward accomplishing just that. The state of disunion in which we currently find ourselves is, in the end, only the most severe symptom of the first problem of thinking politics within the narrow conceptual boundaries imposed by partisanship. Insofar as we consider our current political situation regrettable, mere dialogue between the left, right, and center have proven insufficient in overcoming this problem. With rigor and clarity, the following articles aim to puncture through the limits of existing discourses, and demonstrate an openness to the world and the endless ways in which it can and must be thought through for the sake of those who are subject to our times.
Truman Chen, a senior studying history, is the former editor in chief of Stanford Politics.