Helping people to be successful–producers, not takers–equals white supremacy?
Among the ideas I drill into my student’s heads each year is: “times change; people don’t. The students of Socrates didn’t have iPhones and driver’s licenses, but they thought, acted, and dreamed in the same ways kids think, act and dream today. They learned in the same ways, and had the same desires, motivations and adolescent rebellions. And now we see a case of adolescent rebellion in the academy, as Prof. Jacobson at Legal Insurrection reports:
The Cultural Revolution on campuses continues, after Law Profs write Op-Ed praising 1950s Bourgeois Culture.
Bourgeois is normally thought to be “of, relating to, or characteristic of the social middle class,” or “marked by concern for material interests and social respectability.” Can’t have that.
On August 9, 2017, Law Professors Amy Wax (U. Penn.) and Larry Alexander (U. San Diego) wrote an Op-Ed in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Paying the price for breakdown of the country’s bourgeois culture. The thesis of the Op-Ed was that while 1950s bourgeois American culture had many faults, the basic structure built around the family and work prepared people for the modern technological economy:
‘… That culture laid out the script we all were supposed to follow: Get married before you have children and strive to stay married for their sake. Get the education you need for gainful employment, work hard, and avoid idleness. Go the extra mile for your employer or client. Be a patriot, ready to serve the country. Be neighborly, civic-minded, and charitable. Avoid coarse language in public. Be respectful of authority. Eschew substance abuse and crime….
Wax and Alexander provided the mandatory disclaimer, that not everything was wonderful in the 50s. Unfortunately, they also observed that abandoning what I prefer to call American, rather than Bourgeois, culture has been harmful to the “disadvantaged,” an unassailable point. This of course did not stop social justice thumbsuckers from assailing it. Born in 1954, my political consciousness didn’t begin to be developed until the later 1960s, but been there, done that. The sentence that followers drove the Left crazy:
All cultures are not equal. Or at least they are not equal in preparing people to be productive in an advanced economy. The culture of the Plains Indians was designed for nomadic hunters, but is not suited to a First World, 21st-century environment. Nor are the single-parent, antisocial habits, prevalent among some working-class whites; the anti-‘acting white’ rap culture of inner-city blacks; the anti-assimilation ideas gaining ground among some Hispanic immigrants. These cultural orientations are not only incompatible with what an advanced free-market economy and a viable democracy require, they are also destructive of a sense of solidarity and reciprocity among Americans. If the bourgeois cultural script — which the upper-middle class still largely observes but now hesitates to preach — cannot be widely reinstated, things are likely to get worse for us all….
I’m sure you can imagine, gentle readers, the outrage and horror this engendered in the academy. It is, therefore, most unusual that Wax and Alexander did not crawl into a hole and abjectly apologize for speaking common sense:
What the objections boil down to is that the bourgeois virtues are somehow racist, or somehow cause racism—contentions that I and my co-author expressly contest, of course,’ Wax wrote in an email. ‘But if, indeed, bourgeois values are so racist, the progressive critics should be out there in the street demonstrating against them, stripping them from their own lives, and forbidding their children to practice them. They should be chanting, ‘No more work, more crime, more out of wedlock babies, forget thrift, let’s get high!’ … Of course, there’s little chance we’re going to see anything like that, which shows the hollowness, indeed the silliness, of the critiques.’
‘The charges of racism, white supremacy, etc. are, sadly, the predictable responses of those who can’t refute the claims we made,’ Alexander said. ‘And those charges are laughable, given that I was a civil rights marcher and have a multi-racial family. But, of course, when you don’t have the facts on your side, you resort to calling names. Pathetic!
The responses of the self-imagined virtuous and elite are predictable:
But more ominously, 54 Penn graduate students and alums (almost all in Anthropology), denounced the Op-Ed as racist:
‘… claiming that not ‘all cultures are created equal’ and extolling the virtues of white cultural practices of the ‘50s that, if understood within their sociocultural context, stem from the very same malignant logic of hetero-patriarchal, class-based, white supremacy that plagues our country today. These cultural values and logics are steeped in anti-blackness and white hetero-patriarchal respectability, i.e. two-hetero-parent homes, divorce is a vice and the denouncement of all groups perceived as not acting white enough i.e. black Americans, Latino communities and immigrants in particular.
They also made the usual demands out of the anarchist’s playbook: Wax must be denounced, white supremacy must be a part of the curriculum of every class, Wax, and anyone else propounding white supremacy must be denounced (I thought that’s what they were doing; apparently she’s so bad she has to be denounced more than once), Wax must be investigated, etc., ad nauseum.
But did any of these so called “scholars” actually provide argument or evidence to rebut Wax and Alexander? The invaluable Heather MacDonald replies:
Do the authors rebut these arguments? Do they offer counterevidence? No. Apparently the thesis of Wax’s op-ed is so patently beyond the pale that it is enough for the signatories to assert: ‘We categorically reject Wax’s claims.’ In the absence of any attempt at refutation, that is simply a case of virtue signaling.
In a bizarrely coy conclusion, the protesting faculty assert that the ‘ideal of equal opportunity to succeed in education is best achieved by . . . a commitment by all participants to respect one another without bias or stereotype. To our students, we say the following: If your experience at Penn Law falls substantially short of this ideal, something has gone wrong, and we want to know about it.’
Translation: Please provide us with instances of Wax’s alleged ‘hate speech’ against minorities so that we can build the case for removing her from teaching mandatory first-year courses. That effort is already underway. The law school’s chapter of the left-wing National Lawyers Guild released a statement last week saying that Wax’s endorsement of ‘white supremacy’ should disqualify her from teaching first-year courses. Hilariously, the NLG students also cite her ‘lack of academic rigor, intellectual dishonesty, and failure to support her opinions with evidence.
Who is this Amy Wax? What sort of white supremacist racist hatemonger is she? Acculturated.com explains:
Wax graduated summa cum laude from Yale College with a degree in molecular biophysics and biochemistry. Then she did a Marshall Scholarship at Oxford before earning a medical degree from Harvard. She also gained admission to Harvard Law School, and ultimately received her J.D. from Columbia, where she served as editor of the Columbia Law Review. Between 1988 and 1994, she worked in the U.S. solicitor general’s office. Today, she’s a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania, where she has been honored with the A. Leo Levin Award for Excellence in an Introductory Course and the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching.
So. Not an intellectual lightweight, at least by the standards the self-imagined elite love to cite, until they find themselves tripping over them. The unquestionably true observation that all cultures are not equal is an instant outrage button for the left. However, it’s easy to prove. Is a culture that cannot produce toilet paper–and there are many–on a par with those that can? How about a culture that still wipes its ass with its collective left hand? How about cultures that beat and murder their wives, mothers and daughters for bringing dishonor on the family? Cultures that mutilate the genitals of little girls? Cultures that hang gays from cranes or throw them off the roofs of buildings? Cultures that cut off the limbs or heads of their countrymen because they’re from other tribes? Or how about our own lauded inner city cultures whose idea of conflict resolution is a hail of bullets that kill innocents whose only offense was being in range of the gangster/thug idiots whose marksmanship was learned by watching movies and TV shows idolizing gangster/thug idiots?
Consider these relevant facts from Acculturated.com:
The labor-force-participation rate among men aged 25 to 54 is lower today than it was at any point in recorded history prior to the Obama years. ‘In 2015,’ according to University of Chicago economist Erik Hurst, ‘22 percent of lower-skilled men aged 21–30 had not worked at all during the prior 12 months.
We can’t thank Barack Obama enough for all the racial healing.
*Between 1999 and 2015, America’s age-adjusted rate of drug-overdose deaths nearly tripled. Around 52,400 people died of a drug overdose in 2015, and a New York Times analysis concluded that the overdose death toll in 2016 “most likely exceeded 59,000, the largest annual jump ever recorded in the United States.”
*While our nationwide murder rate remains quite low compared with the levels that prevailed from the 1970s through the 1990s, America’s overall violent-crime rate is still much higher today than it was during the 1960s. In addition, many large U.S. cities have seen murders increase dramatically since 2014.
*In 2015, more than 40 percent of all U.S. births occurred out of wedlock, compared with only 4 percent in 1950. Back in 2012, the New York Times reported, ‘More than half of births to American women under 30 occur outside marriage.
It’s no surprise our college faculties are filled with arrogant, self-destructive fools. That’s leftism, with it’s knee-jerk rejection of the American values essential to living in prosperity and peace, including the rule of law and constitutionalism. My experience, and I’m sure the experience of most Americans, at least those that have enjoyed some degree of success and stability in their lives, derives exactly from Wax and Alexander’s points. The alternative, taking their primary points in order, would be to:
Have as many children as possible without getting married, and if male, have no role in their lives and do nothing to support them. If, by chance, you got married, divorce as often and messily as possible. Avoid education at all costs; if you’re not white, that’s “acting white.” Avoid work, particularly hard work, and be as idle as possible. Depend on others and the government to support you. Everybody owes you; you owe nothing to anyone. Do nothing for whatever employer or client you might occasionally have. Who do they think they are? Patriotism? America is the oppressor! Being neighborly, civic-minded and charitable is for suckers. F**k avoiding coarse language in public. Be respectful of the Man, tryin’ to hold me down? F**k that! And about avoiding substance abuse and crime, pass me that joint, and lemme see that stolen gun.
Hey, it worked for Baltimore, Chicago and Detroit, right? In truth, this sort of white supremacy has worked brilliantly not only for white bread folk, but for people of any color. It turns out responsibility, honor, hard work, and decency are color blind. Who coulda thunk it? If living as Wax and Alexander suggest be white supremacy, Hey waiter; make mine a double!