I ran across an interesting article by John Hawkins at PJ Media the other day. He wrote of several bits of social advice from several authors that the Left has found to be particularly outrageous. I addressed some of this in writing about Professors Amy Wax and Larry Alexander in White Supremacy: Make Mine A Double. Wax, a law prof. at the University of Pennsylvania, not only has a law degree, but a medical degree from Harvard. Perhaps she might be worth listening to? That article just might be worth a look, but what has the left’s moral outrage meter pegged these days? She and Alexander wrote:
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.’— Amy Wax and Larry Alexander
I’m sure, gentle readers, you can see why the left is so exercised? Wax and Alexander speak to bourgeois values, as I explained:
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.
In other words, values that would allow one to be successful, a producer rather than a taker, a person that contributes to the betterment of the republic rather than one that is a drain on it, someone kind to others and worthy of respect. Hawkins continues:
The quote you just read comes from an excellent Jonah Goldberg column I read recently. It reminds me of Walter Williams’ formula to avoid poverty:
‘Avoiding long-term poverty is not rocket science. First, graduate from high school. Second, get married before you have children, and stay married. Third, work at any kind of job, even one that starts out paying the minimum wage. And, finally, avoid engaging in criminal behavior.
We’ll get into this shortly, gentle readers, but for the moment, ask yourself what kind of person would think any of this bad, outrageous, provocative advice?
However, Jonah Goldberg noted a quite different response to that essay that contained that initial quote:
A coalition of students and alumni responded to the essay in predictable fashion. Wax and Alexander were peddling the ‘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 . . .
Wax and Alexander have been mercilessly harassed for these entirely unremarkable observations, and have, of course, been called “white supremacists,” an epithet fast replacing “racist” among woke social justice cracktivists. Just as calling someone a racist requires no proof, even less than no proof is required when calling someone a white supremacist. It’s getting to the point that one need not even be white. I concluded my earlier essay by explaining the opposite of their sound advice:
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!
The Socialist/Democrat/Communist/Social Justice/special snowflake argument is that Wax, Alexander and Williams are speaking about the values of an evil, oppressive white culture of the 1950s, a culture responsible for every imagined social ill of today. One must, by this way of thinking, repudiate everything related to the culture, particularly its values, which make women non-authentic, and black people non-authentic, and which are inherently the wellspring of all of the ills of every minority, identity and victim group extant.
I have often written about the divide between us, a divide that seems to be growing rather than shrinking, a divide that may lead us not to a cold culture war which has been boiling since the 60s, but a hot civil war that would not only do enormous damage to America, but would allow our enemies, and every petty dictator and despot in the world to make a hasty grab for power while we’re occupied. It is no exaggeration to say that as America goes, so goes the world.
For the socialist left–a substantial number of candidates for national office in 2018 are openly proclaiming themselves socialist–the revolution never ends. Racism can never cease being an issue because it keeps race baiters rolling in cash, and by keeping black people in a perpetual state of entitlement and rage, keeps them voting for Democrats. Without that almost monolithic voting block, Democrats would be reduced to a single alternative: illegally importing democrat voters from foreign countries. Actually, there’s always vote fraud, but we are reliably assured by the Democrats and media (I know: one in the same) there is no such thing. Who yuh gonna believe? Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi and the media, or your own lyin’ eyes?
The idea that there is such a thing as a white culture that embraces a set of entirely evil and non-woke values is at once, sort of correct, and almost entirely idiotic. Responsibility, altruism, kindness, hard work, cooperation, devoted marriage, and other values are not exclusive to any race, but they are found in every successful, technologically advanced society in history. They are behaviors, choices, a result of an acute understanding of human nature, and the application of delayed gratification and willpower, not DNA. That anyone would consider such values– such behaviors–in any way undesirable or harmful reveals their logical, moral corruption. Woke such decent values are not, and that’s a good thing for the future of civilization.
Clearly, culture plays a role in such behaviors. If one is brought up in a culture based on wearing baseball caps backward and one’s pants around one’s ankles, that lionizes criminals, that celebrates addiction, that disdains hard, honest work, that ridicules scholarship, decency, and delayed gratification, that is inherently violent and genuinely misogynistic, it is harder to practice behaviors that are not self-destructive. Harder, but by no means impossible. It’s a choice, and free may overcome race and culture. Strong will transcends it.
Those that refuse to admit some cultures are superior—in every measurable, intellectual, behavioral, and moral way—than others, are very much a part of the problem, not the solution. One needs little study of history to realize there are values/behaviors that contribute to individual and societal success and those that lead to misery and destruction, yet some deny this unmistakable reality.
Identity politics are a contemporary destructive force. Witness the plight of Kanye West, a black musician who, until recently, was highly respected by black people and the politicians and “activists” that exploit them. Now, he’s a pariah among these people because he dared to step outside the narrow strictures allowed of that culture: he said good things about President Trump, and worse, he said black people are allowed to think for themselves. He actually maintains black people can make individual choices, which implies the Democrat Party can no longer enslave them. But his worst offense is not apologizing, and maintaining his appreciation of Donald Trump, and his advocacy for the liberation of black Americans.
More and more black Americans are responding to West. They are seeing that the bourgeois values Mr. Trump embraces, and West acknowledges, actually do improve lives. They are realizing that the Democrat, post-civil rights legislation policies of the last half-century have kept them on the plantation no less than the reality of the Confederate, Democrat-controlled South. West, and now a growing number of others, are discovering they are not black Americans, with all the baggage and group think that requires, but Americans who happen to be black.
That seemingly simple realization has the potential to transform the lives of individuals, their families, and the political landscape of America. Progressives are terrified of this, which is why they are viciously attacking West and every black person suddenly liberated to embrace non-destructive behaviors. If blacks start thinking independently, if they no longer reflexively vote for whatever pathetic, angry Marxist Democrats nominate, Democrats will quickly become electorally irrelevant and come down with a permanent case of the bourgeois blues.
That’s a value all independent thinkers can embrace. That’s a real bourgeois value.