September 1, 2017

What does "categorically" mean in "We categorically reject Wax’s claims"?

I'm trying to understand this open letter signed by 33 members of the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. I've been avoiding writing about the op-ed cowritten by Penn lawprof Amy Wax because it aggravates me and I haven't been inclined to get into the details. I mean, I get this far...



... and what the hell? John Wayne in "The Searchers"?!



Is that "reinforc[ing] bourgeois values" — shooting the eyes out of a corpse of someone who believed that without eyes he'd "wander forever in the spirit world"?

That's as far as I get into the op-ed. Maybe I'll get back to it, but right now I just want to react to the open letter, which has one sentence that deals with the substance of what Professor Wax wrote. That sentence is: "We categorically reject Wax’s claims."

What are Wax's claims that they can be categorically rejected? As summarized in the open letter, the claims are:

1. "All cultures are not equal." That's Wax's prose, and I think it's intended to mean: Not all cultures are equal (as opposed to: there is no culture that is equal to any other culture).

2. "[V]arious social problems would be 'significantly reduce[d]' if 'the academics, media, and Hollywood' would stop the 'preening pretense of defending the downtrodden,' because that would lead to 'restoring the hegemony of the bourgeois culture.'"

3. (Quoting not the co-written op-ed, but Wax speaking in an interview) "'Everyone wants to go to countries ruled by white Europeans,' because 'Anglo-Protestant cultural norms are superior.'"

I can understand feeling outraged and combative in response to these ideas, but how do you categorically reject them without saying more than "We categorically reject Wax’s claims"? There are no references to studies, no arguments at all. It's just a stark expression of hating these ideas — or fearing them. It feels so insubstantial, as if they're only saying we don't want to talk about this and we want to make you feel the same way. It's not very inspiring to people like me who feel bad about the op-ed and are looking for a way to talk about it. I admit that I don't want to talk about it, but the 33 lawprofs are indignantly proud of their complete refusal to talk about it.

Reasoned discourse is out the window. Expect a future in which everyone leans into the microphone and says "Wrong."

282 comments:

1 – 200 of 282   Newer›   Newest»
rehajm said...

I've come to expect the Spanish Inquisition.

rhhardin said...

You could look at where male courage and steadfastness get applied. Gang murders, tribal strife, or protecting people in general.

The latter is bourgeois.

But gang murders are good too, who are we to say. It's all courage.

Nonapod said...

In modern liberal culture, the non argument of saying you "categorically reject" something without actually explaining why you do is simple echo chamber reinforcement. Since it's based on pure emotion rather than logic, it's persuasiveness is limited to those who are aligned to the emotional norms of a particular tribe. In other words, it just saying "I hate that" to a crowd of people who you know already emotionally agree with you anyway. And I can only assume that's what this was intended for, not to convince the unconvinced but rather to simply to connect or reinforce an emotional cohort.

rhhardin said...

There's a goldilocks theory of white supremacy, that while whites aren't the smartest (that would be east Asians), they inherit other traits that produce the right kind of cooperation to give really nifty societies.

This can be softened by saying that those latter traits can be taught to anybody, inherited or not. Those would be the bourgeois values.

In fact part of Western culture is that those values should be taught. Otherwise it's Lord of the Flies.

rhhardin said...

Where rights come from originally is watching out for the other guy, rather than a contest of opposing wills reaching an accommodation.

If you watch out for the other guy, you become somebody unique by being called on.

That idea is a gift to the world from western culture.

sparrow said...

Society is damaged when reasaoned arguement isn't even offered. It means Wax has been summarily judged without defense or appeal.

The Cracker Emcee Activist said...

POC's have to be kept down, dependent, and voting Democrat. How dare anyone offer advice that might change that!

AllenS said...

I categorically agree with Wax’s claims

rhhardin said...

Ask how rights come to be moral, a moral question.

It's because they single out you as unique, in protecting somebody else. That it defines you makes it moral.

Otherwise it's just paper, a math question.

sparrow said...

I'm sure a solid refuatation could be given: the fact that no one even bothered says a lot about the indignant.

hawkeyedjb said...

As Professor Wax herself replied - "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!'

Virgil Hilts said...

Ann, I probably missed something here, but are you sure that the authors picked John Wayne and the Searchers to illustrate their article (instead of the editors of the paper picking a snide graphic). I don't see Wayne/movie mentioned in the article or interview. You are always circumspect about editors using nasty tricks, so just curious if you are confident that the authors selected and approved the accompanying photo and caption.
Wayne did stand for something as an icon and to pick the one movie (which was an absolutely great one) in which he bravely played a seriously racist and mean guy is not that fair. Its like picking Gregory Peck in Boys from Brazil (instead of say To Kill a Mockingbird) or Laurence Olivier in Marathon Man (instead of say Hamlet) as somehow typifying the images those actors projected to America over their careers. I suspect sleazy editors behind the chose of the photo and caption.

Tarrou said...

"Racist" was such a good insult that it substituted for argument for the last four generations of college professors. We are now left with an academy that can't even begin to argue for their own positions. They are the best and brightest of the simpering, miseducated conformist morons, totally invested in the propagation of falsehood and staunch in their opposition to ever noticing the facts around them.

sparrow said...

When reason is off the table civilization is dead and it's all about power and nothing else.

Bay Area Guy said...

My God - what an empty letter! You could generate more intellectual fire-power and cogent argument from 6 farting gnats.

I'm amazed that 33 law professors lent their once good names to that piece of dreck.

rhhardin said...

Trump was elected to end PC, stuff we tan't talk about.

These are the anti-Trumpers hanging on.

Ann Althouse said...

In the entire 13-year history of this blog, I've only used the word "categorically" once. (I've quoted other people using the word a number of times, notably today, but the only time I ever came up with it myself as the word that expressed something I wanted to say was here, back in 2006, and even there, I'm describing a position that other people are taking:

"The news about Mark Foley is told in terms of a more old-fashioned moral code that defines people by their social roles. (We certainly don't hear the teenager's point of view.) This code categorically rejects adults in sexual relationships with youngsters. In this way of thinking, there is never a rebel to cheer on. Our reaction is to feel ever more strongly committed to preserving the moral order. Since the real significance of the Foley story is as a reminder of the grave threat to the conventional moral order, [David] Brooks thinks, the way for a party to benefit from the scandal is to present itself as the champion of the moral order.

"Now, what's my reaction to that? First, I don't think people (or parties) have to adopt one or the other of these "codes." Like many from my generation, I am very strongly dedicated to the ethic of individual expression. That does not, however, in any way make it hard for me to acknowledge the absolute rule against adults doing anything sexual with children. I think you can flatly reject what Foley did and still believe in the value of individuals finding their own way around conventional morality and making their own rules about what is good. Obviously, social conservatives are the big champions of the moral order, but that doesn't mean that to oppose what Foley did requires you to become an all-out social conservative. A responsible, freely expressive individual recognizes the need for some rules.

"But I do think there is a danger that liberals are getting so jazzed up about making political progress over Foley's folly that they carelessly present themselves as champions of the moral order, something they really don't want to do in the long run. They surely ought to pillory the social conservatives whenever they get caught violating their own moral code. Pointing out hypocrisy is usually an excellent move. But they should be careful not to stumble into hypocrisy of their own by overdoing the sanctimony about sexual morality and making it seem as though they are the social conservatives. Ugh! I'd like to end up with less social conservatism through this episode, not more."

AlbertAnonymous said...

Professor, I didn't read any of this garbage either, but why do you say "it's just a stark expression of hating these ideas - or fearing them"? I don't think you're being fair. The writer "categorically rejects" the ideas. I read that as nothing more than "rejecting" the ideas. Why does one have to hate or fear and ideas to reject them? Why read categorically as fear or hate? I just read it as emphasis, certainty, lack of equivocation. It's an exclamation point.

I don't think any fair reading can see hate or fear.

Reminds me of the beginnings of the now commonly used term "homophobic" (and all the other similar 'phobic terms used now). Can't one reject the idea that our society should "celebrate" or "champion" homosexual acts without that view being hateful or fearful? I think so.

But, alas, it seems it's always looked at as hate or fear. That gets more progressive political traction. Once you label it 'phobic you can read into it all the fear you want. Whether or not it exists.

Sebastian said...

"I can understand feeling outraged and combative in response to these ideas, but how do you categorically reject them without saying more than "We categorically reject Wax’s claims"?" You just do. Because.

"It's just a stark expression of hating these ideas" So? You seem to assume that non-prog ideas deserve anything else. White privilege at work.

"It feels so insubstantial, as if they're only saying we don't want to talk about this and we want to make you feel the same way. It's not very inspiring to people like me who feel bad" Too bad you feel bad. But this is a political act, using "ideas" strictly as political tools, in good prog fashion.

"Reasoned discourse is out the window." There you go again, asserting your white privilege and bourgeois misconceptions. Knowledge is power. Reasoned discourse is a power tool.

The left is scorching the earth. This is just more of the same.

Colin Durham said...

Ann...this is just virtue signaling and "Othering" of Wax....

Otto said...

Anne is storing up her ammunition to go full Marcuseian on <60 America.

Ann Althouse said...

"Ann, I probably missed something here, but are you sure that the authors picked John Wayne and the Searchers to illustrate their article (instead of the editors of the paper picking a snide graphic). I don't see Wayne/movie mentioned in the article or interview. You are always circumspect about editors using nasty tricks, so just curious if you are confident that the authors selected and approved the accompanying photo and caption. "

I didn't say the authors picked the headline or the photo or the caption, so there's nothing for me to be "sure" about? I presume they did not. I'm describing my subjective feelings of not wanting to read the op-ed. I never condemn or criticize Wax, so there's nothing I need to be careful about there. I am simply saying I haven't read the op-ed and have felt an aversion to going into it.

rhhardin said...

They could reject it allegorically.

Chapter and verse. Just cite the proverb.

JPS said...

"Why should we bother to reply to Kautsky? He would reply to us, and we would have to reply to his reply. There is no end to that. It will be quite enough for us to announce that Kautsky is a traitor to the working class, and everyone will understand everything."

- V. I. Lenin

Hagar said...

Wax has every right to express her opinions publicly free from fear of legal sanction thanks to the First Amendment, and she may do so without fear for her job due to her position as a tenured faculty member at Penn.

Regrettably so?

jwl said...

Ive read parts of Prof Wax article and I thought she made mistake by focusing on white people's superior morals. Brown people from India, South Korea, Thailand also exhibit good behaviour and fit in well with modern America, I thought Prof Wax should have expanded her view of cultures from around world.

Lots of people would be willing to emigrate to a few of the Asian tiger countries but they limit immigrants, whereas America takes in enormous numbers annually.

If you divide America into three races, black people have most one parent families and do worst in school, white people are in middle with one parent homes and they are middling in school while brown people are most likely to stay married and their children do best in education.

Neurotic people are at war with reality but there are many of them and they stick together as tribe very well.

Curious George said...

I categorically agree with AllenS.

sparrow said...

The left is showing it's power more and more openly. I think it's a tactical error arising from anger as their power is not yet so complete that their actions have no consequences.

buwaya said...

What Wax is really talking about is not bourgeois, or western.
And that goes thrice for her critics.
All these people are remarkably parochial.

By the numbers, in this world, it is really Asian peasant culture. All those high-performing Asians have much less "western culture" in them than your usual Latin-American border-crossers.

Ann Althouse said...

"Categorically" sounds like an assertion that there is no evidence worth considering, no detail to examine, no substance at all to what Wax is asserting, that nothing Wax is saying is even partly true or true some of the time, and that's just ridiculous. For example, our American culture is superior to Nazi Germany, so there's at least one exception. "Categorically" is therefore just a hysterical intensifier, and it annoys me that they are being hysterical.

rhhardin said...

The call is to stop telling blacks to be gang members in spirit. It leads nowhere good for blacks or anybody else.

Start calling it stupid and detestable when it's stupid and detestable and the goals will change for the better. Redirect courage into traditional things.

But academic postmodernism only criticizes stuff it doesn't like, which means western culture takes it in the ear because academic postmodernism has to not like it.

Derrida only criticized stuff he liked and got a much better result.

Steve M. Galbraith said...

Why would law professors opine on a cultural/social issue like this? What expertise do they have on the question?

This discussion (if we can call it that) is similar to the observation that you can say that males and females are identical and also that females (never males, right Larry Summers?) are superior - smarter, kinder, less corrupt than males. Some genders are more equal than others. Here you're not allowed to say western culture is superior to others - all cultures are equal - but you can say that western culture is thoroughly racist, sexist, unjust and oppressive.

I think that talk show host/commentator Dennis Prager goes too far but not by a lot when he says the left is fundamentally at war with America. They are.

mockturtle said...

A drowning civilization spitting at the lifeboat.

rhhardin said...

Wait a minute, Nazi Germany was based on decency and family values, up till Krystalnacht. That's how it got in.

The rule is that goodness that goes public turns into the worst sort of evil.

You see it today in academia.

Michael K said...

"In fact part of Western culture is that those values should be taught. "

Yes. The problem is that they were developed by white men and that is not allowed.

They are not just Christian since the Greeks of Classical Athens did a lot of the work. Even before Athens the Ionians had begun science as Thales of Miletus who discovered magnetism and calculated the date of the solar eclipse in 585 BC.

After the Greeks, Christianity kept science and ethics going until the Enlightenment.

Certainly, Feudalism was no better than the culture of China but eventually, what we call Bourgeois values emerged.

Certainly not all Europeans followed those principles but the Bourgeoisie was usually in conflict with the totalitarians and we see the same today.

Comanche Voter said...

Well actually the argument in "we categorically reject X's claims" amounts to Shut Up!
I mean that is the full intellectual content in that statement.

But as for signing an "open letter" that says Shut Up! Ah the glorious moral preening and virtue signaling in such an act! It doesn't involve any heavy intellectual lifting or indeed any thought at all. And it shows that you are one of the "in" club. OTOH as Groucho Marx said, he would never join any club that would have him as a member. And I don't plan to join that particular "in" club either.

rhhardin said...

Once you protect decency and family values, you have to get rid of Jews, was the Nazi progression.

Not everybody went along but they were dangerous to oppose by that time. Like academia, it was run like organized crime.

sparrow said...

I think this rejection is part of the "dictatorship of relativism" in that you cannot compre cultures to say A is better than B unless there is some objective standard, some measure of quality.
Of course the very name "Progressive" depends on a goal we are presumably moving toward. So clearly the left has a standard: it just doesn't care to articulate it in this instance.

rcocean said...

"Wax has every right to express her opinions publicly free from fear of legal sanction thanks to the First Amendment, and she may do so without fear for her job due to her position as a tenured faculty member at Penn."

Translation: If she didn't have tenure, we'd demand she be fired. And Its too bad that we can't find a way to get around the 1st Amendment.

BTW, if you look at the 33 "faculty members" you'll see a large number are anthropologists and Social "Scientists". Anthropology is the most politicized, irrelevant and useless College areas of studies. From Boas to M.Meade, its been the happy hunting ground of political leftists.

If any of these 33, told me the Sun set in the West, I'd still make check it to make sure. They're intellectual jokes.

Virgil Hilts said...

Ann, fair enough. I think it was a nasty trick of the editors and it may have worked - it "aggravated" you and the reference was so stupid it may have stopped people from reading the op-ed.
John Wayne was brave when he took on that role and it certainly took a lot of guts for Wax/Alexander to write that editorial knowing what would ensue. The ridiculous virtue signalling letter signed by the 30 professors is abject and disgusting cowardliness. I suspect most of the signers probably agreed with 90% of the op-ed, but they have been hollowed out and have no guts left. Screw them.

Hagar said...

Some cultures are better than others.

When you see pictures of African judges in British lawyers' garb and horsehair wigs, you may laugh, but it is an affirmation that English ideas of the rule of law is better than the rule of the assegai. I do not laugh at it at all.

Also, please note that the United States Constitution is solidly rooted in the English Common Law as expounded by Mr. Justice Blackstone's "Commentaries on the Laws of England," 1765 ed.

n.n said...

Something minor or exceptional triggered a categorical denial. This is symptomatic of progressive liberalism that has, among other things, resuscitated diversity based on "color" rather than character.

American Liberal Elite said...

It is the professorial equivalent of "I call bullshit!"

tcrosse said...

I categorically reject all the categories, Alex.

sparrow said...

Just compare the colonies derived from England to those derived from France or Spain and you can see the strong mark of culture and the moderating effects of English common law.

Daniel Jackson said...

" There are no references to studies, no arguments at all. It's just a stark expression of hating these ideas — or fearing them."

STARK indeed.

Professor Rodney STARK, now of Baylor University, a sociologist of religion, has been arguing for years, based on his empirical research of religions over time and cross culturally, that there is indeed a hierarchy of [religious] cultures. While he is not always greeted by his critically, all agree that his methodology is among the best.

His central argument is simple: as a dependent variable of social science interest, religion is open to assessment and evaluation. The same reasoning holds true for cultural systems. From this perspective to argue that all cultures are the same or that all religious belief systems are fictions obscures more than clarifies.

There are no intellectual merits silencing social scientific investigation into religious and or cultural values across or within cultures. One can study religions and cultures independently, make inferences based on data, and not be pejorative in assessment.

I think the idea of science, in general, is to permit the free discussion of ideas (and comparisons of ideas) without shame or without attack on the PERSON presenting the idea. THAT is Stalinism, just to offer a comparison.

rhhardin said...

Culture A is better than culture B will have something in mind. You don't need a general metric.

If culture B goes around angry and pissed off, that takes it down a little.

Suggestions can be offered to culture B.

Rob said...

"Wrong" may be the mode of discourse in the future. Or it could be "Reclaiming my time."

n.n said...

Christianity kept science and ethics going

Christianity conserved the Judaic imperative for a separation of logical domains and a promoted a classical liberal philosophy that is tempered by the teaching of moral principles including individual dignity and intrinsic value.

buwaya said...

Westerns were not bourgeois at all, except for suiting a bourgeois taste. It is a paradox in a way.

And this goes way back. Robin Hood tales, pirate tales, western tales, derring do in barbaric lands, gangster stories, all were very popular over the centuries among the settled and the bourgeois. These stories were an outlet for boredom and dissatisfaction with the imposed discipline of an orderly society.

Rocketeer said...

For example, our American culture is superior to Nazi Germany, so there's at least one exception.

That's absolutely true, but also an absolutely problematic assertion in the eyes of the left. Go ahead, try to get a leftist to admit that American culture is superior to Nazi Germany's. They'll hem and haw for a bit, but ultimately mutter that there's not much difference.

buwaya said...

The difference of British vs French/Spanish colonies is overstated. If you throw in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh as the bulk of them, as you should, the analysis flips. And consider that the British mostly got dibs on the best colonies.

Bay Area Guy said...

Althouse sez:

"Categorically" sounds like an assertion that there is no evidence worth considering, no detail to examine, no substance at all to what Wax is asserting, that nothing Wax is saying is even partly true or true some of the time, and that's just ridiculous.

I think that's basically right.

Wax makes multiple claims. In response, 33 brilliant legal minds "categorically" reject them, which means, in essence, we won't address each and every claim, but think all are jointly wrong.

A "blanket denial" by an accused criminal defendant would be somewhat analogous.

On the substance, Claim 1: "All cultures are not equal" is absolutely true. There are some cultures, right now, in certain un-named middle eastern countries, that perform clitorectomies on young girls, and marry them at age 9. I say that culture is barbaric. I say that culture is not equal to our American culture. The 33 brilliant legal minds, though, apparently reject this reasoning. They brilliantly assert that all cultures are equal. They must be Mensa scholars.

Jay Vogt said...

I've notice this too. Try as I might to avoid the "abortion argument", occasionally I get dragged into it. Skiing with some guy's last winter, I'm not sure how it came up - probably too much whiskey, but one of my loose gang of skiers asserted that it really wasn't worth discussing at all because it was inarguable that a fetus was not a person. So any "pro-life" assertion was fatally flawed.

The irony of his natus mortuos position being lost on him, I guess

I pointed out that WE were in fact arguing about it right now in real time, so by definition it couldn't be "inarguable". He thought I was crazy.

Nonapod said...

The concepts of race, culture, and individual always seem to get conflated in discussions like this. When one interlocutor is referring to one of these concepts, the second interlocutor seems to "hear" another in their heads. People always get angry. People always misunderstand. It's like holding a vile of nitroglycerin while riding a unicycle across a tightrope. That's why I hate these discussions.

Gahrie said...

@ Althouse

It feels so insubstantial, as if they're only saying we don't want to talk about this and we want to make you feel the same way.

That is exactly what they are doing. However I don't understand your objection to it. I thought you were all about the feelz? Don't you believe that emotion is a valid part of rational thought? (Which, considering that reason is the process of removing emotion from thought is...ahem...irrational)

rcocean said...

Tenure and the 1st Amendment are WASP cultural norms.

buwaya said...

The critics here are unable to answer with proper arguments, because if they engage, even with falsehoods,they would risk embarassment with their own side as they are likely to offend someone there.

It is very difficult to argue from their position. The failure of freedom of speech affects them more than it does their right wing opponents.

Angel-Dyne said...

I can understand feeling outraged and combative in response to these ideas...

Really? "Outraged and combative"? Why? I can certainly see taking issue with "Anglo-Protestant cultural norms are superior", because imo some A-P "cultural norms" are sub-par. (Though others are top notch. And the "sub-par" is mostly relative to certain cultural norms of other Europeans, and an East Asian contender or two.) But in context I see the point, and it's certainly not a taste/quibble that one would be "outraged and combative" about.

Don't see what's the big deal about anything else she said. I can see inheritors/admirers of, say, high East Asian civilization disagreeing, and making similar for their own "cultural norms", but I can't imagine feeling "outraged and combative" about their feeling that way, which would strike me as perfectly sane and humanly normal.

I admit that I don't want to talk about it...

Because it's uninteresting to you? I can see being uninterested. Otherwise, I don't get your discomfort with the topic at all.

...but how do you categorically reject them without saying more than "We categorically reject Wax’s claims"? There are no references to studies, no arguments at all. It's just a stark expression of hating these ideas — or fearing them. It feels so insubstantial, as if they're only saying we don't want to talk about this and we want to make you feel the same way...the 33 lawprofs are indignantly proud of their complete refusal to talk about it.

Reasoned discourse is out the window.


Have a nice nap, Ms. van Winkle?

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

Thought-crimes - eeeeeek!

Bob Boyd said...

Wax: "We threw the baby out with the bath water."

Faculty Members: "It wasn't a frickin' baby!"

rcocean said...

"I suspect most of the signers probably agreed with 90% of the op-ed,"

If you do, you don't know many liberal arts college professors.

The Godfather said...

Right after the 33 profs say, "We categorically reject Wax’s claims", they say:

"We believe the ideal of equal opportunity to succeed in education is best achieved by a combination of academic freedom, open debate and a commitment by all participants to respect one another without bias or stereotype."

Isn't that a statement of "bourgeois values"? Doesn't that ideal necessarily lead to your opposing the antifa and other thugs who shut down speeches by Milo, Coulter, Murray? Where does this "ideal" come from, if not from the culture that Wax and her co-author praise?

Gahrie said...

it annoys me that they are being hysterical.

Why?

Bay Area Guy said...

The Left doesn't debate ideas anymore. They try to win debates by silencing opponents or tagging them as racists

sparrow said...

Without a set of general criteria evaluating any culture is fluid and subjective. There must be some measure to draw any useful conclusions. Personal freedom is a typical Western goal, rule of law and not of persons is another. Conclusions would vary greatly on the test applied of course. I distrust any evaluation that does tell us which yardstick it's using.

Surely it's in mind and I may be able to infer it, but want it stated clearly so I can argue the utility of the measure if I disagree. All of this presumes reasoned discussion which is rarer than spotted owls.

n.n said...

Faculty Members: "It wasn't a frickin' baby!"

Or, in liberal newspeak: The baby... correction, the fetus was not viable.

Michael K said...

As usual, Spengler has a pretty good column on this topic.

Other cultures are less successful. We sacrificed thousands of lives and disrupted a million more, at the cost of nearly $5 trillion, in a misguided effort to change the political culture of the Arab world, and the Arab world puked us out. I subtitled my book on dying civilizations " ... and why Islam is dying, too." Muslim societies seem to proceed from infancy to senility without passing through adulthood. Muslims are in general incurious about Western culture. Except in Israel, I have never encountered an Arab in a Western music conservatory. The total number of Western books translated into Arabic in the last 1,000 years is less than the number of books translated into Spanish in one year.

We should ask the Intersectionalist mob: Are you living, or dying? Do you have much of a future as matters stand? With a 73% illegitimacy rate, and a rate of incarceration and early demise so high that only 81 black men are available for every 100 black women of marrying age, black America will die. That is the tragic truth. Are you asking for treatment, or for palliative care? Do you want us to treat you the way the medical profession used to treat terminally ill patients, who were kept in ignorance of their impending death? Is your "safe space" a hole to crawl into, a comfortable place to curl up and die?


Interesting musing, as his usually are.

n.n said...

Moral principles, including: individual dignity and intrinsic value, natural and personal imperatives. Go forth and reconcile.

And, for the rational, recognition of a soft (i.e. intersecting) separation of logical domains.

buwaya said...

If the critics wanted a logical structure, as opposed to substance, with which to defend their dogma, they could have a look at de Maistre. It would be a natural fit.

Not popular these days however.

tim in vermont said...

"Reject first, ask rhetorical questions later." Jonathan Haidt

Bay Area Guy said...

What about Dingell-Norwood!

Quayle said...

"Categorically" leaves the box of arguments untouched, unopened, sitting on the table as a box - no need to open the box and deal with the individual items.

We reject the box of arguments without the muss and fuss of grappling with them individually.

So, we are left to wonder if they reject every claim Wax made, or, if not, which ones:

Let's take a look:

“All cultures are not equal....” Do the 33 really seriously reject this claim?

"various social problems would be 'significantly reduce[d]' if 'the academics, media, and Hollywood' would stop the 'preening pretense of defending the downtrodden....' Do the 33 reject this claim? Do they believe that preening and pretense are helping? Or that they don't exist?

"...because that would lead to 'restoring the hegemony of the bourgeois culture.' Maybe they reject this claim. Who knows?

“Everyone wants to go to countries ruled by white Europeans...” Maybe this is the claim they reject. So are all the people in Calais or outside the chunnel in France, or on boats on the Mediterranean trying to head south?

“Anglo-Protestant cultural norms are superior.” The 33 probably think that they are forcefully rejecting these claims

But, apparently unknown to themselves, they are expressing that objection in a pretty obvious Anglo-protestant manor and method - a "scholarly" letter to the editor - to decry all the above assertions or claims, "categorically."

One would think that if they rejected Wax's claims categorically - and believed what they claimed - they would show up at Wax's office with large rods and beat her, as might a group in India. Or they would show up at her home with face paint and bows and arrows or poison tipped blow darts, to make their point. Or they would slip her a radio active poison pill. Or they would take her by force and burn her. Or they would push her to the outskirts of the city and let her wonder in the dessert and find her own food and shelter alone. Or they would just rid themselves of the problem and throw her in jail and let her rot.

But instead they close to write a letter to the editor - a decidedly Anglo-Protestant, bourgeoisie act - as their chosen superior form of responding to the issue.

How blind they are.

brylun said...

I did read Amy Wax and Lawrence Alexander's piece. Here's what I said several days ago on this subject in a different Althouse comment thread:

On the one side: An article by law profs Amy Wax and Larry Alexander: Paying the price for breakdown of the country's bourgeois culture. Key points: "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."

On the other side: 54 Penn Students and Alumni: Statement on Amy Wax and Charlottesville. Key points: "Penn Law School professor Amy Wax, co-wrote an op-ed piece with Larry Alexander, a law professor at the University of San Diego, 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."

Maybe I'm missing something but a rebuttal without substance:

1. Get married before you have children and strive to stay married for their sake. Racist? How? All data shows that one-parent families are poorer and less educated. This applies to all races.

2. Get the education you need for gainful employment, work hard, and avoid idleness. Racist? Please explain.

3. Go the extra mile for your employer or client. Racist? How?

4. Be a patriot, ready to serve the country. Racist? Explain.

5. Be neighborly, civic-minded, and charitable. Racist? In what way?

6. Avoid coarse language in public. Racist? Is one race prone to coarse language? Please explain.

7. Be respectful of authority. Racist? Really? Are some races just disrespectful?

8. Eschew substance abuse and crime. Racist? How? Please explain.

Fifty-four Penn-educated people sign the article that does not specifically address any of these ideas, yet these supposedly educated people condemn and want to silence these law professors? What has become of Penn?

Maybe some of you out there can enlighten all of us on these ideas?


8/28/17, 11:03 AM

buwaya said...

You could always expect the Spanish Inquisition.
It was a model of due process.
This modern hysteria is nothing like the Spanish Inquisition.

tim in vermont said...

"I'm sure a solid refuatation could be given: the fact that no one even bothered says a lot about the indignant."

Then give one, we'd all love to hear it.

buwaya said...

This is not an argument about ideas, but about power.
Ideas, as such, are irrelevant, or at best serve as tribal symbols.

Quayle said...

"We believe the ideal of equal opportunity..."

Stop right there!

Where in the hell did that idea come from?

Darwin?!?

Paddy O said...

The funny thing, of course, is that there's probably not a group of people who exemplify bourgeois values more than law professors.

It's not like they're really identifying with the proletariat. Which means their rejection is by definition exemplifying the values they claim they are rejecting. Privilege likes to distract from itself so as to protect itself.

Roughcoat said...

"Categorically" is like "literally." Both are used in much the same way.

Clayton Hennesey said...

"He gazed up at the enormous doodle. Forty years it had taken him to learn what kind of happiness was hidden beneath those capering cartoons. O cruel, needless misunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast! Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Google."

https://pjmedia.com/trending/2017/08/31/google-issues-ultimatum-to-conservative-website-remove-hateful-article-or-lose-ad-revenue/

Quayle said...

"Privilege likes to distract from itself so as to protect itself."

Bingo!

Privilege, most seen busily openly bustling in the cause and concerns of the underprivileged, is laid bare by their preservation of separation from those they claim to love and help.

They say: "We believe the ideal of equal opportunity..."

I say: Good, so your next law class at Penn will be randomly drawn from the phone book.

Gahrie said...

It's not very inspiring to people like me who feel bad about the op-ed and are looking for a way to talk about it.

Why do you feel bad about the op-ed? Because it presents unpleasant truths? Worse, unpleasant truths that cannot be disproven by facts and rational discourse? It is much easier to ignore or dismiss Wax's ideas rather than to confront the objective truth of them.

Angel-Dyne said...

buwaya: What Wax is really talking about is not bourgeois, or western.
And that goes thrice for her critics.
All these people are remarkably parochial.


But while they share certain values and virtues, high functioning Western cultures and high-functioning Asian cultures are not the same thing. That "bourgeois" values and, say, "Confucian" values have points of intersection doesn't mean they're the same kind of culture or, given a condition of having to rub along together at close quarters, even particularly compatible with each other.

There is no such thing as a "universal culture", regardless of there being a set of virtues common to peole who can build and maintain prosperous, orderly societies.

MadisonMan said...

"We reject" means they are very opposed to what was written.

"We categorically reject" means the same thing, but they're stamping their little feet when they say it.

Fred Drinkwater said...

Godfather,
The paragraph you quoted made me immediately think of the Norman Rockwell painting of the man speaking at a town meeting.
I'd guess that's not what the authors imagine, though.

brylun said...

All cultures are equal? How about cultures that in the main reject Christians and Jews in their daily prayers, 5 times a day?

See It is remarkable that the daily prayers of every Muslim, part of the core of Islam, include a rejection of Christians and Jews as misguided and objects of Allah's wrath.

wildswan said...

It's as if the academics were saying we categorically reject categories, we do not discuss them after this one root objection. This is like a position I had explained to me this summer more than once by young relatives. It goes something like this: "It was good to oppose racism as you did in your day but it would have been better to completely ignore race thus cutting off the possibility of racism. Societies in the past made wrong moral choices, such as slavery. Learning history spreads and maintains wrong choices. It is mental pollution to learn why anyone supported slavery or racism. By not knowing the past, we, the younger generation, cut off the possibility of continuing its evil practices since we do not learn justifications for wrong-doing. Thus we spontaneously oppose them in our daily lives. Who wants to be the grandchildren of Confederates or slaves? Who wants to drag a huge suitcase filled with unused clothes through a hundred airports just because it was inherited? We categorically reject learned differences and thus the past is over and social injustice ends." That's what I was told. I'm still thinking about it.

I guess I think it's a distillation and anonymization of twentieth century promises made by those we now call totalitarians - that a new system which would completely dump the past would usher in a brilliant new era of social justice. It seems to me that dumping the past ushered in dehumanization on a scale far beyond any of the social ills this radical policy intended to cure and that this dehumanization and fighting this dehumanization was the history of the Twentieth Century. But trying out salvation-through-tradition-dump without calling themselves Nazis, Communists, anarchists, Cambodian whatevers, Rwandan massacrists - will that work? Is it the same? To me it seems that it has led to one half of this country calling the other half Deplorables, beating identified Deplorables, firing identified Deplorables, trying to undo the election of the President elected by Deplorables. To them as far as they are aware of any of these events (and mostly they are unaware of the physical and economic violence used on Deplorables) it seems that the categorical rejection of the social evils of the past is bring subverted by a category of wretches who ARE deplorable in that they openly support evil and they support evil merely because it's been around for awhile and they're used to it. It's annoying that they even need to be resisted. It almost makes you angry to think they exist. And that they dare to speak - well. Antifa is just a, a , a clean-up-the-past squad. A regrettable social necessity that will soon disappear. Garbage collectors can't be totally clean.

History has a few words to say on this type of reasoning but they don't know history, that's the point

buwaya said...

Angel-Dyne,

The matters at issue in both articles are entirely about these points of intersection, not the differences.

Mac McConnell said...

That Wayne image is from the "Undefeated", not "The Searchers". "The Searchers" is probably one of Wayne's best, it's about redemption.

Angel-Dyne said...

jwl: ...while brown people are most likely to stay married and their children do best in education.

I know what you mean here, jwl, but "brown" in the U.S. isn't a meaningful category. "Brown" is used like "people of color" to lump together groups that really have nothing in common, for propaganda purposes. Descendants of the indigenous peoples of the Americas have nothing in common with South Asians, by culture or by the social outcomes you mention. Yet nitwit SJW types of either group will get together on American colleges and pretend that they're "brown" people in solidarity against oppression by the Man. (I.e., whitey.)

Not disagreeing with you, just an OT point of pedantry.

sparrow said...

Tim

Concerning "refutation" I was giving them the benefit of the doubt. I know I can't manage to argue a point I don't believe in myself. However I'm sure as lawyers many here are capable of putting the best arguments forth and Penn is a top school with bright minds that should be able to put together something other than "wrong!". I'm just assuming there is something that could be argued but really much of Wax's points are pretty basic.

buwaya said...

For that matter, the "bourgeois" qualities Wax cites, and her critics reject, are in the main also traditionally Muslim.

The Muslim criticism of modern western culture has many points of agreement with Wax.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

As Buwaya said: the cultural values espoused by Wax and others are not exclusive to Western society. HOWEVER, the fact is that those values and actions are part of a stable society and one where there is in general a more peaceful and prosperous society.

Call them "bourgeois values", or middle class if you will. The core of the values (as I see them) being: stable family units, marriage, a strong work ethic, thriftiness, self discipline, deferment of self gratification in advancement of a group goal, honesty, caring for others, ambitions, self reliance and often religious faith. These values are found in many cultures world wide, but had been (until recently) especially strong in Western and European cultures...but NOT exclusive to any race.

Deliberate destruction of these values and substitution of the government in place of family has created the permanent sub culture of poverty and degradation that we see especially in the inner cities and urban ghettos..... and now in the rural poor. This destruction has been done on purpose and the resulting chaos has gotten out of hand.

This will not end well. Her views on why it is important to reinstate these values are also perceptive. The left doesn't want to perceive and therefore categorically refuses to engage in any thinking on this subject.




Daniel Jackson said...

After rereading the Wax and Alexander article, I really cannot understand what is so categorically objectionable to this:

"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."

This is like Anthro 101 and Soc 110. I mean this is banal; self-evident even. It's been empirically analyzed to death over the last sixty or seventy years. Culture matters. Ideas matter.

brylun said...

George Santayana: "Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

Mental pollution, indeed!

brylun said...

George Santayana: "Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

Mental pollution, indeed!

Michael K said...

Good comment, wildswan,

It is mental pollution to learn why anyone supported slavery or racism. By not knowing the past, we, the younger generation, cut off the possibility of continuing its evil practices since we do not learn justifications for wrong-doing.

That is how "The Lord of the Flies" came about. We are seeing it now.

Roughcoat said...

I don't like some cultures. The question or issue of the equality of cultures is mostly irrelevant to me. Maybe, e.g., Spanish/Hispanic culture is equal to my culture. Maybe not. But I don't want to live in Spanish/Hispanic culture-dominated country or community.

I like the cuisine, however.

brylun said...

"The Muslim criticism of modern western culture has many points of agreement with Wax."

That is true, but you are leaving out the hatred of Christians and Jews.

buwaya said...

The Penn critics cannot refute Wax, point by point, because underneath it all they agree with Wax. It is merely a matter of political-cultural dogma to them. Tribal markers and taboos.

And they can't engage, because if they were to try refute her points individually they would grievously offend many of their own. It would be suicidal.

Roughcoat said...

buwaya @ 11:35 AM:

Now you're just showing off. Of being obtuse. Or both.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Also to expand on the idea that cultures are not equal.

Cultures are NOT equal, as in being interchangeable or being the same equivilant to each other. Depending on your point of view...some cultures are better than others. Black Ghetto gangsta culture is not equivalent to that of the Amish. I leave it to you to decide which is "better".

As also pointed out Muslim culture, Japanese, Chinese and others around the world all may share some aspects of those "middle class" types of values. SOME aspects. No one would agree that Muslim culture is equal or the same as German culture. Orthodox Jewish cultures share some of the same values as Muslims.

brylun said...

Abraham sired Isaac and Ismael with different women.

Michael K said...

From Spengler's essay.

Muslim societies seem to proceed from infancy to senility without passing through adulthood. Muslims are in general incurious about Western culture. Except in Israel, I have never encountered an Arab in a Western music conservatory. The total number of Western books translated into Arabic in the last 1,000 years is less than the number of books translated into Spanish in one year.

Most of the supposed "accomplishments" of Islam are myths promoted by the multiculturists.

"Arabic numbers" are Hindu.

Algebra was invented in an early form by Mesopotamians long before Mohammed.

The "Age of Translations" of the supposed "Golden Age " of Harun al Rashid and his son were translations by Greek "converts" from Greek into Arabic.

brylun said...

The Muslims have been great warriors and conquerors of infidels.

buwaya said...

Roughcoat,

Merely being annoying!

Its true though. Muslim cultures at least as far as the explicit rules go are quite as socially conservative as the western "bourgeois", or more so, in the sense Wax means.

I am reminded of the famous reaction of Sayyid Qutb against the sexual license he found in Greely, Colorado, in 1948.

Angel-Dyne said...

buwaya: The matters at issue in both articles are entirely about these points of intersection, not the differences.

Explicitly, yes, but that's because, as you say, they're so parochial. Just musing from a longer view here.
All the players are still, essentially, arguing from the standpoint of western cultural universalism. If they ever see their way to prevailing in this battle in the culture wars while some semblance of the intact older culture still exists, they're going to find themselves having to confront the differences, too, and come to terms with the insufficiency of their universalist assumptions.

madAsHell said...

I don't know what to call it, but I've recently noticed that some people can become intoxicated with meaningless sentences. They attach meaning to the sentence, and it becomes their conviction.

Bay Area Guy said...

Asserting that all cultures are equal is not only false but stupid. The left doesn't even believe this. They argue (endlessly) that the culture of San Francisco is preferable to the culture of flyover country.

This may or may not be true, but it certainly shows that the Left believes that certain cultures are better (not equal) to others.

sparrow said...

You're right buwaya. The snowflakes would pounce on any error and in the current climate even the most basic observations of truth are errors to them.

Michael K said...

Greely, CO was probably as sexually "licensed" as a ball at a Mormon temple.

It is an example of the insanely extreme attitude toward women that is typical of Islam.

Fernandinande said...

and what the hell? John Wayne in "The Searchers"

An editor at philly.com wanted to make the article look bad.

Someone posted that original article link here a couple of days ago, as well as a similar complaint from 34 faculty and students at the same outfit, most claiming some association with anthropology (not a science!), and stating that anthropologists had proven that cultures are not "bounded and discrete" (which is trivially obvious) therefore the original article was white supremacism.

Roughcoat said...

Sayyid Qutb's greatest contribution to humanity was to get himself hanged.

kevino said...

RE: "But how do you categorically reject them without saying more than "We categorically reject Wax’s claims"? There are no references to studies, no arguments at all."
No argument is necessary. The authors of the open letter are proving that Wax is a heretic by quoting her own words. As such, she will be punished by the mob. The authors are also stating that they have no part in Wax's heresy: the Inquisition need not trouble itself to question their loyalty. They are thinking the right way.

Roughcoat said...

Michael K:

Sayyid Qutb "investigated" sexual activity in Greeley probably for much the same reason that Peter Townsend "investigated" child porn on the internet.

Both men evidently found what they were looking for.

Amadeus 48 said...

So Amy Wax threw a firecracker into the bunker, and a whole lot of academics came boiling out looking for the guilty party, catagorically rejecting the loud noise that awoke them from their dreams.
Well, a lot has happened since the fifties and sixties, but people in highly developed, market-based economies have generally done well if they embraced traditional values and deferred gratification, assumed personal responsibility and participated in civic life. As Wax said, the Sioux culture was superior for a group of hunter/gatherers following the buffalo, but it doesn't match up well with 20th and 21st century life in the United States.
The John Wayne imagery was clearly inserted by a mischievous editor to undercut the message of Wax's op-ed--an insertion that upset Althouse but had nothing to do with what Wax wrote. Was Ethen Edwards the embodiment of bourgeois virtues? I never thought of him that way. It was nice that he was reconciled with his niece at the end of the movie, though.
Wax has shown 33 of her colleagues to be idiots. That is a pretty good day's work in anyone's book.
On to tomorrow!

Bay Area Guy said...

"An editor at philly.com wanted to make the article look bad."

Yup, typical slanted leftwing journalism.

John Wayne is very declasse these days. Dead for 38 years, last movie in 1976, but represents "bad 'ole White America".

Whatever shortcomings of the Duke and American society in past decades, it pales in significance to the problems of today.

Ralph L said...

If these professors hadn't objected publicly, would anyone have heard of the original essay?

Roughcoat said...

In his views on America Sayyid Qutb reminds me of Noam Chomsky. Except Noam Chomsky is still alive. Because he lives in America.

Fernandinande said...

Sailer calls this "Point and Sputter".

jwl said...
Ive read parts of Prof Wax article and I thought she made mistake by focusing on white people's superior morals.


Really? The only place I find the word "white" is in this sentence, which is actually critical:

"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."

What did I miss?

gg6 said...

This strikes me as simply another example of how rhetoric and discourse have more and more abandoned logic and argument in favor of exaggeration, emotion and drama - witness (it seems to me) the increasingly heavy use of adjectives and adverbs even in our supposedly leading newspapers/magazine. 'Categorical' fits well in this system since it claims lack of ambiguity without any explanatory support at all.
Not to defend President Trump's rhetorical style, but I think this example of "Wrong" is not a particularly helpful comparison and at least a bit gratuitous if for no other reason than the setting was a 2-way 'live' debate and his word was a single syllable interruption - valid and very effective in this circumstance, I'd say, but perhaps rude or coarse to some? And, btw, did you refer to any of his subsequent comments before declaring him an example of "Reasoned discourse is out the window"?

Quaestor said...

Hate and fear of evident truth are exactly what those 33 faculty members express, deliberately or not, by we categorically reject Wax's claims. They are afflicted with a widespread dysfunction of the mind which has gone unnamed for far too long. Given that state of affairs, Quaestor has coined a new word — Gnosiphobia fear of the truth. It may be the first instance of a communicable mental illness in medical history.

No one but a cretin would categorically reject the obvious truth of Amy Wax's statement. A moments reflection would reveal dozens of examples of inferior and/or malignant cultures and societies whose existence has blighted or continues to blight the progress and happiness of mankind. I doubt any of those 33 faculty members mourns the passing of monarchial absolutism in France in 1792 or Russia in 1917, though some (perhaps the majority) long for the return of the dictatorship of the proletariate in Russia, Cambodia, and a dozen other countries.

Etienne said...

"...signed by 33 members of the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania Law School."

Safety in numbers.

I despise people who think their position is more secure with more signatures from cloned losers.

If an academic ever had an original thought, they would have had a real job.

David said...

Did Amy Wax and her co-authors select the photo of John Wayne in The Searchers to lead the article? They did reference the culture of nomadic indians but don't reference Wayne or his very brutal scene. Unless proved otherwise, I would assume that Philly.com put up the photo. Do you suppose that there is anyone at Philly.com clever enough to discredit the article by referencing The Searchers by a photo at the outset?

mockturtle said...

Buwaya writes: I am reminded of the famous reaction of Sayyid Qutb against the sexual license he found in Greely, Colorado, in 1948.

Yes. It would behoove us to know why Muslims hate our lifestyle and why they reject our notion of 'freedom' as licentiousness.

Angel-Dyne said...

buwaya: The Muslim criticism of modern western culture has many points of agreement with Wax.

That's certainly true to a point, and that's why I keep tediously banging on here about Americans, and Westerners in general, needing to get over their universalist pretensions.

I added "to a point" because "Muslim criticism of modern western culture" goes into the same "not even wrong" territory that Western critics of modern Muslim culture so often inhabit - "these people are all fucked up; to fix things they need to adopt our rules and act like us". But this assumes a correspondence between Muslim and Western cultures that doesn't exist. A burqa or niqab doesn't just indicate "modesty", it represents a whole set of cultural assumptions that are alien to Westerners, and not just since yesterday. A slutwalk and drunkenness is a manifestation of cultural pathology, but a burka or a niqab on a Western street represents a deeper and more virulent pathology still. (In the Western soul, that is. What it represents to its bearers is a different, if related, issue.)

sodal ye said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fernandinande said...

Thales of Miletus who discovered magnetism

No he didn't. The effects of magnetism - magnetic rocks - were known before Thales; all he did was give a ridiculous, non-scientific and completely incorrect explanation for it.

After the Greeks, Christianity kept science and ethics going until the Enlightenment.

"Eppur si muove."

Bay Area Guy said...

The Muslim criticism of modern western culture has many points of agreement with Wax.

Yup. Which is why it would be foolish to "categorically reject" all tenets of Muslim culture. Some are good, some are bad, some are barbaric. It's not hard to make distinctions -- except, apparently, for 33 Law Professor sheep at Penn.

Michael said...

Ok, so all cultures are equal. The poetry of the aboriginal Australian as good as that of Shakespeare? The music of the Aweti as complex and moving as that of Bach? The architecture of Bangladesh on a par with that of Chartres? The philosophy of Kant replicated in the Congo?

I think I will never hire a lawyer trained in this school. Ever.

Static Ping said...

If the professors are not going to provide an argument, then this open letter is essentially an admission that they are incapable of arguing against their colleague's thesis and have lost intellectually. In that light, this is both a thinly veiled threat against their colleague, and either virtue signaling or a desperate plea of "please don't hurt me" to social justice types. They have inadvertently humiliated themselves and are no longer worthy of any respect whatsoever. Then again, those that support totalitarian ideas are often willing to make such self-respect sacrifices for the benefits it provides.

What makes it especially sad is the students response, while relying exclusively social justice assumptions that are extremely dubious, is at least an argument. It is an awful argument based on garbage, but there is a logic there. The professors are not even capable of true bulls*** anymore.

exiledonmainstreet said...

"Eppur si muove."

9/1/17, 12:30 PM

Ah, to melt down the entire history of the Church and science to "BUT GALILEO!!!"

I have posted the very long lists of Christian and Catholic scientists here more than one. They are easily googled.

But that doesn't fit your Narrative, which is to diminish the role Christianity played in shaping Western culture. If certain facts must be ignored, so be it.

Angel-Dyne said...

Fernandinande: Someone posted that original article link here a couple of days ago, as well as a similar complaint from 34 faculty and students at the same outfit, most claiming some association with anthropology (not a science!), and stating that anthropologists had proven that cultures are not "bounded and discrete" (which is trivially obvious) therefore the original article was white supremacism.

"X is not bounded and discrete" is probably the most frequently used "baffle 'em with bullshit" move in the PC toolbox. They use it to deny the existence of just about anything they don't want to believe in or want to exist.

jwl said...

Fernandinande -

I went and looked it up and apparently Prof Wax wrote that editorial and then next day she did interview with same paper. It was in the interview, not article, where she mentions that anglo-protestant culture is superior and every one wants to emigrate to country founded by white old men.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

"the 33 lawprofs are indignantly proud of their complete refusal to talk about it" - Yet they did talk about the op-ed with some specificity despite the one sentence where they used the throwaway word categorically. Althouse is the one who doesn't want to talk about it.

Did the 1950s celebrate the hegemony of bourgeois culture? John Wayne and the western epic certainly did not. There's a great exhibit on this subject at the Denver Art Museum.

buwaya said...

"No he didn't. The effects of magnetism - magnetic rocks - were known before Thales; all he did was give a ridiculous, non-scientific and completely incorrect explanation for it."

True. To a large degree "science" is just a cultural reaction to technical empiricism. Trying to describe WHY things work. Engineers (and their hands-on practical mates and all their ancient predecessors of all descriptions) created all technology without, mostly, bothering to understand why, just how to make it go, or go better.

Science was something academics, aristocrats and the haut-bourgeois found acceptable, it was not that humble, filthy stuff engineers did with earth and coal. So scientists became famous men and are mentioned as models to schoolchildren everywhere. But the fellows who made the tech that made their careers possible (like the instrument-makers who created Louis Pasteurs microscopes) are anonymous.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Preface: I really do like Professor Althouse and very much enjoy her blog and comment forum. I come here almost every day! I do not intend to "beat up on" the good Professor.

Ann Althouse said...Reasoned discourse is out the window.

Well, yeah. One almost wants to say "duh!" You nice centrist people said that feelings were just as important as reason and accepted the assertion that claims hurt feelings and/or emotional trauma must be taken seriously. This is a direct, entirely foreseeable result of that! The Left has been arguing that rationality is racist/sexist/etc for years and that position has gained an enormous amount of traction with your smart Professor friends in all sorts of disciplines, and here we are. It is, increasingly, impossible to have a reasoned discussion.

When you and the other nice centrist people accepted clearly-specious cries of emotional pain from people who said they were subjected to bad ideas (racism, etc) in the form of traditional/normal/standard expressions you helped to ensure that such claims were unassailable by objective reason. The Left says it's not possible to ARGUE with claims of emotional trauma, and any attempt to do so is itself an attack (and racist, sexist, etc).
YOU let that happen! It was "ugly" of anyone to disagree--all claims of emotional harm, no matter what the basis, had to be taken seriously. Remember?? Well, here we are!

jwl said...

exiledonmainstreet

I love telling belligerent atheists that roger bacon, a franciscan friar, created the scientific method.

sodal ye said...

Blogger sparrow said...
The left is showing it's power more and more openly. I think it's a tactical error arising from anger as their power is not yet so complete that their actions have no consequences.
...
Let's hope your're correct, but I think the opposite. I think we're loosing through inaction.

buwaya said...

"John Wayne and the western epic certainly did not."

No, as I said above.

One consistent theme inside western bourgeois culture is a longing for the liberty of the adventurer, barbarian and outlaw. The stifling bonds of discipline bother people. Hence everything from medieval Robin Hood stories to gangster rap to Marvel superheroes.

This is the real theme of Kipling's "Mandalay". A brilliant piece on many levels.

"Ship me somewheres east of Suez, where the best is like the worst,
Where there aren't no Ten Commandments an' a man can raise a thirst"

Etienne said...

You can't shoot out the eyes with a large caliber pistol.

The whole fucking brain explodes all over the rocks even after the first shot, let alone the second shot.

Hollywood just isn't practical in killing native tribes.

If you want to just shoot an Indians eyes out, use a .38

buwaya said...

When God died, a lot of people took to worshiping other things.

Recently its become fashionable to worship ones own feelings.
Feelings, yours or some fashionable persons, are now sacred.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Remember a few years back when some big national debate competition was won by a team who refused to address the question or follow the rules and instead engaged in freestyle rap and an attack on racism, etc?

Here's an article praising that tactic: Atlantic: Hacking White Privilege in Debate

I remember it being a topic on this blog but I don't remember the Professor coming out strongly against it at the time (I could be wrong). Anyway lots of us said something like "this is a sign, a canary in the coalmine--our warnings that the Academy really is turning its back on respect for reason and objective truth are coming true" and were laughed at. Now, a few short years later, your question is "how can these Professors state something without bothering to make an argument at all?" See the problem?

Once you change the norm, consequences predictably follow. The norm used to be that intellectuals respected a search for objective truth using the tools of reason and argument/good faith debate. That norm has changed, both culturally and academically. The new norm is closer to "hurtful or wrong expressions or thoughts cannot be permitted; debate over what should or should not be hurtful is impossible since hurt is subjective and we respect any profession of hurt by certain groups." An assertion that a given thought, or argument, is hurtful is therefore sufficient--no argument, no appeal to reason, no logic itself is need.

It is in fact a fun self-reinforcing norm: anyone who argues against it must by necessity question the feelings, or the import given to the feelings, of some protected group. Since doing that is itself an attack/an infliction of emotional trauma ("how dare you question my pain!?") it is not permitted. You must either agree or engage in "ugly" behavior.

We all know the nice centrist people do not tolerate "ugly" behavior...

Quaestor said...

You can't shoot out the eyes with a large caliber pistol.

Ethan was shooting with a black powder .44 or .45. In terms of penetration, such a weapon compares generally with a modern .380.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

I don't blame the Left for wanting power. I don't even blame the Left for being willing to use reprehensible tactics (like labeling anyone engaging in badthink of racism) to try and get power. I do blame nice centrist people for going along with the Left and falling for that trick every single time.

n.n said...

I do blame nice centrist people for going along with the Left

The "good" Americans.

sodal ye said...

Blogger buwaya said...
This is not an argument about ideas, but about power.
Ideas, as such, are irrelevant, or at best serve as tribal symbols.
...
Exactly.

Quaestor said...

Once you change the norm, consequences predictably follow. The norm used to be that intellectuals respected a search for objective truth using the tools of reason and argument/good faith debate.

Academia is no longer academic. It's a sect with its own sacrosanct myths and orthodoxies — and its own heretics who must be suppressed and scourged. And there are few intellectuals remaining in America. On the left, the number approaches zero. Universities are once again a living for clerics. Full circle.

Unknown said...

The Left insists that certain things are better than other things. For example, equality is better than inequality and sexism is bad. So presumably a culture with less sexism and more equality would be good. But then they defend middle eastern culture (or more accurately object if anyone criticizes it). A tribal culture where the chief decides who marries who and where a woman caught out alone is fair game for rape seems bad to most of us, but again we are not supposed to criticize it. We may not even criticize an astronomical murder rate in some (ahem) parts of the world. This leads to contradictions and absurdities. The only way to resolve these contradictions is to either a) insist that the USA is as racist/sexist etc as the worst place on Earth or b) shut up you racist! In their personal lives the same people that categorically reject this essay live their lives like they agree with it by avoiding neighborhoods and schools with a culture worse than they prefer and striving to get ahead (ie, they act like American culture is better). They do NOT act like all behaviors are equal. By the way, culture is NOT the same as race, since they can't seem to tell the difference.

n.n said...

while whites aren't the smartest (that would be east Asians)

They are, they aren't, or the converse. There is certainly a "color" correlation, but there are other factors that are determinative. Today, the "whites" are distracted to the point of paralysis by [unqualified] progress.

Nonapod said...

One consistent theme inside western bourgeois culture is a longing for the liberty of the adventurer, barbarian and outlaw.

Well, not entirely unique to western bourgeois culture, there's certainly eastern examples around. Isn't Water Margin about outlaws?

buwaya said...

"Isn't Water Margin about outlaws?"

Indeed.

For a gleefully irreverent example, "Journey to the West".

exiledonmainstreet said...

"One consistent theme inside western bourgeois culture is a longing for the liberty of the adventurer, barbarian and outlaw. The stifling bonds of discipline bother people. Hence everything from medieval Robin Hood stories to gangster rap to Marvel superheroes. "

And the existence of bohemian enclaves like the Left Bank and Greenwich Village where artistic types who did not want to be bound by bourgeois conventions would run off to. There they would drink, experiment with drugs and sleep around. Once upon a time, those places had the added advantage of being cheap. The 1920's were probably the last time one could live cheaply and still eat and drink well in Paris, which is why Americans flocked there in droves. The 1920's were tough economically on the French themselves, but very good for Americans in Paris.

(It's worth noting however, that most mature artists and writers eventually move out of those enclaves if they begin earning big bucks and developing more discipline.)

But the existence of those non-conformist communities, paradoxically, depends on the larger population of the non-artistic bourgeoisie - the same people the artsy-fartsy types deride. After all those are the people who keep the lights on, run the restaurants and cafes the artists park their asses on, and buy the books and art and recordings that make the bohemian types rich.

I commented last week on how the mores of Bohemia and the upper classes are disastrous when applied to society as a whole. They are not only disastrous for society, they also hurt Bohemia. How do you rebel when everything goes? Nowadays the most rebellious thing you can possibly be is a apologetically straight white Christian man who affirms the value of Western culture and voted for Trump. That's so rebellious, it's verboten among the chattering classes.

Quaestor said...

Isn't Water Margin about outlaws?

Sounds like a Rafael Sabatini plot.

sparrow said...

Sodal ye

I'm an optimist. During the Cold War I never would have believed it possible that the wall would come down and the Soviet Empire collapse nearly without bloodshed. Trump's election has proved to me that we aren't dead yet. The left is angry and arrogant and under those circumstances excess and over-reach are likely IMO.

Fernandinande said...

Quayle said...
"We believe the ideal of equal opportunity..."
Stop right there!
Where in the hell did that idea come from?
Darwin?!?


Of course. All morality is Darwinian. The idea of "equal opportunity" is likely an example of "virtue signalling" and/or "pathological altruism", both of which are likely the result of sexual selection, (or here) although its application might directly lead to increased Drawinian fitness re. the external environment (~ group selection). Probably originating as the latter then exaggerated by the former.

Luke Lea said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
buwaya said...

"Rafael Sabatini"

Yet another purveyor of tales of wild adventure outside the world of the bourgeois.
He made lots of money.

rcocean said...

"Well, yeah. One almost wants to say "duh!" You nice centrist people said that feelings were just as important as reason and accepted the assertion that claims hurt feelings and/or emotional trauma must be taken seriously."

You're really talking about women. Its no accident that you got PC on campus when Large numbers of Women became professors and College presidents.

Ralph L said...

There are two other faculty/student/alumni denouncements at the DP site that try to address Wax's statement non-categorically. The comments eviscerate them.

sparrow said...

rcocean,

That comment would get you fired at any modern University, ask Larry Summers.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Sure Hollywood has a long tail that curls around to the left, but does it really deserve any cultural blame for the movies people actually go see? Here's the list of the top 13 movies from Hollywood so far this year, which have collectively earned 52% of the box office:

1 Beauty and the Beast
2 The Fate of the Furious
3 Despicable Me 3
4 Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
5 Wolf Warrior 2
6 Wonder Woman
7 Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
8 Spider-Man: Homecoming
9 Logan
10 Transformers: The Last Knight
11 Kong: Skull Island
12 The Boss Baby
13 Dunkirk

Where is the preening pretense of defending the downtrodden? Must be all the super heroes. Sure, there are a hundred other films conservatives might find a few faults with, more if you include the indie films.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Wax's arguments make certain people feel bad. Wax's arguments are, according to certain people, racist.

That's enough to condemn those arguments. Truth and reason don't enter into it. The assertions MAKE people FEEL a certain way, and those FEELINGS are bad, hurtful, traumatic, etc.

Engaging in any way with those things which make certain people FEEL like you're saying those HARMFUL arguments are in some way valid (ie worth discussing/debating) which is itself an ATTACK.

See? That's what no-platforming is; that's what enforcing a ban on wrongthink does. Some things are so UGLY that we can't allow any debate over anything to do with those UGLY, HARMFUL topics.

Categorical rejection makes perfect sense in that framework, Professor Althouse.

sodal ye said...

Blogger rcocean said...
You're really talking about women. Its no accident that you got PC on campus when Large numbers of Women became professors and College presidents.
...
LOL. You and rhhardin!

roesch/voltaire said...

As someone who grew up in this era when these so-called precepts reigned I know there is some truth to this as long as one ignores the racial divide, the labour strikes and the fact that the post war boom lifted many in the boat high enough so that most of my high school class mates felt no need to attend college before getting a good job. The distribution of wealth and property seemed reasonable; I spent a summer taking care of a pool owned a Milwaukee Industrialist not too far from my neighborhood where his blue collar laborers lived. But this is only a partial argument that ignores the effects of a consumer driven capitalist society that privileges profit and monopoly for the few; that pushes a kind of exhaustion, isolation and a desire for all things including profitable drugs that lead to addiction. As a side note it seems rap culture is compatible and thriving in our free-market society, and in fact causing disruption, not so much in the US, but in its spread to less democratic societies in the Middle East where the young imitate it in rebellion against the status quo

sparrow said...

"Categorical rejection makes perfect sense in that framework, Professor Althouse"
Ruled by snowflakes

Michael K said...

But that doesn't fit your Narrative, which is to diminish the role Christianity played in shaping Western culture. If certain facts must be ignored, so be it.

Exiled, I don't respond to him. He is angry about something that I have never figured out.

Blogger buwaya said...
"Rafael Sabatini"

Yet another purveyor of tales of wild adventure outside the world of the bourgeois.
He made lots of money.


His history was pretty good and his values were pretty Bourgeois.

His plots usually involved a love story in which the lovers finally figure out that he was a good guy.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

I think you can flatly reject what Foley did and still believe in the value of individuals finding their own way around conventional morality and making their own rules about what is good.

Professor, what that really means is that people from a similar background and education as you are going to exhibit the values they were taught as children, and are enforced by their social milieu, but they are going to tell themselves they are "making their own rules about what is good" because otherwise they would have to admit they are as bourgeoisie as bourgeoisie gets.

buwaya said...

"And the existence of bohemian enclaves like the Left Bank and Greenwich Village where artistic types who did not want to be bound by bourgeois conventions would run off to. "

In the old days they would also run off out of the bounds of western culture, the New World or the Wild West or the Far East or Darkest Africa.

Bohemians in Africa- the "Happy Valley Set" in Kenya - "Out of Africa", Karen Blixen.

Back in the 1840's-1860's the family in the colonies was ... rather less than the epitome of bourgeois conformity. My ggggmother was a mestiza lady (by repute a great beauty of good family, her grandfather was a delegate to the Spanish Cortes), who took, with only an occasional pro-forma marriage, a succession of raffish adventurers as paramours, all "East of Suez" types. This makes the family tree a bit speculative. The whole story begs to be made into a novel. Some cross between George MacDonald Frasers "Flashman" and "The Far Pavilions".

Michael K said...

But this is only a partial argument that ignores the effects of a consumer driven capitalist society that privileges profit and monopoly for the few; that pushes a kind of exhaustion,

The old leftist whine.

The leftists in the self described "Elite" follow Bourgeois values as they ridicule others who do.

Luke Lea said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
exiledonmainstreet said...

"Yet another purveyor of tales of wild adventure outside the world of the bourgeois.
He made lots of money. "

Before the 20th century, young men who wanted a life of wild adventure could head to the Wild West, or to the wilds of Argentina, Canada, Australia and the furthest reaches of the British Empire (if they were British). One could flee life in the cities to become a cowboy, a pioneer, a gaucho, an explorer.

I wonder how many young men who are now spending hours in front of computer screens conquering imaginary worlds would be heading out to the Sierra Nevadas or exploring Africa if they had lived 150 years ago.

Or perhaps today they're heading out to demonstrations hoping to hit "Nazis" on the head with baseball bats. They don't really care about Nazis or racism. They are angry about their own limitations. The old safety valves aren't there anymore.

William said...

When Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat, she was acting on ideals enunciated (if not realized) by Thomas Jefferson and not on any ideal ever enunciated by some African tribal elder. So suck it African tribal culture and hurrah for Jefferson.

Luke Lea said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
HoodlumDoodlum said...

You don't argue with a witch. You cast them out or otherwise destroy them.

What does the Left (and by extension their nice centrist allies) hold sacred? Victimhood and identity.

Anyone who questions the victimhood of any Left-approved group is therefore a committing heresy. Any member of the Academic priesthood who speaks heresy is an apostate. Wax's treatment is entirely justified...Wax should be thankful to have received only this light punishment so far!

exiledonmainstreet said...


"In the old days they would also run off out of the bounds of western culture, the New World or the Wild West or the Far East or Darkest Africa."

I posted my 1:40 comment before I saw yours.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

But this is only a partial argument that ignores the effects of a consumer driven capitalist society that privileges profit and monopoly for the few; that pushes a kind of exhaustion, isolation and a desire for all things including profitable drugs that lead to addiction.

Capitalism is the worst form of economy, except for all the others. (excuse the paraphrase)

buwaya said...

Roesch/Voltaire,

Your POV still seems to me extremely parochial.

You are describing the dissatisfactions of the universal human condition, not of a particular society.

It is too easy to go from your world-view to the "up against the wall, motherfuckers!" of the post-1960's academic establishment. In fact the line is so fine it no longer exists. It is now pure, incontinent hate, required by rules of tribal taboo.

There is absolutely nothing left but raging insanity.

Luke Lea said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
HoodlumDoodlum said...

What was the purpose of NewSpeak? It was ultimately to make impossible any expression--and even thoughts--that were contrary to the Party's beliefs.

Argument by its nature implies that there are conclusions in dispute--that there can be disagreement over some truth. Not only does the Left reject the idea of "truth," they cannot allow argument about an ever-increasing number of topics--only the Left-approved conclusions may be acknowledged to exist.

Even the act of engaging in a "reasoned discourse" about a given topic implies that some deviance of opinion is possible. Since the Left's current belief about what is or is not acceptable thought--what is racist/sexist/homophobic, etc--is all that can be permitted no reasoned discourse is allowable.

The only thing to do, therefore, is categorically reject wrongthink. That's what these professors are doing, Prof. Althouse. That's what nice centrist people accepting the demands of creeping PC and Leftist "thought" have allowed them to do.

exiledonmainstreet said...

Michael K said:

Exiled, I don't respond to him."


Actually I generally like Fernandinande's comments and agree with him frequently.

I just think he has a certain blind spot regarding the massive impact Christianity has had on the development of Wesernt civilization (in both good and bad ways). I don't think you have to be a believer to acknowledge that. He seems to be intent on minimizing or denying its' positive contributions because of his own anti-religious bias.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Actually I generally like Fernandinande's comments and agree with him frequently.

I just think he has a certain blind spot regarding the massive impact Christianity has had on the development of Wesernt civilization (in both good and bad ways).


I'm the same.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

"You either agree with me or you're a racist." That's what the Left has been saying, and large numbers of nice centrist people have in effect said "well, I'm not a racist and I sure don't want to be called an ugly racist, so I'd better just keep my head down and agree."

When the Left calls other people racist/sexist/homophobic/bigoted the nice centrist people all too often say "well I don't fully agree with the ugly sentiment that non-Leftist person is expressing, so even though I don't think it's racist/sexist/homophobic/bigoted I'm not going to challenge the Left's characterization of it as such, since if I do the Left will call me a racist, too."

And here we are, where the law professors attacking Wax feel they don't even need to make arguments--they can categorically reject Wax's assertions and feel confident that their rejection is enough. And, you know....it is! Being on the Left means never having to really argue. The Left can just label their opponents "ugly" and that's enough to win.

exiledonmainstreet said...

BTW, I just now noticed some typos in my comments. Sorry. I really need to get my vision checked...

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Fernandinande said...

What did I miss?

You missed the banana peel in the tree.

buwaya said...

"BTW, I just now noticed some typos in my comments. "

Ignore them. They are not imprtant.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AjGXn249Fc0

Jim A said...

You really get stuck at the picture some newspaper editor decided to use? John Wayne is not mentioned in the article, much less the Searchers. The article is short and simply says conventional rules promote individual success, with the following:

"That [bourgeois] 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."

Apparently it would have been difficult to oppose each of those rules, so the colleagues in the law school just stamped their feet.

Bay Area Guy said...

Movie A:

Set in 1944, the German army is invading European countries and sending innocent Jews to the gas chambers. A brave contingent of American soldiers land in France to fight their way East to battle Nazis and liberate Europe from German conquest.

Movie B:

Set in 1944, a small band of Nazi sympathizers in Lichtenstein, run a printing press, get drunk, create stupid Nazi propaganda, use foul language, generally hate Jews, but don't have enough comrades to organize into a force. A contingent of American soldiers - triple the size in Movie A, land in France to pillage and plunder their way to Lichtenstein to capture these rascals.

Movie C:

Set in 1944, a band of German intellectuals in Switzerland think Stalin's Russia is a great threat to Europe, speak and write on the issue, and view Nazi Germany with distaste, but think it's a necessary bulwark to protect West Europe from the threat of Conmunist spread. A contingent of American soldiers - triple the size in Movie A, land in France to pillage and plunder their way to Switzerland to capture and discredit these intellectuals.

Movie A is broadly true - it's easy to discern the good guys from the bad guys. Movies B & C are much less clear.

In 2017, the Left claims they are starring in Movie A as the heroic responders. But in truth, they are starring in Movies B & C as the ignoble or unnecessary or violent responders.

exiledonmainstreet said...

OTOH, the sort of young men who are frightened of banana peels in trees probably would not have been exploring Africa or the Australian Outback had they lived 150 years ago.

sodal ye said...

( the notable commentariat lefties decided to sit this thread out)

Amadeus 48 said...

Re: inability to make value judgments about things by professoriate.

I have never met a professor that didn't have a favorite restaurant.

Unknown said...

brylun said..."Abraham sired Isaac and Ismael with different women."

-- and look how that worked out.

Jim at said...

'I've been avoiding writing about the op-ed cowritten by Penn lawprof Amy Wax because it aggravates me..."

Of course it aggravates you.

Because it succinctly points out the havoc you Boomers have wreaked on the rest of us.

Jack Wayne said...

I think where Wax and her derogators went wrong is that they are describing one side of what goes into a successful society. The problem is that those items are not truly enough to have a long-term successful society. For example, many decent hard-working people in Venezuela voted for a communist. And the failure of that society was guaranteed with that choice. Wax needed to throw in Natural Rights which IS a western idea. I believes a long-term successful society needs sober responsibile citizens but those citizens also need to believe in the fundamental rights. Otherwise, the society will eventually fail.

Luke Lea said...

I'm just rereading Orwell's 1984. Crimethought, Newspeak, Ignorance is Strength -- they all echo faintly in the present moment of time. I'm beginning to suspect (to crimethink) that multiculturalism with its identity politics and mindless celebration of diversity is a totalitarian ideology in disguise. Every new totalitarian ideology wears a disguise. It certainly doesn't wear Nazi costumes or march around with swastikas (though, come to think of it, antifa does wear black masks).

There is no use pretending that multiculturalism is a fringe phenomenon anymore. It's most aggressive adherents are now in charge of all the Ivy League universities, most of the major corporate media, Silicon Valley, public television and the most prestigious philanthropic foundations, and virtually the entire island of Manhattan. In short they control what used to be called "the commanding heights" of society. Why heck, a corrupt organization like the Southern Poverty Law Center now decides what is and is not a racist organization, and even the ACLU is flirting with the idea that what some claim is "hate speech" is in actuality crimethought and should no longer be protected.

But you know what? The cultural winds are shifting and for those who hold fast to the liberal idea it is a glorious time to be alive in America! This is going to be more fun than the Sixties.

The Cracker Emcee Activist said...

"As someone who grew up in this era when these so-called precepts reigned I know there is some truth to this as long as one ignores the racial divide, the labour strikes and the fact that the post war boom lifted many in the boat high enough so that most of my high school class mates felt no need to attend college before getting a good job."

OK, accept all those as given. Do minorities still succeed if they ignore Wax's points?

buwaya said...

"Do minorities still succeed if they ignore Wax's points?"

No. Even if they object in speech, they still vote with their wedding rings, so to speak.

Ralph L said...

Jack, I think they were describing how to succeed in the first world society we have now, which has been successful in making individual success widely possible. Unspoken was that if the society's culture collapses much further, that chance of success will dry up for more people, regardless of what they do.

Michael K said...

There is real resistance to the facts that black culture prior to Lyndon Johnson was steadily improving.

Lyndon Johnson was the worst thing ever to happen to blacks. Worse than slavery.

At least slavery got them out of Africa.

The assassination of Lincoln was almost as bad as the "Reconstruction" that followed made enemies of white southerners.

The ones who suffered were the freed slaves and their descendants. The freed slaves in the West Indies did better and those students who come from that society lack most of the pathology of American blacks.

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