Roger Kimball: “for stating such obvious truths” Prof. Amy Wax “is being dragged into the Star Chamber at Penn”
“Dean Ruger’s list of Wax’s violations is funny because it consists largely of truisms”
We mentioned the campaign against Professor Amy Wax in an earlier quick take.
Roger Kimball outlines the pathetic case against her at the Spectator:
A few years ago, Wax co-wrote a much-cited article in praise of bourgeois values — values like thrift, hard work, punctuality, fair dealing and honesty. Such things, she argued, were the best guarantee of personal and social success — and the fact that some groups embodied such values while others did not went a long way towards explaining the differences in their achievements. That piece and what she said about it in some interviews on Glenn Loury’s show were her real torts.
Dean Ruger’s list of Wax’s violations is funny because it consists largely of truisms, laced here and there with evidence of guilt by association. For example, Wax has said nice things about John Derbyshire, a distinguished author but one who also has fallen foul of the cringing woke commissars in our culture. It would take a very long column to address all of Dean Ruger’s accusations, so let me focus on the one that seemed to cause the greatest offense: the idea that not all cultures are equal. “All cultures are not equal,” she wrote.
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, twenty-first-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.
Is there any syllable of that paragraph that is not true? And yet it is for stating such obvious truths that Wax is being dragged into the Star Chamber at Penn.
Watch Wax discuss her experience in this video from 2019.
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