How do we handle inconvenient truths? By exploring whether the truth being advanced is, in fact, a truth. Some truths are surely inconvenient, but many – especially those advanced by the Left – are not truths. The best example of this are the predictions of catastrophe to be wrought by anthropogenic climate change. Those of us who dispute the cherry-picked scientific claims by the Left are, as expressed above, thought of as “climate deniers”.
But, rather than accuse Leftists of being stupid, I choose to think that they’re quite clever. They’ve discovered that by advancing strawman-infused, motive-attributing, virtue-signaling, outrage-expressing, blame-infested, hyperbolic, goalpost-shifting arguments their opponents withdraw. The Left has discovered that such “arguments” are good way to stop discourse and and risk facing reality.
These attributes were on full display, recently, by those who took issue with an essay by Law professors Amy Wax (U. Penn) and Larry Alexander (UCSD). Published as a lay essay, they wrote (Aug, 2017) that today’s outrage culture (my words) as expressed by the Left’s inability to countenance views with which they disagree are due, in large measure, to the loss of bourgeois (i.e., Western, Judeo-Christian) values.
Consistent with the description above , the Left exploded with the expected strawman-infused, virtue-signaling, motive-attributing, outrage-exhibiting, blame-infested, hyperbolic, goalpost-shifting argument. Many of those who disagreed with the Wax and Alexander essay were tenured faculty – yet they could marshal no principled argument against the claims made in this paper.
Please read the essays and assess for yourselves the quality of thinking that passes for intellect in the legal academy. Pay special attention to the comments – many by practicing (not academic) lawyers.
To begin, here are two quotes from the article (first and second links below) that are illustrative of the theme of their essay: First, that success is best achieved by living a life ordered to bourgeois cultural values, to wit…
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.
And seconde, there is this incendiary paragraph whose content asserts that not all cultures are equal in terms of their cultural imperative.
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.
Here is the original essay by professors Amy Wax and Larry Alexander, “Paying the price for breakdown of the country’s bourgeois culture“, Here is the same essay reprinted in the Wall Street Journal under a different title: “What Can’t Be Debated On Campus”
This is the essay condemning the Wax and Alexander essay (see previous) from 33 U. Penn faculty collegues: An Open Letter To The University of Pennsylvania Community
NOTE: From the comments section:
I am extremely grateful that each of the authorsof this piece attached their names [the 33 professors who condemned Prof. Wax and her essay] . It appears that none of them can see a moral difference between cultures that practice female genital mutilation, throw homosexuals off buildings, lead less desirable citizens to the gas chamber and our own. At least now we know who to avoid if we ever need thoughtful legal advice.
Here is Prof. Wax’s rebuttal to the previous letter condemning her for her views: “In response to “Open letter to the University of Pennsylvania community”
Finally, here is a letter from Prof. J. Klick, one of the 33 professors who condemned Prof. Wax for her views: “I Don’t Care If Amy Wax Is Politically Incorrect; I Do Care That She’s Empirically Incorrect“. This is an important response because Prof. Klick is the ohnly one of the 33 that attempted to refute the claims of Wax and Alexander. The comments are illuminating. In a word, they eviscerate Prof. Klick’s “emprical findings”.
Finally, nowhere in the article do Professors Wax and Alexander cite any statistics (again, theirs is not an academic article created for peer review). On the other hand, not a few commentators in the articles linked above, advanced this study that supports much of what Wax and Alexander claimed.
Pew Study: The American Family Today