You may have heard the saga of law professors Amy Wax and Larry Alexander. In an op-ed published last month, they put forth a simple and common-sense prescription for getting ahead in modern America.
Their piece, headlined “PAYING THE PRICE FOR BREAKDOWN OF THE COUNTRY’S BOURGEOIS CULTURE,” first laid out some of the very serious problems affecting America. Among them:
– Opioid abuse is widespread
– Homicidal violence plagues inner cities
– Almost half of all children are born out of wedlock
It’s hard to argue with those facts. But then came their prescriptions: Get married before you have children, strive to stay married, get educated, work hard, be a patriot, be neighborly, civic-minded, and charitable. Go the extra mile for your employer, eschew substance abuse and crime.
Again, most fair-minded people would say that makes a whole lot of sense. But college campuses, even highly-esteemed universities, are not populated by many fair-minded people these days.
Larry Alexander has taken some heat at the University of San Diego, but it’s Amy Wax who has really been hammered big-time at the University of Pennsylvania, whose law school is ranked among the very best in America.
Almost immediately after the article appeared, 33 of Wax’s colleagues signed what they called an open letter to the university community. Without making any actual counter-arguments, they condemned the op-ed and its authors, and wrote this astounding sentence: “We categorically reject Wax’s claims.”
Categorically? Every single one of her claims? Do these highly-trained legal minds really reject the notion that it’s better to be married before having kids? Or that it’s a good idea to work hard, to study, to be neighborly and respectful?
During a telephone interview this week, Amy Wax decried the existence of a “monoculture” and an “echo chamber” on most campuses, including her own. “What kind of example does it set for law students,” she asked rhetorically, “when 33 faculty members say we ‘condemn’ Amy Wax’s statements and ‘categorically reject’ her claims? It teaches students that they don’t have to make an argument!”
As for those students, Wax lamented that many are absolutely “terrified” by the current atmosphere of repression that reigns on campuses. “There is so much intimidation, there are so many threats, and there is a lot of peer pressure if any kind of dissenting thought is expressed.”
In the op-ed that so many academics and students found offensive, Wax and Alexander denounced the single-parent, antisocial habits that are prevalent among many working-class whites, and also blasted the “anti-‘acting white’ rap culture of inner city blacks” and the “anti-assimilation ideas gaining ground among some Hispanic immigrants.”
It is very clear that Amy Wax and Larry Alexander want all Americans to have a shot at success. It is equally clear that they believe following the rules of “bourgeois culture” is the best way to achieve that success. They could just as easily have said “traditional values” or “middle class morality,” which mean the same thing. But they are being accused, of course, of promoting “white supremacy.”
Professor Wax has been shunned by many of her colleagues and may be banned from teaching a required first-year course. You know, those dainty students, who have already been through four years of college, may need a fainting couch if they are anywhere in Wax’s vicinity. “It’s very clear to me,” she declares, “that if I did not have tenure I would be out of here.” That statement, while pithy, speaks volumes about modern education.
Now, one might think that Professor Wax would be a feminist heroine. She is an opinionated, strong, and fearless woman who speaks what she sees as the truth, damn the consequences. But we all know that conservative women are not welcome on campus or in any other left-wing arenas.
Defiant as ever, Amy Wax offers this advice for anyone who runs afoul of the PC police: “Never apologize, do not grovel, do not give them the slightest sense that you are intimidated by what they are doing to you. I see people scurrying to apologize and that is the biggest mistake you can possibly make because that just emboldens them.”
At the risk of offending even more people, we’ll add one simple word: Amen!