Readability

Inconvenient Truths

An Ivy League pro­fes­sor, a Google engi­neer, and a writer for a left­ist pub­li­ca­tion walked into a bar…

Even though they didn’t actu­ally join one another over a round of drinks, the group pro­vided an inter­est­ing cock­tail of ideas that pro­vided some incon­ve­nient truths and inter­rupted the annoy­ing noise of news in recent days.

Amy Wax, a law pro­fes­sor at the Uni­ver­sity of Penn­syl­va­nia, and Larry Alexan­der, a law pro­fes­sor at the Uni­ver­sity of San Diego, have offered insights into the role of diver­sity and today’s cul­ture. It is not a pretty picture.

In a recent col­umn in philly​.com, they wrote: “A com­bi­na­tion of fac­tors — pros­per­ity, the Pill, the expan­sion of higher edu­ca­tion, and the doubts sur­round­ing the Viet­nam War — encour­aged an anti­au­thor­i­tar­ian, ado­les­cent, wish-​fulfillment ideal — sex, drugs, and rock-​and-​roll — that was unwor­thy of, and unwork­able for, a mature, pros­per­ous adult society.

All cul­tures are not equal. Or at least they are not equal in prepar­ing peo­ple to be pro­duc­tive in an advanced econ­omy,” they con­tin­ued. “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.”

Pro­fes­sors Wax and Alexan­der obvi­ously did not swal­low the aca­d­e­mic pill that pro­motes diver­sity over every­thing else and sees all cul­tures as equal.

Would the re-​embrace of bour­geois norms by the ordi­nary Amer­i­cans who have aban­doned them sig­nif­i­cantly reduce society’s patholo­gies? There is every rea­son to believe so. Among those who cur­rently fol­low the old pre­cepts, regard­less of their level of edu­ca­tion or afflu­ence, the homi­cide rate is tiny, opi­oid addic­tion is rare, and poverty rates are low. Those who live by the sim­ple rules that most peo­ple used to accept may not end up rich or hold elite jobs, but their lives will go far bet­ter than they do now. All schools and neigh­bor­hoods would be much safer and more pleas­ant. More stu­dents from all walks of life would be edu­cated for con­struc­tive employ­ment and demo­c­ra­tic par­tic­i­pa­tion,” they said.

Read the entire col­umn at http://​www​.philly​.com/​p​h​i​l​l​y​/​o​p​i​n​i​o​n​/​c​o​m​m​e​n​t​a​r​y​/​p​a​y​i​n​g​-​t​h​e​-​p​r​i​c​e​-​f​o​r​-​b​r​e​a​k​d​o​w​n​-​o​f​-​t​h​e​-​c​o​u​n​t​r​y​s​-​b​o​u​r​g​e​o​i​s​-​c​u​l​t​u​r​e​-​20170809​.html

But Pro­fes­sors Wax and Alexan­der are not alone. James Damore, a soft­ware engi­neer, wrote the now-​famous trea­tise: Google’s Ide­o­log­i­cal Echo Chamber.

At Google, we talk so much about uncon­scious bias as it applies to race and gen­der, but we rarely dis­cuss our moral biases. Polit­i­cal ori­en­ta­tion is actu­ally a result of deep moral pref­er­ences and thus biases. Con­sid­er­ing that the over­whelm­ing major­ity of the social sci­ences, media, and Google lean left, we should crit­i­cally exam­ine these prej­u­dices,” he wrote in the 10-​page memo.

Damore, who lost his job after the doc­u­ment went viral, described him­self as a “clas­sic lib­eral.” His argu­ment that some women may be less tem­pera­men­tally suited to work as engi­neers than men got him into hot water. Here is the entire memo: https://​moth​er​board​.vice​.com/​e​n​_​u​s​/​a​r​t​i​c​l​e​/​e​v​z​j​w​w​/​h​e​r​e​-​a​r​e​-​t​h​e​-​c​i​t​a​t​i​o​n​s​-​f​o​r​-​t​h​e​-​a​n​t​i​-​d​i​v​e​r​s​i​t​y​-​m​a​n​i​f​e​s​t​o​-​c​i​r​c​u​l​a​t​i​n​g​-​a​t​-​g​oogle

But there’s more. The Nation, a his­tor­i­cally left-​leaning mag­a­zine, pub­lished an arti­cle argu­ing that Rus­sia may not have been behind the hack of the com­put­ers at the Demo­c­ra­tic National Com­mit­tee. Instead, the hack may have been the work of a DNC insider, The Nation reported. Here is the arti­cle: https://​www​.then​ation​.com/​a​r​t​i​c​l​e​/​a​-​n​e​w​-​r​e​p​o​r​t​-​r​a​i​s​e​s​-​b​i​g​-​q​u​e​s​t​i​o​n​s​-​a​b​o​u​t​-​l​a​s​t​-​y​e​a​r​s​-​d​n​c​-​hack/

Not sur­pris­ingly, the left attacked each of these indi­vid­u­als who failed to con­form with today’s over­ar­ch­ing memes. Nev­er­the­less, it was refresh­ing to see alter­na­tive view­points as part of an actual debate about impor­tant issues that run against the grain of con­ven­tional wis­dom, par­tic­u­larly in light of the con­tin­u­ing screeds after the events in Charlottesville.

An Ivy League professor, a Google engineer, and a writer for a leftist publication walked into a bar…

Even though they didn’t actually join one another over a round of drinks, the group provided an interesting cocktail of ideas that provided some inconvenient truths and interrupted the annoying noise of news in recent days.

Amy Wax, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania, and Larry Alexander, a law professor at the University of San Diego, have offered insights into the role of diversity and today’s culture. It is not a pretty picture.

In a recent column in philly.com, they wrote: “A combination of factors — prosperity, the Pill, the expansion of higher education, and the doubts surrounding the Vietnam War — encouraged an antiauthoritarian, adolescent, wish-fulfillment ideal — sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll — that was unworthy of, and unworkable for, a mature, prosperous adult society.

“All cultures are not equal. Or at least they are not equal in preparing people to be productive in an advanced economy,” they continued. “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.”

Professors Wax and Alexander obviously did not swallow the academic pill that promotes diversity over everything else and sees all cultures as equal.

“Would the re-embrace of bourgeois norms by the ordinary Americans who have abandoned them significantly reduce society’s pathologies? There is every reason to believe so. Among those who currently follow the old precepts, regardless of their level of education or affluence, the homicide rate is tiny, opioid addiction is rare, and poverty rates are low. Those who live by the simple rules that most people used to accept may not end up rich or hold elite jobs, but their lives will go far better than they do now. All schools and neighborhoods would be much safer and more pleasant. More students from all walks of life would be educated for constructive employment and democratic participation,” they said.

Read the entire column at http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/commentary/paying-the-price-for-breakdown-of-the-countrys-bourgeois-culture-20170809.html

But Professors Wax and Alexander are not alone. James Damore, a software engineer, wrote the now-famous treatise: Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber.

“At Google, we talk so much about unconscious bias as it applies to race and gender, but we rarely discuss our moral biases. Political orientation is actually a result of deep moral preferences and thus biases. Considering that the overwhelming majority of the social sciences, media, and Google lean left, we should critically examine these prejudices,” he wrote in the 10-page memo.

Damore, who lost his job after the document went viral, described himself as a “classic liberal.” His argument that some women may be less temperamentally suited to work as engineers than men got him into hot water. Here is the entire memo: https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/evzjww/here-are-the-citations-for-the-anti-diversity-manifesto-circulating-at-google

But there’s more. The Nation, a historically left-leaning magazine, published an article arguing that Russia may not have been behind the hack of the computers at the Democratic National Committee. Instead, the hack may have been the work of a DNC insider, The Nation reported. Here is the article: https://www.thenation.com/article/a-new-report-raises-big-questions-about-last-years-dnc-hack/

Not surprisingly, the left attacked each of these individuals who failed to conform with today’s overarching memes. Nevertheless, it was refreshing to see alternative viewpoints as part of an actual debate about important issues that run against the grain of conventional wisdom, particularly in light of the continuing screeds after the events in Charlottesville.