RUSH: What essentially happened here at the University of Pennsylvania, Penn, a couple of professors, one of them working at the University of Pennsylvania, the other one University of San Diego, wrote an op-ed suggesting that what might be needed in the United States is a return to some of the nation’s values and moralities of the 1950s. And what happened after that op-ed ran is the story.
“To the list of forbidden ideas on American college campuses, add ‘bourgeois norms.'” In other words, the old advisories of hard work, self-discipline, marriage, respect for authority. When people talk about going back to the fifties, when people talking about reemerging with values from the fifties, they’re basically talking about what?
Well, I’m 66, people my age and one generation younger grew up with certain undeniable truths: hard work, studiousness, seriousness, self-discipline, self-reliance, and patience, those were the values that were rock solid, that had the best chance of leading to a happy, healthy, productive life with the likelihood of an expanding, increasing standard of living. Those were time-honored values, and people would think — and they’ve been time-honored for generations. They have been time-honored since days prior to this country.
Those were active ways of living that led to the best life: seriousness, studiousness, hard work, no cutting corners, no cheating, no pacing yourself, self-discipline, telling yourself “no,” self-reliance, don’t have kids before you get married, respect for authority. That’s what we all grew up with. I’m sure most of you in this audience did as well.
Well, last month, two law professors published an op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer calling for a revival of that cultural script that prevailed in the fifties and still does among affluent Americans. Affluent Americans still live by those philosophies: hard work, self-discipline, self-reliance, no cutting corners. Affluent Americans still live by those values, and they still try to inculcate those values in their kids. Get married before you have children, strive to stay married for their sake. Get the education you need for gainful employment, work hard, avoid idleness, don’t delve into a life of crime. All of these things that were just common-sense ways to grow up, common-sense ways to live.
Anyway, they write an op-ed suggesting that a revival of all of that would be beneficial for our country and everybody. They said, “The weakening of these traditional norms has contributed to today’s low rates of workforce participation, lagging educational levels and widespread opioid abuse, the professors argued.” They made the point that getting away from these values has led to a raft of people unable to support themselves, single-parent homes, and all of these things which create disadvantage and obstacle after obstacle for people to have to overcome, which could have been avoided with a different set of values.
Well, this op-ed triggered an immediate uproar at the University of Pennsylvania. Remember this op-ed was in the Philadelphia Inquirer. One of the authors of the op-ed, Amy Wax, a woman that teaches at the University of Pennsylvania. The dean of the Pennsylvania law school, a guy named Ted Ruger, published an op-ed in the student newspaper noting the contemporaneous occurrence of the op-ed and a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville.
In other words, those values were attributed to white to white supremacy by the dean of the law school at the University of Pennsylvania. Hard work, self-discipline, self-reliance, don’t have kids ’til you get married, try to stay married, all of those things to pursue were called white supremacy in an op-ed by the dean of the law school. His name is Ted Ruger. He suggested that Amy Wax’s views — she’s one of the authors — were divisive and even noxious.
“Half of Ms. Wax’s law-faculty colleagues signed an open letter denouncing her piece and calling on students to report any ‘bias or stereotype’ they encounter ‘at Penn Law’ (e.g., in Ms. Wax’s classroom). Student and alumni petitions poured forth accusing Ms. Wax of white supremacy, misogyny and homophobia and demanding that she be banned from teaching first-year law classes.” Because the 1950s is when racism and slavery and bigotry and homophobia were the definitions of the day. They ruled the day.
The white supremacist, the white majority of the 1950s were indeed racist and sexist and misogynistic. It was the fifties that all of the modern-day -isms had to overcome. Feminism, all of these other things. It was the dreaded evil, the horrid 1950s. Where all of the modern ideological and philosophical ideas have to overcome.
So the point of this is is that two professors advocating a return to basic human philosophy of hard work, self-reliance, self-discipline, respect for authority, don’t cut corners, don’t become slothful, don’t become a welfare state dependent, take care of yourself, strive to be the best person you can be, that’s nothing more than white supremacy. That is misogyny and it’s homophobia.
Now, the coauthor of this piece, Larry Alexander, teaches at the University of San Diego. That is a Catholic school. “University of San Diego seemed to be taking the piece in stride –” in other words, they didn’t react one way or the other “– until last week. The dean of USD’s law school, Stephen Ferruolo, issued a schoolwide memo repudiating Mr. Alexander’s article and pledging new measures to compensate ‘vulnerable, marginalized’ students for the ‘racial discrimination and cultural subordination’ they experience,” today as noted in the op-ed.
Now, the response, according to Heather Mac Donald here, the response at the University of San Diego is more significant than the University of Pennsylvania because it’s more surprising. “While USD has embraced a ‘social justice’ mission in recent decades, the law school itself has been less politicized. It has one of the highest proportions of nonleftist professors in the country –” University of San Diego overall and the law school, about 25% of the faculty is conservative there. “Mr. Ferruolo, a corporate lawyer with strong ties to the biotech industry, presented himself until recently as mildly conservative. If USD is willing to match Penn’s hysterical response to the Wax-Alexander op-ed, is there any educational institution remaining that will defend its faculty members against false accusations of racism should they dissent from orthodoxy?”
I’m sharing this with you now because we had a caller in the first hour reacting to Trump’s speech suggesting that Trump’s speech is gonna bring a lot of people who are ambivalent roaring into Trump’s side. And while that may happen, there are also gonna be people like this, law school professors and law school deans who are gonna hear this speech is and they’re gonna equate it with, if you’re talking American greatness, if you’re talking American primacy, you’re talking white supremacy.
That’s the definition for it, apparently. The definition of white supremacy is American greatness. And that’s why American greatness is illegitimate. Because it was brought about and derived from a majority white population, which was, they claim, a bunch of supremacists, who were also bigots, who were also anti-gay, anti-woman, and anti-trans. That’s what white supremacy has come to be an umbrella for. And so any element of American history that shows a predominant American greatness must be ascribed to white supremacy and white privilege and therefore is disqualified as legitimate.
And any op-ed such as this that suggests a return to the timeless values for humanity all over the world, I mean, there’s some things you hear that are distinctly American, but we’re basically talking human values: hard work, rugged individualism, self-reliance, those are things we’re born with. They have to be beaten out of people. They have to be raised out of people. Those kind of things have to be actively suppressed in people, because those things are the natural inclination of human beings, most of them.
Not all, because, I mean, some people are born to be helpless and incompetent and incapable, but that is more than canceled out by the number of people who are just filled with get up and go, self-reliance, desire, ambition, unstoppable desire and confidence. Those are two primary ingredients that most Americans are born with, and they have to be beaten out of people. Life has a way of doing that. You can show up your first day of school confident and so forth and face hazing, any number of things, and those things can be beaten out of you. It happens to people. I acknowledge this.
But two aspects of this op-ed have generated the most outrage. The authors, Amy Wax and Larry Alexander, observed that cultures are, quote, “not all equal in preparing people to be productive in an advanced economy.” In other words, some cultures are not as good as other cultures at helping, at preparing, at teaching, at inspiring people to be productive in an advanced economy.
“Their critics pounced on this statement as a bigoted, hate-filled violation of the multicultural ethic. In his response, Penn’s Dean Ruger proclaimed that ‘as a scholar and educator I reject emphatically any claim that a single cultural tradition is better than all others.'”
But that’s not what they said. You see how this happens? They didn’t say anything or anybody was any better than anybody else. They said all cultures are not equal in preparing people to be productive in an advanced economy. They argued that the bourgeois culture is better than an underclass culture. I hate the word “bourgeois” thrown in here. Some people think it means what it doesn’t. Basically we’re talking the middle class here. Middle class, work-ethic culture has far more value than an underclass dependency culture does. That’s all they’re saying.
RUSH: The other offense in this op-ed, according to all the professors at the University of Pennsylvania law school and the dean, the offense of extolling the 1950s as something worthwhile. “Nostalgia for the 1950s breezes over the truth of inequality and exclusion.”
This was written by five faculty members at Penn reacting to the op-ed. But Mr. Alexander and Ms. Wax expressly acknowledge that era’s racial discrimination, limited sex roles — they talked about all that in their piece. They were talking about cultural values that were timeless and successful, regardless what other things might have been wrong. The thing about this is, in all of the reaction, in all of the hyperbolic, paranoid, negative reaction among peers, law professors and the dean, there wasn’t one attempt to actually engage with any of the arguments.
Just like the critics of this program. Never, never engage in an argument. They just call me names. They just call me racist, sexist, bigot, homophobe, in an effort to discredit me so that what I say has no value to people that hear it. And that’s exactly what the reaction to this op-ed is: an attack on the two authors as racists, bigots, transphobes, homophobes, white supremacists.
The dean at the University of Pennsylvania announced that Larry Alexander, who was a cowriter of the op-ed and also a professor there, the dean said that his views “were not ‘representative of the views of our law school community’ and suggested that they were insensitive to ‘many students’ who feel ‘vulnerable, marginalized or fearful that they are not welcomed.’ He did not raise any specific objections to Mr. Alexander’s arguments.”
He just reacted with the usual left wing narrative spin diatribe. And the overall reaction, “People are hurting. There’s insufferable pain. And there’s marginalization over the inequality. And students are just scared, and it’s horrible, and it’s hard. It’s hard enough to get through the day without having to read that we need to return to the days of white supremacy to make America great when the teachers are trying to get everybody not to believe that.” It’s incredible. This piece, you read it and think we’ve lost this. We’re not in the process of losing; it’s gone.
RUSH: I’ll tell you what this op-ed proves, folks. I can’t tell you the number of people asking me, “When did this happen? How long have students been this helpless and scared on campus that we call ’em snowflakes? When did all this focus on white supremacy and white privilege, when did this stuff begin? When did all this liberalism hit?”
Now, I made the point, people are not born thinking this way. They’re not born thinking anything. That’s the thing about human beings, they have to be raised, inculcated, educated, propagandized, you name it, and this story is as instructive as anything I could give you to show you what is happening to kids at college and that the college faculty, academe, is one of the large homes of this massive, extreme move to the far left. Tenured liberal communist professors who have unfettered access to the children that are in their classrooms. And depending on how those kids arrive, meaning how they’ve been raised and what they already think, they are probably easy marks for these professors.
Get the reaction from the law school dean. Now, all that’s happened here — I’m gonna wrap this up and I’m gonna get back to your calls. All that happened was two law school professors, one from University of Pennsylvania, one from University of San Diego, wrote a piece claiming that one of the fixes for what’s wrong with America would be a return to values that many grew up with in the 1950s that rewarded hard work and discipline and self-reliance.
You know, figure out what you want to do and being serious about it, don’t make the mistake of having children before you get married. Don’t make any of the other cultural mistakes that are there to make that people can avoid with the right kind of motivation, instruction, and fear. Don’t become part of the dependency class. Don’t become part of the lower middle class or even lower where you become dependent, where you’re incapable of taking care of yourself.
Do just the opposite. Do what you’re born with, be what you’re born to be. We were all raised this way. In fact, one of the things that’s in trouble today, just the simple philosophy: work hard, be devoted, be patient, and you will have the future you desire, even that is under assault. And you know why? Because so many young people are becoming instant billionaires writing software programs that major corporations then buy for a billion here, $800 million over there.
I’m not criticizing it. I run into a lot of people that do. I wish I could remember where it was. Oh! It was on the guy golf trip to Hawaii. One of the guys playing golf has a friend whose son is 14 and just became a millionaire writing a video game that somebody bought, and he couldn’t get over it. The guy’s worked all his life and still hasn’t earned a million dollars and the kid, who’s 14, and he was livid by it. He was unbelieving. There’s something about that that wasn’t right.
I said, “You can’t look at it that way. The kid has a talent that’s being rewarded by the market.”
“Yeah, but 14? A millionaire at 14?” Yeah. But the fact is that this is happening, and when it does, it’s one of the biggest arguments against patience and work hard and all that stuff. Back in the fifties, you weren’t, quote, allowed to be a success until you were 40, meaning the adult cultural back then. You weren’t gonna be rewarded with a big vice presidency or big responsibility with big compensation ’til you’d lived long enough to prove you could be trusted with it, to prove that you were valuable and worthwhile. It took time to prove these things.
Well, today, there isn’t that patience. That’s what these two op-ed writers were suggesting, that for the vast majority of people, that philosophy is still applicable, it’s still workable, it’s still doable. Not everybody’s gonna become an overnight millionaire writing a video game, for example. So how are you gonna get there? If you don’t have a talent writing video games, if you’re not an athlete, how you gonna get there? Hard work, find out what you want to do, stay on the straight and narrow, all these things.
They wrote an op-ed about it, and the university faculty went nuts claiming that’s a return to white supremacy. And these two professors that wrote it are being ostracized. And listen to what the dean of the University of Pennsylvania law school has done. His name is Ruger, and he has promised more classes, more speakers and workplaces on racism, more training on racial sensitivity and a new committee to devise further diversity measures, stronger racial preferences will most certainly follow. The implication of all of this is that the law school faculty is full of bigots and that we didn’t know it until these two wrote this op-ed. And so we need to go even harder in our opposition to white supremacy and racism and bigotry.
All because an op-ed in a newspaper, not might have, it did literally upset psychologically the dean of the law school and presumably all the students are simply not tough enough to deal with this. So we are raising a bunch of snowflakes. We are raising a bunch of people that are becoming totally dependent on authority. We’re not raising people to be courageous and bold. We are accommodating silly, invisible, nonexistent fears about silly, nonexistent behaviors.
You couldn’t put the number of white supremacists in this country in a phone booth. It’s a long answer to the question. You think a lot of people that don’t like Trump are gonna turn around and be woken up by — some will. But just as many are gonna be scared to death. By the time the professors get through with Trump’s U.N. speech, the kids on many university campuses are gonna think, “Oh, my God, nuclear war! Oh, my God,” ’cause Trump’s making ’em mad.