The war on wisdom

(Our guest poster today is the incomparable Dennis Prager who often guest posts on The Moon, unbeknownst to him. Were I to have a guru, I would choose Prager although he’s a bit younger than I am, and I don’t know if that’s permissible.)

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THERE IS MORE knowledge available today than ever before in history. But few would argue people are wiser than ever before.

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On the contrary, many of us would argue that we are living in a particularly foolish time — a period that is largely wisdom-free, especially among those with the most knowledge: the best educated.

The fact that one of our two major political parties is advocating lowering the voting age to 16 is a good example of the absence of wisdom among a large segment of the adult population.

What adult deems 16-year-olds capable of making a wise voting decision? The answer is an adult with the wisdom of a 16-year-old — “Hey, I’m no wiser than most 16-year-olds. Why should I have the vote and they not?”

America has been influenced and is now being largely led by members of the baby-boom generation. This is the generation that came up with the motto “Never trust anyone over 30,” making it the first American generation to proclaim contempt for wisdom as a virtue.

Boomers are the first American generation to proclaim contempt for wisdom as a virtue.

The left in America is founded on the rejection of wisdom. It is possible to be on the left and be kind, honest in business, faithful to one’s spouse, etc. But it is not possible to be wise if one subscribes to leftist (as opposed to liberal) ideas.*

Last year, Amy Wax, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, co-authored an opinion piece in the Philadelphia Inquirer with a professor from the University of San Diego School of Law in which they wrote that the “bourgeois culture” and “bourgeois norms” that governed America from the end of World War II until the mid-1960s were good for America, and that their rejection has caused much of the social dysfunction that has characterized this country since the 1960s.

Those values included, in their words: “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.”

Rejection of bourgeois norms has caused much of the social dysfunction that has characterized this country since the 1960s.

Recognizing those norms as universally beneficial constitutes wisdom. Rejection of them constitutes a rejection of wisdom — i.e. foolishness.

Yet the left almost universally rejected the Wax piece, deeming it, as the left-wing National Lawyers Guild wrote, “an explicit and implicit endorsement of white supremacy,” and questioning whether professor Wax should be allowed to continue teaching a required first-year course at Penn Law.

To equate getting married before having children, working hard and eschewing substance abuse and crime with “white supremacy” is to betray an absence of wisdom that is as depressing as it breathtaking. It is obvious to anyone with a modicum of common sense that those values benefit anyone who adheres to them; they have nothing to do with race.

But almost every left-wing position (that differs from a liberal or conservative position) is bereft of wisdom.

Is the left-wing belief in the notion of “cultural appropriation” — such as the left’s recent condemnation of a white girl for wearing a Chinese dress to her high school prom — wise? Or is it simply moronic?

Is the left-wing belief that there are more than two genders wise? Or is it objectively false, foolish and nihilistic?

Has the left-wing belief that children need (unearned) self-esteem turned out to be wise, or morally and psychologically destructive? To its credit, last year, the Guardian wrote a scathing exposé on the “lie” — its word — the self-esteem movement is based on and the narcissistic generation it created.

Is it wise to provide college students with “safe spaces” — with their hot chocolate, stuffed animals and puppy videos — in which to hide whenever a conservative speaker comes to their college? Or is it just ridiculous and infantilizing?

Is the left’s rejection of many, if not most, great philosophical, literary and artistic works of wisdom on the grounds that they were written or created by white males wise? One example: The English department of the University of Pennsylvania, half of whose law school professors condemned Amy Wax and almost none of whose law professors defended her piece, removed a portrait of William Shakespeare (replacing it with that of a black lesbian poet).

Is multiculturalism, the idea that no culture is superior to another morally or in any other way wise? Isn’t it the antithesis of wisdom, whose very premise is that certain ideas are morally superior to others, and certain literary or artistic works are superior to others?

And the veneration of feelings over truth, not to mention wisdom, is a cornerstone of leftism.

Here’s one way to test my thesis: Ask left-wing friends what they have done to pass on wisdom to their children. Most will answer with a question: “What do you mean?” Then ask religious Jewish or Christian friends the same question. They won’t answer with a question.

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*”The usurpation of the word ‘liberal’ by the left has been a catastrophe.” — Dennis Prager.

Slandering of America

BEEN FOLLOWING the news lately?

If you have, you’ve no doubt heard, time after sickening time, that America is a nation steeped in “white supremacy.” That accusation is being tossed about liberally, pardon the expression, by people who desperately want to denigrate the U.S. and our history.

To them, Dylann Roof is far more than an evil psycho who slaughtered innocents in a Charleston church. He is, to America-bashers, a natural consequence of our “white supremacist” culture — driven to kill by his hatred of blacks and his love of the Confederate flag.

The misguided people using Charleston to denounce America should answer a simple question: Why are so many “people of color,” to use that trendy phrase, clamoring to move to the U.S.? Are they ignorant, masochistic or blind? Perhaps all of the above?

flagNever mind the tens of millions of Mexicans who have found their way north. What about the immigrants from Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and other black nations in sub-Saharan Africa?

According to a report put out by the pro-immigration Migration Policy Institute, “Black Africans are among the fastest-growing groups of U.S. immigrants.” In fact, the number of blacks moving from Africa to the U.S. doubled over the past decade.

Again, why are they so eager to come to a country where “white supremacy” rules? It would be akin to black Africans migrating to South Africa in the heyday of Apartheid.

These black immigrants are living proof that many on the left are flat-out lying about America. Lying on a nightly basis, lying with impunity, lying without any fear of being challenged by our sniveling, cowardly media.

Our opinion-shapers deserve credit for accomplishing something truly astounding. Thanks to them, it is now considered racially insensitive to describe America as a “land of opportunity.” If you want respect and tenure at a prestigious university, forget that “opportunity” stuff and start talking about “white supremacy.” Yeah, that’s the ticket!

Consider a few of the ridiculous statements put out by academic types on national TV over the past week. “We are a society that values white people over people of color.” … “We are mired in prejudice and racism.” … “The source of the problem is white supremacy.”

The hosts and the anchors tend to nod in passive agreement, terrified of challenging the slander and thus being accused of racism themselves. Yes, we have reached a very strange point where running down your own country is considered a badge of honor, a sign of intelligence and sophistication.

This shameful episode is more proof of the adage put forth by ol’ Mark Twain: “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” Well, right now the truth is standing in its bare feet while a bare-faced lie is being spread around the globe.

The truth is evident to most clear-thinking Americans. Our nation, like all others, is flawed. Many of our forefathers condoned slavery, brutalized American Indians, and looked the other way when racial discrimination was codified by law.

More truth: There are still anti-black bigots in the U.S., but it is a grotesque lie to claim the country is defined by them. They wield little influence and power; they are generally dismissed as solitary losers. Even when one of them, namely Dylann Roof, takes out his gun and becomes a terrorist.

Roof’s carnage inspired the very best in many precincts. There was the immediate and incredible willingness of many Christians, particularly black Christians, to offer forgiveness. The act of terror also brought out America’s worst — the politicians and pundits who seem almost gleeful now that they have another opportunity to diminish this country.

When it comes to race and America, not only do many on the left see the glass as half-empty, they’re certain it’s about to fall and small into thousands of shards that will injure people. And most of the victims will, of course, be minorities.

Sadly, the race hustlers and liars are winning the war of words right now. They will continue to win unless and until truth-tellers fight back. Yes, we may get labeled bigots or worse, but the truth is on our side: This is the greatest, most welcoming and most diverse country in the history of the planet Earth.

The U.S. remains a land of opportunity. But don’t ask an Ivy League humanities professor about that. Ask a Nigerian cab driver or a Kenyan scientist. They know the real truth about the United States of America.

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The above is The Unseen Moon’s first-ever guest column. It was authored by Bill O’Reilly of Fox News.