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Amy Wax and white supremacy

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After the latest Amy Wax controversy, I read her article that her talk at the National Conservatism conference was based on, as she suggested that critics of that talk, like Zach Beauchamp, do.

Although I read it a couple of days ago, I haven’t blogged about it yet, in part because I’m genuinely at a loss. The article is a thoroughly shocking and disgusting piece of work, that I don’t have time at this moment to critique in detail. (As a purely academic matter, it’s also shoddy and amateurish almost beyond belief).

Here I want to mention just one aspect of the piece, which is that it references the views of John Derbyshire, Steve Sailer, and Jared Taylor approvingly, in the sense of insisting that they are putting forth a viewpoint which has been unfairly marginalized. She also attempts a rehabilitation of Enoch Powell’s infamous 1968 “rivers of blood” speech. (This was such a shocking piece of racial demagoguery that it got Powell sacked from the Tory shadow cabinet, and effectively ended his aspirations for political leadership. He is still considered a hero by National Front types to this day.)

Derbyshire, Sailer, and Taylor are unambiguous and unapologetic white supremacists. To put it another way, if these writers aren’t white supremacists, then the phrase has no meaning. A few representative quotes from each:

Taylor:

“Blacks and whites are different. When blacks are left entirely to their own devices, Western civilization — any kind of civilization — disappears.”

“We have a bubbling successful melting pot in this country so long as the ingredients are essentially European.” 

Sailer:

America`s relatively brief experiment with a generous welfare state was doomed by our African-American population. America tried to import the two fundamentals of the Swedish welfare state—high welfare payments and an end to social disapproval of illegitimacy—beginning about 1961. In parts of the U.S., such as heavily Scandinavian Minnesota, this worked reasonably well. But American voters were confronted with stunning speed with the realization that African-Americans responded differently than Swedes did to the new incentive structures. Welfare allowed much of African-American society to revert to African-style family structures.

What you won’t hear, except from me, is that ‘Let the good times roll’ is an especially risky message for African-Americans. The plain fact is that they tend to possess poorer native judgment than members of better-educated groups. Thus they need stricter moral guidance from society. … In contrast to New Orleans, there was only minimal looting after the horrendous 1995 earthquake in Kobe, Japan — because, when you get down to it, [the] Japanese aren’t blacks.

Derbyshire:

Leaving aside the intended malice, I actually think “White Supremacist” is not bad semantically. White supremacy, in the sense of a society in which key decisions are made by white Europeans, is one of the better arrangements History has come up with. There have of course been some blots on the record, [!!!] but I don’t see how it can be denied that net-net, white Europeans have made a better job of running fair and stable societies than has any other group

(10a) Avoid concentrations of blacks not all known to you personally.
(10b) Stay out of heavily black neighborhoods.
(10c) If planning a trip to a beach or amusement park at some date, find out whether it is likely to be swamped with blacks on that date (neglect of that one got me the closest I have ever gotten to death by gunshot).
(10d) Do not attend events likely to draw a lot of blacks.
(10e) If you are at some public event at which the number of blacks suddenly swells, leave as quickly as possible.
(10f) Do not settle in a district or municipality run by black politicians.

That’s enough for now I think.

In her article, Wax insists that the views of these gentlemen on questions of immigration policy should be treated with respect and seriousness, as she describes them only as “right-of-center” authors. After all, they are merely putting forth a certain viewpoint — the correctness of white supremacy as a political and sociological matter — which has been unfairly maligned and marginalized in the American academy. (She also recommends that readers consult the pages of VDARE for unconventional wisdom on these matters. VDARE is a white supremacist publication, named after Virginia Dare, supposedly the first “white” child born in the Americas, if one assumes the wogs begin at Calais).

I don’t have time at the moment to go into this in greater detail — I will shortly — but there is a great deal more to say about this.

For now, this poses what I believe is a very difficult question: What should an academic institution do when when of its tenured senior faculty members tries through her work to mainstream white supremacy, which is what Wax is very clearly doing?

One obvious step is to refuse to assign her to teach required classes, in which students have no choice of instructor. Penn to its credit has already done that. Is that it? This isn’t a rhetorical question.

We are at a moment of real political and moral crisis, and rote invocations of academic freedom are not, I think, adequate to the moment. I don’t know what the answer ought to be, but it shouldn’t be (just) that, certainly.

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