Let’s start with a quiz. With which of the following admonitions below would you disagree?
- 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 employee or client.
- Be a patriot, ready to serve the country.
- Be neighborly, civic-minded, and charitable.
- Avoid course language in public.
- Be respectful of authority.
- Eschew substance abuse and crime.
Knowing my audience, I am sure that you would not disagree with any of the above. You might even ask, “How could anyone disagree”? But, then, you look at our country today and realize that millions of people do, in fact, live lives that reflect a total disdain for these admonitions.
The aforementioned points were part of an op-ed written by Amy Wax and Larry Alexander and published in the Philadelphia Inquirer last August. Wax is a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania, and Alexander is a law professor at the University of San Diego. The dominant theme of their essay is that the middle-class values of the 1940s and 50s, which benefited people of all backgrounds, led to “social coherence” and a better society overall.
However, the authors add that, beginning in the 1960s, those values have come under constant attack, led by the “chattering classes–academics, writers, artists, actors, and journalists–who relished liberation from conventional constraints and turned condemning America and reviewing its crimes into a class marker of virtue and sophistication.” Soon the color-blind dream of Martin Luther King, Jr. was replaced with an “obsession with race, ethnicity, gender, and now sexual preference.”
As you might guess, the authors were mocked and accused of insensitivity, sexism, and the old standby, racism. Thirty-three law school colleagues of Ms. Wax signed a letter condemning her ideas. Some students demanded that she be fired. To their credit, the authors have remained undaunted.
One wonders what the critics believe to be a better culture for America. Is it a culture that supports illegitimacy rates of nearly 80% in the inner cities and rejects the whole concept of marriage? Is it a culture that traps students in public schools filled with chaos and violence, depriving students of any prosperous future? Is it a culture that demands billions for welfare and, by doing so, encourages indolence? Is it a culture that sees the employer as an evil entity sucking the blood out of workers? Is it a culture that sees America as the greatest evil in this world and unworthy of respect? Is it a culture that sees revolution as a better alternative to the democratic process? Is it a culture that mocks religion as a backward superstition? Is it a culture that is crude and vulgar in language and obscene in art? Is it a culture that puts more value in sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll than life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?
Apparently, it’s all the above, which brings us to another key part of the professors’ op-ed: “All cultures are not equal. Or at least they are not equal in preparing people to be productive in an advanced economy.” Certain attitudes and behaviors are destructive to those who practice them.
As an illustration, let’s see how this would apply to illegal immigration. If the people sneaking into the United States were doctors, lawyers, authors, skilled tradesman, or nuclear physicists, they would bring two important qualities to the country. First, they would come with skills that would make a positive contribution to the economy because they would be eminently qualified for employment and not in need of government largesse. Second, because they would have already attained productive skills, they obviously would be part of a culture that values hard work, sacrifice, delayed satisfaction, and discipline–a perfect recipe for success.
Now compare that group with the millions of illegals who come into the country. Some are hardworking people and are willing to do difficult work to support themselves and their families. They want to be part of the American dream.
But millions are not like that at all. Many come here and immediately begin to access state and federal benefits. They cannot read and write, and their children will more than likely not finish high school. A majority of young women will become pregnant but will never marry, thus relying upon the state for more benefits. Far too many illegals are criminals before they come to America and will only hone their skills of fraud, drug-dealing, theft, assault, and murder once they are here. They have no love for this country, and, in many cases, despise it. They are bitter ne’er-do-wells and leeches on society. They are a culture of the most destructive kind.
It is frightening that the wisdom in the first paragraph can be denigrated and rejected so easily and so harshly. What is more frightening is the prospect that things will only get worse. One need only look at California to see where this nation may go. Consider the following statistics:
- 33% of all welfare recipients in the U.S. live in California.
- 22% of Californians live in poverty.
- 25% of all Californians were not born in the U.S.
- 2400 illegal immigrants are serving time in California prisons for the crime of homicide.
And yet there are many who demand open borders.
The future of America teeters on the edge of a cultural knife. If it falls the wrong way, then only doom and darkness await us.