One of my favorite definitions relating to the work I do came from the late Auberon Waugh. He defined opinion journalism as, quote, “the vituperative arts.“
Among current practitioners of those arts I know of none more skillful, erudite, and eloquent than Roger Kimball, editor of The New Criterion. I have just been enjoying an opinion piece Roger published on Wednesday at the website of the London Spectator.
Vituperative? Oh yeah. Sample, the subject here being our most prestigious institutions of higher education:
The educational establishment in its highest reaches is today a cesspool, contaminating the society it had been, at great expense, created to nurture.
Still, parents are willing to climb naked over broken bottles and impoverish themselves to send their children to this cauldron of iniquity.
[The Ivy League scolds come for Amy Wax, July 20, 2022]
The subject of the piece is the ongoing effort by the University of Pennsylvania Law School to kick out Professor Amy Wax, who has been teaching there for twenty years. Prof. Wax has tenure, which makes firing her difficult. The law school is very determined, though. Where there‘s a will, there‘s a way, and there is a mighty will at work here.
Tenured academics can of course be fired for grievous offenses—I think homicide would probably do the trick. Prof. Wax hasn‘t done anything that serious, though. What has she done?
What she has done, of course, is to utter heterodox opinions — opinions contrary to regime ideology. She has said and written things that displeased black activists at the university and their white…what‘s the word?…yes: allies, their white allies.
Five years ago, in a podcast interview with Economics Professor Glenn Loury (who is black, but sane), Prof. Wax said, apropos affirmative action, quote: “I don‘t think I‘ve ever seen a Black student graduate in the top quarter of the class, and rarely, rarely in the top half.“
The Dean of the law school, a typical academic-administrative reptile named Ruger, said that was false, quote from him: “Black students have graduated in the top of the class at Penn Law,“ end quote. When asked to provide supporting data from the law school‘s records, however, Dean Ruger refused to do so.
To this day no one at U. Penn has provided factual refutation of Prof. Wax‘s observation, although they could easily do so if the observation were false. The irresistible conclusion is that it is true, and Dean Ruger is a liar.
Prof. Wax has committed other offenses against regime dogma. She has praised bourgeois virtues like thrift, restraint, and hard work, said that some cultures are better than others at building stable, harmonious societies, and written that, quote, “the United States is better off with fewer Asians,“ end quote.
She may—I don‘t know, I‘m only speculating—Prof. Wax may, when making that last remark, have had in mind the pieces I have posted here at VDARE.com warning against the dangers of importing an overclass.
Be that as it may, I apparently have a bit part in the Amy Wax drama. Dean Ruger has drawn up a list of indictments against Prof. Wax and sent it to U. Penn‘s Faculty Senate, which makes the decisions on faculty disciplinary matters. Roger Kimball tells us that, quote:
Dean Ruger‘s list of Wax‘s violations is funny because it consists largely of truisms, laced here and there with evidence of guilt by association. For example, Wax has said nice things about John Derbyshire, a distinguished author but one who also has fallen foul of the cringing woke commissars in our culture.
Thank you for that, Sir. I had in fact already seen Dean Ruger‘s reference to me in Steve Sailer‘s VDARE post last weekend. It‘s the very first bullet point in Dean Ruger‘s list of crimes, quote:
Telling Black student Ayana Lewis …, who asked whether Wax agreed with panelist John Derbyshire‘s statements that Black people are inherently inferior to white people, that “you can have two plants that grow under the same conditions, and one will just grow higher than the other.“
The word “panelist“ there refers me having been on a panel in 2010 to discuss a book Prof. Wax had published. See Remarks at a Panel Discussion, University of Pennsylvania Law School, April 5, 2010.
Nothing in the subsequent bullet points—the list of Prof. Wax‘s offenses—is any less picayune than that. This is the kind of thing that creates a hurricane of outrage at our premier universities nowadays.
As Roger Kimball notes in his closing paragraph, though, Prof. Wax is “at the beginning of a long, wearying, and expensive legal fight.“ She has set up a GoFundMe campaign to help with the expenses. Please donate if you can.