We previously wrote about Amy Wax (comparing her to Queen Dido!), an extremely accomplished academic with a background in neuroscience, medicine, and law, now under attack by the Left. Through the power of nagging, we managed to grab an hour of her time for a very interesting conversation.
These are trying times for the valiant professor. For daring to articulate conservative views (rather mild ones by the standards of this website), she is now under attack by her employer, the University of Pennsylvania. Demanding her firing, the goblin dean of her law school has emptied on her noble head a whole imbecilic bucket of leftist sewage – “Racist! Sexist! Waa!”
Readers of The Hebrew Conservative all hope that she may emerge triumphant.
On Battling the Left
We were happy to contribute to your legal fund and hope you will come out triumphant. Are you enjoying these battles?
Thank you and any publicity that you can get for it would be great. I do have lawyers fees that are rapidly accumulating – these very large very wealthy universities that are arrayed against you and that’s how they try to wear you down and drive you away.
Am I enjoying this? Well, not really, I’d rather be writing stuff and reading stuff as professors do. My summer is kind of trashed. They do intend to trash your summer, that’s all part of the plan. I teach a course in law and neuroscience, I have ideas for articles and book reviews and the like. Obviously, I can’t publish in law reviews because they are all woke, but there are a lot of outlets that I get published in, like Claremont. So I would like to focus on what I am writing, but I can’t do that because really this is a full-time job.
That’s a downer.
Yes, but I think the way I keep myself going and inspire myself to fight is that I see it indeed as a war. There’s a reason they call it a “culture war,” and I tell my students that. A lot of students reach out to me, not just conservative students, but students who are completely upset by what’s happening on campus. They are really afraid of their fellow students and rightly so.
Fearful of what?
They are fearful that if they say anything they will be punished and penalized. So, as a result, there is a ghastly pall over most of the classes – there aren’t discussions going anymore because nobody dares to say anything. So I told my students that I am going to hang in there. I think it would be very discouraging for them if I cut and run. That’s a big factor that’s motivating me.
On Brahmins and Jews
After your Tucker Carlson interview, which was incredibly impressive, I wrote a panegyric about you, did you get a chance to read it?
I didn’t read it in detail. You have to understand that I am overwhelmed with messages and also litigation.
No offense taken. In any case, you pointed a finger at the highly observable phenomenon of the Brahmin corporate lady, coming here from India, then immediately dumping on America as racist, sexist, etc., becoming angry cultural warriors.
I love the culture warrior label because that is indeed what they are doing. They are out there on the barricades, yet they are saying I am the culture warrior.
Can’t the same critique though be pointed at American Jews? Dumping incessantly on America?
Oh totally. I get a ton of mail and messaging about that interview – most of it just abuse and vilification – but, some of it pretty intelligent, and a common question is “What about the Jews, why are you letting them off the hook?”
Well, I am not. I said in another interview that Jews have a lot to answer for. They are a very successful group, they’ve risen to the top and have a tremendous amount of cultural influence in the media and entertainment and the universities and publishing, you name it. If it’s an intellectual sphere, they are in it. And I am very disappointed in how they have used that influence. I think they have used it in ways that have in some respects been very disruptive and very intolerant of the fact that this country contains people that don’t agree with their kind of Davos-man cosmo-universalistic super-rights-based lefty ideology.
They don’t like dissent.
They really oppose it and they oppose it whether it is for sound reasons or just due to people just thinking differently. And they have utter contempt for those thinking differently and are determined politically to mow them down.
Was it always like this?
Yes, and no. I might have told this anecdote elsewhere. I remember years ago when I was a little kid, my parents were arguing over the local public school having Christmas pageants and Christmas carols and basically acting very Christian. My mother was very indignant. But my dad simply said, “Judy, it’s a Christian nation, they got here first. You have to understand that this town is overwhelmingly Christian, let them have it, it doesn’t hurt you.” So he basically said, “Judy shut up.”
I remember sitting at the dinner table like it was yesterday thinking, “He’s right. You know, he’s got the better of this let me tell you.” And of course, I loved the Christmas pageants. I loved the Christmas carols, I love the hallelujah chorus. I wasn’t harmed or traumatized by it in any way. Nor did I feel like they were trying to get me to practice their religion. That was absurd.
So where does it come from?
I’ll give you the most charitable explanation. I think that Jews have been mistreated throughout history and they have been treated as threatening outsiders. They have been under siege in Christian societies. They have experienced some horrible things. Including a massive attempt at genocide. But the problem is when they came to this country they just couldn’t shake that underdog mentality.
So basically unloading their PTSD on the good people of America.
That’s how they do it, right? Making common cause with the black community. Which, at the beginning of civil rights I could certainly see. But now, with BLM’s determination to DEMOLISH the legacy of the enlightenment is just really whacko and incredibly dangerous and destructive. I mean an attempt to take us from the first world to the third world is what they are doing. And for Jews to be complicit in that…
When we do become a third-world hybrid of Honduras and Bangladesh, who’s going to be suffering first?
Jews! For the whole woke thing to be spearheaded by Jews, I’m sorry, but I can’t understand it. All I can say is that Jews are having fewer and fewer children. So, maybe that critical part of the Covenant which not only commands respect for those who come before but also solicitude for those who come after, maybe that part of Judaism is just gone. The part about maintaining that thread of continuity and loyalty among the generations.
That’s a very Burkean view of Judaism!
Not too many people in influential positions seem to oppose this woke revolution. Why?
I see it in academia a lot. Males, white males, people of high achievement come to me grumbling, “Oh, we hate wokeness, it’s so stupid!” But they have theirs and they don’t care. They care not a whit for the people coming behind them. If they did, they would stand up and stick their necks out and show some courage. But I don’t see any beyond a few cases.
Where do you think this lack of courage comes from? Fear of destitution?
The number one reason is just plain old selfishness. Wanting to have a nice peaceful comfortable life, go up to whitetopia for your summer or Stockbridge or Maine or wherever then prattle on about diversity from a very nondiverse place. Just not wanting to make trouble for themselves, for their families, for their wives. By the way, you know their wives tend to be more leftist than they are. Also, just a broad generalization, but I’m going to make it anyway, the wives tend to be much less sophisticated in their thinking about intellectual issues, intellectual integrity, the value of free speech, etc.
They want their children and grandchildren to get into good schools which is interesting. They want their little Caitlyn or little Jared to get into Princeton, but at the same time, they are refusing to safeguard those kids’ futures by defending the meritocracy.
Well, unless Jared or Caitlyn are going to come out as trans or be adopted by a black lesbian they would find it extremely difficult nowadays to get into a prestigious school.
Well, yes. When will that start to bite? We’ll see.
On Jewish (non) Achievement
You are clearly incredibly accomplished. A neurologist, a law professor at elite universities. To me, you represent this zenith of Jewish achievement that was very clear back in the day in the states. I’m thinking about Jewish violinists, pianists, physicists, astrophysicists, scientists, and obviously the normal cadre of doctors and lawyers. Do you think this culture of accomplishment is still a thing or are we seeing Jews becoming HR ladies and management consultants like me? I go a lot to the symphony and I can’t remember the last time I saw a Jewish violinist or pianist or conductor.
This is a wonderfully fascinating question, and we need more candid social science on this. Of course, no one will touch this with a ten-foot pole. It just shows you how corrupted the social sciences are, that there are forbidden topics. I would love to see someone do a study on millennial Jews, gen-z Jews, etc. Yes, there are fewer and fewer Jews in medical school. There are still some in law schools and they do excel, but fewer and fewer. So what the heck are Jewish kids doing? Filmmaking, finance? I don’t know. How can I know, I haven’t done the social science. This is a quantitative question.
The second question is has the fire in the belly diminished. Well, sure it has because Jews are no longer first-generation or second-generation immigrants. They are part of the ruling class. They are very affluent. Their parents have made it. They feel liberated to kind of kick back, relax, become filmmakers, or whatever.
My son, perhaps an exception, went to a summer math program in high school, the Ross Program. His director was delighted and said, “Wow! You guys are like the last remnants, it’s like the old times again!”
The Diminishing Meritocracy
What’s happening in medicine?
You know, there used to be a kind of a golden era for all sorts of reasons in medical innovation in this country. And the demography [of the researchers] was a piece of it. Hard to know how big a piece that was. Now of course medical schools are busy demolishing the meritocracy – they have massive amounts of affirmative action. Is that going to affect our progress in medical research? I’m going to make a prediction – it will! Luckily I’ll probably be dead by then, but my children won’t be! And my grandchildren won’t be! So, yeah it’s concerning. It’s very concerning. But, the powers that be have this totally ideological conviction, with no evidence behind it, that people from all backgrounds are all equally well equipped to contribute to a field like academic medicine [and therefore quotas must be established].
And if there is a difference in accomplishment, it can only be explained by racism, right?
Yes, that’s the one orthodox explanation. You wonder why people do research in this area when they can just go straight to the conclusion. We’d save a lot of money and time. There is only one explanation. Only one conclusion. And they will fit whatever they observe into that paradigm one way or another. Behavior never has anything to do with it. Neither do the choices that people make. Nor their outlook, their cultural orientation, their interests – none of the stuff that motivates people to do one thing vs another.
So, there’s just this dogma that cannot be penetrated. This grand experiment is underway, and the question is what will the result of the experiment be? And I just can’t help but think that it won’t be good, whatever it is.
Immigration. And more about the Jews.
The woke experiment is supported unfortunately by demographic change. We’ve had a policy of mass immigration that is tilted toward very non-European parts of the globe for the last sixty years or so. And once again, you see a lot of Jewish involvement through Jewish agencies, organizations, and just cheerleading this. But it’s like a golem rising against its creator because clearly Jews suffer from this – the Muslims that attack Jews on campuses and after every Israeli operation in Gaza clearly didn’t come on the Mayflower. Why do you think Jews keep encouraging mass immigration?
Once again, on some level, I am totally mystified by it because it seems so obvious to me that different cultures are different in their levels of achievement, starkly so. And we don’t understand why it is so, so why would we want to mess with this kind of universalistic dogma when we don’t understand the roots of our first-world institutions and folkways? So, any conservative would say, let’s stick with Europeans as the dominant group. That’s what’s worked so far and we need that in order to maintain what we are doing.
They [Jews, promoters of mass immigration] are in the grip of this powerful feel-good ideology of “everybody is the same, everybody has the same potential, it does not matter where you come from, who you are.” Anybody who suggests otherwise is an evil, evil person who deserves to be eradicated. All of this obviously is in the teeth of the truth that cultures are not equal in their achievements. I don’t know where this quote came from, but putting a man on the moon is not the same as putting a bone in your nose.
Is it really a “feel-good ideology” or just meanness and resentment? Based on my experience in America, there is indeed this latent layer of resentment amongst many American Jews towards white Christians. The way they talk about evangelicals and Trump supporters, “gun-toting Walmart shoppers.”
I think it’s more complicated than resentment. I would say that when my parents talked about the “Goyim”, my parents were very observing and very insular, I heard threads of both fear and contempt. They looked down on the so-called Goyim as kind of stupid and feckless and in many ways, although not all, morally loose. The whole Christian religion was foreign and puzzling to them, whereas they saw Judaism as much more pragmatic and practical.
But, also fear. Fear because Jews were in the minority and they were on some level whether rationally or not – and I actually never saw any evidence that it was justified – fearful of oppression, of persecution, which they carried over from the old country. Now I know that Jews were not admitted into the Ivy League and were often excluded from professional settings. But as a result, they established their own law firms and businesses which ended up being wildly successful. I’m not saying there was no antisemitism or exclusion, but there certainly wasn’t any persecution in the kind of pogroms.
I guess you could call it resentment in a way, but I don’t think that really captures it. It’s that weird mix of contempt, condescension, fear, you name it.
Growing up in Israel, going through the Israeli education system, you learn about antisemitism as something that’s completely irrational. But then one of my weirdest experiences coming here, seeing the behavior of many (not all) American Jews, and realizing they actually manifest some of these antisemitic caricatures. At some level, you begin to understand antisemitism as a rational defense mechanism against an element that seems determined to undo the host society. Thoughts?
Well, antisemitism is a strong word and I don’t like it. Because it’s abused, like racism, to shut down a discussion. I think there are negative responses to Jews that are criticisms, some of which not unjustified. I’ve made that that kind of criticism which is, please don’t abuse your privileges, don’t abuse your position. Try to understand that you are a minority, not everybody shares your outlook, and not everybody wants to live the way you think they should live. You know, stay your hand. That’s not an attitude that a lot of liberal Jews have, let me tell you. Their attitude is we know the way and we have a vision of utopia. And we are going to do everything in our power to bring it about.
Classic Jewish radicalism.
Yes, they are neo-Marxists. A lot of elements of Marx, universalism, utopianism. Utopian thinking is of course a favorite of intellectuals, and Jews are intellectuals. And, all of that stuff is mixed up together. I’m very much resistant to the notion that any criticism is antisemitism. It’s like how any criticism of black people is racism. This is Ibram Kendi stuff. It paralyzes everyone.
I am of two minds about that. Probably every [politically] conservative Jew in my area has reached out to me, so they are definitely out there. And the young people are out there too, not just the Jews. An amazing number of Asians actually. Especially men, women are hopeless. All the cliches and stereotypes about women, as you said about some other stereotypes, turn out to be valid.
As to the Jews, you have to step back and see. Jews are upper middle class, they’re going to take the attitudes of that group, and they are part of the leadership of that group. With the rise of the Orthodox, who are out-reproducing everybody there is some hope. But they are also kind of apolitical and pragmatic, supporting anybody who will leave them alone.
I actually think Jews are pretty much hopeless. The Hispanic community offers some hope but it’s a mixed bag, time will tell. I think there is a lot of potential for Asians to move right because they really depend on the meritocracy. And boy, the lefties are just bound to dismantle the meritocracy by hook or by crook!
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