According to Shakespeare the Ides of March did not work out too well for Julius Caesar. And right now, it doesn’t like the Ides are accompanied by a whole lot of good things happening in these United States. Consider just two items taken from the news:
In Defense of White Male Supremacy
The sudden collapse of Silicon Valley Bank has brought to light any number of considerations and concerns with respect to the banking industry in particular, and the financial services universe writ large. Commercial banking is not supposed to be in the business of risky business, but somehow SVB missed that memorandum and the entire banking biosphere is concerned, and rightfully so.
The pileup of Credit Suisse and Signature Bank and other banks are certainly evidence that the worse may be yet to come. The collective “we” are right to be worried.
And then along comes Senator Josh Hawley from Missouri, “The Show Me” state. And say what you will, Senator Hawley has certainly showed us.
You may remember him giving a fist salute to the assembled armed mob as it gathered outside the Capitol on January 6, 2021. And you may also remember him doing his best imitation of Usain Bolt as he sprinted for his life, fleeing from that same mob after it breached the Capitol.
He certainly showed us.
More recently, along with other white male supremacists, Hawley claimed that the reason for the collapse of SVB is that the board was too concerned with DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) concerns rather than focusing on the core business interests of the bank.
The unstated and underlying thought is that if the board consisted of white males who focused solely on the bottom line SVB would not have been so poorly managed and it certainly would not have crashed. Because, of course, white male executives are the epitome of excellence as opposed to all of those components of DEI, what with Blacks and Latinos and Asians men and women bringing their obvious lack of competence to the E-Suite and the board room.
Hawley need not apologize or retract his ignorant statement because he is saying what too many other Americans believe to be the case. No matter that white males were the senior managers of IBM when it turned down the opportunity to acquire Microsoft from a young Bill Gates and Paul Allen. No matter that white males were the senior managers when Lehman Brothers crashed, burned and died – the same being the case when the white male senior management of Kodak refused the opportunity to manufacture digital cameras.
The point is that no grouping of humans is particularly excellent or particularly inept because of race or gender or sexual choice. And the further point is that Hawley and his running partners are spectacularly ignorant in their efforts to resuscitate the dying ghost of white male supremacy.
Beware of Professor Amy Wax
It turns out that the University of Pennsylvania has at least two blemishes on an otherwise stellar reputation as one of the finest institutions of higher education in the United States. The first is that one its alumni goes by the name of Donald J. Trump. Although it is fair to note that the Great Ghoul of the G.O.P. until long after graduation. But still…it counts.
A much more egregious flaw at the University of Pennsylvania is that a tenured professor by the name of Amy Wax continues to teach at the university’s excellent law school. Here are just a few quotes dredged from the slime of her statements both in class and in public:
“…on average, Blacks have lower cognitive ability than whites”
“…non-Western people feel a tremendous amount of resentment and shame”
“…. some non-Western countries are shitholes” (another UPenn alumnus used the exact same quote – guess who?
“women, on average, are less knowledgeable than men” (Obviously Professor Wax is note referring to herself in that comparative statement)
Speaking of television ads – “They never show Blacks the way they really are: a bunch of single moms with a bunch of guys who float in and out. Kids by different men.”
“American Blacks and people from non-Western countries feel shame for the ‘outsized achievements and contributions’ of Western people”
And finally…” when blacks are left entirely to their own devices, Western Civilization – any kind of civilization – disappears”
These are not the rantings of some neo-Nazi white supremacist holed up in a Posse Comitatus compound somewhere in Idaho. These are public and classroom statements from a tenured professor where students incur a cost of $100,772 annually in order to have the advantage being a graduate of a law school with such a fine reputation for education and intellectual excellence.
Somehow, this renegade from common sense and common decency is allowed to continue to teach and besmirch the reputation of UPenn Law School because she is tenured and through some twisted interpretation of the notion of academic freedom and free speech.
But there are limits on rights and privileges. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes noted that the right of freedom of speech does not allow a person to yell “fire” in a crowded theater.
Similarly, in an institution of higher learning some stunted notion of decency and at least a gossamer connection to the truth would preclude an instructor from stating that the genocide committed against the indigenous people of North America or the Jewish people of Europe were somehow good and necessary acts in efforts to make the world a better place.
Finally, how or why would students who will incur $300,000 in law school expenses want to be at an institution that permits someone like Amy Wax to teach under the pretext of free speech and the protection of tenure.
And finally, finally – who are the students who still enroll in classes taught by Amy Wax? Are they ok being in a classroom with someone who wanders through the sewers of hate and racism and who might spew some of that hate and racism at any moment?
Somebody is not getting their money’s worth. That’s for sure.