Amy Wax, a professor at Penn Law, has gravely jeopardized both her career and personal reputation, tip-toeing around the edge of the Overton Window, by questioning the absolute equality of mankind’s cultures.
In Nazi Germany, when somebody got this far out of line, they’d get a visit from the Gestapo. In the Soviet Union, it would be the N.K.V.D. rapping on the door. In contemporary America, the New Yorker sends a professional apparatchik like Isaac Chotiner to assassinate by interview.
If a politician with a history of anti-Semitism says, â€œThe Jews control a giant chunk of Hollywood,â€ and he starts ranting about that, do you think that the proper response is to say, â€œWell, letâ€™s investigate exactly how much power Jews have in Hollywood, and, if itâ€™s true that Jews have a lot of power in Hollywood, we should let this person rant about how much power the Jews have in Hollywood, because, after all, it is true?â€ And so anything that is true canâ€™t be racist. What do you think of my example there?
Well, here you go with the â€œracistâ€ again. I mean, is it true? Are there a lot of Jews in Hollywood? Yeah, there are. Letâ€™s start with thatâ€”there are a tremendous number of Jews, out of proportion to their numbers in the population within the universities, within the media, in the professions. We can ask all of these questions, and you know what? They admit of an answer. But essentially what the left is saying is: We canâ€™t even answer the question. We canâ€™t. Once weâ€™ve labelled something racist, the conversation stops. It comes to a halt, and we are the arbiters of what can be discussed and what canâ€™t be discussed. We are the arbiters of the words that can be used, of the things that can be said.
I can tell you, and, once again, this is just from the mail I get, from the e-mails I get, from the people I talk to, that kind of move is deeply resented.
Iâ€™m just trying to make a point about how something could be true but still racist or used in a racist manner. Not that I think that everything you said is true.
Once again, youâ€™d have to define racism. Youâ€™re basically saying any generalization about a group, whether true or falseâ€”and we know it doesnâ€™t apply to everybody in the group, because thatâ€™s just a straw manâ€”is racist. I mean, we could do â€œsexist,â€ right?
So, women, on average, are more agreeable than men. Women, on average, are less knowledgeable than men. Theyâ€™re less intellectual than men. Now, I can actually back up all those statements with social-science research.
You can send me links for women are â€œless intellectual than men.â€ Iâ€™m happy to include that in the piece if you have a good link for that.
O.K., well, thereâ€™s a literature in Britain, a series of papers that were done, and I need to look them up, that show that women are less knowledgeable than men. They know less about every single subject, except fashion. There is a literature out of Vanderbilt University that looks at women of very high abilityâ€”so, controlling for abilityâ€”and, starting in adolescence, women are less interested in the single-minded pursuit of abstract intellectual goals than men. They want more balance in their life. They want more time with family, friends, and people. Theyâ€™re less interested in working hard on abstract ideas. You can put together a database that shows that. The person who has the literature is a man named David Lubinski, and he shows that intelligence isnâ€™t whatâ€™s driving it. It is interest, orientation, what people want to spend their time doing.
Now, is that sexist? We can argue all day about whether it is sexist. We can argue from morning till night. And it is sterile. It is pointless. Letâ€™s talk about the actual findings and what implications they have for policy, for expectations.
[Wax sent links to two studies whose lead author is Richard Lynn, a British psychologist who is known for believing in racial differences in intelligence, supporting eugenics, and associating with white supremacists. (She also shared the Wikipedia page for â€œgeneral knowledge,â€ which cites several of Lynnâ€™s studies.) David Lubinski, a professor of psychology at Vanderbilt, clarified that his research was about the life choices of men and women and did not address claims such as women being less intellectual than men.]
Professor Wax, throughout the interview, is trying to identify the Progressive restriction of speech and thought as a serious national and academic problem. Chotiner, throughout the interview, is looking for some damaging quotes he can use to hang her.