American Dream
The concept of the "American Dream" has brought people to and provided hope for people in this country since its founding. However, there are those today who argue that the American Dream is in trouble, does not exist anymore, that there is no such thing as a "self made man", or, that government needs to provide special opportunities so that those of lesser circumstances can rise in this country. This is all complete B___ S___! Two quick examples: 1. In the year 2000, Dr. Ben Chavis took over The American Indian Public Charter School (AIPCS), a failed middle school, in Oakland, California. He not only turned it around, but brought it to the top in under 10 years! Not bad for Chavis, an American Indian raised in a sharecropper's shack with no electricity in North Carolina. You can read about his story, Crazy Like a Fox, here. 2. Arthur Burns, former Fed Chairman under Richard Nixon, was an immigrant from Galicia, the son of a housepainter who had risen to become the foremost expert on US economic cycles and chief economist to Dwight Eisenhower…. Bloomberg BusinessWeek August 8, 2011. There are millions of stories like these. I will guarantee that you have them in your family. People are still flooding into this country legally and otherwise to escape other parts of the world where this type of individual freedom to improve the circumstances of their birth still exists. The only thing stopping people today from realizing the American Dream is having a dream, having the desire (hard work and perseverance) to achieve that dream, and obstacles inserted by government over the last 40 years that reduces motivation. Those who believe the American Dream no longer exists are right, because their pessimism won't let them have the dream or invest the work necessary to achieve the dream. And, their misguided belief that you can legislate opportunity to replace motivation. Our challenge today is not to let those people continue to ruin the positive mindset of the people or continue to establish limits to freedom which provide the foundation for the American Dream.

Are We Free to Discuss America’s Real Problems?

2/7/18
by Amy Wax,
from Imprimus,
January, 2018:

There is a lot of abstract talk these days on American college campuses about free speech and the values of free inquiry, with plenty of lip service being paid to expansive notions of free expression and the marketplace of ideas. What I’ve learned through my recent experience of writing a controversial op-ed is that most of this talk is not worth much. It is only when people are confronted with speech they don’t like that we see whether these abstractions are real to them.

The op-ed, which I co-authored with Larry Alexander of the University of San Diego Law School, appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer on August 9 under the title, Paying the Price for the Breakdown of the Country’s Bourgeois Culture. It began by listing some of the ills afflicting American society: Too few Americans are qualified for the jobs available. Male working-age labor-force participation is at Depression-era lows. Opioid abuse is widespread. Homicidal violence plagues inner cities. Almost half of all children are born out of wedlock, and even more are raised by single mothers. Many college students lack basic skills, and high school students rank below those from two dozen other countries.

In what became perhaps the most controversial passage, we pointed out that cultures are not equal in terms of preparing people to be productive citizens in a modern technological society, and we gave some examples of cultures less suited to achieve this: The culture of the Plains Indians was designed for nomadic hunters, but is not suited to a First World, 21st-century environment. Nor are the single-parent, antisocial habits prevalent among some working-class whites; the anti-‘acting white’ rap culture of inner-city blacks; the anti-assimilation ideas gaining ground among some Hispanic immigrants. The reactions to this piece raise the question of how unorthodox opinions should be dealt with in academia—and in American society at large. It is well documented that American universities today, more than ever before, are dominated by academics on the left end of the political spectrum. How should these academics handle opinions that depart, even quite sharply, from their “politically correct” views? The proper response would be to engage in reasoned debate—to attempt to explain, using logic, evidence, facts, and substantive arguments, why those opinions are wrong. This kind of civil discourse is obviously important at law schools like mine, ... But academic institutions in general should also be places where people are free to think and reason about important questions that affect our society and our way of life—something not possible in today’s atmosphere of enforced orthodoxy.

So what happened after our op-ed was published last August? A raft of letters, statements, and petitions from students and professors at my university and elsewhere condemned the piece as racist, white supremacist, hate speech, heteropatriarchial, xenophobic, etc. There were demands that I be removed from the classroom and from academic committees. None of these demands even purported to address our arguments in any serious or systematic way.

A response published in the Daily Pennsylvanian, our school newspaper, and signed by five of my Penn Law School colleagues, charged us with the sin of praising the 1950s—a decade when racial discrimination was openly practiced and opportunities for women were limited. ... an open letter published in the Daily Pennsylvanian and signed by 33 of my colleagues.

Of the 33 who signed the letter, only one came to talk to me about it.

..........

Disliking, avoiding, and shunning people who don’t share our politics is not good for our country. We live together, and we need to solve our problems together. It is also always possible that people we disagree with have something to offer, something to contribute, something to teach us. We ignore this at our peril. As Heather Mac Donald wrote in National Review on August 29: “What if the progressive analysis of inequality is wrong . . . and a cultural analysis is closest to the truth? If confronting the need to change behavior is punishable ‘hate speech,’ then it is hard to see how the country can resolve its social problems.” In other words, we are at risk of being led astray by received opinion. The American way is to conduct free and open debate in a civil manner. We should return to doing that on our college campuses and in our society at large.

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