FAIR Weekly Roundup
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Last week on our Substack we published an essay by FAIR Advisor and Kentucky State University political science professor Wilfred Reilly. In his essay, Reilly wrote about the “dangers of racialized medicine,” referring to New York state’s recently published guidelines for dispensing life-saving COVID-19 treatments along racial lines to make up for “long-standing systemic health and social inequalities.”
To someone who has swallowed modern Wokist philosophy hook, line, and sinker…New York’s COVID-19 policy might seem like the only logical and moral option. However, there are obvious factual and ethical problems with these unabashedly discriminatory proposals which the vast majority of Americans intuitively understand.
Factually, according to Reilly, it’s just not true that race per se is the root cause of many social inequities, citing “median age, culture, and geography” as commonly ignored factors. And ethically, he believes that “it is simply absurd to argue that guiltless citizens today should accept old-school racial discrimination in an attempt to compensate for theoretical or even proven bias in the distant past.”
Accompanying last week’s FAIR Perspectives podcast episode featuring FAIR Advisor Wilfred Reilly, we have also published a FAIR Advisor Spotlight profile of Reilly by journalist Sophie Lee. The profile covers his life and guiding philosophy of boldly engaging with unreason by using data to expose the truth.
There are certain beliefs within progressive circles that are taken as gospel—the police are racist; reverse discrimination does not exist; women are oppressed by the patriarchy. And to question these beliefs would be to risk excommunication. But despite this risk, Wilfred Reilly, a political science professor and author, interrogates dogma wherever he finds it.
The piece also highlights Reilly’s books attempting to bridge the ever-widening gap between popular narratives and reality on issues of race, which he believes may be driven by large businesses “profiting from overstating societal persecution,” which Reilly calls the “Continuing Oppression Narrative” hypothesis.
For the New York Times, FAIR Advisor John McWhorter discussed his reasons for opposing race-based affirmative action, a policy that is being reconsidered in the Supreme Court’s upcoming term in light of challenges to discriminatory admissions practices at Harvard and the University of North Carolina. According to McWhorter:
It’s not that I’m opposed utterly to affirmative action in the university context, admitting some students under different grade and test score standards than other students. I just think affirmative action should address economic disadvantage, not race or gender.
McWhorter believes that affirmative action in the past may have made sense when being black was almost synonymous with disadvantage, but that the times have changed and the same cannot be said in 2022. He believes that affirmative action successfully brought many black families into the middle class, but feels that “America is now in a position to extend the moral sophistication of affirmative action to disadvantaged people of all races or ethnicities, especially since, as a whole, Black America would still benefit substantially.”
For the New York Post, FAIR Advisor Batya Ungar-Sargon writes that many of New York’s policies made in haste during the “Defund the Police” craze following George Floyd’e killing in 2020 are now being overturned as New Yorkers demand more safety in the wake of a series of murders and the killing of rookie police officer Jason Rivera.
Mayor Eric Adams has unveiled his plan to “deploy more officers on the streets and in the subways,” and reinstitute a version of the anti-gun unit that Mayor Bill de Blasio had previously disbanded.
Ungar-Sargon says that “It’s one thing to say we don’t want young black men stopped because of the color of their skin. It’s quite another to tell working-class women that their jobs now involve being threatened with a knife and having the criminal walk free.” According to Ungar-Sargon, while it may be in vogue for many highly educated white progressives to advocate for anti-police legislation, it is overwhelmingly “poor and working-class people of color who have to live with the consequences.”
For the American Enterprise Institute, FAIR Advisor Ian Rowe gave testimony before the House Select Committee on the Economy addressing ways to incentivize individual agency in order to achieve upward mobility.
Rowe explained that many of the group-level disparities that policies seek to address “originated long before they show up for adults as statistical gaps in financial wealth, home ownership or crime.” For example, the high school graduation rate in District 8 in the South Bronx was only 2 percent in 2015. According to Rowe, it is unreasonable to expect that the 98 percent who dropped out would show up flourishing later in life.
In this district, if only 2% of mostly black and brown kids are graduating from high school capable of doing even basic reading and math, why would we reasonably expect these same kids as adults to be flourishing in higher education and the workplace, starting businesses, getting married, having children within marriage, or any of the other behaviors that typically mark passage into young adulthood and likely entry into the middle class or beyond?
For Tablet, writer Brian Chau described what he sees in the Democratic party as an odd affection toward bureaucrats, middle managers, and institutional insiders as being those best suited for making important decisions on behalf of the American people. Chau described this as the “rule of the midwits.”
Chau believes that giving so much power to these entities is the reason for many “Lysenkoist” beliefs currently in vogue among progressives, though he points out that such beliefs are not unique to any one political party.
Of course, not all Democrats hold Lysenkoist beliefs, just as not all Republicans are anti-vaccine or deny the existence of anthropogenic climate change. But the salience of these beliefs across U.S. political, corporate, nonprofit, journalistic, and academic institutions demonstrates that ideologically convenient Lysenkoism persists on both sides of the aisle.
For City Journal, sociology professor Ilana Redstone wrote about what she calls the “fallacy of equal knowledge,” which is the default and charitable assumption that most ideological divides result from others simply not understanding or being aware of certain facts on controversial issues relating to identity or equality. According to Redstone:
The fallacy of equal knowledge tends to emerge among people used to thinking in a specific way about hot-button political topics. When they consider a view such as opposition to affirmative action, the idea that gender-dysphoric children may be influenced by peers, or even opposition to Covid mandates, they suggest that ignorance could explain such thinking.
Redstone believes this assumption of simple ignorance “can stand in the way of constructive engagement,” because it assumes that differing opinions on controversial issues is due only to misinformation instead of fundamental ideological differences in how others may approach an issue, weigh considerations, and interpret facts.
For City Journal, Manhattan Institute adjunct fellow and professor Eric Kaufmann wrote about a current cultural split between people who advocate for policies focused on equal outcomes and special protections for identity groups, and those who favor “due process, equal treatment, scientific reason, and free speech.” This is a split between what he calls “cultural socialism” and “cultural liberalism,” respectively.
Kaufmann believes that the ethos of cultural socialism inspires “race-based pedagogies” and “harsh punishments for controversial speech.” He laments that “While the American public leans two-to-one in favor of cultural liberalism, a majority of Americans under 30 incline toward cultural socialism.”
Survey data from Kaufmann’s new report, “The Politics of the Culture Wars in Contemporary America,” show that the culture is shifting from cultural liberalism to cultural socialism. While he believes it is possible to reverse this trend, Kaufmann nevertheless warns that “the hour is late.”