Skip to comments.The War on Wisdom
Posted on 05/08/2018 5:50:00 AM PDT by Kaslin
There is more knowledge available today than ever before in history. But few would argue people are wiser than ever before.
On the contrary, many of us would argue that we are living in a particularly foolish time -- a period that is largely wisdom-free, especially among those with the most knowledge: the best educated.
The fact that one of our two major political parties is advocating lowering the voting age to 16 is a good example of the absence of wisdom among a large segment of the adult population. What adult deems 16-year-olds capable of making a wise voting decision? The answer is an adult with the wisdom of a 16-year-old -- "Hey, I'm no wiser than most 16-year-olds. Why should I have the vote and they not?"
America has been influenced and is now being largely led by members of the baby-boom generation. This is the generation that came up with the motto "Never trust anyone over 30," making it the first American generation to proclaim contempt for wisdom as a virtue.
The left in America is founded on the rejection of wisdom. It is possible to be on the left and be kind, honest in business, faithful to one's spouse, etc. But it is not possible to be wise if one subscribes to leftist (as opposed to liberal) ideas.
Last year, Amy Wax, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, co-authored an opinion piece in the Philadelphia Inquirer with a professor from the University of San Diego School of Law in which they wrote that the "bourgeois culture" and "bourgeois norms" that governed America from the end of World War II until the mid-1960s were good for America, and that their rejection has caused much of the social dysfunction that has characterized this country since the 1960s.
Those values included, in their words: "Get married before you have children and strive to stay married for their sake. Get the education you need for gainful employment, work hard, and avoid idleness. Go the extra mile for your employer or client. Be a patriot, ready to serve the country. Be neighborly, civic-minded, and charitable. Avoid coarse language in public. Be respectful of authority. Eschew substance abuse and crime."
Recognizing those norms as universally beneficial constitutes wisdom. Rejection of them constitutes a rejection of wisdom -- i.e. foolishness.
Yet the left almost universally rejected the Wax piece, deeming it, as the left-wing National Lawyers Guild wrote, "an explicit and implicit endorsement of white supremacy," and questioning whether professor Wax should be allowed to continue teaching a required first-year course at Penn Law.
To equate getting married before having children, working hard and eschewing substance abuse and crime with "white supremacy" is to betray an absence of wisdom that is as depressing as it breathtaking. It is obvious to anyone with a modicum of common sense that those values benefit anyone who adheres to them; they have nothing to do with race.
But almost every left-wing position (that differs from a liberal or conservative position) is bereft of wisdom.
Is the left-wing belief in the notion of "cultural appropriation" -- such as the left's recent condemnation of a white girl for wearing a Chinese dress to her high school prom -- wise? Or is it simply moronic?
Is the left-wing belief that there are more than two genders wise? Or is it objectively false, foolish and nihilistic?
Has the left-wing belief that children need (unearned) self-esteem turned out to be wise, or morally and psychologically destructive? To its credit, last year, the Guardian wrote a scathing expose on the "lie" -- its word -- the self-esteem movement is based on and the narcissistic generation it created.
Is it wise to provide college students with "safe spaces" -- with their hot chocolate, stuffed animals and puppy videos -- in which to hide whenever a conservative speaker comes to their college? Or is it just ridiculous and infantilizing?
Is the left's rejection of many, if not most, great philosophical, literary and artistic works of wisdom on the grounds that they were written or created by white males wise? One example: The English department of the University of Pennsylvania, half of whose law school professors condemned Amy Wax and almost none of whose law professors defended her piece, removed a portrait of William Shakespeare (replacing it with that of a black lesbian poet).
Is multiculturalism, the idea that no culture is superior to another morally or in any other way wise? Isn't it the antithesis of wisdom, whose very premise is that certain ideas are morally superior to others, and certain literary or artistic works are superior to others?
And the veneration of feelings over truth, not to mention wisdom, is a cornerstone of leftism.
Here's one way to test my thesis: Ask left-wing friends what they have done to pass on wisdom to their children. Most will answer with a question: "What do you mean?" Then ask religious Jewish or Christian friends the same question. They won't answer with a question.
Regarding wisdom....... I turned 70 and the wisdom just started to bubble out uncontrollably.
If you look at the word “wisdom” as used in the bible it is primarily a moral trait. The ability of moral discernment. The lack thereof is call foolishness.
“Then ask religious Jewish or Christian friends the same question. They won’t answer with a question.”
Do you really think religious Jewish friends won’t answer with a question?
I keep thinking of a Hawaiian family who spared a young drunk driver who killed their three kids from life in prison and who fought for his release.
Forgiveness of someone like that maybe an act of grace. I couldn’t do it. But I understood forgiveness is a far greater power than revenge and if you can turn someone’s life around, you help others learn and grow from tragedy.
Not every one will be a better person - but there will be those who will spend the rest of their lives trying to make amends for the harm they have caused.
Even the worst people have good in them - if they can change their ways.
Good summation by Dennis on the foolishness of liberalism.
The “Information Age” brings with it a sh*tload of highly unreliable and therefore useless information. More mis- and disinformation than ever!
I can think of no single policy by schools today that has been as destructive to me and my family than the self esteem movement.
That kids deserve what they don’t, that they deserve what they want.
It hurts the kids themselves until they learn through life’s tough lessons that to do so is a lie and holds them back.
And until then the frustration of the reality of life is intolerable with no teacher to give a “participation award” in order to redistribute the wealth...
Another great Prager commentary. Thanks for posting.
...not to mint a bumper sticker, but:
There is much Knowledge but little Wisdom.
‘Or is it just ridiculous and infantilizing?’
all of human institutions such as government, education, and religion exist for the purpose of generating infantilized adults...the easiest humans of all to control because they accept most of what they were spoon fed years ago, but they lack the hyperactivity that make actual infants hard to rein in...
It’s a revolt against God. Even with the instinct that God is there.
If there’s a Dennis Prager ping list I’d like to be added. He ‘gets’ it...
I was going to quote that! It was one of the first verses that drilled itself into my skull when I started reading the Bible.
Once read a book that defined “wisdom” as “the meeting of love and knowledge.”
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