September 28th, 2021


No requiem for old white guys

Wesley Pruden

By Wesley Pruden

Published May 13, 2016

All of us old white guys have got to go. We may even have to take some of the nice white ladies with us. White folks once had their uses, but the handwriting is writ big and plain on the restroom wall.

We’re a mortal threat to the na­tion’s security. Susan Rice, the president’s conscience on national secu­rity, says so. Miss Rice, who is black, told the graduating class at Florida International University in Miami the other day that the government reeks of too many white people in govern­ment positions and they’re a danger to the nation because they think, well, like people of no color.

A "diversified" government work­force is more likely to yield "better outcomes" than a predominantly white one, she says, folks of color think like, well, colored folks.

"By now," she told the graduates, who were, according to reliable news accounts, nearly all Hispanic and thus some were probably not col­ored enough, "we should all know the dangers of ‘groupthink,’ where folks who are alike often think alike. By contrast, groups comprised of different kinds of folks tend to ques­tion one another’s assump­tions, draw on divergent perspectives and experi­ences, and yield better outcomes."

Miss Rice apparently learned this at the White House, where President Obama tolerates no Republicans, conservatives or other dissidents to upset the groupthink prevailing. "In the halls of power," she said, "in the faces of our national security leaders, America is still not fully reflected." This may well be true. When you’re following a leader who is "leading from behind," all you can see is the seat of the pants of whoever marches ahead of you, and for most of us that’s not very inspiring.

Miss Rice’s diagnosis of what’s wrong in the world must be the correct one, because it reflects the verdict of Sonia Sotomayor, whom President Obama appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court after he heard her make a speech with a cure for what ails America. "I would hope," she said, "that a wise Latina woman with the rich­ness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life."

But getting rid of white folks might not be enough. A critic for Vanity Fair magazine stumbled into the movie, "Captain America," and was overcome with grief and revul­sion by "the hero’s heterosexual viril­ity." When the two main characters, both recognizably male, reminisced about women they had known and loved, what could have been "a sweet moment bristled with heterosexual virility." What could have been a moment bristling with gay virility was wasted on pandering to men so primitive as to appreciate women. A teaching moment, vanished.

A law professor at Harvard thinks the problem identified by Susan Rice is not just white guys, but with Christian white guys, whose faith makes them no better than the Nazis who mucked up Europe 85 years ago. Conservatives and Christians have lost the culture wars," exults Prof. Mark Tushnet, and now the question is "how to deal with the losers." "My own judgment is that taking a hard line — ‘you lost, live with it’ — is better than trying to accommodate the losers. Trying to be nice to losers didn’t work well after the [War of Northern Aggression], nor after [the Brown v. Board of Education case on school de­segregation]. Taking a hard line seemed to work reasonably well in Germany and Japan after 1945."

If an updated ver­sion of denazification courts don’t do the work, the gallows will.

Prof. Tushnet, who once clerked for the late Supreme Court Justice Thur­good Marshall, says liberals should show no remorse, reluctance or hesi­tation to advance a radical agenda through the judiciary, because a majority of federal judges have been appointed by Democratic presidents and [liberals] need not worry about "reversal by the Supreme Court" now that Justice Antonin Scalia is dead.

Even old white lawyers, who you might think could take care of themselves, are a species living past their sell-by dates. The American Bar As­sociation is making noises now about taking steps to render conservative views "professionally unac­ceptable." Even President Obama sometimes sounds a cautionary note about "eliminationist tenden­cies" on the campus, where unpleasant views are inherently discriminatory or bigoted, and could trigger uncomfortable thoughts in the heads of delicate students.

Once you understand that dissenters to the cor­rect view is fundamentally insane, this all makes sense. Paul Krugman, the columnist for The New York Times who frequently pleads for more civility in American life, calls economists who disagree with him "mendacious idiots," and decries the "cult of balance" in the media. Considering both sides of an argument, he writes, "has played an important role in bringing us to the edge of disaster."

Adios, everybody.

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JWR contributor Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Washington Times.