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Saturday, September 2, 2017

A Clash of Cultures: The Bourgeois vs. the Burning Man

It seems that University of Pennsylvania law professor Amy Wax—who took her own turn melting the snowflakes at Middlebury College a few years ago —again has liberals in a lather. On August 9 of this year, professor Wax, along with law professor Larry Alexander—currently the Warren Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of San Diego—penned an Op-Ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer lamenting the breakdown of our nation’s “bourgeois culture.”

If you’re like me and need a primer on exactly what is a “bourgeois culture,” according to Wax and Alexander, the “script” of America’s bourgeois culture declares:
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.
Shocking behavior, right? And imagine that, I’ve been steeped in the “bourgeois culture” most of my life and never knew it! In addition to pointing out what is bourgeois culture, the good professors also note that the collapse of America’s bourgeois culture has led to many undesirable outcomes, including,
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.
Again, shocking. In other words, virtually no one should be surprised by these outcomes. Conservatives across the political spectrum have been pointing to such—along with additional sad, sorry, rotten fruit of liberalism—for decades. Nevertheless, if you have an inkling of an understanding of modern liberalism, you don’t have to think too hard to imagine the outrage from the left directed at the two law professors. In their “Statement about the Wax Op-Ed” the University of Pennsylvania’s (UPenn) graduate student Union—GET-UP—condemned “in the strongest possible terms” Wax and Alexander’s “toxic racist, sexist, homophobic” conclusions.

A couple of weeks after “the Wax Op-Ed,” the UPenn school newspaper, the Daily Pennsylvanian, ran a letter from a group of 54 UPenn doctoral students and alumni. The letter went so far as to imply that Wax and Alexander—attired in their “appropriately respectable (white) diction and dress”—are white supremacists, and even attempted to link the Wax Op-Ed to the recent events in Charlottesville, VA. Imagine that. Sexual responsibility, marriage, hard work, education, respect for authority, and patriotism are “racist.” The appropriate image here would be a Dr. King “face-palm.”

To further liberal angst, in a follow-up interview with the Daily Pennsylvanian the day after her Op-Ed ran, professor Wax doubled-down in her defense of the bourgeois culture. Declaring Anglo-Protestant cultural norms are superior, Wax told the student paper, “I don’t shrink from the word, ‘superior.’” She added, “Everyone wants to come to the countries that exemplify” these values. “Everyone wants to go to countries ruled by white Europeans.” Furthermore, Wax made it clear—because when talking to liberals, one must always make this clear—that she was not implying the superiority of whites. “Bourgeois values aren’t just for white people,” she explained.

In other words, as the professors’ original piece concluded, “All cultures are not equal.” Of course this is like saying “all pizzas are not equal,” but such a conclusion flies in the face of the multiculturalism preached by the modern left. And all cultures are not equal, because all values are not equal.

Let me make clear something that professor Wax’s “Anglo-Protestant” comment implies: America’s “bourgeois values” are superior because they are, essentially, Christian values. Thus a bourgeois culture is superior because it is essentially a Christian culture, and that ultimately is why the left attacked Wax and Alexander’s piece. As The Miracle and Magnificence of America—and any other sound account of U.S. history—reveals, America was founded by Christians and upon Christian values and principles. The death, disease, and moral rot so prevalent in much of America today is there because many of us have abandoned these values and decided to make our own rules.

Nowhere is this clearer than with the obscene “Burning Man Festival” about to wind up (ends September 2) in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada. It what could be billed as a liberal utopia, the Burning Man Festival—often referred to simply as “Burning Man” (BM)—has been notoriously noted for its nude welcoming committee, “mass lesbian romps,” obscene sculptures, and human petting zoo. And what festival organized, occupied, and run by those corrupted by liberalism would be complete without an “Orgy Dome?” But it’s conservatives who are “obsessed with sex,” right libs?

Of course, rainbow flags are present in abundance, and everything LGBT is celebrated and promoted at BM. According to The Sun, “In the past, electric car pioneer Elon Musk, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Google’s Larry Page and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook joined the rebellious souls at Burning Man.” Given this, is anyone surprised that the modern corporate culture (especially the digital corporate culture) has essentially fully embraced the perverse sexual agenda of the modern left?

Some of the 10 principles of BM include “Radical Self-reliance” (“Burning Man encourages the individual to discover, exercise and rely on his or her inner resources.”) and “Radical Self-expression.” Just what the world needs: more people focused on themselves. Also included among the BM principles is “Decommodification.” According to the Wikipedia page devoted to the concept, “Decommodification is the process of viewing utilities as an entitlement, rather than as a commodity that must be paid or traded for.”

So in the Nevada desert we have tens of thousands of hedonistic heathens learning how to be even more focused on themselves and learning even more about how to get someone else to pay for their stuff. Lovely.

Make no mistake about it, liberals will export the culture of Burning Man to as much of America as possible. They have already done so in just about every large city and public college campus in the U.S. To a great extent, the election of Donald Trump was an attempt to stem this tide, but as these last eight months have well demonstrated, liberals are willing to fight for their “values.” So what will it be America: the Christian values of the bourgeois culture or the godless values of the Burning Man culture?

(See this column at American Thinker.)

Copyright 2017, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
www.trevorgrantthomas.com
Trevor is the author of the The Miracle and Magnificence of America
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

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