Right On: Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools

Stock image, St. George News

OPINION — My title comes from one of the Apostle Paul’s epistles, Romans 1:22, but surely applies today.

Americans on the far left are among the most highly educated and knowledgeable people in the country. Yet most of us are flabbergasted at the foolish things they do and say.

“Wisdom: the quality of having knowledge, experience, and good judgment.”

Knowledge isn’t enough. Some with great knowledge lack common sense and good judgment.

Amy Wax, a University of Pennsylvania law professor, learned this the hard way. In an opinion piece she wrote last year, she challenged the left’s embrace of multiculturalism, the idea that no culture is superior to any other. She wrote:

“All cultures are not equal. Or at least they are not equal in preparing people to be productive in an advanced economy.

“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.

“These cultural orientations are not only incompatible with what an advanced free-market economy and a viable democracy require, they are also destructive of a sense of solidarity and reciprocity among Americans.”

Wax’s statements were controversial. But instead of replying with a defense of multiculturalism, Penn Law’s faculty did what leftists are prone to do when their ideals are challenged: They charged her with racism. The left-wing National Lawyers Guild called her article “an explicit and implicit endorsement of white supremacy.”

“In the frank expression of conflicting opinions lies the greatest promise of wisdom.” – Louis D. Brandeis

Would multiculturalists have us believe that our culture is not superior to Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Russia? Tens of millions died. How about Mao’s Cultural Revolution and Pol Pot’s killing fields that also killed millions?

Not to be outdone by the law department, students in the University of Pennsylvania’s English department removed a portrait of William Shakespeare and replaced it with a black lesbian poet.

The radical left rejects most great philosophical, literary and artistic works on the grounds that they were written or created by white males. Eliminating these repositories of Western civilization’s wisdom from college curricula on racist and sexist grounds smacks of totalitarian fascism and communism. Will they next burn books and pictures as the Nazis did?

This is the antithesis of wisdom, which teaches that certain ideas are morally superior to others and that some literary and artistic works are superior to others.

“Wisdom has never made a bigot, but learning has.” – Josh Billings

Turn now to the radical left’s latest fixation: “cultural appropriation.” Salt Lake teenager Keziah Daum wore a Chinese cheongsam dress she found attractive to her high school prom. Since she is not Chinese-American, she was promptly criticized for appropriating Chinese culture. Is such criticism warranted? Or is it simply stupid?

“Great wisdom is generous; petty wisdom is contentious.” – Zhuangzi

Americans appropriate ideas, inventions, food, fashion, music and art from around the world, whatever we find useful, satisfying or entertaining.

Rejecting biology and common sense, the left would have us believe there are more than two genders. Tumblr says there are 112. Is this wise? Or is it false and foolish?

The left wing readily drank the Kool-Aid that said society’s ills would be cured if children had higher self-esteem. Turns out building undeserved self-esteem has raised a narcissistic, self-absorbed generation.

To its credit, the leftist Guardian, once a self-esteem champion, exposed the “con” – its word – upon which the self-esteem movement is based. Another leftist fad run amok but not until millions of young people had been adversely affected.

“If a million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.” – Anatole France

Colleges provide students with “safe spaces” – stocked with hot chocolate, stuffed animals and puppy videos – in which to hide whenever a conservative speaker comes to campus. Does this reflect wisdom or is it foolishness?

“It is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things.” – Henry David Thoreau

Universities around the country have done all they can to restrict free speech on campus, especially if that free speech comes from conservatives and the religious. A number have created “bias response teams” that respond to student complaints of “bias incidents.” In clear violation of the First Amendment, students are punished not for what they say but for how others feel about it.

“True wisdom listens more, talks less and can get along with all types of people.” – Kiana Tom

“Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens.” – Jimi Hendrix

Supposedly serious elements of the Democratic Party want to lower the voting age to 16. Yet these same folks want to raise the minimum age to buy a gun to 21. See the dichotomy?

Is it wise to ask children with so little life experience and whose only understanding of government comes from their overwhelmingly-liberal teachers to choose our leaders? Or is this an acknowledgement that these Democrats are no wiser than the average 16-year-old?

“Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.” – Albert Einstein

Dennis Prager suggests a way to test this column’s 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, Christian or Moslem friends the same question. They won’t answer with a question.

Howard Sierer is an opinion columnist for St. George News. The opinions stated in this article are his own and may not be representative of St. George News.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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  • Redbud September 6, 2018 at 4:01 pm

    Indeed, every liberal will one day kneel before their maker, and bow their heads in deep shame, while being called the words, “Thou Fool!”. They will then be directed to a gate on the left with Hillary and Obama standing guard. Hillary will smile and open the gate for you, while Obama pushes you inside saying “Welcome to eternal damnation!”. The gate slams shut, never to be opened again. Hillary and Obama then hi-five each other, laugh, and say “We fooled another one!”

  • Henry September 6, 2018 at 5:13 pm

    Democrats don’t all believe the same, just as Republicans all have their own, unique opinions. To assume that we have a herd mentality is damaging to all. I respect that you have an opinion, I simply disagree with many of the things that you say. Our country is based on freedom of speech and freedom to form an opinion. One can spend all day researching examples to support our positions – it doesn’t make them any more correct. Even if you quote the bible – or in the case of the commenter, assume that you know that there is an afterlife and who gets to sit with the cool kids.

    • Redbud September 6, 2018 at 5:49 pm

      It was just a joke. I don’t really have a deep-seeded hatred for democrats. It’s just fun to get on the internet, and stir the pot sometimes haha. Honestly speaking though, I do have a hatred for anyone, no matter where they align politically, for anyone who wishes to take away our freedoms that we enjoy in this country. I also hate the how the media, and both sides are guilty, of spewing hate articles about President Trump. He is not perfect, you may or may not have voted for him, but he does love our country and I really think he is doing a fantastic job. The thing we all have to realize is no matter who is President, they can’t single-handedly cure every problem we have as a nation. It takes everyone working together, but unfortunately, I feel our nation is becoming more divided, and I get a sense of more hatred developing, which is truly a shame.

      • Henry September 7, 2018 at 9:53 am

        Jokes are funny. I like the one you tell about Trump doing a fantastic job.

  • bikeandfish September 6, 2018 at 7:40 pm

    Why do these columnist have to posit on ideas they have little knowledge or wisdom?

    “Rejecting biology and common sense, the left would have us believe there are more than two genders. ”

    Biological sciences recognize we have multiple genotypes and phenotypes that affect sex and gender beyond their social constructions. I am actually guessing Sieier doesn’t know the scientific difference between sex and gender, nor has enough scientific literacy in biology and/or genetics to make the accusation above. This is one of the clearest examples of why we should be so skeptical of these columnists.

    Here is a refresher course for those who don’t know the difference between sex, gender, genotype and phenotype:


    Howard used the word gender to claim an explicit biological binary. Interesting because the source ( a good enough representation of biological consensus) states:

    “Gender refers more broadly to an individual’s subjective perception of their sex and their sexual orientation, and is therefore harder to define than genotypic or phenotypic sex. Generally speaking, gender identity entails self-appraisal according to the traits most often associated with one sex or the other (called gender traits), and these can be influenced to some degree by cultural norms. Sexual orientation also entails self-appraisal in the context of culture. ”

    And even wisdom recognizes this complexity. We are starting to challenge a doctor’s ability to unilaterally define sex at birth, often without notifying parents. Multiple societies across the world have long recognized and even celebrated intersex individuals. What is wise about ignoring science’s clear recognition of a spectrum of sex and gender the way much of Western culture but especially America has? How do conservatives who supposedly value the importance of individual liberty believe their religious beliefs should so inform an individual’s autonomy?

    Howard then ends with “Dennis Prager suggests a way to test this column’s 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, Christian or Moslem friends the same question. They won’t answer with a question.”

    Too funny. To posit that citizens who lean left don’t instill wisdom into their child’s upbringing is ridiculous and fully unsupported. The fact is I have never seen evidence that any political affiliation is associated with caring more or less for their children or raising them as healthy adults. Its this sort of lazy rhetoric that is designed to drive a wedge between otherwise like-minded citizens with diverse but often overlapping values. For decades we’ve watched pedants like Howard try to appear nice and cordial but then say utter crap like the closing. And its all too ironic given his fascination with disparaging “identity politics”. Evidently the notion of talking about how groups experience the world only matter is if its coming from these columnists.

    Its sad that is has to be said but it doesn’t matter if you are white, black, asian, hispanic, Christian, Islamic, Jewish, Muslim, etc….its fair to assume you are sincerely trying to live a healthy, happy and prosperous life for yourself. Those who engage in Howard’s sort of lazy political rhetoric, and individual choice not one based upon any type of group of affiliation, should be treated with the upmost of skepticism and intellectual rigor. They are trying to divide and influence our country to continue to splinter.

    • Happy Commenter September 6, 2018 at 9:01 pm

      Long winded and off point as usual..Ecclesiastes 10:2 = “A wise man’s heart directs him toward the right, but the foolish man’s heart directs him toward the left” Just so you know where he is coming from!

      • Redbud September 7, 2018 at 2:05 am


      • bikeandfish September 7, 2018 at 9:49 am

        Seems like maybe John is using a new sock puppet.

        Glad to know you won’t remotely engage in critical analysis.

        More importantly, good to know you’ll bastardize the Hebrew Bible.

        • Happy Commenter September 7, 2018 at 11:16 am

          Don’t know what you’re talking about…But I can say this, I won’t even bother to present an argument to someone who is so full of themselves they wouldn’t know a true fact if it hit them in the face!

          • bikeandfish September 7, 2018 at 2:00 pm

            If you were interested in facts than you would have tried, and failed, to refute the science in the link. In reality you likely care more about protecting your unfounded dogma against facts. But I’ll admit thats a guess. Just like still guessing you are John; I think even he got tired of his antics.

    • mesaman September 7, 2018 at 3:48 pm

      Oh Bikey, please help us understand the ways of the world, politics, life, movies, trench foot, consumption, and all the other things we have failed to gather on our way to adulthood. We have not had the light of truth shining on us as you have and we need you to turn our vessel of knowledge toward the horizons of truth and avoid the reefs of ignorance and misunderstanding.

      • bikeandfish September 7, 2018 at 4:44 pm

        Anything in my previous post about the biological sciences wrong?

        • Happy Commenter September 7, 2018 at 5:36 pm

          Yes, everything…Try using some factual research instead of left wing talking points.. You really don’t get it!

          • bikeandfish September 7, 2018 at 5:52 pm

            Appreciate the confirmation that you have no clue about science. And you are sounding more and more like your old self.

  • Jmfixitman September 6, 2018 at 8:50 pm

    Awesome article. Period.

  • commonsense September 6, 2018 at 9:03 pm

    I have studied and written about multicultural diversity and the inciideous dogma that diversity is, in and of itself, necessarily good. The happiest cultures seem to be the most homogeneous. The Norwegian culture is happy, prosperous and healthy compared to its twin, Sweden who allows multicultural immigration.

    Yep, different isn’t always good but the left preys on it because they have an opportunity to garner new votes from welfare dependent immigrants. There is nothing intrinsically good about diversity. A highly developed culture gains nothing from outside pollution by under developed cultures.

  • sheepobserver September 7, 2018 at 5:38 am

    There are fools on both sides of the political spectrum, and it’s foolish to claim one side is wise, and one isn’t. It’s just the typical argument that “my side is more smarter”. When one needs to profess their “smarts”, it’s been my experience they’re not, regardless of party, or religion. It’s just human nature to say it, particularly if it can’t be “shown”.

    Show me wisdom. Lead by example. Question everything you’ve ever been taught, tear it apart, and find every fault and truth in it. Question everyone who professes to know, debate every side of what they say (regardless if you agree), call them out on their lies, and commend their truths.

    Wisdom isn’t something one has, or even attains…….ever. It can’t be bought, it can’t be taught, it can’t be declared, and it surely can’t be politicized. It’s a word. Merely a word that only a fool would choose to describe their line of thought. Actions speak much louder, and wisdom is an action, or sometimes a lack thereof, depending on the circumstances. Wisdom is shown, it isn’t talked about.

    A fool wrote this article, trust me, it takes one to know one.

    • mctrialsguy September 7, 2018 at 4:46 pm

      There are far more fools on the left as they control the media, Hollyweird, and the wacked out tv shows that our children watch. Their whole philosophy is to start brain washing the children at a young age, then into school with the liberal professors, then on TV sitcoms and the liberal media that controls 84% of the social media and airways. I am proud that half of the public can still see through it all and get the real truth on their own. On another note, if you drop a knee (NFL) then you should get an airline ticket out for free. I no longer watch any football games, and that philosophy is growing rapidly across the country. Get on-board with America or get out! United We Stand…or…may God bless us for what is coming.

      • bikeandfish September 7, 2018 at 5:11 pm

        Nothing like an abandonment of the Bill of Rights to show how American you are, huh? Be subservient to the flag or be deported!

        And no, its not a massive movement to end the NFL. It dropped only 9% in viewership last year, after years of previous decline anyways unrelated to the protests. The NFL just made a ton on money off a new contract with FOX even though they knee those figures. Its almost like FOX, the NFL and Nike know how to make money.

        But enjoy your ban and authoritarian sentiment.

      • bikeandfish September 7, 2018 at 5:12 pm

        Ha, you actually said “Get on-board with America or get out! United We Stand” with no sense of irony. Good god, its getting ridiculous.

        • Happy Commenter September 7, 2018 at 5:37 pm

          If you are commenting, it’s ridiculous.. I’ll grant you that! You make it so!

        • Happy Commenter September 7, 2018 at 10:16 pm

          Too bad you can’t handle constructive criticism without blowing a gasket! You are one clueless nematode!

          • bikeandfish September 7, 2018 at 10:41 pm

            Hi John

          • bikeandfish September 7, 2018 at 10:42 pm

            PS…. you don’t understand constructive criticism. I’ll give you a clue, its not insults.

        • Happy Commenter September 7, 2018 at 11:44 pm

          Don’t make me laugh ! You don’t have a fishing clue and it’s hilarious!

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