Wednesday, January 29, 2014

David Brooks 2.0

Amy Chua is at it again, trying to pass reactionary racial theory off as new and exciting with bad statistics and her Ethnic Lady Creds.

This time, it's not just the Tiger Moms and Dragon Ladys coming to take your jobs but a whole host of the brown and forgotten! Indian immigrants swarming the IT field, African immigrants crawling out of poverty within a single generation, and some other anecdotal ethnic success stories. All tied together with a 21st century retread of Social Darwinism even less scientific than the original.

See, immigrant families tend to think very highly of themselves. Don't ask for evidence here, they just do. And, thinking highly of themselves, they force their children to succeed as otherwise they will shame the family. You may hear echoes of Chua's previous and equally spurious work, but don't pay any attention. This is about how all the really successful people in America are from marginalized minorities, like Jamie Dimon and Rand Paul.

"Wait!" I hear you say because I work for the NSA. "That makes no flippin' sense!" Indeed it doesn't, which is why Chua also includes an inferiority complex about how Asian students pull in As but still lack confidence because of all the small wiener jokes. "But that still doesn't -" Stop questioning Tiger Lady!

And what can we draw from all of this? That anyone can win at life through hard work, of course! Sure, you were born into a lower socio-economic class than those who run the country but if you forgo any sort of fun and hate yourself enough, you too can score big in the SAT! Just like all the brown people!

Despite all her airs of smashing the conventional wisdom, there is nothing unconventional about Chua's central point. This is the up by the bootstraps fantasy of Adam Smith, with even less thought paid to those who can't afford boots or had their boots repossessed by fraud-ridden banks. These exhortations to use "grit and determination" are the same spouted by the comfortable middle management class since the first mill worker asked why the boss gets twice as much pay for everyone combined without ever working on the floor. The only difference now is the fearmongering - "The wogs are comin' for ya cuz yer weak!"

Even a Tory would find such an approach hackneyed and crude.

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