Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Truth in The Triple Package

Amy Chua, who’s known for her famous book called Tiger Mother, recently published another book called The Triple Package with her husband. Chua’s new book sets out to explain why they believe that certain cultural groups do better in America than others. They have higher incomes, higher test scores, and better jobs. Amy Chua identifies the eight most successful groups as Jews, Indians, Chinese, Iranians, Lebanese, Nigerians, Cubans, and Mormons. Amy Chua argues that these groups have three attributes in common (she calls it a “triple package”) that helps them succeed. They have a superiority complex (they believe they will be more successful than others). They also have a healthy dose of insecurity that motivates them to get ahead, and the ability to resist the temptation to give up. These qualities, Amy Chua suggests, are counter to modern American culture, but these groups have an edge because they don’t buy into our more liberal, post-1960s mindset. She says that the U.S. used to share these values, but we’ve lost them over the last 50 years.

Amy’s book rests on rather dubious data, and there are a number of contradictions. However, it is true that certain immigrants, their children, and their grandchildren, tend to be very upwardly mobile. These are people bold and determined enough to leave everything behind for a new life, and they often have an unusually strong work ethic, which they pass on to their children. It’s the kind of work ethic that characterized many Americans in past years.

I do not endorse Amy Chua. I don’t think I could have been a Tiger Mother like she was. But I do think there is a lot to be said for the importance of the work ethic and the determination of many modern immigrant groups. Americans should recapture some these earlier values if we want to continue the upward mobility that’s been the hallmark of our nation.

Listen to the radio commentary here:

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