Friday, October 30, 2009

Multiculturalism is anticulture

The push for cultural diversity has potential drawbacks

The words “diversity” and “multiculturalism” are sacrosanct in contemporary American society. They are often spoken of as though the concepts themselves have intrinsic value, as though “diverse” equals “good.” Unfortunately, the path to hell is paved with good intentions as they say. Many well-intentioned people have wholeheartedly accepted this notion at face value without understanding the repercussions.

Minorities once swiftly adapted themselves into American culture within a few generations. Now, they are effectively treated like children and encouraged instead to wallow in notions of cultural fragility and victimhood.

The late social critic Russell Kirk foresaw the danger that multiculturalism poses to what he termed the “transplanted … British culture that most Americans now take for granted.” Fueled by hatred of American culture, multiculturalists decry the “Eurocentrism” and “homogeneity” of American culture and favor a factionalized and indistinct culture instead.

Multiculturalists constantly revisit past injustices, insisting that American culture is inherently racist. Often their history is selective. They embrace the injustice of the internment of Japanese Americans, while simultaneously downplaying the innumerable atrocities committed by Imperial Japan. Western cultures are responsible for the majority of the world’s ills in the eyes of the multiculturalists.

R.J. Rummel, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Hawaii, has criticized the dangerous trend of overemphasizing the comparatively moderate social disparities of Western nations while virtually ignoring the gross human rights abuses of the rest of the world.

In defense of the United States, he wrote, “compared to other countries, the rise in power, wealth and influence of minorities and women within a comparatively short time has been incredible.” Though it is often promoted as the key to social justice and harmony, multiculturalism is not necessarily conducive to either.

Economist Gerald W. Scully wrote, “cultural diversity (is) a universal source of social conflict and often … a barrier to economic progress as well as personal freedom.” He went on to write, “for all its problems, the West has managed cultural conflict better than the rest of the world.” One would assume that multiculturalists are disenfranchised minorities, but that is only partially the case. By and large, multiculturalism has been conceived and driven by white, liberal academics motivated by a peculiar psychology of guilt and self-loathing.

The liberal social critic Bertrand Russell was disturbed by this propensity of his colleagues on the left to romanticize the plight of minority groups.

In strange, circular logic, multiculturists claim to seek inclusion and equality for minorities while effectively fetishizing them. In their view, the aspects of society derived from minority populations are special and unique, while European-derived elements of American culture are banal and oppressive.

But these academics are limited in number and rely on the miseducation they are able to foist upon their captive audience of college students to further their aims. Kirk wrote that, “bored, indolent students to whom any culture but pop culture is anathema” are among the other primary advocates of multiculturalism.

The result is a generation of young people who do not assert themselves as individual Americans, but instead identify primarily with whatever minority subset to which they happen to belong.

Given its origins, multiculturalism is not surprisingly an almost exclusively Western phenomenon. Generally speaking, outside Western Europe and North America, countries maintain a nationalist outlook and are actively engaged in affirming their own dominant culture. This goes for even those with large ethnic and religious minorities. It seems counterintuitive that any culture that systematically denigrates itself, as the United States now does, can survive in the long term.

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