Archive for the ‘Multiculturalism’ Category

One of my least favorite parlor tricks of liberals, including neoconservatives and libertarians, is to define “rational” as a very narrow range of individualist philosophical views, based on a few pseudo-scientific axioms of one kind or another, and thereby rendering it nearly impossible for one’s opponents to win an argument before the discussion has begun because their opponents’ concerns, such as the good of a nation or the Glory of God, are defined beforehand as irrational and irrelevant.

There is much of this in Ilya Somin’s recent discussion of the evils of nationalism over at Volokh or in a surprisingly dispassionate defense of disloyalty by David Schraub over at the University of Chicago. This is what Enlightenment Universalism is, of course. It rejects the organic, historical and blood ties of peoples. It rejects the idea that God and revealed truth might have some influence in our political and moral life. It denies that matters that cannot be reduced to philosophical formulae might also be true, such as the idea that men should not marry men, women should first and foremost be mothers, or that people who talk and act funny and have unpronounceable names should be treated differently than our native-born sons.

What I wrote in response to Schraub exposes this little sleight of hand that all-too-often avoids the merits of the issue:

Majorities in fact have real power and a real moral right to preserve themselves as a people. Unless they’re suffering from mass psychosis, they do and should impose certain standards on those who would benefit from the nation and its laws and its protection, not least not to actively aid enemies of the nation.

We sadly ask so little of citizens, particularly newcomers, who often have dual loyalties. We are in fact a remarkably tolerant people, and it’s gone too far, culminating in such ridiculous acts as serving in foreign armies by the President’s Chief of Staff and the mass murder of soldiers after repeated statements of disloyalty by the terrorist, Major Nidal Hasan.

Nations are safer, more secure, and more pleasant when people are loyal and have some sense of allegiance and community. There will always be loyalty of one kind or another, but where disloyalty to the nation is tolerated usually it’s reserved instead for some other nation or group, whether it’s one’s ethnic subgroup, one’s religious community, a foreign nation, or some combination of the three.

There is something very obvious going on here, and part of the answer is in the authors and their backgrounds. They are ethnic and religious minorities, and highly educated transnational cosmopolitans to be exact. They are not typical Americans, but their views are highly influential. Big surprise, “Uzair Kayhani” came to Schraub’s defense. I’m surprised Osama bin Laden himself didn’t pipe in. The views of these people are why the Army tolerated the anti-American rantings of Major Nidal Hassan. They are why we tolerate foreign tongues and weird styles of dress by foreigners in our cities. This is why it’s been drummed into us to say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.”

The universalist enlightenment liberalism they are promoting is a set of rules that is very useful for minority tribes surrounded by a majority with different values and interests. These views advance the minority by rendering the majority’s dominance on cultural, economic, and political matters less so, such that its older standards of excellence are dismissed as exclusionary and morally suspect. Who cares if you were descended from those on the Mayflower? That’s ethnocentric and elitist. Who cares if your granddad fought in World War II? It doesn’t matter where you were born or what your family ever did, you’re just a citizen no different than an FOB in a Hijab.

Under this viewpoint, the majority’s becomes one voice in a multicultural chorus. Of course, in spite of its pretensions to fairness, it’s obviously a self-interested ideology. When these same minorities are in charge or in the majority–such as Jews in Israel or Chinese in China or Muslims in any Muslim country–they almost always adopt different and sensible rules aimed at the self-preservation of their nation and their religion.

I do not necessarily begrudge them such nationalism at home; within the limits of justice, it is natural and to be expected. But I do begrudge the attempt by alienated minorities of all kinds to redefine and rewrite the rules of the game in my home, where we have a majority, our own folkways, our own traditions, and our own way of life. Those traditions, of course, are and were very flexible. They were flexible enough historically that many minorities felt welcome here and did not, until recently, feel it terribly offensive to have Christmas as a federal holiday or to change their names from Chandrakumar to “Sean.” But this tolerance was not our only value. It was part of a broader tradition, that of a real nation with more than a creed but a real national character–courageous, risk-taking, unpretentious, in love with space and freedom, upwardly mobile, self-reliant, proud, God-fearing, patriotic, inventive, practical–but this character has been deliberately and maliciously erased by the deliberate efforts of a subset of minorities and newcomers, for whom such very minor indignities as Nativity Scenes, the “strong silent” WASPy ideal of masculinity, and the old informal rules of “fair business,” undermined their own rise to power.

Don’t fall for this trick, friends. What appears to be a fair, universalist, philosophical account of the good is often based on controversial and unproven premises; a little looking makes it clear often that the speaker is insincere, his arguments are sophistical, and that his goals are the same tribalism (in the ascent) for which he denounces you, even when you’re merely trying only to defend a known way of life.

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Every revolutionary regime from time immemorial has made it a priority to control the media and to control the educational system.  The far left has succeeded in both in the United States without firing a shot.  The change even in my lifetime is quite noticeable; Lawrence Auster links to a number of ridiculous textbook covers in use in college and high school history classes.  The message of inclusion is clear:  ours is an unjust society, whose traditional elites are evil and must be displaced, and that displacement of what Jeremiah Wright calls “rich white people”  is underway.

In 1987, a very long TV miniseries called Amerika considered what might happen to the United States under Soviet control.  Consider the following sequence showing Soviet “brainwashing” in public schools.  In 20 years time, the same result has come about voluntarily through manipulation of education departments in universities, textbook politicization, and a deliberate attempts by highly indoctrinated teachers to “raise consciousness” in young people.

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Whether it makes for good politics or not to emphasize Sotomayor’s intellectual mediocrity and ethnic chauvinism, I don’t know. But I do find it striking how her entire world view and intellectual interests consists of narcissistic championing of diversity and the “magical Latinal soul,” as detailed by Lawrence Auster in a recent blog entry. I mean, a little ethnic pride is one thing, but the self-obsession with the distinctness of the Latin American experience and the need to justify the unfair advantages she’s been given by affirmative action suggest an oversized, but very fragile ego. This is a human type not so different from the prickly Michelle Obama. (Barack, by contrast, seems much more confident in his intellectual horsepower.)

How sad never to to look outside of oneself and the “Latina experience” and engage the robust heritage of Western Civilization. Can you ever imagine someone like Michelle Obama or Sotomayor reading something about Ancient Greece or modern India or the French Revolution or anything else for that matter? I am not Greek or German or Russian but I have alternately been fascinated by Plato, Kant, and Catherine the Great and, for that matter, the history of Mexico, Puerto Rico, Japan, Vietnam, South Africa, and Chile. Sotomayor’s absorption with her own tribe reminds me of how nearly all the Asian students in college took East Asian CIV and all the Hispanics Latin American CIV. It seemed only the whites dared to learn about sanskrit, hittites, eskimos, ancient Greece, and the like. And, of course, highly educated whites such as those on the federal bench are the only ones who can be publicly and repeatedly insulted, which is why Obama went to his crazy church for so long and why Sotomayor’s speech would be completely unobjectionable in her social circles. The combination of self-obsession and arrogance is typical and costless for affirmative action babies like them.

Auster writes:

Sonia Sotomayor’s 2001 lecture at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law reveals a deeply mediocre mind. Reading it is a profoundly depressing experience. Nothing matters to this woman except the wonderfulness of her “Latina” identity and the need to get more people of color and more women on the nation’s federal courts. There is no other aspect of the law, no other aspect of America, no other aspect of the universe that she appears to care about. She evinces not the slightest sign of thoughtfulness, expresses not a single idea that rises above dreary mediocrity or goes beyond the rote repetition of the multicultural party line. Think of the old Communists, how they had no frame of reference outside the toppling of capitalism and no thought in their heads other than Communist slogans. Sotomayor has the same kind of mentality, except that her leftism, instead of being directed at the construction of a Communist state, is directed at the construction and celebration of racial and sexual diversity, and the slogans in her head are all about the richness and “vibrancy” of her “Latina” identity: “My family showed me by their example how wonderful and vibrant life is and how wonderful and magical it is to have a Latina soul.”
It is disgusting to read a 4,000 word talk by a person occupying the high position of U.S. federal appeals court judge who speaks endlessly about herself not as a judge, not as an American, but as a “Latina” woman, boasting about her ethnicity. She appears to be devoid of any sense of American citizenship.

What this woman represents is both the death of the intellect, and the death of the common principles, loves, and loyalties that made America.

I have to commend Auster for reading this entire speech; it’s awful in tone, similar to the orientation week lectures you get from highly indoctrinated resident assistants in college.

That said, it’s notable that while she is a number counter–i.e., she details through how many female and Hispanic judges there are on different federal circuits–her interests and the interests of Hispanic chauvinists in general are not nearly so militant or as distasteful as those of anti-assimilationist Muslims in Europe or extremist black activists at home like Al Sharpton. Her memories are not of major injustices, but of good times spent with family and a distinct cuisine. This has been my personal experience with Hispanics, who are generally friendly and warm people that are not terribly militant or alienated, even if they are left-leaning and want their group to get its “fair share.” As she herself says, “Many of us struggle with this tension and attempt to maintain and promote our cultural and ethnic identities in a society that is often ambivalent about how to deal with its differences. In this time of great debate we must remember that it is not political struggles that create a Latino or Latina identity. I became a Latina by the way I love and the way I live my life.” Well, it could be worse.

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Now that it’s convenient–in this case, the eve of a diplomacy tour to the Middle East–Obama talks far more candidly about his background, his Muslim dad, the Muslim country he was raised in, and his Muslim roots.

I don’t think he’s a secret Muslim, a Manchurian Candidate who will soon institute sharia law. If anything, many of his writings suggest an extremely self-absorbed agnostic. But I do think he has a great deal of sympathy and fellow feeling with Muslims because of his background and friendships (such as his many Pakistani friends from college) and also identifies as a black person with the Third World criticism of America as arrogant and oppressive. This all matters because Obama portrayed himself as American as Apple Pie during the campaign, highlighting his white relatives from Kansas, even though his whole life has been spent in strange locales (Hawaii, Indonesia, Pakistan), in the company of his mom’s strange succession of Third World men and then her eventual abandonment of Barack, and his public life has consisted of a fight for the “oppressed” against America’s traditional elites and traditional institutions.

This all matters because people that don’t obsess about politics and policy tend to vote for people that they think share their values and experiences. His “official” background–ambitious, American, sensitive to the marginalized, by the bootstraps, explicitly Christian, patriotic, even-handed and open-minded–was something many could relate to and about which they could find something to admire. But it deviated greatly from reality and concealed his very exotic past and his Muslim connections in particular.

His criticisms of Guantanamo Bay or the War on Terror take on a very different cast when one must ask if they merely appear to be from a patriotic American concerned about imperial overreach but are in fact expressions of a sense of brotherhood with the groups–seething Muslim extremists and their supporters–most Americans cannot relate to and consider to be the enemy.

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Ace puts it well:

At the time of this writing, there are nearly 7,000 references to “George Tiller” in Google News.

There are under 500 for “William Long.”

George Tiller, of course, was the Kansas abortion doctor murdered Sunday morning by a man who allegedly had political and religious motives.

William Long was the 23-year-old military recruiter murdered Monday morning by a man who allegedly had political and religious motives.

George Tiller dedicated his life to killing fetuses.

William Long dedicated his to killing terrorists.

One story still has ‘legs,’ the other is yesterday’s news. Some priorities you’ve got there, MSM.

Someone has already commented on Twitter saying Tiller was a public figure, while the soldier was not. Granted, but how often are US soldiers murdered on US soil by a terror suspect?

This is an inevitable product of the litany of anti-American, anti-Western, supremecist teachings of mainstream Islam. Not everyone reacts the same way to this, just as not every Christian takes his own religion seriously. Some will merely seethe. Some will grumble and offer moral suport. Some will rebel and reject the religion. Some will reject these aspects of the religion. But these teachings are from the religion, not in spite of it. A great number of Muslims have shown their hostility to our way of life, our constitutional government, our military, and our country, including homegrown losers like John Muhammad (the DC Sniper), John Walker Lindh, and now this anti-American “Army of One” in Arkansas.

This should not be dismissed as isolated mental problems or “gangbanger” stuff. Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad had been to college and spent time in Yemen–like John Walker Lindh–and obviously took his religions’ directives for Jihad and death to the Infidels for “polluting” the Dal al Islam very seriously.

The fact that he was being tracked by the FBI is doubly worrying. Obviously there are a finite number of agents and resources. But nothing slowed him down from his mission; nothing in our current laws and investigatie procedures allows the gathering of serious domestic intelligence in mosques and clubs. His emails, phone calls, and the like were not likely monitored.

And for every Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad who converts in the U.S. (and can more easily be monitored by friends, family, and authorities, not least because he speaks English), a great number more are allowed in directly as students, “diversity” visa winners, and green card permanent residents.

We are importing trouble and disunity into what was hitherto a 98% Christian country, whose only major internal source of strife and disunity on the eve of the 1965 Immigration Act was the black-white divide. Even there, the common religion of Christianity provided a way out of the woods in the very Christian idioms of the civil rights movement.

Islam is literally a different language with a different set of priorities and values; the only way for us to live in peace with Muslims is to seperate our lives, our cultures, our countries, and deal with each other commercially and at arms length, remembering that the western world’s freedoms should not be a Trojan Horse for those who embrace the “freedom” of submission and sharia. Even pleasant Muslims–and I have known many–if they take their religion seriously will surprise one with their deeply held beliefs about the need for sharia or the role of women. Their affability and basic decency should not deceive anyone about the core meaning of the religion, and the violence that comes when its true believers encounter non-Muslims. So long as we aim not to be a completely Muslim country as a matter of policy, diversity is anything but our strength.

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While many American elites imagine immigrants love it here, are motivated by high ideals, and offer a great deal to this country, Vanishing American notices something that anyone who has spent time with real immigrants has noticed: a certain ambivalence and, at times, hostility to America, its people, and its culture, viz.:

It’s very important to many Americans that others like us; many Americans seem to have an excessive need to be liked and to gain the approval of foreign people. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard a fellow American ask a foreign person, whether a visitor or an immigrant, how they like it here in America. They always ask with a sense of expectation, as if they just know the answer will be glowing praise for America, and gratitude for being here. And yet, of all the times I’ve heard the question asked of various tourists and immigrants, the latter almost never offer praise for this country or gratitude for being here. Like our European exchange student of so many years ago, they compare this country unfavorably to their own, and in some cases, offer criticism of American behavior. Maybe I’ve heard a few people say they love it here, but many, at best, give noncommital answers. Some, when Americans ask them ‘do you like America’? will give a rather unconvincingly affirmative answer, probably believing that they have to answer yes when put on the spot.

Quite honestly, most of the immigrants who are coming here now come here not because they like us, or capitalism, or anything else about our country. The come here because of the lure of prosperity and a higher standard of living, a safer and easier life. Granted, not all find a bed of roses when they come here, but they seem to like the trappings of life in America just enough to stay despite their feelings for us, not because of any affection or affinity.

Still, most Americans, in their puppy-dog fashion, crave hearing that our new ‘Americans’ love us, and love apple pie, baseball, the Stars and Stripes, and the Fourth of July. Many Americans are shocked when they come to find out that our need to be loved by foreigners is not requited with love towards us, or even an equal need to be liked by us. Quite frankly, many of the immigrants are aware that their increasing presence in our country discomfits many of us, and they don’t care. They do not care. Our opinion of them is of no consequence; we are of no consequence to them. We are an annoyance, an obstacle.

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A truly excellent article appears in Foreign Affairs describing how the European peace and prosperity of the last 50 years were a product of increasing ethnic homogenization among almost all of these nations since WWI. 

Far from this being the age of post-nationalism, the EU and Franco-German detante conceal the fact that our age is witness to the apotheosis of the traditional nation-state.  While nothing earth-shattering appears in Muller’s essay, it is very clear and precise.  Ideally, it would disabuse American readers of the hoary notion that the ethnic state is an anachronism that should be eliminated through mass immigration, meddling in other nation’s internal affairs, and constant hectoring by a******s like George Soros. 

Projecting their own experience onto the rest of the world, Americans generally belittle the role of ethnic nationalism in politics. [Well, liberal ones, minorities, and recent arrivals do.]  After all, in the United States people of varying ethnic origins live cheek by jowl in relative peace. Within two or three generations of immigration, their ethnic identities are attenuated by cultural assimilation and intermarriage. Surely, things cannot be so different elsewhere.

Americans also find ethnonationalism discomfiting both intellectually and morally. Social scientists go to great lengths to demonstrate that it is a product not of nature but of culture, often deliberately constructed. And ethicists scorn value systems based on narrow group identities rather than cosmopolitanism.

But none of this will make ethnonationalism go away. Immigrants to the United States usually arrive with a willingness to fit into their new country and reshape their identities accordingly. But for those who remain behind in lands where their ancestors have lived for generations, if not centuries, political identities often take ethnic form, producing competing communal claims to political power. The creation of a peaceful regional order of nation-states has usually been the product of a violent process of ethnic separation. In areas where that separation has not yet occurred, politics is apt to remain ugly.

The author does a good job of explaining the present state of the ethnic state.  It’s the super-tribe, the most modern of  kinship identies, and also the weakest, but it is also a natural bond, considering the common histories, languages, religions, and physical similarities that unite most national groups. 

I do think he misunderstands the nascent American ethnic nationalism that bloomed in the post-war era, only to be scrubbed away after 1965 through mass immigration and a “counter-cultural” ideological program. But the main point stands, and it probably stands doubly strong once American exceptionalism is rejected as an ideological tale told by self-interested parties, mostly unassimilated minorities and our foreign enemies.

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