Saturday, August 18, 2007

Two Prominent Liberals Change Their Minds

Georgie Anne Geyer is a widely respected and well-known liberal columnist whose articles focus on foreign affairs issues and appear in approximately 120 newspapers in North and Latin America. She is the author of several books, including a biography of Fidel Castro. Ms. Geyer devotes much of her attention to criticizing conservative presidents – particularly with respect to their Central American and South American policies.

My regular readers are well aware that I devote this weblog often to the dangers multiculturalism poses to the future of the United States and to its role as a beneficent, functioning republic – the greatest and most progressive democracy the world has ever known. No other country in history ever defeated its enemies after a great war and then lent them a helping hand to become prosperous democracies themselves (Germany and Japan). All throughout prior history the victor claimed the spoils. That many countries we saved now treat us with disrespect is just a fact of life that powerful countries have to bear. No good deed ever goes unpunished.

But when two highly respected liberal intellectuals conclude that multiculturalism, a key tenet of liberal philosophy, is in fact a failing, dangerous poison to the American experience, this change of opinion and direction needs to be trumpeted. I know I am usually preaching to the choir, but this time the fog of liberalism must be pierced. And these are the arrows that can do it.

In this piece, Georgie Anne Geyer discusses both her own observations and also the amazing study just announced by Professor Robert Putnam of Harvard. Crossposted from Peace and Freedom, and many thanks to our friend, John E. Carey:

The Case Against Multiculturalism
By Georgie Anne Geyer
August 16, 2007

WASHINGTON -- One of the many distasteful and underestimated influences on American and European life to emerge from the turbulent, anti-establishment '60s was the concept of "multiculturalism" -- which still dooms us today.

It sounded so good. Not only were all people "created equal," as our founding documents had it, but equal opportunity was to be solemnly strived for, and men and women of every stripe and culture were to be guaranteed equal outcome. There was also the underlying (and insulting) idea that those "others" had no culture or memory or history of their own -- they were just like us.

They wanted the same things that we did.

Ironically, these doctrines were born in the utopian lefts in American and European universities, but they came to have a hammer hold on the administration of George W., as well. Remember all the tripe about the father in Mosul wanting "just what we want for our kids"?

But now the entire, miserable multicultural voyage has made a sudden port call, and it is a curious one. One of the theory's major protagonists is the respected liberal Harvard professor Robert Putnam, known for his 2000 book "Bowling Alone," in which he uncovers a sobering decline in civic engagement in America. He has now come up with some astonishing findings that are so shocking that he did not release them for several years.

The truth, Putnam found, is that the greater the amount of multiculturalism and diversity in a society, the lower the level of civic engagement and shared sense of community cohesiveness. The multiculturalists who have dominated our social thinking for nearly 50 years got it all wrong.

Because the study has been published only in an obscure journal, it took a major newspaper like The Boston Globe to ferret out this "downside of diversity." Writing in the Globe, Michael Jones reports that, after interviewing approximately 30,000 participants in the widest-ranging survey ever on this subject, Putnam found that, "The greater the diversity in a community, the fewer people vote and the less they volunteer, the less they give to charity and work on community projects. In the most diverse communities, neighbors trust one another about half as much as they do in the most homogeneous settings."

Moreover, the wise commentator John Leo, writing in the Web's City Journal, adds that, "Putnam's study reveals that immigration and diversity not only reduce social capital between ethnic groups, but also within the groups themselves. ... The problem isn't ethnic conflict or troubled racial relations, but withdrawal and isolation."

If Putnam's findings are true -- and there is every reason to believe them to be -- then they may offer one explanation for why the American people responded so little and so lamely when our "leaders" dragged us, not even whimpering, into the most foolish war in history in 2003. I have often in these four years awakened in the middle of the night thinking something like: "Nobody simply cares. Nobody is related to anybody else in this country anymore. All the old connections between citizens and government -- and one another -- somehow got lost along the way."

Putnam is saying that yes, indeed, that's exactly what did happen, leaving us lost and atomized with a government that no longer needed our assent for its hubris, arrogance and violence.

But Putnam, a serious intellectual who does not usually let his liberal leanings affect his work, is not the only liberal having second thoughts these days. Writing in The New York Times Magazine recently, Michael Ignatieff, former Harvard professor and now a prominent Liberal Party politician in Canada, published a "mea culpa" on his stand supporting the Iraq war.

Essentially, he says: "In academic life, false ideas are merely false, and useless ones can be fun to play with. In political life, false ideas can ruin the lives of millions, and useless ones can waste precious resources. An intellectual's responsibility for his ideas is to follow their consequences wherever they may lead. A politician's responsibility is to master those consequences and prevent them from doing harm."

It's an old, old story: utopian dreaming of perfect worlds and ignoring the harsh reality of this one vs. the politician or the journalist or the candy-maker who has to have an innate and polished street sense to survive.

Multiculturalism -- the notion that everyone is actually the same and will fit right in -- is palpably absurd. It disrespects the new person, his history, his reality, his personality. Bringing in unlimited numbers of people disrespects the society into which they are coming -- no society can absorb that many totally different peoples. Witness Europe and Islam. Witness California and its overwhelming Hispanic numbers. This becomes, then, no melting pot, but a boiling pot and a roiling sea of unassimilable numbers that leads to the breakdown and anomie of society.

Professor Putnam delayed publishing his findings because he found them so shocking he felt he had to wait until he could offer some answers to the problem. There already is an answer. It is called common sense, and its handmaiden is human nature.


AddThis Social Bookmark Button


At 9:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read Geyers' biography-something about taking the midnight flight. She is no liberal. Criticizing individual conservative policies does not make her a liberal. South America? We could have done better on many occasions.

At 9:45 AM, Blogger RussWilcox said...

I've probably been reading Georgie Anne Geyers' columns for 30 years, and she is a liberal. What's most interesting is that, with all the meat in her article you choose to argue about whether she's a liberal. That says something.


Post a Comment

<< Home