Melting Pot Yes, Multiculturalism No
When I taught at Stonehill College I had a sign on my office door that said, “Melting Pot Yes, Multiculturalism No”. I put it up to encourage attacks by colleagues so I could confront and debate them. If you think that I was spoiling for a fight, you are correct, because I had recently learned something that has shaped my thinking ever since, late in life, I became a college professor: I learned that many liberals hated America and wished to tear her down.
All my adult life I had defended American actions, conservatism and the rights of individuals – in discussions and arguments with progressives, thinking always that they had the same objective that I had, to work for a better America based on Constitutional precepts and Christian and Jewish values. I was wrong, but I never realized until Stonehill (which, ironically is a Catholic college operated by people who love their country) that the people I usually opposed were full of hate.
Multiculturalism is one of the policies that progressives are using to destroy American values and traditions. Below is an excerpt from a presentation that explains this made at The Clairmont Institute a few years ago. To read the entire presentation, go here.
The Intellectual Errors and Political Dangers of Multiculturalism
“Let us turn to the politics of multiculturalism, and in particular what it means for American politics. Rejecting the waves of modern philosophy crashing down on Europe at the time, the Americans in 1776 attempted something never before attempted: they founded a nation upon a self evident truth, a truth bound up in the "laws of nature and of nature's God." As Abraham Lincoln reminded us at the Gettysburg cemetery, "our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal." That proposition has been the single greatest cause of the rise of American freedom, happiness, and prosperity. The entire American experiment in free government stands or falls by the principle of equality, and whether Americans remain dedicated to the cause of defending it.
But Americans will not defend what they do not believe to be true. Under the influence of multiculturalism, increasingly the upper intellectual ranks of Americans have come of the opinion that there is nothing they believe to be true, and they persist in teaching that to our children. Indeed, the most sinister aspect of multiculturalism, politically, is that it teaches American students and citizens to discard their loyalty to the United States, in the name of "diversity," and to abandon anything that smacks of "patriotism."
For a nation such as the United States, one dedicated to the natural rights of man, this is problematic—especially in a time of war. It is from multiculturalists that one hears the resurrected phrase, "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter." Of course, even some multiculturalists winced when those "freedom fighters" crashed airplanes into their cities, murdering their friends and relatives. But not all of them. Today one can still read in the journals of the multiculturalist left, such as the New York Times or The Nation, that America was ultimately to blame for September 11th, and that we should focus our efforts on reaching out to the "others" who live and think differently than do we.
Some multiculturalists try to square patriotism with their multiculturalism by arguing that what unites Americans is our diversity. But the conclusion of this argument is unsustainable. Individual rights, religious and civil liberty, and the rule of law are either good, or they are not; a nation cannot affirm both simultaneously. Put another way, if America stands for everything, it can stand for nothing. As one multiculturalist intellectual extolled in the New Yorker last fall, "the whole meaning of American life is that there is no such thing as the meaning of American life."
Whether he rejects or redefines patriotism, the multiculturalist believes patriotism must be subdued and subordinated to the wider claims of multicultural diversity. One solution is to subject American patriotism to the multi-national, and therefore multicultural, control of international organizations such as the United Nations or the newly formed International Court of Justice. In the rare cases that a multiculturalist will support coercive action against one culture, that action must receive the blessings of the international community, the only source of "multicultural justice," regardless of the (im)moral character of the nations that might comprise the international community. For the American multiculturalist, America is ours, which means it is not the "other," which means American in itself cannot be worth defending.
When thinking about the politics of multiculturalism, we should recall that multiculturalism not only exercises leftist political influence, it is a product of those politics. Some multiculturalists try to defend the advent of the term "multiculturalism" as a new, positive way to speak about "diversity." In some sense this is true. But it was not by chance that the term "multiculturalism" was coined at the same moment, in the mid to late 1980s, when race-based preferences and quotas were coming under increasing public and legal scrutiny.
At that time, the arguments for remedying past discrimination and forcing racial parity in schools and businesses were failing to persuade the American people. Why should Americans of all colors today pay for the sins of some in the past? What do Americans of all colors today owe to the many fallen Americans who gave their last full measure of devotion to make America the free country it is? And who believes that all ethnic groups are equal in preparing their children for college or work? In their desperate search for a new defense of the discriminatory policies of affirmative action, liberals concocted the notion that without race based preferences and quotas, there would be no "diversity" in the classroom and workplace. Multiculturalism was intended to lend academic authority to the racial politics of affirmative action, as multicultural centers and departments began to spring up in colleges and universities around the country. This was the political basis for multiculturalism.
Let us conclude here. Intellectually, multiculturalism is indefensible. As I believe I have shown, it is embarrassingly inconsistent. It is refuted and undermined by its own argument. Politically, multiculturalism is dangerous. Multiculturalism represents nothing less than the political suicide of the West, and in particular the crown jewel of the West, the United States of America. Multiculturalism attempts to undermine the good principles upon which America is built, and it is corrosive of the patriotic spirit that fills the hearts of free men and women. Though it operates much more subtly, multiculturalism is no less a threat to our free institutions than the terrorists who attack our cities with airplanes. It is the test of the American people whether they have the intelligence to identify multiculturalism for the mistake it is, and the resolve to ensure that it does not triumph over this, the last best hope of mankind."