Like social justice, multiculturalism is one of those slogans no
one is willing or able to define. But its advocates will go to the
wall for it. Apparently, I ran afoul of one such - the Indianapolis
bureau chief of the Palladium-Item of Richmond, Indiana, because
he unleashed a scathing dissertation about the error of my ways.
In his April 19 article, he reports on the Indiana day of "Re-Elect
America" and uses the venue for our "We The People"
Forum - the War Memorial of Indianapolis - to ridicule our advocacy
of America's founding principles. As the culmination of his sarcastic
disapproval, he triumphantly recalls that the same building houses
portraits of Belgian, French and British commanders who fought with
American troops in World War I, and the words "Within this
shrine there lives the spirit of brotherhood binding the people
of the United States with the nations of the world."
Bureau chief David Smith, author of news analyses, calls these
the clearest symbols of multiculturalism. Does he truly mistake
apples for oranges?
The multiculturalism we say is divisive, and therefore incompatible
with our common American identity, is practiced in the domestic
arena. Throughout the "Re-Elect America" tour, those who
disagreed with us insisted that America had been multicultural from
the beginning. If by that they meant that persons from many different
ethnic origins had come here before Independence, we agreed and
were quick to add that persons of even more varied ethnic origins
were to follow thereafter.
But they used to come here to become American.
The essence of being American was not to be tied to one's ancestry,
but to join with people of all kind by adopting a common language,
morality, work ethic, and adherence to the form of government established
by the Founders.
Multiculturalism is opposed to all of the above.
The greatest opportunity, the source of success, was embodied in
the tacit requirement that, whatever the habits of the individual
at the time of arrival, the prevailing - and constantly rising -
standards called "American" be met. There were standards
in personal hygiene, neatness of appearance, civility person to
person, respect for the law, honest dealing, speaking the truth,
keeping one's word, doing a good job.
Multiculturalism says that the opposites of these are equally valid,
and that we celebrate our diversity by embracing all "cultures"
of the world.
To be sure, by this they do not mean reading the literature, enjoying
the music, taking in the art of whatever origin so far as these
are worth reading, hearing, seeing. Because, if that were all, multicultural
people would simply be called educated, as they have been for eons.
No - multiculturalists, and celebrants of diversity, insist that
literature not worth reading, music not worth hearing, and art not
worth seeing, in fact is. They hold that all languages are the same,
and that speaking a language poorly is the same as speaking it eloquently.
They hold that doing a job poorly is the same as doing a job well.
They hold that objectionable attitudes and habits are just a matter
With slight exaggeration, one might propose that the old American
way has been to improve life by adopting the best from everywhere;
the multicultural way is to waste life on the irrelevant from everywhere.
But the biggest deception of multiculturalism is to suggest that
it celebrates diversity. In fact, it operates the crudest and most
primitive lumping together of human beings ever perpetrated. Ignored
and denied is the tremendous, exciting variety that exists within
continents. Do these people really fail to perceive the diversity
between Swedes and Italians, Mexicans and Brazilians, Chinese and
Japanese, or Ethiopians and the Zulu?
What they describe is not multiculturalism. What they describe,
as explained in this column a little while ago, is gleichschaltung
- switching to parity. And it is not a triumph of equality in the
affairs of man as dreamed of in the Declaration of Independence
by Thomas Jefferson but a means of devaluing accomplishment, talent,
industry, and excellence. It was unleashed on Germany by Josef Goebbels
during the Third Reich, and no one could have predicted that gleichschaltung
would resurface in the United States of America as multiculturalism.
What multiculturalism covers is the outrageous thesis that nothing
has inherent value. What multiculturalism denies is access to betterment
to the very people whose access had been restricted or non-existent.
What multiculturalism arrests is progress in standards, and ever
more members of society adopting those standards.
Significantly, Mr. David Smith, in an effort to inform his readers
about my reasons for coming to America, refers to "a botched
revolt" in Hungary. That must be the first time someone describes
thus the 1956 uprising against Soviet-Russia, that ended in the
tanks of the Red Army rolling over unarmed 14-year-olds.
It is hard not to draw conclusions about the nature of Mr. Smith's
political training. Such conclusions are further supported by the
tendency to weave his disapproval through personal innuendo as opposed
to intellectual argument.
All of which, of course, is covered by the First Amendment. What
Mr. Smith, and journalists like him, might recall is that said First
Amendment is an article of the U.S. Constitution. It does not come
from Papua New Guinea, or from Viet Nam, or from Sierra Leone. It
does not even come from Germany, or France, or Spain. In fact, Mr.
Smith might write down on a pad everything that makes up his day
- from getting up to retiring - then list the origins of those things
to review how multicultural his life is.
But in any event, we ought to stop confusing respect for individual
human beings with respect for their collective heritage, some of
which may well be desirable, others quite undesirable, objectionable
- even unacceptable.
Meanwhile, let us celebrate diversity with the immortal words of
the high school principal from Annandale, Virginia, who said this
on CNN: "The teachers embrace diversity and work very hard
to unify the students."