Coming out of the 1950’s, with Democratic control of both the White House and the Congress, the left controlled the political debate. This assured the passage of major changes in U.S. immigration policy. Motivating these changes in policy was the predominant idea amongst alienated intellectuals of the1960’s: multiculturalism.
The cultural component of the progressive movement (a reform minded movement from the far left of the Republican Party that helped motivate a more activist government) which gained prominence in the 1950’s, was focused on the enlightened citizen as a means to change a culture and then a society. Progressives emphasized diversity as the path to becoming an enlightened citizen, a “citizen of the world.” This group of alienated intellectuals spoke of entitlement and accommodation, non-discrimination and group interest, rights over responsibility. It was the beginning of the diversity movement, political correctness, and identity politics in America.
Achieving critical mass, this group of alienated intellectuals was successful in igniting and influencing the debate on immigration that moved through Congress in the 1960’s in order to achieve cultural diversity through public policy. They wanted to change the way our democracy had been set up and had worked for so long. No longer would it be “rule by the majority, with protection for minorities” but, rule by the minorities focused on their specific interests, assisted by advocate lawyers financed by the majority. Many of these same people have gone on and now head our universities and control our courtrooms.
John Fonte of the American Enterprise Institute suggests: “We are going through a transformation from liberal democracy to the alternative world view of cultural democracy, challenging the basic principles of liberal democracy on practically every important issue. At the heart of the liberal democratic world view is the concept of the individual citizen. Traditionally, the legal and moral authority of political liberalism is based on the rights and responsibilities of individual citizens, who are equal under the law and together form a self-governing free people. But, in the new cultural democracy of the multi-culturals, the major actors in the civic culture are no longer individual citizens operating through voluntary associations, but distinct peoples, ethnic groups, and cultural blocs with their own world views, values, histories, heritages, and languages, which often require different legal rights and separate educational programs. Cultural democrats weaken the concept of citizenship itself by blurring the distinctions between citizens and non-citizens.”
Harvard Sociologist Nathan Glazier lists the characteristics of Fonte’s cultural democrats for us: “Official bilingualism, multiculturalism and diversity, multilingual ballots, defining citizenship so as to include all children born here (remember the original intent of the 14th Amendment was to keep southern states from denying newly freed slaves the full rights of citizens), the abandonment of English as a prerequisite for citizenship, the erosion of citizenship as the solid qualification for voting, the extension of welfare and educational benefits as a right to illegal immigrants and their children, and congressional and state legislative apportionment based on legal and illegal immigrants.”
For most of our history we have been a bi-racial society. Long, hard fought, moral, political, and military battles were engaged in an effort to address the terrible trials faced by blacks in America: battles that ultimately culminated in Civil Rights legislation. Civil Rights legislation basically affirmed black’s rights as American citizens to equal treatment under the law, rights as citizens that are elaborated in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. Shelby Steele, an advocate for civil rights legislation said, “blacks did not claim they deserve the rights and entitlements because they are black, but they deserve them because they are citizens of the U.S.”
Multiculturalism and ethnic politics has reversed all that. Activist groups transferred the hard fought civil rights principles lock, stock, and barrel to apply to any and all immigrants. Civil rights have now come to mean any right claimed by any member of any officially government sanctioned minority group. The politics of difference allows any minority to demand entitlement solely based on their history of oppression, their race, their gender, their ethnicity, or whatever quality that allegedly makes them different.
Multiculturalism is about division and difference. As Georgie Geyer says in her book Americans No More, “Multiculturalism depends on a clash of principles, whereas a working society must be organized upon one or a few central principles……thus, multiculturalism becomes nothing less than an alternative to citizenship.” For a staunch multi-culturalist the problem is not diversity but homogeneity. Robert Bach, Prof. of Sociology at the State U. NY. at Binghamton, an admitted multi-culturalist, concludes:
“Americans as we have known them must be changed…. to facilitate the dream of the “universal citizen.”
Multiculturalism’s latest manifestation is ethnic politics. By 1998 immigration groups supporting their own exclusive interests and forming political parties were pervasive in national and local politics. There is now a full-fledged diversity lobbying industry in America. As distinct immigration groups have achieved critical mass it has lead to the creation of ethnic interest groups who spend their time lobbying the government to redistribute resources in their favor. As former Rep. Lee Hamilton (D-Ind) once said,
“there is an explosion in ethnic group participation in politics in this city (Washington, D.C.)…what is often missing is any analysis of the national interest.”
Our elected officials are politically hooked on ethnic politics and are not listening to the less activist majority who, based on current polling, continue to express discomfort with the current levels and diverse nature of immigration into the U.S.
Supporters of multiculturalism, diversity, and ethnic politics are pursuing their goals virtually unopposed. They have frightened away anyone who dares to challenge their policies, quickly shouting nationalist, racist, isolationist, xenophobe, or some other equally politically incorrect label. As syndicated columnist George Will suggests, these groups try to convince us:
“America is a sick, racist, sexist, exploitive, oppressive, patriarchal society into which no self-respecting person would wish to assimilate.”
They seem to be winning rather decisively, particularly with respect to influence over our elected officials in Washington, D.C.
Advocates for mass immigration and multiculturalism will frequently cite the New York City subway as an example demonstrating the joy of multiculturalism and diversity. They talk of how there are faces from all over the world, speaking many different languages, working and traveling together in harmony: the great melting pot at work. Well, it’s a snapshot, and it is terribly misleading.
Anyone who has regularly used the New York City subway in the past decade can attest that up close the melting pot has gone cold. Instead there is nothing but division. Up close what you find is Mexicans speaking to Mexicans, Dominicans speaking to Dominicans, Chinese speaking to Chinese, Koreans speaking to Koreans, Russians speaking to Russians, Indians speaking to Indians, North Africans to North Africans, the French to the French, Arab to Arab and so on, and so on.
All these diverse peoples in a voluntary fashion are divided by language and culture. Most live and work together day in and day out in their own sub-cultures, with nothing to compel them to assimilate to a common language, English, and a common way of life, American. The New York City subway system, particularly the number 7 train made famous by baseball player John Rocker, is one of the best examples of the divisions created by multiculturalism and diversity. The complete absence of any kind of assimilation programs supporting unity and good citizenship in our society today is in plain view for all to see on the number 7 train.
In the end, multiculturalism may be a misnomer, because multiculturalism in practice does not strongly emphasize other cultures or on foreign languages. It is more just anti-western, anti-white.
“Multiculturalism and political correctness are different sides of the same coin. Multiculturalism is the side where you look for the victims. Political correctness is the side where you go after the victimizers.”
Georgie Anne Geyer
The cultural upheaval rooted in the 1960’s has shown itself as a threat to what constitutes America; the honor of citizenship, our language, our hard fought bi-racial society, our sense of self reliance, our culture and national symbols. Most concerning, in 2012 multiculturalism and political correctness continue to threaten free speech and free thought.
A continued push towards a utopian multicultural society will continue to bring problems for America. Problems that will arise as assimilation rates continue to increase, and fewer immigrants seek citizenship. Problems that will arise because of division by culture and language, because of identity politics, because of an emphasis on diversity instead of unity. Problems that have already wrecked havoc in places like the Afghanistan, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Ethiopia, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Soviet Union, Turkey, and Yugoslavia.