Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Failure of "Multikulti"

We've often argued on Viewpoint that the postmodern infatuation with multiculturalism is a colossal mistake. A nation, to be a nation, needs cohesion, and it cannot achieve cohesion when its citizens are constantly reminding everyone how very different they are from each other.

People are united by the things they share in common - a common language, a common history, a common set of political values, a common set of moral principles - to name the most important. Race and religion are also factors, but the divisions engendered by racial and religious diversity are suppressed when those other commonalities are present, as they have been throughout much of our nation's history.

When people share common values and a common language they can, and do, overlook racial and religious differences, but when none of those commonalities exist society becomes Balkanized into ethnic, racial and religious interests groups all seeking to achieve power over the others. Each group becomes a tinder box of resentments, grievances, and hatreds.

This, apparently, is what we see happening in Europe, and the Europeans are starting to admit publicly what they used to try to sweep under the rug - multiculturalism is a failure. The most recent European leader to make this unpleasant admission is Germany's Angela Merkel:
Germany's attempt to create a multi-cultural society has failed completely, Chancellor Angela Merkel said at the weekend, calling on the country's immigrants to learn German and adopt Christian values. Merkel weighed in for the first time in a blistering debate sparked by a central bank board member saying the country was being made "more stupid" by poorly educated and unproductive Muslim migrants.
"Multikulti", the concept that "we are now living side by side and are happy about it," does not work, Merkel told a meeting of younger members of her conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party at Potsdam near Berlin.
"This approach has failed, totally," she said, adding that immigrants should integrate and adopt Germany's culture and values.
"We feel tied to Christian values. Those who don't accept them don't have a place here," said the chancellor.
"Subsidising immigrants" isn't sufficient, Germany has the right to "make demands" on them, she added, such as mastering the language of Goethe and abandoning practices such as forced marriages.
There's more at the link. The United States is a nation of immigrants, of course, but until relatively recently those immigrants insisted that their children speak the language, embrace the traditions, and value the freedoms enshrined in the Bill of Rights. That has changed, however. The concept of assimilation has fallen out of favor. The Left considers it an expression of cultural chauvinism and takes every opportunity to denigrate those very values and traditions. If this trend continues, and it will as long as the Left maintains its cultural hegemony, it will not be long before the U.S. starts looking like Bosnia.

Open Letter to Hispanics

In a recent column Dennis Prager, perhaps the most consistently insightful columnist in the country today, writes an open letter to Hispanics about immigration. It hits all the right notes and says what I wish I had had the wit to say myself. He begins with this:
I am writing to you as a concerned and sympathetic American who is a Republican. My sentiments do not represent every American -- that would be impossible. But I believe the following represent most Americans.
First, a message to those of you here illegally:
You may be very surprised to hear this, but in your position, millions of Americans, including me, would have done what you did.
If I lived in a poor country with a largely corrupt government, a country in which I had little or no prospect of hope for an improved life for me or my children, and I could not legally get into the world's freest, most affluent country, the country with the most opportunities for people of any and every background, I would do whatever I could do to get into that country illegally.
Mexico and many other Central and South American countries are largely hopeless places for most of their people. America offers hope to everyone willing to work hard. Who could not understand why any individual, let alone a father or mother of a family, would try to get into the United States -- legally preferably, illegally if necessary?
Now that I have made it clear that millions of us understand what motivates you and do not morally condemn you for entering America illegally, I have to ask you to try to understand what motivates us.
Please take the time to read the rest of the piece. It's excellent.

His conclusion is particularly insightful. He turns his attention to Hispanics who are American citizens and says this:
Finally, and most important, by voting for Democratic Party candidates, you are voting for a type of government more like the ones most Latinos fled. Take the Mexican example. The Democratic Party is, in most important ways, an American version of the PRI [Mexico's ruling party]. For 70 years, the PRI governed Mexico and brought its economy to its knees because of vast government spending, the squashing of individual initiative, a bloated bureaucracy, unsustainable debt and the subsequent devaluing of the Mexican peso.
Why, for God's sake, would you want to see that replicated in America? The very reason America has been so prosperous and so free -- the very reasons you or your ancestors, like almost every other American's ancestors, came here -- is that America has had more limited government and therefore more liberty than any other country in the world. The Republican Party represents all that you or your parents came to America for -- and why you left Mexico and other countries: individual opportunity and individual responsibility. It is also the party that represents your social values.
Admittedly, the Democratic Party appeals to your emotions. But a vote for the Democratic Party is a vote to make America like the Mexico of the PRI. And a vote for the Democratic Party is a vote to undo the great American achievement of uniting the children of immigrants from all over the world as Americans.
Although I don't place as much confidence in the GOP as Prager seems to, and often think that those who accuse Republican politicians of being just a paler shade of Democrat are right, Prager's column is nevertheless powerful, must-read stuff.