The Myth of Multiculturalism

The Myth of Multiculturalism

Visiting an old book

I’ve just started to revisit old books that I read long time ago. One of these is a book by Samuel P. Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order,1996

In the book, I came across an interesting topic of multiculturalism; p305-306; it reads:

A more immediate and dangerous challenge exists in the United States. Historically American national identity has been defined culturally by the heritage of Western civilization and politically by the principles of the American Creed on which Americans overwhelmingly agree: liberty, democracy, individualism, equality before the law, constitutionalism, and private property. In the late twentieth century both components of American identity have come under concentrated and sustained onslaught from a small but influential number of intellectuals and publicists. In the name of multiculturalism they have attacked the identification of the United States with Western civilization, denied the existence of a common American culture, and promoted racial, ethnic, and other subnational cultural identities and groupings. They have denounced, in the words of one of their reports, the “systematic bias toward European culture and its derivatives” in education and “the dominance of the European-American monocultural perspective.” The multiculturalists are, as Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., said, “very often ethnocentric separatists who see little in the Western heritage other than Western crimes.” Their “mood is one of divesting Americans of the sinful European inheritance and seeking redemptive infusions from non-Western cultures.”

The multicultural trend was also manifested in a variety of legislation that followed the civil rights acts of the 1960s, and in the 1990s the Clinton administration made the encouragement of diversity one of its major goals. T h e contrast with the past is striking. The Founding Fathers saw diversity as a reality and as a problem: hence the national motto, e pluribus unum, chosen by a committee of the Continental Congress consisting of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams. Later political leaders who also were fearful of the dangers of racial, sectional, ethnic, economic, and cultural diversity (which, indeed, produced the largest war of the century between 1815 and 1914), responded to the call of “bring us together,” and made the promotion of national unity their central responsibility. “The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, of preventing all possibility of its continuing as a nation at all,” warned Theodore Roosevelt, “would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities.”8 In the 1990s, however, the leaders of the United States have not only permitted that but assiduously promoted the diversity rather than the unity of the people they govern…..

The American multiculturalists reject their country’s cultural heritage. Instead of attempting to identify the United States with another (western) civilization, however, they wish to create a country of many civilizations, which is to say a country not belonging to any civilization and lacking a cultural core. History shows that no country so constituted can long endure as a coherent society. A multicivilizational United States will not be the United States; it will be the United Nations.”

Of course, being from different culture myself, and living in north America, many people would ask why he is showing us an article against diversity and multiculturalism. I would say that part of reason leaving Egypt and moving to US and Canada was me disliking the Arabic culture of hatred, fanaticism, and sacrificing the individual for the sake of Islamic Umma. I was hoping to move to a culture of liberty, individualism and high standard of freedoms and human rights.  These characteristics I loved happened to be part of the western culture which I respected so much. Therefore, seeing all this diversification and multiculturalism in north America was, for me, like wiping out all the genuineness and authenticity of this amazing culture. I always believed “if you want to live in America, live like Americans, not like Arabs, Hindus, or Chinese”. What is happening now in America is degrading the whole culture I used to love.

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2 Responses to The Myth of Multiculturalism

  1. Jeremiah Dow says:

    I enjoyed your perspective on this issue. It is an extremely valuable perspective to someone like myself, homegrown in America. I agree. Multiculturalism within the boundaries of one national identity will ultimately destroy its cultural heritage. Also of concern is the political correctness movement that seems, paradoxically, to both affirm and contest diversity. While I honor the idea of diversity within the context of individual liberty, drawing artificial lines in the sand for the sake of being politically correct or culturally diverse does little for either the individual or the nation as a whole.

    Thanks
    Jeremiah

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