Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Threat of Other Cultures

This speech against multiculturalism has been around for a while but I finally gave it some thought.

Going at it point by point:

1. First to destroy America, "Turn America into a bilingual or multi-lingual and bicultural country. History shows that no nation can survive the tension, conflict, and antagonism of two or more competing languages and cultures. It is a blessing for an individual to be bilingual; however, it is a curse for a society to be bilingual. Since when do different languages destroy a nation? The strongest point in British history is when part of the population spoke French and the other English. China lasted for 5,000 years with multiple languages and over 20 distinct ethnic groups (China did crumble to different cultures but that was due to military and economic forces, not because they were bilingual). Egypt and Rome were also multicultural to an extent (one dominant but many cultures were tolerated as long as they agreed to revere the empire).

I see this argument tossed about casually but where's the proof? Canada and Belgium are listed as troubled bi-cultural nations? Most of the world would dream of being so troubled. Malaysia, Lebanon, Pakistan, and Cyprus certainly are messes but multiculturism doesn't even make the top forty list of woes.

People who believe this way try to make "multiculturism equals death" as a historical fact but they don't even try to provide facts or statistics. Even creationists do a better job of that.

2. "Invent 'multiculturalism' and encourage immigrants to maintain their culture. I would make it an article of belief that all cultures are equal." How does any of this point "destroy America"? What's more destructive, an A-bomb or someone saying "All cultures are equal."

Then follow that up with a straw man attack: "I would make it an article of faith that the Black and Hispanic dropout rates are due to prejudice and discrimination by the majority. Every other explanation is out of bounds." Jesse Jackson doesn't even say this. Again, Lamm doesn't even try to provide any sort of proof--no quotes, no stats, no examples--everything must be accepted on faith.

3. "We could make the United States a 'Hispanic Quebec' without much effort." Does this statement make any sense in any context? Is Lamm such an abject idiot that he thinks the United States could be transformed without an effort? In his last point, he presented black activists as rabid and inflexible. Does he not see a difference between black and Hispanic or is it okay to have his points directly contradict?

"The key is to celebrate diversity rather than unity. As Benjamin Schwarz said in the Atlantic Monthly recently: 'The apparent success of our own multiethnic and multicultural experiment might have been achieved! Not by tolerance but by hegemony. Without the dominance that once dictated ethnocentrically and what it meant to be an American, we are left with only tolerance and pluralism to hold us together.'" You shot who in the what now? Does this mean that every redneck puts away the stars and bars and stops celebrating Jefferson Davis Day or are those differences acceptable?

"I would encourage all immigrants to keep their own language and culture. I would replace the melting pot metaphor with the salad bowl metaphor. It is important to ensure that we have various cultural subgroups living in America reinforcing their differences rather than as Americans, emphasizing their similarities." At the turn of the last century, Italians, Germans, Poles, all spoke their old languages far more frequently than today. And somehow, despite Lamm's beliefs, the U.S. survived. How is today's situation any more pressing? If Lamm has answers, he doesn't bother sharing them.

4. "I would make our fastest growing demographic group the least educated. I would add a second underclass, unassimilated, undereducated, and antagonistic to our population. I would have this second underclass have a 50% dropout rate from high school." Lamm doesn't have to say "I would." With the GOP's education policies, he DID. Is this Lamm's admission of guilt or does he expect the audience to believe that Democrats slashed school funding? Again, the key to Lamm's argument is don't ask questions.

5. "My fifth point for destroying America would be to get big foundations and business to give these efforts lots of money." So, Lamm thinks liberals have more money than conservatives? Well no, but it sounded good when he said it. "I would invest in ethnic identity, and I would establish the cult of 'Victimology.'" Like putting fish bumper stickers on your car and crying whenever someone doesn't want a personal relationship with Jesus? "I would get all minorities to think their lack of success was the fault of the majority. I would start a grievance industry blaming all minority failure on the majority population."Are you the guys who say we lost Vietnam because of Jane Fonda? Are you the guys who say Iraq would be humming along fine except for the protests? Haven't you been known to throw the blame around a bit? And when you're done with realizing that you're a hypocrite, consider that not even the Nation of Islam blames "all minority failure on the majority population." (Okay, Nate Livingston does but he's a nobody.)

6. "My sixth plan for America's downfall would include dual citizenship and promote divided loyalties." My, that sounds effective what's the most recent example of anything remotely fitting this bill? "Look at the ancient Greeks." Gosh, here I thought there were multiple factors involved with the fall of classic Greece but it was all that they had divided loyalties. And funny that the Greeks all spoke the same language and shared the same culture--guess everything you said until this point was senseless drivel.

7. "Next to last, I would place all subjects off limits ~ make it taboo to talk about anything against the cult of 'diversity.' I would find a word similar to 'heretic' in the 16th century - that stopped discussion and paralyzed thinking. Words like 'racist' or 'x! xenophobes' halt discussion and debate." So you're saying that you'd pass a PATRIOT Act or something? Liberals must really be liberty-hating bastards to want to do something so destructive to freedom.

"Having made America a bilingual/bicultural country, having established multi-culturism, having the large foundations fund the doctrine of 'Victimology,' I would next make it impossible to enforce our immigration laws." And, you'd do that how? "I would develop a mantra: No comment needed. That because immigration has been good for America, it must always be good." Isn't this the very definition of conservative? Because X has been good, it's still good? Not that I'd expect any sort of coherence but I'm surprised Lamm was willing to sell out everything he and his party stands for. "I would make every individual immigrant symmetric..." You'd make them round? Are you even trying to make sense? "...and ignore the cumulative impact of millions of them." Millions of round immigrants might roll around and hurt somebody. That would be hard to ignore.

8. "Lastly, I would censor Victor Hanson Davis's book Mexifornia. His book is dangerous. It exposes the plan to destroy America. If you feel America deserves to be destroyed, don't read that book." Okay, let's not even consider that Republicans and censorship go together like "Patriot" and "Act." This whole speech was just an infomercial for Davis's book! Boy, to get this kind of promotion, it must make a lot of sense! In fairness to Davis, I've never had a chance to read his book. Maybe it's the cat's meow but I have to question his choice of a shill.

Do any other multiculturalism arguments make more sense than this? You know those poetry refrigerator magnets? If I took a box of them and threw them on the floor, I'd bet the resulting jumble would contain more intelligent thought than Lamm's speech.

There will always be chuckleheads like Lamm, left, right, and moderate. That doesn't bother me. What bothers me is that enough people thought so highly of this string of words that they e-mailed it to friends, so many times that it showed up on Snopes.com.

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