This Is Important (Part II)

Aldous Huxley


Kimball writes, “It has long been obvious that ‘multiculturalism’ is an ornate synonym for ‘anti-Americanism.’ It is anti-Americanism on a peculiar moralistic jag.”

You know, I don’t think I have ever put it so bluntly: but I’m pretty sure I believe it.

More frank and true talk from Kimball:

“No taxation without representation” is a splendid demand. But so is “no immigration without assimilation.” Where is the simple imperative that one live up to one’s oaths or face the consequences? If one becomes an American citizen, then one must become an American citizen, with the rights and duties pertaining thereto.

Not long ago in this column, I quoted Roger Ailes: “You are either American or you aren’t. Living here is the only entitlement you need.”

Bartlett’s-worthy (as I said then).

“[I]t is always later than you think,” says Kimball, but “it is never too late to start anew.” He continues,

During the Bush [43] years, the French sometimes disparaged the “simplisme” of America’s foreign policy. In their subtlety they ignored the fact that most important truths are — I use the adverb advisedly — terribly simple. Our complexity is much more likely to lead us astray than any simplicity we may follow.

A couple of comments from me — both Reagan-related. Reagan loved to quote Tom Paine: “We have it in our power to begin the world over again.” He did this, in particular, during the 1980 campaign. George Will remarked that Paine’s statement was the most un-conservative utterance in history.

Also, Reagan said — many times — “There are simple answers. There are just no easy ones.” That was an important distinction to him (and I got it entirely, even at my tender age).

Kimball writes, “The survival of culture is never a sure thing. No more is its defeat. Our acknowledgement of those twin facts . . . is one important sign of our strength.”

That is almost moving into St. Crispin’s Day territory . . .

This is stark — very stark: One of Roger’s chapters is titled “Institutionalizing Our Demise: America vs. Multiculturalism.” That little word, or abbreviation, “vs.” packs a punch.

Roger quotes Theodore Roosevelt, to wit, “The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin . . . would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities.”

Yes, a certain road to ruin.

Maybe I’m the last American to learn this fact: Taking command of Fort McHenry, George Armistead asked for an extra-large flag “so that the British will have no trouble seeing it from a distance.”

About John Hancock’s signature, I knew; about this, no. And the bit about Hancock’s signature — Hancock’s Hancock — seems not to be true.

But it should be true. He should have said, “I will write it so that King George can read it without his spectacles.”

Kimball quotes Samuel Huntington on multiculturalism: “anti–European civilization”; “basically an anti-Western ideology.”

Bracing. Hard to argue with.

With due approbation, Kimball cites Arthur Schlesinger Jr.’s 1992 book, The Disuniting of America. In a recent column, I wrote about this book — calling it “just about the best thing Schlesinger ever did in his life.”

I also said, “Possibly the last book Bill Buckley ever read was Schlesinger’s Journals: 1952-2000. He spoke of this book on my last visit with him.” He was enthralled with the book, calling it marvelous. He also expressed the desire to write a long, long piece on it.

He also confided that there were two references to him in it — both of them mean.

He was a big man, WFB, and so is Roger. If I remember correctly — and I know I do — Schlesinger did not exactly strew his path with roses.

Kimball writes of a poll showing that, “while 90 percent of Ivy League students could identify Rosa Parks, only 25 percent could identify the author of the words ‘government of the people, by the people, for the people.’”

He also writes of a study of high-school students — more of whom “knew who Harriet Tubman was than knew that Washington commanded the American army in the Revolution or that Abraham Lincoln wrote the Emancipation Proclamation.”

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s been a long while: From about seventh grade through graduate school, I was assigned one of Richard Wright’s books — either Black Boy or Native Son — every year.

Now, this is a bit of an exaggeration — but not much. I’m glad to know Wright, very glad. But I also think my teachers and professors (though not working together, obviously) engaged in overkill. Maybe in a little condescension as well.

I think that’ll be enough for today. Join me tomorrow? Thanks, and see you then.

To order Jay Nordlinger’s book Peace, They Say: A History of the Nobel Peace Prize, the Most Famous and Controversial Prize in the World, go here. To order his collection Here, There & Everywhere, go here.