The Corner

Multiculturalism vs. American Exceptionalism

In today’s editorial concerning David Cameron’s important speech on multiculturalism, the editors quote the lament of journalist Mihir Bose that “the tragedy with modern Britain is that it seems not to care any longer for the qualities that make it so special and that drew me and many others to this country.” Bose goes on to say that “unless Britain rediscovers its pride in its values this wretched multiculturalism will never die.”

Although the United States hasn’t traveled as far down the road of multiculturalism as Britain, Bose’s observation is applicable to a number of precincts in America — especially among the elite classes who see little special about America: Senators take to the floor of the Senate to compare American soldiers to Nazis; a president bows to despots, apologizes for America, and remains agnostic about its exceptionalism; schoolbooks are scrubbed of the extraordinary sacrifices, accomplishments, heroism, and generosity of Americans, concentrating instead on the myriad failures and depredations — real and imagined — of this purportedly rapacious republic; Hollywood broadcasts to the world a picture of degenerate America and Americans, reinforcing the vilest propaganda and conspiracy theories of our enemies; disparate schools and town councils order the removal of the American flag, lest it offend those convinced it represents little more than racist imperialism; our elite universities bar ROTC and military recruiters from campus, apparently oblivious to (or contemptuous of) the fact that the freedom to act childishly was bought at a steep price by those evil soldiers; politicians ignore the integrity of our borders as if American security and sovereignty are less important than an approving nod from the editorial board of the New York Times; elected officials in the enlightened regions of San Francisco refuse to say the Pledge of Allegiance, and on and on.

With such a view of America, all cultures must be equal.

The aggressive multiculturalism we see in America today — and its enabler, political correctness — will soon be as dangerous to this nation as it is currently to Britain. It causes us to be blind to the evidence leading to a Ft. Hood, it atomizes the strengths of American culture, confuses its purpose, and retards its resolve.

And it promotes division rather than encouraging unity. When my parents came here decades ago, they had absolutely no doubt they were coming to the greatest nation on earth. They were coming for freedom, opportunity, and to immerse themselves in the uniqueness of American culture. Sure, they retained a pride and love for the best things about the old country (admittedly difficult in regard to a totalitarian regime), but they were determined to be in all things American — and they had little doubt what that meant because all of the institutions that mattered conveyed what it meant without apology. That didn’t mean that warts — and there were plenty– were covered up, but they were placed in context and with an expectation — a demand – that they soon would be  remedied.

Multiculturalism discourages legitimate cultural confidence, the ramifications of which are on display in much of Europe. Our own elites, particularly in the political class, would do well to take notice. Many of their constituents have.

Peter Kirsanow — Peter N. Kirsanow is an attorney and a member of the United States Commission on Civil Rights.

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