THE "GLORIOUS SYMPHONY" OF DIVERSITY
The philosophy of multiculturalism is a decided curse. It usually degenerates into the crudest form of tribalism, where one group screams its contentious demands over those of another. Every citizen, like it or not, takes on a hyphenated identity. In America, this divisive reality is manifest in designations such as "African-American," "Latin-American," "Asian-American," and so on. The great American "Melting Pot," first proclaimed by playwright Israel Zangwill, touted a single unified culture, in which citizens were and are un-hyphenated Americans. This Melting Pot has been replaced, however, by Horace Kallen's multicultural vision, which was supposed to open our senses to many rich new symphonic harmonies. Yeah, sure. I have stated it before, but it bears repeating: Kallen's multicultural theory is nonsense, which is entirely rebuked by the stubborn facts of experience. The theory is, moreover, a guaranteed recipe for social and political disaster.
Consider the latest episode of multiculturalism. We need travel no farther than Trinity University, in San Antonio, Texas. The university was founded in 1869 by the Presbyterian Church. One hundred years later, in 1969, the institution cast off its religious cloak of leadership, while retaining an official "covenant relationship" with the church. The student body, for those who are not acquainted with it, is highly selective, with SAT scores roughly commensurate with those required to enter Rice University.
"So what's the beef?" you ask. A group of students, led by a Muslim, are protesting wording on the diplomas issued by Trinity. University diplomas apparently include the words "in the year of our Lord." The protesters point out that these words refer to Jesus Christ, and question – now see if you believe this – whether Trinity is "a place that is accepting and supportive of all faiths." One student, a Muslim convert from Mexico, feels misled by university officials, who informed him when applying to the university that it was not a religious institution and that it maintained only an historical relationship with the church. Oh, pobrecito!
The university, it should be noted, has gone to remarkable lengths to encourage "diversity" (a code word for "multiculturalism), even to the extent of recently dedicating a Muslim prayer space on its campus. Some note of thanks it has received, right? Of course, as the days go by, there will be many "broad-minded" scholars (count on it!) who argue that, because America has no dominant culture, hospitality dictates ridding "common areas" of every vestige of Judeo-Christian modes of thought and practice. Those who make the argument purport to speak with great authority, but know little about traditional American culture and respect it even less.
If Trinity capitulates to its malcontents on this issue and dares delete the words "our Lord" from its diplomas, there will be many similar issues down the road. As soon as it dawns upon these philistines that the word "Trinity" itself stands for the triune deity of Christianity, fresh demands are sure to be made. It is time now to bite the bullet and to ask when will the evisceration of American culture end.
I have never understood why it is important to recruit students and professors based on demographics. "Affirmative action" is a stupid policy that carries egalitarianism to ridiculous extremes. How does a person's culture of origin factor into the ability to teach or to be a first-rate student? When professors or students make a point of emphasizing their culture of origin, as some still do, they are, often as not, bores whose racial or ethnic bias proves as insufferable as it is irrelevant. My advice to those who want to become educated rather than indoctrinated is to eschew such people as the plague to education they are. Choose colleagues for the brilliance of their minds and characters, and choose professors for the quality of their research, writing, and teaching. Do not for a moment buy into the maudlin guilt and shame that has been forced upon traditional American culture by lesser ones.
There is an interesting irony in all this. The problem with higher education is, indeed, its lack of diversity, but of the intellectual, not ethnic variety. There are black, red, brown, and white faces on the typical college campus, but all of them operate roughly within the same social and political parameters. When one steps on a university campus these days, he is expected to worship at the altar of the goddess of diversity. She is the deity who reigns supreme above all others. The liturgy honoring her is one of political correctness. The "f-word" is a mere colloquialism, whereas the "n-word" is an abominable sacrilege. Marxists struggle to make the world a humanitarian place, while fascists are monstrous. The theory that life emerges fortuitously from a primordial ooze is reasonable, but opposing points of view envisioning life as the product of design are fatuous. All cultures deserve equal acknowledgement and treatment except, of course, that of hegemonic Anglos. This cacophonous noise plays on like the sounds of a "hard rock" band, leaving nothingness in its wake. Our children, our society, and everything else we hold dear are its casualties.
How much longer will Americans sit idly by and watch their culture being murdered? I wonder how history will view our abject cowardice.
March 30, 2010