The Destructive Self-Delusion of Progressive Cultural Diversity

Progressives tend to believe that it is better to have cultural diversity than to group together around a common culture because all cultures are equally virtuous.

The unconscious logic supporting this belief is as follows, starting from the “Human beings are inherently and transcendentally noble” branch of the newthink worldview tree:

• Human beings are inherently and transcendentally noble.
• All cultures are equally virtuous because they are composed of equally, inherently noble human beings.
• It is better to have cultural diversity than to group together around a common culture because all cultures are equally virtuous.

The unconscious logic branching out of this belief is:

• We need to accept and support every subculture’s language, not require them to speak English.
• We need to weigh each culture’s beliefs and traditions on an equal footing with our traditional American culture.
• We must undermine traditional American culture because it erases important cultural differences.

 
America had always been a melting pot. Traditional Americans maintained their ethnic traditions at home, but joined a common culture in public. As time went by, for the most part, they assimilated. But to newthinkers, that melting pot is progressively unvirtuous. They envision a more virtuous “mixing bowl” of cultural diversity in which people maintain their original cultures and live together harmoniously.

As Michael Medved explains, Michael Novak’s 1972 book, Rise of the Unmeltable Ethnics, encouraged this vision with its investigation of blue collar ethnic Americans who seemed to be retaining their old-world cultural identities.* Today, however, these same ethnic groups – Polish, Greek or Italian – have largely united with the broad American culture. They retain some of their old cultures’ traditions and attitudes, but they are distinctively American today – not European. Most importantly, they intermarry with other ethnicities, and their children become cultural Americans rather than part of a subculture. Except for African-Americans, marrying someone outside your ethnicity is the norm; within two or three generations, all immigrant groups have joined the broad American culture.**

Traditional Americans strived to give equal opportunity to individuals; progressives endeavor to create equal results for groups.

Despite the persistence of American assimilation, their belief in the virtue of cultural diversity attracts progressives to multiculturalism. The dictionary definition of multiculturalism is “the policy or practice of giving equal attention or representation to the cultural needs and contributions of all the groups in a society…”*** Traditional Americans strived to give equal opportunity to individuals; progressives endeavor to create equal results for groups. Newthinking bureaucrats and businessmen routinely promote all cultures on an equal footing with traditional American culture. Ethnic studies replace traditional American civics courses and the English language becomes just one multilingual ballot or telephone menu choice among many.

To newthinkers, all cultures are inherently equal. But then how does one explain why some cultures are obviously more successful than others? Newthinkers deal with the conspicuous reality of cultural inequality by ignoring it, denying it based on biased perception, or blaming it on oppression and exploitation. As we will see, newthink’s existence depends on the maintenance of permanent subcultures that believe they are oppressed.

Progressives believe in cultural diversity, but only if each culture unifies with the progressive worldview, is properly categorized, and accepts newthink beliefs.

Progressive cultural diversity is a self-delusion. Progressives believe in cultural diversity, but only if each culture unifies with the progressive worldview, is properly categorized, and accepts newthink beliefs. Cubans must not be freedom-loving small capitalists: they must see themselves as poor and racially oppressed. African-Americans must not be adults just as capable of self-achievement as European-Americans: they must see themselves as marginalized, culturally separate and racially oppressed. New immigrants must not be eager employees: they must see themselves as exploited workers. Christian Americans must not be worshipers of God: they must believe in the nobility of humanity. Newthinkers – who purport an unwillingness to push cultural integration – vigorously try to integrate everyone into their worldview.

When initiates into the progressive worldview from these subcultures reach for the American dream, they are hobbled by their newthink beliefs. All the things that actually correlate with success – education, marriage, stable family life, a traditional code, business savvy – newthink defines as traits of the oppressive mainstream culture. Newthink’s version of cultural diversity is destructive to those who internalize it and see themselves as oppressed.

* Michael Medved, “No, America’s never been a multicultural society”, Townhall.com, http://townhall.com/columnists/michaelmedved/2007/10/10/no,_americas_never_been_a_multicultural_society, October 10, 2007.

** Ibid.

*** Webster’s New World College Dictionary, (Wiley Publishing, 2010).

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The Melting Pot Goes Cold

Progressives tend to believe that all cultures are equally virtuous because they are composed of equally, inherently noble human beings.

The unconscious logic supporting this belief goes as follows, starting from the “Human beings are inherently and transcendentally noble” branch of the newthink worldview tree:

• Human beings are inherently and transcendentally noble.
• All cultures are equally virtuous because they are composed of equally, inherently noble human beings.

The unconscious logic branching out of this belief is:

• It is arrogant to judge other cultures because they are composed of equally, inherently noble human beings.
• It is arrogant to judge the products of other cultures and subcultures because they are composed of equally, inherently noble human beings.
• It is better to have cultural diversity than to group together around a common culture because all cultures are equally virtuous.
• We should join together into one world filled with diverse and equally virtuous cultures.
• All ideas are equally virtuous, since all cultures are equally virtuous, and all ideas are dependent on culture.

 

Cover of Theater Programme for Israel Zangwill...

Cover of Theater Programme for Israel Zangwill’s play “The Melting Pot” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Traditional Americans believed in America the “melting pot.” As Michael Medved explains in an article titled No, America’s Never Been a MultiCultural Society, the term was popularized in a 1908 melodramatic hit adaptation of Romeo and Juliet – The Melting Pot by Israel Zangwill – about two lovers in New York city who come together despite their very different origins.* The impassioned Romeo stand-in, David, tells his lover,

Understand that America is God’s Crucible, the great Melting Pot where all the races of Europe are melting and reforming! Here you stand. . . in your fifty groups, with your fifty languages and histories, and your fifty blood hatreds and rivalries. A fig for your feuds and vendettas! Germans and Frenchmen, Irishmen and Englishmen, Jews and Russians – into the Crucible with you all! God is making the American.**

Later, gazing out at the Statue of Liberty, David elaborates:

It is the Fires of God round His Crucible! There she lies, the great Melting-Pot – listen! Can’t you hear the roaring and the bubbling? There gapes her mouth – the harbor where a thousand mammoth feeders come from the ends of the world to pour in their human freight. Ah, what a stirring and a seething!. . . how the great Alchemist melts and fuses them with his purging flame! Here shall they all unite to build the Republic of Man and the Kingdom of God!***

Since all subcultures are equally virtuous to newthinkers, they see no reason to group around shared cultural ideals.

As traditional American culture is usurped, America’s cultural melting pot is beginning to go cold. Since all subcultures are equally virtuous to newthinkers, they see no reason to group around shared cultural ideals. Instead of a common cultural standard, newthink assumes a cultural equality among all aspects of its various subcultures.

That “all men are created equal” (“men” in the sense of mankind meant women too) was a pillar of the traditional American worldview. People inherently have equal worth. But, contrary to newthink’s tenets, all cultures are not created equal, and, though one is nearly certain to be accused of arrogance and racism by progressives for saying so, it’s not an arrogant or racist assertion – human equality, yes; cultural equality, no.

* Michael Medved, “No, America’s never been a multicultural society”, Townhall.com, http://townhall.com/columnists/michaelmedved/2007/10/10/no,_americas_never_been_a_multicultural_society, October 10, 2007.

** Israel Zangwill, The Melting Pot, (The MacMillan Company, 1909), p. 37.

***Ibid., pp. 198-199.