This country needs to make a collective moral statement regarding our future as a nation. Do we wish to continue down the path of multiculturalism, or should we insist on assimilation? For those who advocate for the multicultural approach, they will argue that it is impossible to pick a single moral/cultural standard. However, there are basic unifying principles and values that make citizens of this country uniquely “American” despite the ethnic diversity evident in this country. While the multicultural advocate will question who is to determine what is right or wrong, the answer is simple: history and tradition.
They claim that assimilation perpetuates a hierarchy dominated by whites of European lineage, or Western culture. This assumes there is something inherently wrong with Western culture. The mere fact that people die trying to enter this country should be evidence enough that there is nothing wrong with Western culture on a comparative basis.
In fact, assimilation has nothing to do with culture. In sociological terms, that would be “acculturation.” When we ask immigrants to assimilate, we are not asking them to discard or abandon their unique cultural traditions. We ARE asking that they adopt a single common language (the glue that holds a society together) and adopt a common set of economic standards and skills. Culture is not about one’s genes, native tongue or skin color; it is about values, beliefs, and attitudes. This matters because it influences one’s receptivity to democratic institutions, justice, economic freedom and the free market.
The multicultural advocate will tell us that we have to protect the rights of groups first as an antecedent to protecting individual rights. In practice, this affords groups with their own set of rights and creates legal inconsistency. It also denies the unique character of being “American-” the emphasis on the individual.
Talking heads in the media are quick to discuss the apparent polarization in the electorate today. One has to wonder what role multiculturalism has played in that state of affairs. Robert Putnam, in his book “Bowling Alone,” found that the greater the diversity in a community, the less social cohesion was likely. In the most diverse communities, neighbors “trusted” one another about 50% less overall. In virtually every metric of civic health, diverse communities performed worse. This mirrors more recent studies outside the US showing that the more diverse nations have less social cohesion compared to countries that insist on assimilation.
It would appear that some European countries are taking heed. Some have openly stated that the recent Muslim immigrants are quick to claim rights under the multicultural banner, but reticent to reciprocate. Holland recently changed their laws that favored multiculturalism and allowed Muslim immigrants to form a parallel society within their borders. Even Germany’s Angela Merkel has declared multiculturalism “a living lie.”
The best form of social cohesion is unity. If a nation is divided among itself into different groups, there is neither unity nor cohesion and it is therefore socially fractured.
George Borjas, a leading expert on migration, has found that the standard of living for immigrants increases 300% just by being in this country. One would assume this fact alone would be justification for gratitude, but it isn’t. Today’s immigrant is not like those of the past.
My mother grew up in a small town (pop. about 6,000) on the outskirts of Scranton, Pennsylvania. Her parents came here from Bratislava, Slovakia and she was one of eight children, all born in the United States. Within the town, one will find at least six different Catholic churches and at least six different bars in a town this small. Each church or bar was for a different nationality- Slovak, Polish, Russian, Hungarian, etc. One would think a town like this would fall nicely into Putnam’s paradigm, but it didn’t. Despite the differing languages and traditions, they all considered themselves Americans first. That was what united them.
This did not stop them from retaining some of their traditions, some of which I, being half Slovak, still carry on today. It did not stop my grandmother and mother from occasionally speaking Slovak. But they all made it imperative that they learn and speak and write English. In short, they assimilated into that society which today’s Leftist or immigration activist characterizes as “heirarichal,” if not evil. However, one can make a great case that there was greater cohesion and a stronger sense of community without the gibberish of multiculturalism.
The Left will support their view with this well-worn phrase: “We are a nation of immigrants.” Indeed we are, but we are no longer a nation of immigrants willing to assimilate. Instead, today’s immigrant prefers to be a hyphenated American rather than just plain “American.” Unfortunately for the multiculturalist, America is based on a Western construct, but today Western culture is the big bugaboo and source of all evil in the world. Also, liberals tend to be the most insulated from this multicultural Utopia they wish to create.
How many of the loudest voices for multiculturalism actually live in a multicultural neighborhood? How would they react if a Muslim terrorist went on a shooting rampage in Georgetown, or attacked Princeton or Harvard rather than a state college that caters to middle class students? What if their kid attended a school where valuable time was eaten up in bilingual education?
America’s levels of liberty and prosperity are linked to hard work and other traditional values. We are a country based on the belief that individuals- not groups- have certain inalienable rights and our government exists to protect these rights for individuals, not groups. Today’s Left has radically changed the national motto- e pluribus unum- by conveniently and deliberately leaving out the “unum.”
Nowhere is the hypocrisy more apparent than when the multicultural advocate suddenly goes quiet when something goes terribly wrong with their worldview. Quick to rant about a non-existent “rape culture” in the West, they were silent when the real thing happened throughout Europe on New Year’s Eve 2015. Then, Muslims who were the prime beneficiaries of this multicultural mindset, went on a groping and raping spree that caught Germany off guard. So intent were they on perpetuating their perverted worldview that they tried to hide the facts of the reality.
Is that really that to which America aspires?