Beyond Politically Incorrect!
On Star Trek, Multicultural Respect For Cultural Differences and Other Peoples reaches such a point of absurdity that holograms and androids are accorded equal status and rights. Klingons, generally denounced as a warlike, violent people, are accomodated, too. One may not kill microscopic robots infecting a computer system because they are "self aware."
In our real world, there is no country or culture that cannot be defended (except our own, of course, which is evidently worthless and not worth preserving). When I first heard about the issue of female circumcision in Africa, I immediately used it as an example of a cultural difference that was indefensible. I was immediately laughed at and told that this could not possibly happen. Immediately thereafter, Africans began defending the ritualistic mutilation we call female circumcision as a cultural custom that the West and the United Nations had no right to criticize. What all this adds up to is a "blinders on" view of reality, in which our own culture is degraded routinely, and stigmatized with allegations of racism and oppression, while other cultures are celebrated. We have moved from the nation-building assimilation model of the Melting Pot, in which everyone was expected to become an American and adapt to the indigenous culture, to a tribal model known as Multiculturalism.
The concept of multiculturalism concerned respecting differences and recognizing the good in certain differences. What it has become in practice is a method of whitewashing all evils done by others and stigmatizing ourselves. People become hypersensitive about noting the flaws of others and refrain from any criticism. At the same time, they are unduly penitent as to our own flaws and disdainful as to our virtues. Inevitably, I would say, this concept of emphasizing and celebrating cultural differences has degenerated into cliquish groups filled with too much pride and too much self-esteem (another buzz word...) who assert their own superiority under the guise of multiculturalism. As the dominant culture, we become attacked by all concerned. Every flaw is magnified. Every virtue ignored. By all means, talk about American racism, but ignore the xenophobic Chinese. Talk about SLAVERY in AmeriKa, but ignore the long, ugly African tradition of slavery, dating back thousands of years. Talk about American brutality, but ignore Idi Amin and Third World butchery.
How far can it go? Pretty far. In the November, 1999 issue of National Geographic, page 42, the author writes of the Incas and the Spanish invasion. Naturally, the caucasian Spanish are evil and this also means, as the flip side of the coin, that the Incas have to be defended. After all, if two evil groups are fighting each other, do we care? So, contrasting the Evil Spanish with the Virtuous and Wonderful Incas, the author writes: "The Inca were not the brutal conquerors the Spaniards were. They used gifts as well as spears to demonstrate power to potential subjects...Once in charge, the Inca assimilated new peoples with remarkable effectiveness-allowing local leaders to keep their posts but taking their sons to Cuzco for training...honoring local gods and religious practices but commingling them with Inca beliefs and rituals." The only problem with this line of argument? Uh, the Incas liked to murder children. Hmmm. How do we whitewash that?
The author continues: "Child sacrifices were part of this approach. The Inca obtained children from throughout the empire and rewarded their families with positions or goods. Sacrifices were unifying events; children were often taken to Cuzco for celebrations before processions bore them on long journeys and up massive mountains to sacrifice sites." Oh. Child sacrifice isn't just a brutal, savage custom by murderers without conscience. It is just part of an "approach" of assimilating new peoples and incorporating Inca rituals unlike the "brutal Spaniards." It's a unifying event. I guess this is why the rebels in the American Civil War lost. They only made the argument that slavery was economically beneficial to the South; if they had said it was a "unifying event," then it would have been okay.
It is hard to read this nonsense without feeling that politically correct multiculturalism has gone off the deep end. The National Geographic piece is a good example of the whitewashing of other cultures. There is also the tactic of celebrating other cultures, even when they don't particularly deserve it. Every achievement by a minority becomes a Big Thing. Inevitably, this focuses the spotlight on the achievements of ethnic groups, and creates more and more barriers between unassimilated, hyphenated-Americans. Thus, in the Philadelphia Inquirer, March 12, 2000, page A3, the author reports on a new World War I memorial in Kansas City. Raad Cawthon, a black reporter, writes that WWI resulted in the death of 441 Kansas City residents. "One of them...was a woman; 18 were African Americans."
Can it get any more ridiculous? Of the total sum, neither women nor African Americans were major contributors of corpses. The article did not in any way concern racial issues. But spontaneously, this hypersensitive Black reporter felt obliged to start breaking down Americans into ethnic and gender categories, in a context in which it had no purpose whatsoever. In the New America, ethnicity is therefore the name of the game. The last thing you want to be is just a Euro-American. Find some minority group. Attach yourself to it. Proclaim your superiority-and the evil of the dominant culture. That's American today.
Of course, a few more decades of that, and America, to all practical purposes, won't exist any more as a nation.
--March 16, 2000