Luke’s Log- Multicultural America? Looks Kind of Like Half Slave/Half Free America
I’m not here to equate the pre-Civil War slave compromise system with the multilingual-multicultural system of contemporary America. But I would like to point to an unfortunate parallel that will have huge consequences for the American people moving forward into the 21st Century.
The moral consequences of the two systems are immensely, IMMENSELY different- one system encouraged a whole society to fatten itself on the blood and sweat of others, while one encourages minority groups to speak a language they’re more accustomed to. One is purely and intentionally evil; the other is designed out of the noblest of intentions. One is disgusting even when you romanticize it; the other looks ‘diverse’ and ‘tolerant’ and host of other postmodern key words that imply that it is superior to past systems.
But the practical consequences of both systems upon national unity are the same. Both encourage the development of culturally (and thus politically and economically) segregated nations within the broader union, and thus both impede the development of a culturally (and thus politically and economically) unified American people coming from diverse ethnic, linguistic, and geographic backgrounds yet sharing a common culture, a common way of life, and a common nationality that goes beyond paper-deep.
The slave/free republic of 1789-1861 was effectively two separate republics- a northern industrialized society based upon free labor, and a southern agrarian society based upon slavery. Foreigners traveling about the continent noticed that the two societies were as different, or more, as any two ancient nations of Europe. These two ways of life constantly came to new compromises to tolerate each other, but eventually wound their way into war when the last reserves of tolerance evaporated under the panicky paranoia of the Southern planter elite.
The multicultural republic of the 1960s to the present day is in name a single republic, but compared to that of the early 20th Century it is a weak and decadent one fracturing along various sets of lines. Class lines are by far the most important, but complicating those are ethnic and linguistic lines. It is common knowledge that the USA is no longer a white-majority nation; Hispanics are by and large the largest minority, and if current demographic trends keep up, they will not be a minority much longer. African-Americans also make up a sizable minority. While there are numerically more whites than any of the smaller ethnicities, that will change in the next few decades.
The system of white legal dominance has come to an end, thank god, and the age of white numerical dominance is speedily approaching its end too. That means that America in the 21st Century will increasingly be a multiethnic nation, and it is a truism that with diversity comes conflict, unless that conflict is stymied by unity. Right now the only real calls for unity come from the multicultural Left, whose ‘unity’ is really nothing more than ethnic self-determination flavored by a tinge of ‘tolerance.’ That is multiculturalism for you.
Such a system is not a recipe for race wars and endemic violence. But neither is it conducive to the sort of national unity necessary to take on great national projects and protect the country as a whole against the trepidations of an increasingly chaotic world. And if Washington D.C. cannot take on great national projects and protect the USA from undue foreign trepidations, the chance that situations conducive to ethnic loyalties superseding national loyalty will skyrocket- and so will the prospects of future violence, be it white versus minority, minority versus white, or minority versus minority.
Out of disdain for the true fruits of multiculturalism, Luke’s Log supports a robust program of American cultural nationalism, composed of two interrelated parts- a reinstitution of the Americanization of immigrants, to preclude the ghettoing of entire ethnic communities and the resultant malaise; and the replacement of multicultural domestic policies with national domestic policies, including mandatory civic education, replacement of multicultural holidays with national holidays (i.e. no more Native American Heritage Month, many more Martin Luther King Days,) and the repeal of race-based affirmative action and racial preference. The list could go on, and includes the abandonment of terms such as “Indian-American,” “African-American,” “Asian-American,” “Mexican-American,” “White American,” and so on, to be replaced with “American Black,” “American Asian,” etc. as necessary.
In particular, Luke’s Log is vehemently opposed to the current fad of bilingual and multilingual government documents. While their practical logic is sound- opening up participation in American government to a wider array of individuals- they are ultimately corrosive to the forging of a broader and more united American identity. Common language is one of the defining aspects of culture, and people are more likely to view speakers of other languages as “others” than individuals of different skin tone who speak the same language. The use and expansion of multilingual government documents affirms that the United States government is not the leader of one people of many backgrounds- E Pluribus Unum- but of many peoples under one law. This is antithetical to the purpose of the American experience and again, corrosive to the formation of a culturally unified American society. It resembles not the melting-pot ‘Anyone can be an American’ attitude so crucial to our culture, but the multinational tradition of such oppressive empires as the Hapsburgs and Ottomans and Persians. Expansion of multilingual documents will only further this pernicious trend.
To be clear, we here at Luke’s Log aren’t salivating over a future America wherein everybody regardless of ethnic background eats McDonalds every day, watches Leave it to Beaver, and has 2.5 kids living in a white picket fenced-house. We’re not hoping for cultural monotony. On the contrary, Luke’s Log recognizes that the traditions of various ethnic groups and localities go into the melting pot to forge a better, more unified and yet more diverse culture. Note the immense impact of the American Italians and Germans upon our cuisine, or of the American Blacks upon our music and popular culture. And beyond that, it is perfectly reasonable- and completely beneficial- for these communities to retain some of their own traditions and to thus add a little more local flavor to the American experience. Chinatowns, Little Armenias, and Mexican neighborhoods make our cities unique and flourishing. St. Patrick’s Day has the same effect on American broader culture. Speaking languages other than English and practicing particular cultural traditions are integral to individual identity.
But it is important that these additions to the broader melting pot are never more than components of the broader tradition, and that the identities are never more than symbolic. I am a proud American Hungarian and American Filipino, and I proudly eat goulash and lumpia. But I am not a Hyphenated American, and if it came down to supporting my fellow American Hungarians and American Filipinos over Uncle Sam, I would unabashedly stand with my country of nationality, not of origin.
The problem with multiculturalism is that it encourages individuals to view their ethnic heritage as equally important to their national identity, which as I have demonstrated is problematic at best to national unity, and pernicious at worst. Americans have been- and deep down, are- one people of many backgrounds. It is time that public policy and popular culture followed suit with the reality of things, rather than contributing to divisions and conflicts in our increasingly polarized society. It is the least we can ask for, if we are to have a successful future as a united American nation. We’re all Americans first.