|Montréal, 4 août 2001 / No 86|
by Edward W.Younkins
The main idea of multiculturalism is the equal value of all cultures (i.e., cultural relativism). However, multiculturalism does not mean cultures as normally understood but rather as biologically-defined (i.e., ethnically, racially, or sexually defined) groups. Multiculturalism, a politicized form of cultural relativism, rejects the idea that there are general truths, norms, or rules with respect to both knowledge and morals. Gone are the Enlightenment beliefs in objectivity, reason and evidence, and principles of freedom and justice that apply equally to all individuals. Unlike cultural relativism, multiculturalism excludes one worldview from the realm of equally valid worldviews – the Eurocentric Western perspective based on the contributions of dead white males. Multiculturalists dismiss the significance of Western civilization by claiming that Western traditions of elitism, racism, and sexism are the cause of most of our current problems.
Multiculturalism implies that race, ethnicity, and sex (or sexual preference) have an inescapable effect on the way people think and/or the values they hold or are capable of holding. There are many closed systems of perception, thought, and feeling each affiliated with some biologically-defined group. Rational dialogue among individuals from different groups is precluded since each group has its own
At one time, truth was viewed as transcendent, fixed, and unchanging. Epistemological egalitarianism has accompanied the loss of transcendence. Each group of persons now is thought to have an equal right to make truth claims. Think of the absurdity in which unreflected upon opinions are weighted equally with well thought out opinions in today's numerous polls that tend to be tabulated according to biologically-defined categories. Truth is now thought to be a constructed cultural product that is immanent in each individual culture or subgroup. For the multiculturalist, truth only exists by consensus within each biologically-defined group.
Multiculturalism is anti-individualistic in the sense that it expects each person to agree with the perceptions, thoughts, and judgments of his group in order for his own perceptions, thoughts, and judgments to be legitimate. The multiculturalist believes that a person's thoughts are either the collectively constructed thoughts of his racial, ethnic, or sexual group or are the thoughts foisted upon him by the dominant white male worldview. A ruling premise of multiculturalism is that ethnic origin carries with it irrevocable attributes – if a person has a certain name and physical features then he must have a particular perspective on life and the world.
Multiculturalism attempts to replace individual rights with collectivism by assuming that a man's identity and value are derived solely from biology, and that what is important is not what a person does as an individual, but rather what some members of his biological group currently do or did years ago. It follows that collective guilt replaces individual responsibility – a person must assume the responsibility for acts committed by his ancestors and pay for these acts ad infinitum.
Nations of victims
The victim mentality is both a cause and effect of multiculturalism. Multiculturalism promotes a culture of victims who have a perpetual claim on society and the government. The result is the division of society into political interest groups with conflicting demands that cannot all be met.
Educational proposals from multiculturalists attempt to inculcate in students the idea that Western classical liberal order is, in fact, the most oppressive order of all times. As a result, people are taught to view themselves as victims. This perspective is based on the relativistic assumption that since all cultures are inherently equal, differences in wealth, power, and accomplishments between cultures are, for the most part, due to oppression. Thus, in order to establish cultural equality, multiculturalists emphasize non-Western virtues and Western oppression, dismiss the illiberal traditions of other cultures and attack the ideas of a common culture based on an intellectual, moral, and artistic legacy derived from the Greeks and the Bible.
There would be no harm in multiculturalism if the term simply meant that we should acknowledge and teach truths about many cultures. It is admirable to teach students both the noblest aspects of various cultures and of their failings. Unfortunately, multiculturalism's pluralism and relativism has engendered a reluctance to acknowledge anything positive about Western culture while concurrently maintaining a non-reflective and approving position toward non-Western and minority ideas. Students are taught that no
Multicultural educational policies are based on the mistaken notion that cultures consist of mostly benign characteristics. In actual fact, there are both laudable and condemnable aspects of all cultures. Once it is recognized that different cultures exhibit varying degrees of good and evil, it becomes appropriate to inquire which culture exhibits the best characteristics, on an overall basis. Some cultures are better than others: reason is better than force; a free society is superior to slavery; and productivity is better than stagnation.
Education turned into therapy
Multiculturalists argue that education can build the self-esteem of minority students by presenting non-Western cultures in a favorable light in order to compensate for historical and curricular injustices thereby restoring cultural parity between ethnic groups. Replacing education with therapy, the multiculturalist attempts to enhance self-esteem by teaching the students of oppressed cultures to be proud of their particular ancestry or race. This will only work if there are laudable truths that can be taught about a student's ethnic heritage.
When education is turned into therapy, the likely result is to teach history not to ascertain truth but to empower (i.e., enhance the self-esteem) of various factions. The result is the introduction of distortions, half-truths, fabrications, and myths into the curriculum in order to make students from certain groups feel good. In addition, multiculturalists denounce the emphasis in American schools on American history and culture and Western civilization. Some even portray Western civilization and Americans as evil and ideas such as reason and objective truth as Eurocentric (and patriarchal for the feminist) biases with the purpose of exploiting oppressed cultures.
Academic standards of excellence are of no use to the multiculturalist since they are simply means through which the dominant culture oppresses minority cultures. Not only are objective tests denounced as racist, multiculturalists demand that students be graded only within their cultural or racial group and/or that tests be redesigned so that minority students perform on the average as well as those in the dominant cultural group.
Students are instructed that there are no objective merits or failings of theories, arguments, policies, works of art and literature, etc. Instead, they are only valorizations of power that require deconstruction in order to reveal their true nature as devices of repression. It is Marxism that has provided multiculturalism with its rationale and concepts (e.g., oppression, imperialism, inequality, revolutionary change) that are used to devalue and destroy American culture.
The goal of the multiculturalist is to change the U.S. from a culturally assimilated society to an unassimilated multicultural society with a wide range of cultures and subcultures accorded equal status. Multiculturalism promotes quotas rather than competition, allocating resources rather than earning them, and a government that
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