Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Confronting Multiculturalism

Back in October, German Chancellor Merkel declared that multiculturalism had failed in her country. She was referring specifically to Muslim immigrants who refuse to assimilate into German society. New populations’ failure to integrate has been noted with growing concern by French President Sarkozy and British Prime Minister Cameron, among others. Finally, last week Rick Santorum addressed the issue from an American standpoint.

Multiculturalism was defined by Sarkozy as “a society where communities coexist side by side.” Cameron extrapolated that “we have encouraged different cultures to live separate lives, apart from each other and the mainstream. We have failed to provide a vision of society to which they feel they want to belong.” What’s happening is that alien bubbles have been forming within countries.

Santorum perhaps said it best when he said “we are seeing the American aspiration eroded, our common purpose lost… our American sense of toleration is now protecting noxious philosophies that are anti-American.” The rights of the individual have been elevated above the needs of the community, when the Constitution itself was written to “promote the general welfare.” We have become so worried about offending anyone that we've forgotten how high the stakes are.

You may think it’s unfair of us to ask you to change who you are, but if you want to remain a member of another society, don’t move here. Retaining your individual identity is expected, but it is not unreasonable to expect you to identify primarily with American culture. Being an American used to mean something—something good. Nowadays, it mostly means that you’re ignorant and apathetic. Our national motto may as well be “I don’t know and I don’t care.”

Before it’s too late, you should know what you care about and care about it enough to actually do something! World political leaders are trying to lead us in rediscovering our own cultures. Over the years, cultural tolerance has slid into acceptance and even to support. Coexistance has become preferable to confronting the issues. This is probably only the beginning of a very important debate, so please educate yourself before picking a side. Getting out of this rut will be difficult, but it presents an opportunity for growth.

When a culture splinters as ours has, it becomes easily decayed. Everybody wants to know how Rome went from being a republic to an empire: this is how. Citizens who used to be proud of that title became indolent and when disaster struck, they were divided and weak. A single man could grab power because the general populace looked for a savior around whom they could rally. The same dynamics that produced the Caesars are forming in the U.S. today. Our melting pot has become a double-edged sword.

I love America because here you have the right to do whatever stupid thing you want. However, tolerance does not mean consonance. If you want to be a Muslim or a homosexual or a Nascar driver, that’s your decision—but don’t expect my approval. Certainly, my tax money should not support you and your “alternative lifestyle.”  Nevertheless, we’re still a great country; we’re just going through some growing pains.

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