How neocons open the door to multiculturalism then deplore it

(Note: Be sure to see Larry G.’s decisive refutation of neoconservatism, below. Also, I’ve expanded the original entry since first posting it.)

An interesting-sounding article is summed up at Powerline:

Michael Barone surveys the disgraceful state of our major colleges and universities. Barone elegantly summarizes the problems—speech codes, racially discriminatory admissions policies, dishonest administrators, domination of humanities departments by leftist professors intent on portraying American society as evil—and shows how these phenomena are inter-related. Thus, speech codes protect the feelings of students admitted with relatively poor credentials pursuant to racial quotas. Meanwhile, administrators must insist that they aren’t using racial quotas in admissions, so that to be an administrator at one of these elite institutions “you have to be willing to lie about what you consider one of your most important duties.” But it isn’t really lying because, as the humanities department has explained, “truth” is merely a construct of our racist, sexist, homophobic, and imperialistic society.

A reader writes:

I never thought Barone would be this direct. He says speech codes came when AA brought people in who were below the standard, so their feelings wouldn’t be hurt, and also to free administrators from accusations of using preferential treatment.

Indeed. Here’s the key Barone passage:

So far as I can tell, [speech codes] originated after college and university administrators began using racial quotas and preferences to admit students—starting with blacks, now including Hispanics and perhaps others—who did not meet ordinary standards. They were instituted, it seems, to prevent those students from feeling insulted and to free administrators from criticism for preferential treatment

That’s exactly what Dinesh D’Souza said in his memorable article in The American Scholar around 1990, back when D’Souza (it’s surprising to remember this now) made some valuable contributions to conservatism. His argument served as the template for the first part of my speech to the 1994 American Renaissance conference. I took D’Souza’s analysis of how AA changes the university, and applied it to the way mass diverse immigration changes a whole society. Here, in the abridged version of my speech as published at AR (I spelled out D’Souza’s analysis at much more length in the original), I summarize D’Souza’s critique of affirmative action and then segue to the topic of immigration:

As Dinesh D’Souza has described it in Illiberal Education, universities admit underqualified minority students, while assuring them that they are perfectly well qualified. When these students find themselves having academic difficulties, they blame “institutional racism,” then they blame the curriculum itself, which they say is culturally alien to them.

The administration, not wanting to admit the truth, eagerly agrees with the minority activists that racism is at work. In effect, the administration makes the entire university community, especially the white students and the faculty, the scapegoat for a racial inequality that was created by the administration itself when it admitted unqualified minorities. The school then sets up coercive “anti-racist” programs and speech codes aimed at whites, and adopts multicultural curricula and intellectual standards that conform to minority cultures and “learning styles.” When white students protest these things, the minorities, in D’Souza’s words, “conclude that they have discovered the latent bigotry for which they have been searching.”

In sum, the result of admitting large numbers of unqualified minorities into a university is that whites start to be demonized as racist and are systematically silenced, while their civilizational heritage is attacked as unrepresentative and illegitimate and begins to be systematically dismantled.

Now if all these things happen when you admit large numbers of nonwhite students into a predominantly white school, what happens when you admit massive numbers of nonwhite immigrants into a predominantly white society? The very same things. The failure of the nonwhite population to fit into the society is blamed on the society itself, rather than on the fact that they were admitted in the first place. The white majority starts to be demonized as racist and is systematically silenced, while its civilization is attacked as unrepresentative and begins to be systematically dismantled. The great irony is that the admission of nonwhites is supposed to prove that the society is nonracist and egalitarian, yet the more nonwhites are admitted, the more racist and unequal the society seems.

It is impossible for people living inside the premises of liberalism to grasp it, but once you’ve grasped it, it makes complete sense. When a society, acting with the purpose of eliminating all historic forms of exclusion and discrimination, including, ultimately, its own historic and ethnocultural identity as a society, admits large numbers of people into it who do not fit into it, either because of lower abilities or incompatible cultural/religious adhesions, the fact that they do not fit, when it is finally recognized, can only be blamed on the society itself. To blame the lack of fit on the newcomers would be to revive the very discrimination that their admission was meant to overcome. As long as the host society accepts the principle of non-discriminatory inclusion as the very basis of its own moral legitimacy, it must keep admitting more and more unassimilables, whose lack of ability to function in or identify with the society becomes more and more troublesome, a problem that, in accord with Auster’s First Law of Majority-Minority Relations in Liberal Society, must be blamed more and more on the racism of the society. Thus the more the society undoes itself in the name of indiscriminately including and favoring unassimilably diverse peoples, the more racist and guilty it becomes in its own eyes, leading to more and more minority preferences, speech codes, anti-hate laws, official lies, and the multicultural dismantling of the majority culture.

Meanwhile, the neocons such as Barone and the Powerline guys cannot conceive that what opened the door to the pro-minority, anti-American policies and education that they deplore was their own race-blind ideology. Once you say that the historic majority ethnoculture of the American nation—meaning the historic American people as a people—is illegitimate and cannot be spoken of in positive terms, you have turned the country into a void. It’s as though you surgically removed a man’s brain, heart, guts, gonads and put in their place, oh, some back issues of Commentary with articles about how America is a Proposition Nation built of nothing but an idea. Having been turned into an empty shell consisting of a few phrases, the country invites every kind of invasion and transgression and has no means of stopping them. Looking at this spectacle in consternation, the neocons say how terrible, but they themselves have nothing with which to oppose it, because the only thing that can successfully resist the multicultural destruction of nationhood is real nationhood. And that is something the neocons will never allow because they believe in non-discriminatory universalism and can only support a nation if it is defined in purely universal, non-discriminatory terms.

But the neocons have not just betrayed our nation and culture, they’ve even betrayed their universal idea with which they’ve replaced our nation and culture, because, in actual experience, once you give up your concrete identity for an idea, there is, literally, no one there any more to defend the idea. If America is an idea, this idea cannot defend itself, it must be defended by a concrete American people that believes in it and stands behind it with conviction and force. But the definition of America as nothing but an idea eliminates that people. So who is left to defend it? The neocons certainly don’t. Have you ever seen a neocon declare—when the Mexican government provides Mexican curriculum to American schools and the schools accept it, when universities and airports begin installing Muslim foot basins so that Muslims can perform their in-your-face religious rituals in the public spaces of America, when Hmong bring shamans into hospital rooms—that this violates the idea, the idea of America, the idea on which the entire American “Experiment” is founded? No. Because the neocons only talk about the idea in order to get America to open its doors to the Other. “America is a universal idea,” they keep telling us. “It can assimilate all people who believe in the idea.” But once those Others are inside the door and are not conforming to the idea but are pushing their own particularist cultures on the rest of us, the neocons never say, “You can’t do this, this is a violation of the idea, if you keep doing this you must leave. At the very least, we will stop admitting more people like you.” No. The neocons’ universal idea is solely a device to break down America’s doors and let the Others in; it is never a principle to be required of the unassimilated Others we have foolishly let in and so to protect America from them and their alien cultures.

- end of initial entry -

Larry G. writes:

There is a disingenuousness about assimilation. Assimilation means abandoning your identity and adopting another identity so as to blend in to a majority culture. While some people will adopt another identity out of enthusiasm for a culture—the way many Japanese in Japan have fallen in love with Western culture—it generally requires force on the part of the majority culture to trigger the change. That force is “discrimination”. Discrimination against ethnic groups caused many families, including my own, to Americanize their names or even totally change them. It was the incentive to learn English and abandon any ethnic practices that would mark you as different. Discrimination was the flame beneath the melting pot, and in the 1960’s we turned off the fire. Anti-discrimination laws mean there is nothing to force assimilation, thus the original cultures immigrants bring with them do not disappear but become nuclei for ethnic and racial communities, eventually resulting in multiculturalism and multilingualism. The only way to guarantee assimilation and avoid the problems of ethnic fragmentation is to repeal anti-discrimination laws.

LA replies:

What Larry G. says here is brilliant. I never saw this before, at least not with this clarity (and I can’t believe I never saw this before). Larry has just completed an argument I’ve been making for the last 15 years.

The right-liberal, neocon view is: we are a non-discriminatory, non-majoritarian, universal country, in which we admit newcomers on a non-discriminatory basis, and then they or their children assimilate. But this, as Larry point out, is a contradictory statement, since if there’s no discrimination to make assimilation happen (and if there’s no confident majority doing the discrimination to make the assimilation happen), there can be no assimilation.

Larry G. has just come up with the most concise refutation of neoconservatism ever. A non-discriminatory country that admits culturally diverse immigrants and then assimilates them is a contradiction in terms.

LA writes:

Here is a further thought branching off from the main entry.

The neocons and the left are two factions of liberalism which hate each other but which, without realizing it, work in tandem: the left-liberals (joined by the anti-white minorities) who with conscious malice seek to destroy America, and the right-liberals who endlessly cluck their tongues but do nothing to stop it. The tongue-clucking has the further effect of persuading non-elite conservatives that the elite are aware of the problem and are handling it. This helps put the non-elite to sleep, thinking that everything is basically ok, e.g., “Europe has terrible problems with its Muslims who are permanently alienated and not assimilating, but we in America, oh, we’re so much better than those stupid Europeans, we have our act together, we’re assimilating our Muslims.” The last part of this arrangement, the happy sleep of the non-elite, has been in the process of breaking down over the last couple of years, but has a way to go before it is decisively broken.

Sebastian writes:

This has the makings of the most significant discussion on recent political history I’ve read anywhere.

One often hears neoconservatives like Gertrude Himmelfarb (who is no lightweight and not without merit) decry the whole 1960s era except for the “progress” made in race relations. But as Larry G points out, the price paid for that change is likely higher than for any other reform of that period, for its basis is nothing less than a rejection of our history before passage of the 1964 Act. It’s almost as radical as starting a new calendar; most liberal Americans do in fact consider anything pre-1964 as a dark age. Since anti-discrimination laws are predicated on this self-critique of past injustice, the other minorities—who unlike blacks came here willingly and were never stakeholders in the republic—have been granted the same protected class status, where today close to half of the people in America are “protected” against whites, and discrimination against women is at least “suspect.”

I believe this is partly why Tocqueville was so worried about the presence of a significant black minority in America, for the price paid for their emancipation and eventual integration would be the wholesale rejection of the larger society. Blacks were in fact wronged, no doubt. But the vehicle used to remedy this went beyond the granting of formal rights. A society can be formally equal and informally unequal, but this is what the 1960s laws could not live with.

LA replies:

Thank you.

“… the price paid for that change is likely higher than for any other reform of that period, for its basis is nothing less than a rejection of our history before passage of the 1964 Act.”

In this connection, if you haven’t read it, please see my article, “How the 1964 Civil Rights Act Made Racial Group Entitlements Inevitable.” In this piece, I show how, instead of just addressing specific injustices, the Civil Rights movement made white America itself guilty, thus setting in motion a dynamic that condemns America in principle and dooms it to ultimate extinction in practice. I suggest ways that this result could have been, and can be, avoided.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at October 10, 2007 11:53 PM | Send

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