Friday, April 15, 2016

The Closing of the Liberal Mind: How Groupthink and Intolerance Define the Left

The heading above expresses a truth that just about all conservatives have seen for themselves by now.  We don't need a book to tell us any of that.  It is however the title of a new book by Kim R. Holmes, A former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State and currently a Distinguished Fellow at the Heritage Foundation.

So who needs this book?  It could possibly be useful to lend to a wavering neighbor, if anyone talks to their neighbors these days.  It does seem to aim at that sort of underinformed reader. Perhaps for that reason, it goes along with conventional beliefs that it might be too much of a wrench to disturb.  It accepts the ingrained myths about history that Leftists so desperately need:  Such as both Hitler and the KKK being "Rightist".

More information here


Peace talks?

According to several sources, Megyn Kelly arrived at Trump Tower for a secret meeting with Donald Trump. As Mediaite reports:

According to reporting from MSNBC’s Ayman Mohyeldin and CNN, Fox News host Megyn Kelly went to Trump Tower Wednesday morning and met with Donald Trump.

Later, CNN’s Brian Stelter confirmed the report. “Donald Trump and the Fox News host Megyn Kelly met at Trump Tower on Wednesday morning, a person with knowledge of the matter told CNNMoney,” he reported Wednesday. “The meeting was brokered by Fox News chairman Roger Ailes.”



Leftist double standards never cease

Outrage is good for business, at least when it comes to North Carolina and Mississippi passing culturally conservative laws — a bathroom bill and religious liberty law, respectively. How else to explain the hypocritical boycotts singers Jimmy Buffett and Bryan Adams mustered in response to the recent laws?

Big businesses already have been bullying these and other states. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed his state’s religious liberty bill because of pressure from big businesses like Disney, Apple and the NFL. North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory issued an executive order Tuesday he hoped would appease the corporate critics of his state’s newly minted bathroom law — critics like PayPal — by bolstering the protections of homosexual and transgendered state employees against termination. (Even the Navy moved a ceremony out of Mississippi over the law.)

But singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett announced that performing any shows in North Carolina “would definitely depend on whether that stupid law is repealed.” Meanwhile, fellow entertainer Bryan Adams said he was going to stay out of Mississippi. Canceling a show scheduled for this Thursday in the state, Adams wrote on his website: “I cannot in good conscience perform in a state where certain people are being denied their civil rights due to their sexual orientation.”

Naturally, hypocrisy abounds. Buffett’s restaurant chain, Margaritaville, has the same bathroom policies as North Carolina. When a half-dozen of the franchise’s locations were asked if they allow men to use women’s restrooms, they all said no.

Before canceling his Mississippi performance, Adams had just wrapped up a tour through Egypt, which, along with the rest of the Muslim world, is notorious for punishment of (even alleged) homosexuals. But Margaritaville restaurants and Egyptian tours make money. So does canceling shows in Mississippi and North Carolina.



All immigrants are not equal.  Some undermine American exceptionalism

Does any mainstream American really want their country to be  transformed into the sort of mess that regularly emerges South of the Rio Grande? Illegals from there bring with them the thinking behind such messes

A free country must welcome as many immigrants as want to enter it, no matter the effect they have on its culture or its political institutions. This is the liberal immigration premise. It is sincerely held by Americans all across the political spectrum. And, as I argued in my last piece, it is false.

Another premise underlying the current push toward open borders in the U.S., this one held mostly by the Left, is the idea that a multicultural society is superior to a culturally homogeneous one. It implies that America would be a better country if its once-unified, English-speaking culture were transformed into a polyglot mosaic by the mass infusion of immigrants. This premise is false for the same reason that the liberal immigration premise is false.

In the history of the world, very few cultures have proven capable of sustaining the kind of freedom we enjoy in the United States. We cannot possibly strengthen, or even hope to maintain, the support that our free political institutions enjoy by continually adding to the voting population large numbers of persons from cultures that afford them little or no knowledge of the ideas necessary to sustain those institutions. This is especially true when multiculturalists urge immigrants not to assimilate, which means that they should not shed their old ideas, ideas which, in many cases, issued in poverty, corruption, and tyranny in their countries of origin.

America is the land of individual rights. Immigrants from tribal cultures, from cultures that place the welfare of the family or the clan above that of the individual, cultures that are socially or economically static, that value the pronouncements of religious leaders over those of secular leaders, or that view women as inferior to men-all must learn new values upon arriving in the U.S. Otherwise, if the immigrants come in sufficient numbers, we must resign themselves to seeing our rights eroded and our free political institutions degraded.

No society ever failed because it was too culturally unified. But a great many have dissolved into violence because they were not. Today Basques want to secede from Spain, Kurds from Turkey, Syria, and Iraq. Serbs, Armenians, Albanians, and many other cultural minorities seek to establish their own, monocultural countries because the multicultural societies of which they are a part do not work. To transform a culturally unified society into a multicultural one is to introduce a potential for conflict that did not exist before. Imagine a completely Catholic Northern Ireland deciding to improve their country by importing Protestants.

So, if bringing in large numbers of immigrants and then discouraging them from assimilating is likely to derange the culture and diminish Americans' freedom, and if it is likely to increase civil strife, why do multiculturalists advocate it?

Because multiculturalism has proven itself an effective weapon against American culture. Since culture is the soil out of which our free political institutions grow, those who would undermine the Constitution and the system of individual rights it protects have set about disintegrating the culture. Thus the unending assaults on the family, on marriage, on manhood, and all the rest.

Multiculturalists would weaken the culture by fragmenting it. Divide and conquer. They say to Hispanics, for example, "We like you just the way you are. Unlike the English-speaking mainstream, we value your culture. Ally yourselves with us and we'll see that you never have to assimilate." So multiculturalism becomes a tool to recruit clients to the Left's coalition of the aggrieved. The more immigrants they can flood the country with, the more politically powerful does that coalition become.

As for the political Right, as they manage to do on issue after issue, they have ceded the moral high ground to the Left on the question of multiculturalism. The Left cast their immigrant clients as victims of the oppressive, English-speaking majority.

They savage the defenders of American culture and individual rights as insensitive racists and bigots. And the Right respond by politely prefacing any criticism of the multiculturalists with an acknowledgement of their good intentions.

But multiculturalism is immoral. It rests on the false premise that all cultures are created equal. In truth, a culture that keeps the vast majority of a people poor, that dooms them to ill-nourishment, ill-health, and an early death, that tolerates censorship of unpopular ideas and substitutes superstition for science and reason, is vastly inferior to a culture that can give rise to supermarkets, penicillin, space travel, and the U.S. Constitution. To say to new immigrants, as the multiculturalists do, that they should persist in their state of cultural backwardness is morally despicable.

Western culture is composed of the common elements of the cultures of many countries, all of which trace their cultural origins back to ancient Greece. It has extended as far east at times as Russia, and west to North America, and it includes the entire English-speaking world. It is a liberal culture, in the best sense of the term, and it is characterized by the free movement of ideas and, to a lesser extent, of goods and of persons.

The spontaneous cultural interaction that has characterized the West since the Renaissance has enabled the best minds from a vast geographic area to converse indirectly with each other over space and over time. Thus did the Italian Galileo make possible the English Newton, who made possible the German Jew Einstein. The result of this spontaneous, indirect collaboration is the advanced superculture known as Western culture, which today is reaching into every corner of the globe.

Through this process of spontaneous cultural interaction, the best cultural practices tend to spread. The American Revolution became "The shot heard round the world." And the worst cultural practices fall into disuse. Advanced culture spreads, and primitive cultures recede and disappear. This is a spontaneous and salutary process.

In a similar manner, persons from less advanced cultures who immigrate to advanced countries like the U.S. tend eventually to discard most elements of their native cultures and adopt the more advanced culture of their new home. Again, this is a normal, salutary, and necessary process, necessary both for the sake of the newcomers and for their hosts. But multiculturalism would subvert this process.

In the liberal West, for an individual to become "cultured" is an achievement. It requires effort. One must learn history, literature, manners, morals, how to speak and write one's language, and much else. This is the idea behind a schooling in the liberal arts. Culture like this, which requires conscious, rational effort, is literally artificial.

Against this idea of culture as the product of artifice, multiculturalism poses cultural "authenticity."  Authentic culture is primal, an expression of the soul of a people. One grows into an authentic culture, absorbing it unconsciously, as by osmosis. Jazz and the "soul" music of the 1960s are authentic, Tchaikovsky is not.

Classical liberalism was able to break the historical tie between culture and ethnicity, and to unite different ethnic groups under a common culture. If anything would benefit a multi-ethnic society, it would be a single, unifying culture. But authenticity seeks to re-establish the tie between culture and ethnicity, and thereby to revive the cultural and ethnic Balkanization of an earlier era. The liberal melting pot becomes the multicultural mosaic.

Authenticity would extinguish the cultural cross-fertilization that has characterized Western culture. It would replace the great collaboration that gave the world Galileo and Newton and Einstein with a return to primitive tribalism. If you doubt this, consider the latest insanity on college campuses, the decrying of "cultural appropriation." In a recent video, a black student at San Francisco State criticizes a one white one with dreadlocks for appropriating a hair style to which he is not culturally entitled.

So, in the name of cultural authenticity, blacks accuse black children who work hard in school of "acting white." They disown Clarence Thomas, a giant of American jurisprudence, as a traitor to his culture and his race. The idea of authenticity and the related ideology of multiculturalism shut off members of ethnic minorities from the best of Western culture, and they doom immigrant children to cultural backwaters. This is not moral, it is monstrous.

There was a time when Americans' common sense protected them from this kind of snake oil. But no longer. More and more Americans have been going to college, where they learn not to think but to believe. To believe, among other things, that a man is defined by his ethnicity or by the culture into which he was born, rather than by the content with which he has chosen to fill his own mind. This is a profoundly un-American idea, and it will indeed transform our country if we do not defeat it.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


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