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GOPs Biggest Problem? Multiculturalism
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The primary reason for Barack Obama’s second-term victory, and the most pressing issue for the impending midterms, is not economics, foreign policy, or even immigration reform. Instead, it is something we generally hear little about: multiculturalism.
While recognizing diversity is accepting the facts of reality, multiculturalism is something else entirely. As it attempts to unravel any given country’s macro-culture, smaller cultures are inevitably placed in competitive positions. This, of course, leads to serious problems.
Dr. Shelby Steele is one of our time’s most well known social scientists. A senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, he has written volumes about race and culture, along with how both of these impact our society. The Chicago-born son of a white mother and black father, he was a left-wing activist as a young man, but leaned strongly conservative with age. In 2012, he told me that multiculturalism “is a lose set of ideas by which people in the West rationalize and explain” contemporary immigration patterns.
In his opinion, “it is the movement of so many different groups of often unassimilated people that has been disruptive. Multiculturalism is essentially plain old relativism - an idea that seeks to see all cultures as equal. Relativism is the corruption inherent in multiculturalism because all cultures are in fact not equal (though of course all people deserve equal treatment and respect).”
Steele described multiculturalism as “a hazy ideology that prevents people from talking frankly about the real tensions and conflicts that arise from these immigration patterns.”
“It,” he went on to say, “is a banality and an avoidance that thrives because so many western societies - once colonialist oppressors in the Third World - feel they do not have the moral authority to speak frankly about immigration. It thrives because of the terror in the West of being seen as racist. Today even the word assimilation connotes racism.”
The ongoing struggle against macro-cultural assimilation is surely one of the most crucial challenges facing not only America, but all world powers which have seen high rates of immigration. It is not specific to a single culture, rather a common theme wherever people forget the old saying, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”
During the years ahead, America will have to accept the fact that multiculturalism simply is not a good idea.
The last presidential election shaped up to be the most demographically polarized in history. Group members voted on the basis of collective identity. Obama appealed to enough groups’ core issues and won. Whether it be incentivizing generational welfare recipiency - rationalized by historical victimhood narratives - or pandering to ethnocentric desires for illegal alien amnesty, nary a stone went unturned.
The fact that there is so little cohesion between groups indicates that our country’s social landscape is taking a negative turn.
In the not too distant future, ethnic, racial, or even gender identity politics might trump partisan affiliation. There are no words to describe how sad the day would be when candidates are judged on the basis of tribal allegiance rather than personal merit and philosophy.
It would behoove the Republican Party to steer clear of ethnic or racial identity politics. The GOP must stress assimilation for new immigrants and strongly oppose immigration amnesty.
Keeping groupthink from replacing intelligent discourse ought to be the Party’s priority bar none.
These are the necessary steps not just for electoral survival, but preserving the American Way.
Joseph Cotto is a historical and social journalist, and writes about politics, economics and social issues. Email him at