Quote of the Day:
The Roman Empire worked as long as Iberians, Greeks, Jews, Gauls, and myriad other African, Asian, and European communities spoke Latin, cherished habeas corpus, and saw being Roman as preferable to identifying with their own particular tribe. By the fifth century, diversity had won out but would soon prove a fatal liability.
–Victor Davis Hanson on diversity and chaos
The Unites States is described as a country of immigrants because successive influxes of people have come to the U.S. and become Americans. But now, as Victor Davis Hanson observes, the successful melting pot is in danger of being replaced by cultural separatism.
The melting pot has made the U.S. a uniquely successful society–other societies, unable to accommodate different ethnic groups, have faltered. Hanson writes:
America’s melting pot is history’s sole exception of e pluribus unum inclusivity: a successful multiracial society bound by a common culture, language, and values. But this is a historic aberration with a future that is now in doubt.
But this is threatened–the government under Barack Obama seems to encourage people not to assimilate. California college students are demanding roommates of the same race and "safe spaces" where they do not have to mingle with people of other races.
We think of African-American and Latinos as "voting blocks." Indeed, we are in danger of becoming a racialist society:
The South’s “one-drop rule” has often been copied to assure employers or universities that one qualifies as a minority.
Some public figures have sought to play up or invent diversity advantages. Sometimes, as in the cases of Elizabeth Warren, Rachel Dolezal, and Ward Churchill, the result is farce.
Given our racial fixations, we may soon have to undergo computer scans of our skin colors to rank competing claims of grievance.
A great deal of this brand of multiculturalism is indeed based on grievance and the idea that history owes reparations to certain groups. Hanson writes:
How does one mete out the relative reparations for various atrocities of the past, such as slavery, the Holocaust, the American Indian wars, the Asian or Catholic exclusion laws, indentured servitude, or the mid-18th-century belief that the Irish were not quite human?
Sanctuary cities, in the manner of 1850s Richmond or Charleston invoking nullification, now openly declare themselves immune from federal law. Does that defiance ensure every city the right to ignore whatever federal laws it finds inconvenient, from the filing of 1040s to voting laws?
The diversity industry hinges on U.S. citizens still envisioning a shrinking white population as the “majority.” Yet “white” is now not always easily definable, given intermarriage and constructed identities.
Although this emphasis on race is popular among progressives, it is illiberal–and we should stop it and return to our melting pot culture that welcomes all and makes us all Americans. Hanson urges:
It is time to step back from the apartheid brink.
Even onetime diversity advocate Oprah Winfrey has had second thoughts about the lack of commonality in America. She recently vowed to quit using the word “diversity” and now prefers “inclusion.” A Latino-American undergraduate who is a student of Shakespeare is not “culturally appropriating” anyone’s white-European legacy, but instead seeking transcendence of ideas and a common humanity.
The melting pot was the essence of inclusion.