I’m generally skeptical of multiculturalism because it can undermine the ‘melting pot’ approach to life and immigration here in the United States. When multiculturalism becomes an entrenched governing philosophy, it eats away at the best assimilator of immigrants we have: A strong economy. After all, economic opportunity and political liberty are two of America’s strongest draws, and two of our freedoms most worth preserving, intimately connected as they are. Working alongside someone in an office can at least breed familiarity, if not fellow-feeling and friendship.
It often takes a couple of generations for new arrivals to assimilate into American culture, and I don’t believe it’s easy. There can be active discrimination, to be sure. There are certain discriminatory practices I even support prohibiting to achieve equality under the law.
Yet, multiculturalism often balkanizes groups under its banner. It rewards racial and group identity politics, and it can erode equality under the law and many Americans’ sense of fairness as a nation of laws. Political activism, politics, and the treasury too easily become the prizes for these competing groups to get a ‘piece of the pie.’ Laws can be used as levers to reward friends and punish enemies as a political system of patronage develops, much as it has in our big-city machine politics. It can get ugly.
So, dear reader, I was greatly comforted when I read Bernhard Henri-Levy before the 2008 election:
“And one of the reasons I am so much in favor of [Senator Barack] Obama is that his election might be, will be—because I think he will be elected—a real end to this tide of competition of victimhood, and especially on the specific ground of the two communities, Jews and African Americans, who were so close in the 1960s”
…”The Obama election would reconstitute the grand alliance.”
Hail the grand alliance!
After some digging, I found out this black/jewish alliance was strong indeed. Here are further examples from my extensive research. From The Kentucky Fried Movie, Cleopatra Schwartz (NSFW).
“She was six feet of black dynamite. He was a short Hasidic Jew:”
Tom Wolfe wrote about the Black Panthers showing up at Leonard Bernstein’s place: Tom Wolfe’s Radical Chic: That Party At Lenny’s.
I’d venture to say that many Americans share in a definition of individual liberty more linked up with organized religion (more so in the past) along with our traditions, institutions, clubs and civic organizations. Most of these organizations allow us to choose for ourselves the obligations we have to our fellow citizens outside of government and away from enforced, top down, collectivist political philosophies.
Perhaps we simply aren’t ready for Henri-Levy’s more libertine, radical, French liberalism, which he displayed by coming over in the spirit of Tocqueville and pissing on the sides of our highways. Why, he even helped Obama and Hillary Clinton pursue a course of action in Libya.
It’s good to know victim-hood and identity politics are in the rear-view mirror.
Hail the grand alliance!