Saturday, December 10, 2005

American Identity

About a decade ago, when he was vice president, Al Gore explained that our national motto, e pluribus unum, means "from one, many." This was a sad day for knowledge of Latin among our political elite -- and after all those expensive private schools that Gore had been packed off to by his paterfamilias.

That passage from a recent article by Charles R. Kesler exemplifies what I love about The Clarement Review of Books. It draws one in to a serious intellectual discussion about a matter of national importance with a humorous anecdote about a gaffe by a Democratic Party leader that was burried by the main-stream media. And poking fun at Algore is a treasured national pastime.

Though Gore's translation was literally backwards, it does reveal one of the deepest held tenets of modern liberalism. Multiculturalism holds that all cultures are equally good, be it Roman, Chinese, Arabic, European, American, or other. And Americans are wrong and bigotted if we believe that our culture is any better.

At a time when America is under attack by Islamofascists, world government organizations, so called allies in Europe and leftists at home, it is important that we have a really clear understanding of what it means to be an American.

Kessler discusses two books by Harvard University Professor Samuel P. Huntington:
Who Are We? The Challenges to America's National Identity and
American Politics: The Promise of Disharmony.

In Huntington's view, America is undergoing an identity crisis, in which the long-term trend points squarely towards national disintegration of culture and institutions. The culprits, what Huntington calls "disorders" are three: multiculturism, transnationalism and the Hispanization of America.

Against these threats are arrayed the sources of American identity, first the American creed, our ideology of individual rights and government by consent; and second, the American culture that includes our English language, religious practices, liberty and work ethic. On the last point, Kessler refers to Ben Franklin's immigration pamphlet (1784) that cautions Europeans that America was the "Land of Labor." Franklin said that America was not the kind of country where "the Fowls fly about ready roasted, crying, Come eat me!"

Huntington and Kessler both worry about multiculturalism as destructive of civic unity. Kessler notes that the multicultural ethic has turned civics on it's head: Robert's Rules of Multicultural Order allow peremptory objections against, say, the Catholic Church, that are denied against such as the Taliban. Scratch a multiculturalist, then, and you find a liberal willing to condemn all the usual cultural suspects.

So what are we up against? Kessler warns that modern liberalism has done its best to strip natural rights and the Constitution out of the American creed. In place of the actual Constitution, a legal contract binding on all generations of Americans, liberals would have the "living constitution" expressing their own contemporary values.

Even the Islamic threat is no more dangerous to our American way of life than the attack on the Constitution aided and abetted by the activist courts. The battle to confirm Justice Samuel A. Alito is a crucial front in this war.


Blogger Roseville Conservative said...

Welcome to the WA!!!

8:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And there was the biggest uproar about Quail's misspelling of, what was it, potato(e)?? Al Gore's ignorance was ridiculously stupid. But it was based on his own world view...multiculturalism.

This made me think of how the world really hated Jesus Christ and even killed him because He told them His way was better...that He claimed to be the Son of God...that only He was the way to eternal life. The world doesn't like it when they're told there's a better way. How stupid, arrogant and prideful that kind of thinking is...

Dori Medina

5:50 PM  

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