I No Longer Say “Chair” – Crisis Magazine

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A boxer who strikes a painful blow knows quite well to keep pounding the delicate spot. He knows when his opponent is hurt and he strikes the same spot over and over again. If there is a tiny cut above the eye, he keeps pounding the cut so that the bloody trickle becomes a torrent. …

Source: I No Longer Say “Chair” – Crisis Magazine

“Diversity” and “Multiculturalism” Divide People from One Another

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Multiculturalism-blurred-people

Multiculturalism-blurred-people (Photo credit: openDemocracy)

Recently I heard of an incident at an American university. A student walked into a library conference room. A group of black women were in the room, and they began to stare at this student. Then the student noticed the sign that said, “Do not enter. African-American Women’s Group.” The student apologized, stating that she was sorry she interrupted their meeting. Silence. Stares. The student could not say anything else given the situation, so the student walked out of the conference room and found another room in which to study.

Besides being another lesson in today’s rudeness, is it really coincidental that the group meeting in the room was sponsored by the university’s diversity office? The office is committed to “identity” as the main factor influencing one’s behavior. “Identity” is a code word for “culture,” and usually it is a code word that means “black.” Such offices, influenced by Neo-Marxist thought and identity politics, may begin by sponsoring meetings with students from outside the United States. Later, however, they tend to degenerate into offices that divide black students from white students, and if there are sufficient numbers of Hispanic students, Hispanic students from the rest of students. Western culture is the enemy. “Eurocentrism” is the enemy. Grievances are magnified with people of European descent being labeled as cruel oppressors. No wonder the students were silent in the conference room and did not respond to a sincere apology. They were facing their mortal enemy.

Diversity training” and multiculturalism are not about uniting people. They divide groups from one another. Instead of recognizing the universal human propensity for evil, they focus only on the sins of Europeans and people of European descent. The special groups who are, by definition, oppressed, can do no wrong since anything they do that seems to be wrong is only due to the oppression of others. Special groups do not have to take responsibility for their actions. They do not have to repent of their sins. They have no sin.

Only in academia could such a worldview survive. Students trained under this model will alienate potential friends and potential employers. If they do not make friends of another race or culture, they will not blame themselves—it is the oppressing “other” that is at fault. If they are not hired or are fired because of a negative and hostile attitude toward their boss and co-workers, the failure to hire or firing is due to the oppressing class acting wrongly against them. Nothing is ever the responsibility of the Holy Ones; it is all the evil Eurocentric Devil that is at fault.

Given the cesspool of contemporary “diversity training,” the federal government should stop forcing schools to focus on so-called “diversity.” Schools should have the courage to fight setting up a multicultural office or a diversity office. The only things that will result from such an office will be increased racial tension, increased isolation of groups, setting up “special studies programs” with low academic standards for the Holy Ones to take, and a breakdown of civic discourse. Multiculturalism, based on flawed Marxist ideology, cannot support true diversity—it can only push its own elitism on those who do not fit into its special groups. Liberal university administrations are not doing their students a favor when they set up a diversity or multicultural program, however well-meaning they will be. It will only end in disaster and pain.

On “Diversity Training”

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Marxism's last stand?

Many public and private schools, colleges, universities, and businesses have mandatory classes in “Diversity Training,” usually taught by a diversity or multicultural officer. Some of this trend may be due to federal requirements (and in some states, state government requirements).

Now teaching employees about religious and cultural customs when they have co-workers from different cultural backgrounds can be useful. For example, the Nashville, Tennessee area has a large number of Iraqis, including Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds. If a company hires people from more than one of these three groups, it is useful to educate employees on how to avoid conflicts or diminish conflict between people of different backgrounds.

The vast majority of diversity training is politically motivated and has been from the beginning. “Diversity training” to some multicultural officers focuses only on “traditionally underrepresented groups,” and creates a culture of entitlement and resentment in members of those groups. “People of color” and “Hispanics” are emphasized, while different religious faiths (other than Islam) and Asians are de-emphasized in such courses. The white male is considered the most evil entity in society, and they are automatically grouped into the class of the “oppressors.” In some classes white students have been asked to “confess” their racism, sexism or “homophobia.” Failure to confess such can lead to negative consequences, such as an unsatisfactory mark that could result in a student expelled from a college or university. Women, minorities, and homosexuals are always labeled as “the victims.” “The victims” can never be racist or sexist–only white males are in that class. The lesson of the splendid movie, “Crash,” that people of all backgrounds have their prejudices, is lost on many diversity trainers.

Multicultural officers sometimes say (and I have heard one state this) that they are concerned with “social justice.” Translate the term “social justice” as “socialism,” and you will get the meaning. “Social justice” is interpreted in Marxist categories of oppressed and oppressor. White males become the new bourgeois, and every other group becomes the new proletariat. The proletariat must transvalue the values of the bourgeois, and this means abrogating freedom of speech. One is only allowed to speak the narrative of the diversity trainer. Any deviation from the Puritanical norm of the politically correct will result in punishment which can be being thrown out of school as a student, a professor being dismissed, or someone who has worked faithfully for years at a business being fired. The rules of the politically correct multiculturalist are as follows:

1. Western civilization is evil and oppressive.

2. Only males can be sexist.

3. Only whites can be racist.

4. Social justice = the social platform of the Democratic party.

5. Believing that practicing homosexuality is morally wrong is homophobia and hate.

6. Refusing to acknowledge one’s hidden racism and sexism is a sign of moral turpitude.

7. Saying anything negative about feminism is a sign of moral turpitude.

8. Bringing up crime statistics regarding race automatically makes a person a racist.

9. If you do not believe that the majority of women in colleges and universities have been raped at least once in their lives, you hate women.

10. If you are opposed to abortion, you hate women.

11. If you do not believe in Great Society programs, you are a racist and a hater.

12. If you oppose affirmative action, you are a racist and a hater.

13. If you defend teaching Western Civilization over World Civilization, you are a racist, a sexist, an ethnocentrist, and a hater.

14. If you are politically conservative, you are a hater.

15. If you criticize President Obama’s policies, then you are a racist.

16. If you criticize Michelle Obama, then you are a racist and a sexist.

Those are only the ones I can think of at the moment. There are many more rules, and it is difficult for anyone to know he has violated one (oops, I just violated one — if anyone uses “he” to refer to both males and females, he/she/it is a racist and a hater).

Diversity training is liberal propaganda. Multiculturalism is anti-Western propaganda. It is past time to halt such training or reformulate it to include teaching about the customs of actual cultures to avoid offense (for example, do not remove an icon from an Eastern Orthodox Christian’s room). Higher education is particularly suspect to such madness given its strong left-wing bias. There are schools who have not bowed to Baal, but they are fewer, and given government policy, under attack. The best route for those schools is to aggressively raise private funds and refuse to participate in the federal student grant and loan programs. A school that rejects federal aid entirely (such as Hillsdale College) can have the independence to be able to avoid the b..l…t of Marxist diversity programs.

What is “Global Interdependence”?

November 29, 2011

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Globe centred on Asia and Oceania - Satellite ...Human beings are not isolated, atomistic individuals. Both Thomas Hobbes and John Locke were flawed in holding that they are. Aristotle was on the mark when he said that “Man is by nature a political [i.e. social] animal.” Human beings share a common nature–they are “rational animals,” to use another of Aristotle’s terms. Human being are dependent rational animals–Alasdair MacIntyre was correct in focusing on the dependence aspect that is so often ignored in both Classical Liberalism and Social Democracy’s notion of “autonomy.” Humans are dependent on nature to provide an environment for the basic necessities of life and livelihood. They are dependent on other living things for food, clothing, and oftentimes companionship. They are dependent on other people from the moment they are born to the day they die, notwithstanding modern and contemporary claims of atomistic autonomy. The modern nation-state, established in root form at the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, consists of people under one central government authority. Yet nation-states have never been wholly sovereign or autonomous, since their survival has been dependent on trade and cooperation with other nations. With greater integration of economies, it is easy to push “global interdependence” as a principle that removes sovereign nations and replaces them with a world unified, if not politically, at least economically and in terms of a melding of cultures. Many collages and universities push “Global Interdependence” and require that it be part of the core curriculum classes.

As good as this emphasis sounds, it is fundamentally flawed. While humans are not atomistic individuals and are, in fact, dependent on others for survival and well-being, this does not imply an artificial unity in which all cultures merge into one and the world becomes “one big happy family.” The end of the Cold War has led to the formation of nation-states divided along ethnic lines, even in parts of Europe (the former Yugoslavia, the former Soviet Union). Cultures that have thrived thousands of years continue to thrive and demand freedom from the centralized government of the modern nation-state, as is seen in tribal resistance to the weak central government in Afghanistan. Blood and individual cultures have shown themselves to be thicker than utopian schemes of a New World Order. I do not buy into the conspiracy theorists about the New World Order–in the United States it has meant free trade and the ruin of American manufacturing, the destruction of local cultures with their rich diversity (something that pseudo-multiculturalists and proponents of a politicized “global interdependence” do not understand). Human beings develop their uniqueness in community best within local cultures that vary due to geography, tribe, history, religion, and overall world view. This is what unifies human beings in community, not a system such as the “European Union” that originally found its strongest support among French and German Marxists. It is interesting that Chancellor Merkel, a Christian Democrat, supports a strong European Union, but underneath her rhetoric is an assertion of German economic strength rather than a support of an abstract, artificial unity that harks back to the Roman Empire. Despite the claims of Pax Romana, the “Roman Peace” was filled with rebellions against the central government, including two Jewish revolts from 68-74 and from 132-135. Since the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the fifth century A.D., Europeans have gone through periods of searching for that lost unity, from the “Holy Roman Empire” to the current “European Union.” Thus, “global interdependence” cannot refer to an ephemeral political union, and with the decline of the great Medieval unifier of Europe, Christianity, there is no hope for any cultural unity within Europe. If any group has a chance of “winning” the clash of cultures in Europe, it will be Islam. Of course, since we’re so “interdependent,” even the most Islamist of Muslims will join together in one happy family in which local religions and local cultures do not matter (notice the sarcasm in that statement). “Global Interdependence” is a valid concept; the problem is when it obscures real differences between states, cultures, and ethnic groups as if they do not matter (moral and cultural relativism). That is the view of global interdependence that is being pushed by the successors of the 1960s radicals on American colleges and universities as well as in the K-12 educational system. It is a deeply flawed position and should not be used as a tool to indoctrinate students in a radical, utopian agenda.

Immigration and Multiculturalism: European Leaders are Wising Up; American Leaders are Not

February 11, 2011

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Protest by the Tea Parties Against Amnesty and...

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Some European leaders, such as President Sarkozy of France, Prime Minster Cameron of the U.K., and Chancellor Merkel of Germany, have openly stated that “multiculturalism has failed” (http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20110210/wl_afp/francepoliticsimmigrationsociety_20110210231042). If only the President of the United States or more people in Congress had the courage to say the same thing. It is ironic that those academics and journalists who focus on cultures being irreducibly different also believe that cultures with radically different world views can peacefully co-exist. Until about 1965, the dominant culture of the United States was based on British culture and European Protestant Christianity with an American revivalist flavor. Roman Catholics, such as John F. Kennedy, fit into the general culture because they accepted the notion that the Roman Catholic Church should not be favored over other churches–in addition, Roman Catholics of Irish and European background understood democracy and the freedoms guaranteed by the U. S. Constitution. But after another Lyndon Johnson disaster, the 1965 Immigration Act, which no longer favored European immigration over immigration from other countries, the old Angl0-Protestant culture began to be superseded by a Balkans-like “multicultural” society. Massive immigration, both legal and illegal, has altered the social landscape so rapidly that communities hardly have had time to react. As more immigrants, especially illegal immigrants, come to the country from Mexico and Central and South America, usually from countries that lack a tradition of democracy, millions of people are entering the United States without an adequate knowledge or appreciation of our democratic heritage. While most legal Hispanic immigrants want to learn English (and to give them credit, some illegal immigrants), many illegal immigrants want a permanently separate society in which Spanish is the only language taught in their communities. Local communities, especially in the South, which have been stable for over one hundred years, have turned into unstable gathering points for illegal immigrants where locals who have sacrificed much of their livelihood and lives for the land on which they live feeling unwelcome and driven out.

In addition, millions of unassimilated Muslims have entered the United States. Secular Muslims fit well into a democratic culture; however, Muslims of a fundamentalist bent do not. The seeds for terrorism against the American people are today not as much with Al Qaeda in Afghanistan as in our own local communities. Although many Muslims are not fundamentalist, the United States has failed to take action even when officials knew a threat existed–as was the case in Fort Hood, Texas. The near-open border with Mexico is another place that Islamic terrorists might use as a crossing point. In the meantime, due to the political correctness and multiculturalism of the political left, of academic, and of the media, the United States fails to secure its borders and instead wastes lives, time, effort, and money into foreign wars that only serve to embitter our enemies more than before.

Europe has seen its very culture threatened by multiculturalism and by rapid immigration from non-Western cultures. In addition, some of these immigrants have carried out terrorist attacks against European nations. The European leaders understand that multiculturalism has failed. It will fail in the United States–it is already in the process of failing, as the Mexican illegal immigrants in California who refuse to play the Star Spangled Banner at ball games but instead play the Mexican national anthem with a Mexican flag flying high–witness. The drain of illegal immigrants who are not loyal to the U.S. and who desire the Southwest to be returned to Mexico has wrecked the state budgets of some states. In my home state, Tennessee, TennCare, the state insurance for the poor, was cut drastically when an unelected judge said that benefits had to be given to illegal immigrants. It is sheer madness for a country to allow massive illegal immigration (just what about the word “illegal” does the Left fail to understand?) by people from cultures hostile to the United States or at least not sympathetic to American ideals, to continue in this country. Hopefully soon an American political leader will have the courage to speak out as have the European leaders mentioned above.

Genuine vs. False “Diversity” and “Multiculturalism”

August 19, 2010

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Multiculturalism-blurred-people

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A few years ago a group of people from an accrediting agency for a particular school in the university were on campus. I was part of a group of faculty who taught core courses invited to talk with those individuals. One of them asked me how I included “diversity” and “multiculturalism” in my Introduction to Philosophy class. I replied that “We read a number of writers from very different cultures: Plato and Aristotle from Ancient Greece, St. Augustine from North Africa, St. Thomas Aquinas from medieval Italy. In order to discuss Aquinas adequately, I have to mention Maimonides, of the Jewish faith, and several Muslim Arab philosophers.” Needless to say, that is not what the woman asking me the question wished to hear.

But what I do in my teaching is teaching diversity. There is a huge difference between the culture of Ancient Greece and medieval Arab culture. The ancient philosopher Plotinus may have been influenced by Indian thought. Sometimes I refer to Buddhism’s view of causality as having some similarities to the modern philosopher David Hume. That is true multiculturalism–taking the best philosophy of many times and places and cultures and presenting it to students.

But there is an alternative view of diversity–one that understands “diversity” only in terms of race, gender, class, or sexual orientation. Frankly, this is an abysmally ignorant position. Region and local traditions are much more a part of cultural diversity than the aforementioned factors. Even with the same sex, race, class, or “sexual orientation,” there is a great deal of cultural diversity. Compare, for example, a black farmer from Tennessee with a black resident of Newark, New Jersey. Most of the time, the cultural difference between the two is extremely sharp. For another example, take so-called “homosexual culture.” A number of homosexual individuals, and I have met and talked with some of them, absolutely loathe the culture of “coming-out” and “in-your-face” of many homosexual rights advocacy groups. One told me once, “I don’t flaunt my sexuality; why should they flaunt theirs?” Yet “queer studies” tends to take homosexuals as a monolithic group. Thus, what is called “multiculturalism” falls into its own racial, sexual, and class stereotypes and refuses to recognize genuine diversity. Even “dead white European males” are diverse–compare Plato with Hume, or Kant with Nietzsche. Or in literature, compare Belloc with Wilde. Reducing individuals to their gender, race, class, and/or sexual orientation creates cartoons out of people, and both the particularity of the individual and the richness of his culture is lost. What is sad is that even liberal academics have told me that they realize such a simplistic account of diversity is totally flawed. But they tow the party line because those who promote the simplistic view of diversity are about power–and when they gain it, they wield it over other academics. As a result, diversity morphs into the politics of victimization–“I’m a victim, you’re a victim, he’s a victim, she’s a victim, wouldn’t you like to be a victim, too?” The so-called victim, who often lives in a middle-class household with an education provided by scholarships favorable to a “victimized” group, uses his so-called “victim” status to set himself as higher than others.

I will continue to be multicultural in the genuine sense. I do not exclude any philosopher from consideration in my readings on any grounds except quality and/or influence. My students get a better sense of diversity than any student who goes through a politically correct course in pseudo-diversity.

Academia: A Diamond-Filled Cesspool

July 28, 2010

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P Education

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Such a title may appear strange coming from an academic. I enjoy academic, and my undergraduate and graduate school training changed my life, I believe, for the better. Through my education, I learned how to critically think beyond my childhood Fundamentalism without giving up Christian orthodoxy. I learned the wonderful field of philosophy and experienced reading some of the greatest thinkers in the history of the world: Plato, Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, Alfred North Whitehead, and many others. Sadly, if a young person were to talk to me about going to college or university, I would tell him, “Go, but remember that academia is a cesspool, and sometimes you have to dip your hands in s..t to gather up the diamonds.

What damaged the integrity of academia was the radicalism of the 1960s. The history of such radicalism has been documented by David Horowitz and Robert Bork, so I will only give the broadest details. After the 1962 Port Huron Meeting, in which the Students for a Democratic Society were radicalized under the leadership of Tom Hayden, they began to work toward revolutionizing higher education. Influenced by the Frankfurt School, especially the thought of Herbert Marcuse, they desired to bring about a Marxist society by changing the culture, rather than by changing the government. After the student protests of the 1960s and the early 1970s, many of these radicals attended graduate school and got their Ph.D.s. They believed that race, class, and gender (what some have called “the unholy trinity”) determine one’s identity. The Humanities became dominated by such thought, especially English departments. At a conference on Southern literature at which I presented a paper, I believe that my paper (on Wendell Berry) was the only one that did not focus on race, class, and/or gender. A young lady presented a paper that espoused relativism based on the unholy trinity. In the question and answer session I pointed out the contradictions with any kind of relativism, and she readily admitted their existence. When I talked privately with her, I found her to be a traditionalist and a Christian. When I asked her why she presented a paper presenting views with which she did not agree, she said, “I must do what is necessary to get a job.”

To use another term found in discussions of academia, these “tenured radicals” gained control of many departments of English, History, and even Music—they were not as successful in philosophy departments. Once they gained control, they hired only clones of themselves. As a result, many students are exposed to a distorted view of English literature or American History. Instead of focusing on the classic core of literature, for example, Shakespeare is often not even required for an English degree. “Underrepresented writers” replace the great writers of the past. The reason Shakespeare and other writers are in the core curriculum is their ability to express universal meaning through the particularities of their literature. The purging of the classics affects libraries, as they rush to order books to gain the proper balance of “race, class, and gender” and discard classics.

Class discussion is poisoned. Female students are taught to focus on grievances, and men are often portrayed as evil, greedy, and lecherous—to the point that even consensual sexual intercourse between a man and a woman is portrayed as a man raping a woman. Racial differences are emphasized, and minority races are taught to focus on how the majority society has mistreated them. Traditional religion is mocked, especially traditional Christianity, which is portrayed as a tool of the ruling class to keep down women, minorities, and the poor. “Multiculturalism” and “diversity” are code words—they do not refer to teaching about other cultures such as India or China—they are code words for “black and Hispanic.” This kind of multiculturalism distorts the rich cultural diversity found in different black and Hispanic communities. It also promotes a naïve relativism that claims that no one culture is better than another. Such a view poisons moral discourse because if relativism is true, the Stalinist Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, and Pol Pot’s Cambodia could not be morally censured. If a student questions the radicalism of the professor, oftentimes the student’s grade will suffer.

How can a student find the diamonds within the cesspool of academia? First, he should, to the best of his ability, choose his teachers carefully. Choose teachers who are willing to hear both sides of an issue, no matter what the teacher’s political views might be. Avoid professors who are known to push their agenda and who punish students for politically incorrect speech. Speaking of which, many colleges and universities have adopted “speech codes” to control politically incorrect speech. Now if such speech referred to truly offensive and insulting speech against a group of people, I could at least understand why a speech code was adopted. But speech codes can be used to censure politically or religiously conservative talk. If a student is punished for breaking a speech code, for example, by defending the position that practicing homosexuality is morally wrong, that student should fight that conviction, in court if necessary. Students should be willing—and be strong enough—to speak up and defend their own positions.

A student can also take elective courses on the classics, such as an elective course on Shakespeare. A student might orient his term paper around a classic work of literature, philosophy, or around a major historical event. Many classics are now online, and some students might be interested in reading them in their spare time. I know of a few students who read classic texts and who do not buy into the radical left’s understanding of human history in terms of the unholy trinity. Of course math and science courses have not, for the most part, been politicized, at least in terms of a strong left-right split.

If anyone teaches a course in Classical Rhetoric, a student should take it. The skills taught in that course are seldom taught today—and they aid both in grammar and in logical reasoning. Taking logic is also something that would benefit students.

I make this next suggestion with some concern that today’s students may not have the discipline to handle classical languages, but students should learn at least Latin, and ideally Greek as well. This teaches not only English grammar, but discipline, and opens up the world of the classics in their original tongues to students.

It is possible to find gold nuggets in the cesspool of academia. The main task for parents is to be aware and do their own homework in finding a school that will encourage a person to think, that will not indoctrinate students, and which focuses on a classic core of literary and philosophical works.