"Who are we? What are we?" These were cries of ancient peoples of conquered cities. With the loss of their city, a people would lose their identity and pass out of history.
A similar deracination is occurring today in the U.S. and the U.K. The difference is that Americans and the British are giving away their identity piecemeal. The conquest these countries are undergoing does not produce the trauma and anguish of falling to a conqueror in war.
Indeed, many in the U.S. and U.K. see their loss of cultural identity as progress toward a multicultural nirvana.
Nation states, sacrificed to "diversity," are ceasing to exist. Paradoxically, the amalgamation of cultures destroys diversity, leaving everyone rootless, undefined. Force is the only way to rule a collection of dissimilar cultures or a deracinated mass.
Even as they seek to impose democracy on a Muslim Middle East, the two great democracies move toward self-destruction.
The purpose of education is to enculturate. Cultures continue their existence by informing each new generation who they are. This process no longer occurs in the U.S. and U.K.
The importation of millions of immigrants from third world cultures has made it possible for multiculturalist educators to cease to pass on American and British culture. To do so would give "offense" to Muslims, Hindus, Somalis, Latinos, Asians and Africans who comprise a growing percentage of the U.S. and U.K. populations.
Thus, this past Easter English school children were prohibited their traditional hot cross buns, because the cross on the buns might offend people who are not of Western origin.
If hot cross buns have the "potential to offend," imagine the offense that would be given by using education to assimilate third world peoples into English culture. Consequently, English school children themselves cannot be assimilated into their culture.
Instead, they are taught that they are racist, sexist, colonialist criminals, who exploited third world peoples and must now make amends by abandoning Britain's horrid culture that produced these crimes. In the new multicultural state, Britishness is permitted only as long as it doesn't give offense.
In the U.S. deracination is equally as advanced. Two decades ago Stanford University eliminated the Western Civilization courses from its core curriculum. Holidays are no longer permitted to remind us who we are. School children are not allowed Christmas carols and Christmas trees, because these cultural symbols have the potential to offend newly arrived immigrants from non-Western cultures.
Paradoxically, Americans and the British are permitted to bomb and invade Muslim countries in the name of the "war on terror," but they must not feed them hot cross buns.
The security of the state can be defended, but not the culture.
U.S. culture is so weak that even trivial objections can overwhelm it.
Recently, just two students were able to overturn the Virginia Military Institute's tradition of school-led dinner prayers. If the two students are offended by dinner prayers, why did they choose to go to VMI? If the students mistakenly enrolled in a school where they did not fit in, they should have transferred to another school. Instead, they used the federal courts to force VMI to abandon its culture and to remake itself to fit their preferences.
There was a time when parents and children attended the same neighborhood school and had some of the same teachers. This source of cultural cohesiveness was destroyed by the social engineering that accompanied forced integration.
For a period people received identity from corporate culture. A person was an IBM man or a U.S. Steel man. His life was identified by his job the way a farmer's was with by fields. But this source of identity also is gone.
Today we get our identity from our sports teams, and from single-issue causes such as feminism and environmentalism.
If the neoconservatives have their way, we will get our identity from war and empire.
Free speech has always been a defining element of American culture. Despite their enormous stake in free speech, both universities and the media have implemented policies that limit it. Both have banned "discriminatory semantics," which consist of words, expressions, metaphors, attitudes, presumptions, even historical facts that have the potential to offend, harass, annoy or alarm a person or group.
The purpose of these codes is to stifle debate and to prevent dissent from "political correctness." Freedom of conscience is violated and the purpose of education is subverted. Permitting nothing negative to be said or inferred about non-Western cultures, these codes define Western culture negatively as racist and hegemonic.
Instead of enculturation, we have its reverse. Who are the conquered people?
Paul Craig Roberts is the author with Lawrence M. Stratton of The Tyranny of Good Intentions : How Prosecutors and Bureaucrats Are Trampling the Constitution in the Name of Justice. Click here for Peter Brimelow's Forbes Magazine interview with Roberts about the recent epidemic of prosecutorial misconduct.
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