Thebastidge: Multi-culturalism
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    ********************Southwest Washington Surplus, your prepping supply store********************

    Tuesday, October 12, 2004


    Okay, before I begin, let me frontload this with disclaimers. I know this may or may not work in reaching those who will already have formed an opinion based upon the title or premise of this little offering, but here goes anyway:

    I am firmly on the side of multi-culturalism. I believe that our country was built upon the strengths of the ‘melting pot’. Our culture is as strong as it is precisely because of the various elements which have come together here, perhaps not uniquely in the history of the world, but certainly to a greater degree here than anywhere else, any other time in the long development of mankind. The richness and usefulness of English as a language, for example, is due to the fairly unique quality of its inclusiveness. The grammar of English does cause some tortured word construction when foreign loanwords are used, but it’s still acceptably comprehensible. Most Americans cannot even point to the etymology of many words (which some will point out as a lack) but to me, this is merely evidence of integration.

    I myself am bilingual, with a smattering of knowledge of a couple other languages. I spent a good portion of my adult life outside the United States. I have good friends who are not of my own ethnicity (which happens to be Caucasian; not Anglo-Saxon, and not Protestant Christian, thank you very much.)

    However evolution is only partially a positive process. Random mutation happens, and competition eliminates that which is not competitive. The same is true of the somewhat ‘Social Darwinist’ view that I’m about to express. We’re a great nation not only for what has been contributed to our melting pot, but also because the dross has been drawn off and discarded. To whatever degree we’ve been successful at creating a strong amalgam of cultural memes, it is due to these two processes.

    This is why it is important not to abdicate our responsibility to judge elements of culture; our own and that of others. While it would be stupidly shortsighted to blanket characterize any culture, subculture, or ethnic group as wholly evil (or conversely, as wholly good) there is no reason to accept every element of a set of cultural memes as a package. The very strength of our society is based upon the ability to pick and choose individual elements, as an individual.

    There are cultural apologists who would argue for moral equivalence between say, Western rationalist philosophy and the religious/superstitious elements of fate-based societies which remove responsibility from the individual and place it upon nebulous and unknowable ‘forces’ beyond human control or understanding. They would have us believe that logic, cause-and-effect chains of reasoning, are no more valid than the emotional decision-making systems of non-Western societies; Western Logic is just another superstition or quaint custom. This despite the empirical validation of logic: reproducibility.

    More later…


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