By Warner Workman
This column frequently highlights the various battles in Americas culture war that have been ongoing since the 1960’s. I’ve written about the war on Christmas, gay marriage, immigration and black lives matter.
So where will the culture war go in 2017? With the left in disarray, hysterically running around trying to blame everyone from the FBI director to the Russians to white supremacists for Clinton’s loss, there is surely no central command for the left yet.
The culture war may become more complex in 2017. The usual battle lines may have to be redrawn. The traditional definitions may no longer apply. Liberals are flitting about looking to coalesce around new rallying points.
The old model was easy to see, the conservatives defend freedom of religion, expression, right to bear arms and freedom of association, with support of traditional marriage and banning government funded abortion high on the priority list.
Liberals progressive agenda of compulsory tolerance for whatever pop-culture fad or lifestyle choice drive their passion du jour. Add militant allegiance to a socialist agenda and forced redistribution of wealth and you have a picture of where the culture war is being fought today.
What is at stake in the culture war? I would proffer that it is literally our national identity. The very thing that draws many honest, hard working immigrants to America to start with. With that, those leading the charge against traditional American culture use their secret weapon. Hidden in plain site.
Would you be surprised if I said that weapon was Multiculturalism? I assert that multiculturalism doesn’t have anything to do with other cultures, that it is actually just about western culture, specifically America and its rich history, and transforming that which defines us.
What would replace it if the progressives get their way? A culture where government involvement in our lives is welcomed rather than eschewed. A culture where Americans are divided into groups, rather than individuals and families.
When I grew up in southern West Virginia, we took West Virginia Studies as our eighth grade history, learning our own local culture and history. 9th Grade was American history to 1865 and 10th was American history to the present. World Cultures was 11th and 12th grade.
Despite a robust cultural education, it was no substitute for getting out in the world and meeting those from different cultures, diverse views and unique experiences. Living in the Washington DC area is a testament to people from all over the world living in close proximity for the most part, peaceably.
But the conventional wisdom in America has always been to welcome those who wish to legally enter our country, learn our culture, laws and language while still respecting and embracing their culture of origin.
America has been a nation of immigrants since German immigrants began to stream into Pennsylvania in the 1600s. Millions of immigrants have migrated from all over the world to partake of the American dream, and to be part of it.
Assimilation into the body politic is the concept that is sorely missing from the debate on multiculturalism. Marian L. Tupy defined assimilation as “a process by which immigrants acquire the social and psychological characteristics of the American mainstream. It increases the long-term benefits of immigration for everybody by allowing immigrants fully to participate in their adopted country’s social and economic life, and by lowering tensions between different groups of people.”
The problem is that the progressive left needs for every ethnic group and religious group to become a pressure group, putting that groups’ cultural equal to that of our nation as a whole. The overarching American culture is not given priority.
In 1794, George Washington said, in a letter to John Adams, “The policy or advantage of [immigration] taking place in a body (I mean the settling of them in a body) may be much questioned; for, by so doing, they retain the language, habits, and principles (good or bad) which they bring with them. Whereas by an intermixture with our people, they, or their descendants, get assimilated to our customs, measures, and laws: in a word, soon become one people.”
As a conservative, I believe in respecting all cultures equally, in their natural habitat. Michael Gonzales wrote for the Heritage Foundation “America has had the secret formula for being able to take in millions of immigrants and at the same time have a unified national culture. It is called patriotic assimilation—the marriage of patriotism and assimilation.”
This is a battle of cultures plain and simple. The world looks on at the daily examples of how multiculturalism has weakened German culture and in some ways, may overwhelm it. While we watch this cultural battle spread across Europe, and see German’s and others fighting to retain their national identity, we must see that America is also at risk.
America is still Western Civilization’s shiniest beacon on the hill, we are not immune to the siren song of multiculturalism for its own sake. American culture and its resplendent exceptionalism must not parish from this earth. The culture war continues, we must continue to embrace our unique culture and not let this be our last battlefield defending it.