Thomas Klingenstein has written a cri de coeur against the most powerful, pernicious, and suicidal ideology of our time: multiculturalism.
Klingenstein sees it for what it is—“an insane exercise in
self-flagellation” fueled by a hatred of America in general and of white men in
particular. He understands its formidable power to silence and destroy publicly
those who deviate from the accepted script when speaking of protected identity
groups. And he is therefore right to call on conservatives to see it as “the
central issue and threat—the communism or slavery, as it were—of our time.”
I am particularly pleased that he published his essay in the pages of the Claremont Review of Books, since it provides a much needed corrective to the orthodox Claremont account of America.
We “Claremonsters” have for too long tried to interpret
modern liberalism through the lens of early American progressivism.
Multiculturalism cannot, however, be read as a working out of the ideas of President
Woodrow Woodrow Wilson, Richard Ely, Charles Merriam, or any other of their progressive
The leading progressive luminaries of the early 20th century
believed in the superiority of the Teutonic races and their rightful title to
rule not just America, but the world. Wilson defended segregation and
celebrated the end of Reconstruction for re-establishing “the natural,
inevitable ascendancy of the whites, the responsible class.”
In his “A
History of American
Political Theories,” Charles Merriam exhorted Teutonic races to adopt “a
colonial policy” and “civilize the politically uncivilized.” At best, progressives
favored benevolent paternalism vis-à-vis what they viewed as inferior races. At
worst, “barbaric races” who could not be civilized would have to “be swept
away,” as Merriam casually noted.
However much progressivism may explain the workings of the
modern administrative state, it cannot account for the current cult of
diversity and the mounting hatred for all things white. No early progressive
would have called on anyone, much less a sitting president, to resign for
calling certain Third …read more
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