February 9, 2011

Victor Davis Hanson puts "multiculturalism" through the partisan blender

This one's going to be short and sweet. I stumbled across Victor Davis Hanson's post earlier today, found his "discussion" about multiculturalism to be, well, interesting. Have a look:
Where did multiculturalism come from? It is a bastard child of Marxism, of course, inasmuch as it is anti-capitalist and judges left-wing or pseudo-left-wing totalitarians far less harshly than right-wing authoritarians...
I am still unclear why or how Hanson attaches multiculturalism specifically to Marxism, of all things. Does anyone remember when or where Marx put forth his support of this concept? Talk about being anachronistic. The other interesting thing here is that Hanson seems to assume that all purported multiculturalists act and think alike: they are all sympathetic to leftist dictators, and they are all anti-capitalist. He is actually conflating the broad concept of multiculturalism (which has a wide application in many contemporary nation states) with specific political views and positions. Interesting tactic. Last time I checked, multiculturalism basically refers to the idea that cultural diversity should be respected and accepted in contemporary nation states (as opposed to assimilationist models).

Here's more from Hanson:
Finally, multiculturalism is a form of political and historical ignorance. The multiculturalist is an ahistorical fool, who confuses the cultural periphery with the core. Thus the United States is enriched by “multicultural” music, food, fashion, art, and literature from a Mexico or Kenya or Egypt. Fine, wonderful, all the better. But one, in the spirit of “diversity,” does not wish to embrace the Mexican judiciary, the Kenyan economic system, or the Arab attitude to women.
How is it ahistorical to pay attention to the diverse peoples who actually took part in history? How is it in any way "ignorant" to realize that history is rarely as simple as grade school texts make it out to be? I don't see the logic in his point, at all. And, when Hanson argues that multiculturalists confuse the cultural periphery with the core, what exactly is he talking about? Is he saying that only powerful groups should be considered legitimate members of society? Are only some histories worth paying attention to? I'd be interested to see how Hanson defines the cultural core and periphery of the United States. Also, notice how he conflates policies of particular nation states with culture.

Hanson throws lots of words around. But I think he basically conflates many issues more than he actually explains anything. It's more of a partisan political piece than any sort of historical analysis--and the word on the (digital) street is that Hanson is a historian. Anyway, I need to get back to work.

5 comments:

Sarah said...

Basically, Hanson, like the geniuses at Wizbang like Rick who repost his stuff, uses a lot of words to say "Obama Sux."

That's his point. How he decided that Iran was left and Egypt right, or whatever, is all irrelevant.

Ryan Anderson said...

It's a lot of poorly used words at that. And ya, I agree with you that this is all directed at a critique of Obama--it doesn't really matter how much Hanson misuses his concepts and terms.

Good point about the arbitrary decision to put the autocracy in Egypt on the right and Iran on the left. Gotta love that logic...well, when you can figure it out!

Sarah said...

Hey, my DAUGHTER is named Sarah. I'm Bruce Henry. Don't know what happened there.

Sarah said...

Damn my illiteracy!

Ryan Anderson said...

Funny. You might be logged into her Google acct right now.

Thanks for the comment Mr Henry!