“E Pluribus Unom”, the United States had a brilliant solution, for the inherent fragility of multicultural ethnic society: the creation of a brand-new national identity, carried forward by individuals who, in forsaking old loyalties and joining to make lives, melted away ethnic differences. Those intrepid Europeans who had torn up their roots to brave the wild Atlantic wanted to forget a horrid past and to embrace a hopeful future. The expected to become Americans. Their goals were escape, deliverance, assimilation. They saw American as a transforming nation, banishing dismal memories and developing a unique national character based on common political ideals and shared experiences. The point of America was not to preserve old cultures, but to forge a new American culture.He wrote: One reason why Canada despite all of its advantages is so vulnerable to schism, is that as Canadians freely admit, their country lacks such unique national identity. Attracted variously to Britain’s, France’s and the United States. inclined for generous reasons to a policy of multiculturalism, Canadians have never developed a strong sense of what it is to be a Canadian. As Sir John McDonald, their first Prime Minister put it, “Canada is too much geography and too little history”.The United States had plenty of history, from the Revolution on, Americans have had a powerful national creed, the vigorous sense of national identity accounts for our relative success in converting one people, thereby making a multi ethnic society work.
This is Arthur Schlesenger Jr. twenty years ago. You won’t hear a single Democrat speak this way today He went on:
The historic idea of a unifying identity is now in peril in many arenas, in our politics, in our voluntary organizations, our churches, our language, and in no areas the rejection of an overriding national identity more crucial than our system of education. The schools and colleges of the republic train the citizens of the future. Our public schools in particular have been a great instrument in assimilation and a great means in forming an American identity, what students are taught schools affects the way there after see other Americans, the way they will there after conceive the purposes of the republic. The debate about the curriculum is to debate about what it means to be an American.He writes: The militants of ethnicity, (this is the left-wing Democrat Arthur Schelesenger Jr.) The militants of ethnicity now contend the main objective of public education should be the protection, the strengthening, the celebration and perpetuation of ethnic origins and identities. Separatism however nourishes prejudices, magnifies differences and stirs antagonism. The consequent increase in ethnic and racial conflict lies behind the hullabaloo over multiculturalism and political correctness, over the inequities over the European centric curriculum and over the notion that history and literature should be taught, not as intellectual disciplines, but as austerities, whose function is to raise minority self esteem.Watching ethnic conflict tear one nation after another apart, one cannot look with complacency at proposals to divide the United States into distinct an immutable ethnic and racial communities. Each taught to cherish its own apartness from the rest. One wonders whether the center will hold, or will the melting pot give way to the tower of babel?He wrote: I don’t want to sound apocalyptic about these developments, education is always affirmed and a good thing to, but the impact of ethnic and racial pressures on our public schools is troubling. The bonds of national cohesion are sufficiently fragile already, public education should aim to strengthen those bonds, not to weaken them. If separatist tendencies go unchecked the result can only mean fragmentation, resegregation and tribalization of America life.
NOTE: The balkanization of individual European societies is predicated on the notion that “nationalism” is wrong, that one’s pride of nation and state is the fault for its wars. It’s a failed notion. Europe’s ruling class of the aristocracy and royalty were for the most part responsible for the wars of Europe, not the people.
The lure of representative democracy and upstart capitalism (read Liberalism) began to upset their applecart, which directly lead to the rise of the Communists and Socialists who were nothing more than anti-liberal reactionaries as were the status quo conservative ruling class.
Europe once again has gotten it wrong, it’s not an all encompassing supra-state saddled with multiculturalism that will save Europe from conflict, but democracy itself, built upon individualism and the free market.