Melting Pot Meltdown

Multiculturalism, political correctness and the 14th Amendment are killing American society. The segmentation of society caused by multiculturalism and political correctness leads to a competition among groups and against the state for equality, despite the fact that most have equality-as Americans.

Multiculturalism, the concept of celebrating ones heritage, provides outstanding benefits for society. The American melting pot, by its very nature, is multicultural. As our society has grown from the birth of our nation, we have assimilated and incorporated various traits of our mixed cultural heritage. Yet, in an attempt to pander to various groups, to recognize their contributions, we have been forced, under the guise of multiculturalism, to expand our acknowledgement into outright celebration. I have no doubt that blacks have contributed mightily to our nation, but instead of celebrating their contributions regularly, we now do so once a year, for an entire month. Ditto for women and I would imagine soon for Hispanics. Will we soon have an Asian American History month?

Multiculturalism, when taken to an extreme, forces the celebration of individual and group differences to the extent that we have forgotten to celebrate our "Americanness." The once great melting pot of American society has been replaced by a series of stereotyped "enclaves" made up of various races, ethnicities and nationalities who have become hyphenated Americans. While we still have citizens of states, like New Yorkers or Californians or Floridians, but we now also have African-Americans, Latino-Americans, Asian-Americans and whatever-Americans.

The Political Correctness movement has exacerbated the problems by insisting that we acknowledge, even exalt the differences we have as Americans. When we no longer think of ourselves as Americans first, but some sort of subset, we see first the differences rather than those things that make the United States the greatest nation on Earth. Seeing only differences and acknowledging only the differences between groups leads to the next step in group dynamics-competition for dominance.

Enter the 14th Amendment. The 14th Amendment is designed to guarantee each person equal protection of the laws. Intially, the 14th Amendment ensured that procedurally, each person was treated the same, despite race, socioeconomic status or origin, everyone was the same in the eyes of the law. However, by expanding the meaning of equal protection to include substantive rights such a right to education as opposed to procedural right like right to confront your accuser in court, we have created a competition among groups struggling for recognition of their differences. Instead of struggling for equality or dominiance in the political arena, groups use the 14th Amendment and the courts as a way to shortcut the long slog through the political processes.

A key example is the gay marriage debate. You ask anyone who knows well any gay couple and ask them if that couple should be allowed to wed, you will get a generally positive reaction. But carried to its logical extension for the entire group, you arrive at a different place. Generally, people are just now beginning to accept homosexuality as a subset of America. Overtime, there will come acceptance of gay marriage as a concept, just like interracial marriage was once prohibited. But by seeking immediate relief through the courts and the 14th Amendment, the multicultural, PC crazed insistence on equality now has led to a rending of society over an issue, which in the long run, is generally meaningless.

Our society has proved adaptable to changing circumstances. But multiculturalism and political correctness inevitably leads to immediate, destructive confrontation and forced change. On the other hand, if we allow groups to evolve slowly and steadily through the natural process, the changes sought by the groups are not viewed in such a jarring matter. Allow time to pass, educate people and allow that education to take route and ever single minority group out there will eventually achieve parity. Look to the long view, not a court victory with the 14th Amendment, as your victory.

Posted by Matt Johnston at August 11, 2005 3:07 PM