Roger Kimball is Managing Editor of The New Criterion and an art critic for the London Spectator. Let me be very clear, I do not agree at all with Kimball's conclusions, but I respect his work. It is thought provoking and as such it is advisable reading material.
My principal concern, with his arguments against multi-culturalism and his defense of the Euro-centric melting pot, is that this goes against the tide of evolution, against the present tide towards "one world". Kimball is just setting his sight on a too narrow band of the 21st century cultural reality. "Multiculturalism and affirmative action are allies in the assault on the institution of American identity. As such, they oppose the traditional understanding of what it means to be an American..".
Today, the world extends further then the shores of the US Mr. Kimball, your limited vision leads you to debate past perspectives, you are missing the present and thus the future will wipe you out of the intellectual scene.
China, India and the rest of Asia represent nearly 60% of the world population. For the last 500 years, those countries have been largely left out of the workings of our Eurocentric economic system and the world view that it vehiculated. Their societal systems were not wiped out, during these last centuries of European invasions, simply because they were too developped. To put it otherwise, they were drawn in a position of dominated that was then exploited (cotton to opium).
Let's remember that Europe grew out of its medieval backwardness only because it stole from other societies what became the substance of its primitive capital accumulation which gave European nations the substance from which to develop the capitalist system. The result for many societies around the world has been devastating: from pure disappearance (mostly American societies) to total dislocation (mostly African societies). As such the conclusion imposes itself that capitalism is the natural outcome of European violence, brutality and greed.
Asian societies largely subsisted because their very old and refined civilizations were no match for European brutal primitives. But comes the 21st century and the moment of truth. After much observation and analyses, Asian societies are taking on the West frontally at its own game. Playing according the rules devised by the West, Asians are well on their road to beat the West economically. This, unmistakably, has cultural implications.
The brutal encounters of Europe with the rest of the world during the crusades and the 16-17th centuries discoveries conducted Europe to develop the system of capitalist-rationalism. The 21st century encounter of Western capitalist-rationalism with Asia seems leading the West out of dominance and Asia towards command. OK, this is a crude summary. I push the enveloppe a little far or perhaps a little early, my intention is simply to push you, the reader, to think at the implications of what is going on today.
The Western Eurocentric cultural worldview is going to be engaged into a cultural shock without precedent. Two factors are going to shape the depth of this shock:
- the scale-population (in the sense of economies of scale). The Western Eurocentric cultural worldview is shared by roughly 15% of the world population versus the Asian worldview that is shared by around 60% of the world population. The economic impact of those figures is not missed by Western big capital that only cares about the "logic of capital" but does not care a damn about the West itself. We should all be conscient about this fact.
- the scale of importance or of refinement of the Asian cultures versus Western cultural primitivism.
The conclusions that one can draw at this point are purely prospective, but an effort at thought shuld be instructive...
Institutionalizing our demise: America vs. multiculturalism