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Friday, March 28, 2008

Culturist Textbook Lessons from Iran

People’s little multicultural bubble has been popped and outrage and indignation have followed!! French researchers at Freedom House found out that women in Iranian textbooks are “not presented as independent individuals. Rather, they are a man’s wife, mother, sister, or daughter.” Worse yet, though minorities’ prophets are given some respect, the Iranian state is portrayed as Persian Islamic. The textbooks criticize the West and proclaim Israel and ally of the West and the enemy. The Middle East gets presented as sharing a common Islamic identity which is presented as the exclusive religion of social justice and the defender of the poor and oppressed both in Iran and abroad!!

Multiculturalists say that they believe in diversity, but when it hits them in the face they are shocked. They cannot believe that any textbooks “privilege” some “lifestyles” and are resolutely not “objective.” Multiculturalists very often confuse their little play pen for the entire world. In fact, some people believe in their religion so much that they conceive of others as heretics. But diversity exists. Many women believe female circumcision is proper. Diversity exists. Some people do not believe in Western civilization or its premises. Since multiculturalists despise privileging Western civilization, it is especially surprising that they did not expect textbooks in Iran to share in their sentiment.

Culturists realize that diversity exists. The views of nations in the Middle East do not shock culturists. Deeper yet, because culturists realize that there are sides they do not condemn the Iranian textbooks. From time immemorial, the rituals, initiation rites and textbooks of a society have been designed to introduce people to their society. Iranians’ behavior is normal. Multiculturalists saying we have no core culture to promote is what is abnormal and should be shocking to anyone who knows anything about basic cultural dynamics. We and Iranians have different views and different sides. If you did not know, the Middle East is Iran's turf and Israel is their enemy. It is sad that it takes a study of Iranian textbooks for multiculturalists to know that.

Multiculturalism is not the default position of humanity. Even in the West, the multiculturalists’ position is perverse. They become physically ill when people state that there are natural tendencies and limits to humans. Yes, women are largely shown in the home in Iranian textbooks. All cultures until Western civilization have considered the home women’s domain. We should celebrate our evolving vision. It is proper that we try to foster images of opportunity. But it is strange to expect other nations to teach our vision. Multiculturalists cringe at the thought that some people in our country may not be comfortable with half of the families represented in textbooks having same sex parents. At some point multiculturalists must come to understand that their vision is not the world vision.

Our textbooks should follow the natural culturist tendencies of the world. We should also teach that the Middle East is Islamic. Israel is on our side. Those who would destroy it are our enemies. The Muslim lifestyle is backwards, oppressive and ridiculous according to our values. Their treatment of women and gays are reasons to keep Islamic nations in check. They actually believe in theocracies and condemn freedom of speech. Not only that, but China is a racist nation that does not embrace democracy. Culturist textbooks would truly acknowledge diversity. They would note that we are different and special. They would also, ironically, safeguard women and gay’s freedoms better than the multiculturalist ones.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Obama is Much Worse than Joe McCarthy

Last week Retired General Merill "Tony" McPeak, a co-chairman of Barack Obama's campaign, accused Bill Clinton of McCarthyism. He did so because Clinton off-handedly questioned Barack's patriotism. First of all, Obama's patriotism, even before it was found out that his hero says "God Damn America," is questionable and open to questioning. Secondly, Obama and his commrade's tactics are worse than McCarthy's.

McCarthy went after communists in our State Department. Bad people exist. Despite people's outrage at the suggestion, not all people love America. And working for the State Department is not a right. To work there you must be willing to have your background checked. McCarthy never went after people from the private sector.

Obama on the other hand, went after Imus for offending his sensibility. Obama attacks people in the private sector for humor! And Obama undermines our safety in areas of national security as well. We need to be able to talk about immigration, achievement gaps in areas of economics and education as well as the state of our popular culture. But whenever we speak of these issues in ways that offend Barack and his ilk, they shout "racism." They do this expressly to end the discussion and silence anyone who would disagree with them.

Obama needs be willing to talk about culture. He needs to back off of race baiting tactics. We can help him by using the word "culturist." That helps us separate cultural issues from race issues: culturism from racism. We need to have discussions concerning the sensitive issues listed above. Our national security depends upon it. Until we adopt this word, until we are able to have this sort of discourse rationally, the last thing we need is Barack Obama hypocritically fighting our free speech under the name of fighting McCarthyism.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

China, Tibet and Culturism

China is reasserting its control over Tibet with its usual disdain for the right to peacefully assemble and freedom of the press. China "liberated" Tibet from its traditional way of life, and sent the Dalai Lama into exile, in 1959. They noted that Tibet had the highest percentage of priestly class living off the peasants ever recorded (25%). Han Chinese were then told that they could escape the one child per family rule if they moved to the Tibetan region of China.

Culturism holds that majority cultures have the right to define, protect and promote themselves. Culturism does not buy into the universal human rights regime. It would seem culturism gives carte blanch approval to the Chinese actions. The tough question for culturists is "does the majority in China have right to do whatever it wills to minorities within its population?"

Tibetans still comprise the majority culture in Tibet. Despite China's discrimination for its own people and attempt to take Tibet over demographically, Tibet's environment is so harsh that ethnic Chinese are still under 10 % of the population. Since Tibet has long had sovereignty and a distinct culture, and has a chance to regain said status, culturist principles condemn China's actions. Within Tibet's old borders, tibetans should have sovereignty.

But from here on culturism takes its usual hard realist stance. Not all cultures believe in Western values. China is a race-based nation which does not prize democracy or free speech. That is China's right. Culturism would never condemn China for following its historic cultural principles internally. China, like Islamic nations, is free to look at our debt, crime, racial issues, rates of out-of-wedlock childbirth, as well as our educational failure and conclude that our ways are not to be desired. Culturism wants to protect our way of life for us, but respects the fact that a diversity of international principles exists.

What can we do about Tibet? Not much. Our military is already spread thin trying to make the Islamic Middle East Western. To conduct a war against China over Tibet, we would have to borrow money from them. As it is, if we complain officially or boycott the Chinese olympics they could retaliate by damaging our economy. Our not knowing where the Western world ends, poor economy and moral behavior have weakened Western power. Before we worry about others' sovereignty we must worry about our own. If you wish to help Tibet, work hard, buy American goods, be moral and get out of debt.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Solving the Achievement Gap

Latinos score lower than whites on tests and drop-out of school more often and it is largely their fault!!!! The same goes for Black American youth! Wow!!! That was risky. One can get fired for saying such things. So to cover my buns let me just clarify that nothing in this paragraph had anything to do with race. Culture, not I.Q. or innate ability, explains this discrepancy. And if you really want to minimize the achievement gap between Latinos, Asians, Whites and Blacks, you should read on.

Fifth graders in Taipei, Taiwan spend an average of 13 hours a week on homework; their counterparts in Minneapolis spend slightly more than four hours a week on homework. In Asian cultures not having completed one's homework normally results in shame. Completing your homework is positively associated with academic success. Cultural differences provide a complete and satisfactory explanation as to why students in Asian countries do better at math.

The concept that racism plays any part in the achievement gap comes from the twisted logic of education professionals. As much as anything, their thought patterns create the disparity. Educators' fealty to multiculturalism makes us unable to do anything but praise cultural diversity. Yet, at heart, these multicultural educators take cultural diversity to be very shallow. They cannot imagine that it could be so important as to impact something as fundamental as study habits or the love of education. After discounting culture as a factor, the educators correctly discount innate ability as a factor. And from here on the errors of their assumptions lead to more and more destructive conclusions.

After discounting culture and race as possible sources of the achievement gap, the education professionals still have to find a culprit. Their solution? Institutional racism. This means that the achievement gap becomes proof of schools being racist. The other cause cited is poverty. But since this cannot have anything to do with culture or race, this explanation becomes proof that society is racist.

Teaching the youth of your country that your society is unjust and racist is something no culture that wanted to survive would ever do. Beyond endangering our society, though, it fosters anti-social behavior in youth. Would you work to fit into a racist society in which you have no hope of success? This attitude pervading the education environment largely explains why so many Black American youth consider studying to be "acting white" and giving in to "the man."

To help, we need to be willing to take a culturist point of view, to consider that culture might in fact be able to impact achievement. Such an explanation would reinstate the vital connection between merit and achievement. Culturist interpretations of the achievement gap can prompt cultures to take a good hard look at themselves. Meetings and community based solutions - such as tutoring centers - could then be discussed as solutions. The culturist perspective has the merit of better reflecting reality than saying schools are racist against Latinos and Blacks, but not Asians and Whites. Beyond this, it is much more likely to motivate students and close the achievement gap than calling schools and society racist.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Multiculturalism and Racism Can Destroy Us

Culturism hates racism for many reasons. Western culturism is dedicated to saving of Western civilization. Racism is not only stupid, it is dangerous to Western Civilization. America, a central pillar of Western civilization, is a multi-racial society. If we start to divide by race, we will be torn asunder. As our hero Ben Franklin said, "We must hang together or we will surely hang separately." That which divides us makes us weaker. If we care about Western civilization, racists must be confronted and stopped.

As people cannot change their race, discussing race cannot result in much. On the contrary, World War Two and our domestic history tell us race consciousness can result in great evil. The very noble and necessary goal of denouncing racism has, however, recently undermined our ability to discuss culture. Cultural diversity is real and very important. Not being able to discuss cultural diversity, for fear of being attacked as a racist, endangers Western Civilization. To discuss cultural diversity we need to be clear that race and culture are separate and distinct topics. Culturism serves to make it clear that discussions about culture do not imply we are talking about racial or genetic characteristics.

Not all cultures are the same; diversity exists. Mexicans drop out of school at a higher rate than whites. They also have a higher rate of out-of-wedlock pregnancy. No one denies these two statements of fact. But many would call those who mention them "racist." Calling the statements racist incapacitates our ability to discuss and deal with such issues. We cannot create programs to address disparities in achievement if we are afraid to discuss them. If race were the reason between the disparities, we would be hopeless. You, again, cannnot change your race. But if we are clear that we are discussing culture and culture alone, we can have fruitful discussions.

Multiculturalism tells us that we must not judge cultures. To the contrary, it tells us that we must celebrate all of them. In denying that cultural diversity can include negative as well as positive attributes, multiculturalism also silences discussion on culture. Multiculturalism further undermines conversation by confusing culture and race. It tells us that any attention to the negative aspects of culture are racist. By conflating culture and race, multiculturalism too silences conversations about the real impact and significance of cultural diversity.

Diversity must be taken into account if we are to protect Western Civilization. Nations outside of the West are not hung up discussions of diversity. Saudi Arabia does not allow non-Muslims to become citizens. They do not even let necklaces that represent other religions into their country. China censors speech and defines citizenship on a racist basis; only Chinese can become Chinese. Culturism respects international diversity. These nations have a right to define, protect and promote their majority cultures. Unlike what multiculturalists tell you, we also have a core culture. Some foreign cultural traits do not mesh well with ours.

Multiculturalism's telling us we have no core culture and to discuss one is racist, undermines our ability to protect and guide Western culture. Issues as ranging from immigration to alcoholism, from poverty to education cannot be successfully adressed when we are not able to frankly and openly discuss cultural diversity. Calling those who want to discuss diversity racist not only stops conversations, it frames issues in very dangerous ways. Multiculturalism's "celebrate diversity" slogan does not provide direction and denies that Western nations have a history or particular culture. Calling ourselves culturists and discussing culturism can help us safely guide, protect and promote Western culture.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Culturist Post at Chronicles Magazine

I've been busy and should put book excerpts up. But here is something from a post I put up on "chronicles magaizine" this week. I think it a valuable little read.

I think that Western culture has a fairly coherent core. It is progressive and this is a short post so it is hard to detail here. Again, I think if you don’t realize we have a core you underestimate diversity. Check out Islamic nations. Our culture and Mexico’s are very different. Asian precepts are not the same as ours. America is a special place. Whereas multiculturalists would agree that we do not have a real culture, culturists affirm that we have a core culture to protect and promote.

Western civ courses should teach that developing sanctity of life and spirit over lust and passion was a long arduous process that went from Socrates to Jesus to Jefferson. Our love of liberty goes from the Greece’s wars against Persia and Athen’s wars against Sparta to World War Two. Knowing this was a struggle and required responsible, thoughtful, behavior can bring morals into the classroom. All we have to do is again teach that America is a special place and you have a duty to it.

This was common classroom fare until very recently; we taught pride in Western civ and its accomplishments. Multiculturalism now teaches that all cultures are great and equal and we are bad for ever having tampered with any of them. Culturism’s anthropology chapter undermines the noble savage myth. Other cultures were savage. Barbarism is the norm. What you assume to be normal is a special culture that needs protection. Some produce constitutions and Michelangelo, some hunt heads. Diversity exists. By affirming this, culturism can be used to guide our decisions and values.

Racism will only lead us to violence. If we do not teach pride in our being one of the only countries against racism, we cannot expect justice when people of other cultures control bureaucracies. Racism is dangerous and so people will rightfully not listen to you if you say you are a racist. Being culturist gets people to talk about real values. Saying Latinos have high pregnancy and drop out rates is not racist, it is culturist. We desparately need to be able separate discussions of culture and discussions of race. Culturism is against racism.

Culturism takes diversity seriously. The fact that Western nations, and America, have special cultural beliefs to uphold justifies our border control. The failure to realize our culture is special and, therefore, fragile, results in our not taking our borders seriously.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo

The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo settled the war between Mexico and the United States. It is the legal document that defines our borders with Mexico. It has some very interesting clauses, I'll just highlight a few here.

Article 16 is very short. It reads, "Each of the contracting parties reserves to itself the entire right to fortify whatever point within its territory it may judge proper so to fortify its security." In case you doubted our right to build a wall, there it is!

Article 8 and 9 actually contradict eachother. The contradiction provides us open precedence and a look into the signers' minds. Article 8 makes Mexican citizens in our newly acquired territories, who do nothing, American citizens within a year of the signing. Article 9, however says Congress will make people citizens when it deems fit. Furthermore, Congress will only consider giving "enjoyment of all the rights of citizens of the United States" to those who "shall not preserve the character of citizens of the Mexican republic."

Eight thus consolidates and justifies our power. We are not a colonial government with subjects. We have control over all who reside within our borders. Notice, however, that it does make people choose between one loyalty or another. Article 9 shows a culturist understanding that both nations have core cultures. If you do not behave like an American, you are not. When you behave like Americans, we will guarentee states and local folks treat you as such. But if you behave as Mexicans, you are a Mexican and may not have full rights. VERY INTERESTING!!!

There are other interesting provisions worth noting. Article 11 of the treaty discusses the rutrn of those who are kidnapped by "savages" (read: Indians) and taken across the border. Each side agrees to do their best to get the captives free and then charge the other for the cost of freeing them. Read liberally, that could indicate that if we recover Mexican illegals from coyotes, we could charge the Mexican government for the costs of our border operations upon "their release and deliverty to the Mexican agent."

The treaty is an important and fun document to understand. Before signing off, however, I must address a related subject. Many Mexican citizens (really since we now recognize dual nationality) have the idea that we stole much of our country. Since just such wrangling over ownership cost Mexico the state of Texas, we must address this. The Treaty accepts $15 million dollars in exchange for the territories ceded. If someone says that sale was done under duress, remind them that the Gadsden Purchase (giving us the South of Arizona and New Mexico) happened in five years later. In 1853 there was no longer any fear of war.

Can you imagine someone saying, "Yes you stole my computer, but I agreed to sell you the mouse and monitor after?" That is the sentiment being stated by those who claim we stole the Southwestern United States. It was all paid for, but the Texan war for Independence should reminds us that sovereignty follows culture - Anglos would not be ruled by Mexican people and laws. So, as the Treaty of Guadalupe reminds us, we have to take the loyalties of our people and borders seriously. When someone contests ownership of our Southwest, remember the Treaty of Guadalupe, remember the Alamo and remember the Gadsden Purchase.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Multiculturalism Blinds Historians

Multiculturalism blinds historians. As we have traditionally been a culturist nation, the multiculturalist outlook strips us of our ability to appreciate or understand our past. Applying culturist insights to the book Translating Property by Maria E. Montoya provides examples in spades. This book discusses how we settled land disputes after our victory in the Mexican – American War. The importance of our relationship with Mexico makes it vital that historians and policy makers learn to address the history Montoya covers from a culturist perspective.

Mexico allowed government officials to make huge land grants to their cronies. In a quasi-feudal relationship, laborers were allowed to farm the land for payments in kind. The issue in Translating Property is how these land grants held up in United States Courts after the Mexican – American War resulted in our taking ownership of the current American Southwest. Montoya depicts in lively language and horror, the eviction of the laborers when the land is sold to Anglos. Montoya, as a multiculturalist, wants us to recognize Mexican property laws and relationships. But in Supreme Court case after Supreme Court case our government denies the validity of laborers’ claims based on traditional Mexican relationships.

Rejecting Mexican property relationships was done on culturist premises. Americans were appalled by large land grants. These feudal relationships were repeatedly decried as antithetical to our ideals of individual self-sustenance, property rights and republican virtue. But Montoya depicts all differences and discrimination based upon our values as irrational, arbitrary and unfair. She would have had our legislatures and courts be multiculturalists and translate, appreciate and incorporate Mexican-style peonage relationships. She derides our predecessor’s for not being “culturally neutral.” (181) She then goes one step further. She derides all of those who made distinctions based on culture as racist. Her editorial decisions are natural outcomes of using the multiculturalist perspective while doing history.

When it came to ejection and letting people stay on the land, the post-land grant owners favored Anglos over “Hispanos.” Montoya convinces us of this with lively writing style and great detail. A chart shows that Anglos have over thirty times the number of cattle that Hispanos had and four times the number of fenced area. Montoya calls this “racist” and the discrepancy gets attributed to Hispano’s lack of access to capital. It is a painful irony that multiculturalists do not take cultural diversity seriously. Montoya decries many incidents of Anglos attributing the difference in productivity to cultural distinctions. She calls it, for example, “prejudiced” and “condescending” when a manager accounts for his discrimination in land distribution being due to the Mexicans “following their usual and indifferent ways.” (143) To multiculturalists like Montoya it is inconceivable that culture could actually impact economic outcomes.

Montoya tries to follow the multicultural pattern of appreciating all cultures. As with other historians, this normative multiculturalist pattern is most jarring with her depictions of Native Americans. She tells us that the Jicarillas Apaches, who lived where the land grant she gives most attention to existed, viewed the land as a “spiritual home for themselves and their ancestors.” (21) Though there was mutual raiding, these Apache lived in “relatively peaceful coexistence” with others. (22) This does not sit well with the fact that the first time they are documented they were dancing over the scalp of a white man whose pregnant companion they had murdered. Local tribes she tells us capture women and children in raids and sell them as slaves. As usual, both of these cultural behaviors get blamed on European incursion. We cannot depict all non-Anglo cultures as naturally angelic and have historic accuracy. Apache and those around them were violent and barely survived.

The good news is that multiculturalist history allows us to consider viewpoints other than our own. Apache warfare and Mexican peonage relationships did have their own cultural integrity and virtue. But when American culture does not get accorded parallel respect, our expansion only seems destructive and our decisions arbitrary. Our land patterns were designed to create “urban rectilinearity.” (166) But our ways have also resulted in a much longer lifespan than achieved by either the Apaches or the Mexicans. Our ways have facilitated the greatest population boom in the history of mankind, democracy, sanitation, and electricity. Our Westward expansion was not just a bigoted tragedy. If one takes our perspective as seriously as multiculturalists take those of the Apaches and Mexicans, the expansion of the Western property arrangements and culture can be legitimately depicted as a successful culturist endeavor that resulted in creating an agreeable way of life.

Montoya does a service by showing that our legal decisions were “culturally contingent” and “turned as much on . . . [Supreme Court] perceptions of what constituted proper republican government as on the context of Mexican, Spanish or French Law.” Only respecting land deeds on the basis of written documentation was “a problem of ideology.” (176) But her take home message - that we are biased for not incorporating Mexican culture into our laws – asks for a neutrality that no self-respecting culture would accept. Montoya herself is biased. In a book that derides us for being ethnocentric, she never judges the fact that Mexican land grants are given with the stipulation that no land be sold to foreigners. Her feigned cultural neutrality ends up making Western expansionists who promote their own culture as abnormal and insensitive. But even Montoya’s book has a point of view. To judge historical figures as to whether they were neutral to their own agendas can only distort our appreciation of our culturist past.

In the index of Translating Property “racial prejudice” notes seventeen entries. Most of these entries refer to multiple pages. No corresponding entry for “cultural” or “culturist prejudice" exists. That reflects the fact that culturist analysis is no longer widely considered. Multiculturalism has a near monopoly in academic discourse. Accepting the fact that cultural bias is natural and normal can help replace the condemnation of our historic predecessors with appreciation. Considering our forefather’s culturist notion that cultures can have an economic and political impact will help us replace our depictions of them as wholly mean and irrational with portraits of them as somewhat reasonable and possibly farsighted. History thus taught can train our youth to consider the impact of their cultural choices on our collective destiny. And if culturist understandings once again gain credibility, perhaps our current politicians will also be able to consider the viability of American culture in policy without being seen as abnormally biased, callous and irrational.