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Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Americanization Movement

The Americanization movement greeted immigrants between 1895 and 1924. Few people nowadays know about the Americanization movement, but it swept the nation at a level comparable to that of abolition movement, prohibition, women's suffrage and the Great Awakenings. In 1918 two branches of the Federal government ran Americanization programs. One had over 100 employees, surveyed the activities of 50,000 local organizations working with foreign populations, and coordinated tactics with at least 15,000. Industries and Presidents participated in this effort. The Americanization movement provides a traditional culturist model we should all know about.

Frances Kellor led the Americanization movement through all of its phases. Raised by a single mother, she suffered from poverty in the small boom town of Coldwater Michigan. After dropping out of school to help her mother as a laundress, she accidently shot herself in the hand. Two wealthy sisters adopted her and the rest, as they say, is history. She started writing for the local paper, attending debates in the church, studied and ended up the third female lawyer to graduate from Cornell. In her long career she wrote voluminously, headed countless organizations and took a lead role in Teddy Roosevelt and Charles Evans Hughes' presidential campaigns. Her rags to riches story made her the perfect person to lead the movement.

Kellor tried to Americanize Americans and immigrants alike. Rather than blame immigrants for their poverty, she scolded Americans for not providing opportunities. To this end, she pushed for better housing and work conditions and nearly started our system of Adult Education. Americans that insulted immigrants divided us. Employers that exploited their workers created anti-American radicals. The rash of strikes, domestic terrorism and Russian revolution convinced her that employers needed to give a fair shake to immigrant employees. From immigrants she expected love of America manifest in attempts to learn English, pass naturalization exams and generally celebrate their new nation. She pushed American mores, values and standards of cleanliness. America had to provide opportunities and immigrants had to accept them. Thus Kellor utilized both progressive and nationalist tactics in the pursuit of unity.

Upon hearing of the Americanization movement today, many people cringe. Multiculturalists recoil at the idea of coordinating any attitudes favorable towards our nation and culture. The multiculturalists might be shocked to know that immigrants themselves designed much of the Americanization movement's content. When Kellor started working on Americanization, she lived in New York's immigrant filled Lower East Side. There immigrant organizations such as the Educational Alliance had used the term "Americanization" and pushed for it as early as 1895. Immigrants pressured their school boards to keep teachers with accents out of the classrooms. They set up English classes for adults and held popular lecture series on American history. Many immigrants, believe it or not, loved America and wanted to do all they could to become “real Americans.” As one who had done it, Kellor intimately understood that providing the opportunity to escape poverty endeared people to our nation.

Culturists might be surprised by the amount of multiculturalism this movement employed. One of the biggest events put on by the Americanization movement was "Americanization Day." Every Fourth of July, parades Americans came out to celebrate the new immigrants who had passed their nationalization tests. In 1918, 70,000 immigrants marched in New York to show their pride in their adopted country. And though many American flags flew, the participants wore the garbs and presented the gifts of their home countries. The motto of Kellor's organization that sponsored the event read, "Many Peoples, One Nation." Kellor consistently fought against restricting immigration. As a nationalist lesbian progressive culturist, she never failed to battle regressive forces in any culture. But she did not equate being a good American with uniformity.

Academics today hold the Americanization in low regard. Many would note that during World War One Kellor's group changed its motto to "America First." They ran programs to show immigrants how Americans lived and dressed and promoted a very positive image of America. One wonders if these academics would have us ignore culture and promote a negative attitude towards our nation. Culturists, on the other hand, might think Kellor too accepting of immigrant cultures. Both might scoff at her lending support to German immigrants who the War Department made leave coastal areas during World War One. But from Kellor's perspective, this policy both prevented resentment and fostered security. No one need blindly adopt the Americanization movement's tactics, but knowing about our culturist predecessors can give all of us a more nuanced understanding of our traditions and our policy options.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Three Culturist Questions

Three Culturist Questions
Yesterday I spoke to a group of libertarians. Some of the Q and A follows:

One of the most interesting questions was, "Doesn't the universal desirability of technology such as air-conditioning show a global value system towards which all are moving?" My polished answers was,

If I pray five times a day, believe blasphemers should be killed and beat my wife for showing her hair, does the presence of air conditioning indicate cultural similarities? Secondly, people know about consumer goods, but do not organize their lives so as to maximize their access to them as we do. People have tons of babies even though they are poor. Not everyone makes attaining goods a top priority. Lastly, infrastructure makes civilizations look superficially alike, but values can still greatly vary. For example, the Aztecs, Hitler, Iran and the U.S. all have political systems and roads. But values still make diversity real.

Another challenging question asked, "Isn't Islamic attack was justified by our occupation of their land? Aren't they, in fact, freedom fighters?" My four part answer went,

First of all, much of multiculturalism is driven by the idea that we have been a bad and arrogant force upon the world. As world history shows a poor self-image facilitates decline, the West should reaffirm that it has done more good than nearly any other civilization. Secondly, killing for God happens for offensive reasons. It is a common feature in the world and we should not doubt it is possible. Thirdly, if there is a country where people chant "death to America" regularly, I don't care if they are doing it for religious or "social justice" reasons, we are safer not having them in our nation. Getting back to the first response, since I love the West, and don't think it evil, I want to protect it.

A final question queried, "Should break away republics such as Quebec and Kosovo, with cultural majorities, be recognized?"

Boundaries are flexible. Though we may joke about Canada being an American state, in reality, their fate is not for us to decide. But, this case should give us pause in our unquestioned celebration of diversity. What if California wanted autonomy as a Spanish speaking state? We'd be nuts to accept it. We had better recognize that culturally distinct regions sometimes try to break away. This started WW I. Diversity can hurt.

In Kosovo, we clearly have an interest and a side. In recognizing Kosovo we created a non-Western, Islamic majority entity in the Western sphere. This is wrong. We make a culturist error when we pretend we do not have a side in international situations. In the Middle East, for example, we are on Israel's side, Muslims are definitely on the Palestinian side. We are not neutral there or in Europe.

It was a wonderful event; four books sold and lots of conversation. What do you think of my answers?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Multiculturalists, Crime, Terror and Diversity!

Multiculturalists' slogan is "celebrate diversity" aids and abets terrorists. Under this paradigm rather than judge we must accept all cultures. Their take on diversity conceives of it as superficial; all cultures are equally American. The Institute Studies Institute begs to differ. As culturists, ISI believes we have a core culture and some people's beliefs are so diverse they offend Western ideals; some people actually hate America. Usually ISI celebrates Western culture. Today, they sponsored lectures about threats from those who seek to destroy the country we hope multiculturalists will someday also recognize as unique and worth defending.

Like many policeman Bob Fromme took a second job; his was guarding a tobacco store in his home state of North Carolina. Daily he saw groups of middle eastern men come into the store with big bags of cash. They would buy 220 cartons each. Fromme explained that a $75 carton of cigarettes costs $2 to make. Nearly all of the expense comes in the form of taxes. In North Carolina the carton only costs $17. These men would fill vans with cigarettes, remove the tax stickers, put fake ones on and sell them in their stores in other states. They would make $39,000 a day running this scam. They also did identity theft and credit card scams. They bribed bank officials with cash to get loans to start tobacco stores.

This might sound like a harmless, even helpful, scam - except for the fact that these men were sent here to discover a low visibility scam to send the money back to hezbollah. Up until September 11, 2001 they were the single biggest terrorist killers of Americans in the world. This organization has dedicated itself to destroying the only pro-Western nation in the Middle East - Israel. To this end they promote suicide killing and bombing of civilians. Though they have not been able to get exact figures, the guess is the tabacco smuggling ring sent $100 million dollars back to our enemies, Hezbollah. Fromme's investigation into this group led to fourteen other terror related cells. Not all immigrants love America.

Everyone of these men were from Lebanon. To get to America these men went to Caracas Venezuela and bought fake visas. They had to go to Caracas because hezbollah had blown up our embassy in Lebanon. Their leader pleaded political asylum. The airport people did not believe him, but procedures dictated he get thirty days in our country before a hearing. In the meantime he paid an American woman $3000 dollars to marry him. He was already married in Lebanon and married another woman simultaneously. They also bought identifications from middle Eastern students. To get family in they tried to bribe INS personel. This got the leader caught. At his time of arrest he had nine separate driver's licences. Not all people respect Americans and American institutions.

Multiculturalists will tell you that aberration does not represent the mainstream of Lebanon's wonderful culture. In order to avoid judging cultures, they reflexively define all negative parts as not being of the culture. To them no culture can be negative by definition. A speaker before Officer Fromme discussed how the muslim brotherhood, a violent group that preaches terrorism against the West and genocide of the Jews, come into somewhat neutral mosques and muscle out the moderates. They then turn the mosques into a centers of hate. This reminds one of how Muslims took over Lebanon. Lebanon used to be largely Christian, not any more. Multiculturalists will tell you that none of this behavior is part of Lebanese culture. Culturists are not so naive; letting Lebonese into our nation entails big risks. Many are dedicated to destroying all non-Muslims and moderate coreligionist. The ISI, Officer Fromme and other culturists understand that diversity exists and that this means we must value and protect our culture.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Culturst Reaction to a Polygamist Compound

Could the authorities be wrong? Might the polygamists' lifestyle be moral? After all, who are we to judge? They want several wives per man. Is that strange? Lots of men would privately tell you they see some merit to the system. When Oprah had polygamists on her show, the women said they had chosen it. And isn't choice what is at stake here? Don't they have a right to choose their own lifestyles?

If you judge by the standard of individual rights, polygamy cannot be condemned. By definition, the individual rights model detaches the individual from any sort or level of social judgment. If I want to do drugs, drop out of school or become a stripper, that is my business and my business alone. Furthermore, no one dare tell me it is wrong. In our "don't disrespect me," "self-esteem" culture, you cannot judge anything but judging.

Culturism provides values where individualism cannot. Culturism would have us ask, "What if everybody in the culture acted as you do?" If we give Mormon polygamists the right to marry, they might be able to handle it. They do, after all, have some sort of moral code to which they subscribe. But what if a pimp decided to marry his harem? Soon we could end up in a culture where abuse and selling women constituted a moral good. Our laws should, as laws have traditionally, considered the impact on the wider society, not just the individual. Laws that only consider individual proclivities, encode anarchy, not government.

If you think some sort of innate moral code would stop this from becoming common, get real! Cultural diversity has included some stable cultures that treated women pretty badly. Machismo and the exploitation of women is a common norm. Culturism recognizes that man left unguided is at least as likely to adopt an inner-city gang ethic as to adopt what the Puritans called a community of saints model. If you take the individualist creed of not judging to heart, you can end up with some pretty ugly results. Just look at our schools.

Extending our "what if everyone did it?" critique; what if every did drugs, dropped out of school and became whores? Our economy would literally go to pot. College would become a pipe dream for most. Even those with a college degree would not have economic opportunities that constitute real choice. Instead of a system of mutual benefit, in a contracting economy, one person's gain can only come from another's loss. In such a world being successful and brutal would be synonymous. But your violence could only get you small pickings without much of a future. In such a world a "live for today" ethos would be the only one which corresponds to reality.

Culturist thought provides a basis for a moral existence and condemning polygamy. We judge on our traditional values and our morals on the vision of progress we value. If other cultures want to have polygamy they are welcome to it. But culturism, unlike multiculturalism, notes that Western nations do have a core culture. Polygamy is not a part of it. Everything from our laws to our insurance policies would require rewriting for us to accommodate it. Few of us would be comfortable living in the world that would result if everyone had the right to do whatever they wanted without any regard for the sustainability of Western culture. Polygamy is wrong because it goes against our values and undermines America’s solvency.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Culturist Censorship, Free Speech and Dangerous Ironies

I submit most of my blog entries to internet article distributors. Recently, several of my articles have been rejected for the political beliefs they convey. Dangerously, this censorship does not stem from malice or ambition; it stems from increasingly commonplace cultural assumptions about what can be said.

A real life censorship letter from a nice guy earnestly doing his job follows:

I have reviewed your article, and the problem that I see is with this
paragraph:

"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."

Although I understand the point you are making regarding the
subjectivity of multiculturalism, the material above, specifically
"China is a racist nation" is over the line.

"If you have any further questions, please let me know! :)"

My response in its rocking entirety follows!

"Dearest (censored)!

China only lets Chinese become citizens. Ditto for Japan and Korea. They allow some to become citizens by marrying those of their race. But what THEY deem "half-blood" children are excluded from the military and so many jobs. This is reality. If you ask them, they will confirm the fact proudly. Perhaps I can put in a qualifiers or explanations. But writing that they allow people to be citizens regardless of race would be a lie. China, Japan and Korea are officially and legally racist nations. These are not spurious accuasations, they are basic facts, whether we will it or not.

Those who have read my writing know that I respect Islam's right to promote their own culture within Islamic nations. Notice I say they are backwards, "according to our values." Few would, hopefully deny, that hatred of gays is backwards according to our values. My point is that it is not backwards according to their values and they have a right to their values. Those who appreciate diversity should be willing to let other nations have thier own cultures.

Thanks for carrying about accuracy, John Press"

Frighteningly, this exchange had no malice. I recognize that the person responding to me was only doing their job. His company does not deem it necessary to err on the side of openness when it comes to free speech. They want to err on the side limited speech. Unfortunately, in times when we could use some frank discussion, the cowing of this media outlet does not represent an isolated incident. My experience and the removal of the Dutch film FITNA for criticizing Islam earlier this week have become standard operating procedure.

If, rather than writing "China is a racist nation" I had written "America is a racist nation," I'm sure there would not have been a problem. Self-deprication and unqualified praise of the other are safe. As the West launched anti-racist thought and free speech into the world; as China is not only racist but does not support free speech, this censorship presents an irony within an irony. But unlike most ironies, this one is becoming increasingly commonplace and presents a threat to our most sacred values.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Culturist Extremes in the Philippines

Can you argue for epidemics of deadly cholera? If no one could endorse cholera, Western medicine becomes a universal good. If universal goods exist then diversity is just an illusion. In the case of disease, the West becomes the best. Herein lays the fatal flaw for anti-Western multiculturalists. This trap causes Warwick Anderson’s book, Colonial Pathologies, to choke on its own smirking values.

Colonial Pathologies, depicts the work of the medical corps after the United States runs the Spanish out of the Philippines. As a typical leftist, Anderson hates to say anything good about the West. He paints our presence there as irrational and tyrannical. Anderson repeatedly mocks the medical officers’ obsession with “promiscuous defecation.” He decries our obsession with using latrines as well as the Filipinos’ “promiscuous spitting.” Overall, he argues that the medical model we impose needlessly equates near obsessive fastidiousness with civilization. The concept of hygiene provides an excuse for us to practice cultural imperialism.

The problem with Anderson’s snickering at America’s efforts stems from their being implemented to stop cholera epidemics. Our obsessions with latrines, cleanliness and defecation actually lower the death rate. To defame the doctor’s efforts and laud the indigenous, in this case, requires belittling the importance of ending cholera epidemics. While he and other post-modern leftists multiculturalists want to make everything about the imposition of “arbitrary hegemonic Western discourse,” the imposition of medicine translates into a matter of life and death.

Anderson’s coreligionists sneer at “up-lift” as a rationale for our imperialism. To them “progress” means nothing. Ironically, this means they have to argue that the education system we built for the Filipino’s has no merit. They sneer by putting words in quotation marks. The quotation marks mean, “according to arbitrary Western standards.” Sneering at people who rid a nation of cholera takes a lot of gumption. In order to be consistent, postmodern leftist multiculturalists decrying Western ways must put quotation marks around “education,” “filth,” “ignorance,” “disease” and “early death.”

Aggrandizing ourselves by bashing multiculturalist leftists makes culturists popular. Here comes the hard part. Culturists enter where hypocritical leftist postmodernists fear to tread. Culturists can accept that we might want to put postmodernist quotation marks around “disease,” “ignorance” and “death.” To Westerners saying “quote, unquote death” seem ludicrous. But culturists accept that some cultures prefer disease to cleanliness. Anderson relays that the Filipino nurses who tried to get people to use latrines were mocked. Many cultures do not value learning. Suicide bombers do not consider death the greatest evil or long life the greatest good. Not even death means the same thing in all cultures!

Culturism recognizes diversity, but rejects relativity. We consider our truths non-negotiable because in our culture long life, education, cleanliness, strong economies and the avoidance of disease are top priorities. Those in “timeless villages” do not stress about progress like we do. Our safety requires recognizing diversity exists. Letting foreign peoples in and invading other countries without understanding diversity destabilizes us. Only when we fully accept the existence and breadth of cultural diversity can we appreciate that our ways can perish. If we want our values to continue, if we want safe spaces for Westerners, we need to recognize that our culture is special and requires protection.