If you are a strong supporter of “multiculturalism” and are easily offended by those who are not, you may want to take your business elsewhere, for I fully intend to completely deconstruct that concept in this post.
William Graham Sumner (1840-1910), a so-called “social Darwinist,” coined the term “ethnocentrism.” Many varied definitions have emerged, but the common ground defines ethnocentrism as “the belief that one’s own ethnic group or culture is superior to all others in areas such as social customs or political systems.” The term was intended to be inherently bad, indicative of a society’s inability to consider the validity of other cultures or political systems, or even indicative of subconscious racism. It is my belief that this condemnation of ethnocentrism and the subsequent glorification of multiculturalism is itself shortsighted, or even dangerously misleading.
I am certainly not saying that it is acceptable to breed hatred of any kind toward those who are socially different, just that it is not always bad to be proud of your own system or even to believe that it is superior. This distinction may be a fine one, but it is a distinction that must be firmly upheld. While a healthy dose of ethnocentrism will yield a proud, hard-working, productive, and innovative society, unchecked or perverted ethnocentrism can lead to racism, chaos, or war.
Multiculturalism, the Yin to ethnocentrism’s Yang, is the belief that all cultures are equally viable, equally valid, and equally worthy of consideration. While multiculturalism is practiced in the interest of suppressing hate, it is a belief that is dangerously blind toward human rights violations and economic oppression. Multiculturalism is equivalent to forced social relativism, and requires the believer to deny that there are any ultimate truths when it comes to the plight of the human race.
I would like to provide you with an example to underline my point (and in the process, bring out the healthy ethnocentrism you did not know you had). Many African and other countries practice forced female genital mutilation, a brutal ritual in which the genitals of a girl or a woman are cut or otherwise altered in order to deny the recipient the opportunity to ever experience sexual gratification. If you are at all shocked, disgusted, or angered by that concept, you are “guilty” of ethnocentrism. According to multiculturalists, forced female genital mutilation is a traditional ethnic custom signifying a woman’s unique place in her society, and is not inherently any different from circumcision or ear piercing. To think anything different would amount to viewing their society through distorted Western eyes, and casting judgment on it because it is different from the society you embrace.
When you choose to avoid casting any judgment, you forfeit the luxury of outrage and tolerate the outrageous out of a paranoid fear of seeming insensitive. Multiculturalism is cowardly, and it leaves the oppressed alone and without recourse. Without any ultimate truths, nothing is taboo. If there is to be any hope for those in this world who suffer, a few ultimate truths have to be recognized. First, that people are happiest and have the greatest chance for self-actualization when they are free to live and worship as they please. Second, that societies with free enterprise are wealthier and have a higher standard of living than countries without. Third, that people have a better chance of living how they please and achieving happiness when they have a say in the workings of the laws that govern them.
Any society that does not respect these truths is inferior to one that does. America is regarded the world over as a very ethnocentric country. Multiculturalists would have you believe that this is because we are needlessly arrogant and exclusive. The reality is that we are ethnocentric because America respects the ultimate truths about humanity and as a result, Americans are happy, wealthy, and safe. We are proud, but not arrogant. I’ve said it before: arrogance would be if Americans were wary of nations who emulate our values, refusing to allow them a seat at the table of world freedom. A desire to spread the happiness that can be realized with a social system that respects human dignity is generous. America is drunk on the fruits of freedom, and it is incomprehensible to us that societies exist where people cannot, or do not want to experience a similar inebriation.
Some have used phrases like “they drive on the wrong side of the road in England” as examples of America’s ethnocentrism. Let’s be honest: things like that are trivial when compared to the basic truths regarding human freedom. Americans may tend to overextend their ethnocentrism to matters of little significance, but these minor offenses do not in any way mean that our ethnocentrism with regards to freedom, democracy, and free enterprise is misguided. Americans have every reason in the world to be proud of their society and the freedoms they enjoy. Not only am I ethnocentric… I’m damn proud to admit that I live in a country where it is truly justified to be so.