Sunday, November 18, 2007

Us and them

Roger Kimball says it for me in his diatribe against multiculturalism. The quote below is a nice little multicultural freak show.

The philosopher Martha Nussbaum warns that “patriotic pride” is “morally dangerous” while University of Penn PresidentAmy Gutmann [n.b., thanks to the reader who corrected me on this: see below] reveals that she finds it “repugnant” for American students to learn that they are “above all, citizens of the United States” instead of partisans of her preferred abstraction, “democratic humanism.” New York University’s Richard Sennett denounces “the evil of a shared national identity” and concludes that the erosion of national sovereignty is “basically a positive thing.” Cecilia O’Leary of American University identifies American patriotism as a right-wing, militaristic, male, white, Anglo, and repressive force, while Peter Spiro of Temple University says it “is increasingly difficult to use the word ‘we’ in the context of international affairs.”

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4 comments:

Hazar Nesimi said...

Noolabeulah - You opened this blog to discuss failures of modern multiculturalism and response of the West to it, but the few commentators on your blog are Muslim (me and Riri). I find it a little ironic, especially because you have so many positive points.

NoolaBeulah said...

Yes, you're right. The direction of my blog has mostly been inwards; ie within the West, about our attitudes to ourselves and then others. (I should perhaps change my tagline, which sounds too much like it's the West versus the 'rest'.)

And it's also curious about you and Riri. But this is something I've noticed throughout my career, especially when I was teaching. The best relationships have been with the non-English. EFL teachers generally drive me up the wall. I've found far more congenial minds among students (westernised Arabs and Italians, in paticular) or among non-native teachers. The fact that this is true also on the blog shows that personality comes through here as well. (There is one more commenter, Wodge, who drops by. He generally disagrees with everything I say. I'm not sure what his [I'm pretty sure it's a bloke] background is, though.)

Riri said...

As for national identity, I guess it is a case of "I'll give up mine when you give up yours!", i.e. never gonna happen, not before a looooong time anyway and providing there is a way to ensure everybody throws away theirs in a collective bin at the same time which will then instantly auto-destroy itself. Fat chance.

But assuming it ever happens, who's to say we will be still us? Who's to say it will be a better world? Might become a different world, but I bet yeh it will have its own problems, divides and conflicts. The real problem is that we look for all sorts of silly reasons not to get on with each other. But when it comes to actually getting on with each other, the reasons have to be damn smart. Funny ol' world...

NoolaBeulah said...

Yes. There's always the assumption that if you get rid of the current cause of problems (eg nationalism) then all problems will go away. Silly.