George Sarant

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Posts Tagged ‘culture

AGGRESSIVE PROGRESSIVE MULTICULTURALISM

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The Coca Cola company managed to seriously alienate a large segment of the American population with its Super Bowl ad, which appears to have been the work of progressive multiculturalists, no doubt warming the hearts of true believers in such things by “celebrating our diversity.” The trouble is that this is a small segment of the public, and this whole fiasco indicates just how out of touch the elites who fashion these messages are. This was not a broad unifying theme, but an expression of current left-wing ideology, which is why so many people were offended. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8iM73E6JP8).

The reaction of the left was to predictably characterize such criticism as “racist,” which at this stage is basically code for anything they don’t agree with. Others more mildly called it “nativist” based on the apparent objection to singing “America the Beautiful” in languages other than English, while depicting various ethnic groups. That is any easy conclusion to draw, but it is smugly self-righteous and just plain wrong. 

 For what people object to is the balkanization of their country and the assignment of individuals to various identity groups, to the point where they supersede any unifying American identity and further having it shoved in their faces. The corollary is that nothing can be done if it offends one of these identity groups, no matter how small (or more likely leftists presuming to represent them), lest we not be “inclusive.” However it is okay to offend the majority and to deny it any cultural rights. Thus, in cultural terms this amounts to the oppression of the majority by those controlling the institutions of communication. God forbid that anything patriotic be expressed, lest it offend someone, (usually leftists themselves).  Any hint of even an indirectly mild patriotic subject matter is savaged by the predominantly left-wing critics. Witness the reaction to the film Sole Survivor.

But what they are really objecting to is to those other people objecting to the commercial, whom they stereotype as “conservative white Americans” even if they are something else. The left has a visceral hatred for such “racists” (which you can hear daily, i.e.on the execrable MSNBC). However, most Americans reasonably assume, that since their ancestors came from elsewhere but assimilated, that others should do the same. We all have our private traditions, culture, and background but we do not foist them on the public. Separating people into categories and trying to make them publicly recognized should not be encouraged. Our motto is, after all, E Pluribus Unum.

Ironically the left once stood for the opposite of multiculturalism, favoring terms like “solidarity” and the “new socialist man,” which would presumably have done away with differences, in the process of molding a new, universal human identity.  But since that process produced disastrous results it was discredited. Now the left is obsessively anti-racist and therefore has foisted multiculturalism upon us. This is what the Coca Cola company waded into with its ill-conceived commercial. No one would have objected if they had played “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing” where the imagery might have made sense. So the objections were hardly “racist,” but simply a reaction to the company essentially taking a position in an ongoing cultural conflict. For that they should pay a price. Although I’ve been drinking Diet Coke for years, for this as well as for health reasons it’s time to say “No more Coke!”

 

 

Written by georgesarant

February 5, 2014 at 9:38 PM

G-7, G-8? CANADA, US, & EUROPE

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The west again has a leader with vision, courage, and resolve. Too bad he’s not an American. He is Stephen Harper, the Prime Minister of Canada, who had the fortitude to directly call out Vladimir Putin for his bad behavior, particularly with regard to Syria, where Russia continues to provide vital support for the Assad regime. At the “G8” summit Harper boldly stated that there is no G8. He stated that instead “this is the G-7   plus one. Let’s be blunt, that’s what this is: the G-7 plus one,” basically giving up on Russia ever behaving like a normal country. 

The G-7 was originally a group of the world’s leading economic powers with a shared democratic government and market economy. Membership consisted of the US, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Great Britain, and Japan. Then Russia was invited in in 1997 to encourage the continued transformation toward democracy, political and economic freedom. Unfortunately Russia has instead reverted to an authoritarian tradition that goes back centuries. It is nowhere near as odious as the Communist Soviet Union was, but it has consistently been at odds with the west on issue after issue. Part of this is Putin’s illusion of being a great power, which is achieved by opposing anything the US does. He is basically disruptive of the G8, as Harper suggested, and is not suitable for participation. This doesn’t necessarily mean expelling Russia, if only for the Russian people, and the hope that they will eventually produce a less thuggish regime instead of one headed by a clown who cannot be taken seriously. 

Leaving this aside the US is also negotiating a free trade agreement with Europe, which would be a tremendous plus for the economies of all participants as well as the whole world. Obama deserves credit for pursuing this opportunity, which if consummated, will be the major achievement of his administration. Notwithstanding very justified criticism on the domestic front, when the President does something good in foreign affairs he ought to get credit for it. One of the principle roadblocks to completing the agreement has been put up by France,which wants some exemptions and protections for its cultural institutions. In this instance I sympathize with the French, in trying to maintain their national culture and not be overwhelmed, i.e.  by Hollywood. They do not want their culture ruined the way Hollywood has ruined ours, with mediocre productions, offensive material, and monotonous left-wing themes. I hope that they can be accommodated and that other countries will follow suit, in order to maintain their distinctive cultural identities. For that matter it would be nice if Americans rediscovered their own identity, which has been trampled not only by Hollywood, but by a dysfunctional education system. 

Written by georgesarant

June 17, 2013 at 7:21 PM

INSIDIOUS IDENTITY POLITICS

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 The mainstream media echoes the Democratic party obsession with identity politics, relishing pointing out the alleged lack of “diversity” in the Republican party. Never mind that they deliberately cut away from speakers at the Republican convention that would contradict this, for they have an ideological need to maintain it. 

 The most ridiculous myth is the alleged Republican “problem” with “women.” But, just maybe, there is a Democratic party problem with men. The prevailing assumptions about gender are not only misleading, they are dead wrong. This only makes sense if you accept the ridiculous liberal notion that women somehow constitute a homogeneous interest group. However, in reality few women identify first and foremost as “women,” for they are wives, mothers, and sisters before anything else, and vary tremendously in their career and life choices. Obviously their political beliefs are going to vary accordingly. The notion that any woman “represents” women makes about as much sense as saying a particular man represents “men.” Apart from a few left-wing fanatics we don’t maintain our perceptions in this fashion. 

 Nevertheless there is a difference between how the aggregate of men and women vote, but the reasons have little to do with “women’s issues.” For one thing, married women tend to vote Republican. It is among single women that there is a significant disparity, and here the reasons are largely economic; i.e. think of single mothers on welfare. Those in the lower income brackets tend to identify historically with the Democratic party. Ideology only plays a role for those with higher incomes.  

 Then we have the notion that Republicans have a problem with minorities, due to voting patterns. However, here again it is just possible that the Democrats have a problem with white people. After all, no Democrat running for President has won a majority of whites since Lyndon Johnson, five decades ago. So it is by no means clear just who has the real problem. 

 When the Democrats and their allies in the liberal media incessantly point out how the Republicans are predominantly white, it presumably means that minorities are “underrepresented.” However, the reverse of this is that minorities are overrepresented in the Democratic party. They never consider that though. It is unclear why minorities carry some special grace and greater value as people in this warped calculation. 

 Along these lines we have the notion that the Republicans are doomed to minority party status because minorities represent the “future,” presumably due to a disproportionate increase in population, as the white birthrate plummets to European levels. However, it is not completely clear just who is a “minority.” In one sense, everyone is, to some degree. But the liberals mean people they have defined and stereotyped into categories, such as “Hispanic” and “Asian,” who are in some sense “nonwhite.” But here they categorize people into nonexistent groups, because no one is “Asian” or “Hispanic.” Each belongs to a discrete and unique culture. Thus there are Mexican-Americans, Cuban-Americans, etc., but there are no “Hispanic” Americans. Even more preposterous is the “Asian” label that  is supposed to cover people from very different and geographically distinct cultures. What do people from India have in common with people from Japan, that warrants imposing a shared identity upon them? 

 On closer examination the liberal’s dream world falls apart. First of all there are white “Hispanics,” which means they are not a racial, let alone a political, monolith. Second, many in the “Asian” category have an entrepreneurial proclivity which, longer term, would probably lead to identify more with Republicans. 

 We need to go back several decades to understand where a lot of this silliness came from. In the New York State legislature initially the Democrats had a “black caucus.” Then it became the “black and Puerto Rican” caucus. Then it changed to the “black and Hispanic caucus,” and ultimately, the “black, Hispanic and Asian caucus,” as ridiculous as that sounds, thus enabling some politicians to claim they represent all “minorities,” usually without their consent. It is the liberals that segment and divide people into group identities, preferably with a grievance, as opposed to conservatives, who see them as individuals. 

 The future of this country does indeed depend on which vision prevails, in terms of how people identify themselves. Will they be members of an ethnic group first, or Americans? A good start would be to stop the federal government from forcing group identity on people. We know the pernicious efforts of the left to keep people in group categories will continue, while conservatives encourage them to be individuals within a unified whole, and only time will tell which concept will prevail. 

 

Written by georgesarant

August 31, 2012 at 6:43 PM

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