Multiculturalism and Identity Politics

The multiculturalists…challenged a central element of the American Creed, by substituting for the rights of individuals the rightsof groups, defined largely in terms of race, ethnicity, sex and sexual preference. The Creed, as Gunnar Myrdal said in the 1940s,…has been, “the cement in the structure of this great and disparate nation.” Richard Hofstader agreed,” not to have ideologies but to be one.” What happens then to the United States if that ideology is disavowed by a significant portion of its citizens? The fate of the Soviet Union, the other major country whose unity, even more than that of the United States, was defined in ideological terms is a sobering example for Americans. “The total failure of Marxism… and the dramatic breakup of the Soviet Union,” the Japanese philosopher Takeshi Umehara has suggested, “are only the precursors to the collapse of Western liberalism, the main current of modernity. Far from being the alternative to Marxism and the reigning ideology at the end of history, liberalism will be the next domino to fall.”  In an era in which peoples everywhere define themselves in cultural terms what place is there for a society without a cultural core and defined only by a political creed? Political principles are a fickle base on which to build a lasting community. In a multicivilizational world where culture counts, the United States could simply be the last anomalous holdover from a fading Western world where ideology counted.

The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. Samuel P. Huntington. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1996, p.306

In the UK identity politics reigns and their pressure groups exert disproportionate influence (e.g. Stonewall for a homosexual population probably under 3%). The concept of individuals equally protected under the law has given way to a hierarchy of self-proclaimed ‘victim’ and ‘minority’ groups with real and imagined grievances seeking ever more ‘rights’ and privileges from the state.

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