On Friday, Republican Iowa Rep. Steve King, Congress’ foremost immigration hawk, tweeted out, “Diversity is not our strength. Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban, ‘Mixing cultures will not lead to a higher quality of life but a lower one.’”
The Iowa congressman followed up that tweet with this opinion, “Assimilation has become a dirty word to the multiculturalist Left. Assimilation, not diversity, is our American strength.”
King’s tweets soon became a lightening rod for outraged liberals and respectable conservatives. Some critics argued diversity was good and King was clearly inbred white trash.
The problem with a lack of diversity, Congressman, is that it tends to lead to in-breeding of the sort that creates monstrous dimwits like you. https://t.co/IZBVdHAs47
— John Podhoretz (@jpodhoretz) December 8, 2017
Others simply said that questioning such a highly-valued thing as diversity should bar King from Congress.
We should also push members of Congress to resign for their racism. https://t.co/epQub93h0Z
— Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) December 8, 2017
Former U.S. Government Ethics Director Walter Shaub, one of the many people who thought the tweet should cost King his job, finished a very aggrieved Twitter thread on the matter with this exhortation: “Diversity isn’t *a* strength, Steve King. It is our greatest strength. It gives us an advantage over other countries.”
That tweet sums up the views of King’s critics: America depends on diversity to survive and that quality is the best thing about the country.
In response to the Iowa Republican’s claim that assimilation was what made America great, one random Twitter user best expressed the opposing side’s viewpoint. “Perhaps you should assimilate with the rest of us and come to the realization that America’s culture IS multiculturalism,” tweeted user “sgiordano77.” That tweet earned hundreds of retweets and likes.
It seems kind of odd that someone has to assimilate to multiculturalism considering that phenomenon is all about sticking to your own culture and refusing to acquiesce to the majority. So, in theory, multiculturalism wouldn’t require King, or immigrants, to assimilate to anything.
But the user’s conviction that multiculturalism is something to assimilate to, along with Shaub’s firm assertion that everyone must believe diversity is our greatest strength, makes it seem tolerant pluralism isn’t the goal here.
Rather, it’s submission to the cult of diversity that’s the aim of King’s critics.
Both King and his detractors believe in assimilation, but they disagree on what must be assimilated to. The Republican congressman believes immigrants must assimilate to America’s traditional Anglo-Protestant culture, speak its language, respect its laws and institutions, and venerate its culture and heroes.
King’s critics believes the deplorable natives must assimilate to America’s new cosmopolitan identity. Instead of embracing the things King holds dear, Americans should be united in contempt for the old Anglo-Protestant culture, as well as the the false heroes it begat. Rather than venerating American history, one must be “woke” and see it as a chronicle of land theft, slavery and genocide.
America can only redeem itself through mass immigration and multiculturalism. Which is why diversity is our greatest strength, liberals argue. Outside of the few heroes left unmolested by political correctness and the egalitarian impulses of some Founding Fathers, diversity is the best thing about the country.
This one good thing about our country is imbued with an almost magical-like quality by its believers. Diversity makes us strong merely by its existence. We all become smarter when everyone is different. Without it, we’ll all become inbred morons like Steve King.
Doubting diversity’s greatness is a serious blasphemy that the cult won’t abide by, as evidenced by the vitriol thrown King’s way.
But what the fervent believers in diversity don’t acknowledge is the lack of unity that often results from it. Granted, a nation can have a lot of differences within its population — so long as the people embrace the same history, ideals, values, and language.
But the diversity crowd offers little in terms of uniting Americans together — outside of being different and platitudes about equality. Moreover, their version of assimilation is particularly insidious.
In years past, immigrants came here to turn themselves into Americans. “We must Americanize them in every way, in speech, in political ideas and principles, and in their way of looking at the relations between Church and State. We welcome the German or the Irishman who becomes an American. We have no use for the German or Irishman who remains such,” Teddy Roosevelt wrote in 1894.
Today, modern American culture encourages immigrants to join in victim-based identity politics in order to better attain benefits under affirmative action. Our elite culture prizes those who separate themselves from the old America and refuse to give up their native ways to conform to the majority.
Immigrants now come to America to tell Americans they’re racist and need to assimilate to the new ways.
That’s diversity. That’s the real America, the chattering class lectures us.
Looking at our current politics and society, it’s nigh impossible to see our diversity as a stabilizing glue. New York Times conservative columnist Ross Douthat noted this fact in a column published over the weekend.
“The United States has the rules of a democratic republic but, increasingly, the cultural divisions of a sprawling Old World empire,” Douthat writes.
What makes America seem like a hollow empire is “the scale and diversity of our country is vast and wild, encompassing immigrants from every part of the world and a native population riven by racial divisions, ideological wars, and a widening religious chasm.”
The only thing that unites us is our loose affiliation to the state, an actor we dread if our domestic enemies control it.
“Democratic life requires accepting that your own faction may be out of power roughly half the time. But in a culture this diverse and divided we trust our fellow citizens less, we share less with them, and we fear that any political defeat will leave our communities at their mercy, that if we lose power we will be routed and destroyed,” The Times’ columnist wrote.
Douthat’s one hope is for the nation to elect “a president who behaves like a good emperor, who acts to reassure threatened-feeling out-groups.” With some great, universally respected leader at the helm, maybe Americans will come to respect each other in their differences.
The chances of that are happening are about as good as it was for the last ruling Hapsburgs to field a competent royal to reign over the very diverse Austro-Hungarian Empire.
The ethnic tension that underpinned the Hapbsburg empire eventually led to its total collapse during World War I. Diversity was not a strength for Austria-Hungary, but its defining weakness.
If a benevolent emperor is the only thing that can get Americans to respect each other, then the republic our Founders created is no more.