Multiethnic vs Multicultural: The Preservation of American Exceptionalism

On September 29th, 2015, Rasmussen Reports conducted a survey that asked 1,000 Americans the following question: “Is multiculturalism bad for the country?” Of the 1,000, about 26% agreed with the statement, 44% disagreed and felt that multiculturalism was beneficial for the U.S., 15% felt that multiculturalism has had no effect on the U.S., and another 15% were not sure. These statistics reflect a growing issue in the United States: multiculturalism has muddied the waters in terms of identifying what makes our country exceptional..

In a 1790 House debate on naturalization , James Madison stated: “It is no doubt very desirable that we should hold out as many inducements as possible for the worthy part of mankind to come and settle amongst us, and throw their fortunes into a common lot with ours. But why is this desirable?” Expressing a similar sentiment, George Washington expressed “by an intermixture with our people, they, or their descendants, get assimilated to our customs, measures, laws: in a word soon become one people.” So the idea is simple: any people who come to our nation should be willing to uphold and embrace the values and principles that constitute the concepts of American liberty and identity.

In 1802, Alexander Hamilton wrote, “The safety of a republic depends essentially on the energy of a common national sentiment; on a uniformity of principles and habits; on the exemption of the citizens from foreign bias and prejudice; and on that love of country which will almost invariably be found to be closely connected with birth, education, and family.” Expanding on his comment, Hamilton further warned, “the United States have already felt the evils of incorporating a large number of foreigners into their national mass; by promoting in different classes different predilections in favor of particular foreign nations, and antipathies against others, it has served very much to divide the community and to distract our councils. It has been often likely to compromise the interests of our own country in favor of another.” And there is the crux of the issue of multiculturalism that is so ever relevant today, which is the flourishing of ideas that originate from different cultures that contradict our values insomuch that they weaken the bonds of our republic.

The problem is that most Americans seem to assume, perhaps due to Left-leaning academia in the humanities, that “multiethnic” and “multicultural” are essentially interchangeable terms that reflect the same concept of diversity, but they are not. The Founders clearly expressed the notion that a nation of people of diverse ethnic and national backgrounds is the physical manifestation of a republic founded on classically liberal values and principles of liberty and opportunity, but all of the people that enter the country must embrace the ideals and values that make us exceptional. This entails embracing our political philosophy as defined in our Declaration of IndependenceBill of Rights, and our Constitution. So in reality, it is  foreign ideas, rather than people, which are the threat that the Founders as well as many conservatives today, are concerned about. The Left’s disingenuous rhetoric for promoting diversity has skewed that battle and has made conservatives look like nothing more than ignorant bigots rather than patriots who actually care about preserving a generally unified nation. The Left, on the other hand, is blinded by utopian visions.

The outcome of this current election season will be a manifestation of the average American’s ignorance of the key exceptional idea that liberty is secured by a limited government that is legitimized by a moral and religious people. Too many Americans in the 21st century, are influenced by ideas that promote a form of government that breeds an entity so large that it behaves irresponsibly without any significant consequence. The survival of the American republic depends heavily on how well we as a people preserve our national spirit and character. The Left’s constant shaming of American exceptionalist thought, stemming from an unearned sense of moral superiority and a revisionist American history, has greatly undermined the national character of our constitutional republic. We must see and push our way through the thick fog of Leftist rhetoric that constantly misinforms much of the American public by spreading our understanding of limited government, free enterprise, and national defense. It is possible for our constitutional republic to be made of an ethnically diverse people and to be of one mind and one patriotic spirit.

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