When I grew up part of our education included describing America as a Melting Pot of Cultures. Immigration stories were told of wave upon wave of immigrants who passed through New York but eventually settled elsewhere. Brits, Irish, Germans, Greeks, Czechs (obviously the Greeks and Czechs were most important if you read my introduction), and of course Italians formed the seed of a new society. Freed from the shackles of oppressive government and limited opportunity, these people embrace the freedom America represented. There was no middle class only the rich and royalty, and the working poor. In fact a two class society has been the norm throughout virtually of all of history. But wait; in a very short span of time, they built the most powerful, innovative, economic powerhouse the world has ever known. How?
Consider what it must have taken for these people to decide to leave everything they knew, including family, friends, jobs, languages and all the normal comforts and travel thousands of miles to a place you were only hearing stories about. Many had to work in indentured servitude for 7 years just to pay for the passage and yet still they signed up. Think about it, would you do that to go to china today? Probably not. These people were the cream of the entrepreneurial gene pool of Europe . They wanted to work, not 5 days a week but seven, not 8 hours a day but 12, just give them some land and the freedom to build.
Initially they lived in their own little conclaves of familiar people with familiar languages. These “neighborhoods” were safe unto them, but had conflicts with other neighborhoods. I guess that was the early roots of what we now call multiculturalism. But a funny thing happened. Irish married Italians, Greeks married Czechs, and even the Brits were able to get married. These individual cultures began to blend and create what became known as the American Melting Pot.
Historically, only royalty married out of their race and primarily to prevent wars. So king’s daughters were swapped and new cross boundary families were created in Europe . Many wars were avoided this way. However, now this was happening amongst the working class. These entrepreneurial genes were released and marriages were not being arranged. People had choices and freedom and they took advantage of it.
War after war was waged and yet somehow these people always seemed to survive. Each time the country became more powerful. As they moved west, they found it necessary to communicate in a common language, English. Virtually all the European roots were abandoned, and most families even quit teaching their home language to the children. But don’t lose sight of the gene pool. These were the brightest and most industrious people of Europe , freed to get education, learn to read, invent, and till the soil. The children worked and each generation of family was more successful than its predecessors.
And the immigrants kept coming. When the West coast was reached, Asian immigrants came to the opportunities offered by all the work in the west. While we may still have a china town in San Francisco from those initial roots, the bulk of these immigrants also fanned out to find work and seek opportunities that did not exist back home. Again, the best of the gene pool saw opportunity and wanted to seize it.
In spite of continuing to be involved in wars on a global scale, America enjoyed a society of people that had roots from all over the world. As a result, they cared about what happened all over the world. Isolationists lost their arguments and we entered into many wars. But that best of the best gene pool, continued to build, invent, and sell at a pace never before seen in history.
By the time I was born in the 50’s the concept of America as a Melting Pot was something of which to be proud. It was always part of our curriculum in school, and it was never denigrated in anyway. We were taught English is the language of America . Most people could quote their country origin roots, but no one ever talked about going back. Unions were a good thing and getting a union job was considered only an opportunity. Of course, back then unions were NOT an exclusive arm of a political party, but rather focused on the betterment of their members. I digress, sorry.
Fast forward 40-50 years. We now embrace a term called multiculturalism. This is the antithesis of the Melting Pot. It encourages separation. It encourages second and third languages designed to isolate the rest of society. I have found many college students today think they mean the same thing. Shame on our educators! Multiculturalism values your roots above your country.
My problem is in studying history I find multiculturalism is inherently unstable. Countries that have tried to embrace this concept in history always seem to break up. The USSR was a multicultural society, and given the first chance its cultures chose to break apart back into monoculture countries. Pakistan is a multicultural country. Hardly a role model I would aspire to emulate. Iraq is a multicultural country. Not by choice, but by the hand of British politicians a long time ago. This too, is hardly a testimony for multicultural societies.
Every time you hear the word multicultural, question its source. That wonderful sounding word is planting the seeds of our destruction.