Summary: To help get ready for the Hillary administration, let’s look at its philosophical roots — multiculturalism and human rights. Individually, each is a noble principal. Combined, they are nonsensical propaganda. That we fall for such things shows our weakness. When we begin to laugh at them, we will have taken a step toward self-governance. To understand this, we turn to one of the great books about America of the past generation.
From Closing of the American Mind
by Allan Bloom
“Here again we live with two contradictory understandings of what counts for man. One tells us that what is important is what all men have in common; the other that what men have in common is low, while what they have from separate cultures gives them their depth and their interest.
“Both agree that life, liberty, and the pursuit of property, i.e., the interests of health and preservation, are what men share. The difference between them is the weight they give to being French or Chinese, Jewish or Catholic, or the rank order of these particular cultures in relation to the natural needs of the body. One is cosmopolitan, the other is particularistic. Human rights are connected with one school, respect for cultures with the other.
“Sometimes the United States is attacked for failing to promote human rights; sometimes for wanting to impose “the American way of life” on all people without respect for their cultures. To the extent that it does the latter, the United States does so in the name of self-evident truths that apply to the good of all men. But its critics argue that there are no such truths, that they are prejudices of American culture.
“On the other hand, the Ayatollah was initially supported by some here because he represented true Iranian culture. Now he is attacked for violating human rights. What he does is in the name of Islam. His critics insist that there are universal principles that limit the rights of Islam. When the critics of the U.S. in the name of culture, and of the Ayatollah in the name of human rights, are the same persons, which they often are, they are persons who want to eat their cake and have it, too.
“Why, it might be asked, can’t there be a respect for both human rights and culture? Simply because a culture itself generates its own way of life and principles, particularly its highest ones, with no authority above it. If there were such an authority, the unique way of life born of its principle would be undermined.”
Philosophy is a powerful political tool
The conflict between human rights and multiculturalism is fundamental and inescapable, hence the large literature attempting to dance it away. Both cannot define the highest principle of our values. In practice, our elites resolve clashes between these two value systems with another philosophy: utilitarianism. They do what they find most politically useful, then justify it with lofty rhetoric.
Usually that means that their values are “human rights”, the universal standard before which all must genuflect. “Multiculturalism” then governs relations among the rest of society — the outer party (our upper middle class) and the proles. They can enjoy their values as they do their religions and ethnic foods. But their values are debased. They no longer can claim universal applicability and provide no foundation for political strength.
Why this is important
Many people assume that Team Clinton will rule like the Obama administration — cautious, modest in its goals, averse to and confrontation (quite unlike the Hitler-Stalin hybrid the Right-wing delusionally sees). I believe Clinton and her appointees have larger appetites for power, bolder goals, and far greater willingness to challenge their foes.
Multiculturalism and human rights will be among most powerful tools, hammers to beat down opposition by claiming moral superiority. See how effectively Europe’s elites wield these to crush widespread opposition to mass immigration. That’s America during the next four years.
Either of these provides a logical basis for public policy. Using both is nonsense, exploiting our gullibility and naivete. When the progressive and populist insurgencies develop intellectual roots on which this gibberish shatters, then they will have the ability to govern.
For More Information
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- CounterPunch shows us the heart of Clinton’s politics. It’s not pretty.
- What to expect from Team Hillary in the White House.
- A look at the likely foreign and domestic policies of HRC.
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Hillary explains what she’ll do as President
From the publisher…
“For more than a year, Hillary Clinton has laid out an ambitious agenda to improve the lives of the American people and make our country stronger and safer. Stronger Together presents that agenda in full, relating stories from the American people and outlining the Clinton/Kaine campaign’s plans on everything from apprenticeships to the Zika virus, including the following…
“Building an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top. Making the biggest investment in good-paying jobs since World War II, including infrastructure, manufacturing, clean energy, and small business. Making debt-free college a reality and tackling the student debt crisis. Defeating ISIS, strengthening our alliances, and keeping our military strong. Breaking down the barriers that hold Americans back by reforming our broken immigration system, ending mass incarceration, protecting voting rights, and fixing our campaign finance system. Putting families first through universal, affordable health care; paid family and medical leave, and affordable child care.
“Stronger Together offers specific solutions and a bold vision for building a more perfect union.”
6 thoughts on “Multiculturalism & human rights will be weapons of Team Clinton”
Looking at multiculturalism & human rights, weapons of Team Clinton by Editor of the Fabius Maximus website Summary: To help get ready for the Hillary administration, let’s look at its philosophical roots — multiculturalism and human rights. Individually, each is a noble principal. Combined, they are nonsensical propaganda. That we fall for such things shows our weakness. When we begin to laugh at them, we will have taken a step toward self-governance. […]
Sent from my Verizon 4G LTE smartphone
Did you post this comment by accident? It’s just the summary of this post.
“The conflict between human rights and multiculturalism is fundamental and inescapable, hence the large literature attempting to dance it away. Both cannot define the highest principle of our values.”
Well, of course; both cannot define the highest principle of our values.
This strikes me as similar to the notion that liberty and security are in fundamental conflict. Taken to an extreme, either not only destroys the other but undermines itself. What sort of “liberty” do you have if you cannot leave your home for fear of burglary, or dare not walk down the street without armed guards? And what sort of “security” is there when whatever is not required is forbidden, and the smallest infraction of an endless list of inscrutable laws can land you in prison, or result in being shot by the folks who are ostensibly protecting you?
Likewise, what use is “multiculturalism” to the man who has been raised so insularly that he can see only the besieged faithful surrounded by infidels, or the woman whose genitals were mutilated before puberty? And what good are freedom of association or the rights to travel, to learn about other ways of life and to experience the world, if social life everywhere is reduced to the same least common denominator?
Liberty and security are complementary. In the real, imperfect world, we cannot have as much as we would like of either, but we can seek an optimal balance in which each enhances the other. We have a mechanism for that: democracy and the rule of law. We don’t tolerate the notion that I should break down my neighbor’s door and kick his ass because I, personally, disapprove of the way he treats his wife; a key purpose of our institutions of law is to strike a balance between liberty and security that works reasonably well for as many of us as possible.
The same applies to human rights and multiculturalism on the international stage. The optimal balance between defense of human rights and respect for the integrity of cultures can’t be worked out by some self-evident formula; but we can use appropriate institutions, such as the UN, to reach a consensus that works for the community of nations. What we should not accept is the idea that one nation, self-justifying its own actions, should interfere with the political or cultural stability of another simply because it doesn’t approve of how that nation conducts its internal affairs.
Well said. That’s a bit orthogonal to my point, however. I agree that “The optimal balance between defense of human rights and respect for the integrity of cultures can’t be worked out by some self-evident formula; but we can use appropriate institutions” — but my guess is that’s not what we will see in the Hillary Administration.
Rather, selective use of multiculturalism and H.R. as absolute highest values (each as needed by Team HRC at that moment) will hammer opponents as cruel and insensitive, perhaps demonic. They’ll be just propaganda tools to manipulate the US public (“proles” to our elites) and justify US foreign policy.
“They’ll be just propaganda tools”
Doubtless. One of human nature’s great vulnerabilities, consistently exploited by the political class, is our hunger for simple answers to complex problems.
I think you are too kind to us. Reform must start with the “man in the mirror.” Success is impossible until we change to become less gullible, allowing us to see our world more clearly. Now our OODA Loop is broken at every step. That, more than anything else, makes us peons.