Take this column for example. It talks about the effects of forcing various government agencies and private parties to provide translation services to any non-english speaker they deal with free of charge. Besides being prohibitivly expensive (You try to find someone fluent in Pashtun in North Dakota) this seems to me like it's specifically designed to avoid forcing people to learn English. Guess what folks, that's GOING to lead to segregation. If you have a bunch of people who can't interact with eachother do you really think they are going to blend together in a pluralistic model of multiculturalist expression? Nope. Making it so that immagrents to this country have even less of an incentive to learn english is just going to strengthen the boundaries of ethnic enclaves and prevent integration.
Liberal politics seem to declare that not only is every culture equal, but every culture is equal IN an American context. I think that the first argument, though flawed, is much stronger than the second. There is a reason that immigration to this nation is so massive. People want to come here because in many respects we are better. More efficient economically, more free politically, less oppressive and even more accepting than many of their countries of origin. The thing is that we are not better just because we are here, we are better because the values that we've held for so many years are better. Not all of them, but some of them. Now we're starting to say "Come here if you want and don't bother to pick up those values, just enjoy the benefits of them. Sit off on your own,speak your own language, continue to maintain stronger ties to your old country, and basically exist here as a colony of wherever you come from."
Do we really want this segregation? It's one thing to provide basic social services for non-english speakers (legal and health services) it's entirely another to give them no incentive to learn english and gain the ability to communicate with their new countrymen. No other country that I know of even CONSIDERS doing this (although you could argue that English is accepted most places but that's more a commentary on economics than politics) and I frankly can't imagine why we would. Just because segregation isn't enforced doesn't mean it's not extremely harmful. People should be given STRONG incentives to learn english and to assimilate (Up to a point. Things like diet, religious beliefs, and even family styles are all a lot less segregating. We don't need to turn EVERYBODY into Bill Smith from Indianapolis.)
I was also talking to a high school aquaintance of mine about gender issues and it seems to me that a similar scenario might be developing there. Certainly nothing NEARLY as dramatic as the cultural segregation that's promoted by maintaining linguistic barriers and not demanding anything in the way of integration, but it seems to me that there's a seam forming in our society between male and female, at least in some quarters. Now I'll admit that this is probably not as extreme in mainstream society as among the socially inept people that I hang with, and of course segregation of men and women isn't possible beyond a certain point because they need to come together for procreation and exist together in families. But there is some rumbling that makes me think.
Consider the modern college experience. Almost every student in any liberal school will be exposed to at least one class taught by a radical feminist. This is fine if the only influence this has on the class is that she (Assuming it's a woman which it isn't ALWAYS) demands the use of gender neutral pronouns (s/he or he or she) and inserts female authors into the syllabus where appropriate (It is to everyone's benefit to hear multiple perspectives and I firmly believe that female authors do provide a unique and important perspective.). It is not fine, however, when these teachers engage in militant tactics like holding males to different standards than females, calling on females more, inserting INAPPROPRIATE female authors (Look a lot more men were writing important texts in the past. Getting rid of Weber Marx and Durkheim in order to find "Mothers" of sociology IS NOT APPROPRIATE) or stiffling other points of view. I realize that men did this for many, many years but that is neither here nor there at this point.
The feminist movement was positive and important. I'm all for free competition between men and women on a level playing field. And I freely admit that the playing field is not yet level, although
but that doesn't mean that the answer is to unbalance the playing field in the other direction. To oppress the opressors. Even more prevalent is the stiffling of male criticism of female thought. When I say that I have problems with Barbra Myrnhoff's "Number Our Days" it's not becuase she's a woman, it's because she included an IMAGINARY conversation in a supposedly scientific work (At least we were examining it as a scientific work, I question whether it was ever meant that way.) If non white-male intellectuals should be included in cirricula (as I believe they should) then they should be subject to the same criticism and examination as their european penis wielding counterparts. So what do these things have to do with segregation? Good question.
The way I see it, and this is pretty speculative, femininsm's failure to react to its successes with a less militant attack is going to start alienating men pretty soon. Already magazines like Maxim, a direct response to feminism, are springing up and doing brisk business among the youth of today. Young men are reacting with the same irritation to the "Anything a man can do a woman can do better" philosophy that the feminists did to the "Men are superior" myth. Classes are becoming more divided by gender (except of course for the ever present horny guys who make the split more difficult to view because they are willing to say pretty much anything to get what they want) and I (if not we) am starting to see an intellectual culture springing up focusing on only female intellectuals just like the old bad one focused only on male ones. Is this going to lead to equality and easy understanding or two genders who are each schooled in the thinking of their own gender and not the other? Is this a path towards integration? I personally think that depending on how things shake themselves out that instead of the desired merging of females into the structures of power we might end up seeing women just go off and build their own competing structures and end up with two sides with an equal share of the power but no shared space.
I think that true pluralistic change comes from the inside, it isn't imposed from the outside. It's about accepting other people's values and establishing a common space where you can interface. Learning from eachother. It's not about declaring everything just as good as any other and maintaining a seperate but equal attitude. It's not about trying to prove your superiority over those who have declared you inferior in years past. I don't know how well I've elucidated this point but my feeling is that in trying to create a pluralistic society instead of one which oppressed minorities we are essentially throwing out the idea of common cultural space and creating a seggregated one. The thing is, seperate but equal doesn't work. It's been tried before.
I'm feeling a little better than yesterday but there's still an ache there. The main problem at this point is tiredness from lack of sleep since I kept waking up during the night. I should nap but when I lie down all the blood rushes to the swelling which is still pretty severe. Still things are healing at about the rate I expected and I really can't understand why people said this was going to be SO painful. I mean I still think that the experience of the surgery was more pleasurable than the aftermath was painful. But maybe that's just me.
Oh and one more thing relating to the mistakes that liberals make. Larry Elder has a lot to say about the problems with affirmative action and most of it is interesting if not entirely correct. The fact of the matter is that the answer to a lack of minority presence in top schools can be solved through BETTER (not more expensive) education and increased personal responsibility. Not quotas. Here's a medly of some of the points he's made. I only mention this because I think it relates to the seggregation idea. Instead of trying to improve minority school performance we say (Or used to, there's been a backlash against affirmitive action) "come as you are, it's just as good as any other way to be." Is this really a good idea?