USA

Republicans need to unite in defense of America’s culture

Today’s Republican Party is lost. There is no clear mission driving the GOP. Some Republicans may describe their mission as “freedom” or “limited government.” But this is only a means to a mission. These maxims don’t provide guidance as to what the government should be doing at any particular time.

A better mission is this: to “preserve the American way of life.” This is a shorthand for securing the conditions necessary to pursue a worthy life — what the Founders meant by “happiness” in the Declaration of Independence.

America used to see ourselves as one people with a single culture, directed by the Declaration, supported by the Judeo-Christian ethos and shaped by our history. Of course, there were sub-cultures, but we understood them as all sharing the fundamental attributes of a single culture. We insisted that immigrants be assimilated. Colorblindness was our ideal.

We believed ourselves to be the least class-conscious, most self-reliant, most religious people in the world. We valued work, no matter how humble. Dependency was thought to be shameful. We believed that happiness required doing good in this world, and we prized civic participation. Many Americans still hold this understanding of our way of life, and it is this that Republicans should preserve.

But today, our society is ruled by another regime — an ideology that calls itself multiculturalism but seeks ultimately to destroy and replace our colorblind, Declaration-inspired heritage. Instead of a community of rights-bearing individuals with a shared understanding of a national good, this ideology prizes a collection of cultural identity groups, ranked by victimhood. Political correctness is its enforcement arm. Its end is a society where there are no outcome disparities among identity groups.

We see this movement on vivid display. Through projects such as The New York Times’ 1619 Project, multiculturalists are working actively to rewrite US history, reinvent education, destroy the family and the beliefs and values that are intrinsic to the American way of life.

In a society, there will always be differences among different groups. But multiculturalists demand the destruction of natural differences — the expansion of state power and countless social restrictions, including stringent political correctness.

Many Republicans don’t seem to think defending the American way of life is terribly important. Rather, they focus on low taxes, gun rights, strong defense and the rest of the traditional GOP agenda. Worse, some Republicans, particularly those of a libertarian bent, say to the multiculturalists, “You can live the way you wish, just let us live the way we wish.” What they don’t understand is they are fighting an enemy with totalitarian instincts. Multiculturalists practice “do it our way — or else.” This is a culture war of their making.

How can Republicans fight this war?

We must strengthen the foundations of the American way of life — family, religion, education, and community. But more important, Republicans must build public sentiment in favor of the American way of life. This is critical right now, because Americans don’t fully understand the extent of the multicultural threat. In fact, broad swaths are uninformed, because the multiculturalists control the opinion-forming institutions.

Republicans must take to the political arena to make well-developed arguments and call out multiculturalism when it manifests itself. They must create an overarching narrative that ­allows us to see the monster of multiculturalism in its entirety. Yes, this is a challenge. But if we don’t do this, those citizens who don’t bow to the altar of multiculturalism will assume they are alone — and acquiesce to what they perceive as an irresistible new orthodoxy.

It isn’t enough for Republicans to make just any arguments, however. They must make the right arguments from justice. Multiculturalists understand this well, and it makes them appear to have the high moral ground. They have (social) justice; Republicans have “it costs less,” “reduce the size of government” or “states’ rights.” Republicans will not win that fight. Rather, justice arguments must be met with other, better justice arguments.

None of these arguments will work however if we can’t speak about who we are. Thus, to preserve the American way of life, we must also confront the tyranny of political correctness. While exquisitely sensitive to its demands, Republicans don’t publicly identify political correctness as a problem, let alone the problem. Indeed, no Republican — other than President Trump — is campaigning against political correctness. This must change, lest we lose the American Dream. Forever.

Thomas Klingenstein is an ­investor and the chairman of the board of the Claremont Institute. Adapted from The American Mind.

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