Contra Mundum
No. 11 Spring 1994

In the Academy

Multiculturalism: PC Or PCA?

by T.E. Wilder

Copyright © 1994 Contra Mundum

Headings


One of Richard Hooker's arguments against the Regulative Principle was that it would make universities ungovernable. After all, the New Testament says nothing about the office of college president. He would, then, have no authority over the unruly undergraduates, either on campus or in town. As for the faculty, they would elect a new president whenever they met as do synods of ministers.

Hooker understood the universities to be church institutions, and the faculty took holy orders. As such they were an anomaly in Reformed polity. What we might call the university problem is still unsolved, only these days it is the administrators who are ungovernable. The private college is, of course, under the economic sanctions of the parents and students. But there are also church-related colleges that receive sanction and funding from a supporting denomination. What does this imply for the government of the college and the standards of conduct and content of instruction?

The recent antics of the administration and staff of Covenant College, the official college of the Presbyterian Church in America, have shown the danger of an unsolved university problem. The administration decided to fall in with the dominant trends in pagan schools and hire a Director of Multi-cultural Services. Why they thought they could do this, and how it accords with their status as a church-related school is unclear.

The purpose of multiculturalism is to wage war against Christianity through unceasing attacks on Western culture, which to a significant degree has been molded by Christianity. Multiculturalists therefore denigrate Western culture, including its history and institutions, at every opportunity, while exalting pagan societies as much as possible, particularly as they come into conflict with Europe and especially America. Sometimes this is presented simply as a clash of cultures or values, but more often it is personalized with references to the peoples involved. Rushdoony, in an early essay "The New Racism", pointed out the fundamental issues.

The new racism is widespread and common to many peoples and to every continent. It has now become a part also of the religious vocabulary of many churchmen. Thus, in almost every seminary today, pompous professors rail against a missions program which would export 'the white mentality' and European modes of thought. What is the white mentality, and what is the European mode of thought, as against the human, common to all men? If it is specifically white and European, it must be common to the pre-Christian European as a racial factor. The pre-Christian Saxons, for example, practiced human sacrifice, and more.... No race born of Adam has a good history: this is the Biblical fact, and the historical fact.

The Western mind, common to Europe and the Americas, is a product, not of race, but of culture, religious culture. Elements of it, none too good, go back to the barbarian peoples of Europe. Other aspects are from Greek philosophy, again none too good.... The Western mind and culture, in all its advances, is a product of Biblical religion. It is a religious, not a racial, product.[1]

It is just this link between Western culture and Biblical religion that offends multiculturalists, and the reason is that they hate God's law. The whole tradition from which multiculturalism comes - Heideggerian fascism, existentialism, European communism, Paris left bank bohemianism, etc. - is steeped in immorality and its proponents are beset with bad consciences.[2] There can be no peace between them and any culture which embodies Christian norms. Yet these same people aspire to be the elite that controls society, and not be on the margins. The principal way to achieve this is to take control of education, especially universities, which are elitist institutions, and instill in each new generation enmity toward their cultural heritage. But the status of the universities must meanwhile be upheld to insure a steady stream of new students, and someone must pay the bills. Thus moral cover is needed.

An excellent source of moral cover are groups such as blacks, Indians and Jews which have historical grievances against some or all Western societies and continue to be the enemies of these societies. These can serve as the left's shock troops in the battle to smash Western culture.

In colleges, which is the multiculturalists' primary habitat, their function is to break the identification of white students with their own people and culture and fill them with guilt feelings and a sense of moral inferiority. Conversely, nonwhites are to given a sense of victemhood, moral superiority (on a racial grounds) and racial triumphalism. To take an actual example at a state university, the child of Vietnamese boat people brought to this country as refugees, having been trained by multiculturalists, wrote newspaper editorials denouncing racist America and gloating over that expectation that sometime in the next century whites would be a minority in their own country and totally at the mercy of colored people who would determine the circumstances under which whites could lead their lives.

Multiculturalism is pagan to the core. It traffics in the politics of guilt and pity, to use R.J. Rushdoony's phrase, and reaches its zenith when whites are made to feel guilty for being white. Of course it postures as pluralism: all cultures have value, and part of education is to learn to appreciate other cultures. When examined closely, however, it turns out to be a mass of contradictions.

The claim that Western culture, which after all is what produced the university, and in terms of which scholarship, science, academic degrees, etc. have meaning, has a primary claim upon the resources of schools and the attention of the students, that students must be educated into a tradition and set of values, and that there is a cultural framework by which students must gain their identity and orient themselves in their examination of other cultures, is attacked by multiculturalism. Such a claim makes one particular culture absolute or 'privileged' with respect to the others, and this is incompatible with pluralism as multiculturalism represents it. If objective criteria are brought to bear to show that cultures are not equal and that there are reasons to prefer our own, then this is denounced as racism and cultural imperialism by multiculturalists. On the other hand, the multiculturalists unceasingly denounce Western culture as evil, depraved and inherently inferior to the cultures of colored people. Again, any comparison of Western to other cultures, or any explanation of behavior on the basis of culture that makes the non-western culture show up unfavorably is denounced as racist. On the other hand if the point of a comparison is to make us look bad and make them look good, then this is just fine, and we are not to mention pluralism, and respect for all cultures, etc.

There are contradictions in the selection of values used in the condemnations or commendations of cultures. Christian values are often invoked to condemn the West because of its infractions of them both real and imagined. It is important to understand that in these cases the guilty parties are not merely accused of acting inconsistently with their own principles, or in bad faith; they are said to be genuinely morally reprehensible. On the other hand to use these same standards with regard to non-Western peoples is racist, imperialist, insensitive, and so forth. In order to carry out this rhetorical strategy, the practices of the non-Westerners must not be mentioned when the subject is the sins of the Westerners, or else the disparity in application of norms would be apparent. One of the most clear examples comes from the use of an account by the Spanish priest Las Casas, speaking of a Spanish military campaign.

This tyrant, when he went to war upon any towns or provinces, had the habit of taking with him Indians already subjugated, to make war upon the others. Since he gave no food to these ten or twenty thousand Indians, he permitted them to eat all captured Indians. His camp was thus a shambles of men's flesh, where, in his presence, children were killed and roasted, and men were killed solely for their hands and feet, which were considered the daintiest morsels.

There are two problems here for the multiculturalists. First the word 'permitted' showing that the initiative came from the Indians. The second is that it is the Indians committing the cannibalism. An edition of Las Casas's Brief Relation illustrated by Theodore De Bry, in 1598, improves on Las Casas by showing the Spaniards actually supervising the dismemberment of the bodies and running the meat stand. Modern multiculturalists go further. During the Columbus Quincentenery, posters were put up at the University of Minnesota which omitted any reference to the fact that the Indians were the cannibals, and leaving the impression that it was Spaniards both buying and selling, in towns under Spanish rule. Indians were only mentioned as the victims. The cannibalism of the Indians, when it comes up, may be interpreted sympathetically before the cognoscenti as an expression of their culture which we are not judge; more often it is simply denied as a calumny by the Spaniards against the Indians who would never have done such a thing. But this riposte is never allowed to clear the Spaniards of Las Casas's charge that they permitted or encouraged cannibalism.

Another example, seemingly trivial and even amusing, but revealing in its own way, is the discovery of America. We are told, with the air of one uttering a great revelation, that Columbus did not discover America, because there were people already here. In fact, the Indians in Minneapolis bought billboards on the sides of the city buses (with whose money, I wonder) for a poster with the slogan "Real eyes realize real lies: Columbus did not discover America" plastered above a snapshot of some Indians with their peepers wide open. This is an example of the fallacy John Dolan has named "Cogitus Interruptus". A seemingly logical progression is suddenly derailed to an illogical conclusion. The effect is to stun the mind and slip the conclusion in before it recovers. There were people already living in America, they knew they were here and that this land existed, long before Columbus showed up, so Columbus did not discover America. Did the Indians know where they were with respect to the rest of the world? Did they even know there was a rest of the world? Did they travel to Europe and inform the Europeans of the existence of America? No? How did the Europeans find out it was here, then, if one of them did not in the course of his travels discover America? The amazing thing is that these very obvious considerations never occur to those immersed in multiculturalism. It really does inhibit thought.

It is important, so the theory of pluralistic education goes, to bring students into contact with cultures and ideas that are different. This is what broadens, liberates, uplifts, etc. Thus the practice of teaching Western culture, the Great Books, or similar curricula is supposed to be short sighted. Moreover, the real diversity that is needed can come only from immersion in the works of non-European, economically oppressed, racially antagonistic or queer cultures. On the other hand, if someone should argue that any of these cultures are so different that their impact on our culture (e.g. through massive immigration) could weaken or destroy our society, we are taught that all people are alike and that to deny this is bigotry of the worst sort.

Multiculturalists claim all cultures to be significant, but they usually make no real attempt to enter deeply into those that genuinely are far removed from the Western. For example, I looked over a collection of texts being used in Afro studies courses. What interested these scholars of African cultures was the western cultural instruments of Africans. The novelist or short story writer (of Western style short story prose) was what was worthy of the students' attention, not the native productions of African cultures. More ridiculous are those claims that Egyptian culture was African, in the sub-Sahara sense, or that the Greeks stole their culture from Africa. Thus Western culture is at once the noble creation of the blacks, and an evil generated by whites to oppress or destroy the rest of the world. (This contradiction is expressed visually by the Nation of Islam types who talk Afrocentrism and wear white shirts and ties.)

Liberals claim that education means getting people to appreciate a culture other than their own. Multiculturalism is but the pursuit of this educational goal. Actually the function is to keep whites from learning their own culture, for there is no place in the new curriculum for them to absorb it, let alone develop an understanding of it at an advanced academic level. Thus the students enter the universities' multicultural programs culturally naked - which is what the liberals intended, for their rootlessness leaves them defenseless against liberal remolding.

By now the reader should begin to see that multiculturalism is a system of propaganda put together by very clever university professors, and that it is based on breaking apart the thought world of the students and keeping things carefully compartmentalized, until they are ready to assimilate the nihilistic outlook proffered by the university elites and reintegrate all their thinking in terms of it.

But multiculturalism is more than that. It is also the initiation of the youth into barbarism and perversion. That is why participation is so important to multiculturalists. Involvement in radical politics, New Age ceremonies, sexual experimentation (the kinkier the better from the faculty point of view) changes the character of the students. They can never get back their innocence and, given human nature, are strongly driven to adopt the radical ideologies proffered by the faculty to justify what they have done. This is why so-called gay studies are central to multiculturalism. Is is the instrument by which the students can be captured and most indelibly marked for life.

Multiculturalists aim at irreversible change. A favorite slogan of the left is "you can't turn back the clock". From the appearance of Hegel's philosophy up until the fall of the Soviet empire, the irreversibility of the gains of the left were felt to be guaranteed by reality itself, most commonly believed to be due to economic determinism in history a la Marx. Reagan with his evident popularity gave these people a dread that their works might be undone after all. The aggressive, rapid advancement of multiculturalism (and the prevalence of conspiracy theories about the right) is to be understood in view of the urgency felt by the left to subvert the next generation in some permanent and deep way while they still have the power to do so. And if they succeed, they feel, Christian culture will have receded past the point where it can be reconstituted.

La Leyenda Negra

In its attack on the origins of American society multiculturalism makes heavy use of la leyenda negrab (the black legend) which demonizes the Spaniards. A particularly illuminating study of this view of Spanish activities is Philip Wayne Powell's Tree of Hate.[3] The "particular hate" for the Spanish appeared first in Italy.[4] This arose over the interests of the Spanish monarchy in Sicily and southern Italy, and the consequent military activity and presence of Spaniards in those areas. But it was also due to the "age-long mixture of Spanish with Oriental and African elements, plus the Jewish and Islamic influence upon Spanish culture; this motivated the view of the Spaniards as a people of inferior race and doubtful orthodoxy."[5]

The figure of the rapacious, lecherous, cruel Spaniard gathered ever more literary embellishment during the succeeding centuries, for it was the misfortune of the Spanish people that their kings contrived to meddle in the affairs of, or outright dominate, many other nations. The leyenda negra perfectly fit the needs of propaganda. The Spaniard was seen as alien, not really European, an illegitimate intrusion into European affairs from the outside.

As usual, multiculturalism tries to be on both sides of the matter. The Hispanics are said to be an oppressed minority. In Latin America they suffer from imperialistic, capitalist exploitation of the United States. When they unaccountably nevertheless come in their millions to racist, oppressive America they are treated with vicious racism. They are poor exploited innocent victims. Yet, when necessary for propaganda purposes, these same Hispanics are the evil rapacious Spaniards of the Black Legend. Only in that role they suddenly cease to be alien beings tainted with Africa and the Orient but, for the multiculturalists, quintessential Europeans!

Bartolomé de Las Casas (1474-1566) is the patron saint of la leyenda negra. This Spanish bishop divided his career between traveling about in the new world gathering scandalous stories and haranguing people in Spain about how things should be run. Las Casas adopted the Indians as his special cause, and propaganda as his weapon. (It was Las Casas who advocated, successfully, the introduction of black slavery into America to ease the labor of the Indians.[6])

Las Casas felt that a lie was justified in a worthy cause and produced a great many of them which have become the staple of the multiculturalists. But if the Spaniards were so bad, why do their enemies have to lie so much?

Covenant College

The administration of the Presbyterian Church in America's Covenant College decided they needed multiculturalism for their students, so they hired a Director of Multi-cultural Services. Covenant College's multicultural functionary, a certain J.C. Upton, set about his job with enthusiasm. This came to the attention of a broader section of the church when a propaganda essay of Upton's appeared in the school paper The Bagpipe and photocopies began to circulate.[7]

Upton starts off with the usual nonsense about Columbus being lost, and not discovering America because people were already here. What these people are to be called, though is a tricky question. Upton calls them Native Americans, but why should they be named after an Italian? The problem is that they had no name for themselves. After all, they did not know of the rest of the world and therefore knew no identity in contrast to it. Probably the best course is to use the name applied by the Norsemen long before Columbus: Skrælings (described in the sagas as "dark, ugly fellows, with ugly hair on their heads too; they had large eyes and broad faces").

Evidently Upton's background is not in mathematics, or even grade school arithmetic, for he says that from an original population of five million Skrælings ("Native Americans"), over the next centuries more than 30 million were killed, leaving 250,000 in 1890. That's an average of seven and a half million killed each century from a population of five million declining to a quarter million. But, it is trickier than that. For Upton expects us to swallow Las Casas's story that "there were 3,000,000 people on Hispaniola alone and most were destroyed". Then he tells us that between 1492 and 1550 the population of Mexico dropped by 80% from 25,000,000 to 5,000,000. So in fifty years the Skrælings multiplied from 5 million to over 25,000,000 in Mexico alone, (despite a loss of at least 1,500,000 in the interval in Española alone, and 100,000 on San Salvador) and crashed again to 5,000,000.

The Covenant College administrators were so impressed by Upton's scholarship that they promoted him to the faculty.

Upton is also an interpreter of the Constitution. "The slave did not have to be treated with any human consideration whatsoever. Even in the founding document of our nation, the famous constitutional compromise defined the slave as only three-fifths of a person. The professed high ideals of Anglo-Western society could exist side by side with the profitable institution of slavery only if the humanity of the slave were denied and disregarded. The heart of racism was and is economic."

As any high-school graduate knew, back before multiculturalism took over education, the three-fifths compromise did not define whether slaves were persons but pertained to representation in Congress. The southern states wanted all slaves counted in the census as population to be represented in Congress, even though they could not vote. The northern states feared this would give the south too many votes in Congress and argued that, as slaves were not citizens in the southern states, they should not be counted for Congressional representation. Neither side would give in, so a pragmatic compromise was reached at three/fifths, representing not a valuation of the slaves but of the ratio of southern political strength at the convention as against that of the north.

Why this is related to the Marxist analysis of racism, which he endorses, Upton does not venture to say.

The main thing to notice about Upton is that he is just mindlessly reeling out the standard multicultural propaganda line. At every turn he recites the prepackaged propaganda. He is simply a specialist in the politics of guilt and pity, hired to lay a guilt trip on the Covenant students so they can be manipulated for the purposes of left wing politics and social engineering. A minor point is the way he alternates in his essay between references to the whites who "built their new America" and "their new nation" and speaking of "our nation". This is a mark of the professional Negro. When it suites him (when it is time for takings and claiming privileges) he is an American. When it is an question of responsibility and blame he is not.

What this means is that the college administration has made the corruption of the Covenant youth part of their agenda. No longer interested in building a Christian civilization, they have hired a professional racist to break the students' resistance to the socialist new order.

We should not, however, overlook what might be said in defense of the Covenant College administration. Here are some possible justifications:

Clearly the Presbyterian Church in America cannot allow the inculcation of multiculturalism to continue to take place in its name. Yet that is exactly what is happening in the official church college. Either the school must be cleaned up or it must be gotten rid of.

And so we are back to the question of the government of church-related colleges. The reputation of the PCA is being dragged through the mud. It will be judged by what it permits in its college. Some will say that this is my fault for exposing what goes on there, and that if it were all hushed up, everything would be fine. Others would point to the antics of the administration and faculty as a problem. A third group would like the see the corruption spread through the whole denomination, as happened in the Christian Reformed Church, after thirty years of rot in the denominational college.

The nature of the problem, though, suggests a failure of the Church to properly govern its school, and perhaps the failure to set up a proper structure for governing the school. Maybe the mistake is in having a church college. Contra Hooker, the university seems to be a non-ecclesiastical entity. If from Covenant College's point of view, being Reformed is too high a price to pay for church support, I say, cut them off. CM


Notes

[2] A potent psychological factor is that many of the progenitors of the components of multiculturalism were involved in the crimes of World War II, whether as fascists, collaborators, cowards, or communists (who were first allies and collaborators of the fascists, and then under cover of the Resistance engaged in slaughters of their domestic political enemies).

[3] Philip Wayne Powell, Tree of Hate: Propaganda and Prejudices Affecting United States Relations with the Hispanic World (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 1985). It should be noted that Powell, in defending the Spaniards, is concerned to minimize their faults, and must be read cautiously.

[4]"Sobre todas las naciones contadas y sobre todas los demás que ay deramadas por el mundo, tienen este odio particular que hemos dicho contra España los ytalianos." Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada, 1567, quoted in Powell, p. 40.

[5] Sverker Arnoldsson, quoted in Powell, p. 41.

[6] Martin Marty, "Forward", in Bartolomé de Las Casas, In Defense of the Indians, (DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 1992), p. xvi. Las Casas was very liberal minded about it. He wanted white slaves too.

[7] J.C. Upton, "American History 101: Genocide, Slavery, and Oppression", The Bagpipe, 39:8 (January 25, 1994)


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