Anti-Multi Culti Movement at NY Times? Harvard Soc Prof Says Freedom Western Creation
Could multiculturalism be on its way out at the New York Times? Yesterday, one columnist extolled classically Western Hellenic values over those of historical Judaism. Today, another columnist flatly asserts that freedom is "a distinctive product of Western civilization."
In the subscription-required God's Gift, Harvard sociology professor Orlando Patterson criticizes the Bush administration for formulating its Iraq policy on the "erroneous assumption . . . that freedom is a natural part of the human condition."
Continued Patterson: "A basic flaw in the approach of the president and his neoliberal (a k a neoconservative) advisers was their failure to distinguish Western beliefs about freedom from those critical features of it that non-Western peoples were likely to embrace."
Concludes the professor:
"Those of us who cherish liberty hold as part of the rhetoric that it is 'written in our heart,' an essential part of our humanity. It is among the first civic lessons that we teach our children. But such legitimizing rhetoric should not blind us to the fact that freedom is neither instinctive nor universally desired, and that most of the world’s peoples have found so little need to express it that their indigenous languages did not even have a word for it before Western contact. It is, instead, a distinctive product of Western civilization, crafted through the centuries from its contingent social and political struggles and secular reflections, as well as its religious doctrines and conflicts."
Wow! May the liberal ears of the New York Times and the MSM at large hear the good professor's words. If indeed freedom and liberty are not universal values, but distinct creations of Western civilization, the ramifications are sweeping. Patterson focuses on foreign policy here. But the implications are stunning for everything from education to immigration policy to the bankrupt moral relativism of multiculturalism.
How did this one make it past the editor? Or is there a sea change afoot at the Gray Lady?
Finkelstein visited Iraq last month. Contact him at email@example.com