All of the attempts to right former wrongs by multiculturalism have been perpetuated in an attempt to garner the resonance of truer voices, voices more real because they are more diverse. Brown eyed writers and blue eyed ones we used to joke were next, but with the culture of ignorance besetting all contemporary attempts at multicultural reevaluation, I wonder what kind of multicultural world has been envisioned by any of the proponents of multiculturalism, if anything like a proponent could be determined for something as broad and as loosely defined and vaguely used as multiculturalism.
I met an educated man, a college educated man, a man in his forties or early fifties, who could not understand why an American poet made allusions to Greek poetry or mythology in his poems, finding it pretentious that the poet had done so. I did not say anything combative, although my first instinct was to be so. I did try to explain why a poet might want to do so, and perhaps how it was not pretentious, and that maybe our contemporaneity has become snobbish or pretentious itself, labeling someone who has such knowledge and a desire too use it as irrelevant, when in fact, there is probably nothing more irrelevant or reductionist than ignorance, especially the kind we misname being relevant. The contemporary American politically correct version of multiculturalism, though, is horribly narrow, terribly proscribed, undereducated in direct proportion to how much it undervalues knowledge other than that which it has dogmatically enforced as politically correct. The earth is flat was once a fact, and the fact we believe the parallax is an illusion is telling. But then amoeba must have their giants, no?
I am not speaking of my preferences for a Golden Age in my critique of multiculturalism, nor am I even asserting any argument against multiculturalism in itself, the latter being too absurd to consider. I do, though, see the ping-pong played in social commentary between those who believe that it is the best of times and those that believe it is the worst of times, and I ascent to neither. I do not often have an aversion for using superlatives, except where they are inappropriate, and here in analyzing our age, it is inappropriate to assert that it is either the best or worst time. It is what it is, even if it is in need of corrective, which of course does not point to the age being the worst. Of course, the same is true of any age throughout history; correctives are as they have been in the past, necessary.
I have asserted before, in another essay, that history is not progressive, that history could not be progressive. I cannot arrive at any conclusion drawn on the premise that because we are further along on the timeline, ours must be the best of all worlds that have ever been. We tell ourselves that our moves toward multicultural corrections are necessary, instead of saying what seems to me to be the prime motive in all diversity, which is, increasing profits by sub-dividing the market, or achieving hegemony by those unqualified to be leaders by attacking and undermining our understanding of what leadership is or could be or should be, as well as attacking what should be salvaged from the wreck of our tradition.
Everything everywhere is in a marketplace. Ideas are in a marketplace; political opinion and policy are in a marketplace, to provide some examples. It is not simply our autos or cell phones or fashion that are exchanged in the marketplace, political candidates too are in a marketplace, and it is the nature of the marketplace and how it serves the people’s interests or desires that has changed. There has always been a marketplace for ideas; Socrates philosophized in the marketplaces of Athens. Of course, the objects exchanged are virtually innumerable.
Publishing, for instance, has never been more enamored with any marketing ploy as much as they are with the mandates and dogmas of multiculturalism. Diversity, diversity, diversity, all and only in the name of dollars. I am not so naive that I think dollars are either inappropriate or an evil when considering social change. I am not so pure as to think that money is incidental to how change can be effected. I never respond to the evils of capitalism with communist ideas or ideals. Both tend toward hyper bureaucratized states, themselves subject to the call of totalitarianism. We live in a Totalitarian Capitalist State.
It is an essential notion of macroeconomics to subdivide the market to increase profits; multiculturalism has subdivided the marketplace of ideas to achieve greater dissemination, thus in the end, greater hegemony, which is exactly what the monied and power elites, with the help of media elites, have attached themselves to. If multiculturalism were really about freedom, states and bureaucrats would never be as fully on board as they seem to be today in the administration of policy. With enough resentment from formerly beleaguered camps, dollars are right enough. Did we expect a bourgeois capitalist populist society to envision literary truth any other way? It is not different because the authors are women or persons of color or post-colonial, all of them the new status quo. An ostrich in a dress is still an ostrich.