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June 8, 2008

'Herodotus and the Time Bomb of Multiculturalism'

Topics: Multiculturalism

Today's recommended reading is on Multiculturalism, which AWOL Civilization describes as a built-in time bomb for the West :

Along the underbelly of the Multiculturalist monster is one particularly slimy patch that is a bit embarrassing to the advocates of civilization. I am speaking of the fact that Multiculturalism is the progeny of Western culture. The belief that all art, music, literature, and philosophy have equal value is impossible--nay, unthinkable--outside the context of Western society.

We must understand this complex parent-child relationship, painful as it is, in order to banish the illegitimate offspring from our midst.

At the root of the dilemma is the spirit of free inquiry. When the Western mind searches for a solution to a problem, every possibility must be investigated. The tendency is to open one's self to all the options, all the time.

The point was driven home to me while reading The History by the Greek writer Herodotus (484-425 BC), one of the world's first true historians. The spirit of inquiry, that unquenchable thirst for knowledge, runs across the pages of this remarkable tome like a bubbling brook, seeping into every crevice.

Herodotus, who traveled widely, seeks to understand other cultures on their own terms. Consider the following passage:

For if one were to offer men to choose out of all the customs of the world such as seemed to them the best, they would examine the whole number, and end by preferring their own; so convinced are they that their own usages far surpass those of all others...That people have this feeling about their laws may be seen by very many proofs: among others, by the following. [The Persian King] Darius, after he had got the kingdom, called into his presence certain Greeks who were at hand, and asked--"What he should pay them to eat the bodies of their fathers when they died?" To which they answered, that there was no sum that would tempt them to do such a thing. He then sent for certain Indians, of the race called Callatians, men who eat their fathers, and asked them..."What he should give them to burn the bodies of their fathers at their decease [in the manner of the Greeks]?" The Indians exclaimed aloud, and bade him forbear such language.
In showing how each culture is attached to its own customs, Herodotus raises himself to the level of super-analyzer. He picks a vantage point from which he can compare and dissect cultures, as if they were any other object of study.

Thus we have an early example of the open inquiry that will set the tone for Western thought for thousands of years to come. Unfortunately, the stage is also set for Multiculturalism. This is not to disparage Herodotus, but only to say that one of the West's greatest strengths has a built-in weakness, an intellectual time-bomb embedded within it.

Continue reading: Herodotus and the Time Bomb of Multiculturalism

After reading "Herodotus and the Time Bomb of Multiculturalism," check out "A Presidential Breach."

Posted by Richard at June 8, 2008 6:39 PM

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