September 22, 2017
Outside the West, we learn the same truth from Confucius. Of course, for like all politics, such wisdom is ultimately a reflection of human psychology itself. Unlike Bill Kristol, the true conservative is on the side of the poor, which is not to say he advocates irresponsible entitlements, because he knows that rights are essentially negative. Unlike Bill Kristol, the true conservative wants to limit immigration as such because he knows doing so is in the best interest of native workers. In Charles Murray’s words: “We as Americans owe an obligation to our fellow Americans…that should take priority over our obligation to the world’s population and globalization. So I’m in favor of limiting…immigration.”
Ours is a bewildering situation. How did we get here? Like safe spaces, micro-aggressions, and bias response teams, multiculturalism is a distinctly academic notion, the product of the Leftist academy. Indeed it issues from the deranged character of academic life itself. Academia is a uniquely competitive world, marked by deep anxiety and even hatred (albeit usually concealed, as that vice tends to be) since in order to succeed other’s must fail, as in law, medicine, sports, and elsewhere. But between the vanity in academia and that in a law firm, for example, there is a significant difference. Because academics work in ideas, the vanity is exceedingly powerful, and accordingly, the people unusually prickly, although, being unusually weak and cowardly (just compare the ordinary professor to a construction worker, or indeed to any man), academics are inclined to conceal their prickliness more than most, thereby only exacerbating their malaise.
And since, as in a bad marriage which people stick out for their children’s sake, academics must somehow manage to get along, they take diligent care to feign respect for each other’s scholarship (“I have long admired your work”) and for people themselves (“I really enjoyed meeting you—hope to see you at the next conference”). This is of course part of the general insincerity of academic life, which, like an art gallery, a poetry reading, or any number of other highbrow contexts, is palpable to ordinary people. As has often been said, those who live long in delusion lose the ability to perceive reality itself: delusion is their reality, nor do they know it. And so it happens that, having long played at believing everybody is equally deserving of respect, from famous Department Chair down to obscure adjunct and inept graduate student, the academic is already psychologically conditioned to believe in the multiculturalist fantasy.
For, since in order to deal with his colleagues day after day he has to live a lie—indeed be a lie—he applies his general habit of false evaluation (again, having forgotten that it is false) to peoples and cultures, in spite of their innumerable conflicting interests, values and histories. Just as he pretends that his generic Marxist interpretation of Hard Times is of intellectual importance, so he pretends that twenty-first century America is compatible with Islam. Because of how the academic himself has long lived, and therefore long perceived and evaluated, the world is somehow, someday supposed to be as blissfully diverse, tolerant and enlightened as an academic conference, as the academic, in his conceited delusion, conceives of it. From a general life of lies (publication as such a virtue; committees of resentment as public service; the tritest cant imaginable as wisdom against the grain, and so on) to their projection into human affairs in general: that is the typical academic mind, and here is the source of the Left’s multiculturalist utopia.