Dictatorship of Virtue:
Multiculturalism and the Battle for America's Future
By Richard Bernstein
Multiculturalism, says Richard Bernstein in
his introduction, is an ďardently advocated, veritably messianic
political program, and, like most political programs that have succumbed
to the utopian temptation, it does not take kindly to true difference.Ē
Alfred A. Knopf, 367 pp, 1994
Itís a strong, provocative statement,
but Bernstein relentlessly documents it in this powerful critique of
modern multiculturalism. From elementary schools to graduate schools, and
even in corporate America, multiculturalists seek to impose their agenda
on often unwilling faculty, students and employees. Those who dare to
resists are called racists, homophobes, sexists, etc. Jobs are threatened,
tenure revoked, reputations and lives destroyed, all in the effort to
impose rigid, uncompromising beliefs that do not tolerate dissent.
Ironically, this is done in the name of diversity and open-mindedness.
Bernstein does not object to the basic
premise of multiculturalism, which is that other cultures, ways of life,
and societies can teach us certain, helpful concepts. All cultures have an
inherent worth, and it can broaden a personís mind to learn about them.
There is nothing wrong with this.
However, multiculturalists do not stop
there. Since all cultures are equal, then Western culture, or American
culture, is no better than, say, Australian aborigine culture. In fact,
Western culture is flawed and even evil, since it has supposedly stamped
out competing cultures, ignoring their place in history and wiping out
entire races. Women, minorities, and children all over the world have been
victimized by this Western culture, particularly by the white males who
Much of this, of course, is nonsense,
but hardly serious or even important, except when multiculturalists take
charge and try to impose this theory as fact. Then itís not so funny.
Bernstein relates several fights, from
the University of Texas at Austin to Wellesley College to Brookline
Elementary School, between the powerful department heads, consultants and
advisers who would brainwash students with this tripe and the individual
faculty members, journalists and parents who favor genuine diversity, in
which all ideas are discussed in a free and open dialogue.
This is an important book, if perhaps a
bit dated, because it shows how true freedom is threatened by powerful
interests but can be defeated with honest, stubborn appeals to truth and