Filed under: Entertainment, Music | Tags: "The Chrysanthemum", Joshua Rifkin, Scott Joplin Rag
Back in the early days of the Twentieth Century, there was a great burst of ragtime. Scott Joplin and his publisher, John Stark of Sedalia and St. Louis turned out one rag after another. Happy music. Here is Joshua Rifkin playing Scott Joplin’s The Chrysanthemum.
When the song was first released, it was dedicated to 19 year-old Freddie Alexander of Little Rock, with whom Joplin had fallen madly in love, and whom he married shortly thereafter. She died after only ten weeks of marriage. Joplin was devastated, but hid his grief in his music.
(H/T: Michael Walsh, NRO)
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Freedom, History, The Constitution | Tags: Diversity, Multiculturalism, Political Correctness
Perhaps it began in the European Union. The continent of Europe has been the site of one bloody war after another for centuries. The nations of Europe, exhausted after the Second World War, wanted to stop. Anti war rallies were very much in vogue while the Cold War left an aggressive Soviet Union threatening from the East.
The European Union’s birthrate has dropped below replacement rate. Which means, if nothing else, that the young workers to support Europe’s aging welfare state simply would not be there. The EU encouraged immigration, particularly from their former colonies. Immigration did not necessarily mean assimilation, immigrants were not always welcomed, and belonging wasn’t necessarily a part of the multicultural vision.
All the differences people brought with them were theoretically to be melded into the colorful tapestry of the modern multicultural state. Differences in language, custom, religion and race were to make the tapestry richer and more interesting, and anyone who publicly disagreed could be investigated by the thought police and charged with the sin of racism. Careers could be destroyed by incorrect thought by anyone indigenous, white and male. Freedom of thought was officially out of fashion and official language was closely controlled. Keeping your head down became a way of life.
Overnight, all has changed. Angela Merkel, chancellor of a country where political correctness is carefully nurtured, has just told us that multiculturalism “has failed utterly.” France’s President Sarkozy has been saying the same thing for some time. Prospect, Britain’s leading left-wing intellectual monthly carried a headline “re-thinking race; has multiculturalism had its day? And now Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron has delivered a reasoned demolition of “state multiculturalism” and made a start at rooting it out of official British policy. In Switzerland a referendum about minarets revealed the population’s concerns about Islamism. In Canada a leader of the country’s Muslim community, Tarek Fatah, has spoken out to say that just like Britain, Canada’s multiculturalism will fail.
Cameron delivered the analysis at the annual conference on international security in Munich. It removed multiculturalism from the categories of welfare and anti-discrimination policy to that of national security and anti-terrorism, where conservatives have an advantage over the left.
His argument is that terrorism is threatening the West, not only in Afghanistan, but also at home. It has its roots in the underlying “extremist ideology” of Islamism. Young Muslim men in Britain begin their road to jihad by picking up this ideology from institutions, leaders and organizations subsidized by government money and official favors. It is further promoted by multiculturalism which encourages different cultures to live separate lives, and delivers impressionable young men into the hands of state-funded extremists. It would have to be confronted by denying funds to bodies that preach hatred and separatism, and ideologically as well.
Both Mark Steyn and John O’Sullivan have insisted that one reason for the success of extremist Islamism is the absence of British patriotism. Multiculturalism has refused to offer its new citizens the real opportunity to become British. To offer real assimilation and pride in their country’s national identity. Multiculturalism and political correctness have created a vacuum where British patriotism ought to be.
America has been a melting pot from the beginning. And when we wrote a Constitution, we wrote that into it. American was already a blend of immigrants from many countries with many languages and many religions. Our national identity became a country of immigrants united by ideas of freedom and opportunity, protected by a Constitution in which the people gave the government some few limited powers, with lots of checks and balances.
That has not made us immune to the liberal elite’s embrace of multiculturalism and diversity to enhance their push for radical equality and insistence that racism is the greatest problem in American life. Our history and deep national patriotism have made multiculturalism and diversity more often the subject of jokes, but it is there and needs to be rooted out.
Americans who made multicultural jokes, and laughed at diversity and got kicked out of college by the faculty language police were in the right. Our elites should take notice of what is happening across the water.