Friday, December 1, 2023

Don't Introspect!

Life is not therapy. And therapy is not life. Most therapists will claim that your best life is more therapeutic, but that simply means that they are trying to gin up business… for themselves. 

Amazingly, some business leaders happily jump on the therapy bandwagon. They claim, in all seriousness, that you should live therapeutically. They mean that you should gain self-awareness through introspection.

To which Herminia Ibarra, a professor at the London Business School, responds by telling them to get over themselves. That means, to cease introspecting, to cease looking for the next big insight, but to direct their attention outward, to the reality of their businesses. 

Rather than ponder your unresolved infantile issues, you, as manager, should make a move, try out a new proposal, and see whether it works.

Ibarra proposes pragmatism and empiricism as cures for therapy culture malaise.    

As the old saying goes: Get out of your mind and into your life.

Of course, introspection is a theoretical term, one that therapists love to use. In more common parlance it means that you should feel your feelings, get in touch with your feelings and ask yourself how something makes you feel.

When faced with a complex real situation, therapy culture denizens plunge head-first into the depths of their souls, the better to discover their real feelings. And that means, they want to understand whether they are re-enacting some unresolved infantile trauma. 

Presumably, once you discover the relevant infantile issue and once you purge it from your psyche, you will naturally know exactly how to deal with your current dilemma.

Obviously, as Ibarra suggests, this is a futile exercise. Look at a different context. Let’s say that you are playing chess. Before you make a move on the chessboard, do you search your soul for some unresolved infantile trauma? Do you try to figure out how badly you want to win or how much you are trying to sabotage yourself? 

If you want to learn how to play chess, you can only do so by playing the game. And by analyzing the moves, the good, the bad and the indifferent.

Yet, therapy has been selling the notion that once you resolve your infantile issues you will naturally be a chess champion. It is a vapid notion, one that deserves to be called out.

CNBC explains Ibarra’s position:                  

Plenty of experts — from Harvard University neuroscientists and Yale University psychologists to self-made millionaires and ex-Google executives — preach self-awareness as a crucial trait separating highly successful people from everyone else.

At least one researcher is over it.

"I got a little tired of hearing so much about introspection as the solution for everything when, in fact, the only way we learn new behavior is by doing it," Herminia Ibarra, a professor of organizational behavior at London Business School, tells CNBC Make It.

Managing a company, in her description, feels a lot like playing a game:

But to become more successful you need to study the bigger picture of what's happening in your company, industry or community — and train yourself through experimentation to fill in any gaps you spot, says Ibarra.

Ibarra adds that introspection sends you back to the past. And it makes you believe that the current situation is merely repeating the past.

But, what if it is not? What if it is a new situation? Confusing the present with the past is not going to make you a better manager or even a better chess player.

"When you are focused introspectively, you are going to favor what you have past experience doing," Ibarra says. "But a lot of the stuff that we are being challenged to do [in our careers], we have no past experience doing. They are new."

To be a good manager, you need to know your people. You need to know your goals. You need to delegate where possible and allow people to do their jobs. If you do not have much managerial experience you will be more likely to want to do everything yourself. And then, learn from your experience.

And also, if you are going to be a good manager, you need to get over yourself. You also need to overcome the therapy-induced feeling that you need to express your feelings.

When Ibarra coaches people to become better listeners, they often respond that they're passionate people who need to express their opinions, and it's not in their nature to be passive, she says.

When you have an idea or a policy, do not scour your memory bank to see what past experience it resembles. Ibarra recommends that you try it out, to see how it works in practice:

Her typical response: "Try it out, lazily play with it, to see what happens." That's because your own experience is much more likely to convince you to shift your behavior than any advice someone gives you, says Ibarra.

You do not need to know why you are doing what you're doing. The value lies in the results obtained, or not. Once you get it right you should make it into a good habit. 

Psychologists often refer to that concept as "behavioral activation," which can be used to help create new habits and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, experts say.

"Evidence shows that motivation actually follows behavior," Seattle-based psychologist Rachel Turrow told Make It in March. "It's really a 'just do it' kind of thing."

Most people might recognize it as something simpler: Fake it until you make it.

"The only thing that is going to get you on a more successful path is to just try it out and see what works, and what doesn't work, and then let your own experience change your mind," says Ibarra.

Again, be pragmatic. Try out different approaches. Do not pretend that your problem is that you have not had enough therapy.

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Thursday, November 30, 2023

Giving Thursday

This post might feel familiar. It echoes earlier posts about fundraising. It signals that I am still raising funds for the blog.

Anyway, we can say that this post is suitable because today is Giving Thursday. For those who missed Giving Tuesday, here is another chance. Besides, since Thanksgiving always falls on a Thursday, Giving Thursday feels more appropriate.

The year 2023 is about to leave us. Following my tradition, I now humbly request that my loyal readers acknowledge the value of my work, by donating to the blog.

Since this is largely unpaid work, my writings should be considered a generous gesture. As we all understood last Thursday, generosity should provoke gratitude.

Hopefully, you will judge that I deserve some compensation. That is, that I have earned it. It is not very easy to offer up thoughts, reflections and analysis on a daily basis, but I have accepted the challenge. For the most part I believe that I have fulfilled it. 

I have been writing daily posts on this blog for some fifteen years now. Obviously, it takes time and effort to do the job, and I could not have done it without the financial support of you, my readers.

I try to make my writing sound effortless, and, as the old saying goes, it takes a lot of work to make anything seem effortless.

Obviously, the internet is awash in blogs, and even Substacks. I am grateful to those who have chosen to spend a small part of their days reading mine. I have tried to be worthy of their confidence, by presenting reflections that are unlikely to be found elsewhere. 

I am grateful to those who have already contributed to this worthy cause and invite everyone else to join them.

If you would like to express your gratitude by donating please use the orange Paypal link, found on the left side of this page.

Otherwise, you may send checks or money orders to my direct address,

310 East 46th St. 24 H; New York, NY. 10017.

Thank  you in advance.

The Perils of Bad Grammar

Does good grammar matter? What happens when we listen to people who continually make grammatical mistakes? Should we make allowances for people who use bad grammar or do we respond negatively to their flubs and foibles?

And, is there any way to measure the impact when people use consistently bad grammar? If we are less likely to hire people who cannot speak correctly, we would conclude that the teachers who tell their students that there is no such thing as correct grammar are doing them a serious disservice.

As of now there is very little research about the way people react when they hear someone using bad grammar. Now I have seen the results of a study from the University of Birmingham in England. The researchers measured heart beats, how the heartbeat changes when people hear bad grammar. Obviously, this involves automatic reactions, not reactions directed by the conscious mind.

We can guess that when you hear someone mangling the grammar you need to expend extra energy to understand what is being said. You might even feel offended at the implied insult where someone is speaking to you in code.

Or better, you feel like you do not belong to the same team. Thus, bad grammar isolates. It produces social disconnection.

How does this impact children who learn different forms of neighborhood slang? When they do not learn to speak correctly, does this impact their ability to get or to do jobs?

The research has not raised another issue, one which the researchers do not address. Many people today think that it is perfectly correct to use the word “they” as a singular pronoun. It is not, but they will be sorely offended if you disagree.

Is it confusing to hear people use the plural form of they? Moreover, what about the use of idiosyncratic pronouns, like dese, dose, dem and duh. We have heard that hiring managers will discard applications that open with an announcement of preferred pronouns. Perhaps they are on to something.

Are the hiring managers reactionary relics or are they acting rationally? Is it prejudicial not to hire someone who speaks incoherent garble, or is it simply normal behavior? How much time will you waste in meetings if you need to translate someone’s agrammatical droning into English?

To be more scientific about it all, what happens in your brain when someone speaks to you using bad grammar? Obviously, you need to guess what he is trying to tell you. And you are wasting your little gray cells trying to fill in the gaps. The process will be stressful, and when you are trying to communicate you would probably prefer not to have to add an extra level of interpretation.

Moreover, when we hear someone making grammatical errors in speech, our heart reacts. One can easily understand that brain function would be damaged by listening to speakers who use bad grammar. One is somewhat surprised to discover that cardiac function also responds.

Eric Dolan reports for Psypost:

Our hearts may indeed “skip a beat” when we hear grammatical errors in speech. In a new study published in the Journal of Neurolinguistics, researchers discovered that our heart rate variability, a measure of the heartbeat’s rhythm, changes in response to grammatical errors in speech. This finding suggests there is a deep and measurable connection between our physiological responses and our implicit understanding of language.

And, also:

“On the other hand, there was my hunch that some people (including myself!) get annoyed by grammar errors more than others, and I started to wonder whether this would have a measurable physical manifestation and whether we could capture this. We knew that our pupils react to ‘stress’: when something is scary or difficult, our pupils become larger. Heart rate is regulated by the same autonomic nervous system, so it could be expected that we’d find an effect in heart rate too.”

Apparently, expectations matter. When listening to native speakers we expect more grammatical competence. Thus, bad grammar in someone who is not a native speaker causes less of a reaction. 

Divjak and her colleagues found that when participants listened to speech containing grammatical errors, their heart rate variability changed noticeably. There was a significant decrease in heart rate variability in response to speech containing grammatical errors. This decrease was more pronounced when the error density in the speech was between 20% and 40%.

Interestingly, the decrease in heart rate variability was greater when the grammatical errors were made by native English speakers rather than non-native speakers. This suggests that errors made by native speakers were less expected and thus had a greater impact on the listeners’ physiological responses.

Reasonably, the researchers did not test such culturally fraught hot-button issues as pronouns. Instead they tested the use of article adjectives, like “a”, “an” and the. One imagines mistakes like-- an rabbit, a cars. 

Half of these samples contained grammatical errors specifically related to the use of articles, such as “a”, “an”, and “the”. 

If you are more conscientious, you are more likely to feel affected by people who use bad grammar. And you are less likely to seek out their company or to socialize with them. We all have different reasons for choosing or not choosing friends, associates and colleagues. This is the first time I have seen bad grammar on the list.

“For example, if we find that conscientious people react more strongly to language errors, would that mean they are more negatively inclined towards people who make errors, and could that mean, for example, that they would be less likely to hire a foreign applicant if they are interviewing candidates for positions?”

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Wednesday Potpourri

First, from the Twitter account of Lahav Harkov:

Second-graders in Nablus coloring hang-gliders to celebrate the murder of Israeli children. Children in schools run by the supposedly moderate Palestinian Authority are being indoctrinated with hate.

Second, no one will dispute the fact that Israeli intelligence had failed to see the October 7 invasion and massacre. How did it happen?

The Financial Times offers a timeline of that failure:

A senior Israeli mil­it­ary intel­li­gence officer dis­missed a detailed warn­ing pre­dict­ing Hamas’s raid of Octo­ber 7, call­ing it an “ima­gin­ary scen­ario”, accord­ing to two people famil­iar with the dis­cus­sions.

Sentries on Israel’s bor­der with Gaza, many of them female sol­diers who watch and ana­lyse a con­stant feed of video and other data gathered near the elec­tronic fence sur­round­ing the enclave, sent a detailed report weeks before the attack to the highest-rank­ing intel­li­gence officer in the south­ern com­mand, both people said.

The report was sent using a secure com­mu­nic­a­tions sys­tem and con­tained spe­cific warn­ings, includ­ing that Hamas was train­ing to blow up bor­der posts at sev­eral loc­a­tions, enter Israeli ter­rit­ory and take over kib­butzim, the per­son with dir­ect know­ledge of the con­tents of the warn­ing said.

Israel’s fail­ure to pre­vent the attack, which the gov­ern­ment says killed more than 1,200 people, is now seen as its largest intel­li­gence fail­ure since Egypt and Syria launched a sur­prise assault in 1973 on the holy day of Yom Kip­pur.

The lower-rank­ing sol­diers also warned their ana­lysis of sev­eral videos showed Hamas was rehears­ing tak­ing host­ages, and that they felt an attack was immin­ent, the per­son said. The memo was triggered by the sight­ing of a high-rank­ing Hamas mil­it­ary com­mander over­see­ing the train­ing, who was iden­ti­fied by the sentries against a data­base of faces and iden­tit­ies main­tained by Unit 8200, a part of the Israeli intel­li­gence corps.

Both said the warn­ings were dis­missed not just because they came from lower-rank­ing sol­diers, but because they ran up against the Israeli gov­ern­ment’s con­fid­ence that it had con­tained Hamas through a pun­ish­ing block­ade and using aid and money as a means to pla­cate the mil­it­ant group.

Third, the satirical Babylon Bee has a Christmas message:

San Francisco Mayor Reminds Everyone To Get Their Christmas Shoplifting Done Early

Fourth, in New York City shoplifting is rampant and apparently unstoppable. The New York Post reports:

Almost all of the Big Apple’s supermarkets have been hit by shoplifters in the past year, with a majority crying they’re being targeted daily, a new survey found.

Sticky-fingered customers have swiped detergent, coffee, and other sundries from 93% of supermarkets in the five boroughs this year, members of the National Supermarkets Association reported in a September survey, whose results were shared with The Post. In all, 60% said their stores are burglarized seven days a week.

“It’s like they feel they’re licensed to shoplift now,” Carlos Collado, who owns two Fine Fare stores in the Bronx and Harlem, told The Post. He bemoaned the state’s 2019 criminal justice reforms that made thefts less than $1,000 ineligible for bail.

“They feel there’s no consequences, and they’re making it a profession,” the 56-year-old added, explaining many crooks are stealing big-ticket items like Haagen Dazs ice cream to flip for cash.

According to the NSA survey, 72% of supermarket owners said they’ve beefed up security measures, but Frank Pimentel, who owns a SuperFresh supermarket in Mott Haven and a Food Universe in Melrose, said his stores are still being targeted multiple times a day, even with security guards stationed inside.

America’s great blue cities, managed by Democratic mayors and prosecutors, are falling apart. 

Fifth, the news from Germany is grim. Mass migration has brought a crime wave. 

Thomas Brooke in Remix News reports the German government report:

Mass immigration into Germany is a significant contributing factor in the surge in violent crime being reported across the country, Germany’s federal police office, the Bundeskriminalamt (BKA), has revealed.

The number of crimes involving German citizens — which includes dual citizens who may have been born elsewhere — rose by 8 percent compared to non-German suspects which increased by as much as 23 percent. Furthermore, cases involving foreign minors rose considerably by 37 percent.

Sixth, as a sidelight, from France via Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, regarding the psychiatric perils of unrestricted immigration.

In France, Algerians are disproportionately represented among those involuntarily committed to psychiatric hospitals, to the point that French natives cannot access psychiatric treatment.

Consanguinity is very high in Algeria, which disproportionately leads to schizophrenia and psychosis. This is a topic of recurrent debate in Algerian media.

Seventh,  meanwhile, in Dublin Ireland, an Algerian migrant become Irish citizen stabbed three people, and this provoked a wave of riots.

The chief suspect in the multiple stabbing that left a five-year-old girl fighting for her life was arrested earlier this year for possession of a knife, the Irish Daily Mail has learned.

The man, originally from Algeria, has been living in Ireland for the past two decades. He took Irish citizenship more than a decade ago.

The man, who is in his late 40s, has come to Garda attention several times in the past year.

Naturally, the local media and the leftist government of Prime Minister Leo Varadkar declared that the problem was right wing agitators.

Eighth, an Irish-Israeli girl was released from Hamas captivity. The leeftist Varadkar government tweeted that “an innocent girl who had been lost has now been found.”

He was widely denounced for being a pathetic weakling. 

Ninth, speaking of rampaging mobs, the students at Hillcrest High School in Queens discovered that one of their teachers had attended a pro-Israeli rally. So they went crazy and tried to attack her. She hid in a classroom, awaiting help. They have also doxed her and demanded that she be fired.

New York’s mayor said that this was unacceptable behavior and that he was not going to do much of anything about it.


School chancellor David Bowen declared that it was a teachable moment. He said:

These organizations will play a crucial role in contributing to the broader mission of de-escalation and creating teachable moments from this challenging situation.

Tenth, Abigail Shrier offered this comment:

The fifteen years - and billions in public funds - we spent on “anti-bullying” and empathy education were clearly a smashing success.

And Michael Powell wrote this in The Atlantic:

"A teachable moment" is such a lovely phrase. Students jumped and beat up a black uniformed security guard and rampaged through the halls as a Jewish teacher hid behind locked doors. De-escalation training perhaps falls a tad short?

“Chancellor Bank’s weak response to the antisemitic riot at Hillcrest High School failed to condemn the behavior of over 400 students that threatened the life of a teacher, solely because she is Jewish,” educator Tova Plaut, a member of the New York City Public School Alliance, said on the steps of the Tweed Courthouse in Lower Manhattan.

“He failed to recognize the deep-seated Jewish hate present in our school and then doubled down on this failure by minimizing and erasing the legitimate concerns of our community,” Plaut said as she stood with 20 supporters.

“Chancellor Banks, this is your teachable moment,” she said. “Stop the hate now.”

Eleventh, at Hofstra University, President Susan Poser came under political fire for a statement she made on the current war in the Middle East. Being a strong, empowered woman Poser showed off her soft side, by promoting a specious moral equivalence:

A top Long Island pol is calling for the resignation of the president of local Hofstra University, claiming she failed in a statement to be “clear and strong in her condemnation of Hamas without equivocation.”

Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman, who used to teach business law at the school, recently fired off a letter to the Long Island university’s Board of Trustees, saying President Susan Poser issued a “callous and unconscionable statement’’ on the Israel-Hamas war to the college’s community last month, according to Fox News Digital.

Poser had written that she wanted to “acknowledge the emails and comments that I and other administrators have received since Hamas attacked Israel on October 7th.

“That event, Israel’s response, and the ongoing conflict are taking the lives of thousands of people, with no end in sight. We mourn the loss of life in Israel and Gaza, which is deeply affecting many members of our community,” she said.

“There is a complex history and conflicting views about the causal underpinnings of the current crisis. This is one of the reasons that lasting peace in that part of the world has been so elusive and contested. But what is not contested is the tragic loss of life of innocent Israelis, Palestinians, and many others,’’ Poser wrote.

Add “complex” to your list of weasel words, next to “curate’ and “granular.”

Twelfth, on the therapy front, Northwestern University cares about the mental health of its students. Consider the serious trauma visited on said students when they anticipated the arrival of a conservative speaker on campus:

Northwestern University’s student government offered “mental health support” for students traumatized by news that a conservative speaker was coming to campus. After the Supreme Court declared race-based college admissions policies unconstitutional, the Boston University School of Law student government assured students that BU’s “wellness resources,” a.k.a. therapy, could help them “navigate these times.” 

Therapy notwithstanding are you shocked to discover how many young Americans still sleep with stuffed animals:

Perhaps related: A YouGov survey in June found that more than one-third of American adults under age 45 sleep with stuffed animals.

Thirteenth, some good news from the trans front. When young men decided to compete as women in a wrestling match, the young women boycotted the event:

Riley Gaines has the story:

In a martial arts tournament last week, several females boycotted because of the surplus of males competing against the women. In most of the women's divisions, there were more males than females competing. In one of the women's division, there were ONLY males left competing as seen in the podium picture below.

Fourteenth, in Florida several high school officials allowed a trans girl to compete in a girls volleyball tournament. This is against the law in Florida, so they were all reassigned:

The Daily Mail:

A Florida high school principal and three other officials have been reassigned after letting a trans girl play on a girls' volleyball team - despite it being against state law. Principal James Cecil, assistant principal Kenneth May, athletic director Dione Hester and volleyball coach Jessica Norton were all shuffled away from teaching roles. Bosses at Monarch High School in Pompano Beach had raised 'allegations of improper student participation in sports.' It comes after Ron DeSantis signed a bill barring transgender females from playing on public school teams intended for student athletes born as girls in 2021. 'Although we cannot comment further, we will continue to follow state law and will take appropriate action based on the outcome of the investigation,' Broward County School District spokesman John Sullivan said. 'We are committed to providing all our students with a safe and inclusive learning environment.' 

Fifteenth, Jewish families are rethinking their interest in the Ivy league. They are directing their children to safer schools, where there is less indoctrination and less anti-Semitism.

The trend is a response to viral displays of campus anti-semitism — from Jewish students mobbed by pro-Palestinian demonstrators at Harvard to a Cornell student making anti-semitic death threats.

“Jewish families’ biggest concern is really about how the administrations didn’t react to protect all of their students,” Rim told The Post. “Private schools in more conservative parts of the country, like Wash U [in St. Louis], Emory [in Atlanta], SMU [near Dallas] and Vanderbilt [in Nashville] are popular choices as a Plan B.”

One of his clients just dropped their dream school of Columbia from the application list after three and a half years of consultations.

Sixteenth, the truth about Prince Harry’s troubles and travails. His brother thinks he overdosed on therapy. From the New York Post:

Prince William believes that his estranged brother, Prince Harry, has been influenced too much by therapy.

Omid Scobie’s newest tell-all, “Endgame,” reveals that the Prince of Wales, 41, thinks that the Duke of Sussex, 39, has been “brainwashed by an army of therapists.”

Seventeenth, they used to call it dieting.

Sex and the City star Cynthia Nixon begins HUNGER STRIKE in bid to trigger Israel-Hamas peace: Is mom to two Jewish kids with her ex-husband

  • Sex and the City actress Cynthia Nixon plans to go on a hunger strike in bid to trigger Israel-Hamas ceasefire

  • The 57-year-old actress is joining five other U.S. politicians this week to demand that President Joe Biden call for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza.

Naturally, this empty gesture will move public opinion. 

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Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Fundraising Redux

This post might feel familiar. It echoes yesterday’s post about fundraising. It counts as a sign that I am still raising funds for the blog.

The year 2023 is about to leave us. Following my tradition, I now humbly request that my loyal readers acknowledge the value of my work, by donating to the blog.

Since this is largely unpaid work, my writings should be considered a generous gesture. As we all understood last Thursday, generosity should provoke gratitude.

Hopefully, you will judge that I deserve some compensation. That is, that I have earned it. It is not very easy to offer up thoughts, reflections and analysis on a daily basis, but I have accepted the challenge. For the most part I believe that I have fulfilled it. 

I have been writing daily posts on this blog for some fifteen years now. Obviously, it takes time and effort to do the job, and I could not have done it without the financial support of you, my readers.

I try to make my writing sound effortless, and, as the old saying goes, it takes a lot of work to make anything seem effortless.

Obviously, the internet is awash in blogs, and even Substacks. I am grateful to those who have chosen to spend a small part of their days reading mine. I have tried to be worthy of their confidence, by presenting reflections that are unlikely to be found elsewhere. 

I am grateful to those who have already contributed to this worthy cause and invite everyone else to join them.

If you would like to express your gratitude by donating please use the orange Paypal link, found on the left side of this page.

Otherwise, you may send checks or money orders to my direct address,

310 East 46th St. 24 H; New York, NY. 10017.

Thank  you in advance.

Multiple Cults to Multiple Deities

He is writing about Great Britain, but Frank Furedi’s analysis of a fractured and fragmented society applies well to today’s America.

By his lights,multiculturalism has caused the fracture. By pretending that all cultures are of equal value, it encourages people to reject a unifying national culture. 

From a slightly different angle, multiculturalism involves worshiping multiple deities at multiple cults. It is a return to pagan idolatry, in defiance of the One God who founded Western civilization. The One God produced a unified nation, a community of laws, not an empire.

To describe multicultural society, Furedi quotes the recently deposed British Home Secretary, Suella Braverman. Among Braverman’s problems, she rejected multiculturalism:

She argued that multicultural policies have fuelled this fracturing of society into sometimes antagonistic identity groups. ‘Multiculturalism makes no demands of the incomer to integrate’, she said. ‘It has failed because it allowed people to come to our society and live parallel lives in it.’ She added that, in some extreme cases, certain groups of people can ‘pursue lives aimed at undermining the stability and threatening the security of society’.

The new British Foreign Secretary, David Cameron, offered a similar critique:

Cameron’s statement was certainly milder in tone to Braverman’s speech. But the content was strikingly similar. He said that the ‘doctrine of state multiculturalism’ had encouraged people of different cultures to live separate lives, and had ‘failed to provide a vision of society to which they feel they want to belong’. As a result, Cameron argued, ‘we have even tolerated these segregated communities behaving in ways that run counter to our values’. In response to the failure of state multiculturalism, Cameron called for the cultivation of a stronger national identity that could ‘prevent people turning to all kinds of extremism’.

Of course, migration patterns are the problem. The more members of a minority group settle in a nation, the more likely they are to maintain their cultural identities and to refuse to integrate-- because they refuse to offend the spirit of their ancestors:

Advocates of multiculturalism try to silence their critics, chucking out accusations of racism. And as they do so, they consciously avert their eyes to the profound social tensions in our midst, from gangs of Muslim and Hindu youths fighting each other on the streets of Leicester last year to the anti-Israel protesters marching through European cities this year.

Political leaders, in Great Britain and even at times in America, have lost a sense of national purpose and having given up on assimilating everyone into a unifying and encompassing culture.

Multiculturalist dogma tells them that they need not assimilate. But when it says that no culture is better or worse than any others it is defying the notion of the clash of civilizations. By Samuel Huntington’s theory, cultures compete to see which ones are better at protecting and providing for their people.

Of course, people who migrate to Britain and America are showing that they believe their native cultures to be inferior.

Indeed, the ideology of multiculturalism thrives in the absence of a vision for society to which everyone feels they can belong. The absence of such a vision is not accidental. It is due to multiculturalism’s insistence that no set of values can be regarded as superior to any other, or looked upon as the desirable norm. The absence of a cohering national vision for society, of a coherent sense of a nation’s shared values and traditions, should therefore be regarded as a direct achievement of multiculturalism.

According to Furedi, it all began with the counterculture that grew up during the Vietnam War. It was a sustained and systematic attack on Western civilization:

But it was the emergence of the so-called counterculture in the 1950s and especially the 1960s that proved pivotal. This challenged mainstream norms and values and, by politicising certain identities, began to give rise to what we now know as identity politics. And in doing so, the counterculture exposed European elites’ loss of belief, their depletion of moral and political capital. They effectively found themselves unable to respond to the challenge posed by the counterculture and provide a persuasive account of their nations’ way of life. The question of what it is to be British, German or Dutch had become very difficult for them to answer.

In Great Britain, Furedi explains, the establishment has openly rejected national identity. One might imagine that politicians, in particular, have wanted to cultivate minority voters, and have done so by pretending to respect their cultures. 

Indeed, it is the British establishment’s estrangement from its own nation’s historical legacy, traditions and values that has created the cultural terrain on which the divisive politics of identity and multiculturalism can flourish. As a result, multiculturalism and identity politics have faced very few obstacles in their rise to become today’s ruling ideologies.

Correctly, Furedi explains that the cure for multiculturalism is patriotism. In Great Britain this seems to be a daunting task, though many places in America have similarly rejected the value of patriotism:

Britain’s main public institutions now seem embarrassed by any display of patriotism. The arrogant imperial attitudes of the past have given way to a sense of shame about Britain’s history and its present. Those still given to displays of patriotism are marginalised as relics or, worse still, condemned as racists and xenophobes.

Feeling an attachment to one’s wider national community is now treated as something to be ashamed of. These sentiments have flourished in higher education, schools and cultural institutions like the BBC. Sneering at the Union flag has become de rigueur for members of the British cultural elites.

And also,

But no one was left in any doubt that a significant section of Britain’s cultural establishment regards symbols of national identity with a sense of amused contempt.

Multiculturalism diminishes and demeans patriotism and national pride. But, it must also diminish and demean personal pride, thereby giving rise to pervasive depression:

The consequences of this grievance culture have been profound. By cultivating and politicising group identities, multiculturalism has estranged people from the nation they inhabit. Continually encouraged to celebrate their difference, members of identity groups have become psychically distant from other members of society. Little wonder some now seem to have more attachment to national and ethnic conflicts far away than they do to the communities in which they actually live.

So, weak-kneed and weak-willed politicians, unwilling to risk losing minority votes, have rejected national pride in favor of multiple cults to multiple pagan deities. Is this the downside of democracy?

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