Multi-culturism and Lessons from Haiti

Posted: October 21, 2010 in Haiti Missions, Political
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Haiti has been a wasteland for as long as anyone can remember. It may seem like picking on them when they are down, but it is obvious when you go there that Haiti cannot continue to operate in the dysfunctional manner they have for the last 100 years. If they do so, it is likely that they will continue to suffer even greater tragedies.

Haiti is operating in survival mode with each citizen just doing what they can to survive. There is very little concept of savings, planning, investment, workmanship, beautification, etc., since each day is a battle to simply live. They have had their share of corrupt leaders and natural disasters, but at its core, they do not have a culture that promotes a strong work ethic, good workmanship, planning, and personal responsibility.

While our unique American culture is far from perfect (and perhaps getting less so by the day) it is obviously one of the more desirable nations on earth, and has been for at least 100 years. Perhaps unwittingly, we have historically employed a “melting pot” strategy: we invited immigrants to become part of a great experiment in a new world, and bring their best with them! Generations of various peoples have come here and thrived when they learned English, adjusted to our culture and became an asset to the community. By welcoming immigrants at all income levels, we provided a stable culture base where those from around the world could have a chance to prosper.

Consider the words of Theodore Roosevelt, known as one of the better American presidents:

“In the first place we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the man’s becoming in very fact an American, and nothing but an American…There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn’t an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag, and this excludes the red flag, which symbolizes all wars against liberty and civilization, just as much as it excludes any foreign flag of a nation to which we are hostile…We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language…and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people.”
This quote is especially surprising coming from Teddy since he is also known as one of the first progressives even though he was a Republican. This Roosevelt is often vilified by conservatives due to some of his beliefs that the average person needed to be managed by the government rather than generally left alone to their own devices. 

In recent decades, we have encouraged immigrants with no skills and no ability to support themselves to come here. We have told immigrants to put a wall around their ways of living that have been transmitted from one generation to another and re-establish them here, even if they have failed to bring them sustainability. This can bring some of the best, but also the worst of their culture to a society that is not designed to deal with completely different culture standards.

Without embracing the freedoms and systems that our country has successfully developed over the years, many of these people have become liabilities, not assets.  They have not prospered, and have become a drain on our financial stability, not to mention their own.

The Great Society programs developed out of the European ideal of “equality”, over our traditional American ideal of “liberty”. Instead of a monoculture that is constantly improving with new immigrants desiring to become part of this great American experiment, we are told that entire societies can locate here, and does not have to make changes to prosper.

As the United States under President Obama has taken dramatic steps in an effort to move us more towards a multi-cultural society, Europe is seen moving the other way. At the same time that we have witnessed violent riots in France, Greece and great cultural dissension in the United Kingdom, liberal Germany is declaring the experiment a failure. As Chancellor Angela Merkel stated late last year; “This multicultural approach, saying that we simply live side by side and live happily with each other has failed. Utterly failed,” Merkel said.

While President Obama seems to be unfazed, the rest of the nation seems to be listening and are demanding that we not be so quick to abandon a culture that has been the most prosperous in history. We still have something of a core culture, a shared sense of moral beliefs and ideals, a desire to prosper and succeed to some extent our own merit.
But encouraged by a call for diversity, many cultures create  outposts of their own monoculture in America. They have not benefited from Judeo-Christian teachings that are at the root of our society. If a culture has led generations of its citizens to poverty in their own land, why do we think that they will thrive when bringing that exact culture here? It is antithetical to our unique society that we can be pulled in multiple directions, with different sets of eyes.

Even without Germany’s assessment, it should be clear that if we end up with many different cultures trying to live the same as they did in their homeland instead of blending into our culture, we will all have completely different sets of ideals, beliefs and mores. This causes friction between the cultures and keeps us from being a cohesive society.

Multi-culturists cringe at the thought that one culture is more “successful” than another, and would counter that success is in the eyes of the beholder. But the world is filled with cultures that do not embrace those tenets, and few would refer to them as successful by any measure. Poverty has gripped many nations for hundreds of years, and it can’t be all blamed on bad luck or imperialist nations. Whether the reader is religious or not, it is hard to argue that the common sense and discipline that the Bible delivers, provides the basis of most of our broader beliefs and practices.

Would anyone here want to move to a nation anywhere on earth of any significance that does not have Judeo-Christian teachings at its core? Would we embrace a life that did not give people individual freedoms and equal rights, promote a strong work ethic, give them the opportunity to thrive, or allow for freedom of thought and expression?

I am not sure that the American Federal Government can straighten out Haiti at any price. But I do believe that if Haiti embraced the common sense and work practices employed in the last century in the United States, they would be well on their way to prosperity for the next generation.

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