Monday, 30 September 2013

Quote of the Day: Culture vs Multiculturalism

Today’s quote, an observation on the birth of the Multicultural movement, comes from a 2012 obituary of Australian Roger Sandall, the author of book The Culture Cult.

Roger [Sandall] … was the first scholar to realise the implications of the fundamental difference between American and English notions of culture that had by [merged by the late seventies].
    The English version derived from the poet and essayist Matthew Arnold’s account in Culture and Anarchy(1875), which defined culture as “the best which has been thought and said in the world” and which hoped that by educating people to know what these thoughts and words were, they would lift humanity to a higher, more civilised status. The American version came from the anthropologist Franz Boas, the founder of Columbia University’s school of anthropology, who defined culture as the totality of human behaviour within a social system.
    In place of Arnold’s concept of a cultural hierarchy, Boas substituted a value-neutral, radical egalitarianism: all cultures were prized by the people who inhabited them, no cultural values could be judged better than any other, hence all cultures were different but equal.
    By the 1980s, the triumph of the American anthropological conception of culture over the Arnoldian conception was all but complete…
- Keith Windschuttle, “Vale Roger Sandall”


  1. So I can crap on a dinner plate and call it art.
    J Cuttance

  2. Boas is mistaken in my view. When I can demonstrate that one culture is more civilised or advanced (or something along those lines) than another then the lesser is simply lesser. Noting good bits of something bad overall weights it but doesn't make it equal to something else where its, on the same measure, better overall. The trick is probably getting people who strongly hold to something to look at it impassionately. You can look around the world to generally see what works and what doesn't. What doesn't is often retained by the few for whom it does at the expense of the majority for whom it doesn't. I guess its simply that me liking it doesn't make it good.


  3. "So I can crap on a dinner plate and call it art."

    No one's stopping you, moron, but it would upset the Randists.

  4. Woohoo. Dissed by j.holden. I must have done something right. At the risk of feeding a troll, can anyone interpret the randist jibe for me?
    J Cuttance

  5. Crapping on a dinner plate pretty much describes J. Holden's style, really.

  6. A wonderful quotation and I am pleased Peter has drawn attention to it.

    I think Arnold is the way to go; Boaz is just talking about collectivism sinking to the lowest common denominator - and boy hasn't it been a great success!

    Hip Hop gangsta culture being held up as a role model for morons; Xfactor Idol and various other talent shows which have the ignorant masses cheering on those with no talent to speak of; the abolition of the English language by socialist education systems - these few examples alone have helped sink mankind to the lowest level in centuries.

    How shocking it would be if we were to select the best and make it received wisdom; how shocking to rise to the occasion; how shocking to break out of the comfort zone of collectivism that being part of the 99% of 'little people' provides.
    Selecting only the best may involve *shock* *horror* thinking - or a bit of effort.


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