19/04/2004

Sowell sur la diversité culturelle

En 1990, Thomas Sowell reçut le Francis Boyer Award de l'American Enterprise Institute.  Le discours qu'il donna à cette occasion est un chef d'œuvre:

 

 

 

The very motto of the country-- E Pluribus Unum-- recognizes the diversity of the American people.  For generations, this diversity has been celebrated, whether in comedies like Abie's Irish Rose (the famous play featuring a Jewish boy and an Irish girl) or in patriotic speeches on the Fourth of July.  Yet one senses something very different in today's crusades for "diversity"-- certainly not a patriotic celebration of America and often a sweeping criticism of the United States, or even a condemnation of Western civilization as a whole.

 

The historic sharing of cultural advances, until they became the common inheritance of the human race, implied much more than cultural diversity.  It implied that some cultural features were not only different from others but better than others.  The very fact that people-- all people, whether Europeans, Africans, Asians, or others-- have repeatedly chosen to abandon some feature of their own culture in order to replace it with something from another culture implies that the replacement served their purposes more effectively: Arabic numerals are not simply different from Roman numerals, they are better than Roman numerals.  This is shown by their replacing Roman numerals in many countries whose own cultures derived from Rome, as well as in other countries whose respective numbering systems were likewise superseded by so-called Arabic numerals.

 

   If nations and civilizations differ in their effectiveness in different fields of endeavor, so do social groups.  Here there is especially strong resistance to accepting the reality of different levels and kinds of skills, interests, habits, and orientations among different groups of people.  One academic writer, for example, said that nineteenth-century Jewish immigrants to the United States were fortunate to arrive just as the garment industry in New York began to develop.  I could not help thinking that Hank Aaron was similarly fortunate-- that he often came to bat just as a home run was due to be hit.  It might be possible to believe that these Jewish immigrants just happened to be in the right place at the right time if you restricted yourself to their history in the United States.  But, again taking a world view, we find Jews prominent, often predominant, and usually prospering, in the apparel industry in medieval Spain, in the Ottoman Empire, in the Russian Empire, in Argentina, in Australia, and in Brazil.  How surprised should we be to find them predominant in the same industry in America?

 

A lire en entier bien évidemment ;-)       

21:57 Écrit par Kathy Schmurtz et Had | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0) |  Facebook |

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