The Collegian : the weekly newspaper of Behrend College. (Erie, PA) 1989-1993, January 30, 1992, Image 5

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    Thursday, January 30, 1992
Western civilization v. multiculturalism
by Tom Strunk
This year marks the 500th
anniversary of Columbus’
discovery of the New World.
While most years we celebrate
Columbus Day, it seems that
this year we will be
celebrating Indigenous
Peoples' Day.
Columbus has been
continually assailed by attacks
from the left, claiming that he
destroyed a continent
inhabited by peaceful
civilizations living in
wondrous harmony with
Columbus has become the
symbol of western civilization
and all its sins. This attack
against western civilization is
led by a group of
multiculturalists determined to
expose every oeplorablc act
committed by Europeans, to
ignore the offenses of non
western civilizations, and to
divide America into warring
factions similar to those of
Eastern Europe.
Since classical antiquity
the western world has been a
driving force in the way man
lived. The Greeks and
Romans, as the creators of
western civilization, were
among the lirst to analyze the
way man thought.
They established
institutions of learning based
on academic freedom. They
questioned natural
phenomena scientifically,
rather than supernaturalfy.
The coups that changed mankind
Ed. note: Mike Royko is on
vacation. In his absence, we are
reprinting some of his favorite
by Mike Royko
The world of science is
delirious with excitement over
the discovery of new, efficient
ways to gel electricity from here
to there. Or there to here, 1
It’s said that these recent
discoveries will have an
enormous impact on the
economy and our lifestyles and
make possible all sorts of
wondrous technological advances.
One scientist was quoted in a
newspaper as saying about the
rapid development and potential
of the new electrical conductors:
"Nothing like this has ever
happened in science before."
Another said:
"Superconductivity developments
arc the most exciting new
breakthroughs of our lives. It
will change the way we live."
With all respect for the
scientists, I have my doubts
about that. Changing the way we
live, I mean.
For example, nothing I've read
has said that this amazing
Confidence in the individual
was reflected in their
democratic government. This
way of life was far different
from those of the Egyptians
and the civilizations of the
Near East, where there were
stricter class structures and
events were explained
independently of reason.
As centuries passed,
Europe even challenged the
validity of its own religious
orthodoxy: Catholicism.
When western civilization
flourished, it could not be
contained by Europe and it
burst out upon the world.
The Europeans
circumnavigated the world,
spreading their culture
wherever they went, America
was one of those places. As
the scientific revolution and
enlightenment transformed
Europe, it changed America
as it is now changing many
other areas of the world.
Our forefathers based our
government on the principles
of the enlightenment, our
education systems on
academic freedom, and our
ideals on scientific inquiry.
The religion many of us
practice originated in western
civilization. So much of what
we are has undeniably come
from Europe.
But now that western
tradition is being challenged
by multiculturalists who are
insisting on cultural
relativism. They leach us that
cultures can not be compared,
breakthrough will lead to the
elimination of some of the most
terrible curses known to modern
man the rush-hour traffic jam,
flavorless tomatoes, devious
politicians or goofs who talk
during movies.
Every lew years, scientists
insist on telling u.s that
something new and amazing will
change our lives. But what
happens? The military uses the
new development to refine the
methods we might use to blow
up the world. And the rest of us
wake up with the same problems,
bills, aches and pains.
Consider the transistor, which
replaced the vacuum tube and was
hailed as one of the great
inventions of the ages. That did it
give us? A sub-race of zombies
who shuffle or jog through life
with Walkman radios attached to
their heads.
That's why I’m skeptical
about most scientific
breakthroughs. I've seen few of
them lead to a genuine
improvement in the way we live.
Have any of them eliminated the
And that has led me to
compile a list of what I consider
to be some of the most important
inventions of my lifetime. It isn't
The Collegian
they can only be judged in
their own context. Wc arc not
allowed to look at a culture
and deem it barbaric.
Instead we can only study
the oppression they were put
through by western
imperialism. Although the
multiculturalists may have
good intentions, such as
respect for other people and a
broader view of the world.
goals and arc now destroying
thei r own dream.
They have changed history
into a game, where the teams
consist of races and sexes.
Each of them bending the
truth and grappling for great
names from their past.
Whenever a white person is
mentioned, a black person
must be mentioned to keep the
score even.
So it goes, across sexes,
races and disciplines. This
game hurts us as we struggle
a comprehensive list, of course,
and others may have their own
II so, you might send them to
me and I'll add them to the list.
In no particular order, here arc my
choices. The automatic car wash,
especially the kind that lets you
hot wax on your car. The
automatic car wash has freed
millions of men from the
weekend ritual of slopping soap
on their sneakers and has
permitted them to do more
important things, such as
The disposable diaper. Only
those who had children before it
to create an integrated society.
For the game only allows us
to partake in our own separate
histories, divided according
to our race and sex.
For example, Malcolm X
is owned by blacks, while
George Washington is owned
by whites. In the end wc
sacrifice truth and history to
create a society that is divided
against itself.
One danger of
multiculturalism is that it has
now found followers in
education. The curriculum is
becoming increasingly
multicultural, as teachers use
history to build self-esteem.
Our children no longer go to
school to learn to reason and
think critically. Instead, they
arc indoctrinated with the
achievements of various races
and sexes (I wonder what the
Japanese are doing?).
These practices may make
us feel good but they will
never teach us to live
together. They only remind us
further of our differences.
The dream of an integrated
society will become
impossible as wc grow more
and more ethnocentric.
At a time of increasing
diversity in America, it is
imperative that we take pride
in our common ground. Our
schools need to rediscover
traditional values, not because
they were created by a
handful of while men, but
because they have made us a
great civilization.
was available can appreciate how
much less offensive it is to be a
young parent. As Slats Cirobnik
once said: "Everybody says
babies arc so sweet. But if a
grown man did the things a kid
does, he'd be run out of every
saloon in town."
The cut-proof golf ball.
Scientists have estimated that
this amazing advancement has
eliminated so much stress that
the average golfer's life has been
extended by 2 1/2 years. I made
that up, but it's probably true
The remote-control channel
changer. The world would have
been better off if TV had never
been invented. What would wc
have missed - Sam Donaldson?
But as long as we're stuck with
it, it's nice to be able to flip
through the channels effortlessly
to sec if there's anything lewd
going on.
The automatic ice cube maker.
I can't imagine what life is like
in societies that don't have this
device. It's little wonder that there
is so much discontent in the
Third World.
The oncc-size-fils-all men's
stocking. Until we had this, wc
never knew whether a stocking
would be 100 big or too little
Page 5
Plato should not be studied
because he was a while male,
but because he thought and
wrote so profoundly. 1 can
not consider myself an heir to
Plato just because he and I arc
white. If I want lo read and
study him, fine, but 1 can not
strut pride fully because Plato
was both great and white. I
had no effect on what he
The same is true for Dr.
Martin Luther King. Wc
should not celebrate his
birthday because wc need a
black holiday. We should
celebrate his birthday because
he was a great man.
Similarly, blacks do not own
Dr. King because they arc
Americans need to work
together for a common
culture. The practices of
multiculturalism only seek to
separate us. And separate, wc
shall fall, for as Wendell
Wilkie said:
"The cloak that binds
America together is woven of
a strong, yet delicate fabric. It
serves to shelter alike the rich
and poor, the native and
foreign born, Jew and
Gentile, black and white. Let
no one tear it asunder, for we
do not know where we shall
find its like again."
Tom Strunk is a fourth
semester history major. His
column appears every other
week in The Collegian.
when wc bought it. So most of
us had toes that were either
scrunched or pinched. As Plato
said: A person cannot be truly
happy with painful toes.
The phone answering
machine. It’s been maligned and
ridiculed. But it's permitted me to
at last be honest with those who
phone my home. Before I had
one, I had to say, "Hello. Oh, hi,
how arc you? Uh-huh, that's
interesting. No kidding. Well,
maybe wc can get together and do
that." Now, my recorded message
states a simple truth: "I'm here,
but I don't want to talk lo you.
At the beep, just go away. Thank
you for listening."
As I said, others may have
their favorites. Venetian blinds,
for example, which admit light
but discourage peeping toms;
automatic windshield washers;
and any garment made of
polyester. But wc have a long
way to go. We can put a man on
the moon, make electricity move
more efficiently.
When will science develop a
martini that is good for you?
Mike Royko is Chicago
based, nationally syndicated
columnist. His column appears
weekly in The Collegian.