Books lampooning U.S. President Barack Obama are displayed at the American Conservative Union’s annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, February 9, 2012. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
As a Nation reader you’re probably a good proxy for the liberal mind. If someone asked what issues obsess liberals, what would you say? Economic inequality? Combating climate change? Whatever your answer, I doubt it’s “multiculturalism,” which—much like its cousin “political correctness”—is a term you probably last heard sometime around 1997.
It may surprise you to know that liberals “are obsessed with multiculturalism.” But Robert Vandervoort, the moderator of a panel Thursday afternoon at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), said that twice in two hours. He offered no evidence for this strange assertion.
Usually conservatives and Republicans try to frame their views on racial issues as being about something other than wanting to keep minorities out of their country or office. Opposition to affirmative action is perversely framed as a defense of equal opportunity and opposition to illegal immigration as a matter of border security.
But CPAC hosted a panel was sponsored by ProEnglish, a group pushing English as the official national language, called “The Failure of Multiculturalism: How the pursuit of diversity is weakening the American Identity.”
(For a sense of what ProEnglish does, they are currently boasting that they may successfully force a San Luis, Arizona, city council member out of her position for lacking sufficient English skills to comply with Arizona’s 2006 law establishing English as the official state language.)
Panel participants included Vandervoort and Rosalie Porter of ProEnglish, John Derbyshire of National Review and Serge Trifkovic of Chronicles magazine, a paleoconservative journal that says it has “defended Western Christian civilization” by “confronting Islam” and opposing immigration. The February issue of Chronicles, which was given out at the panel, includes a back-page essay by Taki Theodoracopulos called “Those Racist Police.” It leads by noting that a member of the NYPD was shot by “a black drug dealer” who had been “previously let loose by a black female judge.” Theodoracopulos uses this as an excuse, naturally, to bash the New York Times for editorializing against executing Mumia Abu-Jamal. “[The Times’s] pet hates look to me like normal, white, Christian Americans, while it fills its pages with announcements of same-sex couples getting married, profiles of rap ‘artists,’ and front-page coverage of Catholic priests’ abuses.”
Trifkovic could not make it to the panel, but Vandervoort read his prepared text. It was a long-winded, pretentious diatribe against “obsessive favoritism of allegedly disadvantaged groups hostile to European-descended societies…internalized by the political, academic and media elite…. They insist that countries do not belong to people who have inhabited them for generations but to whoever happens to be in their boundaries at any given time.”