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Letter: Arrogant and abusive ideas

Erik Schomburg
Eagle, CO Colorado

Wooldridge’s “Destroying American Culture” essay from Thursday was perhaps the most offensive opinion piece that I have ever read. Now, I’m not opposed to “offensive” speech, because censorship and avoidance of politically incorrect discussion can be quite harmful. But I do believe in denouncing arrogant and abusive ideas for what they are.

Wooldridge deems cultures in countries not as financially prosperous as ours “failed cultures.” He opines that we must stem the tide of immigrants into our country, and implies that their goal is to displace our noble and righteous culture with their seedy and vile native cultures. He insists that our prosperity and the lack of it in other parts of the world are due primarily to our “successful all-American economy and culture.” What history book has he read? It is true that the American economy benefited from annihilating American Indians, enslaving blacks, ignoring environmental damage caused by industry and development, supporting brutal autocratic regimes to secure cheap oil, selling expensive and sophisticated weapon systems to countries across the world, exploiting cheap labor from peasants and children with overseas manufacturing, etc., but I fail to see how these are praiseworthy qualities of our culture. And he questions the wisdom of allowing so many people into the country “with all of our environmental dilemmas today.”

What? Our refusal to adequately protect the environment has nothing to do with letting in immigrants. The environmental problems are rooted in our “all-American” ideal of favoring the almighty dollar over the health of the environment and its inhabitants.

I do not claim complete equality of cultures. There are certainly positive and negative aspects of any culture that have significant impacts on societies. And I share Wooldridge’s concerns about overpopulation. But the arrogant and ethnocentric view that traditional American culture is superior and solely responsible for our success is more damaging to society as a whole than allowing foreigners to enter the country and pursue happier lives.

Integrating themes from “Mein Kampf” into modern American political discourse does not seem to be a healthy exercise. We need to revise and improve our own culture, which is what is really responsible for the social ills and environmental degradation that Wooldridge claims to care so much about, rather than simply blaming those who move here for a better life and ignorantly attacking their native cultures.


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