Not suprisingly, the eminent political scientist, who died this week at 81, saw multiculturalism as a death wish.
The special irony is that it is someone with the name Fouad Ajami (himself a great political scientist) who reminds us of Huntington’s admonition:
“This book is shaped by my own identities as a patriot and a scholar,” he wrote. “As a patriot I am deeply concerned about the unity and strength of my country as a society based on liberty, equality, law and individual rights.” Huntington lived the life of his choice, neither seeking controversies, nor ducking them. “Who Are We?” had the signature of this great scholar — the bold, sweeping assertions sustained by exacting details, and the engagement with the issues of the time.
He wrote in that book of the “American Creed,” and of its erosion among the elites. Its key elements — the English language, Christianity, religious commitment, English concepts of the rule of law, the responsibility of rulers, and the rights of individuals — he said are derived from the “distinct Anglo-Protestant culture of the founding settlers of America in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.”
Critics who branded the book as a work of undisguised nativism missed an essential point. Huntington observed that his was an “argument for the importance of Anglo-Protestant culture, not for the importance of Anglo-Protestant people.” The success of this great republic, he said, had hitherto depended on the willingness of generations of Americans to honor the creed of the founding settlers and to shed their old affinities. But that willingness was being battered by globalization and multiculturalism, and by new waves of immigrants with no deep attachments to America’s national identity. “The Stars and Stripes were at half-mast,” he wrote in “Who Are We?”, “and other flags flew higher on the flagpole of American identities.”
It is, of course, in America’s school districts, run by people who have never heard of Samuel Huntington but who see their country — and teach “the children” accordingly — through the lens of someone like the cracker-barrel Marxist and America-hater Howard Zinn, where America’s unique mixture of freedom and opportunity is downgraded to “white privilege,” as though it were not available to all who wanted to seize it instead of being seized themselves by the nascent nanny state and the culture of grievance.