and then declared it unconstitutional. In March of thisrnyear, she not only confirmed but extended her ruling;rnshe mandated the governor of California to send lettersrnto the managers of public services instructing them thatrnthe law was invalid. This scarcely seems necessary.rnProposition 187 has not yet been enforced anywhere, andrnthe likelihood is that it never will be.rn2) Legislation has been introduced to outlaw the Africanrnpractice of female genital mutilation, unknown in Americarnuntil a few years ago. A correspondence in the NewrnYork Times pitted feminist critics of this practice againstrnmulticulturalists who defended it on the familiar groundsrnof cultural relativism. Of course, clitorectomy is entirelyrninconsistent with traditional American cultural norms.rnBut the multiculturalists reply that American culture isrnmerely one participant in a national conversation nowrnmarked by cultural diversity. It can no longer expect arnprivileged position. Their argument failed on this occasionrnbecause it was opposed by the even more powerfulrncultural force of feminism.rn3) A federal appeals court on the West Coast declaredrnunconstitutional an Arizona law (passed b’ popular referendum)rnthat English should be the sole language used inrnofficial state business. Judge Stephen Reinhardt ruledrnabsurdly that a civil servant had a right under the FirstrnAmendment to deal with her colleagues and members ofrnthe public in her own language, namely Spanish. ThernSupreme Court later overturned this decision, but thernlaw is still under challenge in the state courts. And werncan take little comfort from the fact that manifest culturalrnabsurdities go all the way to the Supreme Court beforernbeing slapped down.rn4) The Wall Street Journal ran an op-ed in March supportingrnthe concept of dual citizenship—and pointing tornthe fact that millions of Americans now claim it. “Beginningrnthis Saturday, a new Mexican law will enable Americansrnof Mexican ancestry to regain or retain Mexicanrncitizenship. The law will shortiy create an estimated fivernmillion dual nationals, mainly in California.” This examplernis spawning imitators. Large immigrant communities,rnthe article goes on to tell us, from Asian nationsrnlike South Korea and India are pressing their home governmentsrnto do the same.rn5) The U.S. soccer team, defeated in its gold cup matchrnagainst Mexico in Los Angeles, was showered with waterrnbombs, beer, bottles, and garbage by a crowd of 90,000rnpeople. Whisties, horns, hooting, and booing drownedrnout the national anthem. People rooting for the U.S.rnteam or waving the Stars and Stripes received angr)’ staresrnand had garbage thrown at them. One team-player remarked:rn”We were treated better when we played downrnthere [in Mexico Cit’].”rnWhat these examples suggest is that the American nation isrnbeing replaced by a plethora of little nations, with their ownrncultures and identities and —most significant of all —languages.rnThe common culture and common sense of nationhoodrnwhich once sercd to unite Americans are now beginningrnto decay. And the law and politics are limping along behindrnthese new social realities.rnImmigration, Americanism., and the New ClassrnHow has this come about? The first cause is the high and continuingrnlevel of immigration that began in the late 60’s followingrnthe passage of the 1965 Immigration Act. Since I have writtenrnat length elsewhere on the effects of immigration onrnnational identitv (see in particular “Why Kemp and Bennettrnare Wrong on Immigration,” National Review, November 21,rn1994), I will not dwell extensively on the same points here.rnBriefly, however, continuing high levels of immigration underminernAmerica’s identit)’ in three ways.rnFirst, immigration strengthens and reinforces ethnic subculturesrnin American societv. The arrival of more people whornspeak languages other than English, for instance, means thatrnnon-English-speakers already here will have less incentive tornlearn the language of Americans. Cultural ghettoes that mightrnotherwise be absorbed into the surrounding American culturernsurvive and even expand.rnSecond, the arrival of more people from different culturesrnsharpens the sense of ethnic difference among native-bornrnAiriericans. Hi.storically, high levels of immigration have stimulatedrnthe rise of movements and ideologies that emphasize differencesrnamong non-immigrant ethnics, notably HoracernKallen’s cultural pluralism and today’s “diversity.” And theserntend to be hostile to the concept of a distinctive but encompassingrnAmerican identity.rnThird, by juxtaposing American culture to immigrant cultures,rnimmigration can make it seem arbitrary, irrational, andrneven oppressive. It becomes mereU’ the “Anglo” culture whosernrules and conventions arc thought to be alien to immigrantsrnand cannot be imposed upon them. Nor is this argument whollyrnfanciful: some immigrants have been harshly treated for followingrnthe rules of their traditional societies, such as the hvornPakistani husbands whose arranged marriages with under-agernbrides led to their imprisonment. But placing immigrant culturesrnon the same level as American culture produces still worsernresults. We gradually drift in the direction of a societv’ in whichrnonly a few abstract legal rules unite a variety of peoples who,rnculturally speaking, live in different worlds.rnThese problems highlight the second underlying cause ofrnthe erosion of America’s national unitv—foolish and unhistoricalrnconcepts of American nationhood. I am not referring tornmulticulturalism—the theory that America is a legal and constitutionalrnumbrella which shelters not individual Americansrnbut different ethnic groups and nationalities. On this theory,rnthe American people as such does not exist; in its place are thernAmerican peoples—the ethnic identities which properly attractrnthe primar)’ allegiance of U.S. citizens. This doctrine is nowrntaught in American schools under the new (and only slightlyrnamended) history standards, and its consequences are nowrnclear. For instance, Lani Guinier argues for a constitutionrnwhich vests rights not in individuals but in ethnic groups, andrnwhich therefore requires the assent of a majority of each grouprnfor major legislation. The constitutional implication of such arntheory would be, as our Vice President has wittily put it, that ernplurihus unum means “out of one—many.”rnBut multiculturalism —though undoubtedly foolish and unhistoricalrn—is not the cause of America’s Balkanization. Itrnwould be more accurate to say that multiculturalism is part ofrn)ULY 1998/21rnrnrn