thougli it is more interesting, perhaps, to refleet that the paintworkrnwas almost certain!) made b- whites rather tlian West hidians:rnb- a modern J.G. Frazer, so to speak, rather tlian by anrnEdward Said. Multieulturalism can be a matter of idealism orrna matter of self-interest. You do not even have to be a lesbian,rnit is rumored, in order to be pro-lesbian; you certainK do notrnhae to be black in order to be pro-black. Montesquieu, afterrnall, was neither Japanese nor Formosan.rnThe mood, predictably, has caused its own natural reaction.rnTo take a moderate instance, and one that stops well short ofrnthe platfornr oratory of Mr. Pat Buchanan: the Prince of Wiles,rnspeaking in Stratford-on-Avon, has recently protested against “arngeneral flight from our great literar heritage,” cvidentK withrnStratford’s most famous son in mind. “Shakespeare’s roots arernours, his language is ours, his culture ours,” said the prince,rnadding that “hanging on to our cultural roots is one way of preservingrnnational identities.” He must have expected a storm,rnand he got se’eral. Alan Sinficld, an academic critic, promptlyrnaccused him and other defenders of humanistic educationrnof failing to think cleadv about who “we” are. hi traditional literaryrneducation, he complained,rnthe implicit reading position was MAN: he informed therntext and the critic. Cultural differences were insignificantrnin comparison with M a n . . . . If a lower-class j^erson,rnwoman, student, person of color, lesbian or ga man didrnnot “respond ” to “the text,” \c thought it was becausernthc’ [sic I were reading partially, wrongly.rnhi other words, teaching Shakespeare has encouraged a lot ofrnpeople to despise their own subcultures, even to abandonrnthem, whereas the humanistic notion of a common nature is inrnfact a mirage: “our ‘humanitv’ is not an essential condition towardrnwhich we nia aspire, but what people have as a consequencernof being socialized into human beings.” It is consequenth’rnwrong to induce minorities to feel inferior. No wonder,rnSinficld went on, if Adrienne Rich is angry to be told that herrnlesbian poems are “universal,’ implying (as she has complained)rn”a denial, a kind of resistance, a refusal to read andrnhear wfiat I’ve actually written, to acknowledge what I am.”rnThe multicultural model of intelligence is here laid bare;rnonce again we are being given India. On the one handrnthere is culture—in the case of modern Western man, a culturernof DWFAIs like Shakespeare; on the other hand, a set of subculturesrnlike the nonwhite and the homosexual, fighting forrnequality of recognition after long centuries, it is alleged, of oppression,rnmisprision, and neglect. The mood has even invadedrnancient history. Martin Bernal’s Black Athena, for example, arnbook that has plainly told a lot of niulticulturalists what theyrncagerK’ wanted to hear, attributes the rise of classical Greek civilizationrnto extra-European, and above all African, sources; andrnits first volume, “The Fabrication of Ancient Greece 1785-rn1985” (1987), claims that credit for the Greek achievement hasrnbeen misappropriated by Europeans since the 18th century byrna sinister mixture of romantic enthusiasm, white racism—how,rnit was once thought, could Periclean Athens be indebted tornblacks?—and low cunning; even though the ancients themsches,rnas IIcrodotus illustrates, knew perfectly well that theirrnculture derived from outside Europe altogether, from Egypt tornEthiopia. Meanwhile, the film Dances with Wolves, based on arnnoel b Michael Blake, has inverted the Western formula familiarrnin Hollywood to show the white conquest of NorthrnAmerica after the Ci il War from a supposedly Red Indianrnpoint of view, its whites brutal and mean, apart from a hero andrnheroine who change loyalties, its Red Indians brutal and heroic.rnIn both book and movie, white man speaks with forked tongue,rnand both make the echoing point that white culture has beenrntraditionally oyervalued, and that brutality toward others, atrnleast if you have a white face, simpK w ill not do. With therndeath of class war, the movement for subculture is here. Thernworkers of the world may have missed their chance to unite, butrnlesbians of the world, and even Red Indians, still may.rnThere are several unnoticed contradictions in this ease. Onernis implicit in the view that moral principles are no more thanrnthe expression of a gien communitv in a given age. But in thatrnevent, the moral ease for subcultures, too, could be no morernthan that. Sinficld even uses the supremely moral term “right”:rnAdrienne Rich was right, he argues, to be angry when friendsrnpraised her lesbian poems as universal in their appeal. But who,rnin this instance, is saying who is right? A pair of middle-agedrnwhites, it must be answered, of some academic training, knownrnas Sinficld and Rich. There can be no reasonable doubt aboutrnthe fact that they have been socialized into believing what theyrnbelie e, and indeed one could easily identify their sources, sincernthey both employ a ghetto-rhetoric liighh reminiscent of Anglo-rnAmerica, France, and Germany in the 1960’s, when theyrnwere both young. Their pleas are couched in late 20th-centuryrnEnglish, what is more, and their habits of life, one hardly needsrnto be told, are middle-class. Both seek to make a moral case forrna homosexual subculture. But that case, whatever it amountsrnto, is not exempt from the moral constraints of their age andrnplace, unless the mere claim to be liberated guarantees liberationrnitself. The dogma of self-fulfillment, after all, is no less arnmoral assertion than the dogma of submission to divine law.rnA second contradiction follows from the first. If all judgmentsrnare socially conditioned and the worse for it, then so isrnthe judgment that subcultures of race and sex deserve tolerancernor approbation. Some intellectual fashions, it may be said, arernintrinsically admirable, and the fashion for nonyvhite culturesrnand sexual diversity nia have something to be said for it: “AdriennernRich is right to be angry . . . ” But if some causes are goodrnas well as conditioned, like this one, then a view can be conditionedrnand also good; so it is not an objection to a view to sayrnthat it was conditioned: in which case teaching Shakespeare inrntraditional stsle in school may be no bad thing, and the Princernof W ales may after all have a point.rnThe truth of a judgment, in short, is independent of the factorsrnthat have caused it to be held, and one can believe a propositionrnon highly inadequate grounds, or none, which might vetrnbe true. My own grounds for believing that the circumferencernof a circle is always more than three times its diameter, for examplern—an irrational number beginning 3.14159 and conventionallyrnexpressed b}- the Greek letter pi—are wholly inadequate,rnsince as a nonmathematieian I cannot even begin tornunderstand how that figure was arrived at. Nonetheless it is so,rnand I am right to beliee it. Credulity can be a good idea, inrnfact, and conditioning a blessing; and reverence before professionalrnopinion is not ahays servile or silh. Why else would peoplernconsult doctors and lawyers, after all, pay for their ad’icernand follow it? Or consult critics and reviewers, for that matter,rnbefore buying a book or a theater ticket? Critics, after all, arernprofessionals too.rnSinficld tries to rubbish the judgment of professional criticsrnSEPTEMBER 1996/15rnrnrn