purpose, however, is to debunk the entire coneept of higher andrnlower civiHzations, declaring that “there is nothing barbarousrnand savage in this people . . . except that each man calls barbarismrnwhatever is not his own custom.”rnThis ulterior motive explains the curious beginning of the essay,rnwhich invokes King Pyrrhus’s famous observation that thernRomans might be barbarians (a term the Greeks applied to allrnforeigners), but their troop formations were anything but barbaric.rnThe implication, that the difference between Europeansrnand hidians was no greater than that between Greeks and Romansrn(or that Brazilians spoke a classical language), would havernbeen ridiculed if Montaigne had stated it openly, but he isrnclever enough not to telegraph his punches.rnIs it irony or historical fate that F.uropean man should havernbegun to embrace noble savagery, natural innocence, and thernanti-Ghristian pursuit of false gods at the very time in which hernwas turning his back on the Christian East and destroying thernsavage cultures of the Americas? Perhaps the gentle SpanishrnDominican had seen the wrihng on the wall five centuries ago.rnOver the past ten years, the Turks and their coreligionistsrnhave again been knocking at the gates, and not just of Belgrade,rnBudapest, and Vienna, but of Paris, Berlin, and Washington,rnand the Western response remains what it has beenrnsince Montaigne and Voltaire: irony, indecision, and self-hatred.rnThis defeatism is no longer restricted to effeminate intellectualsrnand elite classes with too much time on their hands; hatredrnof our ancestors, our civilization, and ourselves is the newrnjingoism, just as stupid as the old jingoism and vastly more destrucHve.rnThe real “suicide of the West” should never havernbeen measured by our suseephbilit) to the Marxian heresy butrnby the degree to which we are turning against our own civilization.rnMarxism, evil as it is, is only a minor symptom of a deeperrnsickness.rnThe progress of self-hatred in America, just in the past generationrn(that is, roughly 30 years), should inspire awe. hi thernKennedy years, we were still —at least on the surface—an exuberantrnEuropean colony, leading the free world in its democratic-rnsocialist struggle against revolutionary communism, sendingrnour bright young things around the world to teach those poor,rnbenighted primitives how to become Americans. Our education,rnimpoverished and feeble as it was, paid lip-service to thernWestern classics, and if students did not actually read muchrnHomer, Dante, or Shakespeare, they had probably heard ofrnthem and glanced through the Cliffs Notes on Julius Caesarrnlong enough to catch an allusion to the “Ides of March” in thernname of a 60’s pop band, and if we had never seen Rossini’srnBarber of Seville, we knew enough to get the joke in WarnerrnBros. “Rabbit of Seville.” That hme is as foreign to us as Englandrnin the days of Elizabeth and James, and it is almost as superiorrnto our own age as the age of bllizabeth was superior to thernage of Ike.rnNow we live in the age of apologizing—to women and homosexuals,rnto Africans and Indians, to Jews and Muslims —andrneven, from the Pope, a perfunctory “I’m sorry for what otherrnpeople did a long, long time ago” to Orthodox Christians. Andrndes|3ite the feeble efforts of “cultural conservatives” (Wliat wryrnhumor that fraudulent term now elicits!) and of the self-appointedrncritics of mulheulturalism, the great retreat from Christendomrn]5rocccds at an ever faster pace.rnThe American melting pot is hardly a likely place fromrnwhich to stage the counterattack. Ecwcr and fewer of us c’enrnhave an ancestry with which we can identify ourselves. Like itrnor not, Lenny Kravitz and Tiger Woods (visiting Roekford for arnminority golf clinic even as I write these lines) may be the exemplaryrnAmericans of our time. We lapse from being Anglo-rnAmerican or Polish American into being generically American,rnwhich —loosely interpreted-now seems to convey no morernthan rootless hedonism, moral and mental immaturity, and anrnobsession with theme parks. As children, they live for the momentrnthey can visit Disney World and Six Flags, and as fauxrngrown-ups, they save up all year long to afford Vegas or Gancunrnor a Princess cruise.rnEthnic confusion is only one reason (and not the most significant)rnwhy even conservative Americans, who campaign againstrnhigh taxes, pornography, and infanticide, will scarcely lift a fingerrneither to limit immigration or to arrest the onrushing tide ofrncompulsory uniform diversity. The best they can do is to hirnrnthe enemy’s arguments against them.rn”Your people enslaved my people,” shrieks the Afroeentrist.rn”Yeah, well, your people enslaved each other,” retorts thernEurocentrist.rn”Your ancestors were bigots,” sings the anti-Christian chorusrnof racial and sexual minorities.rn”So’s your old man,” goes the best answer the opponents ofrnmulticulturalism have given, insisting that the Western traditionrnis more tolerant, more open to diversity, less rooted, andrnless traditional than any of its competitors. But even if the ex-rnMarxists (like the late Sidney Hook) who make this argumentrnwere right, no civilized person would want to live in their KarlrnPopper/George Soros vision of the Open Society. If the only alternativernto midticultnralism is the global culture promoted byrndemocratic capitalists, we had better go to a tanning spa andrnlearn Mexican Spanish or start wearing baggy trousers belowrnthe navel, listen to hip-hop, and proclaim ourselves “wiggers.”rn(Better a wigger than a Wliigger.)rnI know all about what the anti-multiculhiralists do not like,rnbut I am waiting to hear what it is they like—apart from platitudesrnabout democracy and contempt for other people becausernthey are other. Negative criticism has its uses—otherwise wernshould not be in business—but the response to those who are inrnthe business of “Hating Whitey” has to be something betterrnthan simply hating those who hate whitey.rnThere were Catholics and Protestants who debunked Montaignernin the 16th century, but the most effective response to hisrnglorification of the cannibals was and remains Shakespeare’srnThe Tempest, a play which gives no quarter to Caliban (a profoundlyrnignoble savage) but also holds out the noblest possiblernvision of Western man and his tragic project of transcendingrnhmnan limitations. Prospero can perform miracles, but hisrnconfidence in supernatural technology has deluded him intornthinking he can manage the dukedom of Milan by stayingrnholed up in his librar}-.rnIndeed, for all his nobility and magic, Prospero has also beenrna fool who could not fully grasp the human motivations of hisrnenemies. He triumphs in the end, partly through the power ofrnhis magic but also because his very humanity causes the king ofrnNaples to repenf just as Miranda’s beauty wins the heart of thernking’s son. In the end, Prospero is restored to his dukedom, andrnthe fairies are dismissed in a speech that is often taken as Shakespeare’srnfarewell to the theater.rnihe ‘I’empest is a thoroughly Christian answer to the multiculhiralists,rnwhich may explain why the critics of midticulturalismrndo not read Shakespeare—or any other English classic. InrnSEPTEMBER 2001/11rnrnrn