ble is, Voltaire and the rest already knew what those laws were,rna secularized version of Christian humanism. The Enlightenmentrndid not need Newton or Copernicus—a rationalizedrnversion of Ptolemy, if offered as a revolutionary breakthrough,rnwould have served the same purpose.rnParallels between the sciences that study nature and thosernthat have man as their object are as perilous as they are intriguing.rnSome rules and methods are applicable to all subjects,rnbut each discipline has its own unique rules (as each culture hasrnits own peculiar codes of conduct). Those who write so glowinglyrnof “the uncertainty principle” in morals or in art shouldrnrecall Aristotle’s warning that mathematical precision was asrnout of place in studying human behavior as rhetoric in a syllogism.rnEven within a single culture, there are different ways ofrnknowing, different ways of truth. Levy-Bruhl, in describing thernmind of primitive men, might also have been describing Americanrnjournalists. Neither group has a grasp on the objective universe;rnboth will say anything they like, so long as it fits the occasion.rnAll the news that’s fit, runs the old joke on the Times.rnTruthfulness and the experimental method are both culturalrnartifacts. More and more they belong in a museum. WhenrnI was a student at Chapel Hill, we still lived by the honorrncode. This caused no end of trouble for teachers of Spanishrnand Portuguese, because their Latin American students did notrnregard cheating as wrong, even when they had signed a pledgernnot to cheat. It is not that they were less honorable than thernrest of us. Most of them came from good families, and theyrnlived according to a strict code. But that code did not include,rnfor example, marital fidelity and academic honesty. Classesrnwere war games, and teachers were the enemy, and in love andrnwar, all is fair.rnWe think the customs of our civilization are exportable,rnand they are, up to a point. We can take the son of a shamanrnor witch doctor and send him to college and medical school,rnand he may succeed brilliantly, but a few years ago I read an interviewrnwith an African M.D. who explained that Westernrnmedicine was good, in its way, for treating the symptoms of disease;rnit could even do something with the material cause, withrnthe viruses and bacteria that make people sick. But for the ultimaterncause—what root or spell made the man susceptible tornthe virus—one had to turn to native medicine.rnPerhaps he is right, in his own culture, and if his own son becomesrna physician, he will probably despise his father’s superstitionsrnmore than I do. But in the meantime, as the culture ofrnEurope and North America is transmuted by millions of immigrantsrnarriving annually from Africa, China, India, and LatinrnAmerica, what is the chance of preserving our own strange regardrnfor truth?rnNone at all. Go visit a school, and observe the music, therndress, the manners, the language, the violence. This is multiculturalismrnin action, where skinheads represent the last bastionrnof Europe and the cross is worn as a symbol of white racism.rnTeachers blame it on the home, but I know the children I sentrnoff to school, and it is hard to recognize them after a year of formalrneducation—private or public. Assimilation works, but wernare becoming them.rnBut worse than the high schools and elementaries are the collegesrnand universities. In the very institutions established tornpromote honest research, students are now indoctrinated intornmulticulturalism, whose basic principle is a denial of the entirernWestern tradition of critical thought. Logic is sexist and racist.rnan instrument of oppression. Objective reality is an illusion,rnand the sciences that purport to study reality are only sophisticatedrngames played by degenerate white males. History isrnbunk, because all that matters are the stories that people tellrnabout themselves. The truth? “What is truth, said jesting Pilate,rnand would not stay for an answer.”rnIn one sense I agree with the alien defenders of alien traditions.rnOur culture did go mad on rationality; we have poisonedrnourselves on universal principles to the point that we do notrnknow how to defend our wives and children from enemies andrnrivals. We are so obsessed with seeing things from the other fellow’srnpoint of view, we do not even notice that he is picking ourrnpocket. And the exclusively scientific view of the worid has sornwarped our personality that we, like Charles Darwin, have lostrnour taste for beauty, for art, for poetry, for music.rnAdmitting our faults and heartily condemning this “botchedrncivilization,” we have to realize that these faults, as well as therncorresponding virtues of truthfulness and sweet reason, belongrnto us. Salvation will not come from without, from exotic Orientalrncults, from voodoo or salsa music. We can only reformrnourselves within our own traditions—as we have had to do sornmany times in the past.rnReactionaries have always known that human culture is entropicrn—a steady degeneration punctuated by a few bursts ofrncreative energy. The job of most generations is to preserve asrnmuch as they can of the light left over from the explosions andrnto add their own meager contribution—like fireflies in thernsun. We are, as Vergil says, forever rowing upstream, and thernmoment we slack the oars, the current sweeps us rapidly backrndown. But we, in this generation, have watched the oars gornslack, and as the boat begins to drift lazily down the stream, wernthrow the oars overboard and sit back to admire the novelty ofrnthe savage landscape we paddled by so many thousands ofrnyears ago. • ftrnLIBERAL ARTSrnMODERN SCHOLARSHIPrn”What constitutes ‘proof positive [that George Washingtonrnwas a homosexual]? The judicial model of British commonrnlaw lingers in the back of many minds. Same sex contact is assumedrnto be a crime and the ‘burden of proof requires evidencernbeyond ‘a reasonable doubt.’ And who decides?rnStraight white men constitute the judge and jury. I reject thisrnmodel entirely….] appeal not to juries who rejected the evidencernof murder and mayhem in the Dan White or the RodneyrnKing cases. F—k their impartiality! I appeal to queers tornjudge the George Washington evidence. Assume everyone isrnhomosexual until proven otherwise. Begin with our own experiencesrnand use them to understand same sex love inside ourrnsociety and its past.”rn-from “George Washington’s Gay Mess” by CharlesrnShively, a professor of American studies at thernUniversity of Massachusetts (as pubhshed inrnvolume 2 of Gay Roots: An Anthology ofrnGay History, Sex, Politics and Culture).rnSEPTEMBER 1993/15rnrnrn