The Evil of Cultural Engineering

November 22, 2010 03:30

Free societies do not meddle in family life to reconfigure cultures; cultures evolve, and people autonomously alter values and habits, but only totalitarian governments try to dictate cultures. Indeed, this intrusion almost defines totalitarianism.

By Robert Weissberg at American Thinker


It’s bad enough that San Francisco parents might yet be forbidden to buy cheeseburger and fries Happy Meals should the mayor’s veto be overridden; do we really want government prodding black parents to use complex sentences when ordering veggie burgers so their youngsters arriving at kindergarten will speak middle-class English? Will refusing to inculcate “good values” become the new child abuse?

The tip-off to this coercive element is that no black elected official or race-hustler has said, “We blacks are in terrible shape; our culture hinders economic progress and education, so government should fix it.” I’d guess that few of the intended “beneficiaries” want the “helpful” change, and if they did seek middle class values, state intervention is not the only option. Stripped of its high-sounding rhetoric, cultural engineering to raise test scores and reduce poverty is but cultural imperialism, the strong imposing their Weltanschauung on the weak. Imagine if black government experts announced that “white culture” is dysfunctional (“makes them too warlike”) and, though whites have not requested any help, blacks using the power of the state will now assist whites in overcoming their cultural deficiencies.

Make no mistake: we are not celebrating or denigrating any culture, nor denying the role of cultural factors in education and poverty. Nor do we object if private groups such as churches or charities want to meddle, provided the recipient agrees. Our concern is government intervention into early family life so as to bend people into a “better” existence.


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