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College Football Thread | Main | Saturday Gardening Thread: Granola Edition [Y-not, Weirddave, and KT]
December 06, 2014

Fundamental Concepts : A Melting Pot, Not a F****** Salad Bowl [Weirddave]

The United States has traditionally been seen as a "melting pot", meaning that people from all over voluntarily join together to form a greater whole. This concept is even enshrined in our national motto E pluribus unum -"Out of many, one". Nobody ever questioned the concept, we even learned to sing about it as children:

So what does the term melting pot mean? America is different from any other country in the history of mankind in that we were founded on an ideal. Anyone can become an American, all that's required is that you come here and adopt our ideal and you're as good an American as anyone else. Nowhere else in the world is this true, even today. Even Canada, as culturally similar to the US as it is, doesn't believe this to the degree that we do. I could move to Canada, take citizenship there, live there for the rest of my life, and my obituary would refer to me as a Yank. The same is true in Germany, or Japan, or Iran or Argentina. The assumption that anyone can be a citizen, equal to all the rest, just doesn't exist elsewhere in the world. All we ask is that you assimilate into our culture and contribute. Together all of us make up a whole that is greater than any of us individually.

The salad bowl, on the other hand, implies just the opposite. Oh, it sounds similar. Instead of a soup, America is a salad. Different ingredients, mixed together to make a complete dish, but each ingredient remains distinct from all of the others. This maintains diversity we're told. Each ingredient is able to retain its own identity separate from the salad as a whole.

Well, the two concepts sound similar, what's the problem? The problem is that while they sound similar, they aren't in one important aspect. In a melting pot, the individual components are indivisible. Next time you're eating soup, try and pick the salt out of it. It's impossible. The salt is a part of the soup, an important part, the soup wouldn't taste as good without it, and it cannot be separated from the soup. A salad, however, is divisible by its very nature. Don't like tomatoes? Pick them out. You still have a salad. Carrots not your thing? They're gone. It's still a salad. And so forth. The ingredients of a soup become part of the soup in a way that salad ingredients don't become part of a salad, and that's the crucial difference.

Having tortured the analogies beyond reason, let's leave them for a moment and introduce humans to the mix. There are any number of tendencies that are inherent in human beings, but one of the most basic is that we are tribal by nature. The founding fathers recognized this and realized that the great American experiment could very well fail if its citizens retained their preexisting tribal loyalties in their new country. There had to be something to supplant the old tribal affiliation, and thus the melting pot concept was born. Nobody was denying that individual citizens had been Dutch, or English, or Spanish or French, but now they were American. The previous tribal identities became part of a larger, better identity that superceded the old one. Salt does not lose its saltiness when it becomes part of the soup, but the soup is greater than the salt alone. Everyone loves soup. Who eats straight salt?

So where did the salad bowl concept come from, and more importantly, why has it replaced such an elegant construction as the melting pot? The salad bowl idea is a product of critical theory ( and that's something worthy of a dozen posts on its own). Simple version, critical theory is a Marxist doctrine whose purpose is to destroy traditional American society and culture so that it can be replaced with a socialist Utopia. Once you understand that, the devious and dangerous nature of the salad bowl concept becomes evident. The melting pot emphasizes and nurtures the importance of the greater whole. The salad bowl pays lip service to the idea of a greater whole while working to undermine it by emphasizing the primacy of all the individual components. Is the onion more important than the crouton to the salad? Of course it is and no way in hell. It depends on the individual. Now the focus is on all of the individual ingredients in opposition to each other. Salad? What salad, who cares, did you hear what those scallions said about us peppers? Who the fuck do they think they are? What's that you say, the cheese is on the scallions' side? They're oppressing us! Goddamn this stupid salad that allows that oppression. Peppers rule! Fuck scallions AND cheese! We have to burn this bitch down!

Is this starting to sound familiar to anyone else?

digg this
posted by Open Blogger at 01:15 PM

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