Why the Aztecs?

The Aztecs figure prominently among the primitive cultures reviewed by UCLA anthropologist Robert Edgerton in his brilliant 1992 book Sick Societies. Edgerton concisely describes in a few devastating pages the fundamental practices of human sacrifice and cannibalism that were the hallmarks of Aztec royalty.
Edgerton also characterizes the Aztec Empire as an extreme example of the success a small elite had in using religion and military power to defeat neighboring societies (many of whom were enslaved and then eaten) without sharing the spoils of conquest with the general population. According to Edgerton, almost all of the wealth taken in battle, including the flesh from the sacrificed victims, went to the Aztec elite — the king, nobles, and priests.
It is difficult to imagine a society that contradicts the purported egalitarian ideals of liberals more than Aztec society. The slave society of the antebellum South doesn’t come close. So how does it comes to pass that the Star Tribune today celebrates Aztec practices as something beautiful?
One of the basic tenets of the liberal faith is the beauty of “diversity.” Every day the dogmas of multiculturalism are promulgated relentlessly by our schools, newspapers and media, and public authorities. The transformation of the United States by waves of immigration from non-European countries is always depicted as a phenomenon to be celebrated, as are the immigrants’ religions and cultures.
Minneapolis and St. Paul have been deeply affected by the large number of Somali and Hmong immigrants who have made the Twin Cities metropolitan area their home. The occasionally disturbing cultural practices of these groups and the related social costs are never publicly discussed.
Despite the liberal dogmas of multiculturalism, for example, one of Minnesota’s leading left-wing legislators was responsible for introducing legislation criminalizing the Somali practice of female genital circumcision in Minnesota in 1994. (Her feminism trumped her multiculturalism.) Female genital mutilation was not much of a problem in Minnesota before Somalis settled here in the 1980’s and 1990’s.
The cultural practices of the Hmong have also proved extremely troubling. Animal sacrifice, teenage marriage, and polygamy are a few of the practices that have had secondary effects that expose them to public view if not discussion. Last year in St. Paul a Hmong woman murdered her husband because he was about to take a second, much younger wife. The facts underlying the murder brought to light the Hmong practice of polygamy.
The relentless indoctrination in multiculturalism that is the purpose of articles such as today’s Star Tribune feature seems to me a kind of pure expression of the liberal death wish. Once we learn the worthlessness of Western civilization as taught by the multiculturalists, we will hold the “correct” attitude toward our enemies and cooperate with them in our own destruction.
We can’t defend America if we don’t love her, and there’s nothing that the self-hating left wants more than to make us hate her. But America is under ideological assault not only in the newspapers, in the mainstream media, and in the universities, but also in the schools from kindergarten on, where multiculturalism has become the official state religion.
We have therefore long needed a citizen’s guide to multiculturalism — a brief but serious account that explains the phenomenon and sketches out an appropriate critique. The chapter on multiculturalism in Dinesh D’Souza’s early 1990’s book on the universities, Illiberal Education, does a good job of providing such an account and critique, but the book has lost the currency it had upon its publication. The Claremont Institute’s Thomas Kranawitter has done an outstanding job tackling this difficult subject in “The Intellectual Errors and Political Dangers of Multiculturalism.”


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