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Dictatorship of Virtue: How the Battle over Multiculturalism Is Reshaping Our Schools, Our Country, and Our Lives Paperback – August 29, 1995

4.4 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

New York Times correspondent Bernstein contends that the original liberal agenda behind multiculturalism has been replaced by an orthodoxy that is dangerous to free speech and obsessed with victimization.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Careful to credit the good intentions that began the multiculturalist movement, New York Times reporter Bernstein (From the Center of the Earth, LJ 3/15/82) uses his journalistic skills admirably to describe the slippage of the idea into an increasingly intimidating and intolerant orthodoxy. Clearly drawn personalities and backgrounds enliven his account of disputes in school districts, colleges, and newspapers around the country. Bernstein argues that the movement's sense of moral invincibility functions as an unquenchable power base, its newly entrenched ideologs often demanding mandatory sensitivity training and diversity coursework that tend toward political indoctrination and effectively stifling dissent. He faults the movement's insistence on group affiliation and victimhood as the primary source of individual identity while refusing to acknowledge genuine advances. Striving to be fair-minded throughout, Bernstein creates no demons or angels in this persuasive, well-written defense of the notions of assimilation and commonality against the veneration of division and bitterness. Highly recommended for academic and public libraries.
Patrick Dunn, East Tennessee State Univ. Lib., Johnson City.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 396 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; 1st Vintage Books ed edition (August 29, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679763988
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679763987
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,929,429 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Steven Fantina on May 25, 2000
Format: Paperback
Some will dismiss this book as "right wing extremism," but much of what left wing extremists tiresomely brand with that distinction is in fact mainstream conservatism, common sense moderation, and a great deal of old fashioned liberalism. In fact, a few of the brave souls cited by Bernstein for their unpopularly heroic stands against multi-cultural mumbo-jumbo have impeccably liberal resumes.
Bernstein himself is not someone who falls into the ultra right wing category. A former journalist for publications not known as sympathetic to conservatives," he occasionally mentions that he favors multi-culturalism but obviously worries about what happens when it is taken to the extreme levels he documents as being the norm in many educational institutions from grammar schools up through colleges.
Bernstein offers a broad summary on the diversity craze that has engulfed much of academia, government, and corporate America. Through the examples he cites, he astutely reveals one of the fads' practitioners' most punitive pursuits--their unabashed willingness to smear anyone who merely questions any segment of this shaky doctrine. Proponents of this brainwashing technique never catch the irony that they are squashing all diverse opinions in favor of one tolerable mindset. That this is all done in the name of tolerance and diversity would be amusing were the stakes not so high.
The book's highlight and one of the most significant assaults on the diversity warfare is the detailed effort against New York City's planned rainbow curriculum close to a decade ago. An uncoordinated effort of multi-racial voices valiantly fought and successfully defeated the city's wacky plan to teach alternate sexual practices beginning with books like "Heather has two Mommies" in kindergarten.
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Format: Paperback
Richard Bernstein, as he self-professed at a small lecture of his I attended a few years ago, is no conservative. Indeed, his politics are almost the exact opposite. That's what this book all the more an eye-opener -- a devastating critique of radical multiculturalism by a liberal. Bernstein travels the country examining the topic, and his writing style keeps you focused on his journey. As a teacher, I found the story of Brookline, Mass. quite interesting; indeed, I have encountered similar aspects of that vignette around my own district, unfortunately.
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Format: Paperback
Contrary to what one reviewer here claims, Richard Bernstein's analysis of political correctness is trenchant and scrupulously fair to all concerned. What may be especially disconcerting for the ideologically-committed leftist reader is that Bernstein's critique comes not from a right-wing mindset, but from a traditional liberal, pragmatic point of view. What Bernstein nails so accurately is how utterly anti-intellectual political correctness is. He also takes some of his examples from outside the academy, something sure to rile PC cultists who know full well how ridiculous their views are when exposed to the daylight outside a college classroom. History teachers should pair this book up with Richard Hofstadter's "Anti-Intellectualism in American Life" for a lively discussion of how American culture acts instinctively to repress original thought.
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Needs be updated and the tense of the title should be changed from "is" to "has" reshaped "our schools, our country and our lives." It's even gotten more "Alice in Wonderland" with the "victims" of western civilization claiming precedence over each other. Islamic Brunei, owner of the Beverly Hills Hotel is picketed by Hollywood lefties for banning gays while across the street Muslims are claiming "victimization" banning Ali Hirsi from Brandeis honors for slandering Islam. It gets nuttier by the day. Ironically, The nutty New York Times is at the forefront of this madness, the place where Bernstein wrote this book! But that was 1995. The idiocy of multiculturalism, "triggering," firing the head of Mozilla, it goes on and on ....soon there will be "red-education" camps and public flogging of those who dare cross these multicultural fanatics. It gets loonier by the day. Read this book, it'll tell you how it all started. The witch craze in the sixteenth century had nothing on this.
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