Rep. Steve King recently said something so frightening that we might as well start calling him Steven King, the New Master of Horror.  What did King do? He voiced his support for Dutch politician Geert Wilders.

King publicized this horrific statement on Twitter last week:

As is now standard operating procedure, media sources and the commentariat are running wild. Journalists have flown free from the concrete world of context into a realm of fancy, in which words mean whatever they want them to mean.

The Mistake: Falsely Equating Race and Culture

The Young Turks, a merry band of Lefties who get into fights with Alex Jones, are carping that King wants to “Make American White Again.” Cenk Ugyur accused King of overt racism: “You’re not talking about Western civilization, you’re talking about white civilization, in your mind.”

ThinkProgress dutifully cudgels King, saying, “King’s original tweet closely dovetails language used by white nationalists to suggest that America needs more white people of European descent, and fewer Muslim and Latino immigrants.”

The Left would have us believe that somehow all individuals and groups in the world and in America are interchangeable. They argue that, at heart, we are all the same and all want the same things. And anyone who questions the orthodoxy of “diversity is good” is a racist bigot.

Simply put, that’s not true. Let’s take a quick look at just one example.

We know that Western and Asian cultures tend to emphasize education, while much of so-called Hispanic and black cultures do not emphasize education. Thomas Sowell, in a book on education, noted that when young black men tried to get a good education, they were accused of “acting white” and “betraying the race.”

Is it a betrayal of black identity to become educated? Thomas Sowell’s existence serves to disprove this idiotic notion. Unless, of course, you accuse Sowell of being an Uncle Tom–which people sometimes do.

The Young Turks, white nationalists, and other groups are all committing the same mistake. They are confusing race and culture. They equate Western culture with the “white race,” as though whiteness and Western society are interchangeable terms. This is not so.

Why Western Culture Has Succeeded

Western culture does not come from any race, or from any alleged racial characteristics. America did not succeed because of a preponderance of whites. It succeeded because of a large group of people shared a similar culture, language, and history.

One of Western culture’s great strengths has been to adopt and adapt aspects of other cultures. We do so better than other cultures historically. We learned gunpowder from the Chinese, Hindu numerals from the Arabs, and how to plant corn from the Wampanoag. These cultural and social developments were identified as being of real value.

By contrast, other parts of the world have not been so flexible. For example, when Jesuits went to China, they brought with them the most advanced clocks Europe had to offer. However, rather than embrace this change, Chinese emperors and mandarins disdained the mechanical clock even though their water clocks were inferior time-tellers. One pair of scholars have written that Chinese cultural triumphalism “made China a reluctant improver and a bad learner…In effect, what was their to learn?”

Similarly, the Muslim world contributed mightily to the development of philosophy and the sciences throughout the medieval period. But the majority of the Muslim world buried itself in the Koran 800 years ago and has since contributed nothing apart from its religion. Turning from the rationalism of the Mutazilite branch of thinking, by the 14th century their lone great intellect was Ibn Khaldun, the great social scholar. Islam’s great era of thought ended with Al-Ghazali who taught that “intellect should only be used to destroy trust in itself,” as noted in The Closing of the Muslim Mind.

Why This Difference Matters

It doesn’t matter what race of people live in a certain place. What matters is their culture. It is culture which instructs us in our social role. It imparts a sense of morality to us and provides the paragons whom we are meant to emulate. If a culture is good, the people who make it up are likely good as well. If a culture is evil, the same follows for those that make it up.

Steve King and Geert Wilders have said nothing that is not readily observable to anyone who isn’t blinded by a belief that cultures are interchangeable. Demographics alone are not destiny. This is why Wilders and King emphasize demographics and culture.

Why should King or Wilders want to see mass migration from the Islamic world? Wilders has called to “make the Netherlands ours again.” And he is not wrong to want this. Islamic societies have become dysfunctional and unjust in their treatment of women and religious minorities. Calling a woman pretty gets you called sexist in the West, but Muslims still mutilate their daughters, keep them locked up like livestock, and murder them for the audacity of dating non-Muslims.

Cultures are not exchangeable, and neither are people. If Sweden or Holland become Muslim-majority nations, we can expect to see more social pathology, death, crime, and chaos. This isn’t because the people are bad, but because the culture they are a part of has serious problems.

The same is true of the United States.