I haven’t blogged about multiculturalism in quite a while, so those new to this blog may not know that it is one of my pet peeves, an enormous, angry bee buzzing in my intellectual bonnet. I think it is the root cause of the disuniting of America, with its effort to Balkanize people under the happy face rubric of “celebrating” differences. (By the way, I’m reading Richard Mgredechian’s enjoyable How the Left Was Won : An In-Depth Analysis of the Tools and Methodologies Used by Liberals to Undermine Society and Disrupt the Social Order. As the title indicates, Mgredechian focuses in part on American Leftist rhetoric, and his very first target is the divisiveness the Left fosters — something it does, in part, through multiculturalism.)
In America, multiculturalism is merely an irritant — and often an expensive one with its bilinqual classrooms and ballots. It does sometimes rise to the level of a genuine social concern (as with the illegal alien rallies) or a genuine security risk (as with our ostrich-like refusal to focus security on those young Middle Eastern males for fear of hurting their multi-culti feelings). Americans, however, are still pikers when it comes to multiculturalism when compared to their European counterparts.
Only today, word went out that England rejected a five year old girl’s passport photo because her shoulders were visible — something that might cause distress to Muslims. Clearly, while we in America are fighting women who want to wear their veils for driver’s license photographs (a practice that seems utterly to defeat the purpose of an identification photograph) in England they’ll soon be insisting that all women wear veils for all occasions. Other famous examples of British self-abasement to the altar of multiculturalism are directives to ban Piglet images from government offices (I knew Muslims didn’t eat pigs, but I was surprised to learn they were so squeamish they couldn’t even look at them); the attack on ice cream logos; and, of course, England’s debate about whether to do away with her own flag.
The British themselves are beginning to realize that rampant multiculturalism is not a revitalizing force but, in fact, signals the death-knell for a healthy, unified culture. As LGF pointed out, Britain’s influential former police chief went on a rant about the fact that Muslims — who are now being closely scrutinized by the British police — brought their woes upon themselves:
LONDON’S most influential former police chief has rounded on Britain’s Muslims, blaming them for the terrorist networks in the country.
“When will the Muslim community in this country accept an absolute, undeniable, total truth: that Islamic terrorism is their problem?” wrote John Stevens, former commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, in a Sunday newspaper.
In an inflammatory opinion column, he called on Muslims to “stop the denial, endless fudging and constant wailing that somehow it is everyone else’s problem and, if Islamic terrorism exists at all, they are somehow the main victims”.
Other British voices are chiming in to attack the sense of victimization that inevitably results from multiculture’s separatism. The latest person to weigh in on the subject is the Bishop of Rochester, in a Telegraph op-ed. After noting that British Muslims began to be radicalized in the late 1980s due to the influx of radical religious leaders, he goes on to blame British spinelessness in the face of multiculturalist demands for the fact that this radicalism sank deep roots into British Muslim society:
[I]n the name of multiculturalism, mosque schools were encouraged and Muslim pupils spent up to six extra hours a day learning the Koran and Islamic tradition, as well as their own regional languages. Finally, there are the grievances. Some of these are genuine enough, but the complaint often boils down to the position that it is always right to intervene where Muslims are victims (as in Bosnia or Kosovo), and always wrong when they may be the oppressors or terrorists (as with the Taliban or in Iraq), even when their victims are also mainly Muslims.
Given the world view that has given rise to such grievances, there can never be sufficient appeasement, and new demands will continue to be made. It is clear, therefore, that the multiculturalism beloved of our political and civic bureaucracies has not only failed to deliver peace, but is the partial cause of the present alienation of so many Muslim young people from the society in which they were born, where they have been educated and where they have lived most of their lives. The Cantle Report, in the wake of disturbances in Bradford, pointed out that housing and schools policies that favoured segregation, in the name of cultural integrity and cohesion, have had the unforeseen consequence of alienating the different religious, racial and cultural groups from one another.
The good Bishop, mired in a socialist state as he, goes on to prescribe the usual statist pap — require state indoctrination on right thinking and respect everyone about everything (which sounds very much like a backwards slide into multiculturalism). Still, he’s on the right track when he demands that the British government address the self-imposed ghettoization — which is of the type that spawned the Paris riots — and, more importantly, when he insists that British politicans figure out what the heck Western values they want to see preserved in their country and imposed on their immigrants:
The most fundamental of these has to do with the innate dignity of all human beings, with fundamental equality, with liberty and with safety from harm. Those learning such values will know how to respect the dignity of people who are quite different from them in appearance, language or belief.
They will not see themselves as superior because of their religious or cultural roots, but regard every human life as of equal worth. They will be committed to freedom of belief and of expression. They will know that their fellow citizens have the right to safety from harm and that this extends not only to individual security, but also the safety of those institutions, such as democracy or a free press, that make liberty possible and actual.
Values, however, are not free-standing; they are deeply rooted in a vision of society. Whether we like it or not, characteristic British values arise out of the Christian faith and its vision of personal and common good. These were clarified by the Enlightenment and became the bed-rock of our modern political arrangements. The Enlightenment, however, by consigning Christianity to the private sphere, also removed the basis and justification for these values in the public sphere.
I could have done with a little more power and a little less pap, but I think it’s important that people in England are beginning to say that there is a British culture, that it does have value, and that it should be preserved and promoted (Cherrie Blair’s efforts notwithstanding). Although I think modern Britain is a rather shallow and pathetic culture, she has had a glorious and, at times, honorable past, and I hope for her resurgence, rather than her death.