Novak (novak) wrote,
Novak
novak

Personal: Reservations about Multiculturalism as an All-Encompassing Ideology

As an academic, I have a particular interest in the subject of Secularism as a religious/anti-religious force in Western history. As I watch such dynamics play out in contemporary culture, I cannot help but notice various things. One such observation concerns the ideology we call Multiculturalism. On the surface of things, Multiculturalism couldn't be more American: a drive to transcend all the historical problems of racism and other kinds of exclusion through the embrace of the differences of others living within our society. Its greatest virtue is Tolerance.

Now, as such, this is all to the good. Tolerance is a useful thing in the quest for a peaceful society. As a highest value, this might seem a rather weak tea. Compared to the Christian command to love others, even ones enemies, however, Tolerance seems a weak and distant second to Love, but certainly compatible. The real problem with Multiculturalism, however, seems to be with its chief unspoken assumption: that all people will embrace this as a clear and obvious good. This is not the case. I can understand having reservations about Multiculturalism. In its drive for peace, it seems to quickly assume that all differences are goods, and that all differences must be accepted. What if someone has ethical reservations regarding something we are told we ought to Tolerate? The common response to that, it seems, is to denounce all other ethical systems as Intolerant (other than the Multicultural one of Tolerance). Like the ultra-liberal politics of the Soviet Union, its practitioners label any reservations as instances of mental illness, giving rise to the various "phobias" we hear of in political discourse these days, thus removing the topic from open and honest debate by giving it an unquestionable status. Well, we see where that leads us. With such moves, we find ourselves once again in the philosophy of Moral Relativism (that the only good is what is good "for you").

It is a bafflement to the proponents of Multicultural thinking that they are so strongly resisted as this idea is shopped to the rest of the world. Militant Islam sees such thinking as a full-out attack on their culture. In Multiculturalism's unwillingness to accept any standard but its own idea of Tolerance, it proves itself just as absolute and – dare I say it? – intolerant as any system it hopes to replace. The deepest irony of Multiculturalism as an ideology is that in its promotion by the cultural Left of the West, who tend to dramatically denounce the West for its various historical hegemonies of race, gender or religion, Multiculturalism has itself become the most absolute and all-conquering Western ideology ever produced.

It is in opposition to militant Islam that I've been particularly considering this. As I said, Multiculturalism's weakness is being unable to conceive of anyone actually disagreeing with their well-intentioned monolithic ideology. So what happens when you have a population willing to play that game, but to not actually buy into it and be assimilated into its perspectives? There is much being written about militant Muslims openly and explicitly expressing the goal of taking control of Europe not through conquest but simply by the mechanisms of demographics and democracy. If the Muslim population increases to the point where such Islam can dominate the democratic structures of the free states of Europe, then they can dismantle those offensive states and institute the kind of Islamic law and culture they prefer. We remember that in 1932, the Nazis were freely elected to the German parliament in legal, democratic fashion. In 1933, they used their dominant position to dismantle the Weimar Republic as such and introduce their Third Reich. They continued to function as a perfectly legal government in everything they did until their destruction. (That is, unless you believe in a higher law than just human law.) Can Multiculturalist thinking resist any population determined to do likewise? Or would those holding to this as their ultimate ideology inevitably collaborate in their own destruction or enslavement?

This is, of course, not a rejection of the virtues of Multiculturalism, but a recognition of needing something beyond such a "minimum-effort" ethic.
Tags: cultural, ethical, europe, interreligious, islam, personal, philosophical, political, secularism/modernity
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