Monday, June 26, 2006

Multiculturalism: A Left Wing Suicide Pact

In an effort to understand the sad reality of homegrown Jihad Johnnies, Cox and Forkum published the above cartoon as part of an excellent post on the suicidal side-effects of multiculturalism.

C&F asks:
What motivates a person to wage war against their own country and sympathize with the likes of Osama bin Laden? Part of the answer lies in the spread of multiculturalist ideas. These citizens have been taught by our intellectuals to hate their home countries, and that hate is fertile ground for Islamism.
C&F goes on to cite a February commentary by Keith Windschuttle : The Adversary Culture. Here's a short clip:.

Cultural relativism claims there are no absolute standards for assessing human culture. Hence all cultures should be regarded as equal, though different.

The moral rationale of cultural relativism is a plea for tolerance and respect of other cultures, no matter how uncomfortable we might be with their beliefs and practices. However, there is one culture conspicuous by its absence from all this. The plea for acceptance and open-mindedness does not extend to Western culture itself, whose history is regarded as little more than a crime against the rest of humanity. The West cannot judge other cultures but must condemn its own.

Since the 1960s, academic historians on the left have worked to generate a widespread cynicism about the nature of Western democracies, with the aim of questioning their legitimacy and undermining their ability to command loyalty. ...
The anti-Westernism of which I am speaking is not only about the past but has as much to say about current affairs.

The aftermath to the assaults on New York and Washington on September 11 2001 provided a stark illustration of its values. Within days of the terrorist assault, a number of influential Western intellectuals, including Noam Chomsky, Susan Sontag and youthful counterparts such as Naomi Klein of the anti-globalisation protest movement, responded in ways that, morally and symbolically, were no different to the celebrations of the crowds on the streets of Palestine and Islamabad who cheered as they watched the towers of the World Trade Centre come crashing down. Stripped of its obligatory jargon, their argument was straightforward: America deserved what it got.

Enclosed by a mindset of cultural relativism, most Westerners are loath to censure Muslims who go on violent rampages, burn down embassies and threaten death to their fellow citizens. Many of us regard this as somehow understandable, even acceptable, since we have no right to judge another religion and culture. ...
Their real aim is not religious respect but cultural change in the West. They want to prevent criticism of its Muslim minority and accord that group special privilege not available to the faithful of other religions. Instead of them changing to integrate into our way of life, they want to force us to change to accept their way of life.

Well said. There are countless other examples describing the danger of multiculturalism. In the recent debate on immigration, the goal of political elites was to "assimilate" immigrants to become Americanized. Yet, as was pointed out in the Mike's America study on immigration and assimilation, multiculturalism discourages assimilation and deepens the racial and ethnic animosity that pits groups of people against one another.

The most striking evidence of this was the study cited by Mark Krikorian, Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies in a 1997 piece titled "Will Americanization Work in America?:"

Sociologist Ruben Rumbaut has studied students in San Diego who are children of immigrants or who immigrated themselves at a very young age. He first surveyed them in 1992, when the students were in the eighth and ninth grades; three years later the same students were surveyed again.

In terms of ethnic self-identification, the change was dramatic. Three years of high school caused these students to see themselves as significantly less American; there was a 50 percent drop in the proportion (already small) of those who considered themselves simply "American," a 30 percent drop in the proportion of those considering themselves hyphenated Americans, and a 52 percent increase in the proportion of those describing themselves exclusively by national origin.

Among the American-born students, the percentage who identified themselves solely by their parents' native country doubled, to one-third. As Rumbaut points out, the results "point to the rapid growth of a reactive ethnic consciousness. Change over time, thus, has not been toward assimilative mainstream identities, but rather a return to and a valorization of the immigrant identity."

In a nutshell: multiculturalism encourages the "balkanization" of American society, dividing it into groups with separate identities and fostering grievances that pit one group against another. This is also the troubling ethos of the Democrat Party, a variant of which was clearly expressed in the presidential campaign of John Edwards and his Two America's speech.

The result is that segments of our society have been encouraged not to aspire to the great opportunity offered by the American dream, but to stew in their victimhood with grievances which are now validated by multiculturalism. Ultimately, those who sip that flavor of Kool-Aide have only to take a short step from that level of hate and delusion to potential violence.

Restoring Sanity: One Step at a Time

While multiculturalism remains entrenched in the education system and agencies of cultural transmission in both the news media and Hollywood, there is reason to hope that recent inroads exposing the dangers are taking hold. Whether it's on college campuses or in high schools, there is no longer a free pass given to every teacher who attempts to push this flawed ideological perspective.

It's a long road of course, and one that requires a significant attention to the lessons of history which show how damaging multiculturalism AND it's kissing cousin, moral relevance in education can be.

For more, see Midnight Blue's interesting take on "How do you say "Cheesesteak" in Flemmish?"

Posted also at Mike's America.

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