Another View of Multiculturalism’s Poisons
It has always baffled me that those pushing the concept of multiculturalism do not understand the irony of celebrating cultures that millions have made great sacrifices to escape, even often risking their lives, in order to live in the bosom of our unique American culture. My grandmother, at age 17, left a dirt floor hut in Caserta, Italy to come alone to Providence, RI where she worked in a factory to earn the means to bring all the rest of her family here. They all strove to become as American as possible, while still appreciating Italian culture.
How multiculturalism undermines freedom
BY CLIFFORD MAY June 24, 2012 San Angelo Std. Times
SAN ANGELO, Texas — Back in the day, when I was a newspaper columnist in Denver, representatives of the local chapter of the Anti-Defamation League paid a visit.
Over coffee, they told the opinion editor and me that they had a program, "A World of Difference," that "celebrates America's diversity." They asked for our editorial support.
The editor and I had the same reaction: Would it not be better to celebrate all the things we have in common, all the things that, as Americans, unite us? Our friends left the meeting mightily miffed.
At the time, I viewed such initiatives — the ADL was hardly alone — as well-intentioned if somewhat ham-handed efforts to combat prejudice. I later realized this was part of a larger campaign to promote multiculturalism — which also seemed like a fairly harmless attempt to encourage appreciation of varying styles of art, dress and cuisine.
Only years later did I come to realize: Multiculturalism is an ideology with far-reaching, and damaging, consequences.
This was forcefully driven home to me by a book probably not featured at your local bookstore: "Delectable Lie: A Liberal Repudiation of Multiculturalism" by Salim Mansur, a University of Ontario political science professor.
Mansur recounts that back in the 1970s, Canada became the first Western nation to embrace multiculturalism on an official level, "sponsored by the state, supported by taxpayers, and monitored and enforced by thought police (human rights commissions)." He makes a compelling case that adopting this ideology has damaged Canada and much more: Multiculturalism, he writes, has been "destructive of the West's liberal democratic heritage, tradition, and values based on individual rights and freedoms."
Mansur observes that "freedom is the distinguishing feature of the West," a core value that came under ferocious attack in the 20th century from fascism and communism. In the current era, "the West is confronted with a new, or third, challenge of totalitarianism in the form of Islamism and its asymmetrical assault on liberal democracy, increasingly since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, against the United States."
Multiculturalism insists that all cultures are equal and equally deserving of respect and celebration. It ignores the plain fact that freedom emerged and flowered in the West due, Mansur writes, to the "unique transmutation of Western culture and civilization brought about by the Enlightenment and the new scientific method pioneered by Galileo ..." These influences "subjected religion to the scrutiny of reason."
In the lands of Islam, it is generally the other way around: Reason is subject to the scrutiny of faith. Multiculturalism makes believe that there is no serious conflict between these two schools of thought.
Worse, by emphasizing collective identities and group rights, and by pushing for equality of results rather than equality of opportunity, multiculturalism undermines individual freedom and devalues the Western cultures that have nurtured and defended it.
In Canada, the U.S. and other countries that accept a continuing stream of immigrants from non-Western societies, Mansur says multiculturalism also empowers new citizens "to demand that their host country adapt" to their cultural requirements while relieving them of any responsibility to weave themselves and their children into the cultural fabric of their adopted homeland.
Mansur's insights stem from experience as well as academic study. Born an Indian Muslim in Calcutta, he is Canadian by choice and conviction. His defense of Western values, his self-identification as a "dissident Muslim" whose "faith does not take precedence over my duties ... to Canada and its constitution" has resulted in two "fatwas" calling for his death.
That, too, is diversity. Should we really celebrate it?
Mansur makes clear that Islamists are motivated by an intense desire for power and domination, and a deep antipathy for the West's "civic culture, its freedom and democracy." He adds that Islamists "find that multiculturalism increasingly in the post-9/11 world works in tandem with their interests to weaken the West politically and culturally from the inside."
The truth is there are differences that matter. Some cultures value freedom of religion; others see no virtue in giving false religions free rein. Some cultures believe women should have the same rights as men and minorities the same rights as the majority; others consider that a blasphemous notion. Some cultures are willing to compromise for peace; others prize victory and are willing to fight and die for it.
But the big trap of multiculturalism is simply this: If all cultures are equal, why defend your own? The culture that replaces it will be just as good, won't it?
Clifford D. May is president of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a policy institute focusing on terrorism. Contact him at email@example.com.