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The Ark and the Titanic

Two iconic vessels that define our multicultural times.

by
David Solway

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November 3, 2011 - 12:40 am
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In our indulgent multicultural society, it has become a rule of conduct that one must neither insult nor restrict the expression of another’s religion even if the price we pay for our overweening tolerance is individual suffering and cultural upheaval. But of course, the multicultural ideology of laissez-faire is fundamentally duplicitous and is applied selectively, for Judaism has recently come under fire in the form of anti-Zionism and Christianity tends to be regarded with suspicion, if not contempt. The faith which has been the greatest beneficiary of such relaxed, insidious and self-immolating attitudes is, naturally, Islam, although few will admit this in official and public discourse. As former Islamic zealot Ibn Warraq asserts in Why I Am Not a Muslim, “Western scholars and Islamicists have totally failed in their duties as intellectuals. … They have betrayed their calling by abandoning their critical faculties when it comes to Islam.”

It is no easy task to get one’s mind around the fact that we live in a society whose intellectual vanguard and its numerous adherents have taken up the case for unstinting immigration, whose chief stipendiaries are the growing number of Muslim immigrants many of whom refuse to integrate into the majority culture and, indeed, are not required or persuaded to do so, owing to the principles of the multicultural ethos. Newcomers are not urged to assimilate but to maintain their cultural identities and usages, even if the practices they import from their countries of origin are, by Western standards, primitive, atavistic or barbaric. Unless indicted for war crimes, everyone is welcome to make their “contribution” to the so-called cultural mosaic.

This is a policy blunder from which we may not recover. It is a grave error to conceive of society as a sort of gigantic and permissive Noah’s Ark in which every creature almost without exception is welcomed and given sanctuary, even those engaged in boring holes in the timber, throwing their bunkmates overboard and blowing up the wheelhouse. Such is the multicultural model currently in vogue and in the long run it doesn’t work. As Salim Mansur, author of Delectable Lie, contends in a recent article, the time has come to admit “the failure of official multiculturalism in securing social harmony, or advancing national interest.” If we do not rethink the premises of that species of demagogic preferentialism we call multiculturalism and its attendant language of obfuscation, the ship of state will eventually founder.

Roger Scruton in The West and the Rest sees the multicultural idea as devolving into “a form of apartheid” in which the newcomer may give his allegiance to his own group rather than to the environing political culture which sustains him, and may even regard the state which defends his freedom and subsidizes his existence as a legitimate target for destruction. “People who see all law, all social identity, and all loyalty as issuing from a religious source,” he writes, “cannot really form part of this political culture, and will not recognize either the obligation to the state or the love of country on which it is founded.” Admission to the culture and the political order must be strict and those who may pose a significant threat, whether individually or communally, must be carefully screened and refused their boarding cards.

As I argued in The Big Lie, a viable society does not resemble the interplanetary tavern in Star Wars serving all the weird and wonderful but also rowdy and uncontrollable denizens haling from every quadrant of the known universe. We will certainly have to become more responsible and less maudlin in determining what array of behaviors qualifies as good citizenship and how to prevent the self-ghettoizing of immigrant communities. But all this, of course, presumes that it is not already too late, for, in the present environment, even if Islamic terror and other forms of incursion, such as sharia law, should be countered, the Islamic baby carriage is hard at work and the issue that must be joined may already have been decided, at least for Western Europe.

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