The Wages of Multiculturalism in the Democratic West
By Salim Mansur
Mantua Books, 2011
Reviewed by Janet Levy
In 2008, Vietnam war veteran Jesse Nieto -- a Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base civilian employee and father of one of 16 sailors who died in the 2000 Islamist attack on the USS Cole -- was ordered to remove from his vehicle decals that a Marine’s Muslim spouse thought were offensive. The decals referred to Islamic terrorist responsibility for the USS Cole tragedy and the celebrations it prompted in the Muslim world.
Although he removed some of the decals, Nieto’s vehicle was subsequently banned from his place of work, as well as all other federal installations, denying him the right to visit his son’s grave at Arlington National Cemetery. The Thomas More Law Center filed a federal lawsuit on Nieto’s behalf challenging the military’s ban on Nieto’s right to freedom of speech. Fortunately, the judge in the case ruled for the father and astutely observed that stating “Islam is Peace” and “Islam is Love” could be equally perceived as offensive and inflammatory for Nieto, as was the anti-Islamic terrorism message to those complaining about his decals. In this case, the decision affirmed that multiculturalism and political correctness do not justify violating the Constitution.
That abyss of multiculturalism is examined in Delectable Lie, the new book by political science professor and columnist Salim Mansur. He argues that the West -- the very cradle of the Enlightenment from whose soil had sprung the notion of natural law, the idea of inherent or God-given freedoms, and the concept of self-determination -- has fallen into the multicultural trap of placing equality above the cherished ideal of freedom. Ironically, he notes that the most open societies, those most respectful of individual rights, have been the most pressured to conform to the ideals of political correctness.
Despite the verdict in the Nieto case, multiculturalism and political correctness usually win the day. Examples abound of multicultural pandering in the West, especially when it comes to the accommodation and appeasement of Muslims who require protection from the slightest offenses. Cartoons depicting Mohammed, criticism of Islam’s treatment of women, and disapprobation of Koranic doctrine can send Muslims into murderous rages resulting in mass human carnage and destruction.
Dutch parliamentary leader Geert Wilders has endured death threats and criminal prosecution for publicly stating views against the “Islamification of Europe.” Violent protests, fatwas, and assassinations followed the release of Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses, a novel that referenced alleged Koranic verses allowing intercessory prayers to Pagan Meccan goddesses. Theo van Gogh’s film criticizing the treatment of women in Islam resulted in his death at the hand of a Dutch-Moroccan Muslim.
The foundational principle of multiculturalism -- that all cultures are equally valuable and deserving of equal treatment and respect -- is flawed, Mansur maintains. He argues that all cultures are not equal in terms of their achievements and their ability to contribute to the advancement and betterment of mankind. Clearly, enlightened Western societies have championed the values of justice, freedom, equality, and tolerance. They operate under the rule of law and its equal application, possess superior records on human rights, and have a tradition of service or charity to those in need.
In direct contrast, Islamic sharia law imposes restrictions on the rights of women and non-Muslims, engages in cruel punishments and inhumane practices, and indoctrinates their youth to wage jihad against enemies. Western culture, with its fostering of critical thought and practice of the Golden Rule, is far superior and more advanced than Islam, which enforces a medieval, totalitarian, supremacist, and misogynistic doctrine, Mansur argues.
In recounting the emancipation of the individual that led to the end of tribalism and to the rise of democracy, Mansur credits individualism, combined with altruism, for supplanting tribal rule. As man was liberated from the collective hold of the tribe, individual rights were placed above collective interests, he observes.
However, multiculturalism has now greatly changed free societies and resulted in the abridgment of freedom, the weakening of the nation state, and the promotion of the victimhood of selected populations, he asserts. The demand to view all cultures as equal, he says, has enforced prohibitions against critical analysis and judgment and resulted in the creation of invasive, equality-enforcing bureaucracies operating under arbitrary criteria to enforce that equality, regardless of the consequences.