Sunday, January 28, 2007

On the qusetion of multiculturalism and how far it has strayed from its original, good-willed, intention, here are two essays:

Martin Fukuyama:

"Modern liberal societies have weak collective identities. Postmodern elites, especially in Europe, feel that they have evolved beyond identities defined by religion and nation. But if our societies cannot assert positive liberal values, they may be challenged by migrants who are more sure of who they are

Modern identity politics springs from a hole in the political theory underlying liberal democracy. That hole is liberalism's silence about the place and significance of groups. The line of modern political theory that begins with Machiavelli and continues through Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau and the American founding fathers understands the issue of political freedom as one that pits the state against individuals rather than groups."

Christopher Hitchens:

"Two things, in my experience, disable many liberals at the onset of this conversation. First, they cannot shake their subliminal identification of the Muslim religion with the wretched of the earth: the black- and brown-skinned denizens of what we once called the “Third World.” You can see this identification in the way that the Palestinians (about 20 percent of whom were Christian until their numbers began to decline) have become an “Islamic” cause and in the amazing ignorance that most leftists display about India, a multiethnic secular democracy under attack from al-Qaida and its surrogates long before the United States was. And you can see it, too, in the stupid neologism “Islamophobia,” which aims to promote criticism of Islam to the gallery of special offenses associated with racism."

I have come to harbour deep distrust of "multiculturalism". It is, in my opinion, a coded word for tolerated antisemitism, anti-Americanism, as well as a legitimizing mask for few a other "isms" like post-colonialism, anti-globalization, anti-Israelism...

The diversity that was supposed to replace white, middle-class polite bigoted smugness rapidly became a shoving match among minorities jousting for more entitlements, more accomodations. It is no longer about different cultures being granted their dignity. It is now about different people insisting on being treated differently, shown greater respect, given privileges while insisting on their apartness, on imported values being applied into their life here.

On the close relation between Multiculturalism and antisemitism:

"Among other things, the Sassoon conference dealt with the paradox of multicultural openness and acceptance of "the Other" from the perspective of the antisemitic obsession. "There is something distorted in present day multiculturalism, which is so fashionable not only in North America, but also in Europe and in other parts of the world," says Professor Wistrich. "It is remarkable that open Western societies embracing pluralist values, which are supposed to be good for Jews – have in effect produced in the past thirty years some virulent new strains of antisemitism. Partly this grows out of an almost demented glorification of the Palestinians, which has nothing to do with reality. But the 'pluralist' attitude has also been problematic since it tends to marginalize Jews in the West as part of the oppressive ruling elites. On the other hand, Muslim immigrants in Europe today are seen as victims; they are therefore always right and should be appeased. The Jews are no longer perceived as victims. They are rich, powerful, exploitative, and aggressive. This is not merely untrue but also an antisemitic stereotype."


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