Sunday, March 26, 2006

On Multiculturalism

We have looked recently at cultural relativism and triumphalism. This post we'll look at multiculturalism, following soon with a historical look at the concept of racism - as - pseudoscience as based on Darwin's speculations on evolution as applied to people. The point of these investigations into our intellectual history is to show how we came to believe our common assumptions of the West. If we look at Herder and Fichte, as we have done here, and trace the history of the ideas they developed, then we can see a clear line of glowing fascism that doesn't end with Hitler but that carries on to this day in mutated form. Those who refuse to follow the arguments and the texts fall back on any number of idiocies but they do not and cannot refute the texts on which this thesis is built. Here below is a short entry on multiculturalism culled from wikipedia. For those who care for more information on this topic we suggest looking in the archives for: The Melian Dialogue; William Walker; Let's Invade Sweden; Franz Boaz; History of Rational Agriculture; History of Ecology; Bacon, Feynman, and Dawkins; Bissoondath; and random samplings of Plato. The wikipedia piece is something of a joke, it being revised by someone determined to make it politically correct. We've included the deleted parts, shown the included bits, and leave the reader to decide.

To my personal delight I see that over the course of these past nine months of patchwork posts the thesis here is becoming coherent and supportable. In coming posts we'll continue this critique of Modernity by posting on racism, social progress, identity, authenticity, pacifism, manifest destiny, gnosticism, eschatology, with more on
Herder, Fitche, Julien Benda, Georges Sorel, V.I. Lenin, C.G. Jung, Heidegger, and finally on Rousseau and Eric Hoffer. This blog does have an end, and we are reaching it. If you have comments or suggestions, please contact me here. We, my mates and I here, are usually happy to receive them.

Below we'll see the remnants of the entry from wikipedia and the revisions now standing. I've include that which was deleted, and noted much of what is now included that was not in the original. I tried to cut out the boring bits to keep this easy to read. I make some brief remarks at the end of the wikipedia copy.



Official multiculturalism:

Multiculturalism can also be a prescriptive term which describes government policy.

In dealing with immigrants groups and their cultures, there are essentially three approaches-
Monoculturalism: In most Old World nations, notably with the exception of the UK, culture is very closely linked to nationalism, thus government policy is to assimilate immigrants These countries have policies aiming at the social integration of immigrant groups to the national culture. This is typical of nations that define themselves as one and indivisible and do not recognize the existence of other nations within their midst.

Melting Pot: In the United States the traditional view has been one of a melting pot where all the immigrant cultures are mixed and amalgamated without state intervention. However, many states have different language policies within the union. Immigrants maintain their own culture and family background while also becoming Americans.

Multiculturalism: In comparison to the above two approaches, multiculturalism is a view, or policy, that immigrants, and others, should preserve their cultures with the different cultures interacting peacefully within one nation. Today, this is the official policy of Canada, Australia and the UK. However, contrasting views on the Australian model articulate a fundamental shift that identifies a singular homogenised culture derived from a heterogeneous society. Multiculturalism has been described as preserving a "cultural mosaic" of separate ethnic groups, and is contrasted to a "melting pot" that mixes them. This has also been described as the "salad bowl" model.



Multiculturalism became incorporated into official policies in several nations in the 1970s for reasons that varied from country to country.

In Canada, it was adopted in 1971 following the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism, a government body set up in response to the grievances of Canada's French-speaking minority (concentrated in the Province of Quebec). The report of the Commission advocated that the Canadian government recognize Canada as a bilingual and bicultural society and adopt policies to preserve this character. Biculturalism was attacked from many directions.

Progressive Conservative leader John Diefenbaker saw multiculturalism as an attack on his vision of unhyphenated Canadianism. It did not satisfy the growing number of young francophones who gravitated towards Quebec nationalism. While many Canadians of British descent disliked the new policies of biculturalism and official bilingualism, the strongest opposition to biculturalism came from Canadians of neither English nor French descent, the so-called "Third Force" Canadians. Biculturalism did not accord with local realities in the western provinces, where the French population was tiny compared to other groups such as the Ukrainian Canadians, the group that was arguably most important in modifying the policy of biculturalism. To accommodate these groups, the formula was changed from "bilingualism and biculturalism" to "bilingualism and multiculturalism."

The Liberal government of Pierre Trudeau promulgated the "Announcement of Implementation of Policy of Multiculturalism within Bilingual Framework" in the House of Commons on 8 October 1971, the precursor of the Canadian Multiculturalism Act which received Royal Assent on 21 July, 1988. Symbolically, this legislation affirmed that Canada was a multicultural nation. On a more practical level, federal funds began to be distributed to ethnic groups to help them preserve their cultures. Projects typically funded included folk dancing competitions and the construction of community centres. This led to criticisms that the policy was actually motivated by electoral considerations. After its election in 1984, the Progressive Conservative government of Brian Mulroney did not reverse these policies, although they had earlier been criticized by Tories as inconsistent with "unhyphenated Canadianism." This policy has been supported by every subsequent government and was added to Canada's 1982 constitution, in section 27 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.


While multiculturalist policies oppose cultural assimilation, countries such as Canada do support structural assimilation. Immigrant groups are still encouraged to participate in the larger society, learn the majority languages, and enter the labour force.

Official multiculturalism around the Table:

In the United States multiculturalism is not an official policy at the federal level. At the state level, it is sometimes associated with English-Spanish bilingualism. However, the government, in recent years, moved to support many multiculturalist policies. In some ways, the United States has gone even further than Canada and Australia with such policies. For instance, California drivers can take their exams in a number of languages and voting districts are shaped

[edited version deletes "gerrymandered districts"] to facilitate proportional minority representation in government.

In the United Kingdom multiculturalism has been the subject of extensive debate in recent years. Under the Conservatives (1979-1997), multiculturalist rhetoric and policies were confined to left-leaning councils....

Multiculturalism, along with other identity politics, has, partly, been successful because it is a useful tool for politicians to win the votes of minority groups. Government money for cultural celebrations or ethnic-specific newspapers can encourage new immigrants to support the governing party.


There have been many criticisms of official multiculturalism from both the left and right. Criticisms come from a variety of perspectives, including the democratic, feminist, capitalist, nationalist, chauvinist, separatist, racialist and xenophobic.

[Edited from: "criticism of such policies can be difficult, because it can quickly lead to accusations of racism and xenophobia."]

Criticisms of multiculturalism in general:

Critics charge that one of the dangers of pursuing multicultural social policies is that social integration and cultural assimilation can be held back. This can potentially encourage economic disparities and an exclusion of minority groups from mainstream politics.

[Edited out is: Maththew Parris has questioned whether the pursuit of particularist multiculturalism is not apartheid by another name."]

[The following is included:] However, policies that facilitate racially proportional representation, district as opposed to at-large local elections, and the accommodation of bilingualism in the voting both do precisely the opposite: they encourage political participation and increase minority representation in local and national political life.

One of the most forceful critics of multiculturalism was Ayn Rand, who [deleted: "condemned"] feared the world-wide ethnic revival of the late 1960s [deleted: "as a manifestation of tribalism that"] would lead to an ethnic Balkanization destructive to modern industrial societies. Her philosophy considered multiculturalism [added:] and monoculturalism to be culturally determinist collectivism (i.e., that individual human beings have no free choice in how they act and are conditioned irreversibly by society). Philosophically, Rand rejected this form of collectivism on the grounds that: 1) it undermines the concept of free will, and 2) the human mind (according to her philosophy) is a tabula rasa at birth. But it is also true that the human mind is born without any culture, and that in nearly all societies attempt to condition their citizens culturally. What is distinct about multiculturalism is the assertion of an identity, aside from the nationally imposed identity, allowing for individuals within minority cultures to exercise more free choice than they otherwise would in a universalist society.

[Deleted: Since her thinking was also the basis for rejecting racism... [she considers] multiculturalism to be akin to racism.]

In her 1999 essay, later expanded into an anthology, "Is Multiculturalism Bad for Women?" the feminist and political theorist Susan M. Okin argues that a concern for the preservation of cultural diversity should not overshadow the discriminatory nature of gender roles in many traditional minority cultures, that, at the very least, "culture" should not be used as an excuse for rolling back the women's rights movement.

[Added:] Literature by prominent minority women authors such as Toni Morrison and Maxine Hong Kingston can be both critiques of the traditional majority and minority cultures, as well as articulate exponents of a multicultural vision.


Another more recent and conservative criticism, based largely upon the Nordic and Canadian experience, is presented by the administrative scientist Gunnar K. A. Njalsson, who views multiculturalism as a utopian ideology with a simplistic and overly optimistic view of human nature, the same weakness he attributes to Communism, Anarchism, and many strains of Liberalism. He

[deleted: "points out that the current climate in many Western nations with official multiculturalist policies and programmes is such that even lucid and well-argued criticism of the ideology will tend to be met by emotional, sensationalist, and even violent opposition."]

[Added:] raises a concern some variants of the multiculturalism may equip non-egalitarian cultural groups with political clout and influence as to alter the values system of the larger society.

{Deleted:] It is this aspect combined with a tendency to require all citizens to think and act in accordance with multiculturalism which, according to Njalsson, would tend to define multiculturalism as a potentially extreme and totalitarian ideology. He also voices concerns that some variant of the muticulturalist ideology may in fact equip non-egalitarian cultural groups with political clout and influence in such a way as to eventually allow them to dominate the values system of a particular society.]

This realist criticism of multiculturalism maintains that in Canada, Australia, New Zealand or the US, multiculturalism may [actually further] aggravate a situation where old-stock families [deleted: "are not permitted by their old world countries to consider themselves as..."]

do not consider themselves as English, French, Scandinavian, etc. while newer arrivals who can claim two or more national identities.

[Added:] These fears are not borne out by the historical record. Fears that minorities in the US or Canada will have divided loyalties have been a canard, for example, to intern Japanese-Americans during World War II. In fact native-born ethnic and religious minorities in North America have high rates of out-marriage, participate fully in their country of birth, and identify culturally and not politically with the home of their forbears. The potential struggle to alter societal values is a concern mainly in European countries with monocultural policies, where religious and ethnic minorities are politically and socially marginalized, a condition that can reinforce fundamentalist strains in any culture.

Multiculturalism as co-optation into structures of white power:

Anti-racists of the Marxist tilt view white supremacy as one system that stems from an internalized form of imperialism, that is, exploitation of other races for the accumulation of capital in the homeland. When racism is in this way analyzed a problem of political economy, the response is to tear down its structural foundations, that is, imperialism.

Multiculturalism stands in the way of such agenda, because it implies that the grounds for racism in society are not economic, but cultural or ideological. Ironically, a contradictory view asserts that the pursuit of particularist multiculturalism is somehow apartheid by another name.


United States

Some opponents argue that the celebration of multicultural diversity in America is used to mask hostility toward the mainstream.

In his 1991 work, Illiberal Education, Dinesh D'Souza argues that the entrenchment of multiculturalism in American universities has undermined the universalistic values that liberal educations once attempted to foster. In particular, he was disturbed by the growth of ethnic studies programs, (e.g., Black Studies).


Many critics fear that multiculturalism has been a massive failure while others celebrate it. Many attribute the introduction of multiculturalism to the civil rights movement and the 1965 Immigration Act or the (Hart-Celler Act).

Maryland governor Robert Ehrlich was especially critical of the concept, calling it "crap" and saying that the idea of multiculturalism is flawed and that young immigrants should learn English and assimilate into American culture.

"The question we Americans need to address, before it is answered for us, is: Does this First World nation wish to become a Third World country?

[Added:] Because that is our destiny if we do not build a sea wall against the waves of immigration rolling over our shores....Who speaks for the Euro-Americans, who founded the USA?...Is it not time to take America back?" -Pat Buchanan

[Added:] Many interpret multiculturalism to be a massive flooding of non white people into ones country which therefore puts the original culture in jeopardy.

[Added:] "There is nothing wrong with us sitting down and arguing that issue that we are a European country." -Pat Buchanan

[Added:] In a September 1993 speech to the Christian Coalition, Buchanan described multiculturalism as "an across-the-board assault on our Anglo-American heritage."

Many opponents feel that multiculturalism is destroying national sovereignty and preparing the world for a one world government. Although many Conservatives are afraid to criticize multiculturalism due to overwhelming culture and racial sensitivity in the United States.

In 1998, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., a former advisor to the Kennedy and other US administrations and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner in history, published a book with the title The Disuniting of America: Reflections on a Multicultural Society. Schlesinger states that a new attitude - one that celebrates difference and abandons assimilation - may replace the classic image of the melting pot in which differences are submerged in democracy. He argues that ethnic awareness has had many positive consequences to unite a nation with a "history of prejudice". However, the "cult of ethnicity", if pushed too far, may endanger the unity of society.



In Canada, the most noted critics of multiculturalism are Kenneth McRoberts, Neil Bissoondath, Daniel Stoffman, and Reginald Bibby.


In his Selling Illusions: The Cult of Multiculturalism in Canada, the Trinidad and Tobago born Bissoondath argues that official multiculturalism limits the freedom of minority members by confining them to cultural and geographic ghettos. He also argues that cultures are very complex and must be transmitted through close family and kin relations. To him, the government view of cultures as being about festivals and cuisine is a crude oversimplification that leads to easy stereotyping.

Bibby, in his Mosaic Madness: Pluralism Without a Cause, argues that official multiculturalism is a divisive force that is reducing national solidarity and unity.

Daniel Stoffman's book "Who Gets In" raises serious questions about the policy of Canadian multiculturalism. Stoffman points out that many cultural practices, such as allowing dog meat to be served in restaurants and street cockfighting, are simply incompatible with Canadian and western culture. He also raises concern about the number of recent immigrants who are not being linguistically integrated into Canada (i.e., not learning either English or French). He stresses that multiculturalism works better in theory than in practice.

Approximately 20% of today's Canadian citizens were born outside Canada due to the highest immigration rate of any G8 country. Recent immigrants are largely concentrated in the cities of Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto....

United Kingdom

In the UK, supporters of the current Labour government's approach have described it as having defended the rights of minorities to preserve their culture, while also seeking to ensure they become fully participatory citizens — that is, integrating without assimilating. Critics say the policy fails on all accounts: If social conditions and racism become barriers to the integration of minorities, then multiculturalism does not properly function. There is now a lively debate in the UK over multiculturalism versus "social cohesion and inclusion." The current Labour government appears to favour the latter. In the wake of the July 7 Bombings 2005 (which left over 50 people dead) the opposition Conservative shadow home secretary called on the government to scrap its "outdated" policy of multiculturalism. One of the foremost critics of multiculturalism is Trevor Phillips the chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality and a one-time black activist. Criticisms of the multiculturalism policy have also been made by Uganda-born author Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, in her book After Multiculturalism. While it is claimed that the United Kingdom receives the largest number of immigrants every year, ahead of France and the United States, the UNHCR reports on its website that this is in fact exaggerated. Most of the immigrants come from the Indian sub-continent or the Caribbean. This is the main reason why London is the world's most cosmopolitan city. In the May 2004 edition of Prospect Magazine, David Goodhart, the Editor, temporarily couched the debate on Multiculturalism in terms of whether a modern welfare state and a "good society" is sustainable as its citizens are becoming increasingly diverse.[1] Open criticism of multiculturalism, given Prospect's pedigree and reputation, was thereafter firmly part of the mainstream. Since then - such as the London bombings - have shifted the debate away from sustainability and cohesion towards a focus on the uneasy bedfellows of free speech and security. In November 2005 John Sentamu, the first member of an ethnic minority to be appointed as Archbishop of York stated, "Multiculturalism has seemed to imply, wrongly for me, let other cultures be allowed to express themselves but do not let the majority culture at all tell us its glories, its struggles, its joys, its pains."

To summarise, multiculturalsim was originated in Switzerlan and in Canada as a way of vote-buying: Canadian politicians felt that since one riding, Danforth Ave. in Toronto, was nearly entirely Greek, that an appeal to Greeks on the grounds of ethnicity would win the Livberal government that key riding. It took little time to realise that the Chinese and Portugese enclaves would have similar results if pitched in ethnic terms. And to cement the deal, the Froncophone seperatists in Quebec, being the largest minority in Canada, were diluted as a political force by devaluing them while empowering others as equally deserving of "cultural privilege" within the confederation. Whereas Quebec was oriianlly French it suddenly became multicultural instead. Todaay, according to Bissoondth's Selling Illusions, (archived) there is, according to the Canadian government, no Canadian culture. The results of this government programme of social and racist engineering are obvious in France with the concept of "youths" as opposed to Muslims; in Australia with "neo-Nazis" as opposed to local residents battling against "men of Middle Eastern appearance" rather than Lebanese gang rapists; in Scandanavia with the locals swarmed and raped and terrified by "no one in particular;" and so on.

Because the intelligentsia have a total lack of understanding of the history of the concept of racism they have de facto become racists in practice.

To return to Nyalsson: "He also voices concerns that some variant of the muticulturalist ideology may in fact equip non-egalitarian cultural groups with political clout and influence in such a way as to eventually allow them to dominate the values system of a particular society."

We can see the clear evidence of the truth of his observation in Islamic triumphalism. Fascist Muslims are daily attempting to impose sharia on Europe. They murder with near impunity across the world, and the multiculturalists cry Islamophobia and racism at at any protest against this. Were it not so serious we might just laugh at the idiocies of our multiculturalist elitists. They are in fact a serious menace to our very lives, not to mention our societies.

The entry above shows us fairly clearly the division in our world between thsoe who write and those who rewrite. In restoring earlier passages and delited concepts we show the nature of the progress under discussion here. If one had only the rervised version of wikipedia's piece there'd be much not know to us. In the same way, by rreturning to Herder and Fichte and others we can trace the history of our concepts of multiculturalism and see that what we now stand on is a hotch-potch of revision and deletions and outright lies. We'll continue this
adventure in our next post.


Sophia Sadek said...

One of the planks of Hitler's platform was his opposition to multiculturalism. He lamented a "slavicization" of the Austrian state. He scorned the Jews for being adept in multiple languages. He was a strong advocate for a lingually homogenized and unified country.

It looks like you're on to something here.

dag said...

Sophia, in spite of your deep commitment to intellectual dishonesty you are always welcome to comment here.

Pim's Ghost said...

I'll comment in full later, until then write me, ok Dag?

dag said...

My pleasure.

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