Monday, June 26, 2006

Jeff Goldstein at Protein Wisdom Discusses Multiculturalism

On its face, multiculturalism sounds and seems so good. Fairness for everyone. Keep your cultural heritage. Don't lose your defining differences.

Multiculturalism stands in stark contrast to the Melting Pot. The Melting Pot takes people of different races, creeds and even religions and melds them. America is well-known for this.

Melting pots receive scorn in the Academy. The losses that people "suffer" outweigh any social, religious, cultural, and economic gains when becoming fully American bring. Separation physically in neighborhoods, in education and by race, creed and color, is encouraged. Until the logical end happens.

Jeff Goldstein discusses the consequences and natural outcome should multiculturalism take total hold in the U.S.:

From that structural imperative, it is an all too easy jump from the identification of particularized, group-driven grievances to a defensive (and ultimately belligerent) us vs. them mentality. And once that leap is made—and its narrative bolstered by the religious and historical “mandates” preached by radical Islamists who establish themselves as guardians and teachers of the official Word—the separation from the host society is both complete and (perversely) justified.

Most disturbingly, the acceptance of the official Islamist narrative by its newly acculturated adherents demands a repudiation of many of the laws of the host state. Which is how in Germany, for instance, a newly elected German-born chairman of the Moslem Central Council of German can come to say, “A constitution after the principle of the division of powers into the legislative, the executive and the judicial powers, is nowhere to be found in the Islamic theory of the State. From an Islamic viewpoint, this is obvious, since the laws—the laws of God—in the form of sharia, are already made and thus no legislative power is needed, in that sense of the word. Only Allah is the legislative power.”

And it is at this point that the multicultural model finds itself in a state of tension with the mandates of nationalism and a singular rule of law—something critics of multiculturalism had long warned against. That is, the kind of boutique multiculturalism that proponents of the multicultural social model found so progressive and chic (in England, “Cool Britannia")—and which was always presumed to be tempered by western rationalism --inevitably finds itself at odds with the far more serious demands of a truly (strong) multicultural model. And having providing the philosophical grounds for allowing Otherness to determine acceptable cultural practices, it becomes difficult for adherents of the multicultural model then to draw consistent and coherent lines for what is and is not permissable. Or to put it more simply, boutique multiculturalism opens the door to the demands of strong multiculturalism—demands that a host country simply cannot meet without losing its own national identity. [emphasis added]

Hence, schisms. And hence, Londonistan.

So far, the US has largely been able to withstand the pressures of cultural relativism—though legal victories that give identity groups special status under the law are always necessarily paving the way for potential challenges by ethnic groups for special dispensation. This is why hate crime laws or “race"-based affirmative action are each so problematic—not for their intent, but for their practical legal impact: they establish the precedents under which group-based grievance politics can both thrive and become institutionalized. And as I’ve pointed out here on many other occasions, there is great danger in any movement away from legal individualism.

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