March 15, 2008

Let the dismantling begin

By SALIM MANSUR – for the Toronto Sun

In writing about the need to dismantle multiculturalism, the advice of Sophocles from the fifth century B.C. comes to mind.


The Athenian playwright and author of the tragedy Oedipus the King counselled, “One must wait until the evening to see how splendid the day has been.”


It is with the evening of multiculturalism at hand that we can discern how utterly flawed is the liberal notion proclaiming equality of all cultures at the expense of individual freedom, which has guided governments in western liberal democracies for some time.


Those who engineered the idea of multiculturalism into liberal policy belonged to a generation in the West who took freedom for granted.


This generation inherited freedom – with the ground laid for the greatest expansion of wealth in all of human history – without breaking a sweat.


Consequently, they never understood fully what freedom means for those who yearn for it in its absence, and those called upon to sacrifice all that is most precious in its defence.


For this generation freedom as inheritance amounted to a value or basket of goods of no greater merit than some other value to be sought. And protecting it at best became a burden to be met reluctantly, even grudgingly, unlike the grit shown by their parents and grandparents in defeating the fascist ideology of their time.


It was the idea of equality that took hold of this generation’s thinking and out of it was hatched multiculturalism.


The best and brightest of this generation went forth into the world to study other cultures and like Mark Twain’s “innocents abroad,” returned to instruct the less cosmopolitan of their compatriots. The lessons included the goodness to be found in every culture meant the culture which devised man’s walk on the moon had much to learn about communal living from the clan solidarity of peasants in the Mekong Delta or the husbandry of the camel-herding Bedouins of the Arabian desert.


It is when people are confronted with crisis of some existential nature that the mettle of the ideas and values by which they live gets tested.


For the generation that invested in multiculturalism as a political ideal, the test came with the Islamists unleashing their cult of death ideology against the West.


For the multiculturalists the dilemma posed by terrorist assaults questions fighting Islamists instead of appeasing them through accommodation. That question arises since all cultures are equal according to their ideology and, moreover, their ideal instructs them there is nothing specific and precious about the West to begin with, thus no sacrifice is meaningful in its defence.


The logic of multiculturalism goes against the thought of Canadian soldiers waging war against the Taliban in Afghanistan when multiculturalists would accommodate Taliban values in Canada.


It is such thinking that led the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, in recently addressing the Royal Courts of Justice, to commend “public or legal recognition” of Islamic laws (sharia) in England while ignoring Muslims seeking freedom from sharia.


In the archbishop’s world the 18th century Scottish philosopher David Hume’s warning, “It is seldom that liberty of any kind is lost all at once” raises little concern.

However, only when liberty is at stake and people are prepared to defend it, are false ideologies such as multiculturalism exposed as sham requiring their quick internment for freedom’s survival.


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