Friday, May 30, 2008

The Death of Multiculturalism

I don't read the Toronto Sun very often, but this particular piece on the death of multiculturalism caught my eye. It's a little bit creepy, a little bit of a declaration of holy war, and also a good chunk of simply wrong.

I was a bit confused at first by how the writer felt that the attacks of September 11 could bring an end to halal delicatessens, freedom of religion, Caribana, Oktoberfest, multi-lingual Canadians and people who wear different hats.

It took me a while to understand why. The author is so ensconced in his own strawman definition of multiculturalism that he didn't bother telling the rest of us what it really means until further down the article:
The idea that all cultures are equal in merit and deserving respect ...

Is that what multiculturalism means? I had no idea.

I thought it meant that we accept people from other cultures with different ideas and different traditions. I thought it meant permitting people to practice their various traditions. I thought it meant absorbing what we like in to our own way of life without discrimination based on appearances.

Indeed, we should be and we are practical and rational about this. We took a long time to consider whether a Sikh should get to wear his headgear as opposed to the standard uniform of a police officer.

But if you come from a place where it's permissible to kill your daughter because she got pregnant out of wedlock or married the wrong guy then you're going to find yourself in jail. No deference to "multiculturalism" is going to save you. It doesn't work for Christians and it doesn't work for Muslims or anyone else.

No one who believes in "multiculturalism" thinks it means running jets in to buildings to kill people. Nor do I see any justification for thinking that allowing people to bring their beliefs and traditions with them was even a proximate cause of 9/11. The root cause of 9/11 was the American government breeding religious fanatics in Afghanistan and then forgetting to keep track of them and meanwhile taking actions that enraged their fanaticism.

I do not write this to justify 9/11, but to explain why it happened. And it had nothing to do with multiculturalism.

If it did, why did 9/11 happen in the United States and not in Canada, which has policies much more amenable to multiculturalism?

Multiculturalism doesn't mean letting people come to your country to do whatever they want.

It means not being afraid of people who are different. It means not forcing people to conform simply because you're afraid.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

People don’t seem or wish to understand that multiculturalism gives everyone the chance to gain from their differences, gawd forbid anyone should be different. There is so much we could all learn from each other.