Why the American ‘multicultural’ model falls apart in Europe and Israel – Haaretz.com (with reflections)

Source: Why the American ‘multicultural’ model falls apart in Europe and Israel – Life – Haaretz.com

There is so much here that is worth reading! The author, Mr. Taub, says many things that I have been arguing for some years, now – and most key, that the current “liberal”-Left obsession with “diversity” and “multiculturalism” is in fact neither diverse nor tolerant of difference.

Rather, it seeks to implement a model of society in which, under a thin and illusory veneer of difference, the reality is actually one of bland sameness; a society in which everyone marches in lockstep, a society in which every element is “diverse” to precisely the same extent demographically, and within the same politically-correct parameters philosophically.

As Mr. Taub puts it in this essay, “In fact, the colorful cultural mosaic that espousers of such approaches create in their mind’s eye works only when it is not actually colorful… Paradoxically, when everyone believes in diversity, it does not really exist.” Or again, “there is something deceptive about this paean to multiplicity. It talks about otherness but refuses to look at it, declares diversity but presumes uniformity. In other words, it is a form of self-deception.”

He goes a little astray, in my opinion, in some of the assumptions he makes about the situation in America, for instance when he writes,

“American liberalism, which developed within a migrant society, had to wrestle with the question of creating unity from multiplicity from its very inception. And it also found effective solutions. In America, too, the multicultural view involves self-deception. But in its case the self-deception was beneficial, juxtaposed as it was on the bedrock of a deep and far-reaching consensus.

So far, he’s on reasonably solid ground, at least historically. But he continues,

“The assimilationist forces in America are tremendous, and the pressures they exert on people to conform are powerful. In various ways, both de facto and de jure, assimilation demands that migrants accept the country’s basic moral values: individualism, natural rights, gender equality, democracy, capitalism and a contractual conception of society and human relations. This is a precondition for becoming part of the American dream. If you have other dreams, America will shatter them quickly and efficiently, lest they endanger the moral consensus.”

This was indeed true historically, but from my perspective as an early 21st century American, I have grave doubts as to whether this historical consensus continues to hold, or for how long it may retain even a tenuous grip on our national discourse.

There are certainly powerful countervailing forces at work, emanating from the academic and media hotbeds of “liberal” (no longer classically liberal, but Leftist) thought, which Marxists and their fellow-travelers have so successfully infiltrated. Ironically – and dangerously – those who were committed to tearing down “the establishment” (a.k.a. “the system”) in the 1960s and early ’70s have become the establishment, now, they and their philosophical heirs.

The idea they are putting forward, aggressively, is that “multiculturalism” is actually “a broadening of democracy from human beings to values. It is not enough to acknowledge that all human beings are equal; true equality requires that we respect their cultures equally too.” But, as Taub points out, “This simple argument contains a contradiction: According equal value to cultures can have the effect of undermining equality among human beings, not only of expanding it.”

Thus we have the bizarre spectacle of “feminists,” heirs to the struggle to allow women to wear miniskirts and blue jeans, adopting the hijab. As the symbol of… what, precisely? Opposition to patriarchy and oppression? But it is a cultural expression of one of the most patriarchal and oppressive religious ideologies on the planet.

Of course, they argue that it is not about the hijab, per se, but about the “choice” to wear it. The problem with that is that the hijab comes with a great deal of cultural and religious significance. By “choosing” to wear it, one is doing one of two things: either signaling one’s adoption of those cultural and religious values, many of which are very much at variance with the feminist – and liberal, both classical and current – agenda, or else one is seeking to sever it from those values, and consequently, by the Left’s own reckoning, engaging in cultural appropriation.

But as I have said on more than one occasion, irony is usually lost on Leftists, nor is consistency one of their strengths. And the wearing of hijab is of relatively minor consequence, compared to other cultural distinctives such as female genital mutilation, or the propensity in many Moslem countries to lob homosexuals off tall buildings.

At any rate, here is Mr. Taub again:

“In fact, when one peels the jargon off multicultural rhetoric, one finds an absurdity at its core. Saturated as it is with the liberal spirit, it nevertheless somehow assumes that liberalism itself is not liberal enough, whereas all the adversaries of liberalism are for some reason more liberal than it is. It’s not surprising, then, that an obfuscating jargon is needed to hide such a simple contradiction.

“The Black Panthers were not feminists, Ho Chi Minh was not one of the Righteous Among the Nations, the Shas party’s rabbis are not defenders of the gay community’s rights, and the conclusion of Israeli occupation of the Gaza Strip did not make Hamas a human rights organization. The assumption that democratic pluralism and liberal freedom will necessarily emanate from the margins has no foundation in reality. The logical fault can be formulated in brief: The whole model rests on the moral kitsch that identifies victimization with justice. Unfortunately, however, in the real world, victims are not necessarily saints, still less saintly liberals.”

The reality, uncomfortable as it may be for folks on the left side of the socio-political spectrum to grasp, is that just as individual humans are created by God, and are thus of equal intrinsic value in the eyes of God – but that does not mean that all are equally good, kind, decent, accomplished, productive, reasonable, etc. – so not all societies, all cultures, all worldviews and all ideologies participate equally in the transcendent values of Goodness, Truth, and Beauty.

Even the hardest-Left ideologue knows this, or one would not see the visceral attacks they launch on belief systems and worldviews with which they do not agree! Just ask any Trump supporter whether the Leftists’ belief in the equality of all cultures extends to those “riding on the Trump train.” Or why it’s admirable for a clothing designer to refuse to design fashions for the First Lady, but abhorrent for a Christian cake-maker to refuse to make a cake for a same-sex wedding.

At any rate, for a complex set of reasons the totality of which eludes me, but which appear to include a combination of guilt (the most extreme Leftists are usually among the most economically and academically privileged in our society), self-loathing, hatred of anything that smacks of tradition, and a misguided sense of compassion, the socio-political Left has chosen to elevate to a pedestal anyone who can make a claim – however thin and full of holes – to “victim” status… as long as that individual or society is not part of a predetermined “oppressor” class.

What do they expect to accomplish with this? Is their impulse simply nihilistic and destructive – do they hate the West and its roots in “patriarchy” and Christianity so deeply that they are willing to effectively commit suicide to bring it down?

Or do they labour, still, under the false assumption that if only we can be “welcoming” enough, the most committed Islamic terrorist, the greediest economic migrant, the members of cultures most dramatically disparate from the West, will kick off their shoes, place flowers in their hair, and sit around the campfire singing “Kumbaya”…?

I imagine the answer to that differs with the individual. Some probably identify more with the first option, others the second, still others lie somewhere along the spectrum. Yet either view is dangerous. Cultures are not equal; but true diversity would be willing to accept a wide range and variation of cultures, as long as they did not attempt to impose themselves on others by force.

True multiculturalism would respect the distinctiveness of cultures, not attempt to amalgamate them, either philosophically or geographically.

 

Is the “natural habitat” of Catholic Christians (including Anglicans) urban or rural?

Angelus-Jean-François_Millet
The Angelus (1857–59) by Jean-François Millet

I wrote this piece as a reply to a thread in a Facebook group called “Catholic Village Movement: Rebuilding Christendom.” The idea was floated that, Many of us came from cities just 100 years ago. Maybe cities are the Catholic’s natural environment. Ugh. Gross. But also maybe true.” I am not so sure. In fact, I doubt it!

Here is my response – please read “Catholic” or “Catholics” to include all branches of the Church Catholic, including not only those of the Roman observance, but our Eastern Orthodox brethren, and of course, those of us who are Anglicans – slightly cleaned up and elaborated upon from the original:

I have just been an observer of the conversations on this group heretofore, but for what it’s worth (maybe nothing), here’s another perspective on the urban-vs-rural thing. Yes, “pagani” meant, roughly, “country bumpkins.” Actually it meant, literally, “dwellers in the pagus,” with “pagus” meaning – interestingly enough – “village,” but also district, countryside, rural portions of a civitas (http://latinmeaning.com/pagus-latin-to-english-translation/). It had, by the early Christian era, acquired a slightly pejorative cast to it, like “hicks” or “rednecks.”

So the question to ask ourselves is, why did those who clung to their pre-Christian religions (shades of Obama’s infamous “bitterly clinging to God and guns” remark…) become known as “pagani” (“pagans”)? Because a) new teachings took longer – a lot longer – to percolate out to the countryside, in those pre-hi-tech (and, for many, pre-literate) days, and b) because the cities had become inhospitable to them, having been largely converted to the new religion, Christianity. The situation is similar today, although the roles are reversed.

Ask yourself, where is the greatest survival of Christian (not only, but including, Catholic) belief and practice today? Hint: it’s not in the big, densely-populated coastal urban enclaves! It’s in the “flyover states,” and in more rural sections of the rest of the states. And for many of the same reasons that the “pagus” remained “pagan” long after Christianity had begun to gain traction in the more urban areas: cities are not, and never have been, amenable for those who want to maintain traditions. Continue reading “Is the “natural habitat” of Catholic Christians (including Anglicans) urban or rural?”

Why not “Smash Cultural Atheism”…?

An amusing little meme (please excuse the language in the last frame) which actually asks a very good question:

Smash Cultural Atheism

Note: This is in reference to “Smash Cultural Marxism” (see my post on the subject), which has become something of a buzzword or catch-phrase in some quarters. Some militant atheists (and, unfortunately, a few militant pagans / heathens) have responded with “Smash Cultural Christianity.” This meme takes a more balanced view – and asks the appropriate follow-up question!

The irony of atheism, of course, is that while it claims to be grounded in “reason” and “science,” it is in actuality just as much of a belief system as any religion. While it is not possible to conclusively prove the existence of God, neither is it possible to conclusively prove the non-existence of God: is anyone really foolish enough to think that a deity capable of creating the entire cosmos, from quasars to quarks, couldn’t build sufficient ambiguity into the system to make belief in “his” existence a matter of faith and not fact?

Speaking personally, the idea that all the incredible wonder, splendor, and complexity of the Cosmos, from astronomy to biology to particle physics, came about by sheer chance, and/or spontaneously generated from nothingness, requires more faith than I can muster. So I take my hat off to the deep faith of atheists, even as I question their supposed rationality.

Thus, while a discrete and humble agnosticism is an entirely reasonable approach to the question of the existence of God, and the relationship between that God (if in fact, as seems most probable, He exists) and humans – for there is indeed much that we do not and cannot know – militant atheism comes across, to me at least, as ignorant, arrogant, and downright silly, no better than the most extreme and fundamentalist forms of Christianity. The fact that it denies that it is a belief, a matter of faith in fact, just makes it seem all the more silly…

That being the case, both Christianity and Paganism have a great deal more, intrinsically, to recommend them – as this meme humourously points out!

Why you should build a library in your home | Aleteia

“The very existence of libraries affords the best evidence that we may yet have hope for the future of man.”

– T.S. Eliot

Source: Library in Home – Aleteia

“Why would we do this? Why in the age of Kindles and iPads and ebooks should anyone build a library?”

Read on to learn the author’s answer to this question. Needless to say, I agree with him, in general and philosophical terms, and in quite a number of the specifics, as well! As my good young friend Ryan Hunter writes, “This article is incredible! I relate to it very much – one of my most cherished personal dreams is to build a beautiful home library one day.” So do I, and it is one of mine, as well.

Alle Stadlstern Sieger 2006-2010 – 30 Jahre Musikantenstadl (HQ) – YouTube

With so much drama and frustration circulating around the situation in Europe these days, let’s take a break and enjoy this medley of traditional European music!

And let’s not forget the beautiful Marilena:

And “Europeans have no culture.” Uh-huh… riiiiiiiight.

Rewilding Europe – Making Europe a Wilder Place

Source: Rewilding Europe – Making Europe a Wilder Place

Mixed feelings about this, to be honest. I am, as a rule, in favour of restoring habitats and ecosystems; however, I am less sanguine about European folk leaving the land and congregating in cities.

Migrant crisis – EU’s top court rules in favour of Dublin Agreement | Politics | News | Express.co.uk

EUROPE’S top court this morning threw a spanner in the works of Brussels attempts to resolve the migrant crisis by ruling that member states have the power to deport asylum seekers back to the first EU country they entered.

Source: Migrant crisis – EU’s top court rules in favour of Dublin Agreement | Politics | News | Express.co.uk

In an eagerly awaited ruling judges at the ECJ confirmed that Austria and Slovenia can send migrants back to Croatia to have their asylum cases determined there instead. 

I am sorry for Croatia, which I’m sure is feeling overwhelmed – ditto Italy and Greece – but this is a victory for both national sovereignty and for the preservation of Europe’s cultural and historical integrity, as well as for Austria.

My question is, why are “hundreds of thousands” of migrants being allowed into Europe at all? They have to come from somewhere – that is, have ingress points – and they have to be let in by someone. If you don’t let them in, in the first place, you don’t have to decide their status! And if it’s “the law” that you have to let them in, then “the law” needs to be changed.

I am opposed in principle to this absurd and very recent notion that any nation is under obligation to accept anyone, regardless of circumstances, within their borders. If they choose to do so, on humanitarian grounds, that’s their choice; but trying to legally require it? Ridiculous, and dangerous.