British PM Attacks Multiculturalism

While the Middle East is collapsing upon itself politically the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, made a speech that may very well be remembered in history.  David Cameron was speaking at the Munich Security Conference when he announced that “state multiculturalism” had failed.  Instead of creating a united society it was leading to a segregated society where natives and immigrants were living in separate enclaves side by side but not living together.

When talking about multiculturalism it is imperative that it be understood that multiculturalism and multi-ethnicism are as different from each other as gender and sex.  Sex and ethnicity are of course descriptive of the biological nature of a person: a person may have female genitalia and an Asian ancestry for example.  While gender and culture are descriptive of something that is expressed socially: she may be a woman but she acts and talks like a man and while she looks Asian she speaks with an English accent and espouses liberal democratic values.

With a clear understanding of the difference between a multicultural society versus a multi-ethnic society I hope it becomes very clear that even if all the people in a multicultural society were of the same ethnicity it would still be social strife at best and civil war at worse.  How do you know this?  Because nearly all of the wars fought in history were not about resources, but about cultural differences.  The city dwellers versus the hunter gatherers, the Christians versus the Muslims, the Protestants versus the Catholics, the Liberals versus the Fascists, the Democrats versus the Autocrats.  It is not the colour of a person’s skin that makes for a conflict, it is the difference in their culture that divides and sets one group of people against another.

Multiculturalism has been a state organised act of suicide by Western governments who failed to distinguish between culture and ethnicity.  They saw the great success they had integrating south and eastern Europeans into countries like America and Australia but failed to realise that this form of ‘multiculturalism’ succeeded only because all Europeans share a common culture of liberal and secular values hence when the Greeks and Italians came to Australia after the second world war we weren’t actually creating a cultural divide, merely diversifying our gene pool.

However, having falsely assumed that ethnicity and culture were the same thing, these governments then opened up immigration policies to include peoples who have no history of liberalism, no history of secularism, no history of human rights, no history of equal treatment of women and no history of democracy.  Suddenly we have found our streets filled with people who think that women who wear bikinis are begging to be gang raped.  People who think that female genital mutilation is a beautiful practice.  People who think that democracy is weakness.  People who think liberalism is naive decadence.  People who think the religious laws, like Shariah, are more important than laws passed by our parliaments.  People who think murdering their daughters to preserve a primitive notion of family honour is not a criminal offence.  That blasphemy is a crime worthy of the death penalty and that stoning is an appropriate punishment for infidelity (the videos are on YouTube.com and they’re very distressing to watch so I won’t link one here).

Only two weeks before David Cameron’s historic speech a minister from his own government also made a speech: Baroness Warsi, where she said that ‘Islamophobia’ was rife in Britain and criticism of Muslims had “passed the dinner table test”.  But Islamophobia is a myth, it suggests that fearing Muslims is an irrational mental illness.  However, since the World Trade Centre attacks in 2001 there have been over 16,000 terrorist attacks carried out specifically in the name of Islam, according one Islamist watch dog site. It isn’t a phobia if you have a real and rational reason to fear something.  The Koran and Sunna are very clear, they hate us not because of the colour of our skin, but because we do not share the same cultural values as they do.

I should talk a bit more about Baroness Warsi, she is a Briton of Pakistani origin whose family have bought them into nobility, hence her title.  She calls herself a ‘real’ Muslim which is a logical fallacy that allows her to say that when a Muslim does good things they’re a ‘real’ Muslim and when they do bad things they’re not really a Muslim at all.  It is a form of intellectual dishonesty that often confuses people when they first hear it.  She is, however,  not actually a Muslim at all.  She believes in liberty, democracy, secularism, women’s equality and the rule of law.  In short, she is culturally western or European.  She calls herself Muslim but she doesn’t even convince the people she claims to represent: shown here throwing eggs at her for the crime of  being a successful woman (Islam strictly forbids women from having power over any men).  I actually think she’s a lovely human being and I consider her to be one of ‘us’, a Westerner, because we share the same cultural values.  However, I am very much afraid she’ll end up like another liberal Muslim-pretender, Benazir Bhutto who was killed for being a successful woman.

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Categories: Beliefs, Morals, Multiculturalism, Politics, Law

Author:Jason Sutherland

Resist the temptation to assume that you're always right or wrong. Never succumb to thinking you're so insignificant to trust your own thoughts and feelings. Always be responsible and listen carefully to others before passing judgement. Don't trust governments bearing stolen goods.

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12 Comments on “British PM Attacks Multiculturalism”

  1. February 7, 2011 at 2:01 pm #

    Hey Jason, I love this article and all it’s radical contention but I have a question. The last paragraph focuses on the Baroness Warsi claiming she is a “real” Muslim when in fact this is a ‘logical fallacy’ because Islamic laws strictly oppose much of what she believes in. However, that got me thinking… what is a “real” Christian, then? Someone who upholds the Word of God from the Old Testament, including all the bizarre and barbaric Jewish laws of stoning homosexuals, beating wives, owning and punishing slaves, and many other crimes against the Lord which according to the Bible are punishable by death? If Christians are entitled to modernise and mature their thinking in the 21st century and allowed to include ourselves in democratic, liberal societies, whilst still legitimately upholding Christianity, then aren’t Muslims also entitled to this, and retaining the “real Muslim” credibility?

    • February 7, 2011 at 3:03 pm #

      That’s a good question.

      The logical fallacy in question is called the “No True Scotsman” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_true_Scotsman) and it is a nice little trick when employed skilfully during a debate. The problem is that there is no such thing as a true Christian or a true Muslim. One can’t attack “Muslims” as such because they are a diverse group of people like any other. There are plenty of Christians, Jews and Muslims who put themselves down as atheists on religious surveys because they don’t see a contradiction in not believing in god as being at odds with also being a Christian, Jew or Muslim. It is like how many people say “he’s Christian” to mean “he’s a good person” instead of meaning the tradition definition of a Christian, “he believes that Jesus Christ was the son of god, born to a virgin, who died on a cross only rise again on the third day and to one day return to judge the living and the dead,” thus the simpler definition leaves open the possibility of this person who is called a “Christian” actually being an atheist or even a different religion!

      To resolve the logical problems one generally criticises the belief and not the person. That is to say, attack Islam but not Muslims. Attack Christianity, but not Christians. Attack American values, but not Americans. Attack Communism, but not communists. And so on. This is because the belief is far more easily accessible for criticism than a highly complex and diverse group of people who say they are one thing and do another. The uncomfortable fact for ‘moderate’ Muslims like Baroness Warsi is that the Koran and Haddiths of Islam do back up the actions of terrorists but actually condemn her own actions!

    • Martin Asher Smith
      February 11, 2011 at 9:10 pm #

      Interesting thought Andrew, what pops to mind is when you change or ‘moderise’ does your position maintain integrity. Does it take everything into account and the picture it shows of what should be consistent with that which provides the mandate. In this case the Koran.

      In Western nations that place a premium on freedom and liberty, provide an environment that is conducive for change. So fortunately if you want to change your welcome to it. – of course you must deal with the consequences. So a Muslim may modernise; but does this retain Koranic integrity? Jason is seems does not think this the case for for Baroness Warsi.

  2. Paul
    February 7, 2011 at 7:28 pm #

    Brilliant first 4 paragraphs! After that I was disappointed that no positive alternative was suggested, only criticism of those who do not conform to our culture.

    Culture clash is definitely a more healthy way to think about this very real problem. instead of ‘racism’ or ‘islamaphobia’. People are less likely to claim ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ in cultural matters, than religious or political. Some people wear a scarf on their hear, some eat bacon for breakfast, some sleep in the middle of the day. Positive multiculturalism is about acknowledging culture, not adhering to it. Culture as ‘expression’ not as ‘repression’. Acknowledging that when people do things differently we don’t have to judge it right or wrong. The only mandatory culture is the law. Those who come from cultures with different laws, must respect the local law. This works both ways, when you find that YOU are the foreigner.

    ‘The Koran and Haddiths of Islam do back up the actions of terrorists’ is basically saying that Islam is inherently fundamentalist. Without falling into the ‘true mulsim’ trap mentioned earlier, it’s only people that identify as mulsim that can define what it means. Outsiders don’t understand, and leaders can only speak for the people that follow them.

    Extreme versions of ideas are always dangerous, no matter where they originate. The only ‘culture’ that is sure to lead to conflict, is one of intolerance. However, as we’ve seen, ‘extreme’ tolerance doesn’t help either.

    • February 8, 2011 at 4:30 pm #

      {‘The Koran and Haddiths of Islam do back up the actions of terrorists’ is basically saying that Islam is inherently fundamentalist.}

      I disagree with that logic, sorry, on two grounds:

      1. The Bible promotes slavery and genocide but many fundamentalist Christians are happy with only applying the gay-bashing aspect of the Bible’s teachings. A fundamental is what it is, a maxim that offers a set course of action in any given situation and the followers nearly always just cherry pick which ones they will use.

      2. There’s an implication in that statement that fundamentalism is bad. I don’t think there’s necessarily anything inherently wrong with being a fundamentalist so long as those fundamentals are worthwhile. For example what if I was a peace fundamentalist? Or an honestly fundamentalist? Sure these positions would make my behaviour very predictable and consequently endanger my well being but nonetheless these types of fundamentalisms aren’t as dangerous as other fundamentals like the inferiority of women, the oppression of infidels and the execution of apostates.

      Anyone can understand Islam but not everyone can believe/follow it. It is entirely possible to be an expert on Fascism and not be a fascist oneself, in fact one generally doesn’t leave the task of criticising fascism up to fascists because they have a vested interest in not finding anything wrong with their own thinking! As soon as someone starts saying, “Only a believer can fully understand my faith,” start to worry because people who avoid answering direct questions usually have something seriously wrong with them.

      But yes, I really do take your suggestion of finding something more positive and creative to bring to the table. There is definitely a need for that too. However, I have been pondering if maybe “tolerance” is the wrong approach and maybe we can develop a different framework for sorting out such conflicts. I’ll let you know if I come up with something.

      • Paul
        February 22, 2011 at 6:41 pm #

        I only believe fundamentalism is bad if it includes the belief that you are right and everyone else (who doesn’t agree with you) is wrong. This can be seen in the acts of many fundamentalist groups who see it as their duty to stamp out unbelievers for example. If someone believed in non-violence, and told off everyone for defending themselves, I don’t see this as a good thing. People can do what they like (within reason), I guess I just don’t like it when people think their beliefs are better than anyone else’s.

        I was implying that the only way ‘The Bible promotes slavery and genocide’ is via very strict (very twisted) fundamentalist readings. I don’t see how any SENSIBLE person trying to understand the bible could think it’s promoting genocide in our world today? I am unfamiliar with the Koran, but I suspect similar.

        It’s always easy to cherry pick what you think is ‘important’ based on the actions you’re trying to justify. (e.g. music piracy. it’s illegal, but it’s not hurting anyone right? so it’s ok.) This seems to be a trivial task to me, and doesn’t accomplish anything. You just get to where you wanted to go. Like picking your assumptions to dictate your conclusion. It’s a no-brainer, and you’ve learned nothing – and certainly haven’t gained any justification in the process…

        In general anyone unwilling to change their own views (or even let it be influenced by others) is going to cause problems. This leaves only one alternative. Views, beliefs, cultures, practices, that are open to change. We change to become more distinctly ourselves… There is no need for negative associations here. The term ‘moderation’ or cultures, or beliefs implies (to me) a dumbing down of something that was once rich. This is not what I’m talking about. Even the oldest of traditions evolve. We keep them because they are OURS, not because they belonged to our parents. Everything that is not growing is dying. This goes for everything in ‘life’.

        As far as positive solutions. They have to come from both sides, and they have to be rational and realistic. Tolerance (in itself) i believe, is the wrong approach. Tolerance should simply be applied as it should be in every aspect of life, to avoid unnecessary conflict. Avoiding problems doesn’t make them go away. Tolerance does not confront problems it is only needed as a way to pick your battles. No point being up in arms about everything. Some things are more of a problem than others. A lot of the time if you fix the major problems, the minor ones evaporate.

        I only emphasise this to separate the issues. The incoming culture is not the problem. It’s how we deal with differing cultures that we need to figure out. The ‘easy’ solution is to just ban incoming cultures or put tighter controls on immigration, but this doesn’t address the problem. It makes sense to limit large influxes of people from a particular background if possible, but given that this is happening, or has already happened, the focus needs to be on solutions, not half arsed preventions.

    • Martin Asher Smith
      February 11, 2011 at 9:44 pm #

      So in this case only Muslims may speak with authority on the Muslim issues? Certainly people that are living a belief paradigm that they have committed too have an intimacy with this. If someone is living my country then I have a right, even a responsibility to deal with these issues. For instances if they decide that many of acts that are considered horrendous to a western culture and in compatible with western values to be Muslim then we must appect that? If that fairly represents your view on it then I disagree with that.

      There certainly are aspects of the Koran and Haddiths that do justify terrorism and those that do not. So then how do you interpret this. A thought that cannot in my mind go without consideration is that one may be being expident to that which is acceptable in present conditions.

      In regards to tolerance, philosophically an agreed requirement for it, is too allow that which you consider to be wrong, This troubles me, because on this view why should we be tolerant of anything! One may say we shouldn’t do something and it loses strength if you do not give an alternative vision of what you think should happen. Tolerance for tolerance sake is really stupidy. But isn’t anything just the sake of so though. Where I am coming to on this issue is that I respect that people have differing beliefs but that doesn’t mean that I should tolerate all their beliefs.

  3. February 8, 2011 at 7:35 am #

    I’m no expert on immigration management, and can’t see how to resolve the problem Britain and other nations are having with such heavily segregated opposing cultures in such large numbers. I thought governments are supposed to prevent this by controlling immigration to a rate that sees the previous generation’s immigrants at such a minority that they assimilate in 1-2 generations. Thereby never reaching a critical mass where entire groups of suburbs are concentrated to make assimilation near-impossible. I guess governments would say it’s easier said than done? Maybe there needs to be policy elsewhere on adopting the values of the country? I don’t know. Fine line between “multiculturalism being a two-way street”, and appearing to sound racist, as I’m certainly not trying to!

    • February 8, 2011 at 4:41 pm #

      Australia and America actually very lucky countries when it comes to handling mass immigration. Unlike countries like Germany, Russia and Britain where the nation has formed around an ethnic group (i.e. Germans, Russians and Britons) but around a common set of cultural beliefs (i.e. Democracy, Liberalism and an official language everyone has to learn). This means that differences of ethnicity aren’t (shouldn’t?) be that important when forming a national identity. Instead so long as the vast majority of the population embrace sufficient cultural norms (like the same language).

      However, in Europe the idea of integrating immigrants of different ethnic backgrounds is difficult because people identify with the state as representing their particular ethnic tribe. In Germany for example, the Turks just don’t look German even if they are speaking the German language. France has a similar problem but France is more complicated because they have a concept of citizenship that is more complicated than other European countries.

      • Martin Asher Smith
        February 11, 2011 at 10:06 pm #

        I am from New Zealand and has been Waitangi Day recently, which is often a season of division in our country. Your comments are very timely as I was considering this yesterday. Typically New Zealanders that have a european heritage do not consider their ethnicity salient in considering their identity. 30 Years ago however to be a New Zealander, had tacit meaning of being a white New Zealander. The partner in our ethnic make up is the Maori, which at least in principle should have dual sovereignty. This has was not honoured until in the last 30 years. To the extent that the Treaty (effectively our constitution) was found in a basement half eaten by rats.

        However I cannot be a New Zealander if I am brought up in Australia, although one could be an Maori, Samoan or Scottish. But we do not have an ethnic identity typically, the closest thing is on colour. So the issue here not one of race but colour. I consider it racist not consider race. I have often considered it to be silly that we should not consider our race in our identity for that is apart of what you are. The importance of this depends of course depending on value it is given. I consider it disrespectful not respect those that have gone before us.

        So one is of a particular race … and? I am of Scottish, German, French and Jewish descent. But really in New Zealand this exists in consciousness as being white or pakeha (essentially white). The heart of what people talk about when they invoke racism is don’t be munta. So you have Celtic origins … And?

        Just because are of different racial backgrounds doesn’t mean that we treat others without respect.

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