Cult of Multicult
Back in 1965, the Tory philosopher George Grant wrote Lament for a Nation, prophesying the eventual absorption of Canada into a technocratic, corporatized and American led continental super state. Grant came from an older Victorian tradition of Toryism, one essentially alien to what most Canadians think of as conservative today. In modern terms he might be described as a British-Canadian paleoconservative.
Ironically, the book – with its famous blue binding – became a totem for the Canadian nationalist Left in the 1960s and 1970s, much to Grant’s annoyance. While the Left picked up on Grant’s suspicion of Americanism – a far cry from the adolescent anti-Americanism we see emanating from the MSM today – and capitalism, it rather conveniently missed the philosopher’s defence of traditional British values and customs, including Christianity.
With four and a half decades of hindsight, we can see that Grant was correct that Canada and Canadianism was under grave threat. Sadly, he failed to correctly identify the enemy. It was not large American corporations, the bland omnivore of Yankee popular culture or technological progress. Instead the real threat to Canadianism was sitting in his classrooms.
The 1960s were the great cultural watershed of recent western history. A brief moment when millennia of social arrangements were discarded, or distorted, to make way for a profoundly contradictory culture. At once unapologetically libertine, at another moment totalitarian in its pretensions. Promiscuity, fiscal indiscipline, moral relativism were not merely encouraged, they became nearly mandatory among those under thirty.
This cultural crisis seemed to be a passing youthful fad in Canada. 1968 was a horrible and violent year in France and the United States. Canadians contended themselves with anointing as Prime Minister a late middle aged hippie with a fondness for much younger women. We remained, as always, the peaceable kingdom. While the hair was long, the soul remained its old sensible self.
At the same moment the wider West was tearing itself apart, Canada was quietly undergoing a major identity crisis. After a century and a half of being solidly British – with some New World variations and anxieties – Canada found itself lost with the collapse of the British Empire. The generation passing through Grant’s classes was left asking in the wake, if Canada is not British, then what are we?
Multiculturalism provided a convenient answer, or more correctly a non-answer. What is Canada? We are everyone and anything that happens to show up here. It was rarely expressed in such stark terms. So obvious a call for suicide would have been dismissed out of hand. The call for a Canadian mosaic – as opposed to the supposedly totalitarian notion of a melting pot – was carefully conflated with something superficially similar, the multi-ethnic state.
Because of our rather unusual founding, Canada has never been a mono-ethnic society. A crude appeal to ethnic nationalism, even among anglophones, would have fallen flat. Something else had to inspire the Welsh, Scots, English, Irish and even the French into a semi-coherent whole. The settling of the Prairies had required the import of various Slavic and Scandinavian groups. However different they were from Anglo-French norms, they were nevertheless recognizably European and Christian.
In a process that began with John Diefenbaker, our immigration policy was greatly liberalized toward the non-European world. Most Canadians assumed, rather naturally, that these new groups would be integrated into Canadian society in much the same way as had the Ukrainians, Germans, Poles and other assorted groups. There would be friction – as there always had been – but in a generation or two it would all be sorted out.
For an instinctive patriot like Dief (of German descent), that was his thinking as well. To advocates of multiculturalism, this new liberalized immigration policy was a way of transforming Canadian culture. Lacking its traditional British center, the new Canada could be more easily reformed by a small group of academics concentrated at key universities, principally Queen’s, UBC, McGill and the University of Toronto. By conflating a multi-ethnic society with a multicultural society, these academics could perform a simple bait and switch.
Opposition to a multi-ethnic society was regarded – correctly – as bigoted. By insisting that multi-ethnic was the same thing as multicultural, opposition to this transformation of Canadian society could be silenced as racist. Beginning with the monarchy – traditional English speaking Canada’s legal and cultural lynchpin – a slow campaign of hollowing out our institutions was conducted. The rationale provided was that our institutions needed to become relevant to these New Canadians.
This was – and remains – a patent absurdity. It is not the job of Canadian institutions to become relevant to the immigrants, it is the immigrants who must make themselves relevant to the institutions and what they represent. Canada did not come to them, they came to Canada. Aside from a tiny minority of immigrants from other First World nations, the overwhelming flow of new comers were from backward and tyrannical societies. Their arrival here, often after great personal risk and suffering, is testament to their own belief in the superiority of Canadian society.
Canada is in many ways a very young country. We have not yet had the centuries to acquire the deep and rich artistic, architectural and cultural legacy taken for granted in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Carefully managed the influx of people and talents from these societies could – and has – greatly enriched Canada. Where it can to lead to disaster is where our social contract goes unenforced. Yes, we are a young country in a cultural sense. In a political sense, we are among the oldest in the world.
With the exception of Britain, the United States, the Dutch and the Scandinavian states, Canada is the oldest liberal democracy in the world. The careful efforts of men like Baldwin, Lafontaine, Macdonald, Brown and Laurier are half forgotten and taken completely for granted today. However, it is in our political accomplishments, and the great wealth and long peace they have engendered, that immigrants needs to be instructed. It matters little how they dress, eat or pray, so long as they speak either of our main languages and understand our political and legal customs.
In pre-multicultural Canada the teaching of, and expectation of adherence to, these values was taken as a matter of course. The central tenet of multiculturalism, not as it is commonly understood, but in its original intellectual meaning, is that all cultural values are relative. It is immoral – indeed bigoted – to argue that parliamentary democracy and the common law are superior to a witch doctor and a tribal council. That the former has produced a first class society, whose citizenship is keenly sought, and the latter has not evolved in centuries, is an irrelevant consideration.
Even if most Canadians do not understand the nature of the multiculturalism con, which has ruthlessly exploited their benevolence, they feel threatened by it. It is, however, little more than an emotional objection. From time to time the fear becomes anger, and is misdirected at the immigrants themselves, not the academics, journalists and politicians that have advanced it for going on two generations.
This uncharacteristic anger bursts out at unexpected moments. The allowing of Sikhs to wear turbans, while serving in the RCMP, was one such moment. At the time it seemed to be simply a moment of friction, just an older generation failing to understand the changes that had taken place. In retrospect it was vital turning point in our evolution. Not because of the reaction of the Canadian public, but because of the reaction of the Canadian Establishment. The choir invisible of official Canadian opinion branded any opposition to the policy as bigotry.
The policy, however, could easily have been justified along traditional Canadians. Sikhs had worn turbans in the service of the Crown for centuries, including fighting alongside Canadian forces in Italy during the Second World War. Religious tolerance has been a hallmark of Canadian identity since at least the time of Baldwin-Laftontaine. It would have been perfectly consonant with our traditions and customs to have allowed turban wearing Sikhs in the RCMP, so long as reasonable precautions were taken for public and personal safety. Another part of the gradual, peaceful evolution of a multi-ethnic society.
Instead, for the advocates of multiculturalism, it was a test case, which they won handily. The allowing of turbans was not a victory for religious tolerance, but was instead framed as a victory for cultural relativism. We were not simply allowing other people to practice their beliefs peacefully, even while wearing the uniform of our national police force, we were instead proudly asserting that our values, our traditions and customs were no better than anyone else’s values, traditions and customs. The demand was not for tolerance alone. It was for tolerance to the point of suicide.
Posted by PUBLIUS on January 28, 2011 | Permalink
I think many Canadians will agree with this analysis of the problem. But the question is: What can we do about it?
Posted by: Michael Richard Jackson Bonner | 2011-01-28 12:02:14 PM
The hideous cult of multiculturalism is probably the most destructive idea that the Canadian left ever devised. (The term multiculturalism was coined by that ‘great thinker’ Trudeau btw.) As a result, the government pays immigrants not to be Canadians, and encourages the annihilation of our traditional Canadian culture (pre-Trudeau Canada) by proclaiming that we’re now ‘multicultural’. By saying that our core values and traditions are everything, the multicults are essentially saying that we have no core values. The combination of the State religion of multiculturalism, and the unsustanible mass-immigration policy that the high priests of multicultualism advocate, will inevitively result in the national suicide of this country. Therefore it is imperitive that we destroy the State religion of multiculuralism by demanding that immigrants assimilate into our culture, not the other way around. Furthermore, we must end mass-immigration (the world does not have a divine right to Canadian citizenship) and recognize that certain ethnic groups and cultures are more easy to assimilate than others. Finally, we must re-establish our true Canadian values, our Judeo-Christian heritage and our British tradition of individual freedom that made our country great.
Posted by: Yukon Gold | 2011-01-28 12:55:43 PM
The past can not be undone and the future can not change without the recognition that we are on the wrong path. As we recently saw with Iggy seing nothing wrong with kirpans being worn by MPs in parliament , we are still blind to the danger of watering down our own laws in exchange for a few votes bought with appeasement. Even bloggers on the CBC saw this as wrong, (wow) but not any of our leaders. What we need is the Canadian version of the “tea party” or perhaps even a American takeover. We still have far more in common with them than the immigrants coming here now. At least they are still proud to be American and will retain the melting pot concept. At least they fight back when they sense that they are losing their identity. In a few decades we will be fragmented into regions that have very little in common with the Canada we once knew.
Regardless, we have little time left as whites will be a minority in less than 40 years if our birth rates and immigration policies dont change.
Posted by: peterj | 2011-01-28 5:07:47 PM
One thing that both conservatives and liberals would rather ignore is the role of real estate-financial business lobbies in promoting multiculturalism. The banks, REITs, developers and construction companies lobbied the Trudeau and Mulroney governments hard for increasing immigration, in order to fuel housing demand, and multiculturalism was one of the carrots used to draw immigrants here. More warm bodies means more profits, and a country which allows every quirky cultural practice from headgear (hijabs and niqabs, turbans) to respecting culturally-ingrained fears of ghosts (i.e., the Vancouver hospice issue) will get lots of immigrants.
The corporate media (in many cases, with substantial real estate and financial cross ownership) has framed any criticism of mass immigration as ‘racist.’ Chartered banks, REITs and developers also contribute heavilly to ‘environmental’ groups, like the David Suzuki Foundation, keeping concerns about immigration-driven urban sprawl and environmental damage off the agenda. As with so many other ideologies, multiculturalism is rooted in profits.
Posted by: Adam | 2011-01-28 5:22:03 PM
Excellent post. I would argue that multiculturalism (the mixing of different cultures) has always existed. All cultures have adopted ideas and things from other cultures through a gradual and slow assimilation of them. What we have had imposed on us beginning with Trudeau is official state sponsored multiculturalism, which has nothing to do with the previous natural process. As already stated by Yukon Gold we have the state rewarding immigrants for not assimilating and even punishing Canadians who dare question any aspect of these imported cultures. There is no doubt that unless this official government policy is repealed Canada will become simply a vast balkanised territory with no sense of a common identity, or even a common interest.
Adam, while you may be correct about the lobbying for more immigrants, even from very different cultures, this is not the same thing as lobbying for official multiculturalism. Especially since immigrants from these countries and cultures did not need a carrot to want to come here. Simply opening wide the immigration door while eliminating the previous selection standards resulted in the flood. Now it is more difficult for a qualified white British professional to immigrate than a third world unqualified non white. This is state sponsored national suicide.
Posted by: Alain | 2011-01-28 6:40:21 PM
Posted by: morticiaa | 2011-01-29 7:26:13 AM
ONE THING WE CAN DO IS LEGISLATE WEARING OF RELIGIOUS COSTUMES IS NOT PERMITTED IN WORKING IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR, AND THIS NEEDS TO BE DONE IN EVERY PROVINCE, EVERY CITY IN THE COUNTRY,
(This means retracting the law, changing the law or legislation that allowed rcmp to change their uniforms)
Then be strong enough to stand up to the backlash pressure from these extremists
THE SECOND THING WE CAN DO IS SPEAK OUT AND NOT LET THE FEAR OF THE FASCISTS SUCH AS THE HRC AND THE LEFTARDS RESTRICT FREE THOUGHT AND WORD
THE THIRD THING IS TO LOBBY AND DEMAND LEGISLATION TO CHANGE THE IMMIGRATION AND REFUGEE POLICIES
WE ARE THE GOVERNMENT AND WE HAVE STILL GOT A LITTLE POWER TO CHANGE THINGS, REGARDLESS OF AGREEMENTS THAT ARE MADE AMONGST LEADERS AND CORPORATIONS
Too bad we are subject to the charter created by that little scumb bag
Regarding the religious costumes, this is how I personally feel,
The fact is that they look ridiculous and this costume represents a backward cultural religious practice that belongs in the 18th century
We don’t burn witches, we moved beyond
Think of all that long greasy stinky hair with all sorts of dandruff under layers of unwashed cloth
Hello What a joke,
I know lots of modern sikhs who don’t have to run around looking like they came from a time capsule, and who don’t practice the backward barbaric gender inequality cultural norms are lock stock and barrel of the rest of the multiculti feast that goes along with adherence to extremist fundamentalists
They got their legislation passed while all of us were sleeping years ago
People are brainwashed through education and the infrastructure to think that they must respect this lunatic symbol of backward cultural and religious belief,
Brainwashed to dull their abilities to think critically, evaluate, judge, to the point of being zombies, the general public, a mass that represents the ‘Colonel Klinck Philosopy’ from Hogans Heros, “I see nothing, I know nothing”
Ever hear about anyone wanting to move into Surrey anymore????? Just people leaving as it is no longer a community that represents anything close to what Canada is, a modern free democracy with people of all backgrounds integrated and living together practicing Canadian values in a free democracy
Instead we have multiculti ghettos,
When I see the number of religious costumes that are worn in all the service industry it makes me cringe,
The one thing I can do so far, is turn right around and go some where else, I refuse to be served by anyone wearing religious costumes,
Today in Canada, I am free to do this, who knows about tomorrow
Posted by: morticiaa | 2011-01-29 7:49:42 AM
The left in Canada adore multi-culturalism because it gives them a feeling of moral superiority, especially in terms of the US. It is however nothing but an illusion. All one has to do is listen to an NDP or Liberal MP from Toronto extolling that 350 languages (or what ever the number is)are spoken in the city. Most of them however wouldn’t be caught dead in the areas where the blacks,pakis or tamils live, except during an election. The real problem with multi-cultualism is groups start getting preferential treatment in immigration, where quotas are set for different ethnic groups. One only has to look at Europe to see where we are headed. And I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see civil unrest / war breaking out in several countries.
Posted by: The Stig | 2011-01-30 4:54:08 PM
WHY MULTICULTURALISM IS WRONG
Multiculturalism creates a world structured in terms of cultures, usually national cultures. This structure is imposed on people who do not want it: since it is a global structure, there is no escape. It limits freedom, it limits possibility, and it limits possible futures. In Europe, multiculturalists form a de facto alliance with nationalists, to impose culture on Europe. The specific examples are from the Netherlands. When I first wrote this, multiculturalism was the political standard here, and it was taboo to criticise it. Since then, attitudes have reversed and hardened, especially since the assassination of Pim Fortuyn and Theo van Gogh. There is now a consensus that immigration must be restricted, and that immigrants are a source of social problems. A similar reversal of attitudes is now under way in Germany. So take note: multicultural political correctness can suddenly evaporate. If it happened in the Netherlands, it can happen elsewhere.
For more on nationalism, see the introduction to the link site Nation Planet.
___Legitimising racism and inequality
The reality of a ‘multi-cultural society’ has become more evident. In the Netherlands, ‘multicultural’ is systematically used as the opposite to ‘equality’. A multicultural society is a society where African immigrants clean toilets, and upper-middle-class ethnic Dutch are the lawyers, pilots, surgeons and bankers. The word ‘multicultural’ no longer carries any connotation of equality or respect – if it ever did. It implies the presence in society of ethnic minorities, but says nothing about their social status. Worse, it implies that all moral obligations have been met, when society is ‘multicultural’ in this sense.
A ‘multi-cultural society’ oppresses migrants. Having left one culture, they are obliged to rejoin it in the country in which they arrive. Wherever they go, they will be enclosed in their culture of origin. Mono-culturalism, multiculturalism and inter-culturalism all enforce culture. Despite what you have been told at school (and at home), it is simply not necessary to have “culture”. Far from being sacred, it is a political choice, a choice advocated by nationalists.
When government policies are based on this kind of multiculturalism, they favour traditionalists. Conservatives often put themselves forward as representing the “true values of the community”. If the government looks for authentic representatives of each culture, the it will find that conservative kind of representative. In practice many European governments do nominate conservatives, often religious leaders, as representatives of an immigrant minority. This has happened so often, that multicultural has acquired the meaning ‘multi-faith’ or ‘multi-religious’. For instance, in Amsterdam local politics, Turks are assumed to be Muslims. The imam of the local mosque is assumed to be their representative – even if they are atheists, even if they never saw the inside of a mosque, and don’t know where the local mosque is.
This attitude – compulsory culture – facilitated the switch back to mono-culturalism in the Netherlands. And just as predictably, the ‘Dutch values’ now being demanded of immigrants are those of the 1950’s. The standard version of culture is always the conservative version – better no culture at all.
Multiculturalism makes culture hereditary. A good example was the “Education in own language and culture” program in the Netherlands. For instance: if the Turkish language has any value, then why are children of Chinese immigrants forbidden to learn it? Why are children of Turkish immigrants forbidden to learn any form of Chinese? This is how the program works: the “own language” is the language of the parents’ country of origin.
What makes Turkish an “own” language for a child who speaks only Dutch? The answer is obvious: birth. They are born to be Turkish, whether they like it or not. Children, whose parents are both Turkish citizens, are defined as Turkish. So, the extra language they are taught, is Turkish. This labelling process continues into the next generation, and perhaps into a 3rd and 4th generation. There is no appeal against this definition (as even the South African race classification had). This approach has harmed many children of Moroccan origin in Amsterdam. In the name of multi-culturalism they were given their education partly in Arabic. The multiculturalists, on the basis of their own racist ignorance, simply labelled them “Arabic”. In reality, most Moroccan immigrants come from Berber-language areas. The children were being educated in a language they often could not understand – in the name of preserving “their own culture”.
In the post-Fortuyn Netherlands, attitudes have reversed, but the children will not be any better off. The children of Moroccan immigrants who are separated from their parents, must now learn Dutch in Morocco before they are allowed to join their family in the Netherlands.
___”Cultures” are nations
The ‘cultures’ in multiculturalism, correspond to existing nation states. A classic example is again Turkey: many of those classified as Turkish in the last 20 years, considered themselves Kurds. And the “Kurdish question” is not the only identity issue in Turkey. Why is someone born in Istanbul not Ottoman? or Byzantine? or Roman? or Mediterranean? Why is someone born in Izmir (formerly Smyrna) not Greek? And why is someone born in Tashkent not Turkish, as the pan-Turkists claim? Why are people born in Helsinki, Istanbul and Budapest not all Turanians, as pan-Turanists claim? None of these identities is permitted to form the basis of a multicultural programme. In other words, multiculturalists reject ‘cultures’ which do not correspond to nation states.
Most multiculturalists, for example, would reject the claim of a person born in the Republic of Ireland, to consider themselves British. Yet for some time after Irish independence there was a small Unionist party seeking Ireland’s reincorporation into Britain. Some southern Irish did feel British: in northern Ireland many still do. As time passed, the equation of southern Irish with Republic of Ireland citizenship became accepted as natural and self-evident. But in the last few years, a small unionist trend has re-emerged in the Republic: what will the multiculturalists say now?
In general, the world view of multiculturalists is the same as that of the anti-immigrant parties in Europe: a cultural-nationalist world-view. (In the United States, also, all the hyphenated identities of diversity correspond to existing nations, or nationalist movements). For centuries there was a Burgundian state in Europe, yet there are no classes in Burgundian culture for immigrants in Amsterdam, and there are no Burgundian-Americans. But if someone founds a Burgundy Liberation Front, and it gains some support, “Burgundian culture” will become a political force. Cultural nationalism is about present politics, not ancient memory, although it uses that memory as an instrument.
Again, the identification of cultures with nations has undoubtedly facilitated the switch back to mono-culturalism. Right-wing anti-immigration politicians, such as Pim Fortuyn, consistently used the rhetoric of cultural value to legitimise their attitudes and policies, with success.
Multiculturalism internalises the nationalist world order in each nation state. The end result would be, in a perfectly multi-cultural world, 180 UN member states, each with 179 narrowly defined minorities within its borders, corresponding to the other states. In the United States this ideal – Nation of Nations – has a long history, and it recently re-appeared in Robert Kaplan’s bestseller Empire Wilderness. Any such system would probably collapse under its own absurdity, but that does not stop the multiculturalists trying to implement it.
Multiculturalism restates the core of biological racial doctrines, substituting words like “culture”, “identity” and “roots” for the often discredited word “race”. Yet the discredited race doctrines were themselves a biological variant of older doctrines of ethno-cultural identity. There is no agreed term for all these variants, but the best option is to include them under “nation” and “nationalism”.
There are obvious parallels with nationalism: the belief in the necessity of each culture, the loyalty demanded to it, the duty to transfer it to the next generation. Nationalists usually start with the fiction that each nation is a singular entity, but multiculturalists take their so-called “diversity” as starting point. A system which defines just 180 acceptable forms of diversity, and tells me where I belong (on a hereditary basis) – that is clearly not very “diverse”. Anti-cultural opposition to multiculturality is a form of anti-nationalism: it opposes this restrictive and limited world.
Europe Dumps the Multicult
By James Lewis
“First, the Prime Minister did indeed travel a huge distance from the ruinous position taken by the previous government on both multiculturalism and Islamic extremism. The most important change he made was to end the absurd idea that the only threat comes from ‘violent extremism’. Cameron has understood instead that the source of the threat lies in a set of ideas, and not just in the terrorist actions that sometimes result from those ideas.“…we need to be absolutely clear on where the origins of where these terrorist attacks lie. That is the existence of an ideology, Islamist extremism. …“At the (most extreme) end are those who back terrorism to promote their ultimate goal: an entire Islamist realm, governed by an interpretation of Sharia.”