February 5, 2011

Multi-Culti Higgledy Piggledy - CORRECTION

Hatched by Dafydd

United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron, of the "Conservative" Party, gave a speech in Munich (that's in Germany) on February 5th (that's in Germany). The subject was radical Islamism and its interaction with the perverse and contra-civilizational Western heresy of "multiculturalism," the political policy of refusing to promote one's own core culture over foreign cultures. To quote the Wikipedia entry:

In a political context the term has come to mean the advocacy of extending equitable status to distinct ethnic and religious groups without promoting any specific ethnic, religious, and/or cultural community values as central. Multiculturalism as "cultural mosaic" is often contrasted with the concepts assimilationism and social integration.

And unlike our own head of government, Barack H. Obama, Cameron forcefully articulated exactly what is wrong with that diabolical doctrine. In his speech, he indicts the West as accessory to its own annihilation:

What I am about to say is drawn from the British experience, but I believe there are general lessons for us all. In the UK , some young men find it hard to identify with the traditional Islam practiced at home by their parents, whose customs can seem staid when transplanted to modern Western countries. But these young men also find it hard to identify with Britain too, because we have allowed the weakening of our collective identity. Under the doctrine of state multiculturalism, we have encouraged different cultures to live separate lives, apart from each other and apart from the mainstream. We’ve failed to provide a vision of society to which they feel they want to belong. We’ve even tolerated these segregated communities behaving in ways that run completely counter to our values.

Cameron hits the finger on his head: In civilized, Western countries, the Islamist problem is not caused by discrimination against Moslems, or oppression by Christian culture, or that the wicked Jews are persecuting them again; those grievances are nearly always lies, delusions, and fantasies. And even when a molecule of truth may lurk behind an accusation, the grievance is invariably a symptom, not the underlying cause.

Rather, the underlying cause is that for the last few decades, we in-and-of the West have failed to demand assimilation by those who are in-but-not-of the West. We let them have their own enclaves, stagnant cultural backwaters that refuse to integrate with the majority culture surrounding them, flouting the laws and principles of free countries in favor of hyperbolically mimicking the worst aspects of sharia states, from forced marriages, to slavery, to sexual discrimination, to religious intolerance, to supposed "honor" killings:

So, when a white person holds objectionable views, racist views for instance, we rightly condemn them. But when equally unacceptable views or practices come from someone who isn’t white, we’ve been too cautious frankly -- frankly, even fearful -- to stand up to them. The failure, for instance, of some to confront the horrors of forced marriage, the practice where some young girls are bullied and sometimes taken abroad to marry someone when they don’t want to, is a case in point. This hands-off tolerance has only served to reinforce the sense that not enough is shared. And this all leaves some young Muslims feeling rootless. And the search for something to belong to and something to believe in can lead them to this extremist ideology. Now for sure, they don’t turn into terrorists overnight, but what we see -- and what we see in so many European countries -- is a process of radicalisation.

In his Munich speech, Prime Minister Cameron outlines two dramatic policy changes, reverting from the insanity of the Labour Party's multi-culti kow-towing to radical Islamists back to what nearly everyone reading this blog would consider simple common sense:

So first, instead of ignoring this extremist ideology, we -- as governments and as societies -- have got to confront it, in all its forms. And second, instead of encouraging people to live apart, we need a clear sense of shared national identity that is open to everyone.

Let me briefly take each in turn. First, confronting and undermining this ideology. Whether they are violent in their means or not, we must make it impossible for the extremists to succeed. Now, for governments, there are some obvious ways we can do this. We must ban preachers of hate from coming to our countries. We must also proscribe organisations that incite terrorism against people at home and abroad. Governments must also be shrewder in dealing with those that, while not violent, are in some cases part of the problem. We need to think much harder about who it’s in the public interest to work with. Some organisations that seek to present themselves as a gateway to the Muslim community are showered with public money despite doing little to combat extremism. As others have observed, this is like turning to a right-wing fascist party to fight a violent white supremacist movement. So we should properly judge these organisations: do they believe in universal human rights – including for women and people of other faiths? Do they believe in equality of all before the law? Do they believe in democracy and the right of people to elect their own government? Do they encourage integration or separation? These are the sorts of questions we need to ask. Fail these tests and the presumption should be not to engage with organisations -- so, no public money, no sharing of platforms with ministers at home.

The climax of the speech pulls the whole together into a single paragraph, like a hologram; but one that I think my favorite blogger on my favorite blog somewhat misunderstood:

Now, second, we must build stronger societies and stronger identities at home. Frankly, we need a lot less of the passive tolerance of recent years and a much more active, muscular liberalism. A passively tolerant society says to its citizens, as long as you obey the law we will just leave you alone. It stands neutral between different values. But I believe a genuinely liberal country does much more; it believes in certain values and actively promotes them. Freedom of speech, freedom of worship, democracy, the rule of law, equal rights regardless of race, sex or sexuality. It says to its citizens, this is what defines us as a society: to belong here is to believe in these things. Now, each of us in our own countries, I believe, must be unambiguous and hard-nosed about this defence of our liberty.

I think it clear that when Cameron uses the word "liberalism," he means it in the sense of "liberal democracy"... not in the sense of liberalism vs. conservatism; he is, after all, the Prime Minister of the Conservative Party, not Labour; and even in Jolly Olde E., there is a distinction.

His littany of "genuinely liberal" values comprises rights and liberties that conservatives and independents embrace, but political-liberals often do not. As further proof, Cameron did not include any number of political-liberal shibboleths: the right to cradle-to-grave welfare, equality of outcomes for each person, the sanctity of public-employee unions, the sacrament of abortion, or the paradise of Britain's National Health Service.

Ergo, I take exception to the two conclusions John Hinderaker drew in his blogpost. First:

What is not clear to me is whether a post-Christian Great Britain has enough self-confidence to promote its own values; and also, whether the weak tea of contemporary liberalism, which has difficulty articulating ideals beyond the equal treatment of women and homosexuals, has enough appeal to counteract the attraction of radical Islam.

I have been skeptical for a long time of the claim that ordinary Britons actually believe the tripe swallowed by the bulk of Labour Party leaders -- and to be fair, a disturbingly large number of Tory leaders as well. Rather, the very structure of parliamentary democracy virtually guarantees that all parties will wind up controlled by liberals who live for the State.

How so? Because in parliamentary elections, voters typically can only choose between parties, not personalities. Candidates don't run for parliament as individuals but merely as labels: "Conservative," "Labour," "Liberal Democrat." Thus, parliamentary democracies almost never get a Ronald Reagan or a Margaret Thatcher -- or a Sarah Palin, a Michele Bachmann, or even a Barack Obama. They're generally stuck with John Major, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, and, well, David Cameron.

Correction: Commenter Robert from the UK offers an important correction to the previous paragraph:

In the UK, we do vote for individuals. The ballot cards have their names, with the parties in smaller letters afterwards, and there are MPs with actual personality, who can attract a personal vote on their own merits.

However, you are correct that the grey men dominate British politics, just not for that reason. Instead, you have to look at the way the cabinet and its shadows are drawn from Parliament. MPs can be cabinet members, so they direct their ambition that way, encouraging them to be lobby fodder; Senators can't be cabinet members, and there is no US shadow cabinet, so party discipline is much weaker.

I apologize for getting the mechanism of election wrong above; but as Robert notes, the basic point remains: Because party discipline is so intense in a parliamentary democracy, including Great Britain, mavericks rarely rise to cabinet level, let alone to become prime minister. So the rest of this post still follows with slight emendation.

Rarely does a politician rise to the top of either major party by being strongly ideological (Thatcher was sui generis); instead, it's the grey men, the men without chests, the men with flexible principles and rubber morals who connive and maneuver their way up the party ladder to be "appointed" PM.

By contrast, in the United States, which thank God is not a parliamentary democracy, we vote for individuals at nearly every level of election. When I look at my ballot, I don't see a slot that reads DEMOCRAT and another that reads REPUBLICAN; rather, I must choose between BARACK OBAMA (Democrat) and JOHN MCCAIN (Republican). Every candidate -- not just presidential but congressional, gubernatorial, legislative, and even judges -- runs as an individual person, who individually enunciates positions, principles, and policies; we judge him on those promises and on his moral and ethical character, to the best we can determine it. It's an intensely personal evaluation.

Sometimes he fools us, as we saw in 2008 with President B.O.; but when that happens, the sense of personal betrayal is so strong that voters respond... well, just as they responded last November. But in a parliamentary election, when the party ends up doing the exact opposite of what it proposed in order to gain a majority, it's awfully hard to pin down just whose fault it was. Voters have no idea whom to blame; and next election (whenever that is), they have exactly the same choice between exactly the same two or three parties saying exactly the same things they said last time.

Just because British voters have for decades been electing politicians who, here in America, would be considered to the left of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Haight-Ashbury, 100%), does not mean voters actually support all that liberal-weenie, multi-culti nitwittery. Or all that socialist claptrap, either. The electoral system they're saddled with simply has an awful lot more inertia than does ours, which can turn its coat on a dime... both an advantage and a disadvantage.

I suspect that the average Briton is just as appalled at the over-the-top welfarism, nanny-statism, the denigration of Western culture and religion as we, on this side the Atlantic. They simply don't have the ability to communicate that anger to their political leadership the way we can.

But in this case, the head of government himself appears to share that disgust with radical Islamists running virtual sharia states, bantustans, within Great Britain. Cameron may very well be able to do something about it.

Finally, I especially take exception to John's last conclusion:

The immediate reaction to Cameron's speech was not encouraging. It was denounced both by Labour Party spokesmen and by prominent Muslims.

Since when is it "discouraging" that a paean to traditional conservative values and assimilation instead of Balkanization is denounced by the very ideologies that desperately desire to overthrow and replace those values and Balkanize Britain? Rather, it would be discouraging indeed if a major policy change offered by the Conservatives were to be embraced by Ed Miliband, leader of the Labour Party, and applauded in a fatwa from some radical Islamist imam in a British mosque!

After all, when Obama, Pelosi, and Senate Majority Leader Harry "Pinky" Reid (D-Caesar's Palace, 95%) denounce the attorneys general for 26 states for rejecting the individual mandate provision of ObamaCare, well that was just "situation normal, nothing has changed."

But if that axis of evil would have joined the call to strip out the individual mandate, wouldn't we all have smelled a rat in the state of Denmark?

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, February 5, 2011, at the time of 11:58 PM

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Comments

The following hissed in response by: GW

1. Multiculturalism is an outgrowth of the Marxist ideology that divides the world into the oppressed and oppressor. It is simply another tool of the left to tear down traditional society. Thus when Cameron notes that multiculturalism is accompanied by the "weakening of our collective identity," well, yeah, that is the whole purpose of it.

2. It is a gross understatement to say that "we in-and-of the West have failed to demand assimilation by those who are in-but-not-of the West." It is far more insidious than that, particularly in the UK. The media and the police power of the state are harnassed to attack anyone who demands assimilation. As one British friend described it to me, you will receive better treatment in the community as a paedophile than as a critic of Islam or gays. The most recent example of an 80 year old pensioner attacked and threatened with the police power of the state for raising wholly legitimate concerns with Islam in her Church newsletter.

3. Closely related - "So, when a white person holds objectionable views, racist views for instance, we rightly condemn them." The multiculti card is pervasive in the UK. If you criticize one of the protected groups, then you are considered racist. It is the same as the race card on this side of the pond. And indeed, it was played on Cameron after his speech - accusing him of being a propagandist for the EDL. The EDL, by the way, does not appear racist to me.

4. You're conclusion that this problem in Britian is exacerbated by their "parliamentary" system is 100% correct. Their political system is broken. It does not provide for representative democracy and, yes, it is clear that the people do not feel that their voices are being heard.

The system started its slippery slide a century ago when Parliament claimed, one, complete sovereignty (no checks and balances), and two, that they were not bound by previous compacts with the monarchy and citizens - i.e., the English Bill of Rights, the Magna Carta, etc.


The above hissed in response by: GW [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 6, 2011 10:57 AM

The following hissed in response by: Beldar

This is a very fine post, Dafydd. This in particular sings to me:

Rarely does a politician rise to the top of either major party by being strongly ideological (Thatcher was sui generis); instead, it's the grey men, the men without chests, the men with flexible principles and rubber morals who connive and maneuver their way up the party ladder to be "appointed" PM.

It takes a man with a chest to compose that! But beyond being well-written, this is very provocative subject matter.

The above hissed in response by: Beldar [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 7, 2011 11:28 PM

The following hissed in response by: Robert

In the UK, we do vote for individuals. The ballot cards have their names, with the parties in smaller letters afterwards, and there are MPs with actual personality, who can attract a personal vote on their own merits.

However, you are correct that the grey men dominate British politics, just not for that reason. Instead, you have to look at the way the cabinet and its shadows are drawn from Parliament. MPs can be cabinet members, so they direct their ambition that way, encouraging them to be lobby fodder; Senators can't be cabinet members, and there is no US shadow cabinet, so party discipline is much weaker.

As for the name Liberal, Winston Churchill was a Liberal party MP, for a time. They used to be the party of free trade, liberal in the best sense, but, through a complex series of mergers and splits, the classic liberals ended up moving in two waves to the Conservative & Unionist Party (its full name, as a legacy of one of those mergers). There's a fair chance that the current coalition will end in a repeat performance, which will be part of why Cameron is talking about liberal values - it helps lure their voters into the fold.

The above hissed in response by: Robert [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 8, 2011 11:24 AM

The following hissed in response by: Sabba Hillel

Your original description of voting for a "party list" is what occurs in Israel. The voters actually must vote for a party for the Knesset (Israel's Parliament). The party is assigned a number of seats based on the percentage of votes it has received and that number of politicians from the list become Members. As in Britain, the cabinet is chosen from the parties.

Your analysis is therefore correct for Israel. The only difference is that the consequences of mediocrity can be fatal.

The above hissed in response by: Sabba Hillel [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 9, 2011 3:04 AM

The following hissed in response by: BlueNight

At my last workplace, I had a swarthy co-worker; I think his ancestors were Italian. His son was shot (nonfatally). My first reaction to the news was not horror and indignation, but a sense of inevitable tragedy, and I wondered if he was involved with the wrong people in the wrong neighborhood.

I felt shame immediately upon realizing my instinctive reaction. This is America, where nobody of any skin color should be more vulnerable, or thought more likely to be involved in criminal acts simply because of their skin color.

Upon reflection, I realized that I have had very little contact with people who are criminal or who aren't white or Hispanic. (I live in New Mexico.) My entire basis for this reaction was the television shows I watch: mainstream primetime crime drama shows, which feature brown people and white trash performing violent acts as an expression of their culture.

The above hissed in response by: BlueNight [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 9, 2011 11:51 AM

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