The Multicultural Fallacy

Over the past few months, I’ve shared some insights from Mark Steyn’s indispensable book America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It. Let me wrap up that sharing with some thoughts from his concluding chapter.

Steyn’s main thesis is that the West is losing its culture and is bowing before an ascendant Islam, which will destroy the West if it’s not challenged. At the root of the problem is the new devotion to multiculturalism. While it may sound nice on the surface, one need only peer just beneath that surface to see the rot on which this philosophy is built. Consider this historical example:

In a culturally confident age, the British in India were faced with the practice of “suttee”—the tradition of burning widows on the funeral pyres of their husbands. General Sir Charles Napier was impeccably multicultural: “You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours.”

Steyn declares that “non-judgmental multiculturalism is an obvious fraud,” and he is correct. From a Biblical understanding of the world, one must make moral judgments. If we don’t, we will face disaster:

But if you think you genuinely believe that suttee is just an example of the rich, vibrant tapestry of indigenous cultures, you ought to consider what your pleasant suburb would be like if 25, 30, 48 percent of the people around you really believed in it too. Multiculturalism was conceived by the Western elites not to celebrate all cultures but to deny their own: it is, thus, the real suicide bomb.

How does this apply to the Islamic threat? Steyn explains:

After September 11, the first reaction of just about every prominent Western leader was to visit a mosque: President Bush did, so did the Prince of Wales, the prime minister of the United Kingdom, the prime minister of Canada and many more. And, when the get-me-to-the-mosque-on-time fever died away, you couldn’t help feeling that this would strike almost any previous society as, well, bizarre. Pearl Harbor’s been attacked? Quick, order some sushi and get me into a matinee of Madam Butterfly! Seeking to reassure the co-religionists of those who attack you that you do not regard them all as the enemy is a worthy aim but a curious first priority. And, given that more than a few of the imams in those mosque photo-ops turned out to be at best equivocal on the matter of Islamic terrorism and at worst somewhat enthusiastic supporters of it, it involved way too much self-deception on our part.

Although the following comments are not Steyn’s final ones in the book, they serve admirably as final ones for this blog:

At the heart of multiculturalism is a lie: that all cultures are equally “valid.” To accept that proposition means denying reality—the reality of any objective measure of human freedom, societal health, and global population movement. Multiculturalism is not the first ideology founded on the denial of truth. You’ll recall Hermann Goering’s memorable assertion that “two plus two makes five if the Fuhrer wills it.” Likewise, we’re asked to accept that the United States Constitution was modeled on the principles of the Iroquois Confederation—if a generation of multiculti-theorists, the ethnic grievance lobby, and even a ludicrous resolution of the United States Congress so wills it.

Still, it’s harmless, isn’t it? What’s wrong with playing make-believe if it helps us all feel warm and fuzzy about each other?

Well, because it’s never helpful to put reality up for grabs. There may come a day when you need it.

If you haven’t read this book yet, you need to do so.