Monday, February 10, 2014
The Costs of Understanding
NOTE: These posts have been reproduced from my old blog, "Random Notes", because I plan to cite their contents in an upcoming essay. I have finished the essay, but, unfortunately, it cites a lot of essays I have not yet reproduced. So it may take time to find and post all of them. Until then, you will like see a handful of these essays popping up on my blog amid a few new essays.
I was reading an old Mark Steyn article, when it struck me that our government's "understanding" is often the source of social collapse. While Steyn's focus was mainly on Britain (and the US's) weak response to militant Islam and the harm done by that, I thought about all the various harms done by multiculturalism as a whole.
It is a dogma of the multiculturalist doctrine that all cutlures are "equal", and they take this to mean we cannot judge any action taken by another "culture". It sounds very high minded, but in reality it results in two things. First a patronizing attitude toward other cultures and races. Second a complete breakdown of order.
I will deal with the second first, as it is the most obvious. When there are riots because of a supposed "racial injustice", rather than breaking up the riot and arresting the instigators, our "understanding" causes us to bend over backwards not to offend the rioters. When Islam riots because of cartoons of Mohammad, newspaper editors, who are so vocal in ignoring any rules imposed by the government or western notions of propriety, are first in line to accept Islamic doctrines of propriety. When black teens beat another boy in Jena we have supposed adults telling us we cannot judge them as the racial climate drive them to it. And on and on.
Whenever another race or culture is involved, the multiculturalists insist that they be absolved of any blame, and that it is our responsibility not only not to judge them but to capitulate to whatever their demands. In short, multiculturalism insists that whenever a minority belief or practice conflicts with the majority, the minority must win. Which is nothing but a recipe for mob rule by whatever group can gather the most support while remaining a minority.
However, there is the other issue I mentioned. While the attitude grants almost limitless power to the minorities, it also is insulting to them. Westerners all came to this nation with different traditions, yet we all managed to assimilate. But according to the multiculturalists, non-Western immigrants, and members of racial minorities, simply are not to be held to Western standards. It is a patronizing attitude, implying as it does that minorities are incapable of observing the rules of the larger society and so must be forgiven. It is the attitude one holds towards children or the insane. To treat minorities this way is to say they are inferior to Western culture.
So, for all its claims of ethical superiority, it appears the multicultural attitude is every bit as condescending as the old doctrine of the white man's burden. In fact, the only difference between it and the old colonial attitude is that at least the old attitude imposed order, while multiculturalism manages to bring both condescension and chaos.
Originally posted in Random Notes on 2008/05/10.