Friday, May 30, 2014
A Western Evil?
NOTE: These seventeen essays were reproduced from my now defunct former blog, Random Notes, as they are going to be cited in an upcoming essay. For the most part they deal with three subjects, "common sense" and pragmatism, organics and GMO foods, and the belief in the inherent purity and superiority of all things "primitive". A few are on other topics, but I think those three cover most of them.
I have to laugh every time I hear the champions of multiculturalism go on about the horrors of western society. Whether they are trying to whitewash any native opposition to homosexuality, explain why blacks can't be racist, or tell me that all social ills come from western culture, they show a remarkable lack of understanding of other cultures. Which, come to think of it, is the most ironic feature of multiculturalism, its absolute lack of interest in the reality of other cultures. Rather than understanding the reality of foreign cultures, as did many of those evil dead white men of the 19th century, most modern multiculturalists are much more interested in parroting idealized caricatures of foreign cultures.
For example, their claims that racist and xenophobia are particularly western institution is just bizarre. Let us ignore for a moment the fact that western culture, ever since that first tourist Herodotus, has had an obsessive interest in foreign culture, and let us also ignore the xenophobia endemic to almost all non-western cultures until very recently, have these people even looked at the cultures they are describing? Have they never heard of how Japan treated foreign visitors between the original Portugese contact until the forced opening by Perry? Or, to turn to more modern times, have they never heard an Indian use the term ABCD or a black American use the term "trick baby"*? It appears that fear and hatred of non-members is hardly a distinguishing trait of white Europeans.
I see a similar pattern in all the "Goddess" worship and all the "neo-pagan" religions. They take what was a complicated and relatively mature set of beliefs, covering both the good and bad of the world, the light and dark, bleach out all the darkness and turn it into new age treacle. Our pagan ancestors may have been primitive, but they were still adult humans, and their religion was complex and involved. It did not boil down to "be nice to people" and "do unto others", there was much more to it than that. But these neo-pagan types have decided that complexity and any admission of evil is just not right, so they turn everything to sweetness and light and deny any complexity in the thinking of primitive peoples.
As with the multiculturalists, while pretending to honor an ancient tradition, these people are more interested in a caricature which fits their preconceptions than anything approaching the reality.
And that is my real problem, that for multiculturalists the message is more improtant than the reality, and the crux of that message is to drag down anything wetsern, caucasian, Juedo-Christian or male. (And recently, heterosexual, though that is a much more modern addition.)
The irony is that those "imperialist white males" they so decry, the anthropologists, archaeologists and philologists of the 19th and early twentieth century, not to mention scholars and antiquarians going all the way back to the Emperor Claudius and his Etruscan grammar, were much more respectful of other cultures than these multiculturalists ever were. By making them simply tools with which to carry out their cultural denigration of the west, multiculturalists have distorted and obscured the reality of all those cultures they supposedly respect.
* I refer here to the use of "trick baby" as a derogatory designation for all babies with one black and one non-black parent, rather than the more accurate usage to describe the illegitimate child of a prostitute. (I would have used the technically correct term, but TH filters prevent me from doing so. Which means, unless I did it in French, I could not write the name used by William the Conquerer prior to 1066. Ah, well, not the first time the filters have caused headaches. They wouldn't me write "er*ction of trade barriers" either. Is it me, or do they seem a bit overly broad? B*stard is not just an insult, but a very precise technical term. Oh, well, such is the fate of those trying to write on the internet, enforced civility sometimes makes us use less precise language. Funny that the PC-ness of filters on a conservative site would force imprecision on us. I thought that was the territory of the left, not right.)
I know some multiculturalists are not interested in denigrating the west and are driven by a real fascination with foreign cultures, but, thanks to the current atmosphere, many are still reduced to serving the ends of the multiculturalists. They still set out looking only for the good and end up as "isn't it neat" tourists, finding only admirable traits in foreign lands, completely ignoring anything negative in these foreign lands. Either that, or they end up admitting faults in foreign lands, but they then feel the need to point out an even bigger flaw in western society to "justify" it. It seems that recently it is just impossible to get an honest examination of a non-European culture, politics simply invades every academic discipline, even among the amateurs.
And it si not just in the social sciences, or humanities, a similar blindness occurs in legal circles, when they point to foreign law to defend judgments. They may bring in European law to strike down death penalty cases, but can you imagine the Supreme Court using British law, with its very stringent official secrets act, to uphold administration efforts to suppress press revelations? The court only seems to find in European laws those features fitting with its preconceptions, anything that cuts against their position is simply invisible to them.
It is surprising, but I think I have never written on the absurd claim that blacks can't be racist. As I have been arguing vehemently against that absurd claim since I first heard it in college, I would expect it to be soemthing I would address aearly on, but apparently not. So expect an essay in the near future debunking this most absurd claim.
Originally posted in Random Notes on 2008/07/12.