I wrote this piece today, after a pro and con discussion about multiculturalism with some close friends
The emphasis of all civilizations until very recently has always been social and cultural cohesion: “university,” not “diversity.” The Latin word “universitas” referred to “a number of persons associated into one body, a society, company, or community,” and was only recently restricted to institutions of higher learning. In short, until very recently, university always meant unity, and the unmistakable goal of every “nation” was to get citizens aligned with its core values. In that context, to preach diversity instead of unity was considered dangerous to the strength of the Nation (from the Latin Natus, “born together”).
That is why the American (and Canadian) goal for all immigrants, until about yesterday, was always “assimilation,” a nation-building philosophy still summed up in the Latin phrase seen on US currency: “e Pluribus Unum” (from Many, One).
Breakdown in support for cultural unity began with the influx of too many immigrants of non-European stock midway through the last century who did not share the same Euro-cultural history, and so who did not care to assimilate to the cultural ethos of the host nation.
But the desire for unity is natural and human. We are all generally more comfortable with people who look like us, with raising children who look like us, with neighbours who understand us and share our values, have the same background, morals, and tastes as us, etc.
Immigrant groups naturally feel this way, too, and so as the core culture got more ethnically diluted, the demand for assimilation to the nation weakened. It was not always weakened by immigrants, mind you. Many immigrants wondered what the hell we were doing encouraging them to stick to the culture of their countries of origin? What were we doing?
Well, beginning in the 1960s we were filling our “universities” with young people who learned from their radical profs how to hate their own culture. Hate their own unity. Protest eurocentricism, colonial oppression, past slavery, etc. We cranked out millions of little “oikophobes” (Oikos is Greek for “home”) – people who hated their own national home. They came out preaching a one-world, anti-euro-cultural philosophy soon to be called “multiculturalism.”
Immigrants loved it. It meant they were no longer expected to wok at assimilation. Didn’t have to learn the language or literature. Didn’t have to learn the culture or the political philosophy, etc. Quite the opposite. Suddenly – this really did happen almost overnight – they learned to cultivate even stronger attachment to their own ethnic and cultural sub-groups, rather than to the host nation. Nuts to Natus.
Evidence for this alarming about-face abounds. In a 2006 Library of Parliament research report on Canadian Multiculturalism, to take just one example, the authors state: “As a fact, ’multiculturalism’ in Canada refers to the presence and persistence of diverse racial and ethnic minorities who define themselves as different, and who wish to remain so.”(Current Issue Review, March 16, 2006). A similar sentiment is now to be found in all Western nations.
A close friend who was part of this discussion said he prefers the term “interculturalism.” Sounds nice. But that term was first coined by Quebecois culture-theorists who were striving to protect the unity and centrality (read: superiority) of their unique French culture in Canada against its erosion in the face of the Canada’s national multicultural policy (formed earlier, but first promulgated as law, in 1988).
I support them. Because multiculturalism, while enjoyable as a lightweight fact of life (sushi, French movies, Italian style, etc) is in its theoretical basis an attack on the uniqueness and centrality of Western civilization as a whole (and certainly on French culture, which was such a mainstay of Western Civ until about a century ago). So no wonder the French Canadians fought, and continue to fight back! I wish Anglophones were as proud of their own distinctive culture and would do the same.
Broadly-speaking, multiculturalism is an attack on even the slightest hint that Western civilization may have been, may be still, superior to all other civilizations. Remember the Stanford University cry: “Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho, Western Civ has got to go!” I mean to say, multicultural policy was at bottom a rear-guard administrative action by culturally-crumbling modern states striving to create unity from the diversity they had brought – and continue to bring – upon themselves. For the past half century they have been fornicating themselves to death with the help of contraception and abortion , instead of procreating vigorously and, at the very least, replacing themselves with their own progeny.
But negative birth-rates eventually mean aging and weak labour markets, and a need to import labour from countries foreign to our way of life. So all the bureaucratic-capitalist states, faced with empty cradles that have resulted from their own anti-procreative death-wish, simply invented a false conception of “culture” they called “multiculturalism” with which they imagined they could restore the failing cultural unity evaporating right before their eyes. No one bothered to face the fact that as an abstract concept, multiculturalism is a fiction that kills its own host culture. A lie the legions of aging and frightened bureaucrats running the western democracies imagined would unite their fragmented citizens as One People again, but this time … worldwide! Multiculturalists are all One Worlders. And they have been doing this, even while watching hundreds of distinctive cultural groups within their own borders unite with their own real cultural groups, against the false-culture multicult. Which is to say, against the host nations themselves. “No-go” zones in Europe’s major cities are plainly manifestations of this.
Well, Alexander the Great was the World’s first multiculturalist. His dream fell apart about five minutes after he died. As “nations”, the political regimes of the West are all suffering a slow, cancerous “diversity death” – even as, blinded by the centripetal evidence of its failure before their very eyes, they preach the healing balm of multiculturalism more desperately.
So I insist: you can enjoy diversity within unity. But you cannot derive unity from diversity. We need to recognize this truth before it is too late.