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Guest Notes

Multicultural notes

21 May 2016

9:00 AM

21 May 2016

9:00 AM

‘Once upon a time there was a kingdom where people of all races and nationalities got along in perfect peace and harmony. Frenchman stood with German, Indian and Pakistani broke bread together, Serb embraced Bosnian, Saudi and Israeli fought side by side, Aussie and Kiwi knew no hatred or scorn. Race meant nothing to these people. All were equal in the eyes of their Creator. They spoke one language, recognised no borders, and welcomed all who came to their doorstep with open arms. There were no politics or politicians, because all the people in this kingdom knew the law by heart, consented to it readily, and knew their king would arbitrate it justly. All were joined in the spirit of brotherly love under this creed: one nation under God.’ ‘Surely such a place could never be,’ you say. ‘Oh, my doe-eyed darling, it was as real as the nose on your face! It was called the Islamic State.’ At which point in the story I expect my future children will roll their eyes and storm out of the room. Like all fatherly wisdom, the moral won’t sink in until advanced age brings common sense – probably about ten or fifteen years after they finish university. But it’s a lesson worth learning. The Islamic State accomplished almost by accident in a matter of months what progressives have been labouring for tirelessly for the better part of a century: an egalitarian, ethnically diverse, politically unified society. Isis proves that a harmonious multiracial community isn’t only possible, it’s absurdly easy. It’s easier than cobbling together a single government for the Italian peninsula. It’s infinitely faster than uniting the German principalities. People are moving there in droves to lend their skills and pledge their loyalty to this remarkable experiment in human diversity. And how did they do it? Simple: they didn’t muck around with multiculturalism.Culture isn’t just an umbrella term for the aesthetic lay of a particular bit of land – a people’s architecture, music, language, etc. No: culture is also the values of a people made manifest. When the British arrived in India they were charmed by the natives’ many-armed, animal-faced gods. They marvelled at the skeletal, mud-smeared ascetics who prayed outside jewel-encrusted temples. The Orient was for them a place of unspoilt primitive wonders, both poetically inspirational and ripe for economic exploitation. What they realized only later was that Indian culture wasn’t quaint: it was laden with value-judgements that were, at least to Anglo sensibilities, repulsive and inhumane. The overused example is sati: widows flinging themselves onto the funeral pyres of their husbands, which the British went to great lengths to stamp out. When a group of Brahmins approached General Charles Napier to complain that his men were impinging an ancient and august custom, Napier famously replied: ‘Be it so. This burning of widows is your custom; prepare the funeral pile. But my nation has also a custom. When men burn women alive we hang them, and confiscate all their property. My carpenters shall therefore erect gibbets on which to hang all concerned when the widow is consumed. Let us all act according to national customs.’ What Isis implicitly understands – and what the Left perhaps never will – is that multiculturalism is impossible, because cultures are inextricably bound up with mutually exclusive values. If we go beyond the shallow trinkets of, say, Indian culture (delicious curries, gorgeous saris), we see that Indian and Anglo culture are fundamentally incompatible. If Indians and Anglos are free of their bitter disagreement over practices like sati today, it’s only because Anglo value-judgements triumphed over Indian ones. And thank God for that. Likewise, only when Aussies and Frenchmen and Russians – peoples who have, owing to the influence of Christianity, long opposed stoning adulteresses – relinquish their culturally-conditioned sensibilities can they integrate themselves completely into Isis’s multiethnic paradise. They must surrender themselves to Arabic cultural practices, many of which predate the advent of Islam, in order to belong to this racially harmonious, adulteress-stoning society. Why they choose to do so is another question, but Isis’s example is clear: a socio-political entity can achieve endless physical diversity, so long as it’s willing to embrace a total religious, philosophical, and ideological homogeny. To our credit, the Right has known this all along. It was the old Tory satirists who depicted Queen Victoria swapping St. Edward’s Crown for the Imperial Crown of India. It’s why Enoch Powell quoted the Aeneid in his infamous Rivers of Blood speech, evoking a war between empires and not barbarian conquest. It’s not the fear of inferior peoples that spurs the Right’s opposition to multiculturalism. On the contrary, it’s an implicit cultural supremacism that drives the left’s faith in mass immigration. They think an Arabic immigrant will, upon arriving in the birthplace of the free press, immediately be convinced of that institution’s worth. And so they were shocked to find that 27 per cent of British Muslims supported the Charlie Hebdo shooters. Conservatives weren’t. We weren’t the least bit surprised that, in a country so devoted to preserving immigrants’ native cultures, their native cultural values also remained firmly entrenched. We don’t see why a Pakistani would condemn executing blasphemers just because he’s bought a flat in London – not any more than we should expect an Englishman to embrace widow-burning just because he’s built a barracks in Delhi or Calcutta. Nor are we surprised that, as multiculturalism becomes more invasive, our ability to resist the virus of Islamism has been so thoroughly crippled. We can’t defeat jihadism by pulling up the roots of our civilization. We can only defeat jihadism by becoming more Australian, more British, more American, even more New Zealand-ish. Not less. So here’s hoping another Charles Napier comes along, and soon.


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