Multiculturalism can be fatal
‘The revolt of the civilised against civilisation’
Multiculturalism is a divisive political doctrine that creates enormous costs, foments racial hatred, and may even have been complicit in cultivating the homegrown suicide bombers of July 7, according to a new report from the independent think-tank Civitas.
In The Poverty of Multiculturalism Patrick West argues that there is a difference between Soft Multiculturalism – the idea that minorities should not face discrimination and that the customs of different people should be tolerated, and which he describes as a ‘benign force’ – and Hard Multiculturalism, which insists no culture is better than another, and which believes society should not only tolerate difference but promote it (pp.3-4). This leads some Western intellectuals, who regard themselves as progressive, into the perverse position of defending cultures that condone the killing of homosexuals and the virtual enslavement of women, whilst denigrating the culture of the free societies of the West, inspired by the ideals of the Enlightenment, ‘in which universal franchise, free speech and democracy are the norm and the expectation’ (p.9). West notes the contradiction that lurks at the heart of the exponents of Hard Multiculturalism:
‘They simultaneously assert that no culture is better than another, but they will happily elaborate that Western culture is actually inferior, and shy away from celebrating it for fear of causing offence (p.7)… we live in counter-Enlightenment times (p.5)… We are witnessing the revolt of the civilised against civilisation (p. 16).’
Multiculturalism costs lives
Patrick West gives some examples of the huge costs which are being imposed on society as a result of ‘celebrating difference’.
‘Residents of West London received a leaflet concerning the proposed tram development. It was also available in Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, Greek, Gujarati, Hindi, Punjabi, Turkish, Urdu and Vietnamese… my local council, Hammersmith & Fulham in London, asked residents to “have their say” in a survey on how to tackle crime: “If you would like any part of this document interpreted, please phone…” a number giving residents the opportunity to hear the survey in Russian, Polish, French, Spanish, Albanian, Amharic, Portuguese, Somali, Punjabi, Gujarati, Hindi, Urdu, Farsi or Arabic… London’s 999 emergency services recently decided to employ linguists to translate emergency calls into 150 languages, from Afrikaans to Zulu. This is owing to the fact that three million out of London’s eight million inhabitants do not speak English as a first language… But translators do not come for free. If everyone did speak English as a first language, such money could be invested in the emergency services and save more lives. Saving lives should take precedence over promoting cultural diversity.’ (pp.51-2)
Multiculturalism foments racial tensions
Far from creating tolerance, multiculturalism can lead to bitter divisions along ethnic lines, splitting communities into hostile factions:
‘State-sponsored multiculturalism has led to cities such as Bradford, Burnley and Oldham fissuring along sectatrian lines, and to heightening racial tensions between whites and Asians – with white people feeling “the other lot” are getting favourable treatment from the local council… The rise of the BNP in the north… is the result of white people seeing themselves discriminated against by local authorities’ (p.47).
No society can survive unless its members subscribe to a set of core values, but multiculturalists encourage members of minority groups to see themselves as separate:
‘The fruits of 30 years of state-endorsed multiculturalism have been increased racial inter-racial tension and inter-racial sectarianism… The fact that the London suicide bombers of 7 July and the would-be bombers of 21 July 2005 were born and bred in Britain – and encouraged by the state to be different – illustrates that Hard Multiculturalism has the capacity to be not only divisive but decidedly lethal’ (pp.8-9).
Murdering women condoned for cultural reasons
Nothing shows more clearly the way in which the ideals of the Enlightenment have been abandoned than the failure to condemn or to punish appropriately so-called ‘honour killings’. Under an impartial judicial system, murder would be murder, regardless of race or culture. But when Asian women are killed for supposedly dishonouring their families by disapproved-of relationships, the courts have been lenient towards their killers.
‘In October 2002, 16-year-old Heshu Yones… was stabbed 11 times by her 48-year-old father, Abdulla, who then slit her throat — a Kurd, he had disapproved of Heshu’s British Arab boyfriend… Judge Neil Denison said that he would take cultural customs into consideration in the sentencing of her killer… Tasleem Begum, 20, was killed by her brother-in-law, Shabir Hussain. He ran her over in his car, reversed over her body and sped forward once more, crushing her three times… the killer … claimed that the balance of his mind had been altered by the great shame she had brought to the family. The plea was accepted and the judge sentenced him to three years imprisonment for manslaughter, not murder… Culture has become an excuse for murder. Perversely, anti-racist, multicultural sensitivities entail that people from ethnic minorities are, in certain circumstances, actually given less protection by the state’ (pp.42-44).
Time to celebrate Western culture
Patrick West points out the central paradox of multiculturalism: it is an entirely Western concept which is not found in any other culture (p.35). ‘To promote multiculturalism is, paradoxically, to champion Western values’ (p.2). In The Poverty of Multiculturalism West champions the values of Western culture as expressed by the great thinkers of the Enlightenment:
‘It is time that we respected our own culture, both as Westerners and Britons. Western culture has a rich and admirable tradition of social liberalism that says that one should be rendered as much freedom as possible in the private sphere, that one should dress according to one’s desires, worship freely without molestation from the State, be afforded equal rights and participate in culturally-specific ceremonies. It is time we cherished the tradition of the Enlightenment, with its aspiration that the prizes of liberty, democracy, colour-blindness, equality of opportunity and progress can be shared among all. We should certainly afford respect to traditional British values which influenced the beneficent aspirations of the Enlightenment. While admitting our country’s short-comings in the past, we should desist from perpetually dwelling on them, and recognise that of which we should be proud.’ (p.2)
For more information ring:
Robert Whelan 020 7799 6677 (w)
‘The Poverty of Multiculturalism’ by Patrick West is available from Civitas, 77 Great Peter St, London SW1P 2EZ, tel 020 7799 6677, www.civitas.org.uk, price £10.50 inc. pp.