The noted blogger Fjordman is filing this report via Gates of Vienna.
For a complete Fjordman blogography, see The Fjordman Files. There is also a multi-index listing here.
One of the things I love about the Internet is that I get instant, online feedback on everything I write, from people in the United States to Australia and India. Quite frequently, this brings me to reassess what I have initially written, either by adding new perspectives and ideas that I hadn’t thought of at first or by stating more clearly what I mean. This Great Conversation is why the most interesting debates are frequently found in the blogosphere today. I have received so many impulses through this process from so many different individuals that it is not just modesty if I say that many of my essays should be considered as group efforts, with me as editor rather than sole writer.
A Finnish academic from the University of Helsinki read my essay about 21st century Communism, and was rather critical of my ideas, which she labelled “an incredible mixture of ideological, political and scientific ignorance and misunderstanding.”
First of all: It is true that “21st century Communism” isn’t about Multiculturalism alone, nor is unlimited immigration the same as Multiculturalism. I didn’t explain that well enough, as I should have. I quoted columnist Marie Simonsen from the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet as saying that it should be considered a universal human right for all human beings to move wherever they want to. Dagbladet also supports radical feminism and quotas for women as well as ethnic minorities in public life, mass immigration, transnational legislation from organizations such as the European Union and the United Nations, human rights fundamentalism, state-sponsored indoctrination with said policies and suppression of free speech through hate speech laws for critics. I was implicitly referring to this whole “package deal” when I talked about neo-Communism. And yes, these ideas do frequently, though not always, come in the same package.
According to this academic from Finland, “People who advocate Multiculturalism hardly think that culture is unimportant. On the contrary, they find culture so important for each and every person that it is considered a human right to be able to maintain at least some of it, regardless of where one happens to live.”
This is an interesting question: Do Multiculturalists place a lot of emphasis on culture, or very little? On the surface, they seem to believe that culture is very important. But on the other hand, they tend to view cultures as equal and interchangeable, which means that they perceive it to be of little practical importance, with the very notable exception of Western culture, which is important to destroy. Why should it be viewed as desirable that each person should be able to maintain his culture if he moves to another country? If one believes, as I do, that some cultures are superior to others, one could argue that by settling in another country, you have indirectly admitted that this country has a superior culture and should thus be required to adjust yourself to this culture, i.e. to assimilate.
My critic also claims that “The target of the author’s criticism waves back and forth and lacks a precise target. If you cannot define your ‘enemy,’ your attack is bound to be confusing. (…) There are so many ideas about Multiculturalism, and the author treats them all as if they were one, without even referring to one coherent set of such ideas.”
It is true that if you cannot define your enemy, your criticism is bound to be vague. But this is part of my point: I, and numerous others with at least average intelligence, have spent a considerable amount of time trying to analyze the doctrines of Multiculturalism. We have found this to be quite challenging, precisely because it is vague, incoherent and doesn’t have any clear philosophical foundation. Multiculturalism seems to be a curious mix of older, Enlightenment ideas such as Rousseau’s “noble savage” and later Marxist ideas, among other things. There are those who claim that it was never supposed to be logically consistent and that we shouldn’t look for any cohesive, rational arguments behind it because there are none. What little can be discerned from its ideas is sometimes quite disturbing, with elements of anti-Western hatred, totalitarian impulses and Utopian ideas involving large-scale social engineering.
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But isn’t this alarming? Multiculturalism is now official state policy in many countries, together accounting for hundreds of millions of people. Isn’t it disturbing that millions of people are subject to a radical ideology that is almost impossible to comprehend, and thus to criticize? Many of its proponents seem to know that it cannot be rationally defended, which is why they simply shut critics down with charges of racism and shame them into silence whenever they sense some opposition. In fact, it is now more or less illegal in some countries to criticize it, although it could mean the most massive transformation of our countries in modern history.
According to this Finnish lady, “What you can do is try to come up with general values which are accepted as human rights in most cultural contexts and determine that these have to be adhered to by everyone in your country. All citizens do not need to have the same culture, although they do need to share some basic values, and of course we want these to remain those which have been typical for our country throughout history.” What one must do is to “start applying exactly the same standards/demands of respect for human rights” among immigrants as among the majority host population. We should allow immigrants the right to keep their culture “provided that they adhere to the central core of our values and follow the rules in our legal system.”
OK, but Muslims don’t do that. They don’t share our “core values” of freedom of speech to rationally criticize all religious creeds, as they have demonstrated on numerous occasions, from the Salman Rushdie case via the murder of Theo van Gogh to the Muhammad Cartoon Jihad in 2006. So what do we do when we are faced with cultures which specifically reject ideas about mutual tolerance?
French philosopher and cultural critic Alain Finkielkraut thinks that Europe has made human rights its new gospel. Has human rights fundamentalism approached the status of quasi-religion? Have we acquired a new class of scribes, who claim the exclusive right to interpret their Holy Texts in order to reveal Absolute Truth, and scream “blasphemy” at the few heretics who dare question their authority? The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a great document, but it is written by humans, and may thus contain human flaws. We shouldn’t treat as if it were a revelation from God, carved into stone. Far less should we deem as infallible the veritable maze of regulations and well-meaning human rights resolutions that have rendered democratic nations virtually unable to defend themselves.
I am skeptical of basing the future of our societies on abstract principles such as “human rights” alone, partly because they can so easily be defined and redefined beyond recognition by aggressive activists and elites. I have already quoted a columnist who said that it should be considered a “human right” for all human beings to move wherever they want to. At what point does the number of immigrants become so large that it interferes with the “human right” of the native population to keep their culture?
This is not a theoretical question, it is happening in front of our eyes now in Western Europe, where native Europeans have to watch as their cultural traditions are dismantled and removed from the school curriculum under the pretext that we are now a “Multicultural society.” And, yes, this is a large-scale social experiment being conducted on hundreds of millions of people. At some point, the sheer number of immigrants will infringe on the right of the natives to retain their cultural traditions.
The only possible solution to this dilemma is, in my view, to say that the right of the native population in the country to maintain their culture takes precedence over that of immigrants to do the same thing. This means that immigration needs to be limited in numbers to assimilation levels and exclude individuals from totally incompatible cultures, such as the Islamic ones. If nations are not allowed to state that they want limited immigration or even no immigration at all, this amounts to what I called neo-Communism, in which you are not allowed to decide who should settle in your own home.
Multiculturalism is primarily championed in Western nations. It is highly unlikely, to say the least, that a person from Finland, Canada or the Netherlands would want, much less be allowed to, move to Pakistan or Iran and expect to get state support for “keeping their culture,” but the reverse happens every single day. In the 21st century, many of the least economically successful cultures on earth are in the midst of the largest population boom in human history. If they should be allowed to continue to export, indefinitely, parts of their unsustainable population growth to other nations and those who move should be allowed to keep their culture, “human rights” de facto amount to the unilateral eradication of Western culture. And that’s precisely why the anti-Western Left support it. They can permanently destroy the West, and they can claim to do this in the name of “tolerance and diversity.”
When speaking about 21st century Communism, one also needs to consider what John Fonte has dubbed transnational progressivism, whose key concepts can be described as follows: Group rights over individual rights, where group proportionalism is the goal of “fairness,” where “democracy” means power sharing among ethnic groups and even non-citizens and where the values of important institutions must reflect the perspectives of “oppressed” groups.
According to Fonte, “Transnationalism is the next stage of multicultural ideology. Like multiculturalism, transnationalism is a concept that provides elites with both an empirical tool (a plausible analysis of what is) and an ideological framework (a vision of what should be). Transnational advocates argue that globalization requires some form of “global governance” because they believe that the nation-state and the idea of national citizenship are ill suited to deal with the global problems of the future. The same scholars who touted multiculturalism now herald the coming transnational age.”
The foundation for transnational progressivism is made up of a rising postnational intelligentsia (international law professors, NGO activists, UN bureaucrats, EU administrators, corporate executives, and politicians.) When social movements such as “transnationalism” and “global governance” are depicted as the result of social forces or the movement of history, a certain impersonal inevitability is implied, but Fonte warns that this is not inevitable, but “the result of the exercise of political will by elites.”