AP 2007: Multiculturalism promotes segregation, stifles free speech and threatens liberal democracy, Britain’s top Jewish official warned in extracts from his book published Saturday.
Jonathan Sacks, Britain’s chief rabbi, defined multiculturalism as an attempt to affirm Britain’s diverse communities and make ethnic and religious minorities more appreciated and respected. But in his book, “The Home We Build Together: Recreating Society,” he said the movement had run its course.
“Multiculturalism has led not to integration but to segregation,” Sacks wrote in his book, an extract of which was published in the Times of London.
“Liberal democracy is in danger,” Sacks said, adding later: “The politics of freedom risks descending into the politics of fear.”
Sacks said Britain’s politics had been poisoned by the rise of identity politics, as minorities and aggrieved groups jockeyed first for rights, then for special treatment.
The process, he said, began with Jews, before being taken up by blacks, women and gays. He said the effect had been “inexorably divisive.”
“A culture of victimhood sets group against group, each claiming that its pain, injury, oppression, humiliation is greater than that of others,” he said.
In an interview with the Times, Sacks said he wanted his book to be “politically incorrect in the highest order.”
COMMENTS TO STEVE SAILER:
* The question from here, though, becomes what culture becomes dominant. Does Britain revert to the classic concept of Britishness which served it so well, or does it adapt to a post-modern form of mass media imposed uniculture – a culture shaped not by British values but by globalism?
It seems to me there are two alternatives: uniculturalism, where those who refuse to adapt to at least most of the dominant culture are shunned, or multiculturalism, where society dissolves into a multitude of warring factions all looking after their own good.
Neither is really a great option for Jews. Multiculturalism has lead to the situation he finds dangerous. But uniculturalism is unacceptable to many Jews, too, since what they really want, in some form, is to remain separate from the rest of society.
So is he really, deliberately or not, advocating biculturalism, where everyone but the Jews assimilate?
I don’t think multiculturalism is just a government program that can be eliminated at will by a vote of Parliament. Multiculturalism is something which exists in any multiracial society, de facto, whether the government wants it to or not. So long as Britain has large numbers of immigrants coming from societies that are racially and relgiously different from itself, the hazards caused by “multiculturalism” will exist. In fact, even if immigration is ended completely it will continue to exist, thanks to the immigrants who are already there.
* I think the first great wave of immigrants from Ireland, Italy, Eastern Europe and elsewhere has been detrimental to the United States. Even while most of them assimilated linguistically and economically by getting with the WASP program their descendants have been able to call into question the idea that America is fundamentally an Anglo-Saxon nation and paved the way for modern identity politics – at least of the ethnic sort.
* I for one, see people really getting into their “ethnic identity” more and more, leading to more separation–not melding. The blog, Inductivist, had a poll presented in which Jews and Mexicans by far wanted more immigration than anyone else, but suprisingly Jews wanted even more than Mexicans did. Native Americans wanted the most restriction of all, which was interesting at first glance, but makes perfect sense if one thinks about it.
A country that is composed of 10 different ethnic and religous groups is always going to have something averse going on between at least two of them at any given time.
* Mark — my sense is that Jews are still dealing with how to adapt to a world where industrialized pogroms are a reality. Nationalism’s downside led to the extermination of 6 million Jews. Europe’s collective lobotomy if you like. However multiculturalism leaves them vulnerable to unending assault and eventual extermination by Muslims. Since the heart of multiculturalism is abrogation of law — some communities and people are more equal than others.
The “traditional American” solution has been to embrace American nationalism, which is seen as more inclusive, i.e. you can still be Jew or Catholic or whatever as long as you embrace the symbols of American identity, speak English, and adhere to various “American” values. Think those WWII films with the Jew, Catholic, Cowboy out West, and Southerner coming together. Or the explicit creation of “patriotic” comic book characters like Superman, Captain America, etc. by assimilated US Jews.
More broadly, Multiculturalism is likely sustainable ONLY when the good times are rolling. When they stop, it’s a raw struggle for power. Germany ran out of money and stopped welfare payments. Now long-unemployed machinists and the like are hungry and going homeless. The young men won’t even have a chance at success. Meanwhile Muslims extract lots of goodies from the governments.
Britain is probably not much different. What happens when non-Muslim men are out of work and competing with Muslim men who are NOT British (and getting all the handouts)? Why they band together in various groups and start to extract money by force. Freikorps in Weimar all over again.
Multiculturalism is dead because Europe ran out of money too quick to pay people off — and most people are “stuck” and will have to fight to extract resources. Money that goes to Muslims, or gays, or whoever is money NOT going to out of work natives. Who are not likely to be too happy about it. Particularly if they have nothing to lose.
Revolutions have been started for less.
* A frequent curiosity in American blogs is coupling the concept of “multiculturalism” with the qualifier “Marxist.” Sorry if I come out as a jerk but technically that is flat out wrong. No part of Marxism (the official ideology) has ever propounded multiculturalism. Marxism is “monoculturalism” driven to its extremes.
Marx and diehard Marxists always saw non-Western cultures as the expression of ignorant and backward “forces of history,” versions of “false consciousness” invented by feudal oppressors to keep those huddled masses in subjugation, poverty, etc.
Ironically, today’s neoconservatism, which at times allies itself with the push to reform the education system to end the oppression from political correctness on campus, views the non-Western parts of the world with the same perspective: so many peoples waiting to be liberated from their backward cultures.
The idea of “multiculturalism” is a recent invention, a product of the EU enterprise. It emerged as this: “Europeans have fought the bloodiest wars on earth due to their national/cultural differences. If we want an integrated Europe (e pluribus unum), let’s accept that we’re all Europeans — British, Belgian or Bolognese — and live all the cultures of Europe simultaneously.” Then, it was extended by the New Left to include non-European immigrants, etc.
Another minor technical point. The world is a multicultural place, and that by itself is no anomaly. In fact, paleoconservatives do not necessarily object to keeping every culture in its sphere of natural influence. What is imposed by the left elites on the Western society should have been labelled “poly-culturalism” — co-existence of multiple cultures in the same habitat. The trouble with it is, since cultures have their specific ways of defining the fundamentals of human existence, they don’t particularly mesh well if they don’t share fundamentals. European cultures may be mixed and matched since they do, but Bantu and Bolognese cultures don’t. The result is “hetero-culturalism,” a mixed bag of discordant views creating racing conditions on the fundamentals.
The trouble is not really multiculturalism per se. The trouble is “poly-racialism” — i.e. two or more races co-existing in the same habitat. OK, I know you can’t go out and say this in today’s MSM, but isn’t that part of the problem? This is the same way the word “diversity” is now used to signify race-mixing. (Although even that is confused since the first country people point to to demonstrate the disasterous consequences of that is Brazil but that place is mostly different varieties of Euro-Hispanic white, Black, and some Amerindian; you’d think every group from the Eskimo to the Chuchi, from the Yemeni to the Maya is represented equally there but it isn’t. There is probably no place on earth where more than 2 races have mixed at a large scale. It just doesn’t happen because it doesn’t work.)
* Given that Jews are the ethnic group most culpable in agitating for mass immigration and minority special pleading, my message to Sir Jonathan, minus expletives, is ‘too little, too late.’
* Jewish immigrants flourished brilliantly in the unicultural environment of early and mid-20th century America. The key phrase is “adapt to at least most of the dominant culture”.
Jews succeeded – indeed, often came to sit not just at the table but at the head of it – because they enthusiastically adopted most aspects of the dominant culture except those that were explicitly religious. In doing so, they changed the culture, as I said earlier, from the inside. That is a good and welcome thing, as opposed to groups who insist on sitting outside the door but still want to be served the same meal as those in the dining room. Or, worse, want to redefine “dining room” to include the house, yard and street.