Multiculturalism was invented in Canada in 1971. Its original aim was to ensure the peaceful cohabitation of populations of different ethnic or racial origins on the same territory. Criteria by which people designate each other would no longer be used. Claims to objective truth flowing from existing belief systems would be considered invalid as stemming from naive ethnocentrism: all views would be considered equally valid. Typically, criticism of each other would be avoided.

It’s mostly excluded from definitions*, but it is no secret that Western culture and Christianity are singled out by the proponents of multiculturalism, as inherently bad.
Let’s have a closer look at multiculturalism’s tenets based on relativism.

Daily practicalities demand the use of specifications. By human nature we tend to fall back on obvious designations for others, not necessarily all derogatory from the outset, but that are subject to the same wear and tear as any other frequently used word: just as black gave way to Negro – black in Spanish, gave way to Negro – in English, gave way to black.

In The Netherlands years ago it was supposed that ‘allochthon’ (a word in old Greek, roughly meaning foreigner, as opposed to autochthon, native) would be a good choice as a neutral designation to replace ‘guest worker’, by that time considered no longer appropriate, and derogatory. After ten years in use the euphemism had become so blunt and itself derogatory, that another designation had to be found.

One is tempted to think that the problem lies more in the abuse of the word and the abusers, rather than in the word itself.

The denial of objective truth puts everything we see, do and believe in, in doubt. It goes against the grain. It is human nature to seek security in life, a few basics to hold onto. People that are continually in doubt sooner or later end up on a psychiatrist’s couch.
The absence of objective truth is logically and philosophically also a problem: when examining the tenets of relativism more closely, one soon gets well acquainted with the phenomenon of paradoxes and oxymora – starting with the basic truth that there is no truth, rendering it a logical non-starter from the outset.

A practical consequence would be that we’d have to give up a number of ideas and ideals we hold dear: universal human rights, the rule of law, religion, and basically all ideologies, whether good or bad. The practice of both law and science would have to be abandoned.

A great many adherents to relativism when confronted with this truth – once over the initial shock – usually provide the caveat that universal human rights are exempted from their universal denial of truth. But in that case it is obviously no longer tenable that objective truth does not exist.

Multiculturalism presupposes a number of other things as well: that religions and ideologies – considered dogma by the postmodern proponents – aren’t the fruits of our creative minds or given to us by a transcendental God, but are a curse and a problem – no doubt referring to past ideological and religious strive.Therefore multiculturalism wants to do away with religion altogether, primarily because it’s based on ‘eternal truth’. It is however not far-fetched to suppose that – were all creeds be abolished today, tomorrow another excuse would present itself to do battle over. As the overnight demise of all religion is obviously an unrealistic expectation, under the circumstances multiculturalism supports a vigourous separation of church and state: a religiously and morally neutral public place and state.

Sectarian and religious warfare is often brought up by multiculturalists to justify its existence. Indeed religious differences have been the sources of war and battle; as have politics, land-grabs, perceived greavances of any other nature, greed, personal insults, etc. Lest we forget we owe the deaths and misery in the last century, World Wars I and II, the communist revolutions in Europe and Asia – from Cambodia’s killing fields and Vietnam to the furthest corners of China – to Enlightenment inspired ideologies, often defended by classical and postmodern liberals as the very source of everything rational and scientific. Be that as it may, it is however no reason to throw the enlightened baby with the bathwater, as some particularly dogmatic relativists would have it.

The currently held interreligious and ecumenical dialogues stem hopeful for the future. One can safely assume that an inter-Christian outbreak of violent sectarianism isn’t in the making any time soon.

Islam – apart from being an exclusive religion, and with all its problems with modernity, is also – like any other faith in existence – abused and exploited as a political ideology to further the hegemonic goals of ruthless politicians, who seem to look for inspiration as much to the Koran, as secretly to the traditional Marxist and Leninist papers on revolutionary warfare: guerilla tactics, terrorism, misinformation and agitation. The political situation within Islam is further complicated by the Sunni-Shi’a divide and Iran’s ambitions for regional hegemony. But if the internal tension within Islam between moderates and fundamentalists can be settled, for example in favour of what may be broadly termed a Vatican II style modernisation process, as some have suggested – fear for perpetual religious strive can be waylaid.

Anachronistic Biblical and Koranic texts are often brought up as sources of what we today consider unethical. To mind come tenets in respect of homosexual conduct. It is the result of a postmodern habit to judge the past by today’s ethical standards. Nobody’s suggesting however to blame Attila the Hun for causing mass refugees or is proposing to put Napoleon Bonaparte on trial for war crimes. The pleas from gay pressure groups to ‘abolish’ these unethical holy books – were it possible, would culturally as well as religiously be sacrilege on a par with the Taliban destruction of the Bamian Buddhas. No self-confessed liberal could ever seriously advocate book burnings; but it is a measure of the acidity presently characterising the ‘culture wars’.

One cannot help thinking that the postmodern outlook is not a particularly optimistic one. It doesn’t take into account for instance that in all the democratic countries of the world, every day Parliaments and Governments are peacefully forging coalitions, doing agreements, in or out of opposition, agreeing to disagree, tolerate and understand, working together to further a prosperous and peaceful life for its citizens. As in all those other places of business and voluntary community work where people peacefully cooperate towards a common goal.

The conclusion may be justified that multiculturalism exaggerates humanity’s willingness to war over matters of the faith for its own justification.

We have already established that the ideology of multiculturalism sees all dogma as basically fundamentalist (its own not included). It also doesn’t concern itself with individuals. Instead the currency is groups or tribes, clustered together in enclaves or archipelagos. Although it is stated by some proponents that it needs to take the problems of eventual dissenters within the various tribes into account, keeping the peace between the groups implies that individual members need to conform to their group, that a form of autonomy is maintained and a critically neutral policy of non-interference from the outside is adhered to.

The science fiction series “Star Trek Discovery” provides us with some insight into how keeping the peace within such human archipelagos might work in practice. The story presents us with a universal law, the so-called Prime Directive. The crew of the star-ship, lost in deep space and time, is required to uphold the Prime Directive in their interaction with the inhabitants of unknown planets. They are not to interfere with the habits, and the cultural and religious values of these aliens. Moreover they may not disrupt the time-space continuum. In other words, they must allow to happen what naturally should occur, allowing destiny to take its course. They may not support rebels against oppressive regimes and tyrants, help one side against the other, prevent accidents or outbreaks of war, nor can they help people that are otherwise at odds with the group or tribe. More’s the pity for the Vorsak whistle-blowers and the carbon-based units named Romeo and Juliet of those worlds.

What does not forebode well, is that lately we see that dissenters from Islam, like Ayaan Hirsi Ali and others are very undemocratically told that the case is now closed and they should therefore shut up.

It is also worrying that postmodern academics don’t seem to be particularly bothered with inconsistencies and paradoxes in their narrative. It is as if the underlying thought is that the road to Utopia may be a false one, but that all that matters is getting there: that the end is worthwhile the means.

In a recent comment a Canadian rather enthusiastically concluded that “it works”. Of course we have to take into account that Canada is territorially a very large immigration country, and a historical tabula rasa. Demographically the situation in Europe and in a host of other ‘old’ countries is incommensurably different – in ethnic distribution, as well as in the concentration of various populations.

Lastly, should imposing multicultural policies, in consideration of its severe political and social consequences, not be subject to a democratic process, or a public debate at the very least? At present multicultural mind-sets and ideas are subtely making their way into political programs and into parties that are as yet unaware that it excludes their own basic principles and ideas as dogma and fundamentalist.

Postmodern relativist ideas dominate every aspect of social and cultural life. The basic premise that there is no such thing as objective truth but only opinion, precludes proper debate, turning discussions at best into endless tugs of war over personal tastes or preferences, and ad hominem attacks at worst. A chance to get to know the new neighbours through genuine interest and true tolerance is ruined by a specific mechanism caused by the relativist fallacies, that pervert tolerance of people into indifference, instead of engendering respect for the person and allowing him or her an opposing opinion.

Multiculturalism is often presented as an accomplished fact on the ground and a definition of a society with more than one culture. This simplified image usually implies little more than a plea for tolerance of other races and religions, and equal opportunities for all. But it is seldom acknowledged that underneath that simplicity lurks a pernicious ideology that denies truth and that in the end is nobody’s friend.

Relativism and multiculturalism are not harmless intellectual parlor games with ideas for tokens. And peoples, communities and nations aren’t huge open laboratories for irrational social experiments.

* “In multi-culturalism, every human group has a singularity and legitimacy that form the basis of its right to exist, conditioning its interaction with others. The criteria of just and unjust, criminal and barbarian, disappear before the absolute criterion of respect for difference. There is no longer any eternal truth: the belief in this stems from naive ethnocentrism.”

“Relativism demands that we see our values simply as the beliefs of the particular tribe we call the West. Multiculturalism is the result of this process.”

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