A British General, told that suttee was an India custom, replied, “We have a custom too. When men burn women alive, we hang them.” It was a set-back for multiculturalism.
Really bad ideas that become Government policy with bipartisan support seldom have a single father. But Australian multiculturalism, like the grandiose Parliament House and the PC-infiltrated Defence Force Academy, owes a lot to Malcolm Fraser.
It is easy to see why the Australian Labor Party supported it—migrants would be likely to vote Labor. It also made vote-buying a great deal easier and tidier. In Britain the Labour Party has openly admitted that these were its objectives in flooding the country with unassimilable migrants, and too bad for Britain’s identity or national security.
Some British Labour and ALP strategists saw a vested interest in keeping those migrants dependent on government largesse: education, skills or the English language would, from this point of view, be a disadvantage.
Australia did not need a government-sponsored multiculturalism. It was built by migrants, who largely assimilated peacefully and successfully (a recent example being the Vietnamese, who Fraser, to his great credit, admitted on a humane and generous basis).
While multiculturalism has been denounced by Lord Sacks, the chief rabbi of the British Commonwealth, and even Angela Merkle admits it has failed utterly, our own political leaders continue to chant it as a mantra.
The destruction of the notion of objective, absolute values by which cultures should be judged, and the promotion of moral relativism as one inevitable outcome of that destruction, dovetails neatly with the notion of post-modernism now wreaking havoc throughout the West. It was something Fraser was (and I think Turnbull is) not equipped by either education or mentality to understand.
Did Fraser have some idea of turning Australia into a vast Dunstonian Adelaide, with multi-ethnic restaurants, colourful folk-dances and foreign film festivals available in every street? Voters of various ethnic backgrounds rushing to vote Liberal from overflowing gratitude?
I have talked to several people who knew Fraser well, and they admit to being baffled as to what made him tick.
Anyway, whatever was originally meant by multiculturalism, it has come to mean a kind of presumption that all cultures are equal, or must be regarded as equal.
This flies in the face of sense, and of considerations of national development and security. As one of the Naipaul brothers put it, there is an objective difference between a culture which cannot repair a bicycle-pump and one which can put a man on the moon, between a culture which obtains its drinking water in summer by sucking it through a hollow reed and one which builds the Hoover Dam.
It is to the point that Jews, numbering a small fraction of one per cent of the world’s population, have won about a quarter of all the Nobel Prizes in the “hard” sciences, and that tiny beleaguered Israel is the best governed, best educated, most advanced and stable country in the Middle East. Singapore, without resources or even drinking water and hardly room to stand, is prosperous.
The diversity-crazed, tax-payer funded, Clemson University in the US says it is unacceptably Eurocentric to expect students from other cultures to attend lectures on time.
Deeper than these differences in technology, however, are moral differences in showing that all cultures are not equal.
Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a case in point. As is well-known, the object of FGM is to deprive women of the possibility of sexual pleasure, one of life’s most joyous experiences, and keep them faithful to the men whose property they are. (The possibility that they might remain faithful voluntarily is ruled out, as they are not credited with capacity for moral strength or choice.) In addition FGM is an agonising, terrifying experience, and often condemns the women who undergo it a lifetime of pain and infection. The cultures that do this are treating women as sub-human.
Muslim men in India can divorce their wives by saying the word “talaq” three times. The divorce is instant and unilateral. For the women it may mean starvation. Another quaint example of cultural diversity for Australia to copy?
Of course, Fraser did not mean this for Australia when pioneering the multiculturalism industry here. But vague ideas in politics sometimes have a way of being taken over by the unforeseen.
Now FGM is being defended as “part of the culture” and opposition to it condemned as Eurocentric cultural imperialism, its defenders including some western intellectuals apparently driven mad with hatred for their own liberal-democratic culture and prepared to endorse any proposition, however insane, that might tend to delegitimise it or appease their hunger for publicity.
It is even suggested that FGM is the equivalent of male circumcision. It would be incredible, save that it actually happens, that some who put forward this proposition, or defend FGM as a matter of cultural integrity, can expect to be taken seriously. Even Paul Kelly has referred to the deployment of multiculturalism to weaken Christian symbols and thereby Christianity itself. This means a weakening of the things of which our civilization is built.
There are objective differences between cultures which mandate barbaric mutilation of women and ones that neither permit nor wish it; between cultures which permit freedom of speech and open discussion of religious and other values, and ones that do not; between cultures of economic freedom and ones of economic unfreedom.
People who deny these differences cannot usually be argued with. As G. K. Chesterton said, if you argue with a mad person you will very likely get the worst of it, for your opponent’s mind is unhampered by humour or proportion or common sense.
A “multiculturalism” which seriously holds all cultures are equal, that all cultures should be welcomed holus-bolus into our so far exceptionally unified continent is mad.
We have already seen how unassimilable migrants, with cultural conditioning to treat their hosts as conquered helots and rape-meat, are literally destroying Scandinavia, with France and Germany not far behind.
It is a perversion of the valid proposition that many cultures have something to offer, and insofar as they do, they should be treated with respect.
This, of course, ignores the difficult question of how culture is defined, and what parts of various cultures are acceptable. Are the works of Dante, Goethe and Mozart, the bravery of the Vikings or the wisdom of Confucius, the achievements of the ancient Greeks, Romans and (not least) Jews, part of “our” culture? Cultures are of course vast and variegated, but sane and civilized cultures do share some important values.
Miranda Devine recently interviewed a former teacher, “Mrs A”, on how extremism is spreading in Australia among Muslim children at State Schools:
“Until she was hounded out of the predominantly Muslim school in Sydney’s southwest two years ago, Mrs A was forced to stand by helplessly as students brought ISIS-style flags to school, made threatening “beheading” gestures to her, wrote abusive graffiti about her family, bailed her up to chant the Koran in Arabic in her face, and demanded she remove the cross around her neck.”
Have we lost the courage or moral fibre to say features of some cultures are objectively bad, and instead of being subsidised, should be stamped out?
To quote Chesterton again, “And dead is all the innocence of anger and surprise.”
Of course it is mutating into the left’s latest madness of attacking “cultural appropriation.” Wait for the banning of Kipling’s tales of Indians and Eskimos, of Tolkien’s of wizards and hobbits.
Both are aspects of the insensate attack on sanity and civilization.