Maurice Montaigne has an excellent column on multiculturalism at Everday Joe:
Multiculturalism is formally defined as the “acceptance or promotion of multiple cultural traditions within a single jurisdiction.”7 In practice, multiculturalism presents itself as a harmless commitment to tolerance that all well-intentioned people should share.
But in fact multiculturalism is an acid that dissolves nation-states. This is its purpose. Multiculturalism arose in the aftermath of the Second World War, a war launched by two ultranationalist states (National Socialist Germany and Imperial Japan) and characterized by the genocide of whole nations. The politicians and intellectuals of the post war era swore to never allow this to happen again, and multiculturalism was their solution. By promoting multiculturalism they hoped to destroy that which gave rise to total war. To save Western civilization, it was necessary to destroy it. Or so they believed.
How does multiculturalism destroy ethnic nation-state? We have already shown that an ethnic nation-state relies on its people’s common ancestry, language, and traditions – its unity – to provide social cohesion to its state. Multiculturalism erodes all three, by diversifying the ancestry, languages, and traditions. Where once stood a people united now stands a people divided. With the loss of unity go the social stability and social capital that unit brought and diversity destroys.
A civic nation relies on a particular expression of citizenship and individual rights, and as such seems like it would be protected from the acidic effects of multiculturalism. But from what source does a civic nation derive its particular expression of citizenship and rights? There are only two: from its religion or from its political philosophy. But both of these are deeply rooted in a people’s culture, language and tradition. Consider the difference between American and Chinese views on good governance. The former is rooted in Locke, Montesquieu, Jefferson, Madison and the theory of social contract. The latter is rooted in Confucius, Han Fei, Mozi, and the theory of Heaven’s Mandate. The former idealizes republican democracy; the latter idealizes benevolent monarchy. Multiculturalism insists that a Chinese immigrant can maintain the cultural traditions of Chinese Legalism while still being an American; but Chinese Legalism is incompatible with republican democracy. If being an American does not mean sharing the values upon which America was founded – what does it mean? A state can, for a time, survive a diversity of values. But a civic nation cannot.
This, then, is the state of things. Ethnic nation-states are unified and therefore enjoy high social capital and stability. Multiethnic states are diverse and their diversity destroys social capital. Shared values in the form of civic nationalism can in time restore social capital and stability by creating a civic nationalism that trumps ethnicity. But multiculturalism is ruinous of both, adding more ethnic diversity and weakening civic unity.
Many will argue that ethnic diversity is inevitable in today’s global society and therefore that multiculturalism is necessary. This is a lie. It is worse than a lie: It is offering up poison when medicine is at hand. The right way to overcome ethnic diversity already exists. Civic nationalism, characterized by the American melting pot, has proven effective for centuries, as had the Roman melting pot of antiquity. The genius of civic nationalism is that it replaces the genetic with the memetic. In this way, a Gaul became a Roman, and a Swede became an American, because Roman-ness and American-ness were divorced from ethnicity. But civic nationalism must be allowed to replicate. Memes can die, just like genes. To replicate, civic nationalism must be instilled in each new generation by those who are its stewards. If a nation’s own citizens do not love their shared civic values enough to demand that immigrants adopt them, it is a surety that the immigrants will look at that nation with contempt.
Labels: decline and fall