Monday, 26 November 2012

Multiculturalism: the new CND?

It seems like another time, and it was another century: the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament? Remember wearing its symbol, that vertical line bisected by an inverted V, which has now morphed into an icon of peace?
A 'Heart Peace Necklace' currently on sale at a shop popular with 'indie' teens.

Remember how you sort of wanted to be part of it all. It sounded so right, didn't it? How could stockpiling mind-blowingly destructive weapons ensure peace? But then something at the back of your mind, a little spark of extreme rational thought, reminded you that if facing up to an armed bully with no means of protecting yourself didn't work in the playground it wasn't likely to work in the grown-up world of geo-politics either.

And, as we now know, it wasn't unilateral nuclear disarmament that brought down the Soviet bloc in the end at all. So that little rational spark was right.

Now, a thumping great wave of deja-vu hit me over the weekend. I was listening to Joyce Thacker witering on about how UKIP voters didn't have the right attitude to multiculturalism. As someone who has never voted UKIP, what was my attitude, I asked myself. And that's when it hit me. I was feeling just the way I'd felt all those years ago over the subject of nuclear disarmament. My liberally educated self wanted to say, 'Of course, I'm in favour of multiculturalism. We're all human beings and we all have the same rights.' But with a slightly sour taste in my mouth, I realised, that the rational, well-informed, experienced part of me was screaming no.


Multiculturalism isn't some nice, wishy-washy 'we all have rights' sort of thing. For those in authority who practice it, multiculturalism has become a mindset. And it is a mindset which cripples decsion-making and good sense. So children who are desperately in need of a loving family are taken away because the adults support UKIP. Other families are turned down as adopters or foster parents because they are from the wrong social or ethnic group. And it gets worse. Female circumcision. Honour killings. (And I'm only talking about the UK). All can be explained away with an appeal to multiculturalism. All can be accepted when multiculturalism overrides everything else.

So I am not in favour of multiculturalism. I do not think all cultures are equal. I do think they are different and that those differences are interesting, valuable and informative. We can learn a lot from Islam, for example, especially from its mediaeval history of scientific exploration and tolerance. But I do not believe it can ever be right to cut off someone's hand for stealing. Or stone a girl to death for being the victim of rape. In fact, I think those things are wrong. So wrong that we should all be standing up and screaming it from the roof tops.

So get a grip, multiculturalists. You are no more going to engender integration in the UK by multiculturalism than CND brought about an end to the Cold War. Maybe a bit more reason and a bit less emotion is what's needed. Maybe you should all open your eyes.

1 comment:

  1. Personally I'm in favour of multiculturalism, but must immediately qualify that remark by saying that multiculturalism has never been practiced in the UK. Multiculturalism says that we all stand shoulder-to-shoulder as equals in the context of the laws of the land we live in, something that, for example, Benazir Bhutto would have recognised as good practice. What we have right now, when cultures clash, is Islamist monoculturalism which says that non-Muslims are always in some way the oppressors.

    Just as AJP Taylor said that CND were "the last imperialists" because they assumed that Britain acting unilaterally would have a worldwide effect, so we face a new imperialism that requires us to disarm in the face of cultural opposition. As you say, that was never the way to defeat a bully.