Friday, July 29, 2011

Norway: Are Conservatives Against Multi-culturalism?

Pajamas Media has an article by David Solway on the debate over multi-culturalism in the wake of the tragic events in Norway.

It strikes me that the term multi-culturalism may have a slightly different meaning in Europe than here in America. In Europe, I would say the debate is mostly about the rise in the Muslim population, crime, lack of assimilation, and the degree of accommodation afforded to them. Here in America, it revolves around many other groups and languages.

On both continents, however, multi-culturalism has been erroneously spelled with a capital M-at least in many peoples' minds. It is Multi-Culturalism. It has unfortunately been perverted to send a message that Multi-culturalism is something to be desired over the European, western civilization. It is part of the post-colonial philosophy that has taken over our universities.

Again, I will repeat that multi-culturalism (small case m) is a central part of my life. I treasure the opportunity every day to meet people from other countries and practice their languages. I have lived in 3 different countries (Germany, Thaliand and Italy) and they are all a part of me. Nobody can tell me that I don't respect other cultures. That also applies to religions and races.

However, it is a mistake to elevate Multi-Culturalism to the level of some religion-especially when its underlying message is to reject western civilization because of some past historical sins (colonialism, imperialism, and racism). All civilizations have things to be proud of and things  not to be proud of over the course of history.

The very idea that "conservatives" are against multi-culturalism (as I would define it) is unfair. Yes, we are against Multi-Culturalism (as I just described it), but it is not the idea that immigrants from other lands do not enrich our own society. They clearly do.

In my case. I am married to a Mexican immigrant. Since my own family now consists of three first cousins, my wife's family is basically my family now. I well understand the reasons Mexicans come to this country illegally and have written about it often. Yet, I still say our borders must be controlled.

Anders Breivik spoke out against his conception of the word multi-culturalism. I think it is clear that his concept and my concept don't match. Do we really think Breivik was angry at alll immigrants in Norway? Were there too many Latins or Asians in Oslo to suit him? I doubt it. Anders was angry at the Muslim immigrants because he perceived that they were not assimilating and were responsible for increased crime in Norway and other European countries. He feared that Norway and Europe would become predominately Muslim. Did that justify  his action? Of course not. One thing that angers me is the incredible fact that he only faces a maximum of 21 years in prison for this mass murder. Now that is ridiculous.

The challenge in Europe now is for the anti-Jihadist movement (for lack of a better word) to continue to express their frustration at an immigration system that has gone wrong. The liberal left is itching to take any future expressions and paint them as "right-wingers or conservatives" who are against multi-culturalism and are, thus, racist. That is inaccurate and unfair. I have followed the blogs in Europe and America, as well as the main voices against Islamic fascism. The reactions are universal. They all condemn what Breivik did. Nobody is celebrating this act.

I still think that most Europeans are open to immigrants from other countries as long as they contribute to the society and the economy as opposed to being a burden on the state; as long as they respect the culture and traditions of the countries they immigrate to, don't commit crimes, and don't demand that their own culture be accommodated.  It's really a pretty simple formula.

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