Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Healthy Multiculturalism, and Unhealthy Multiculturalism
Healthy multiculturalism would be politically incorrect; and unhealthy multiculturalism would be politically correct (hence the acronym PC MC).
What's the difference?
Many differences, and the subject is complex, but in a nutshell, we can boil down its essence to this:
Healthy multiculturalism can strive to appreciate other cultures, while at the same time it remains open to the possibility that some other cultures may be more, or less, objectionable.
Unhealthy multiculturalism, on the other hand, is like a machine that has only one setting: Always appreciate non-Western cultures more than Western culture. It is incapable of the rational process of noticing any negative data about other cultures, and of then going through the process of making rational conclusions about that negative data.
To go into a bit more detail about this crucial difference between the two multiculturalisms:
Healthy multiculturalism is open to other cultures in the sense of being interested in them, and in the ongoing process of transcending tribalism and xenophobia, which in turn involves seeking friendship with, and respect for, members of other cultures. Healthy multiculturalism, however, is also open to the possibility that data may appear to indicate that any given particular culture out there among the diverse panoply of cultures around the world may have bad or even pernicious qualities -- habits and practices that may variously be legitimately described as inhumane, anti-liberal, evil, and even perhaps dangerous to others.
Unhealthy multiculturalism, on the other hand -- while, of course, it shares those virtues of openness with healthy multiculturalism described above -- has one major flaw: it is incapable of rationally processing negative data about any non-Western culture, and in its dysfunctional paradigm has erected as an unquestioned (and unquestionable) dogma an irrationally prejudicial and sweeping defense of non-Western cultures, part and parcel with its closely related dogma of irrationally excessive Western self-criticism by which the West is to blame for most of the world's worst sociopolitical faults.
Thus, healthy multiculturalism can open its doors of curiosity and friendship to many other cultures, but not with a reckless lack of discrimination. When a culture comes along that brings in its train thousands of disturbing dots of data -- such as Islam -- the healthy multiculturalist has (as Hugh Fitzgerald so pithily put it) "the mental pencil capable of connecting the dots". And the healthy multiculturalist has the ability to make reasonable generalizations on the basis of that dot-connection, about that particular culture that indicate major problems with that culture and its millions of enablers.
Unhealthy multiculturalists are simply unable to do this, because they are unable even to try to be objective about data in this regard. All incoming data is processed in the PC MC mind through a special filtration mechanism, so to speak, such that any data that points toward a negative conclusion about any non-Western culture is immediately processed for a result that will exculpate that non-Western culture while putting the blame, somehow, on the West. Similarly, any incoming data pointing toward the superiority of Western culture is also immediately processed into a conclusion contextualizing such ostensible superiority into some kind of unfair advantage Westerners have arrogated to themselves at the expense of non-Westerners, one based upon a history (and an ongoing present potential, unless we check ourselves) of terribly "racist" treatment of non-Westerners.
This habit of the unhealthy multiculturalists would be bad enough, but perhaps barely tolerable -- with much room for reasonable disagreement and compromise -- were we just arguing about aesthetic differences or anthropological theories or policy debates on racial quotas and preferences. Its irrationality attains a perverse pinnacle of paradox that becomes monstrously grotesque, however, when it ends up stubbornly defending a culture such as Islam that itself is the most xenophobic, anti-multiculturalist culture on the planet, filled with intolerance and hatred for other cultures and daily, all over the world -- from the Philippines to Nigeria, from Sudan to North Africa, from the Middle East to Pakistan, from Indonesia to Somalia, and increasingly in the West where the Muslim diaspora has been spreading by the millions -- inflicting punishments and violence upon non-Muslims (and all too often, fellow Muslims who don't measure up to the standard of fanaticism) on the basis of a supremacism that is codified in Islamic scriptures and is central to Islam's history, religious law, politics and culture -- a supremacism that is directly inspiring, motivating and script-writing over 90% of the terrorism and religious violence on the globe today.