Is it right for a state to legally sustain and promote a social experiment, based upon an idea now thoroughly derided and debunked, and implemented by political will rather than the will of the people? Is it ethical to have a law that permanently binds race to culture? Is it good for people to live in politically defined structures of abnegation so that various expectations of an ideology may be met?
Sadly, Canada is the only state in the world that can firmly answer, “Yes,” to all three questions. Why? Because it is multicultural by law. (Australia is as well, but its implementation of this ideology is different).
Other western nations have flirted with multiculturalism, but they have had the wisdom not to sanction it by law). And even more sadly, Canada sees multiculturalism as its defining characteristic, its very identity as a state, so that it cannot help but fall into absurdity, with its mantra, “unity” through “diversity.”
An entire country defined by one social experiment – and a failed one at that? Is this the best that Canada can do to overcome Voltaire’s observation that it is nothing more than “quelques arpents de neige…a few acres of snow?”
Indeed, Canada has evolved into a place where all its hopes and even all its fears are placed upon political parties. What has Canada become?
First and foremost, it is a state. It is no longer a nation. That is an important distinction, because the state and the nation are not synonymous, despite the amalgam, “the nation-state.”
By way of political philosophy, a nation is defined as one community, with a shared history and culture – or, in the words of Ernest Renan, the nation is “a soul, a spiritual principle.”
The state, on the other hand, is a political alliance of individuals who share one geographical space defined by borders.
Canada has no community with a shared history, and therefore it has no culture, for culture is a consequence of history – culture cannot, and certainly should not, be created by governments through and by political means. And, Canada certainly has no soul, no spiritual principle which might define why it must exist as a nation.
Therefore, Canada is a state, in which the government aggregates people through immigration for its own ends – to sustain a tax base, because the population within its borders can no longer renew itself through biological means.
As Kant points out, such an aggregation cannot make a community, cannot build a nation – because a nation must be a moral community. And there cannot be diversity in morality. Is Canada, therefore, becoming a failed state whose only raison d’être is economics?
Of course, the very idea of a nation is a moral one (in that a nation should be greater than the sum of its economic capability and its geography). Nations embody values and therefore specify morality.
This is why some nations are better than others – this is why the flow of immigrants is westwards – millions of Canadians do not seek to migrate to other parts of the world. Why? Because the western world embodies a set of ideas and principles of morality that have historically proven to yield not only the best social results, but also the best economic results. Good ideas and good morality do create wealth, prosperity, freedom, happiness. Bad ideas do not.
A few years back, the philosopher, Marcello Pera established multiculturalism as the political version of a failed ideology, namely, relativism.
Briefly, relativism insists that history is useless because we are better than the past – because we have benefited from progress.
History is filled with our benighted ancestors who followed regressive ideas that we now have to fix and make right, while shaking a scornful finger. We are smart; they were dumb; and there is nothing they can do about it. Since we are progressive, we will build a much better world by getting rid of all the tired-old notions.
It is obvious how thoroughly ingrained relativism has become, for it passes for much of popular thinking. Perhaps progress is the most damaging legacy of eighteenth century Enlightenment, whereby everything modern is better – because it is not old.
We have only to look to one of its gravest consequences – hyper-capitalism and the devastation it has wrought not only socially, but environmentally. Each year is divided into four quarters, and each quarter must be more profitable than the last.
Relativism also maintains that there is no such thing as truth, because truth is what you make it. So, things like morality, or values, simply become personal choices, expressed as individual rights, because no one truth, morality, or value is better than any other.
Thus, there can be no universal (transcultural) morality or set of values which may be considered as being better than another because there is no point of reference. Paul Feyerabend succinctly summarised all this in a catchy phrase, “anything goes.” It is all a matter of lifestyle, everyone’s opinion is valuable and important – because personal opinion is all that we are capable of.
Aside from the immediate contradiction that relativism falls into – that what it says is actually “true” (a transcultural moral principle) and that this “truth” is good for everyone on this planet (a universal judgement). Therefore, it ends up doing precisely what it denies. But there are far graver deeper fallacies.
First, there is social paralysis. If all cultures are the same, then an evil culture cannot be denied, let alone criticized or defeated.
Second, there is paralysis of judgement. If all cultures have equal value, then there must be an external value system, which must be true to be applicable – but such a system, relativism says, does not exist.
Third, if all cultures are valid, then change itself is denied, since abandoning one culture and moving to another does not lead to any change at all.
Fourth, if all cultures are valuable and worth preserving (by government intervention), then cultures become prisons, from which escape is impossible – your DNA , not your mind, determines who and what you are – forever.
Why? Because you can never say that one culture is better, and more preferable, than another. This is the reality of multiculturalism – a relentless, grim determinism – precisely what relativism supposedly sets out to destroy.
It is often argued that multiculturalism builds tolerance, that it neutralizes the perceived harmful effects of religion, that it strengthens secularism, that it sustains democracy by promoting individual freedom.
Such statements are typical of ahistorical diktats. Tolerance is not a consequence of multiculturalism; rather, it is a virtue deeply embedded in the very fabric of the West’s (ignored) history – Christianity. Multiculturalism cannot explain a very basic fact – that religions create culture.
But by promoting all cultures, multiculturalism legitimizes all religion. Therefore, multiculturalism cannot further secularism (whatever that may be) because it entrenches and promotes all religions – and all world religions are religious at very core.
As for the relationship between multiculturalism and expressions of individual freedom, it is simply an illusion. How can an ideology, which imprisons people (because of their DNA) into their geographical places of origin, claim to be a liberator?
This is a tragic deception – because multiculturalism demands a total submission of the individual to his/her culture. This deception becomes clearly obvious if we consider a recent example. There was much uproar over women fully hiding their faces in veils.
Relativism in all its splendour was invoked – with reminders of personal freedom, the right to choose (if women can legally be topless, then they can legally go about fully veiled), and so forth.
But no one wanted to ask the much harder question – why does a fully-veiled woman refuse to change? Because she does not wish to participate in a non-Muslim world – she will be forever absent from the non-Muslim public sphere.
However, she is simply following the expectations of multiculturalism by fully submitting to the demands of her culture (as she interprets it), not as an individual – but in accordance to the expected behaviour of her sex in her culture.
Thus, multiculturalism does not mean freedom, democracy, individuality for everybody – it is simply a method to help Canadians with British DNA to overcome their own guilt of being historically Christian – because good relativists that they are, they imagine that are not yet free enough, secular enough, individual enough, progressive enough.
Quebec, of course, fully understands that if it starts playing the multicultural game, it will have to abandon its narrative of being historically unique in North America and learn to accept that it is just like any other culture carried over by immigrants. This is why Quebec has always been a fellow-traveller on the great culture experiment.
In effect, the larger, British culture of Canada is expected to be multicultural. The various immigrant communities (which behave like mini-nations) are firmly expected to be mono-cultural.
Perhaps it is now time to ask a fundamental question – why must Canada continue to cling to multiculturalism? Is it simply to say that because of it Canada is not like the “melting Pot” of south of the border?
Is Canada really as fragile as that? Is it simply to demonstrate to the world that Canada is a “world-leader” when it comes to being on the “cutting-edge” of modernity? Is it to assert that it is profoundly post-Christian and entirely secular?
The fact remains, no country in the world wants to be multicultural. They want to be nations. They do not want to lose their spiritual essence, their soul.
In a very strange twist, multiculturalism spawns that which it sets out to dismantle – cultural superiority. Government-endorsed propaganda expounds “pride” in one’s DNA-ingrained culture, and people are avidly encouraged to be “proud” of however they want to romanticize “the old country.”
The old moral concept of humility has long been replaced by the strident political one of “pride.” Whoever dare say that he is truly humbled to be a Canadian?