Time to Defend the West

Europe finally appears to be waking up to the dangers of multiculturalism. Last October German Chancellor Angela Merkel confessed that multiculturalism was "a total failure" and British Prime Minister David Cameron more recently agreed, even linking "state multiculturalism" to Islamic terrorism. French President Nicolas Sarkozy is the latest to join this chorus and France now has a Ministry of Immigration and National Identity. Anti-immigration political parties in the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland and France have raised similar qualms.

Though welcome news for defenders of Western civilization, this new awareness only begins reversing years of misguided policy. Far more is involved than requiring immigrants to speak Dutch or insisting that Mahomet treat Fatima as an equal. More painful will be altering the thinking of proper Europeans (and Americans) about what the multicultural threat entails, and without this altered perspective, turning the tide is futile. It takes two to tango, and this also applies to reversing the multicultural damage -- we, too, have to change.

Chancellor Merkel, Prime Minister Cameron and President Sarkozy, among many others, misdiagnose the problem. All speak as if cultural/ethnic separatism were the chief culprit. Not entirely true. That incomplete assimilation co-exists with Islamic terrorism does not mean that imposing assimilation will cool the urge to dominate host nations. Undigested ethnic and religious enclaves do not necessarily threaten national survival. In the United States, for example, the Amish and Ultra-Orthodox Jews consciously reject much of the outside world while applying religious law within their communities. Countless European nations have flourished despite permanent undigested "foreigners" living within their borders. Finns are not worried by ethnic Swedes residing in their ancestral homeland.

The problem is boiling hatred of the west and a willingness to pursue this hatred, not physical or cultural separatism per se. Lack of cultural assimilation does not breed terrorism; rather, the urge to destroy the host nation impedes assimilation. Assimilation is a choice, not a permanent condition created by inadequate opportunities to fit in. Nor will economic integration via affirmative action-like policies necessarily quell the hatred. During the Cold War many American treasonous communists were home-grown and more than a few had graduated from elite universities and enjoyed all the bounties of American capitalism. Recall that UK terrorists were more assimilated second-generation immigrants, even doctors, not just-off-the-boat impoverished Pakistanis. Moreover, upping involuntary nationalist instruction -- a modern Kulturkampf -- might be interpreted as an assault on one's heritage and may well exacerbate hostility. Heightened nationalistic indoctrination is, at best, a crude scattershot solution whose chief benefit may be only the therapeutic feeling that we, finally, "doing something."

So, if assimilation campaigns are incomplete answers, where does the counter-attack begin? It begins by identifying the toxin that lies at the heart of multiculturalism -- the dogmatic belief that all cultures are equally "valid" and worthy for believers, a view construing culture as a choice no different than preferring vanilla over pistachio at the local Baskin Robbins. Rejecting this equivalence of cultures is a change for us, not them -- Islamic fanatics hardly embrace cultural relativism. It is this wooly-headed cultural relativism permeating the west that permits the triumph of zealots against those who barely lift a finger to protect their own culture. The battle is a mismatch if one side refuses to defend forcefully its own heritage. Multiculturalism is political AIDS -- nobody dies of AIDS, they die of something else since AIDS "only" destroys the immunity system.

This understanding means that we must be free to defend our values as superior and this inescapably means offending our enemies. There is no "polite" way to accomplish this defense, so say goodbye to a political correctness (PC) whose first commandment is "Thou Shall Not Offend." To continue the AIDS parallel, PC prevents the AIDS-infected patient from strengthening their immunity system since fighting back might "offend" deadly microbes (who can say what life form is better than any other?"). This "we are better than you" is the first line of defense against a rival convinced of their own cultural superiority. People will not die defending diversity, speech codes and unconditional inclusion but they are pushovers for those who reject those values.

Unfortunately, David Cameron and untold others focusing on physical assimilation fail to understand this reality. In his "wake-up" speech he said, "So, when a white person holds objectionable views, racist views for instance, we rightly condemn them.  But when equally unacceptable views or practices come from someone who isn't white, we've been too cautious frankly -- frankly, even fearful -- to stand up to them." His approach -- which he labeled "muscular liberalism" -- is that we can now, at long last, criticize our enemies when they attack our values, but, if our rejoinders are racist (or otherwise "offensive,") we still must keep silent.  

This approach invites disaster given how "racism" has become so effortlessly leveled. Try imagining a rejoinder to militant Muslims that escapes charges of "racism," "ethnic stereotypes" "hate speech," "Islamophobia," and all the rest? Cameron offers a weak arsenal to defend the west. Our enemies already shout "racism" and all the rest at every criticism, and since political correctness is based exclusively on victim feelings, our defeat is foregone. Cameron's advice is a limp strategy suitable to polite drawing room debate.

We must convince our enemies that there is a new Sherriff in town who will crush enemies of western civilization, not just offer inoffensive verbal rejoinders to threats. Rather than push assimilation on those reluctant to embrace western values, just let it be known that you better assimilate since your old non-western ways have no future. My way or the highway, as the old cliché goes. This shift is just a matter of political will and far cheaper, and much more effective, than trying to entice Kurds to master German so as to become "good Germans." Let me suggest that the British Prime Minister make the following points in his next public speech. Note well, everything he would say is well-known, factually accurate so the point of saying the obvious only serves to announce that the days of passive acquiescence are over.

Western societies have lower rates of crime than Third World societies populated by "people of color" and Third World arrivals bring their crime with them, and this criminality persists across generations. This criminal proclivity will no longer be tolerated as "a cultural difference." We have one law and this applies equally to everyone.

Third World immigrants come to the west to enjoy the benefits of western civilization -- superior health care, a modern economy, first-rate education, democracy, law and order, among countless other virtues. You are here to partake of these advantages not re-create the tribulations you left behind.

If you insist on blasphemy laws, Sharia, female genital mutilation, honor killings and wish to behead those who insult the Prophet, just stay home in Pakistan. If here already, we will help you return home so you can better practice your cherished culture. Otherwise, you're in England now and behave like a proper Englishman.

These politically incorrect statements send a powerful message: we are no longer afraid to offend when protecting the west and so the days of politely looking the other way are over. Moreover, we will not be intimidated if called racists, right-wing-Nazis extremist and all the rest. If you feel that you can't live among "racist Nazis," return home. Ironically, this strategy mimics the "in-your-face" militant gay liberation movement -- we're here and we're Queer, get used to it.    

To repeat, being terrified of the "racist" label," the refusal to defend one's own civilization so as not to offend those who hate us only emboldens the miscreants. Who wants to assimilate to a civilization too scared to defend itself?  What a terrible investment for the future. Far better to let our adversaries know that they are up against a strong people who love their civilization and will go to any length to defend it. The message must be unequivocal: we really are superior and are not embarrassed to admit it. Don't mess with the west. Machiavelli put it succinctly, "Since it is difficult to join them together, it is safer to be feared than to be loved when one of the two must be lacking," and nobody fears those who will not defend their own civilization. Time to take the gloves off. 

Robert Weissberg is professor of political science-emeritus, University of Illinois-Urbana.  His latest book is Bad Students Not Bad Schools.
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