When Liberal Preferences Meet Islamic Principles
There was a recent scandal that, as much as anything else, illustrates the intellectual emptiness and moral ennui of the modern liberal man. It occurred in Britain but reflects a wider phenomenon; what can be said about it can be said about happenings in Sweden, France, Holland, Canada or Belgium — or the United States.
It was discovered recently that Muslims in seven London schools were indoctrinating children with Islamic propaganda, ignoring Western culture and refusing to inculcate the “British values” of the moment. The situation was such that all of one school’s library books were in Arabic and many students couldn’t tell investigators whether they should follow British or Sharia law or which was more important. And one of these schools, mind you, was a state-run Church of England institution — that happens to now be upwards of 80 percent Muslim.
When hearing about the subordination of British law to Sharia and other such Islamic cultural inroads, one of my instincts is to say “So what?” Cry me a river of multiculturalist tears.
Multiculturalism, we’ve been told, dictates that all cultures are morally equal and deserve the same respect and footing within “Western” civilization. Never mind that the ideology is self-defeating. After all, since different cultures espouse different values, not all cultures can be “morally” equal unless all values are so. This makes multiculturalism not only a corollary of, but also a Trojan horse for, moral relativism. And consider the implications. If all values are equal, how can showing cultures equal respect be superior to cultural chauvinism? And what if another culture does prescribe the latter? It then follows that the people within it cannot both have their own culture, unaltered, and accept multiculturalism.
Nonetheless, since multiculturalism is considered enlightened by Western pseudo-intellectuals, it’s time for some personal petard hoisting. A Daily Mail piece on the Londonistan school situation tells us that some students told inspectors “it would be wrong to learn about other religions” and that “it was a woman's job to cook and clean.” The paper furthermore reported that schools were criticized for “failure to give girls equal opportunities,” narrow curricula, not preparing students “for life in a diverse British society,” not encouraging students “to respect other people's opinions” and for creating a situation in which students’ “understanding of the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance, is underdeveloped.”
And the problem is…?
What if these Muslims’ faith and culture dictate that women should be steered toward domesticity and shouldn’t have equal opportunity; that there should be not diversity but Islamic homogeneity; that not all opinions should be respected and that it is wrong to learn about other religions; and that Islamic theocracy is preferable to democracy? And the matter of “tolerance” is an interesting one. Since the term implies a perceived negative — you wouldn’t tolerate a delectable meal or fine car, but would have to tolerate a stubborn cold or bad weather — the reality is that tolerance is only admirable under two circumstances:
- When something you dislike isn’t objectively bad, such as when you tolerate a vegetable you’re not partial to for health reasons.
- When you’re powerless to change something that is objectively bad, such as an irremediable crippling condition.
But if something is objectively wrong and can be eliminated, it is an abdication of moral responsibility to refuse to do so. And has it occurred to anyone that pious Muslims may instinctively realize this and, considering Western culture a misbegotten force (their perspective), view changing it a divine mission?
Be that as it may, given that multiculturalism espouses cultural equivalence and its correlative moral relativism, by its lights none of the bemoaned Islamic curricula standards and outcomes can be any worse than what secularists prefer. So what gives? Are you liberals denying these Muslim immigrants their culture and creed?
You certainly are. But this hypocrisy is nothing new. Multiculturalism has been used for decades, at every turn, as a pretext for denuding Western traditions and Christian symbols and messages from our cultural landscape, using “tolerance” and “diversity” as rallying cries. Even as I write this, a Washington state high-school senior faces expulsion from school for sharing his Christian faith, the idea being that such expression is “offensive.” Multiculturalism was always nonsense. “Anything goes” — as long as it’s branded “culture” — could never be a recipe for organizing anything because it doesn’t allow for distinguishing between anything and any other thing. A standard of some kind must be applied when devising laws, regulations and social codes; and standards, by definition, involve the upholding and imposition of values.
This is why G.K. Chesterton once noted, “In truth, there are only two kinds of people; those who accept dogma and know it, and those who accept dogma and don't know it.” Except for leftists possessed of evil genius, most are in the latter camp. Multiculturalism certainly felt right when useful for purging an element of tradition contrary to the liberal agenda; it doesn’t quite have the same glitter, however, when it would allow the institution of such an element. Multiculturalism is for use on other people’s dogmas; it’s not for use on the Left’s own.
Now, one pitfall of being a slave to one’s age who unknowingly embraces its dogmas is that you generally make the mistake of mirroring. This is when you project your priorities, feelings and basic suppositions onto others; in a nutshell, you assume that they take for granted the things you do.
Consider, for instance, Muslims’ subordination of host-country law to Sharia law. Outrageous? Impudent? Perhaps.
In reality, you should expect nothing less — or more.
When pondering this, realize that devout Christians (of which I’m one) are very similar to Muslims in this regard. This statement may raise eyebrows and even some dander, but just consider the recent cases in which Christians have accepted career destruction and punishment rather than be party to same-sex “weddings” or homosexual activism. Why are these Christians opposing the “law of the land”? And what standard informs them man’s law is wrong? What standard are they subordinating the law of the land to?
What they see as the only law that could be, and must be, above it: God’s law.
This isn’t to say Christians and Muslims are the same. They certainly have different conceptions of God’s law. And in keeping with this, Christian law generally didn’t clash with Western “secular” law — until secularists started holding sway — because our secular law reflected Christian morality; it was authored by Christian men, such as the Founding Fathers, who naturally imbued their system of law with their world view. As an example, the Declaration of Independence enunciates the basis for our constitutional rights, stating that men are “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.”
The situation with Sharia is far different. Since the tree of Western secular law wasn’t germinated from the seed of Islam, it was traditionally and remains today largely incongruent with Muslim principles; thus is a clash, in which Islam will ever try to burn that tree root and branch, inevitable.
Some moderns will now say that this is why no “religious” law should influence society. But not only is this a philosophically unsound position that fails to recognize the basis of just law (Absolute Truth), it also places a person in bad company: The Marxists and Nazis also aimed to neuter the Church and squelch belief in religious law. After all, a devout statist wants the state’s law to be pre-eminent; “Thou shalt have no gods before thy government.” And this won’t happen if people recognize a higher law.
And this recognition is what believing Christians, Muslims and Jews all have in common. It is also why it is silly, in the extreme, to expect Muslims to subordinate Sharia to Western secular law. You are literally asking them to place government ahead of what they see as God. This simply isn’t going to happen, and no amount of blather about “tolerance,” “diversity” and multiculturalism — which is just another way of saying “Accept our liberal dogmas” — is going to change that. And when the population of believing Muslims becomes great enough in a Western land, they will succeed in Islamizing governmental law.
German chancellor Angela Merkel announced in 2010, finally, that multiculturalism in her country had “utterly failed.” Talk about being a biblical day late and a budget deficit short. And she and other Western leaders still don’t get it. One can’t understand ideologies such as multiculturalism if he views them as disconnected social mistakes; they are all part of a deep philosophical/spiritual malaise. It isn’t just that the multiculturalist branch needs to be pruned or even cut off. It’s that the devout Muslims are right: the liberal-secularist tree, that Gramscian mutation, must be pulled up and incinerated in the Hell fires whence it came. And it will be. The only question is whether we will return to our roots or allow the complete erasure of Western civilization.