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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Harper, Trudeau, the niqab, and multiculturalism

Given the historical inferiority complex that has characterized our relationship to our larger, more powerful neighbor to the south, any distinction from them in national policy is grasped upon by huge swaths of Canadians as if it were emblematic of membership in a higher caste.

So Canadian school children are taught that our multicultural society is "better" than America's Melting Pot. They're never sufficiently explained why it's better. It's just understood that multiculturalism is better because it's a prominent item on a very short list, along with Quebec, gun control and publicly-funded health care, that Canadians can say differentiates their culture from America's.

Now we live in a time when every Canadian under the age of fifty was conditioned to believe that multiculturalism is a type of supreme virtue that symbolizes our moral superiority over Americans.

But there is absolutely nothing superior to the vain belief in the morality of multiculturalism. In fact, multiculturalism is the cultural manifestation of moral relativism. It is essentially says all cultures are equal. Since cultures are rooted in ideas, then implicit in multiculturalism is the premise that all ideas must be of equal merit, and must be respected as such.

Which is nonsense.

Nonsense with a purpose. The father of Canadian multiculturalism was Pierre Trudeau, who in multiculturalism saw a way to diffuse Quebecois nationalism at at time when it threatened to rip the fabric of Canada apart.  The prospect of Quebec separating from Canada was very real when Pierre Trudeau was Prime Minister. People tend to have a hazy memory of the time leading up to Pierre Trudeau's years of leadership, when there were really only two cultures with any power and influence in Canada, the English and the French. Since the French were a minority who often felt powerless, even in their own province, independence had a much greater appeal then compared to now.

Prior to multiculturalism, Trudeau instituted bilingualism, requiring French to be used for official purposes throughout Canada. While that was official policy, in places outside Quebec where the Francophone population was tiny or nonexistent, bilingualism would have no practical effect.

Then Trudeau opened up the immigration floodgates, and instituted multiculturalism, by which immigrants from all over the world streamed into Canada and were encouraged to retain their cultural practices rather than to integrate. With that, rather than just an English-French divide, those two founding cultures would just be two of the larger threads in the vast Canadian tapestry.

In some ways multiculturalism was a success. Canada has always has immigration, and one of the ugly components of Canadian society prior to Trudeau was that the established classes collectively did their best to prevent integration of non-Anglo immigrants. So Jews were subject to quotas, Italian immigrants were often shunned to their own enclaves, Chinese immigrants were subject to a racist Head Tax, and so on. That type of discrimination affected not just first generation immigrants, but their children and grandchildren who were born in Canada.

Changes over the passage of time from multiculturalism's introduction in the early 1970's have brought about a sublime irony. It is the current generation of conservatives who encourage immigrants' efforts to integrate into established Canadian culture, whereas self-described "progressives" want to prevent such integration through multiculturalism.

Pierre Trudeau conceived of multiculturalism as a way of preserving a united Canada, Now that Pierre's intellectually inferior son Justin is leader of the Liberal party, modern-day multiculturalism is a scimitar being used to rip Canada apart.

Part of the hope of Pierre's version of multiculturalism was that immigrants would, if not adopt Canada's cultural practices, at least participate and share in its liberalism. That has been true for most, even among a new generation of immigrants from countries where Islam prevails, and who came to Canada to escape the repression and tyranny of their native lands.

However, a new phenomenon that has occurred since the Islamic revival whose modern beginnings can be traced in large measure to the Islamic revolution of the followers of Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran. While most Muslim immigrants want to become Canadians in its traditional sense of embracing Canadian liberalism, a significant Muslim minority has come to import the regressive and oppressive values the majority detest.

Proof of that is manifested in Islamic schools set up in Canada which have Jew-hate, homophobia, and rejection of western liberalism as part of the curriculum. It is on display through the thousands of Islamist followers of Ayatollah Khomeini marching through Canadian streets chanting calling for an end to free speech, death to America, and hoping for Jews to be sent to gas chambers.

And despite the muddle-headed, partisan claims Justin Trudeau may try to make, rejection of Canadian liberalism is manifest in the misogynistic symbolism of the niqab, a tribal remnant of medieval Arabia that is the embodiment of treating woman as chattel. The niqab is a full face covering, allowing only eye-slits to see through, atop a tent like gown, that says, "I am the property of either my husband or father, and no man but they may lay eyes upon me."

Stephen Harper has been pushing back at the attack on Canadian values represented by the niqab. Seeing both a political chance to entice those to whom the niqab appeals, and in his way, trying to preserve the vestiges of his father's legacy, Justin Trudeau has, with the aid of  his mainstream media acolytes, embarked on paradoxical course of confused logic.

Justin Trudeau is trying to sway people into thinking that championing a repressive symbol of misogyny is somehow striking a blow for liberty. In a speech Justin Trudeau gave earlier this week on "liberty," it becomes readily apparent that the Liberal leader has no idea that liberty is not the same thing as multiculturalism. Throughout his whole talk, he seemed unable to differentiate between the two.

More pertinent to Canadian interests, particularly with a federal election coming later this year, Trudeau gives no indication that he believes there is such a thing as Canadian culture beyond multiculturalism.

Free speech may not be ingrained in our laws the way it is in America's First Amendment, but that is part of our culture. So is seeing the person you are speaking with, and that has reasons that extend far beyond the fear of masks being used as criminal disguises. The literature of Dickens, the philosophical principles of Greek democracy, which continue as a line through Rome and Westminster are part of Canada's cultural inheritance. And yes, even the imperialist, colonialist artistry of Rudyard Kipling is part of Canada's historical legacy we inherited from Britain,

Which is not to say there isn't room for growth. Canada has been enriched with contributions from immigrants of Chinese, Greek, Indian, Korean,Jewish, Italian, Irish and other cultures from around the world. Aspects of their cultures have been mixed in with out own to make something even better. Sort of like a melting pot that is making a delicious melange of flavors of which the combined whole is tastier than the individual ingredients.

However, one thing any chef wants to keep out of his recipe is poison, since it will destroy anything it touches.  Just as Islamist extremism has led some to commit acts of terror, and many others to be filled with hate towards those those who do not share their religion, the repressive ideology that the niqab represents is toxic.

In Justin Trudeau, the Liberals have a leader incapable of distinguishing between what is poisonous and what is healthy. It would be devastating for Canada if the majority of its voters lack that same ability to differentiate in the upcoming election.


Anonymous said...

Your screed reminds me of the sort of thing you'd read 80 or 90 years ago complaining about the government allowing "Asiatics", Jews, eastern Europeans and Italians it - especially Jews because many of them were radical socialists, communists, anarchists and other radicals etc trying to overthrow our civilization. Today's cranks say much the same things as cranks from 100 years ago - all that's changed is instead of complaining about Jews, Chinese and Indians they complain about "Muzzies". It's pretty ironic that someone probably wrote an article that sounds a lot like yours arguing against your ancestors coming into the country. Funny, eh?

Richard K said...

It might be ironic if what was written in the above comment was accurate, but evidently the anonymous commenter didn't comprehend a word of what was plainly written in the post.

Normally, I don't publish anonymous comments but every once in a while, I'll put one up to demonstrate the complete lack of critical thinking among some people who religiously subscribe to multiculturalism or feel the need to pathologically defend all things Islamic.

It's not Muslims per se or a member of any race that's the issue. It's the determination not to assimilate and the totalitarian aspect of a minority, but a significant minority of Muslims.

As I wrote in this post, and have written many times before, it's that repression and tyranny that most Muslims came to Canada to escape, and we should welcome those who do. But it's suicidal to welcome those who come here unwilling to integrate, or those who expressly come for the purpose of undermining our values.

But I can see how that would be too complicated for someone who supports Justin Trudeau to understand.

truepeers said...

Anonymous "knows" that thinking is passe. If you have to engage in an actual argument (that shows you have read and understood your interlocutor) it's just a sign you have yet to absorb, on a spiritual level, the implicit and imperative truth of a victimary religion that Richard calls "multiculturalism". In short, what RK is missing is an analysyis of how J Trudeau's thinking is a form of puritanical religiosity that wants to assimilate all understanding of human affairs to a claim that we victimise the other. Multiculti is really a singular cult that sacralizes victim status.

As for the "medieval remnant" consider that in the traditional agrarian socities from which almost all Muslims come, only a tiny percentage were aristocrats who could ostentatiously cover their women. Most women had to do the drudge work, typically in the fields, since the men were better than that. Such women could not afford to cover their faces and get stuff done. So the niqab is really less a medieval than a modern indulgence, part of the ideology with which Muslims become literate and try to respond politically to their culture's marginal position in a global economy that has nevertheless produced enough wealth that many women can stay at home and only go out covered. The covering is part of a very modern attack on a Western-led globalisation. As such Trudeau proves himself an appeaser, refusing to see Muslims as active agents often at war with people like him, or at least those who support, by work in face to face economies, his lifestyle.

Richard K said...

Interesting addendum Truepeers. Thanks.

I think we should reiterate that it really is a minority of Muslims who live in cultures where the niquab is a prominent feature. Although it's increasing.

A number of Muslim counties became more liberal and westernized in the aftermath of WW1 and Ataturk's reforms in Turkey. By the late 1960's, the majority of women in Turkey, Egypt, Iran, Iraq etc. at least among the middle class in urban centers, would be indistinguishable from western women.

But the Iranian Revolution and its export of Islamism was the catalyst for a new Dark Age in the Muslim world. Even though some of the results are Sunni groups at odds with Iran.

The concern of which we must remain aware is that the Iranians want to extend that Dark Age over here. And unlike Justin Trudeau, who has the attention span of an infant, the Islamists are thinking in terms of centuries.