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.