Thursday, November 16, 2006

The myth of multiculturalism

Another Thursday, another Covenant Zone/Blue Scarf meeting in the atrium of the Vancouver Public Library, central branch, 7-9pm, in front of Blenz coffee. Please join us if you can. As Tiberge notes, this Thursday will see the blue scarf legions of France out in full force. In solidarity with them, I hope we in Vancouver will have a lively meeting and meet some new faces.

Maybe my fellow covenanters will wish to discuss a recent poll that was designed to publicize
the Trudeau foundation's conference, Muslims in Western Societies, which opens Thursday in Vancouver.
While those polled naturally expressed Canadian goodwill to Muslims as individual human beings, 49% of them also expressed a generally positive impression of Islam itself. One wonders how many of these have read the Koran or studied the life of Mohammed, and whether this one sentiment is realistically compatible with the other opinions expressed:
The vast majority -- 81 per cent -- of 2,021 Canadians surveyed said immigrants should adapt to mainstream Canadian beliefs about the rights and role of women, an opinion that was shared almost equally across demographic, income, education, age and gender lines.

Half the respondents said immigrants and minority ethnic groups should be free to maintain their religious and cultural practices in Canada, while 40 per cent said immigrants should blend into Canadian society and not form separate communities.
Nineteen per cent of Canadians think it is "very likely" that Canada will experience terrorist attacks in the near future carried out by Canadians with Muslim backgrounds. Forty per cent of Canadians said it was "somewhat likely."
Reading between the lines, I see this poll telling us that Canadians still want to believe they can have a country open to all the world, without having seriously to define the political basis for a national unity on which any diversity must depend. To evoke the Charter of Rights is hardly enough since politics should be about the people democratically trading representations of state and nation and governing themselves accordingly, and not simply seeing the state or national "mainstream" as a negative force from which they must be protected by a regime of rights. Nonetheless, it seems many Canadians lazily repeat the pieties of the eductional establishment and the Trudeau state and appear to believe in some vague and incoherent ideology of "multiculturalism" - I suspect because they would rather let sleeping dogs lie than find the moral purpose to fight the evil that is present in every cultural tradition, in some more than others. Yet opening your doors to the world sooner or later means becoming responsible for confronting the evils of the world. It remains unclear how the multiculturalist can explain respect for immigrants' "religious" practices if those practices are totalitarian and aggressive in nature, as some clearly are.

UPDATE on Trudeau Foundation conference here.

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