First, we find Jim Kalb commenting on the New York Times' bemoaning that Young Adults are Giving Newspapers Scant Notice (but not just newspapers: "In fact, most teenagers and adults 30 and younger are not following the news closely at all"). Kalb:
Big changes in popular habits are no doubt part of a whole network of other changes, so it’s hard to point to specific causes and effects, but isn’t there a distinct connection between young adults’ acceptance of multiculturalism and their total lack of interest in public affairs? To me it seems glaringly obvious that multiculturalism makes public life impossible even in concept. There can’t be public life unless there is public discussion and decision. That requires a public that’s coherent enough to have thoughts and reactions and take action, at least to some degree. The point of multiculturalism, though, is that no particular culture—no particular pattern of thoughts and reactions and no particular history of action—is allowed to determine things. If that’s so, though, how can public life exist? Multicultural government is “free to be you and me” turned into universal law. Under such conditions, there can be no politics and we have to be ruled by experts, therapists and money instead. If the only legitimate role for ordinary people in politics is to parrot the line taken by New York Times, because they’re not experts and if they act on their non-expert prejudices they’ll just mess things up, why shouldn’t they concentrate on their personal affairs and ignore things they have nothing to say about anyway?I like that, though I don't think Kalb, in general, gives enough attention to how multiculturalism has been a dead end, which was not at first predictably a dead-end, in a nonetheless necessary process of cultural evolution and renewal in our Western tradition, an evolution towards greater freedom.
And yes, we live in very complex social systems with countless interactions and relationships leading to unpredictable changes; but historical change, even in face of all the natural calamities and bounties the world has in store for us, is ultimately a question not of biology, geography, economics, technolgy, etc, but of human self-understanding and our response thereto. In other words, the great motor of human history is the ethical, the human necessity to reflect on and change our social relationships in response to the inevitable resentments and limits on freedom that all social orders and differences create.
As such, our understanding of the historical process is usefully reduced to our ethical concerns and all promoters of self-governing societies should be wary of giving the suggestion that the historical process is mystifyingly complex. In retrospect, it is not a great mystery, even if there is much we can never know. It is only the future outcome of human freedom that must remain a great mystery, precisely because we are free to decide and to respond to decisions in infinitely complex, i.e. eternally open-ended, ways.
This blog, Covenant Zone, and its public meetings, are dedicated to the proposition that multiculturalism will have to be replaced as Canada's governing ideology. This is because official multiculturalism limits human freedom by replacing self-governing nations with largely unaccountable elite bureaucracies and judges deciding what rights we, or groups to which we supposedly belong, have and do not have. We feel that our genuine desire to maximize human freedom cannot go in hand with the pretense that everyone can be just "free to be you and me" under the protection of a big multiculti state. Rather we see the need for a new covenantal culture in which those who seriously pretend to be members of our nation, no matter where their ancestors once lived, will sign on to new freedoms and responsibilties in Canadian self-rule, in embrace of the cultural traditions, largely Western, that make a self-governing covenantal culture possible and necesary to the growth, regulation and security of a free-market economic system.
Open-ended national covenants, that construct reality according to the ever-adapting intelligence of the freely participating members, respect, much better than the soft-totalitarianism of today's imperial, post-national political masters, the truly inexhaustible possibilities for human ethical self-organization. Today's masters want to hold on to a fast-fading vision of postmodern reality with its analysis of history as little more than a process of victimization, countered by the victims' redemption according to the dictates of a "human rights" bureaucracy that must always out-rank popular, representative rule and decentralized, locally-organized, forms of redemption.
At the end of the day, when it comes to understanding our personal identities, we have to decide whether we give pride of place to our membership in a free, open-ended, nation, to make of ourselves what we will through unpredictable, though honest, political and intellectual combat, or to some more limited identity that we think the state must help us protect from the waves of history and the "exploitation" of others. In other words, do we believe, as I think we generally should, that calls to membership in free, self-ruling nations, are not, as the multiculti left generally has it, veiled attempts to promote the will of some privileged class? Could the promise of freedom be just that? Can we humans live well without the freedom to promise, and covenant, to make reality as we will?
If a renewal of national covenants doesn't happen in the short term, so that we may defend without victimary guilt, and without unnecessary violence, some realistic terms of membership in a free society, calmly and rationally excluding, through popular debate and rule, that which we find to be inimicable to our shared freedom, I imagine we will be left with the question of which of the alternative, all-too-limited scenarios is more likely to unfold. Do you see the future like:
1) Flanders' great patriot, the somewhat dour Paul Belien:
The Dutch Labor Party did everything in its power to undermine Judeo-Christian religions, but it is today the vehicle of the most radical Islamization. This has nothing to do with appreciation for yet another religion, but rather with the fact that, like secularism, Islamism is an enemy of Judeo-Christian values.Or do you see the future like 2)America's great Europhobe, Ralph Peters:
The European left appreciates Islamism not because it is a religion, but because it is a totalitarian political ideology. The Dutch Labor Party is catering to Islamist extremists even to the point of silencing party members like the Muslim apostate Ehsan Jami.
The same hypocrisy is displayed by Mr. Amato. He says that Europe will benefit from what religious Muslims can offer. However, Mr. Amato was the vice president of the European Convention, which vetoed any reference to God in the preamble to the EU Constitution. Sadly, there are more politicians like Mr. Amato and Mrs. Vogelaar. Take Patrick Janssens, the Socialist mayor of Antwerp, a city just south of the Dutch border. His administration sacks civil servants who warn about a takeover of Antwerp’s mosques by Islamist groups, and has them replaced by members of these very Islamist groups. Last week, Mr. Janssens welcomed international homosexual activists to Antwerp, which he likes to style the “gay capital of Europe.”
Does it make sense to cater simultaneously to radical homosexuals and Islamists? It does not, unless Europe's Christian heritage is your enemy.
Meanwhile, a German appeals court convicted a man for calling abortion “murder.” Klaus Günter Annen, a father of two, runs a Web site where he asks people to pray for “doctors planning an abortion murder.” On a separate Web page he lists German gynecologists who perform abortions. Last Thursday, the Oberlandesgericht in Karlsruhe stated that since abortionists do nothing illegal, no one is allowed — not even in an indirect way — to call them murderers.
It is often argued that Adolf Hitler was only able to grab power in Germany in 1933 because freedom and democracy were already dead. Soon, the secularist totalitarianism in contemporary Europe will be replaced by an Islamist totalitarianism. The Islamists will not need to kill freedom and democracy. The latter have already been murdered.
the notion that Europe, the continent that's exported more death and destruction than any other, is going to just shuffle wimpily to its doom is crazy. The Europeans have been playing pacifist dress-up while we protected them, but, sufficiently threatened, they'll revert to their historical pattern--which is to over-react. Europe's Muslims may prove to be the real endangered species; after all, Europe's history of dealing with rejected minorities veers between genocide and, for the lucky, ethnic cleansing. For me, the question isn't whether Muslims will take over Europe, but whether Europe will simply expel them or kill any number of them first. Sound far-fetched? How would the Holocaust have sounded to an educated German (or Brit, or American) in 1932? Europe is a killer continent. When the chips are down, it will kill again.
Meanwhile, Europe's Muslims are behaving so stupidly that their folly can't be measured with any tools at our disposal. Even as British pols pander to radical clerics, the average Brit has had enough of coddling mullahs who preach the destruction of all non-Muslims (and closing the pubs). In mid-July, in Germany, the major organizations representing the millions of Turkish residents refused to come to a conference held by the chancellor to address integration. The Turkish leaders demanded--demanded--that the German parliament first rescind a new immigration law that would have prevented Turks from importing child-brides, isolating them as virtual prisoners and beating them to death. Oh, and the Germans also wanted new immigrants to have a vocabulary of 300 German words upon arrival--just enough to say, "Help, husband killing me." No self-respecting Turk was going to stand for that.
You get the point. Europe has never had a model for integrating non-white immigrants, and they don't really want one. Meanwhile, from Denmark to Marseilles, Muslim residents make outrageous demands that only anger the average voter. Eurabia? You have a better chance of finding honest lobbyists in Washington than you do of seeing the crescent over the spires of Notre Dame.