Friday, July 20, 2007

Young People: time to unplug the ipods in public, lest you be plugged?

As often, last night's Covenant Zone conversation at the Vancouver Public Library turned on the fate of Europe and, somewhat analogously, of the rather nihilistic condition of many of the young people we see slouching about our city, full of dark self-loathing, or of endlessly coy ironies, and often of cannabis. A tour of the blogs today provides some material to bring out these themes.

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.

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 G√ľnter 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.
Or do you see the future like 2)America's great Europhobe, Ralph Peters:
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.


truepeers said...

My apologies to maccusgermanis whose comment, reproduced below, I inadvertantly deleted when trying to delete and replace my response to his comment.


Some of what Ralph Peters may become true, but not with the ease that he seems to suggest.
Violence already occurs, in Europe, with a regularity that shows expulsion of muslims will be anything but "simple." The real questions are whether the secularist totalitarian and islamist alliance, spoke of by Paul Belien, will hold after Europe is already dead. Or, if that "continent of killers" can, in timely manner, understand the value of and defend institutions of thought that it gave birth, before its partition by the regressive alliance.

I do not see how either outcome can end well for the reputation of such smug, as you say, Europhobes. US academics have exported a dream of America that can not be emulated because it has also never happened. USA has not prospered by multiculturalism, but by assimilation and acculturation. USA has largely made, and been rewarded for, the assumption that immigrant peoples made, by presenting themselves, a choice to live according to American laws and customs. The experimentation with, and global export of, reckless accommodation has lead to Europe's current state. Europe is guilty of little more than having more fully embraced a false conception of America's success. And for being more accommodating to supposed oppressed peoples than America herself, Europe is now denounced a "bloody continent" by glib Americans. The solution to an European problem that American academics were complicit in creating will in fact be a bloody mess, but I fail to understand how US commentators can so easily detach themselves.

I see the soonest and most vigorous defense being the least bloody of scenarios. The sooner that Europe can recognize islam for what it is and end further accommodations, the less likely it will be that open conflict is offered by a rapidly increasing minority that happens to adhere to a seventh century death cult. The more that defenders of classically liberal constitutional republics wait to defend their values, the more likely that all lawful freedoms will be destroyed by a totalitarian alliance of nihilists and islamists. And after the bloody end of post-enlightenment Europe, will come the bloody end of islamists. The resulting totalitarian state will be equally accepting of all empty professions of faith and oppressive of any honest faith.

Posted by maccusgermanis to Covenant Zone at Sat Jul 21, 11:58:00 PM PDT

truepeers said...


I think you're right about Europe buying into an unrealistic idea of multiculturalism. But I fear it is Canadians who have done as much of the creating and selling of the vain idea as Americans. Canada has always had lots of immigrants, and a constitution that has put loyalty to the Monarch above all else; and that's a unifying principle that's not too demanding of quick cultural assimilation and is the basis for our vague notions of many cultures being represented in the crown. But generally, the children of immmigrants have assimilated culturally to anglo and franco norms (not that these aren't evolving and becoming less tribal), even those marginalized because of race in our early ghettoes - Chinese and Japanese. It is only recently that there are signs this may not be happening and that we are building ghettoes that will be freely chosen beyond the first generation (albeit "ghettoes" in comfortable suburbs). But it is still too early to tell for sure and in any case it is not like the more rigid social and economic isolation of European ghettoes.

I think you're right that the sooner Europe faces up to its problem the less bloody the outcome. I think the least bloody path will only be possible with strong leaders who can say to the Muslims, look, we've all suffered under certain misconceptions about Europe and multiculturalism. Going forward, we will keep the more bloodthirsty Europeans under control, but we must demand you assimilate or leave. If you promise to assimilate, making Islam a strictly private religion, with you expressing no desires to live under Sharia law, to pursue any kind of political Jihad, polygamous families, oppression of women, etc., you can stay and we will insure you are treated fairly in the workplaces, etc. New immigrants will only be allowed if they swear an oath of loyalty to us and swear off loyalty to any kind of political Islam and maintain employment, keep off welfare, and do whatever else will be taken as an important sign of civic responsibility. Deportation will quickly follow any failure to keep the promise, and we will not fail to police it.

As my colleague Adam Katz points out in a somewhat different context, this kind of approach won't please those who are simply antagonistic to Muslims, but it will give Europeans the moral upper hand going forward. Such an accord would be in harmony with their predominant sense of who they are and what they value, pace Ralph Peters. They will show some hospitality to those truly desirous of working hard and sharing honestly in the Western tradition and its wealth and this will allow Europeans to make their defense of that tradition, at home and abroad, more positive, sincere, and hence robust.

Anonymous said...

Here's a modern Muslim hymn: 'Dirty Kuffar' which is very popular among the 'youth':

It's not exactly 'All things Bright and Beautiful'. It says kuffars should be thrown into the fire for not worshipping Allah (aka Satan) and glorifies the London Bombings. 'Teaching them a lesson with the London Bombs - Don't let them tell you that the method is wrong."


Maybe you can get your church choir to sing it as an alternative to Kumbaya as an expression of interfaith dialogue and respect.

Allah Akhbar!!!