Yesterday is the New Tomorrow

Location: London, United Kingdom

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Let's Think Again
As we move inexorably towards a world dominated by our friend mahmoud ahmadinejad with his scores of fine and upstanding scientists hard at work ensuring that hunger and poverty are eradicated from all corners of the Islamic world, I thought it worth opining on a topic recently raised by the BBC. In a book review he wrote a while back, John Derbyshire, the marginally right-of-centre journalist, said:

"In the Empire Boys' Annuals of my own British childhood, the human world was a diverse place indeed, populated by head-hunters, cannibals, Polynesian bungee-jumpers, ferocious Gurkhas, exquisitely polite Japanese, reed dwellers, cave dwellers, tree dwellers, suttees, thuggees, fellows who inserted four-inch wooden disks into their lower lips and women who elongated their necks by adding a metal ring every year. Now youngsters are assured that though people who live in foreign parts may sometimes look a bit odd, they are really just middle-class Americans in thin disguise. Little Masai boys like to play soccer, says the "Social Science" textbook issued to my fourth-grader. In China they prefer volleyball. Uh-huh."

What exactly happened between the author's childhood and the educational regime to which children in Western Europe and the United States are subjected today? The answer of course is "multiculturalism". The idea that all cultures are equally good -- or at least equally un-bad. This is a very powerful & influential idea. The reason for this fact is that most people now think that it is the only alternative to chauvinism -- the idea that all cultures that are different from one's own are inferior to it. Isn't it a little obvious that multiculturalism is clearly not the only alternative to chauvinism? They are actually two forms of the very same mistake: the moralistic fallacy of deciding what the value of something is without sufficient regard for all the facts. Multiculturalists edit out facts that are unfavourable to others. Chauvinists edit out facts that are embarrassing to themselves. Both are evidence of irrational behaviour. There is an obvious alternative to both: the modern, scientific world view that has dominated Western thinking for the last century or so (at least until recently in the U.S....). According to this view, whatever your moral evaluation of the world might be, it should be based on the facts. If you find another culture that you can learn from, admit it. If you encounter one that, on reflection, you think is wrong, then admit that too.
I "celebrate diversity", but I believe that the diverse individuals, corporate bodies, and peoples of the earth are related to one another by varying degrees of contrariety, opposition, and competition. This world that we live in, with its lavish variety of types is, whether we like it or not, an arena of competition and not a global ‘knit your own yoghurt’ love-in. In such a world, the only way to think that diverse ways of life are all equally good would be to deny that they are really all that diverse.
The question is whether the liberal social experiment of multiculturalism has been going too long to reverse and if not, how much blood will have to be spilt to reverse it. I have a sneaking suspicion that ahmadinejad's behaviour will act as another 'turbo-charge' to the process of Western society's evaluation of the merit's of such folly.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Odio il Tikka del Pollo

Silvio Berlusconi wouldn't be the first person in Europe I would have imagined to have any significant political alignment with but recently he has made some sense in a couple of speeches. The Italian Prime Minister said he does not want Italy to become a multiethnic, multicultural country. This stance has drawn plaudits from right-wing allies (of which I guess he has had very few recently) and strong criticism from the usual band of liberal/communist multi-culti loving cherry b's.
Silvio said, "we don't want Italy to become a multiethnic, multicultural country. We are proud of our traditions." Berlusconi's government has put in place a tough immigration policy, including legislation cracking down on illegal immigration. The 2002 law allows only immigrants with job contracts to obtain residency permit. Now that's a good idea. I wonder if we in the UK could consider such a move.
"We want to open (our borders) to foreigners who flee countries where their lives or liberties are at risk," said Berlusconi, adding those who come to Italy to work also are welcome. "We don't want to welcome all those who come here to bring about damage and danger to Italian citizens." We know who he is talking about here.
Thousands of illegal immigrants come to Italy every year, mostly crossing the Mediterranean from North Africa on rickety boats. On Monday a group of more than 200 of them landed on Lampedusa, a tiny island off Sicily. Most immigrants, if they elude police, move on to other European countries. I understand that the UK is quite a popular venue - they feel at home here.
The Northern League, a right-wing anti-immigrant party, welcomed Berlusconi's remarks.
"Here's the Berlusconi we want," said Roberto Calderoli, a Northern League leader who was forced to resign as reforms minister last month after he wore that muhammad T-shirt on state TV. "Our values, our identity, our history, our traditions" must be defended against immigration" he said.
With Signor Berlusconi (who is a big mate of Tony B's) 'coming out' on this topic it makes one wonder when someone in the UK will actually stand up and be counted (no, not Nick Griffin or Kilroy).