No worldview is more parochial than multiculturalism: an attitude -- or better, an affectation -- entirely restricted to upper-class Western liberals. There are more Mongol orthodontists than Mongol multiculturalists. In today's column, Mark Steyn fails to conceal his disgust for the bogus mid-life crisis afflicting England's untitled aristocracy, a crisis this aristocracy has decided all of us should partake of:
Consider the Bishop of Lichfield, who at Evensong, on the night of the bombings, was at pains to assure his congregants: "Just as the IRA has nothing to do with Christianity, so this kind of terror has nothing to do with any of the world faiths." It's not so much the explicit fatuousness of the assertion so much as the broader message it conveys: we're the defeatist wimps; bomb us and we'll apologise to you. That's why in Britain the Anglican Church is in a death-spiral and Islam is the fastest-growing religion. There's no market for a faith that has no faith in itself. And as the Church goes so goes the state: why introduce identity cards for a nation with no identity?
Says Steyn, "You can't assimilate with a nullity -- which is what multiculturalism is." He's dead right in this judgment, and also two years behind our own Leila in making it. Back in 2003, exasperated by an essay complaining that Muslims in Holland were "unassimilated" in their adopted homeland, Leila pointedly asked, "Unassimilated to what?? The salient features of Holland today, as I understand it, are those of a moral wasteland with cool buildings." She went on to propose the following analogy to our e-mail platoon:
Moslems have hopes and dreams for their children. They are just like you would be if you took a hike in the woods and came across an awesome abandoned 18th century farmhouse with beams and a fireplace in every room. If someone said you ought to be a Congregationalist before taking it over, you'd give them a blank look. If all you had to do was make a little room for some drug addict in a thong who's dying soon anyway to set up your home, you'd do it. If the inhabitant knew there was no other way for him to live, he'd let you. That's Europe.
Perhaps it's worth mentioning that Pope Benedict (less vividly than Leila) has repeatedly given voice to the same concern.
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