Multiculturalism: Can We Talk?

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K. William Huitt

K. William Huitt is currently an M.A. student in Western Michigan University’s philosophy program. He graduated from Hillsdale College in 2019 with a B.A. in philosophy and a minor in history. He has spoken at various Christian apologetics events and writes regularly about religious and political issues. His personal blog is shutupandthink.net.

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212 Responses

  1. Avatar LeeEsq
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    says:

    What is the practical alternative to multiculturalism? Human geography isn’t so neat and human behavior so nice that every group can have its’ own place and space. Past attempts to create such places have resulted in the forced uprooting of hundreds of thousands or millions of people like with Greece-Turkey, India-Pakistan, and Israel-Palestine. It’s also trivial easy to find many examples of groups demanding their special place while denying it to other groups as the long bitter history of the Kurds demonstrate.Report

  2. Avatar nitinsingh
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    says:

    Lovely post thnx to share Report

  3. Avatar LTL FTC
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    says:

    Excellent post. Multiculturalism, like neoliberalism, is whatever you want it to be.

    Are we talking about incompatible notions of how the world should work based on wildly divergent backgrounds? Or are we talking about being able to get a good arepa in Wichita?

    Are we talking about freedom to worship and interfaith softball games, or whose faith exempts them from what broadly-applicable laws and cultural mores?

    I’ve seen a lot of pro-multiculturalism “counterprogramming” that goes heavy on the Epcot-style stuff and doesn’t really answer questions like, for example, if Muslim women won’t swim when men are in the pool, is it discriminatory to *not* have sex-segregated time slots for them at public pools?

    More people from more backgrounds inevitably broadens the universe of possible disputes; how could it not? Is that bad? Doesn’t have to be. But my guess is that The popular tactic of just saying multiculturalism and immigration means pad Thai and smiling turbaned Sikhs playing basketball is missing the point.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to LTL FTC
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      says:

      “Excellent post. Multiculturalism, like neoliberalism, is whatever you want it to be.”

      Or this is to say the words have been used and abused so much that they are know void for vagueness and just used to describe “things I do not like whether actually neoliberal or not or actually multi-cultural or not.”

      What is the alternative to multiculturalism? The Benedict option? Something resembling Snowcrash? Everyone is just forced to live where they are born with a strict policy of internal passports?

      The Atlantic recently ran an article about ultra-strict and conservative Catholics trying to live in their own community in Nebraska. I guess it is all find and dandy until you find out this community comes from a branch (SSPX) that hates Vatican II, still thinks the Jews killed Christ, and even hid Nazi War Criminals.Report

      • Avatar LTL FTC in reply to Saul Degraw
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        says:

        I’m not saying it’s preferable, but the alternative to multiculturalism post mass immigration is assimilation. You can see it happening with growing rates of intermarriage, but easy global travel and communications make it easier to live like you’re in an outpost of your old country on a permanent basis.

        Beyond love finding a way, assimilation is a huge “ask” that we have grown uncomfortable making. It happens whether we want it to or not, but it’s impolite to encourage.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to LTL FTC
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          says:

          It’s easier to remain in contact with your home culture now than it was during the mid-20th century and even earlier. So naturally lots of immigrants tend to stay within their home culture, especially if they are older. There have been some drives at assimilation, like the Netherlands making scenes of same-sex romance part of the citizenship course, but it is also kind of half-hearted. Most liberals believe that the kids will just assimilate into the society of the country they were raised in. Maybe yes or maybe no.

          Another big issue with assimilation is what are we asking immigrants to assimilate into.
          For older countries with something of a mass society still existing, it is relatively easy to determine. In the United States and other newer countries not so much. Do we want immigrants to assimilate into the secular post-religious societies of the big coastal cities or the conservative values of the South?Report

  4. Avatar JoeSal
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    says:

    It took five sentences to get to:
    “On one extreme, there are racists, fascists, and xenophobes who refuse to look outside their own culture for anything informative or edifying because they assume their culture is the most superior.”

    Multiculturalism might have worked if it were not for decades of idiocy like this.Report

  5. Avatar Pinky
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    says:

    I’d like to see the article delve more into what a culture is between the completely physical (such as food and music) and the completely intellectual (such as truth claims). One important aspect of a culture that can be lost is the law. The article notes that aspects of Protestant culture can stand up to an influx of Catholics simply through an understanding of the beliefs. But when the Catholics get to around 55-60% of the population, there are going to be changes that will constitute meaningful losses.Report

    • Avatar K. William Huitt in reply to Pinky
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      says:

      As far as this article, I was thinking of culture in a very broad sense as general norms, customs, and habits. The question of laws is where things get tricky. And, just for the record, my comment about Protestants and Catholics is just for illustration. This will start to get into the complexity I mentioned about how people view the purpose of the state. If Protestants and Catholics can agree on a non-religious governing body aimed at general flourishing, the composition of Protestants to Catholics is less likely to matter. If one or the other wants a religious state, there will almost certainly be irreconcilable problems. The idealistic Hope here is also that ideologically well equipped Protestants will engage well with ideologically well equipped Catholics, and one or the other side might widely become persuaded of the other’s truth claims which would also alleviate the issue. At the very least, we can hope the two sides would come to hold mutual respect.

      The general assumption for this article is that people will think and behave well. Society only flourishes when that happens. That’s why I called for people to argue carefully about these question in good faith.

      But what happens if one side or the other refuses to play nicely? Society suffers, and there’s just no way around that. On the one hand, this piece is hopelessly naive. I’m aware of how bad things are; how bad people are. But the goal here is to give a road map for what it means for a society to function properly in a diverse world.

      There is some extent to which a reasonably good level of multicultural functioning can happen in an imperfect world. For example, we mostly all agree we shouldn’t tolerate and admit members of ISIS. But what about people from places where ISIS is merely prevalent? How many of them are up for a good conversation about big ideas and which ones will shape our society? Well, that’s exactly the kind of really hard question that I just don’t have an answer to. But the first step is undoubtedly doing away with the unfounded extreme positions.Report

  6. Avatar Jaybird
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    says:

    To what extent should we expect immigrants to assimilate?

    If the answer is “No, not at freakin’ all!”, then that leads us to a handful of places.
    If the answer is something like “well, we should have expectations of a certain amount of tolerance on their part… they can move here but they should know that homosexuality is okay here and homophobia should be left back in their shitty little country”, that’s another thing.
    And if the answer is something like Denmark’s harsh laws for immigrant ghettos, that’s another thing entirely.
    And if the answer is something like “we, as Americans, should have jurisdiction over Denmark’s assimilation laws”, then that takes us yet further down the road.

    To what extent is a culture not wanting to change okay?
    Is there a point at which that we, as Americans, have a responsibility to pressure other cultures to be more like us?Report

    • Avatar K. William Huitt in reply to Jaybird
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      says:

      Those questions will mostly come down to the ethical questions I mentioned. I have opinions, but for our purposes here, I’ll just say, “Good luck.” Lol

      In all seriousness, there are some ethical political thinkers I would recommend. Remi Brague is at the forefront. Older thinkers would include Aristotle, Aquinas, and Francisco Suarez. They develop a really interesting idea of natural law. You can disagree with them on things like theology and science, but their notions of the common good and natural law are still worth thinking about. Modern thinkers to read include Rawls, MacIntyre, Finnis, and Arendt.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to K. William Huitt
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        says:

        When I visit other countries, I occasionally see an American who is communicating some serious discomfort and culture shock. “I just want a hamburger!”, is a made-up quotation representative of the attitude.

        I like to think that all of us cringe to some extent when we consider “Ugly Americans”.

        But there also seems to be a refusal to acknowledge that anybody but Americans could have a similar attitude if they happen to visit (or live in) the US.

        We’re stuck reaching for examples using sexual mores.

        Even though we know in our hearts that it’s kinda effed up to go to a foreign country and expect to be able to get a decent hamburger to the point where we are embarrassed on behalf of the people in those other countries.Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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      says:

      To what extent should we expect a host culture to change and accommodate the new one?
      [Insert the rest of your queries here]

      Conversations about assimilation often overlook how inevitably the new arrivals change the host culture.
      As a rule, once the arrivals assimilate and force the host culture to evolve into something different, everyone forgets what things were like previously.

      We here at OT- mostly white, mostly male, mostly from Jewish/ Christian European ancestry- think of ourselves as Regular Americans, but almost all of us would find ourselves exotic strangers in 1890 America.

      But I think that’s the lurking fear, isn’t it, that today’s dominant culture will find itself tomorrow’s exotic minority.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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        says:

        Here’s a speech from former Labour minister Angela Eagle.

        Privileged White People worried about being a minority in their own country, amirite?Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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          says:

          Her speech seems like an entirely reasonable plea for tolerance. What did you find noteworthy about it?Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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            says:

            The fact that it had to be given.

            Apparently, the people who want LGBT pushed back into the closet are recent immigrants.

            Here’s the BBC on the topic.Report

            • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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              says:

              What I find noteworthy is that you had to go to the other side of the world to find your example of two parts of the liberal coalition in conflict.

              Is there a lot of anti-gay legislative or political action coming from the American Muslim community? How much of CAIR’s lobbying budget is devoted to anti-gay causes?

              Would I be wrong to say “almost none”?
              Whatever American Muslims might say or feel in private, they seem remarkably indifferent to LGBTQ issues politically. Maybe they’re too busy trying to avoid being locked up at airports or something.

              In fact, isn’t the overwhelming amount of anti-gay advocacy coming from a small minority of American Christians?

              If you look at the modern waves of immigrants: Vietnamese, Mexican, Central Americans, and look at the cities and states where they settled and became part of the political culture, places like Southern California and Texas- The immigrants didn’t move the culture towards illiberalism.

              For instance, in Orange County CA, the Vietnamese dominate several of the cities and for a couple decades were staunch Republicans. Yet almost none of the Vietnamese political figures became active in anti-gay causes. Even during Pro 8, the anti same sex marriage initiative, Vietnamese politicians were notable for their absence.

              Hispanics and Muslims are the elusive “religiously observant, pro-family” constituency the Bush dynasty long chased, yet they are now mostly Democratic.

              Yet they haven’t forced the Democratic Party to become less tolerant of LGBTQ issues.

              Is anyone here seeing a different trend, of conservative immigrants moving the Overton Window to the illiberal direction?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                What I find noteworthy is that you had to go to the other side of the world to find your example of two parts of the liberal coalition in conflict.

                And if I used an example from the US, would you find it noteworthy that I was stuck using my own culture instead of finding a single example from a country that wasn’t my own?

                If I had an example from Canada, would that be noteworthy?

                How many examples would you like? Where would you like them from? I find this to be an interesting intellectual challenge and I think that I could find one from whatever continent you pick.

                Here’s an example of tensions regarding sex ed that comes from Dearborn, Michigan. Does that count?

                “Ah, I find it noteworthy that you had to go to the Eastern Time Zone for your example. Nothing in the Mountain Time Zone?”

                Is this one of those things where you think that the discussion of Multiculturalism ought to be limited to how the United States handles Multiculturalism and examples of Multicultural clashes that happen in other countries aren’t relevant?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                No, this is a very good example.

                Lets look at it:

                “Nesrine Hussein, mother of another ninth grade girl at Fordson, said she feels her role as a mother was neglected by the school for not sending out forms for her to approve, allowing her 14-year-old daughter to learn the details about sex.”

                “Ibrahim Mashhour, director of student services and district athletics at Dearborn Public Schools, said the only mishap that occurred was a failure for opt-out forms to reach parents. ”

                The story was reported by Hassan Khalifeh.

                So to recap, a Muslim parent complained about a sex ed curriculum administered by a Muslim teacher, and this was reported by a Muslim reporter.

                So, is this evidence of Muslims moving our culture towards an illiberal direction?

                Maybe!

                Maybe the Nesrine Hussein forces will gather, take control, and establish some anti-sex ed curriculum.
                But, notice that currently it is the forces of Ibrahim Mashhour, the liberal, who appear to hold power. And that doesn’t appear to be changing.

                This doesn’t seem to be a very strong argument for American Muslim illiberalism.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                We’re not arguing whether illiberalism exists, Chip.

                The question is “To what extent should we expect a host culture to change and accommodate the new one?”Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                In this specific case, it seems as if following the existing policy would have been adequate. If the parents had received the required notifications, they could have triggered the “opt-out” policy.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to veronica d
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                says:

                Sure. No problem. Procedures were followed.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Right, which is why I don’t understand what LGBTQ issues have to do with immigration.

                I suspect immigrants are changing the host culture, I just don’t think it is in obvious ways, and not so much in the hot button political battles.

                To be fair, my question isn’t meant to have a convenient and simple answer, because these things never do.

                We don’t really know how immigrants may challenge our current culture, so we can’t really answer to what extent we may need to change.

                And once again, maybe that is the source of the unease, that uncertainty about our place in the future.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Right, which is why I don’t understand what LGBTQ issues have to do with immigration.

                Because LGBT issues are among the issues that actually come into conflict when different cultures come into conflict with each other.

                Everybody loves EPCOT and they think that EPCOT is multiculturalism when, really, it’s not. EPCOT is a monoculture and that monoculture is “Disney”.

                But it does have lots of different kinds of food.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                I know this: there are plenty of people who would cut off their own foot to defend white homophobes, but who suddenly become our biggest defenders when they can attack brown people. It’s pretty fucking transparent.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to veronica d
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                says:

                Don’t see it as “defending” (or “attacking”, for that matter) but see it as “noticing”.

                We’re talking about Multiculturalism, after all.

                What degree of assimilation ought we expect on the part of those who come to live with us?

                If the answer to that is “don’t presume to speak for my safety, bigot!”, I’m fine with that… but I notice that we don’t have an answer to my question.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Yeah, but there is a pattern in what you “notice” and what you seem oblivious to.

                I assure you, everyone on the left is aware that fundamentalist Islam is homophobic, just as we are aware that the vice president is a virulent homophobe, as are a neverending stream of “good Christians” I encounter during my day to day.

                It’s easy to find homophobic Muslims. However, it’s not terribly hard to find more liberal minded Muslims, especially among the immigrant population. For example, I’ve personally met a number of LGBT Muslims who live in the US. They have interesting stories to tell about their conflicts within their faith and their families. Furthermore, my personal interactions with young Muslims in my community are generally positive. Indeed, their hidebound parents might hate me (or perhaps not), but I have more in common with them than many “real ‘muricans.” They know it. I know it.

                I doubt I’ll hear about that from you, when it is so much easier to show how dangerous their parents are — especially on the eve of potential war, when demonizing the “other” is a necessary precursor to slaughter.

                Where you shine your lens shows us what you want to see, what narrative you want to sell, where your sympathies lie, etcetera.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to veronica d
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                says:

                Veronica, I’m not arguing “we shouldn’t let Muslims in because I care oh-so-very-much for my LGBTQQIIAAPDM+ friends!”

                I am arguing that I don’t know what the answer is to the question of “What degree of assimilation ought we expect on the part of those who come to live in our culture?”

                And if we want to say that the whole crying member of Parliament is nothing more than an example of a white woman whining about brown people making more restaurants available to her domestic help, that’s fine.

                But I still don’t have an answer to the question that I care about.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Who here at OT is accusing that woman of being a white woman whining about brown people?

                Your use of this, and the conflict in Michigan seems like some deliberate “let’s you and him fight” where LBGTQ and Muslims are pitted against each other.

                But as I pointed out, it just ain’t so.

                The biggest cultural clash in America isn’t immigrant cultures versus the native culture, but two groups of native born Americans against each other.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Your use of this, and the conflict in Michigan seems like some deliberate “let’s you and him fight” where LBGTQ and Muslims are pitted against each other.

                Chip, my question was, and is, “What degree of assimilation ought we expect on the part of those who come to live in our culture?”

                The response was something like “Conversations about assimilation often overlook how inevitably the new arrivals change the host culture.
                As a rule, once the arrivals assimilate and force the host culture to evolve into something different, everyone forgets what things were like previously.”

                And I posted a link to someone complaining about how they didn’t want things to change.

                And what’s the response?
                That this member of Parliament isn’t representative of anything?
                That I still haven’t demonstrated that there are tensions when it comes to multiculturalism?

                The biggest cultural clash in America isn’t immigrant cultures versus the native culture, but two groups of native born Americans against each other.

                So let me ask this about our two groups of native born Americans “What degree of accommodation ought we expect on the part of the one culture when it comes to the other?”Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                How could anyone possibly answer that?

                Cultural interactions are negotiations. That is, they are open ended, and highly dependent on what all the participants believe is important, or not.

                And these thing change and evolve over time as the groups themselves change and evolve.

                For example, in 1972 “gay liberation” was tightly connected to the sexual revolution and things like the liberty to have uninhibited consensual sex was a very big priority.

                Whereas for the dominant Establishment culture keeping sex within marriage was a very big priority.

                And at the time, the gulf between them was unbridgeable; There was no possible accommodation available.

                But over time both cultures evolved. Marriage became important to the gay community, and the old standards of virginity until marriage weakened in the dominant culture, until a place of accommodation was possible.

                It isn’t possible answer your question in advance and without the participation of all the stakeholders.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                “How could anyone possibly answer that?”

                Well, here’s what I said in my original comment:

                If the answer is “No, not at freakin’ all!”, then that leads us to a handful of places.
                If the answer is something like “well, we should have expectations of a certain amount of tolerance on their part… they can move here but they should know that homosexuality is okay here and homophobia should be left back in their shitty little country”, that’s another thing.
                And if the answer is something like Denmark’s harsh laws for immigrant ghettos, that’s another thing entirely.
                And if the answer is something like “we, as Americans, should have jurisdiction over Denmark’s assimilation laws”, then that takes us yet further down the road.

                Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Well OK then, your answer then is the same as mine.

                Which is, the negotiations between cultures can lead to a lot of different places, some nice and some not so nice depending on how the various stakeholders handle it.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Hey everyone, don’t fall for the “just asking questions” ploy. Every question has a subtext and an agenda. Learn to see them.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to veronica d
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                says:

                My subtext is to eventually get people to agree that Monoculture is preferable to Multiculture, so long as the *RIGHT* culture is ascendant.

                Because, let’s face it, there are some sub-cultures that our culture would be better off without.

                But people who love “Multiculturalism!” mean “EPCOT” when they say it and not “multiple different cultures”.

                As for the agenda? Well, yes. There are indeed patterns.

                We should learn to see them.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                So why bring up the tiny subculture of Muslim Americans rather than the enormous subculture of violent trumpaloo goons?

                It’s not an accident. You’re doing the work of hate.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to veronica d
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                says:

                I didn’t bring up the tiny subculture of Muslim Americans. I brought up the tiny subculture of Muslim Brits.

                Chip said, and let me copy and paste this, “But I think that’s the lurking fear, isn’t it, that today’s dominant culture will find itself tomorrow’s exotic minority.”

                And I remembered a handy dandy example of a privileged British woman complaining hysterically about how her dominant culture felt like it was being pushed out.

                Isn’t that a great way to put it? “today’s dominant culture will find itself tomorrow’s exotic minority.”

                Now, since I know that my culture will be dominant, I’m not pushing for “exotic” as much as “extinct” but, hey. I’m patient. Monocultures take time to spread and we’re going to need a lot more wi-fi to make sure that everybody has exposure to the same pop culture.

                And we’ll remember Islam the same way we’ll remember all of the other flavors of theism.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Your examples don’t make the point you think you’re making.

                The woman in your video was not using her fear to argue for a persecution or demonization of Muslims. She was arguing for tolerance, the same sort of tolerance which protects Muslims.

                And the Muslims in your second example were not using their fear to argue for a persecution of anybody.

                But lets agree that somewhere we can find a gay person expressing a fear of creeping Muslim intolerance or a Muslim fearing a loss of their traditional culture to secularism.

                This would fit your example of my comment about “lurking fear”.

                The thing is, “lurking fear” itself isn’t something I would criticize.

                I know what its like to walk down a street of my hometown and feel out of place for not speaking the language, or to go to church and see only old lined faces and gray hair.

                The lurking fear of being displaced is perfectly normal for all of us to feel.

                The question is what we do about it. Do we struggle to form bonds of understanding and friendship?
                Or do we retreat into insular intolerance?

                With your use of the words Monoculture and Multiculture, you sound like are ascribing a triumphalism to what should be a cautious negotiation.

                That, for example, one culture or the other will be entirely vanquished and the other will reign uncontested.

                I’m not seeing that happening but maybe you do.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                The woman in your video was not using her fear to argue for a persecution or demonization of Muslims. She was arguing for tolerance, the same sort of tolerance which protects Muslims.

                No, not at all.

                But she was afraid of being, let me copy and paste you again, tomorrow’s exotic minority.

                I’m not seeing that happening but maybe you do.

                I do see it happening.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Where in her video did you see anything other than a call to tolerance?

                Where do you see triumphalism happening in America?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                When she got choked up and said “we are not going to get back in the closet”.

                Where do you see triumphalism happening in America?

                In the future.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                “We are not going to get back into the closet.”

                Yep, a call to intolerance if I ever heard one.

                We are at the “What if they held a culture war and nobody showed up?” point.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to veronica d
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                says:

                “don’t fall for the “just asking questions” ploy. ”

                lol

                you’re more interested in the Rock Of Ages than in the age of rocks, huh?Report

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                My pragmatic answer is that they can come here and think what they want, but they have to do what they’re told on important matters that affect the rest of us until they become the dominant culture, or persuade us that their way is right and ours is wrong. Worship whatever imaginary friend you choose, eat what you like, and, within very broad limits, dress as funny as you please. No skin off my nose, and more bacon for me.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to CJColucci
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                says:

                I agree in general but i’d put it more simply. They need to follow the law.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
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                says:

                “The Law”.

                Which brings us back to Denmark’s assimilation laws.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Are we in Denmark? I’m directly saying what i think we should expect from immigrants. While it is wise to learn english i don’t think there should be laws about it. Americans should be generally free to live their lives as they wish, within the law of course. I dont’ think we need special laws for immigrants and artisanal americans.

                If you want special laws for immgrints then feel free to advocate for them.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
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                says:

                No, we are not.

                But “we should expect them to follow the law” seems to assume the justness of the law without question.

                Which is an odd assumption in the age of Trump.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                I think murder is still against the law even in the age of trump. So huzzah to us all. I directly stated what i think. It’s a thing people can do when they want to be understood. There are other options of course.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
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                says:

                There are countries that have mandatory assimilation courses in addition to language laws.

                “Just follow the law” is fine for these countries too?Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                China? What countries are you thinking of?

                I hadn’t realized i needed to state the immigration polices for every country in the world. That is easy also. First we form the Federation and then anybody from any Federation planet can immigrate to Earth as long as they follow the law.
                Has that answered your really really on the point and entirely non-silly question?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
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                says:

                Why in the hell does it matter which countries I’m thinking of?

                Either “just follow the Law” is our guiding principle or it ain’t.

                If you’re saying “well, there are *SOME* countries that have unjust laws”, then I’m afraid that I’m going to need clarification on what our guiding principle is again.

                I hadn’t realized i needed to state the immigration polices for every country in the world.

                I’d be fine with a guiding principle that will apply no matter which country we apply it to.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                What the hell are you talking about jay? You brought up other countries now it doesn’t matter??? I stated a very simple principle…its four sporking words. Only three if you cut off the “just.” Maybe lichtensthein or gambia have unfair principles….so what.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
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                says:

                What the hell are you talking about jay? You brought up other countries now it doesn’t matter???

                Yeah, that’s what over-arching principles means. You can take your guiding principle and apply it to Saudi Arabia, Denmark, Argentina, or the Philippines (or any country at all!) and know that you don’t have to start adding exceptions or qualifiers. Heck, across time frames too. Is it 1900? 1800? 1500? 300? 600B.C.? It doesn’t matter.

                Yay! Guiding principles!

                Maybe lichtensthein or gambia have unfair principles….so what.

                Should the Uighurs do a better job of following the law?Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Crimany….you got me. I’m only stating my principle for the US. My Mea is all Culpa now. I hadn’t quite got high enough to come up with the one rule for all the world to follow. Luckily we have some time until we have a one world gov is formed so we can just worry about the US.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to greginak
                Ignored
                says:

                It’s hard to argue with “Just follow the damn law” but I think most of the cultural clashes in America don’t start with law, but end up there.

                Like, creches on town squares, mandatory insurance coverage for birth control, school textbook standards, the deep cultural fear and anxiety come first, then percolate up and manifest themselves as policy and law.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Yeah, but my statement regards what i think we can ask of immgrints. As old people age and young people have families and immgrints move all those opinions/desires change and we work them out in some manner. Culture is a negotiation. We can hope people want to get along and treat each other respectfully but we can’t mandate it. We loooove our freedom here. People can move here to be free to live their lives as well or poorly as they choose.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to veronica d
                Ignored
                says:

                “everyone on the left is aware that fundamentalist Islam is homophobic”

                that’s the fuckin’ point

                you’re aware of it, you’re so god damn aware of it, and yet. and yet. AND YET it’s complicated and there’s a history and we need to look at the whole situation and you have to understand and we need to back off and stay in our lane and not whitesplain and just stop being such rich fat comfortable college-educated Westerners about everything, god.

                white dude? racist, simple conversation and if you keep talking about it then you’re a fuckin’ racist too.

                same deal with the thing where Jews were stabbed in the street and people thought the best thing to do first was explain why their attackers were mad. Like, okay, we’re actually good with a nuanced discussion of why this apparent ethnic targeting occurred and how it’s less (but not never) about ethnicity and more (but not entirely) about economics, but when the demographics are different we’re told that your bullshit explanations and “noticing” are bullshit because RACISM, RACISMReport

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to DensityDuck
                Ignored
                says:

                Where are the Muslims lobbying for laws against same sex marriage, or bathroom bills, or any other anti trans laws?

                Where are the Muslims agitating for abortion bans?

                Nowhere.

                But Evangelical Christians? Oh hell yeah, they have built their whole identity on that. They have a political movement that captures half of our government on that.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Chip, I’m not sure that asking “Where are the Muslims lobbying for laws against same sex marriage, or bathroom bills, or any other anti trans laws?” is the own you think it is due to the fact that they’re still having the “should we kill them or merely imprison them?” debate.

                There’s a wikipedia page dedicated to this.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                You mean some people online are saying nasty things?

                And this is your evidence for American Muslim intolerance?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                You didn’t ask “Where are the American Muslims lobbying for laws against same sex marriage?”

                You asked “Where are the Muslims lobbying for laws against same sex marriage?”

                I answered the question you asked.

                But to answer your new question, apparently it hasn’t come up. CNN ran a story in May of 2019 that said that “In a survey of American Muslims, 0% identified as lesbian or gay.”

                It doesn’t seem that gay marriage is particularly relevant to the American Muslim community.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Right, American Muslims don’t have any particular interest in advocating against LGBTQ issues.

                So in a blog post about multiculturalism, the issue of Muslims and gays seems like a complete irrelevancy. Regardless of what their Scripture says, or how they feel privately, American Muslims seem to assimilated rather well on this issue.

                Much better in fact than American evangelicals who were born and raised here.

                Which is my point that the clash of multiple cultures in America isn’t between new arrivals and the native born;

                Its between different groups of native born people, and the immigrants are largely on the sidelines.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                So in a blog post about multiculturalism, the issue of Muslims and gays seems like a complete irrelevancy.

                It’s enough to make you wonder what Labour minister Angela Eagle was kvetching about.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                It would seem that different countries handle interactions between different cultures differently.

                Like, multiculturalism in America works out differently than in Britain.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Personally, I think that America’s multiculturalism is superior to Britain’s.Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Chip Daniels
            Ignored
            says:

            I’m not going to google it but several years ago the New York Times had an article on how immigration gave the much smaller Christian conservative community in Canada an unexpected ally in their battle against progressive sex education. Many of the immigrants came from cultures that had rather different views about sex than secular developed world people. These immigrants did not want their children to get a progressive sex education.

            What Jay might be getting at is that a lot of people on the liberal-left divide tend to see people of color as being naturally multi-cultural and tolerant, automatically supporting the entire liberal-left line of thought. Many of them come from cultures with some rather non-progressive views on sex and gender though and that can cause issues like the New Year’s debacle in Germany a couple of years ago.Report

      • Avatar LTL FTC in reply to Chip Daniels
        Ignored
        says:

        Our 1890s immigrant ancestors changed America, but they also changed their names so English speakers to pronounce them. They moved out of their ethnic neighborhoods (when it became possible) and some of the Jews among them set about writing most of our Christmas songs.

        It’s the white nationalists and folks in small towns changed by one big factory full of immigrant labor who worry about being tomorrow’s exotic minority. City folk, especially in cities with no stable majority race or ethnic group are more worried about living between a dozen variations on a Hasidic neighborhood: closed off by language and tradition, no political participation besides what’s necessary for spoils and to exempt their own from rules of general applicability.

        The good thing is that most immigrants don’t actually want to live like that. The fetish for cultural purity comes from the sociocultural elites among the second generation (once that purity is already half-gone) and rich white people who are insulated from all of it.Report

        • Avatar Slade the Leveller in reply to LTL FTC
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          says:

          We live in what would be considered a lower middle class neighborhood. When we first moved in, it was heavily Polish. So much so, when we threw our housewarming party my friend gave me a birthday card in Polish. The alderman was of Polish descent, and the local gang was white.

          After the 2000 census, the ward was found to be majority Hispanic, and the Polish guy was out and a Latino guy came in. The only thing that changed as far as political representation went was the heritage of the last name. Both guys dutifully rubber stamped whatever ordinances the mayor wanted passed.

          25 years later, the neighborhood is kinda gentrifying. Mostly because the houses are affordable. Meanwhile, my white neighbor has grandchildren fathered by a black man, at the same time flying the stars and bars and a Gadsden flag in his back yard.

          Eventually, the Mexicans will become prosperous like the Poles did, and they’ll move to the suburbs, where the moms will helicopter over their kids just like my suburban friends’ wives do with theirs.

          Americans will always worry about assimilation, and stories of people speaking a foreign tongue in the grocery line will always be spread. In the end, it doesn’t matter if the parents assimilate or not – they may never. But the kids always do. They can’t notReport

          • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Slade the Leveller
            Ignored
            says:

            The fun part is watching how the culture the kids assimilate to isn’t the one that their parents didn’t assimilate to.Report

            • Avatar Slade the Leveller in reply to DensityDuck
              Ignored
              says:

              They just assimilate to whatever culture kids are into at the time. When I officiate high school football games each fall, I hear the same music blasted out of the players’ locker rooms, no matter the ethnic makeup of the teams. White Catholic school boys love rap just as much as black inner city public school boys.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Slade the Leveller
                Ignored
                says:

                That’s what I’m saying, though, it’s not as though the teens are choosing to join the culture their parents rejected; they’re choosing something different. Which is better than going hard-line old-country, perhaps, but it’s also not a refutation of people’s concerns about multiculturalist rejection of societal values and norms.Report

  7. Avatar Sam Wilkinson
    Ignored
    says:

    “Can a society that is against rape tolerate a culture that thinks rape is morally permissible?”

    This is an interesting example. Is there any evidence that such a society exists in practice, as opposed to it existing in meaningless cultural statement?Report

    • Avatar K. William Huitt in reply to Sam Wilkinson
      Ignored
      says:

      Some societies have practiced this, primarily in religious contexts. Fortunately it is currently less common though still too common.

      https://www.indiatoday.in/fyi/story/south-india-young-girls-in-temples-face-abuse-slavery-rights-commission-1053337-2017-09-27Report

      • Avatar Sam Wilkinson in reply to K. William Huitt
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        says:

        Oh, I was referring to evidence of a society that is against rape. I suppose we might say that American society is against rape but that certainly isn’t true in practice.Report

        • Avatar K. William Huitt in reply to Sam Wilkinson
          Ignored
          says:

          Oh, I see. I think it’s useful to distinguish between ethics and morality where ethics has more to do with how things should be and morality is descriptive in looking at how people actually live. Often the two terms are interchangeable but at this point the distinction is useful.

          People who actively practice sex slavery should never be permitted into our culture. People who believe in the abstract that it’s permissible are trickier because I would really like to keep them out, but then you need to start talking about where we stop excluding people based on beliefs and values.

          You’re right that there has probably never been a culture where people live up to their own ethical standards.Report

          • Avatar Sam Wilkinson in reply to K. William Huitt
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            says:

            I think that is probably where our disagreement begins, as I don’t think there is anything meaningful about what people claim to believe, but only what they choose to do (as I take that to be much more reliable evidence of what somebody actually, genuinely believes).

            You talk about exclusion; it should be noted though who gets included. We, for example, have kept Catholics, despite their voluntary and ongoing membership in an organization that institutionally sanctioned and encouraged the sexual abuse of children. If we have had a conversation about damning them, I haven’t heard about it, and I have instead seen the opposite: bending over backward to create a history of the abuse that somehow insulates the institution and its membership from the reality of what it did.

            But, again, claimed beliefs versus voluntary actions, and all that.Report

            • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Sam Wilkinson
              Ignored
              says:

              Well Sam, you live in a country where rape and murder happen, so I guess that means you voluntarily support rape and murder (upside-down-smiley-emoji)Report

              • Avatar Sam Wilkinson in reply to DensityDuck
                Ignored
                says:

                America very obviously supports/tolerates both. Which is the point. The original post at times seems like it is drawing a line between us and some scary group of thems out there, somewhere, but the reality is much, much, much more muddled, as evidenced by the reality of what is practiced here (versus what is routinely preached).

                As for the differences between being where you are born and voluntarily allying with and donating to and defending an institution, well, I’ll leave those up to the individual to sort out.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Sam Wilkinson
                Ignored
                says:

                “AMERICA AS A SOCIETY TOLERATES RAPE AND RACISM BECAUSE IT SUPPORTS RAPE AND RACISM, AND ALL AMERICANS ARE PART OF AMERICAN SOCIETY AND ARE THEREFORE COMPLICIT IN RAPE AND RACISM, EXCEPT FOR ME.”Report

              • Avatar Pinky in reply to Sam Wilkinson
                Ignored
                says:

                What three things would you change in America to make it a country that is less supportive/tolerant of rape?Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Sam Wilkinson
          Ignored
          says:

          Putting a Weinstein story up in the sidebar to help address this point.Report

      • Avatar George Turner in reply to K. William Huitt
        Ignored
        says:

        Well, there are some folks who would argue that traditional, 1950’s style marriage is sex slavery. That would be an example of a new idea that arose within a single culture, creating a split over the concept where none previously existed, as opposed to being an idea coming in from a completely different culture. Of course more traditional countries would rightly regard it as a crazy Western idea. Debating arranged marriage might make for e a clearer argument, or it might not.

        It would be important to decide is some cultural difference has an impact outside the actual culture that practices it, or if some culture strongly feels that it’s beliefs and values are impacted by something being done by a different culture.

        A “tolerant” view for someone in culture “A” is that even though what culture “B” does is wrong, and is definitely not for “A”‘s, it’s also not a concern if “B”‘s keep doing it. You see this stance in a lot of minority cultures such as the Amish, or perhaps Orthodox Jews in New York. The Amish don’t demand that the English give up cars and electricity, in part because the demand would be ignored and generate overwhelming push back. Jew make kosher delis an option, not a commandment that must be applied to everyone else.

        In this view, a person’s tolerance of sex-slavery or arranged marriage might depend almost entirely on whether they’re a relatively small or powerless minority in a country that does practice such things, or whether they’re a dominant group in a country that doesn’t. An American who would proudly be a vocal opponent of arranged marriage over here might be fairly meek about the topic if they were living in various hunks of Asia, where the American’s beliefs might be described as intolerant and foreign. There might be parts of the world where we might have to adopt an attitude toward sex-slavery that would be akin to the Amish attitude on cars. “They may do that, but we don’t do that.”

        We can also have friction that come from new cultural shifts, where an idea arises and some think that all of society should change in some particular regard. Most of the shifts in Angle/American culture were generated internally, not imported, because the immigrants were generally far more traditional than the natives. To most of the world, it’s America and Western Europe that are generating all the newfangled cultural ideas that seem so darn threatening.

        But often the threat of new cultural ideas depends on whether the new value or belief places demands on those who don’t hold it, or whether that idea is an imposition or violation of established values. It’s one thing for a Western expat to tolerate arranged marriage in a places where it’s the traditional norm, but something else entirely to ask a Western society, that long ago condemned an eliminated the practice, to start tolerating it again because new immigrants are used to it.

        Food is probably a less-loaded topic than sex, so I’ll switch my examples. Food is closely connected to culture, and often to religion, and people can get pretty adamant about it.

        “Evangelical” veganism would be an example, as they rail against eating meat and try to convert everybody. Like folks who are against sex-slavery, they see a group of innocent doe-eyed victims, and can go further as they liken ranching and chicken farming to the Holocaust. A vegan culture, to adhere to its principles, shouldn’t really abide meat eaters. Some ancient Indian/Persian religions take things a step further and basically make sure all their vegetables died naturally, too.

        As Muslim influence increases in various places, you often hear them make outraged demand to that food supply chains and restaurants should to conform to halal practices, whereas Jews were content to leave Kosher delis as an option. Sometimes Hindus will likewise freak out about the availability of beef, whereas some Westerners freak out over GMOs, pesticides, antibiotics, or hormones.

        The level of tolerance often depends on perceived cultural power as much as on the strictness of the belief. A handful of Muslim immigrants are glad to find a Kosher deli so they don’t have to pick and choose from items in a local supermarket, or avoid almost all meat because none of it is necessarily halal. As their numbers grow, they open halal markets. If their numbers keep growing, they’ll eventually burn down a McDonald’s because it served a McRib.

        Meanwhile the previously tolerant progressive folks join with the vegans and the animal rights activists to enact a nationwide ban halal slaughter, and the two groups are at each other’s throats over strongly held and mutually incompatible views about food, and when it’s okay to burn down restaurants and meat markets.

        While that’s going on, nice folks in Palo Alto are wrestling with the idea that Asian restaurants have a secret supply chain trafficking in banned seafood, including whale, available only to a select clientele, and some Mexican restaurant in Dallas gets busted for serving cat – but on the charge that they were misrepresenting the food because apparently the city forgot to outlaw cat meat, since none of the old timers ever recalled seeing a “Taco el Gato” anywhere.

        So we have different groups with different views on eating seafood, beef, pork, meat in general, carbs, dairy, meat and dairy mixed, whale, dog, cat, fugu, haggis, organic, organic non-GMO, and slave-grown African chocolate. How tolerant should they be of each other’s practices, and how tolerant should they be of each other? And then you read about some nuts in Europe who were meeting on the Internet and killing and eating each other, and you hear people saying “Well as long as it was too consenting adults, however twisted…”Report

  8. Avatar Silver Wolf
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    says:

    One thing that is sticking for me is the paragraph talking about a hypothetical culture that permits rape or murder. I understand that there is a need to use simplified examples to demonstrate a contrast, however, this statement is papering over a huge discussion on its own.

    If we view murder as an unlawful killing, then it is impossible to have a society that permits murder. Yes, it is pedantic hair-splitting, but it needs to be stated explicitly because what we are left with are culturally differing definitions of murder. The problem with saying “permits” and “opposes” is that it returns to the original extremism decried in the second paragraph. A society that “permits” murder IS wrong and a society that “opposes” it IS right.

    In the end, we can only talk about a culture that has a definition of justifiable homicide that is too permissible for a more restrictive culture. Honor killings, ethnic cleansing, euthanasia, capital punishment, self defense or in defense of others are all examples that can form a society’s definition of murder and its view of what is tolerable in other cultures and what is not.Report

  9. Avatar Urusigh
    Ignored
    says:

    Good article until you compromised your own premise with the cheap shot at Prager U. Elsewhere in the article you admit that multiculturalism CAN be done badly and that the impacts of doing so ARE catastrophic, yet you blatantly attempt to exclude from the range of permissible beliefs the idea that such a multicultural catastrophe is not merely a theoretical possibility in the future but rather an empirical fact currently happening. You say you want a conversation, but you don’t seem willing to invite those who significantly disagree with you into that conversation.Report

    • Avatar Sam Wilkinson in reply to Urusigh
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      says:

      Is it possible to have a conversation with somebody who insists that multicultural catastrophe is “an empirical fact currently happening” because I’m guessing somebody that is outraged by the existence of different people – which is the entire premise of PragerU – doesn’t have much interest in any sort of genuine back-and-forth.Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Sam Wilkinson
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        says:

        Empirical data point:
        I live in downtown Los Angeles, and there is in fact a taco truck on every corner here. One that parks nightly directly in front of the door to our building, even.

        I for one, welcome the multicultural catastrophe!Report

      • Avatar Urusigh in reply to Sam Wilkinson
        Ignored
        says:

        Huh, immediately went for the ad hominem attack rather than actually engage on the basis of empirical facts. That’s telling. Perhaps you don’t realize it, but you just implicitly admitted that you don’t think you can win that debate on the facts. People who actually trust that the facts are on their side don’t flinch from discussing them. Prager is all about having those discussions, so the ones not interested in a genuine back and forth is clearly you and the author here.Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Urusigh
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          says:

          I have asked repeatedly on this thread for examples of “multicultural catastrophe”, or examples of immigrants behaving in illiberal ways such as anti gay legislation or discrimination or some other actual harm.

          What we usually get offered are stories about “This one time at band camp, er, Britain…” or “Well, a guy on twitter said some really ugly shit” but never anything more substantial.

          If you have some real stories of oppression or harm from multiculturalism here, feel free to share.Report

          • Avatar Urusigh in reply to Chip Daniels
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            says:

            Given your choice of examples I’m not sure you realize that I’m a Conservative. I strongly doubt we’re going to agree on what is and is not “illiberal”. I. E. I consider the entire LGBTQ agenda extremely illiberal, at best it’s special pleading for favored treatment and at worst an outright assault on actual liberal values: Free Speech, Freedom of Association, and Freedom of Religion.

            So I’ll start with defining a “good” multiculturalism for reference. President Theodore Roosevelt put the concepts of multiculturalism in perhaps the best context, although it was of course not known as such in 1907. He declared, “In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person’s becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American…There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn’t an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag… We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language… and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people.”

            In contrast to that, what do we actually have today? I’ll keep this first entry short because it’s late, but I could write entire white papers an this topic.

            A poll by the Pew Research Center a some years ago indicated that only 55% of Hispanics, living either legally or illegally in this country, consider themselves Americans. Another poll of Muslims in Los Angeles County indicated that only 10% of them consider themselves to be Americans. There’s a word for people living in a county they don’t consider their own and it isn’t “citizens”.

            So, illiberal acts:
            1. Every murder, rape, drug/weapon/human trafficking and other crime committed by an alien against a US citizen is an inherently preventable harm because they have no right to be here in the first place. Multiculturalism has provided numerous enclaves of unassimilated people with severely disfunctional cultures who shelter and enable these criminals in direct defiance of our laws. That’s undeniable harm to our people and our culture. I can link you to lists of these crimes and stats on comparative crime rates by different demographics. Bluntly, there are immigrants who make America better and there are those who make it worse and we are getting more of the latter than the former. Our immigration system should be more like Canada’s.

            2. Loss of trust and social cohesion. No, this isn’t due to some implicit racism or inherent reaction to diversity in general. Rather, it is strictly cultural, specifically that Hispanic and especially Black demographics place significantly less trust in other people (regardless of race) than Western White Americans do, so as the relative percentage of those demographics have shifted overall trust levels have fallen, reducing social capital and weakening the social fabric. I doubt you can argue that’s somehow a good thing for fewer Americans to each other.

            3. Regardless of whether you argue #2 or not, there are a number of countries in the world with strongly distinct multiple cultures within the same borders. Those with a single dominant culture can do fairly well, but those with a plurality pretty much all end up balkanized, politically crippled by it, rife with corruption and ethnic patronage networks, and suffering from sectarian violence, weak economies, and weak rule of law. If you look at the recent trajectory of western nations experiencing high levels of immigration and don’t see exactly those issues starting to metastasize I can go into further depth easily.

            4. As noted in #3, but worth calling out specifically: political disfunction and paralyzed governance. Our Constitutional Republic requires a significant majority (~2/3 in Congress) to pass legislation. That means that we literally can’t act collectively to deal with national challenges if we don’t have a clear majority with sufficiently similar values and priorities (which largely overlap with culture) : I. E. The impending job losses from AI and automation, the next recession, climate change, even just the slow degradation of our infrastructure, insert your preferred armageddon here. By definition, diverse cultures have fewer unifying values and shared identities than a monoculture, making it proportionally harder to assemble a governing majority with a coherent agenda.

            5. Following up from #2 & #4, multiculturalism undercuts faith in civic institutions, which reduces their effectiveness. The importation of new voters from foreign countries via immigration is de facto foreign interference in elections and the presence of illegal immigrants shifting the allocation of House Seats is literally foreign interference. That’s even before digging into the issue of illegals actually voting in elections.

            I’m not sure what the character limit for comments here is, but that seems like a decent start for discussion. America would demonstrably have less violence, more trust, and more effective governance and institutions with multiculturalism scaled back or managed better to address these issues before they cross irretrievable tipping points or trigger cascading failures.Report

            • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Urusigh
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              says:

              Nice theory you got there.
              Not a single shred of empirical data, but a sweet theory.

              I mean, immigrants generally are about as law abiding as native born Americans, and do at least as well as we do in terms of most social ills.

              As I pointed out, the bitter culture clashes and divisiveness we have in America are between groups of native born Americans.

              The funny thing is, the percentage of Americans who are foreign born is lower now than it was in the last half of the 19th century, and in a particular irony, most of the people complaining about immigration are themselves descendants of those 19th century immigrants.

              Which would seem to destroy the thesis wouldn’t it?
              We can point to examples of ethnic enclaves in most American cities where Italians and Irish and Poles and Jews all clustered together, exactly as you warn of, and yet within a generation they faded away and most everyone today agrees that America is better for their having come here.

              If the ancestors of OT commenters arrived today, I am pretty sure the Trump administration would send them back.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                “Not a single shred of empirical data, but a sweet theory”

                eat ass. You asked for examples, he gave you examples, now you’re crapping on the examples and asking for ’empirical data”, and you know damn well that if he actually finds numbers you’ll tell him he hasn’t found enough numbers. You aren’t interested in engaging the argument; you’re deflecting.

                “We can point to examples of ethnic enclaves in most American cities where Italians and Irish and Poles and Jews all clustered together, exactly as you warn of, and yet within a generation they faded away ”

                Congratulations you described “assimilation”, which people have considered problematic for more than twenty years now.
                Which makes sense, because why should people sand off their edges and whitewash themselves just to be Authentically American? Should Epcot Center be the goal?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to DensityDuck
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                says:

                (We also discussed this sort of thing back in 2017. I think that there is an iron triangle that contains Multiculturalism, Open Borders, and Robust Welfare State and it’s the lack of the third in the US that allows us to edge close to being okay with the first two and it’s the inclusion of the third that has the Nordic countries do stuff that doesn’t include the first (e.g., language laws) and the more attempts to have all three at the same time result in such things as we see going on in Europe… e.g., Brexit, Far-Right parties, etc.)Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to DensityDuck
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                says:

                1. Where are these “severely dysfunctional cultures” he’s talking about? How do they differ from the severely dysfunctional cultures of native born Americans?

                2. He says that Hispanics and blacks have less trust in people than white folks do; This is nonsense without any sort of evidence.

                3, 4, 5. He asserts that countries with a strong dominant culture are better than those without; He conjures up images of Balkanized cultures fighting and institutions riven by dissent and distrust.

                But…it is exactly the native born American white anti-immigrant culture of the Trumpists that exemplifies this. This is the lurking fear I’ve written about.

                They are the ones who are in the minority, and refusing to assimilate into the larger culture; They are the ones who angrily demand that the wider culture respect their holidays and cultural totems.

                The “Sullivan Rule” is a rule they themselves coined that says that any institution not expressly conservative will become liberal over time;
                They have developed a deep hatred for institutions like colleges and science organizations.

                Immigrants and nonwhite and non-Christian groups have adapted remarkably well to a multicultural world. They happily live and work in a world where their holidays are ignored and their cultural totems are disregarded as alien oddities.

                It is the white native born people who exemplify the very problem they cite.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Where are these “severely dysfunctional cultures” he’s talking about? How do they differ from the severely dysfunctional cultures of native born Americans?

                This question sort of gives the game away.

                You can’t say “there’s no such thing as a severely dysfunctional culture!” if you want to keep “those toothless hillbillies have a severely dysfunctional culture! TRUMP COUNTRY IS A SEVERELY DYSFUNCTIONAL CULTURE!!!” in your back pocket.

                I mean, a better play would be to ask them what a severely dysfunctional culture would look like and bet that they say something that you can apply to Trump culture as a gotcha.

                I mean, if you’re willing to say “TRUMP CULTURE IS DYSFUNCTIONAL!”, then that means that you’re willing to say that there are cultures that are dysfunctional and now you’re stuck arguing for it being okay to have more dysfunction added.

                Which is an uphill battle.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Or maybe having pockets of “severely dysfunctional cultures” is the norm throughout the world and throughout history.

                Maybe we should strive to accept other cultures as best we can, and be more reluctant to castigate them as “dysfunctional” unless absolutely necessary.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                “unless absolutely necessary”

                Is this going to be like “punching up”?

                Because I think it’s going to be like “punching up”.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                And we could seek to resolve the physical problems those cultures have which could be leading to whatever “severe dysfunction” means. ie universal health care, substance abuse treatment, mental health care, improve infrastructure. I know who is going to be a hard nope on that.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
                Ignored
                says:

                I would be interested to see a politician argue that it is our responsibility to provide universal health care, substance abuse treatment, mental health care, and improve infrastructure in 3rd World Countries.

                Who is closest among the Dems to this position, do you think?

                Warren?Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Gee, i did see parts of the good ol US of A referenced above.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
                Ignored
                says:

                Oh, you meant in the US? Fair enough.

                “We should fix those things in the US before we start contributing to those problems.”Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Well that is a collection of words strung together.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, John Kennedy, LBJ, Richard Nixon, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

                They argued that in order to win hearts and minds we needed to build medical clinics and schools and infrastructure projects in countries like postwar Europe, Vietnam and Afghanistan to prevent them from sliding into chaos and potential hostility to America.

                This isn’t a “gotcha”;
                Remember that one of the most persuasive arguments for free trade agreements such as NAFTA is that it lifts people all around the world out of poverty and dysfunction.

                Helping other countries avoid dysfunction is even today a major selling point of our intervention, as you see right here on the threads about our involvement in the Mideast.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                “Helping other countries avoid dysfunction is even today a major selling point of our intervention…”

                yes it is indeedy the “shithole countries” argument!Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to DensityDuck
                Ignored
                says:

                No, it is the “flyover elites vs heartland proles” argument.
                Or whatever feeds the sense of grievance and resentment you prefer.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to greginak
                Ignored
                says:

                “And we could seek to resolve the physical problems those cultures have which could be leading to whatever “severe dysfunction” means. ”

                lol

                so it’s the “shithole countries” argument, now?Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to DensityDuck
                Ignored
                says:

                Umm huh…what are you talking about?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
                Ignored
                says:

                Whether or not “dysfunctional cultures” exist and, if so, whether we have the ability to say “we don’t want additional dysfunction, we already have too much of it”.

                (Oh, and we totally *DO* have dysfunction, as evidenced by the MAGA people who should just move to Somalia already.)Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                This is yet another collection of words formed into sentences. What it means is yet to be ascertained.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                A reminder that the drug war was a previous attempt to prevent additional dysfunction as was eugenics.

                On the other hand, so was Social Security, and child labor laws.

                This is why it is dangerous to be careless in tossing out terms like “dysfunctional cultures”;

                Not that they don’t exist, just that with some more rigorous examination, those terms tend to be markers of outgroup status.

                I would think that people who are generally skeptical of using government power to solve societal problems would be equally reluctant to hand this sort of power over to border enforcement bureaucracies.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                “This is why it is dangerous to be careless in tossing out terms like ‘dysfunctional cultures’…”

                what’s amusing here is how you assume that A: Jaybird is using the term “dysfunctional cultures” as his own speech rather than an example of what someone else might say against multiculturalism, and that B: it isn’t you who he’s thinking of as a person who’d use the term “dysfunctional cultures”.

                I mean, let’s repeat that last point. It’s you. He means you. He is absolutely talking about you when he describes people who would express concern at the notion of allowing “dysfunctional cultures” to be part of the larger multicultural conversation.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to DensityDuck
                Ignored
                says:

                I thought I was supposed to play the crazy Open Border role here.

                What did I say to get that so backward?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                It was when you gave the game away above.

                I’ll repeat what I said:
                You can’t say “there’s no such thing as a severely dysfunctional culture!” if you want to keep “those toothless hillbillies have a severely dysfunctional culture! TRUMP COUNTRY IS A SEVERELY DYSFUNCTIONAL CULTURE!!!” in your back pocket.Report

              • Avatar JoeSal in reply to DensityDuck
                Ignored
                says:

                What’s amusing is a facet of culture that raises minimum wages to be non-competitive, supports copious government regulations which leads to housing shortages, outsourcing, ever increasing taxes, massive immigration, which leads to the formation of the homeless and jobless.

                Then strolls by tent city and laments: “WHAT IS TO BE DONE!!!”

                Again turns around and asks the question:
                “If you have some real stories of oppression or harm from multiculturalism here, feel free to share.”

                and there is no attempt at connecting the dots, a complete mystery……..Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to JoeSal
                Ignored
                says:

                True, I’ve never connected multicultural tolerance to homelessness.Report

              • Avatar JoeSal in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                That’s your issue, not mine.Report

  10. Avatar Rufus F.
    Ignored
    says:

    I remember reading a column by Ross Douthat (probably- it was pretty Douthatty) in which the writer said that it is risky nowadays to speak out against “the doctrine of multiculturalism” under which we now live. I remember thinking it was so strange that we live under a doctrine and most of us couldn’t say what it states. I have lived in cities and they have been de facto “multicultural” but that’s like saying we live under the doctrine of gravity.Report

  11. Avatar Urusigh
    Ignored
    says:

    Wrong on your first claim in no less than 2 ways: 1) immigrants are not in general as law-abiding as natives, they are notably less likely to report crimes, cooperate with police investigations, and in many Democrat strongholds are frequently less likely to be charged even when committing the same crime as a native. Even then our prison population is disproportionately immigrant. I can list multiple examples of this. 2) Your defense is dodging the issue by using the wrong metric, even if immigrants committed crimes at a lower rate, the presence of those immigrant criminals still raises the absolute number of criminals and criminal acts within our borders. Bluntly, without them here we would also have fewer murders, rapes, etc. Would you like the numbers? 3) This is properly speaking a debate on multiculturalism, not immigration alone, so your comparison between immigrant and native doesn’t actually address the relevant cultural composition of the immigration or the natives. The US was founded primarily on the basis of Jude-Christian religious traditions, Anglo-Saxon legal traditions, and Enlightenment philosophical traditions. So I’m just as opposed to transnational sub-cultures contrary to those (I. E. gang culture, which accounts for the vast majority of “native” violent crimes) and not opposed to immigration of people from any country who embrace our values and laws. This isn’t a fight about “how many”, it’s about “which ones” we admit and what we expect of them in return. Failure to assimilate is harmful to the host nation.

    Right on bitter culture clashes, but you seem to have missed that you just reinforced my own points. Currently ~12% of American residents are immigrants. Another ~13% are the 1st generation children of those immigrants. Finally, ~3.5% of the population are illegal immigrants, mostly Mexican and Central American. So more than 1/4 of Americans today are “immigrants”, overwhelmingly non-Western, which in turn make up roughly half the current Democrat party. Even if all demographic voting patterns {I. E. ~70%+ of Hispanic immigrants vote Democrat) were held even, if we hadn’t admitted those immigrants the difference in demographics would have given Republicans a national popular vote majority, majority control of both chambers of Congress, the Presidency, and enough state legislatures to pass Constitutional Amendments on a party line vote. Bluntly, the Democrats have become such an Un-American party that the only way they can stay competitive is to constantly import non-Americans to vote for them. That’s literally foreign interference in our elections. Most Democrat controlled states suffer net out-migration because of their poor governance and overregulation, without immigrants constantly arriving these blue states would actually have a shrinking population, further reducing their numbers in the House. In short, if we paused immigration for even a single generation, the Democrat party would either need to move right on the issues far enough to meaningfully compromise or they would cease to be relevant as R supermajorities overrule them.

    Irony? How so? Westerners legally moving to another western nation aren’t much of a cultural threat. They assimilated because they were already quite similar. That is not the case regarding most of today’s immigrants (though certain sub-groups of Asians, Middle Eastern, and Africans do a much better job of it than others). It’s certainly not true that the Italians, Poles, Irish, or Jews immigrated illegally. Non-westerners tipping the national demographics into majority Non-westerners is an extreme cultural threat. As noted above, that’s basically the difference between a mostly native Republican supermajority vs a substantially foreign Democrat supermajority. If you don’t think those will be very different countries to live in you haven’t paid attention to the party platforms and agendas of late.

    If the OT commentators arrived today… Interesting. Like any other President, Trump is only deporting illegal aliens. Is there some reason you assume that most of our fellows here would not have followed the legal process to immigrate?

    I’m happy to provide facts on whatever points you ask for them. I’ve simply learned not to linkstorm up front because some sites auto-filters flag that as spamming, ditto for the same account posting the same links under multiple articles. So now I only link upon request.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Urusigh
      Ignored
      says:

      In what sense of the word are Mexicans and Central Americans “non-Western”?Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Urusigh
      Ignored
      says:

      Man, talk about giving away the game.
      This is a perfect example of the lurking fear I mention elsewhere.

      We go from talking about undocumented aliens, to those of non-European ancestry without skipping a beat then concluding that about a quarter of Americans are not Americans, while acknowledging the real purpose here is to preserve a Republican (read: European ancestry) America.

      So all the fuss and fury over immigration rules and whether people are breaking them is a wholly irrelevant sideshow; So long as they are from Mexico or Central America, they are undesirable and by definition will always be “Not American” no matter what their papers say.

      And notice the bit about how Mexicans are very different from Americans, but “certain Asians, Middle Eastern and Africans” are OK?

      This is an example of how “white” or “western” or “culturally similar” is an ever shifting goalpost that depends on the whims and needs of the dominant group. Today Ashkenazim and Chinese are cool, but of course that can change tomorrow. Ironically, one of our first immigration laws was the Chinese Exclusion Act, and in 1939 “None Is Too Many” was our standpoint towards Jews.

      But here is the nut graph:

      “The US was founded primarily on the basis of Jude-Christian religious traditions, Anglo-Saxon legal traditions, and Enlightenment philosophical traditions.

      The idea that America “was founded primarily on the basis of Jude-Christian religious traditions” is at war with the “Enlightenment philosophical traditions.”

      America can either be an liberal democracy within Enlightenment philosophy, or it can be an ethno-state but it can’t be both.

      Which is why the American conservative movement is now questioning liberal democracy and embracing ethno-states like Russia and Hungary.Report

      • Avatar Urusigh in reply to Chip Daniels
        Ignored
        says:

        Chip Daniels, I’d appreciate it if you reread my posts and replied again because it seems that you have lumped me in with a stereotype in your mind and replied to that straw man rather than engaged with my actual statements. I have repeatedly noted that this discussion is on cultures, I have at no time based any argument on race, nor even necessarily on country of origin, though the numbers are fairly clear that, for example: A recent study by the RAND Corporation reveals that Japanese, Korean, and Chinese immigrants enter with wages much lower than those of native-born workers, but within 10 to 15 years these newcomers have reached parity with the native-born. On the other hand, Mexican immigrants enter with very low wages and experience a persistent wage gap relative to the native-born, even after differences in education are taken into account. That the Asian cultures generally align much closer with the American work ethic than Hispanic cultures is not particular controversial, yet it is also true that American Hispanics currently have the highest rate of small business entrepreneurship in America, so as a matter of culture the Asian countries are generally preferred for immigration, but each applicant still needs to be judged as individuals so we don’t miss out on the exceptions like Hispanic entrepreneurs. I find it hypocrisy of the highest order that Democrats insist on massive funding for the DoEd and work programs, but refuse to adopt the policies that have worked so well for Canada and filter the inflow for those immigrants most likely to actually assimilate culturally and succeed economically. I am NOT an ethno-Nationalist, I am a Creedal-Nationalist, I define citizens not by blood or soil but by adherence to our founding values.

        “Today Ashkenazim and Chinese are cool, but of course that can change tomorrow.” If their behavior changes or our national needs do, of course it could change. Strong backs was all it took to be mutually beneficial when we had an agrarian economy, pretty much any body was helpful when we needed to fill our factories, but in today’s information economy anyone lacking a college degree and good English fluency is pretty much trapped on the bottom rungs of the economic ladder for life. The state of our economy matters, the skills of the immigrants matters, and the cultures of the immigrants matters. What would the alternative conclusion be, race essentialism? We both know that’s scientifically debunked BS.

        If you believe that Jude-Christian religion and Enlightenment philosophy can’t work in conjunction then you don’t understand either. The religious tradition provides a moral guide for individual conduct and character formation, the Enlightenment Philosophy provides practical principles for organizing functioning pluralistic societies (I. E. Free Speech, property rights, etc). The latter tends to break down in practice without the former. It is not for nothing that John Adams said “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” For an easy example of this, just compare the trend lines on percentage of the population that attends church regularly vs news mentions of “Constitutional crisis”. It’s not like the Democrats are being particularly subtle these days in openly disavowing the Founding Fathers (even to the point of tearing down monuments and defacing artwork), advocating for a “Living” Constitution rather than Originalism, attacking defining elements of it such as the Electoral College and number of Senators per State, and trying to pass legislation that the courts keep having to dismiss as violations of fundamental human rights such as Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Religion. Name pretty much any significant Liberal thinker whose ideas were formative to our Constitutional Republic and they will be summarily dismissed by today’s “liberals” as mere “Dead Old White Men”. Which is why the Conservatives in America are busy fighting back against a “Progressive” Democrat party whose policies are neither democratic, nor Liberal. We started from Liberalism, it is the Conservatives who are trying to keep it that way.Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Urusigh
          Ignored
          says:

          You are just using “culture” in an arbitrary way to selectively judge people and in a way that tracks race and not culture. Asians and Hispanics are not cultures any more than Europeans or Africans.

          You assert that Hispanics don’t have the same work ethic as American, but have high rates of entrepreneurship, so Asians are preferable, but we need to judge people as individuals…

          If we need to judge people as individuals, why go through all this amateur anthropology about “cultures”? Why not, y’know, judge people as individuals and forget about where they came from?

          And this business about how the “religious tradition provides a moral guide for individual conduct and character formation”…

          Don’t Muslim and Buddhist and Hindu and Confucian traditions do this very thing? Aren’t Muslims and Buddhists and Hindus able to be every bit as American as you or I?

          Just as they are, right off the boat, without changing a thing about themselves, can’t they be authentically American?

          Apparently not!
          Because you go on to state that you are a “Creedal-Nationalist, I define citizens not by blood or soil but by adherence to our founding values.”

          But…literally, that is a contradiction with the Constitution (the Original one, not the living one).

          It states in Article VI, Clause 3. that no federal officeholder or employee can be required to adhere to or accept any particular religion or doctrine as a prerequisite to holding a federal office or a federal government job.

          So like, someone can step off the boat, and declare loudly “I believe America’s founding values are crap!” and still, according to the Constitution (the Original one, not the living one) be eligible to hold office.Report

          • Avatar Urusigh in reply to Chip Daniels
            Ignored
            says:

            Sigh. You’re a prolific commenter, but the only time so far you’ve actually cited my points was in reply to someone else. Despite my repeatedly offering to back up any of my points with hard citations and numbers, you’ve yet to ask for a single one. If anyone here is an ideologue unconcerned with facts, it seems to be you.

            “If we need to judge people as individuals, why go through all this amateur anthropology about “cultures”? Why not, y’know, judge people as individuals and forget about where they came from?”

            At least three reasons : 1) In many cases we lack sufficient information to do otherwise. President Trump’s so-called “Muslim ban” merely denied visas originating in countries that the Obama State Department had already placed on the internal list for increased visa scrutiny because the countries in question were not providing even the bare minimum paper trail to verify those people’s identities. 2) Because people’s behavior as individuals and their behavior in large homogeneous groups are not always the same: without even referencing ethnicity at all I think we can agree that Trump supporters in Deep Blue cities like NY are considerably more careful to behave according to the local norms there and Democrats deep in rural Trump country are likewise less prone to openly violate the social norms there than either are when safely surrounded by like-minded fellows. 3) America is still the #1 destination for immigration in the entire world. There are many times more applicants than slots, so secondary and even tertiary qualities are going to be called on as tie-breakers on a regular basis no matter what. It makes far more sense to do that on a deliberate basis with national interests in mind than to leave it to luck.

            “Don’t Muslim and Buddhist and Hindu and Confucian traditions do this very thing? Aren’t Muslims and Buddhists and Hindus able to be every bit as American as you or I?”

            Frankly, that depends. Is a Muslim who commits an honor killing on US soil not preforming an Un-American act? Is a Hindu treating people according to the caste system respecting the founding principle” All men are created equal”? Our Nation was founded on a particular set of values that other religious traditions do not necessarily have complete overlap with. So there’s an inherent conflict for some of these believers. When that belief doesn’t directly conflict with our values it’s not a big deal (IE I don’t care if someone’s faith prohibits them personally from eating a hamburger, so long as they don’t try to prevent other people from doing so). It is a big deal when that belief runs more along the lines of “Kill the infidel!”. At that point the person is either Un-American if they start stoning heretics in the streets (murder by our standards) or unfaithful (by their own standards) to their religion. Are you really going to argue that an ISIS terrorist throwing gays off of rooftops is just as “American” and fit for US citizenship as anyone else? It only makes sense to filter out the former before they get here.

            I think you’re actually rather hoisted by your petard on this point as your earlier comment about Trump supporters being the ones who need to assimilate to a different culture rather strongly implies that you consider them to be Un-American. You aren’t really disagreeing that we need a dominant majority culture for newcomers to assimilate into, you just prefer a different one than we started with. So I’m curious, what’s your opinion regarding the moral value of colonialism and cultural imperialism? Because that seems to be what you are advocating, that our native culture should be conquered and replaced by a foreign occupation. I’m a bit tired of the logical contradiction of people insisting “all cultures are equally valuable and we should not attempt to make moral judgements of them… Except those of people who vote republican, they’re deplorable.”

            “So like, someone can step off the boat, and declare loudly “I believe America’s founding values are crap!” and still, according to the Constitution (the Original one, not the living one) be eligible to hold office.”

            And your intended point is? They could also shout “Heil Hitler” and be legally qualified for office, but I think we can agree that such a person is not morally or culturally fit to actually hold office or even be admitted here. I’ll happily call a “White Supremacist” Un-American and deny him entry. Can you say the same of those who consider whites inherently and culturally inferior to their own race or culture? Either defend your double standard or renounce it already. Interestingly enough, the law does give the President wide powers to deny entry to any person or class of persons at any time as he may see fit to ensure the national interests. It’s not a radical theory that we’re allowed to control our borders in our own interests, it’s established law and practice in pretty much every country on the planet, including ours. Seriously, do you accuse Canadians of being ethno-nationalists for their immigration policies?Report

            • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Urusigh
              Ignored
              says:

              “I’ll happily call a “White Supremacist” Un-American and deny him entry.”

              I wouldn’t.

              The idea of an ideological test to be admitted to America is repulsive.

              I do hold that Trumpists’ values, and white supremacists’ values are not the ones American citizens should aspire to.

              But they are not “Un-Americans”.

              Trumpists are still Americans and entitled to due process and all the rights of any other Americans. If a pro-Trump Russian were to present himself at the border and request citizenship I would grant it.

              See the founding principle of America is that there are no founding principles. Our governing document the Constitution sets the citizens as sovereign, subject to no person or creed.

              The citizens are free to fashion our government in any way we want to.

              If a supermajority of citizens in 3/4 of the states wanted to for example, we could abolish the First Amendment and establish Sharia Law, or Unitarianism or the Flying Spaghetti Monster as a state religion.

              Your logic sees the American citizen as the subject of a creed or set of values and principles which may never be overturned.

              But that isn’t what our governing document says.Report

              • Avatar Urusigh in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                “The idea of an ideological test to be admitted to America is repulsive.”

                That’s an interesting perspective given that pretty much every functioning country on the planet controls their borders with their own national interests first. That is in fact their responsibility as nations, to protect their own people. I’ll repeat the question more broadly, do you feel this same revulsion toward the immigration policies of all other countries or is America uniquely the object of your distaste? The alternative would require you to knowingly welcome the most vile monsters humanity can produce, knowing full well that they will spend their time here purely in inflicting harm on all they encounter. Given that you started this debate by challenging me to list what illiberal harm immigrants cause, it seems hypocritical for you to now no longer care about whether they are illiberal or harmful. Was your initial reply to me made in bad faith?

                ” I do hold that Trumpists’ values, and white supremacists’ values are not the ones American citizens should aspire to. But they are not “Un-Americans”.”

                Then you have declared a meaningless distinction without a difference. Those who do not hold American values are by definition not culturally American. Values are a defining component of culture. As for me, I have at no time claimed that anyone born within our borders is not legally a citizen or that our laws do not apply to all within those borders (and our citizens outside them). Do not confuse Un-American (cultural domain) with non-American/foreigner (legal domain).

                “See the founding principle of America is that there are no founding principles. Our governing document the Constitution sets the citizens as sovereign, subject to no person or creed.”

                To make such a statement requires an astounding depth of historical ignorance. I strongly suggest that you reread the DoI, the Constitution, and supporting documents like the federalist papers to better understand the intent of the great work. You really can’t get from “We hold these truths to be self-evident… ” to “there are no founding principles” by any chain of valid logic. By that argument you’ve essentially claimed that there are no inalienable human rights either since any law can be overturned with sufficient majority. And you call yourself a liberal?

                “But that isn’t what our governing document says.”

                I refer you back to Mr. John Adams, who speaks on the matter with greater eloquence than I am capable of: “While our Country remains untainted with the Principles and manners, which are now producing desolation in so many Parts of the World: while she continues Sincere and incapable of insidious and impious Policy: We shall have the Strongest Reason to rejoice in the local destination assigned Us by Providence. But should the People of America, once become capable of that deep simulation towards one another and towards foreign nations, which assumes the Language of Justice and moderation while it is practicing Iniquity and Extravagance; and displays in the most captivating manner the charming Pictures of Candour frankness & sincerity while it is rioting in rapine and Insolence: this Country will be the most miserable Habitation in the World. Because We have no Government armed with Power capable of contending with human morality and Religion. Avarice, Ambition, Revenge or Galantry, would break the strongest Cords of our Constitution as a Whale goes through a Net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

                Those words were spoken 11 Oct 1798, but they remain quite true today. Which rather brings us full circle doesn’t it? A sufficient majority of Un-American people could mangle, eviscerate, or outright replace the finest founding document in history, as could any sufficiently great a foreign military power conquer and occupy us, but in either case the country that existed afterward would not be “America” in anything more than name only.

                Incidentally, you asked for examples of multiculturalism causing harm and I offered several, but you still haven’t engaged the facts on any of them. Are you perhaps planning to make a case of your own at some point that multiculturalism is in fact more beneficial than not? If you’re not going to check my sources, than I’d at least like to check yours.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Urusigh
                Ignored
                says:

                “A sufficient majority of Un-American people could mangle, eviscerate, or outright replace the finest founding document in history”

                YES! A thousand times, yes!

                That’s why the finest document in history has been “mangled” 27 times and its meaning has been radically altered.

                The Constitution explicitly makes provision for future mangling, evisceration, and replacement.

                John Adams was a fine man, but those words never made it into the Constitution.
                The fact is, the actual Constitution made no mention of anyone needing to be moral and religious. America is open to anyone, religious or not, moral or not.

                Because once again, the People are the supreme power in America, and whatever we say is American, is American.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Eh, the first 10 Amendments should kinda be seen as part and parcel of the original document.

                It’s only been “mangled” 17 times.

                Plus whatever the Supreme Court did to it.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                That the guys who drafted it also completely scrapped Constitution 1.0, and with Constitution 2.0 believed it needed ten separate patches and fixes should indicate that they were not overly concerned about the “finest document in history.”

                Maybe this is how we should refer to the Constitution, as Constitution v2.27.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Hey, even The Bible needed a New Testament.Report

              • Avatar Urusigh in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Words have meanings when written. Legislation has an intended effect. Neither may be correctly interpreted without including both as context. The original version left out many things that were considered “to go without saying” at the time. That’s why the Bill of Rights was originally mocked as completely unnecessary by many of the people involved: they considered it genuinely unthinkable that any government would even attempt to breach these inherent human rights or that the populace would ever permit such a government to do so. Many of the attempted laws thrown out by the courts on the basis of those amendments since would have been considered a completely implausible conspiracy theory if suggested to the people of the time. It was never intended to be an exhaustive list of principles never to be breached because it was not believed that such breaches would ever be attempted. We pass laws prohibiting only those things that we actually expect humans to do.

                “The fact is, the actual Constitution made no mention of anyone needing to be moral and religious.”

                Because that was a given. Human nature and the qualities necessary to the people of a Constitutional Republic were much discussed by the Founders and used in arguments in the writing of the Constitution. Would you like me to recommend the appropriate historical references to you? For example: You won’t find the phrase “separation of church and state” in there anywhere either, it’s actually found only in a private letter, but it’s widely understood today that the constitution itself prohibits a “State Church”. A knowledge of the supporting documents and arguments is essential to understanding the text, as is some knowledge of the Anglo-Saxon legal tradition which it was built upon. The document does not stand in historical isolation, disconnected from all philosophy and jurisprudence that came before and discussion that went into it.

                The People” who wrote it were overwhelmingly Christian and it was assumed the country would stay that way perpetually. Even the doctrine of “separation of church and state” appears solely in a letter reassuring a pastor that the government would not attempt to dictate theology to the churches or believers. The context of that discussion was not that the government should not be christian in nature (which was assumed since both the officeholders and the populace they represented were christian), but that there would be no discrimination by the government on the basis of denomination (i.e. Quakers vs Methodists). Indeed, even the question of Protestant vs Catholic was not yet nationally relevant, much less Christianity as a whole vs any other religion. There was no intent that the national government be inherently secular or otherwise exclude religious influence and values.

                “whatever we say is American, is American.”

                Than the word “American” literally has no meaning to you, you’ve delegated it’s definition out to others. Somewhat amusingly to me, this also means that you are trapped into agreeing with President Trump when he calls someone “un-American”. If it truly means whatever the people say it means, than it means whatever our elected representative uses it to mean. The moment you tie the meaning of things purely to the will of the majority you have forfeited the capability to meaningfully disagree with that majority.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Urusigh
                Ignored
                says:

                “Than the word “American” literally has no meaning to you…”

                Correct, and why should it?

                What you’re trying to do here is construct an orthodox creed of what it means to be an American, and thereby separate the citizens into classes, of some being Authentic American and others Un-American.
                Even the way you quote John Adams has this whiff of Gospel to it as if he were the last word on the subject.
                In fact, according to the law, the Constitution is only what the SCOTUS says it is, and the writings of the Justices is every bit as meaningful as John Adams.
                So why quote Adams, instead of Felix Frankfurter, or William Brennan, or Earl Warren?

                But why quote anyone at all?
                What I’m saying is that there is no creed, there is no fixed definition of what it means to be an American.

                To correct my imprecise wording above, whatever each person says is American, is American.

                A Nazi on Stormfront is as authentically American as AOC. Someone who just landed a few moments ago is as American as someone who lived here a hundred years.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                So I guess you’ll stop complaining about Republicans being vassals of Vladimir Putin, since they’re just as American as anyone?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner
                Ignored
                says:

                Just because someone aids and abets a hostile foreign dictator doesn’t mean they are not authentic Americans.

                In 1939, 10,000 authentic Americans rallied in Madison Square Garden and saluted the swastika.Report

              • Avatar Urusigh in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                “Than the word “American” literally has no meaning to you…” Correct, and why should it?

                A question I already answered before you even asked it: because words have meanings. Since that itself apparently didn’t get the point across, I’ll elaborate. That is in fact the entire purpose of a word: to communicate a meaning. To declare that a word has no meaning is to render it no longer a word, but rather a mere jumble of sounds or letters signifying nothing. As such, a word literally cannot be defined solely by each person using it (as you suggest). Under such a confusion of endlessly multiplying meanings no listener can reasonably determine what meaning was intended. Likewise, a word’s meaning is naturally exclusive of other meanings: To give any definition to the word “American” is to implicitly bound the concept such that it is inherently possible to compare and contrast other meanings against that meaning and thus describe those other meanings as more or less similar to “American” and thus more or less “un-American”. It is quite impossible for you to logically call anyone “authentically” a thing that you deny has any external existence from that person. After all, by your vacuous lack of definition, how could anyone possibly be anything other than “authentically American”? By combining those terms you don’t give meaning to “American”, you instead also lose the meaning of “Authentic”. That’s not how language works. You can say “gleep bloop glorp” all you want, but without a shared, fixed meaning to those utterances you have not actually used language or communicated anything.

                “What you’re trying to do here is construct an orthodox creed of what it means to be an American, and thereby separate the citizens into classes, of some being Authentic American and others Un-American.”

                That construct already exists, and has for more than 200 hundred years. My use of it is otherwise known as “grounding my arguments in historical context and empirical facts.” The only practice more pointlessly ignorant than reinventing the wheel is to do so and then insist that the wheel did not exist prior to that reinvention. I know that in the course of history there have been many better thinkers and speakers than myself, so I quote when appropriate.

                “In fact, according to the law, the Constitution is only what the SCOTUS says it is, and the writings of the Justices is every bit as meaningful as John Adams.”

                I’ll be happy to start quoting Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and many of their predecessors if you will find that more persuasive. They frequently reference the rest of the Anglo-Saxon legal tradition, state constitutions that predate the Constitution, and other records from the period when parsing the meaning and intent of Constitutional Clauses.

                They start their analysis with primary sources just as I do, so you can hardly blame me for skipping the middlemen in the interest of brevity. John Adams has the virtue of historical proximity and importance, wide name recognition, concise wording, and a certain clarity of common speech that lends itself well to wordcount-constrained mediums like internet comment sections. Why quote Adams, or anyone at all? In short, I’m engaging in an appeal to valid authority. John Adams is eminently qualified as a primary source: He assisted in drafting the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and was its foremost advocate in Congress. Adams was the primary author of the Massachusetts Constitution in 1780, which influenced the United States’ own constitution, as did his earlier publication “Thoughts on Government”. He was appointed a delegate to the Constitutional Convention (though he was unable to attend due to serving overseas at the time), our first serving Vice-President, and 2nd President of these United States. He’s far from being the only relevant voice, but no proper historical analysis of the Founding can exclude his views on the matter.Report

  12. Avatar Aaron David
    Ignored
    says:

    (I would just like to extend a welcome to the commenting culture here at Ordinary Times to Urusigh , and a quick word. One link will not trip the spam filter, but more than that will put you in moderation. If that happens, and it sometimes happens in any case, a second post saying that you are in moderation is usually enough to get a moderator to release it.)Report

  13. Avatar Urusigh
    Ignored
    says:

    Thanks, good info. I tend to be a bit verbose and sometimes pedantic, but I love a good debate and respect the people who offer me one. I can’t promise to be agreeable (I’m trying to stay out of group-think bubbles, so if I prefer to read and comment at a mix of sites that don’t already have someone saying the same things I would), but I’ll try to be polite in my disagreements.Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to Urusigh
      Ignored
      says:

      That’s a plus in my book, even though you represent an obsolete culture that debated with facts and data threaded together with clear logic and carefully crafted prose. Not as clumsy and random as a Tweet, an elegant argument for a more civilized age.

      In some of these debates over the merits of multiculturalism I’ve pointed out that some of the basic assumptions seem to stem from the concept of cultural equivalency, that there is no such thing as a better or worse culture. That is perhaps an extension of the earlier idea of linguistic equivalency, that all languages are basically equal for conveying information. However, the leap from one field to another might be as lazy and invalid as extending Einstein’s special relativity to sociology.

      The obvious refutation of cultural equivalency is that if all cultures are equal, then going backwards to the Dark Ages is the same as going forward to a Star Trek utopia (where we interact with other cultures by firing multiple volleys of high-yield warheads at their ship as a form of greeting), so the whole liberal progressive project is completely pointless and they need to quit bitching about rednecks. Indeed, it would mean that a multicultural society isn’t any better than a society founded on race-based human slavery, or a rigid social monoculture. So folks either have to give up on the idea of social change and social progress, or give up on the idea that all cultures are equal, because the two views are completely irreconcilable.

      But sometimes it’s simply easier to point out that we’re getting waves of immigrants who, by progressive standards, are a bunch of unrepentant racist and sexist religious dogmatists with a propensity for extreme violence, and who will start voting Republican at the drop of a hat.Report

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