...first define “culture”
Harry Richardson is a long-time student of Islam and author of best seller, "the Story Of Mohammed - Islam Unveiled', http://thestoryofmohammed.blogspot.com.au
All of today’s Australians (even the Aboriginal people) are either migrants, or descended from people who migrated here from overseas. From the founding of the modern Australian State at Federation, until the early 1970’s, the basis of our immigration policy was more or less the same as that of the United States.
This was articulated clearly in the following letter from Theodore Roosevelt to the American Defense Society:
“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.”
This policy worked because our earliest immigrants worked hard to become Australians. The great majority were from Europe and the UK, whose cultures were quite similar to ours. Cultural harmony is no problem with harmonious cultures. Children of immigrants were almost indistinguishable from their school mates.
These immigrants turned Australia into one of the most prosperous and successful countries in the world. Sometime between the early 1970s and the early 1990s however, every “Western” nation around the world (excluding wealthy “non Western” countries such as Japan) decided to implement a previously unheard of doctrine known as multiculturalism.
In Australia, this policy was introduced in 1973 by controversial Whitlam Minister and suspected Mafia collaborator Al Grassby. The public was never consulted about this policy, and the concept of “culture” was never defined.
If you have ever been to a “cultural” festival or celebration, you would most likely have found it full of exotic spicy foods, ethnic people doing lively, interesting dances and wearing unusual and brightly coloured clothing. When we hear the term “culture,” these days, this is what immediately springs to mind.
If this were all that was meant by the term “culture,” then a multicultural human society might exist in peace and harmony. What is there NOT to like about that?
However, the flaws in this policy come into stark relief when we understand the deeper meaning of the word “culture”. This meaning is far less visible and will never be on display at any “cultural” festival, but is in fact, far more important. Culture in its deepest sense, refers to the set of values which are used by a society to determine its ethics. It is those things which a society, as a whole, considers to be right or wrong.
An example: Hindus consider it very wrong to kill a cow, whereas most Westerners are happy to enjoy a nice rump steak. For this reason, India may have laws outlawing the killing of cows, whilst we have no such law.
This has nothing to do with ethnicity or race. If you or I had grown up in a Hindu family in India then we would also probably consider killing a cow to be morally wrong. This is the basis of any culture, a set of shared beliefs in what constitutes right and wrong which are shared by one group but not another.
These values are passed on from one generation to the next by parents, religious institutions, media, schools, peers and other institutions.
Each of the different cultures has its own concept of right and wrong. There is no universal definition of what is right and what is wrong. We in the West tend to rather arrogantly assume that the Ten Commandments’ principles of not to kill, steal, cheat, or lie etc. exist in every culture but this is demonstrably not true.
In the past (and probably even today in remote areas) there have been warrior societies where killing was considered a rite of passage for all males. The Vikings were somewhat famous for glorifying rape, pillage and plunder and there are numerous examples of cultures which considered particular Western (Judeo/Christian based) “sins” to be virtues.
Going back to our original example, we cannot say that all Westerners will agree to killing cows for food, or that no Hindus will ever have a sneaky t-bone steak. However most Hindus would consider eating beef to be “wrong” and for most Westerners it is "OK".
The doctrine of “multiculturalism” as opposed to “multi ethnicity,” dictates that groups of people with different cultures will live in one society and retain their culture, rather than trying to assimilate into the culture of the host nation.
The first problem with this lies in the fact that the laws which a society makes, and agrees to be governed by, are simply an extension of the culture of that society.
So what happens when two very different cultures live under a single set of laws? How can you keep the Hindus happy if you allow the killing of cows and yet how can you ban it without upsetting Westerners who want to eat beef?
What are the options in this situation?
1. Override the Hindus and keep the Westerners happy.
2. Override the Westerners and keep the Hindus happy.
3. Persuade the Hindus to accept the culture of their new place of residence.
4. Make two or more sets of laws for people depending on their particular culture.
5. Separate the two groups and put a border between them with separate rules for each.
Now the first two options are really only one, the majority tends to override the minority in a democracy. Of course whilst there is a huge majority of one particular culture the smaller one has to fit in with, or assimilate into, the host culture. In other words, the culture of the group with the most political power will be enforced and members of the minor culture just have to grin and bear it (unless their numbers grow to a point where they can wield enough political power to change things).
Option three is the doctrine of assimilation which used to hold sway in most Western countries and still does in the rest of the world. The reasoning behind it is that if someone wishes to be a part of your society, then they should be willing to make an effort to adopt the culture which has shaped that society. If they do not wish to do so then why did they come in the first place? This was Theodore Roosevelt’s option.
The doctrine of “multiculturalism” however views this as wrong. It insists that migrants coming into a nation should not be compelled to abandon their original culture, but should instead be encouraged to retain it (and the costs of doing so should be borne by citizens of the host country).
Sometimes however, the cultural differences are much worse than just "sacred cows". Sometimes, the differences lie in paedophilia, female genital mutilation, the killing of homosexuals, child marriage, and grotesque punishments.
The inevitable consequence of this approach is that the law of the land will need to be altered in some way, to accommodate the culture of the new migrants. This could either be a whole new set of laws, or a series of exemptions based upon the cultural preferences of different citizens.
A recent example from Geelong Victoria:
Registered sex offender, Ali Jaffari, an Afghani immigrant, accused of attempted child-stealing (his third serious offence), had all charges against him dropped after a Magistrate told prosecutors in a pre-trial hearing he would have trouble finding Jaffari guilty. Magistrate Ron Saines said if he was hearing the matter, he would have reasonable doubt, citing ‘cultural differences’ as one factor, which would result in the charges being dismissed.
Ali roamed free to offend again (he said "is OK in my country") until he was later caught with violent child porn on his computer, and was eventually deported.
This second option is being used for Muslims in the UK, who now have Sharia courts all around that country. The problem with this solution is that it violates two very important principles, which are the bedrocks of Western society, namely the rule of law, i.e. one law for all, and the principle of equality which underpins it.
Before the doctrine of Multiculturalism came along, Western Governments were compelled to treat each of their citizens equally. Nowadays, the way judges apply the law, depends to a varying extent on such things as what colour skin you have, where you were born, even what culture or ethnicity you would like to belong to.
It is difficult enough to persuade people to follow the law at the best of times, but without the rule of law, how can a society gain respect for its legal system? When people look around and see others being allowed to break laws by which they are bound, they will naturally lose respect for the whole legal process and society degenerates into a kind of tribal free-for-all.
This seems to be the way that Europe is heading, with areas in the UK, France and Germany being declared as being under Islamic (Sharia) Law. Sadly, parts of Western Sydney now seem to be on the same path.
Many of the original suburban inhabitants are now unwelcome in their own suburb and choose, or are forced, to leave. Their suburb is no longer "part of Australia". In effect, we are defaulting to option four, reverting to separate mini nations with their own borders and laws.
All we will have achieved by doing this will be the fracturing of what were once powerful, prosperous and peaceful societies. Surely this outcome was predictable when the multicultural experiment began.
The call for "cultural harmony" is like mixing oil and water. Shake the mix until you are blue in the face and it just separates right out again. Just a few minutes studying European history would suggest that cultural harmony is an impossible fantasy for any community with incompatible cultures.
That does not mean that we should not welcome people who will assimilate, and reject former beliefs and practices, especially those which deny basic human rights, equality, the rule of law and democracy. If they can do this, it should be a much easier step to be another great Aussie.
The saddest aspect of all this, is that the leaders of our communities, whose very job it is to debate policies such as these, have all been intimidated into silence by the threat of being branded as "racists" and "bigots".
In order for this to have happened, an even more important principle had to be breached, namely the principle of freedom of speech, which I will be examining in more detail in Part 2 of this article. Please watch this space.
Harry Richardson is the Author of 'The Story of Mohammed Islam Unveiled' which can be read for free on-line here http://thestoryofmohammed.blogspot.com