Saturday, September 01, 2012

Multiculturalism’s Failure in Europe

The following essay was written by the Norwegian author and historian of religions Hanne Nabintu Herland. It is based on excerpts from her recent bestseller, “Respect”.

Oslo riots

Multiculturalism’s failure in Europe
by Hanne Nabintu Herland


Over the past decade the opponents of multiculturalism have multiplied. Leading politicians such as Angela Merkel, David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy have all condemned this Leftist strategy of integration that equates the ideals of other cultures with European traditional values. The idea is that Europeans should not uphold their own cultural roots, but instead listen humbly to new immigrant residents and accept their traditional norms and customs in the name of diversity.

But multiculturalism has in essence turned out quite differently than the utopian dreamers of the naïve Leftwing socialists hoped for when they first started out. Today many decline to engage in necessary discussion concerning the need to uphold traditional European values in a time of upheaval, for fear of offending non-Western immigrants and being labeled intolerant and racist.

This implies a tragic misunderstanding of what tolerance really means.

To be tolerant means to respect other cultures when visiting their countries, just as immigrants from foreign cultures are to respect European values and ways of life when they move to Europe. To be tolerant is to respect the traditions, values and social norms of the country in which you are staying.


One of the main problems with multiculturalism is that it does not respect the differences and boundaries between nations and cultures. For instance, for a number of years there have been demands to tone down the Christmas celebration and exclude it from school arrangements, justified by Leftist claims that the holiday’s emphasis on the birth of Jesus Christ and the celebration of Santa Claus will offend non-Western immigrants. Yet many Muslims object to these types of multicultural attempts, as they say that they of course have nothing against celebrating the birth of Jesus, or in Arabic “Isa”. After all, he is a prophet in Islam.

Similarly, in Norway there are efforts to criticize the traditional use of the Norwegian flag on Independence Day, the 17th of May, to avoid conflicts with non-Western newcomers. Hardcore multiculturalists want each person to use the flag of his country of origin, rather than the Norwegian flag, which symbolizes national unity.

When pride in one’s own traditional values is continuously suppressed and spurned, the result may be that Europeans feel discriminated against in their own culture. This becomes a “racism against whites” which in turn creates a growing environment of displeasure with “non-Western foreigners”. In turn, resentment fuelled among ethnic groups may grow malicious. The Swedish city of Malmö is an excellent example of how bad things can get when a sloppy careless multiculturalism is implemented and society doesn’t demand respect for Swedish law. In Malmö foreigners are moving back to their countries of origin like Iraq or Iran, because things are much better in those countries than in Sweden.

The mistake of multiculturalism and its contempt for traditional European values is that it fails to recognize the need for a strong common ground of cultural unity.

Yet there are many misconceptions about what it means to be against multiculturalism. Some believe that it involves a general antagonism towards immigration; that the goal is a society with no foreigners whatsoever, a kind of monoculture where only the original ethnic population is desired. This is, however, not the case.

To oppose multiculturalism means to respect the sovereignty of other countries and their right to define the cultural ideals they wish to emphasize within their boundaries, and at the same time, to claim this very right in Europe within the context of European culture. Europeans should define the values and laws that apply in Europe and immigrants from other cultures should respect these. Just as Europeans should not dictate norms in other countries and have no right to intervene in other countries’ internal affairs, non-Westerners should not have rights to define fundamental values in Europe.

For instance, to respect the right of other cultures to practice polygamy in their own countries does not necessarily mean that you must accept the same cultural practice when in Europe. Here European values and marriage laws apply. Those who are not inclined to conform to European laws are of course free to return to their countries of origin and practice their religious, marital or cultural preferences there.

We who are against the injustice of multiculturalism aspire to a globalized world with a greater degree of international respect based on each country’s right to determine its own values. The plea is for a Europe where foreigners and all Europeans receive equal treatment and actively participate in the development of a society based on the values of the traditional European heritage.

Opponents of multiculturalism have a positive view towards law-abiding working immigrants, who are welcome, but criminals with no constructive contribution to make to society should be punished and expelled from communities. If you show no respect for the country you move to, you lose the right to stay there.

We want a multi-ethnic society that evaluates individuals on an equal basis in light of their competencies and willingness to work rather than ethnicity. But multiculturalism is heavily tinted with an underlying socialistic racism which implies that people with dark skins who do not originate in Europe should be “pitied”. These people must be helped, provided with welfare benefits and excused if they commit crimes. This socialistic racism is denigrating, and today permeates governments and social structures in a number of European countries, amongst them Norway. Instead of showing immigrants respect by offering them work, we shuffle the non-Western into an underclass of welfare-dependent victims. The tragedy of multiculturalism is that it has created a class-oriented and ethnically segregated environment which places so-called “non-Western foreigners” at the bottom of the social ladder.

Multiculturalism has slowly robbed ordinary Europeans of pride in their own culture and awareness of the importance of its values. It was the European cultural environment that years ago fostered citizens of the Enlightenment with a high regard for honesty, punctuality, duty, integrity and solidarity. Emphasis on moral elements such as self-discipline, education, humility and good manners formed the basis for a society that respected individual differences. Capitalism joined with the Protestant ethic produced a culture that emphasized hard work, savings, honesty and the belief that earnings should not merely be spent, but re-invested. When Europeans relinquish these cultural ideals, the upshot is today’s moral decline, with financial crises, mediocrity and cultural decay.

Europeans must reinforce a belief in these norms, ideas and guidelines that form the basis of traditional Western thinking. We must continue to build on common historical values to which everyone, regardless of ethnic origin, should respect when living in Europe. This will produce a stronger, more peaceful and stable Europe for the times ahead.

9 comments:

watling said...

There are some interesting observations in the article. However, I must take issue with a couple of points.

Firstly, if David Cameron has recently condemned multiculturalism then he is guilty of hypocrisy.

Before he became Prime Minister I heard him interviewed on the UK-based radio station talkSPORT. During the interview he was asked for his views on immigration. He replied that he saw immigration purely in terms of numbers and that the culture of those arriving in the UK was unimportant. He did not criticise multiculturalism, nor did he suggest that those arriving should respect the host culture.

Secondly, in the article it states that we "shuffle the non-Western into an underclass of welfare-dependent victims".

I don't know about the rest of Europe but in the UK it is the indigenous working-class who are treated as such (but without the victim status), whilst the immigrant has an advantage in the employment market. Simply put, employers love immigrants. They work for less pay, but more importantly they help employers increase diversity, it being the case that employers are in constant fear of being perceived as racist.

The diversity mantra is a legacy of the Labour years. After their 1992 general election defeat Labour decided to take its core white working-class voter base for granted and instead court the immigrant vote.

Multiculturalism only exists because left of centre political parties use it in an attempt to ensure they remain permanently in power.

Green Infidel said...

Here in Poland, a member of Parliament, Mariusz Blaszczak, recently faced a storm of protest from politicians of other parties for declaring the following:

"The multi-kulti politics, which in Western Europe was, and is, being highlighted, applied and developed, in the case of Breivik shows that it leads nowhere."

He added that this was a warning for Poland:

"We need to approach the question of immigrants in a sensible way, especialy those immigrants, which do not integrate themselves with wider society. This is the case in countries in Western Europe and, unfortunately, this process also awaits us..."

His argument may have been poorly-worded, and sounded like an apology for Breivik's actions - but the part that outraged media and other politicians were not the bits about Breivik, but about Multi-kulti being a failure. His party's leader was asked to rebuke him for such a "scandallous" statement.

Poland, of course, is a country largely free of the Wonders of multiculturalism, as described not so long ago by GoV writer Takuan Seiyo:

It’s an indescribable pleasure to walk among a throng of people in a large public venue, and experience none of the blessings of diversity. No burkas. No “youths.” No hateful stares of fifth columnists from “Asia.” No black gangs on the prowl for white victims. No Kevlar vests on schoolchildren. Young lovers walking safely at 03:00. No “undocumented workers” driving death cars with no license and no resistance to alcohol. No pampered immigrant jihadis driving death cars with a license and no alcohol. No gays exchanging body fluids in public. No gay pride parades. No transvestite police persons. No Arabic prayer incantations wafting through the golden light of dusk...

The moral of the story: even in "undiverse" Poland, criticism of multi-kulti is becoming increasingly difficult. Perhaps the flags (at the end of the article) outside the headquarters of Platforma, the governing Party, may offer a clue as to the direction that they wish to take the country in the future?

RonaldB said...

Hanne Nabintu Herland stopped short of where she should be going, which is that a country has a right to judge not only individual immigrants, but classes of immigrants. The purpose of immigration should not be to be fair, but to enhance the economy and general well-being of the host society.

Countries such as Britain and Switzerland used to pride themselves on being places of refuge for persecuted rebels. Thus, Lenin was able to live in Switzerland before returning to Russia to begin three quarters of a century of murder and oppression.

But now, national borders function as a protective skin, and always did. We do not have the luxury of examining each bacillus wanting entry to our body. Similarly, there is little need to individually examine Muslims from Somalia, Nigeria, Sudan, Iraq, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Kashmir or any numerous other countries or territories. They present a risk there is no reason to take, other than political correctness.

It may well be that some thoroughly deserving and peaceful individuals will get excluded. However, again, countries should feel free to draft their own immigration policies. A discriminatory policy that is not fully just does not affect the rights of anyone, since a non-citizen, non-resident of a country has no claim on the country.

Of course, as Hanne Nabintu Herland points out, countries should be careful to not support the abridgment of rights in other countries, in which case they do incur some responsibility. The best overall policy is a careful hands-off to allow other countries to settle their own affairs.

Anonymous said...

@Green Infidel
The reality described in my lines you cite is a magic salve for my Polish friends in the US. They take a vacation every couple of years in Poland (or Croatia etc.) for the monoethnic experience it affords, unique in the Western world. But every year they return worried some more... send me links to article relaying about the building of a mosque in Warsaw, or a large group of Chechen refugees allowed in the country, etc. Being linked to the EU automatically disables a country's natural immune system, even though it may have been healthy as recently as the year 2000.
Then there is the work of the various George Soros tunnneling operations, with salaried positions, grants etc. -- highly prized in countries that are still developing. Soros's idee fixe after all is The Open Society (as long as he can view it from inside an armored limo passing through, with bodyguards).
Takuan Seiyo

Anonymous said...

"We own this country!"
- How do you say that in European..?

"However, again, countries should feel free to draft their own immigration policies."

The main problem is that this contradicts the idea of the caliphate, which is the ruling ideology in the West. Sovereignty has been given to the - non-democratic - EU bodies.

So, in short, it is impossible for a single country to "feel free" to draft its own immigration policies! And Europeans don't get a say in what kind of society they want to be a part of.

"We own this country!" (Clint Eastwood, about the USA, 2012)
- How do you say that in European..?

Anonymous said...

Norwegian minister
attends Ethiopian funeral

Green Infidel said...

TS, Yes - a Muslim Brotherhood-associated mosque is building in Warsaw. But it is around 2 years behind schedule. And when I go past it, it seems there is no work taking place... there is however a noticeable increase in the amount of "culture enrichers". Last week, I saw around 15 Pakistani-looking ones get off in a big group at my tram stop. A friend reported seeing an even bigger group nearby - on a Friday... so perhaps they already have their place to pray, whether designated as such or not?

As for George Soros-style sponsorship of potential subversive elements - the case of Slawomir Sierakowski comes to mind. He is the leader of the far-leftist Krytyka Polityczna, whose bar "Nowy Wspanialy Swiat" on the corner of 2 of Warsaw's main streets (and rented from the city at far below-market rates) was the hideout for German anarchists - and their wide array of weapons - during Poland's Independence Day commemorations on November 11 last year. On his Polish wikipedia page, he is listed as having received scholarships of: "Collegium Invisible", the (Polish) ministry of education, Goethe Institute, the German foundations GFPS and DAAD, and the American foundation The German Marshall Fund.

How many other students, not from far-left backgrounds, managed to receive such a rich collection of scholarships?? Although I guess the current president of the USA also no slouch in that department.

John Magee said...

I am amazed Muslim immigrant groups haven't protested the Christian cross on the Norwegian flag and the flags of the other Scandinavian countries and having the temerity to demand those national flags be changed to no longer "offend" Muslims and other 3rd world immigrants who are not Christians. I guess it's too early and there aren't enough Muslims for that kind of outrage. But it will happen sooner or later.

How could the Scandinavians allowed this ethnic and cultural suicide to happen? Even if immigration there stopped today there are so many Muslims and other 3rd worlders in Scandinavia today that their countries will never be the same again. it's too late. They are doomed.

I am glad that I had the chance to visit these countries a long time ago in 1969 before they decided to destroy their beautiful lands full of wonderful people.

Scandinavia is "gone with the wind"...

Nordlys said...

Personally, i think Left wing is more racist than the right. Because I've read some leftist saying that to fight racism we should mix up each other, speak esperanto and have a single culture, not mentioning calling ourselves 'citizien of the world'
I had a classmate that had the same ideas. This is really 'fear of diversity'

"In Malmö foreigners are moving back to their countries of origin like Iraq or Iran, because things are much better in those countries than in Sweden." - Well. This is enough to explain how much multiculturalism sucks, if even muslims can't stay in the country they're suppose to colonize.

"But multiculturalism is heavily tinted with an underlying socialistic racism which implies that people with dark skins who do not originate in Europe should be “pitied”." - Unlòess that those blacks are perfectly integrated. If someone is dark skinned but he embraced western culture, he will be discriminated and callede 'traitor' and 'racist'.

In Italy some months ago they destioyed a mosque and they will subtitute it with a parking dedicated to Oriana Fallaci.