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On the Other Hand...

Every now and again the Germans will surprise you....

German Chancellor Angela Merkel admits: "And of course, the approach [to build] a multicultural [society] and to live side-by-side and to enjoy each other... has failed, utterly failed."

Bill Donahue observes:

At the beginning of the new millennium, there was a consensus in Europe on the virtues of multiculturalism. Attendant to this view was a profound reluctance to acknowledge Europe's Christian heritage. Midway through the decade, there were signs that things were changing. In 2006, after meeting with Pope Benedict XVI, German Chancellor Angela Merkel made the case for "Christian values" in the European Union Constitution. Now her criticism of multiculturalism is causing an international stir.

The problem with multiculturalism, as the pope understands, is that it breeds contempt for the moral truths that undergird the Judeo-Christian ethos of Western civilization. Indeed, as the pope has said, it has led to "a peculiar Western self-hatred that is nothing short of pathological."

One major reason why multiculturalism is a failure is its implicit moral relativism: all religions and cultures are seen as equals. But this means that those who adhere to Judeo-Christian values, and those who espouse a preference for Sharia law, are voicing a similar perspective. This is worse than nonsense: the former yields liberty and justice; the latter yields slavery.

Chancellor Merkel deserves our support. Her courageous stand is worthy of emulation in the United States.

UPDATE: I'm sure Germany's decision to open its first Hitler Exhibit just following the denunciation of multiculturalism is mere coincidence.

Categories > Foreign Affairs

Discussions - 17 Comments

This is some positively delightful news for the Tea Party "Why bother trying?" crowd to latch on to and run with. Different cultures can't get along, racism and bigotry are natural, so why bother trying to overcome it?

Now, in addition to the "Abandon all hope" campaign you can add "We only enjoy living side-by-side with white Christian people (maybe Jews)."

Actually, Craig, there's lots and lots of evidence, both social scientific and anecdotal/historical, that bigotry IS natural. I would like to say that education eases that bigotry, but my experience has been that it only teaches people to replace some prejudices with others. For instance, why do some Leftists nearly venerate minorities but despise (and revile) religious people? I've never met better haters than I have on the Left.

What I like about such surprises from Europe is that it reminds our Lefty brethren that Europe ain't always so "enlightened." They always hold poor old America up to the shining example of the EU, but when confronted with the tawdry underside of European politics they fall silent. The fact is, they are holding us up to an impossible standard that exists only in their own heads.

But Merkel is essentially correct -- multiculturalism is doomed to failure. I've said so several times on this blog, and now even the Euros are waking up to the cold, harsh facts.

"even the Euros"? They lead the way on this stuff--ethnic purging and then reinventing an alternate reality, then purging again. They don't get the American Enlightenment: "All men are created equal."

"Created equal" and "are tolerable" seems to be the real question.

Badly put, but natural rights and the kind of multiculturism Merkel is pointing to are not really the same thing.

All men are indeed created equal.

But are all religions of equal merit before the bar of history?

Do all prayers invariably arrive at the same celestial address? for the update about the Hitler exhibit, maybe they took to heart the "education" offered by the "Wiking" group that US Rep candidate Rich Iott (of Ohio) was in, that Hitler's "front-line soldiers of the Waffen-SS gave their lives for their loved ones and a basic desire to be free."

Almost brings tears to your eyes, doesn't it?

Scanlon, I don't think "snark" is a proper rebuttal to the points made here.

Kate, our country has done its share of "purging" and "reinventing," so let's not get too high and mighty. The fact is, people are hardwired to out-group others, and no one has yet found a great solution for that. The Left's answer, to out-group anyone they disagree with, is no answer at all.

How many examples of 'ethnic purging' can you recall occuring prior to 1914? I think the Jews were expelled from a succession of countries in the Late Middle Ages, but they were always a small minority wherever they were.

Bifurcated or polyglot societies are generally tense and require carefully developed practices of inter-group bargaining and territorial demarcation to maintain social peace. It is a situation one adjusts to and puts up with, not something one seeks out as a matter of public policy.

The whole mess with eastern Europe, post-Wilson. Pre-Wilson, consider the expanding and contracting borders of Poland.

That is not ethnic purging. That is territory changing hands between monarchies only laconically concerned if at all with the language of the peasant population therein.

I think the Vlachs were resettled, perhaps forcibly, from various locales in the Balkans to the Bucovina after the Great War. However, the major movement of peoples during the years running from 1914 to 1923 were the expulsion of Armenians and Greeks from portions of the Ottoman Empire. That would be the Near East, not Europe.

Examples of "ethnic purging" prior to 1914?

1) The Trail of Tears
2) The cleansing of the "Welsh" from eastern England
3) The destruction of Carthage
4) The destruction of Dacia
5) The destruction of Judea in AD 135
(note - the Romans were really good at ethnic cleansing)

6) the Bantu sweep through Subsaharan Africa
7) several of the Mongol conquests
8) the Aremenian genocide (OK, 1915, a little fudge)
9) The English clearance of aborigines in Australia
10) Highland clearance

Want more? We are hardwired to do these things in extreme circumstances and, as I said, no one has determined a way to prevent it. Perhaps the global media's watchful eye will help, but I have my doubts.


Colonial settlers pushed aboriginal populations farther inland. The territories in question were (antecedent to that) sparsely settled and the use of the land was at a low intensity. There was not, prior to conquest, aught but the faintest political organization or system of property registration. That is a qualitatively different process than expelling the inhabitants of a settled territory of peasants and burgesses with an attentdant territorial state. The aboriginals of North America and the Antipodes and Siberia still live there (and nowhere else); they are just a small minority in the territories in question.

Do we have to be talking about ethnic purging? Can we verge into the religious? There the list for "out-grouping" grows like crazy. If Merkel has made the case for "Christian values" and that might be what she is really talking about, then that is the real topic.

I, for one, would be grateful to see an end to the cultural relativism that makes Christian, and Western values only as valuable as they is at their weakest points. The strengths, which we necessarily cling to, are too valuable to lose.

I should also point out that the antecedent discussion concerned the practice of ethnic purging in Europe in contrast to American political life. Only two or three which 'HIghlands'?) of your 10 examples are from Europe, and one of these might be disputed by Roumanian partisans. One dates from the 5th century and one earlier and both from a time when much of peninsular Europe was sparsely settled.

Which Highlands? There is only one Highlands, laddie.

My point was (and is) that out-group purges have been common in human history, and no continent (or nation) has entirely escaped such dynamics (although some nations have experienced them only in a mild way). Thinking otherwise guarantees the repetition of these events (although, admittedly, even with vigilance we will probably see more genocide).

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