The meaning of Wilders’s reply to me
A reader informs us that fifty-five minutes of Geert Wilders’s talk at a Manhattan apartment Tuesday night is on You Tube, and that my comment begins at 35:46 of the video. I haven’t seen it yet, but my exchange with Wilders is worth commenting on, because his reply helps us understand a key difference between Europe and America vis a vis the problem of Islamization.
What I said was essentially this: “Mr. Wilders, you say that the reason the West is allowing Islamization to occur is the belief in multiculturalism, cultural relativism, and political correctness. In fact, virtually all American conservatives oppose those things, yet most of them would totally reject the idea of stopping Muslim immigration, because they think that discrimination is wrong. So it’s the belief in non-discrimination, not the belief in cultural relativism and political correctness, that is leading the West to allow Islamization.”
His reply to me was essentially this: “In Europe it is different. Sixty percent of the Dutch are saying that Muslim immigration was a mistake and want it to stop.”
Here’s what Wilders’s remark made me realize (or, rather, reminded me of).
America has never, at least not formally at the national level, adopted the multicultural idea that all cultures are equal. In America we let people in because we think that discrimination is wrong. We think that all people are basically alike, and so we (“we” being conservatives and centrist liberals) expect all people to assimilate, not to assert their different cultures. But in Europe it is different. Europe does not have America’s right-liberal belief in one universal humanity in which everyone is really an American and believes in democracy. Rather, Europe skipped past American-style, “all-individuals-are-basically-the-same” right-liberalism, and went straight to European-style, corporatist, “all-cultures-are-equal” left-liberalism. Europe thought Islam in Europe should be equal to the traditional European majority cultures. This was the ruling belief, at least among the elite of Europe. And since there is no American style conservatism in Europe, there was nothing opposing this elite belief.
So, in Europe, if people come to reject the idea that all cultures are equal, as apparently (according to Wilders) they are doing in the Netherlands, that alone could be enough to lead them to stop immigration.
But in America it is different. Even if all Americans rejected the leftist, multiculturalist, and relativist idea that all cultures are equal as cultures, they would still believe that all individuals are equal as members of universal humanity subscribing to a single universal truth, and therefore the most wicked thing is to exclude or discriminate against people because of their group/religion/race. And so Americans would continue allowing mass Muslim immigration. And, as I said to Wilders, this is already the case with American conservatives, who uniformly disagree with (or at least ritualisticall say they disagree with) multiculturalism, but who also uniformly support, or refuse to question, mass Third-World immigration including Muslim immigration, because to stop any group from immigrating is discriminatory, it denies the fundamental sameness of all people, and is therefore the most wicked thing anyone can do.
In Europe, the fundamental problem is left-liberalism. In America, the fundamental problem is right-liberalism. If Europe rejected multiculturalism, that would be enough for it to stop Islamization. If America rejected multiculturalism, that would not be enough for America to save itself, because there would still be right-liberalism with its sacred principle of non-discrimination which leads society to open itself to unlimited numbers of unassimilable people on the basis of the belief that all people are the same or are readily assimilable.
John D. writes:
You said:LA replies:
I would go further and say that the very existence of any people who are non-Muslim or who are not subjugated to the power of Islam is an incitement to Muslim violence. Therefore we should all be punished under the anti-incitement-to-violence laws simply for not being Muslim.Terry Morris writes:
What you’re saying essentially is that you had, prior to hearing and contemplating Wilders’s response to you and what it means, an America-centric view of European liberalism by which you were judging Wilders’s perception of the problem of multiculturalism and PCism in Europe to be wrong?LA replies:
Not exactly. I’ve said for years that Europe seemed to have skipped past the transitional phase of American-style, natural-rights liberalism, a.k.a. right-liberalism, in which all people are assumed to be the same based on their subscription to certain universal truths, and had jumped directly to openness liberalism or left-liberalism, uncritical acceptance and embrace of the Other, no matter how alien and dangerous the Other may be. Or, as I would put it, pure, undisgused national suicide. (Here’s a thread where I discuss the difference between the two liberalisms.)Alan Roebuck writes:
You characterize Wilders as saying, presumably referring to opinion polls, “In Europe it is different. Sixty percent of the Dutch are saying that Muslim immigration was a mistake and want it to stop.”LA replies:
Good point. The fact that 60 percent of the Dutch tell opinion polls that Islamic immigration was a mistake does not mean that they will take steps to oppose it, or demand that their government oppose it. So let me modify my point and say this: If Wilders’s suggestion is correct that a strong majority of the Dutch publicly oppose Muslim immigration (not just oppose it passively, when asked in an poll) then that would suggest that the Dutch are not under the same ideological grip as the Americans.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at February 26, 2009 09:59 AM | Send