by KEVIN DONNELLY – THE danger with multiculturalism is that it leads to a “nation of tribes” where those emigrating owe allegiance to their country of origin instead of Australia.
This is according to eminent Australian historian Geoffrey Blainey.
Islamic clerics calling for a jihad against Jews and the destruction of the Jewish homeland and protestors taking to the streets shouting antisemitic slogans prove how prescient Blainey was.
Illustrated by the racist, antisemitic comments by the Islamic cleric Brother Ismail preaching at Sydney’s Al Madina Dawah Centre and protestors shouting, “gas the Jews” and “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free”, it’s obvious multiculturalism breeds hate speech and conflict.
Add the fact Jewish schools are on high alert and signs have appeared comparing Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu with Adolf Hitler and it’s clear endorsing and celebrating different cultures is contradictory and self-defeating.
Given the above, former prime minister John Howard’s recent comments, expressing misgivings about multiculturalism, are timely and much needed.
Howard admits he “always had trouble with” the idea of multiculturalism and, instead of emphasising diversity and difference, it’s better if those wanting to live in Australia “adopt the values and practices” of their host nation.
For far too long, since Labor’s Immigration Minister Al Grassby introduced the concept of multiculturalism in 1973, government policy has been to emphasise historical and cultural differences instead of what we hold in common and what binds the nation.
The 70s was a time when assimilation, that had been so successful with the millions of migrants who had arrived after WWII, was attacked as xenophobic by the ALP and cultural-Left academics.
Although rarely admitted, another reason ALP governments pushed multiculturalism was because different ethnic communities proved a ready resource for branch stacking and financial support for election campaigns.
Ignored is that multiculturalism is inherently contradictory and divisive. Taken to its conclusion, celebrating diversity and difference leads to cultural relativism. Treating all cultures equally means even unacceptable practices and beliefs are tolerated.
No amount of tolerating cultural differences can ever mean practices like child brides, female circumcision and importing tribal and religious hatreds from overseas should be allowed. Such practices are uncivilised, morally repugnant and divisive.
If Australia is to continue as a relatively peaceful, tolerant and prosperous nation, in an increasingly fractious and divided world, it’s critical governments and bodies like the Human Rights Commission and the ABC emphasise the underlying beliefs and values that ensure stability.
Schools and the national curriculum must also do more to promote unity, national pride and what we hold in common instead of indoctrinating students from prep to year 10 with the belief we are a multicultural, multi-ethnic society characterised by diversity.
It’s also time to stop teaching vulnerable students Australian society is riven with racism and white supremacy and that there is nothing beneficial or worthwhile about what we have achieved as a nation.
The underlying beliefs and values that sustain us as a nation stem from the fact we are a Western, liberal democracy.
Concepts like equal rights, popular sovereignty and the rule of law draw on British common law and a Westminster inspired parliamentary system.
Since its foundation in 1788 and the arrival of the King James Bible, the nation’s institutions and way of life are also underpinned by Judeo-Christianity.
The belief all are made in God’s image, to love thy neighbour as thyself and to commit to the common good are biblical in origin.
Instead of cultural relativism, history tells us not all cultures are equal and as argued by the philosopher Karl Popper what makes Western culture unique is that it stives to achieve “humaneness and reasonableness, at equality and freedom”.
In opposition to open and free cultures like Australia are what Popper describes as tribal or closed cultures.
Such cultures are less advanced and are ruled by violence, prejudice, hatred and are often totalitarian in nature.
As argued by the Somalian born Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who was raised as a Muslim, fundamentalist Islam is a closed culture where believers oppress women and homosexuals and where terrorists are committed to a jihad, or holy war, against the West.
What the protestors chanting “death to Jews” and the Greens MP shouting “free, free Palestine” in the Senate chamber need to realise is that in failing to endorse Israel’s right to defend itself they countenance Hama’s evil attack murdering innocent children, women and babies.
They should also realise having the privilege of living in this country entails giving up tribal hatreds based on extreme religious beliefs.
While peaceful protest and reasoned disagreement and debate are allowed, there is no space for hate speech and anti-semitism.PC
Dr Kevin Donnelly is a senior fellow at the ACU’s PM Glynn Institute.