The Future of Western Culture -Part 2: Multiculturalism

Welcome back.

Canadian Mark Steyn writes in his article, It’s the Demography, Stupid:

The great thing about multiculturalism is that it doesn’t involve knowing anything about other cultures–the capital of Bhutan, the principal exports of Malawi, who cares? All it requires is feeling good about other cultures. It’s fundamentally a fraud, and I would argue was subliminally accepted on that basis. Most adherents to the idea that all cultures are equal don’t want to live in anything but an advanced Western society.

Are cultures equal or are they not? Can one culture be superior to another or not? The first step would be to ask, what criteria shall we use to compare cultures? Another question would be, Who shall establish what this critieria should be? Or, is it true that all things being relative these kinds of judgements are impossible to make?

What do you think?

I felt like making a list.

  • Funniest link in a Post of 2005: “stop alien abductions” on nizasings on December 17, 2005.

Into the Mystic…

Alex McManus


9 responses to “The Future of Western Culture -Part 2: Multiculturalism”

  1. Joe Avatar

    I have so much to say about this, I don’t know where to begin. I apologize beforehand if I start going off on tangents and stop making sense.

    As someone who grew up in the United States as a minority, I have given this a lot of thought. In school I was taught American History, and I was also taught European History. I look around and I am amazed at western society, at how the cultures from Europe have over time, changed, adapted, and survived. For me, I can’t discount the fact that Christianity has had an immense hand in shaping “western culture.” Western culture touches just about everything in this world, doesn’t it?

    The next thought that comes to mind is, well, how’d it become so dominant? How did Europeans basically take control of the world? I know that doesn’t sound too PC, but it’s true, at least to me it’s obvious. I wonder what the natives of lands that Europeans deemed “savage” and “less than human” thought of the invaders from the north as they came and took their land, and killed their men, all the while marginalizing their culture and forcing their own enlightened way of life down unwilling throats. (I would hope that these practical questions have relevence in this discussion.) They were probably “terrorized” by the ships looming in the distant ocean, coming closer to snatch them away. Could it be that a lot of the problems seen today in Africa and other places, are the results of western culture being forced upon people who had already established ways of living?

    But that’s all in the past. Western culture now is a beacon of liberty and a base for the forces of good and civil people to defend against evil and those who would come and invade our homes and wage war on the peaceful.

    Back to the question of whether or not a culture can be superior… I can definitely see both the positive and negative aspects of any culture, but to say that one is better than another would be dangerous. If my culture is better than yours, then obviously I’m better than you. That gives me the right, and the justification to use force to make you see my way. At the very least, I can look down my nose at you and make you feel small and insignificant.

    I can sense that western cultures are starting to become, tense. China and other Asian nations’ economies are making leaps and bounds. In a nation (America) where the white man rules supreme, his domain is being threatened. I’m sorry to say, but that’s how I see it. What else am I to think when minorities, especially men, are constantly being marginalized in the media and other facets of society? The very nation itself was founded on the belief that “All men are created equal” while the very men who wrote and signed the document held slaves of their own. Even I think that the fitting image of the hero who saves the beautiful princess is a white man in shining armor. Which leads me to my next train of thought…

    Race, and ultimately, the way someone looks, is as much of an issue (if not more) as is the issue of culture. Maybe I’m being overly sensitive to the issue of race, but for the life of me, I can’t see it any other way. I just can’t. Just take an honest look around at your friends.

    Why would people, who grew up in the same neighborhood, same city, same country, have a totally different view on society? Surely they were part of the same culture that was local to their geography, but it perhaps it was something deeper that brought people together, or divided them.

    I can’t ignore what good western culture has brought to the world. If I was asked whether or not I would have it any other way, I probably would say no. But I also understand that my perception is HEAVILY shaped by my experiences, and the culture I’m a part of. What is lost to history, the countless lives lost and people displaced, confused, abandoned, forced to do horrendous things because westerners came and took away their way of life, is not usually something that goes into the calculation when I think about western culture.

    “Or, is it true that all things being relative these kinds of judgements are impossible to make?”

    I think so.

  2. Laura Gregg Avatar

    Thank you for leadership and wisdom. We are blessed to have you in our community.

    I have been reading a book called The Closing of the American Mind by Bloom which talks about relativism and how that has affected our minds to be opened to everything. We no longer search for the absolute. Basically bloom calls us lazy because we say everything is relative. Anyways thank you for questions that really help to avoid relativism. In all your thoughts I am challenged by this!

    I am thinking about things and will be getting back to you.

  3. Mel Avatar

    Totally off-topic, but…I was looking forward all day at work to getting my voxtropolis beta invite. Nothing! My existence is flat, stale, and unprofitable until I can beta my new webHome. It’s really starting to bum me out.

    Can anyone help me out here?

    S’il vous plait.
    Por favor.
    Per favore.
    Pretty please.

  4. Lon Avatar

    I think Christ came to establish a kingdom / ethos / culture, and so I believe there can exist a culture that is superior, since Christ is supreme.

    I would compare all cultures with this ‘Cross-culture’. I think western culture has broken fragments of it, but still far from it.

    Btw, Alex, i’m also anxiously awaiting an invite to Voxtropolis. it looks fantastic!

  5. James Petticrew Avatar
    James Petticrew

    Alex, have a look at this for the vision of one faction of Islam ,which is resident in the West, for the future of Multi-cultural society,

  6. Candyce Avatar

    the thought of a ‘superior’ culture, even if ‘christian’, is really frightening to me… it’s the stuff of manifest destiny, the slave trade, jim crow, apartheid, and the holocaust. i don’t think that western culture is inferior (even though there’s a lot of pain in lots of parts of the world that can be traced back to the fallenness of western culture). but it’s certainly not superior. all cultures are made of individuals who sin and screw things up. that leads to screwed up culture across the board. a lot of contributions have been made by western culture that i don’t think will be lost, even with the rise of other ethnic groups (and even islam) in europe. handel. bach. van gogh. mozart. eric clapton. 🙂 but the real test of whether a cultural contribution is of lasting significance is whether it continues to be significant after the culture that produced it has aged off or faded. kids still have to read the odyssey in school, for example. i’m not worried about losing western culture. only about the church not being ready to adapt as the world changes…

  7. Larry Avatar

    I think our ideas of multiculturalism are baloney, and always have been. Holland means wooden shoes, Germany means beer, Austria means apfel strudel and India means the Taj Mahal. Get the high points, you’re multicultural.

    Any other viewpoint requires work. Do some delving into history and you find that beyond the wooden shoes, the Dutch were bankers, sugar refiners, shipping magnates, scientists… pretty much like anyone else.

    Culture just defines the matrix in which everyone tries to make a living. Everyone does it differently, and should be allowed to do so. I may not agree with their way, but we can still share ideas. Tour Europe for longer than a day or two and you find that there are many ways of accomplishing the same result.

    What I think about another’s culture doesn’t matter. They have the right to their way of doing things.

    But then, I’m a product of my culture and time. Live and let live is a fairly modern concept. The Jews were instructed by God to exterminate all the other cultures in the land God promised them.

    What would a Jesus-following culture look like? I don’t know. None of us knows God well enough to say, I think.

  8. stephen Avatar

    Gotta agree about the Crash movie A. Really really good. (So good in fact I bought the soundtrack off ITunes). Gonna buy the movie next!

  9. John Avatar

    Hi, Im from Melbourne Oz.
    These essays give a completely different perspective of where western “culture” is really at–and the possibilities of the future.

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