The point Pascal Bruckner is making in his article "Enlightenment: Fundamentalism or Racism of the Anti-racists" is actually shocking in its clarity: multi-culti advocates propagate legal Apartheid, display a neo-colonial attitude towards 'the natives':
"We bear the burdens of liberty, of self-invention, of sexual equality; you have the joys of archaism, of abuse as ancestral custom, of sacred prescriptions, forced marriage, the headscarf and polygamy. The members of these minorities are put under a preservation order, protected from the fanaticism of the Enlightenment and the "calamities" of progress."What's lost on Bruckner is that multi-culturalism is a branch of relativism: the pseudo-philosophy that denies objective truth! He seems to labour under the impression that multi-culturalists are presenting us with a solid message: their point is however, is that there is no point! He's not alone in this. Many commentators still take relativism seriously as an ideology and as a consequence loose sight of its inherent fallacies. And as its still considered a progressive idea, they presuppose kinship to Liberalism, while - as we shall see - it is totalitarianism's ugly little cousin.
Bruckner does expose the symptoms of the relativist error, the inherent paradoxymora : " This is the paradox of multi-culturalism: it accords the same treatment to all communities, but not to the people who form them, denying them the freedom to liberate themselves from their own traditions. Instead: recognition of the group, oppression of the individual ... Multi-culturalism is a racism of the anti-racists: it chains people to their roots ... Yet this segregation has the full backing of Europe's most prominent progressives!" (my emphasis).
I was just going to pencil this paradox in as error number 13 on my list of Post-Modernist Fallacies, the PMF, when I realised this isn't a paradox at all! One of the aims of multi-culturalism is peaceful cohabitation of different groups on the same territory. Multi-culturalism isn't concerned with individual rights, on the contrary! Its premise is the submission of the individual to the group. It has no place for dissidents! Hence the irritation with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, an icon of individualism. Multi-culturalism's totalitarian and dictatorial character is merely shining through here!
Bruckner goes on to denounce the Anglo-Saxon form of multi-culturalism (U.K. variety), a social model based on communitarianism and separatism, that "on the government's own avowal ... doesn't work ... many people scoffed at French authoritarianism when parliament voted to forbid women and young girls from wearing headscarves in (public areas) ... yet now political leaders in Great Britain, The Netherlands and Germany, shocked by the spread of hijab and burqa, are considering passing laws against them."
With typical French assertiveness Bruckner goes on to propagate the superiority of the French model of laïcité, whereby the entire public domain is 'neutralized' of religious expressions, even to the point where jewelry can become an offensive item. It doesn't particularly breed tolerance or understanding of 'the other' either! And he doesn't seem willing to explain the random and widespread violence, and the states within the state, that exist in the French banlieues.
Our French commentator doesn't think much of the Dutch system either; nor does he display much understanding of it: "Thus ... (the) mayor of Amsterdam ... demands that one accept "the conscious discrimination of women by certain groups of orthodox Muslims" on the basis that we need a 'new glue' to 'hold society together'. In the name of social cohesion, we are invited to give our roaring applause for the intolerance that these groups show for our laws".
One wonders why the Dutch system, whereby the government guarantees freedom of conscience and faith - and religions and secular ideologies have a limited form of 'sovereignty within their particular circle' worked so well for Christians, Jews, and the various seculars, but doesn't for Muslims? The answer seems to lie in their 'too much otherness', the incompatibility of our values and their inherent intolerance of infidels (in practice, all that isn't Islam).
Considering Bruckner's rubbishing of "our Jihad collaborators [sic] on the extreme left as on the right: at the time of the Muhammad cartoon affair last year, deputies of the UMP proposed to institute blasphemy laws that would have taken us back to the Ancien Regime", he does seem to be a staunch atheist who wouldn't be having trouble leaving his rosary at home.
Neither does he realize, that the supposed secular neutrality can easily develop into an oppressive dictatorship as well! The dominant feature in today's Radical Liberalism is that it sees itself as the single guarantor of freedom for all, and considers all theism as its opposite and the surest way to obscurantism and oppression in the name of God. Bruckner displays the same attitude, but he is willing to acknowledge that "secularism ... is written into the Gospels".
Pascal Bruckner is in favour of fostering an enlightened European Islam along the lines of Vatican II, provided we speak to the right audience; not "styling the fundamentalists as friends of tolerance, while in fact they practise dissimulation and use the left or the intelligentsia to make their moves for them, sparing themselves the challenge of secularism."
The author leaves us to ponder the words of Kant, and a word of warning from his side that I can heartily ratify: "Kant defined the Enlightenment with the motto: Sapere aude - dare to know. A culture of courage is perhaps what is most lacking among today's directors of conscience. They are the symptoms of a fatigued, self-doubting Europe, one that is only too ready to acquiesce at the slightest alarm. Yet their good-willed rhetorical molasses covers a different tune: that of capitulation!" Amen.