Saturday, February 24, 2007

Intellectual flatulence!

In last week's two part post A Failed State on a World-Wide Scale we saw how Paul Cliteur in Falling Prey to Relativism refuted Stuart Sim's radical multiculturalist posit, that all that isn't relativist, is in fact fundamentalism. Cliteur said: "Multiculturalists also reject the universality of Enlightenment ideas of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law, viewing them instead as isolated preoccupations of no universal appeal and ... just one more kind of fundamentalism that has to be rejected." One wonders why all the Leftist and Liberal adherents to the notion seem to be unaware of that!

Cliteur also accused Sim of nihilism, which seems to have touched a raw nerve, an allegation that Sim is at present endeavouring to refute in the article Don't Blame the Post-Moderns - something that I personally do incessantly as I blame them for almost every current ill in the world. We will see how far he gets.

First a short reminder of Cliteur's accusation addressed to Sim c.s., Timothy Garton Ash and Ian Buruma.

- "What Sim wants to encourage is a kind of radical skepticism toward all ideas of authority ('the more scepticism the better')".

- "The reasonings of postmodern relativists have preposterous consequences, but these consequences logically flow from the postmodern outlook".

- Cliteur expressed his "worry about this relativistic - or rather, nihilistic - position, in that it makes Western societies easy prey for the ideology of radical Islamism".

- "Demonizing every criticism on religious mentalities as "polarizing" and "provocation" denies even the right to defend democratic institutions. That would be a suicidal position", says Cliteur. I call it immoral and authorophobic.

The French writer Pascal Bruckner in a refute Enlightenment: fundamentalism or racism of the anti-racists? takes it yet one step further, calling the multicultural efforts, propagation of "legal Apartheid" and a display of "a neo-colonial attitude towards 'the natives'", leaving them to celebrate their 'otherness' in their own ethnic and religious enclaves and reservations.

The author exposes the symptoms of the relativist error, the inherent paradoxymora [2] that 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."

At that point it dawned on me that multiculturalism isn't concerned with individual rights. Quite on the contrary! Its implicit premise is the submission of the individual to the group; the latter is declared sacrosanct and untouchable. It has no place for dissidents like Ayaan Hirsi Ali, an icon of individualism. "Multi-culturalism's crypto-totalitarian and dictatorial character is shining through here", I stated in that post. It's a profound accusation that I propose to work out further in a dedicated article.

I do not propose to repeat each polemist's posits verbatim as anyone can read the articles for themselves. Rather I add my own comments and draw conclusions as per above. No doubt Paul Cliteur will in turn refute Sim's allegations. Let's at present move on to Sim's refute.

At which point ... about three hours later ... in a fit of sheer hysterical madness I tore up the whole thing! In all honesty, I find it deeply depressing and not a little disturbing that intellectuals - as Professor Sim - inhabit places of higher learning and is set loose on our children and politicians. What he's lacking in academic attitude and logic, he makes up for in unresolved youthful issues towards religion and God. He seems to be stuck in a 1968 time warp of anti-authoritarianism out of which there seems no escape; hence perhaps his almost skatalogically immature obsession with the transcendental - it borders on paranoia.

Every other sentence is refutable and wide open to attack. Frankly, I simply do not have so much time and I doubt my readers have either. I hope Paul Cliteur will make mince-meat of this shoddy piece of sophistry that uncovers once more relativism and multiculturalism for the nonsense and time-waster that it is.

Professor Sim launches completely off the rails and into thin space rather early in the piece, stating: "Multiculturalism has its drawbacks and paradoxes, but it is still worth defending if the alternative is enforced cultural homogeneity". God forbid! The last half of that statement is self-explanatory in its lack of an example on the real ground (please, not again Al Andaluz!). As to the former half I can only lament that if a philosopher finds himself in the presence of a paradox and isn't alerted to the fact that something might be seriously flawed in his logic, then frankly - I don't wanna know ... it is deeply depressing.

I'm giving up on the polemics of the Kindergarten variety on the relativist treasure trove, the German government sponsored "international debating site" that seeks to counter the "American dominance" of their own language. Intellectual flatulence indeed!

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