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Friday, 31 July 2015

The Conservative Standpoint Part 8: Multiculturalism and Immigration

This is Part 8 of the Conservative Standpoint a serial post by Cole D. 

Multiculturalism. Immigration. To conservatives these are loaded terms, and dangerous ones at that. They put the critic in the dangerous position of being libeled as a racists and a xenophobe and the supporter of being deemed a cultural and moral relativist. Both the affirmative and negative sides to any discussion on mass immigration and multiculturalism are loaded with dogmatic language. Depending on your locale, like my native Canada, any criticism of such a policy is verboten; I can see why. Often people who critique the multicultural order do so from a place of aggression. They attack multiculturalism like Romans fearing the onslaught of the Gothic hordes, but what if this was the wrong way in which to tack our sails?

I bring this up not because I wish to act as an apologist for multiculturalism;
instead, I wish to highlight coherent reasons to advocate for conservative
opposition. Opposition based on the argument, that, in the multicultural
context something is stolen from us. What I mean, is that our privilege of
Oikophelia: the love of home (as Roger Scruton coined it) is put at risk; this
is not deliberate, but nevertheless it is harmful.

However, what is multiculturalism? A brief definition is in order:
“The presence of, or support for the presence of, several distinct cultural or
ethnic groups within a society,” (from Oxford Dictionary). Furthermore, the
Canadian Government has this description of the phenomenon on offer: “Through
multiculturalism, Canada recognizes the cultural heritage and the potential of
all Canadians, encouraging them to integrate into Canadian society and take an
active part in its social, cultural, economic, and political affairs.” I would
argue that some of these descriptors are specious, but they do give on a
concept of what is being dealt with when one actually speaks of
multiculturalism. However, we must subdivide this category further, because two
different notions of multiculturalism have converged in the western world over
the last decade. One, is the idea of prescriptive multiculturalism: the idea that
society made up of a plurality of cultures is a good thing, and that cultural
diversity can lead to social benefits for a society, more so for a society that
is already diverse. The second is the descriptive concept of multiculturalism:
this is, stated openly or otherwise, simply the recognition that through means
such as a high immigrant population the plurality of cultures already exists in
a society. Descriptive multiculturalism will not be the focus of the essay,
because it can and does exist independently of the prescriptive or
philosophical notion, Eg.) France and The United States both share this
recognized though non-normative definition. Nevertheless, the philosophical
notion of multiculturalism shall be the subject of examination because it is
this aforementioned viewpoint that drives the diversity narrative in the west,
often without a clear understanding of the harm it causes to the domestic

A brief aside to this discourse: I find it pertinent to point out
that Mark Steyn adroitly observed that, in fact, the west (Europe, North
America, Oceania) are the only nations who have embraced the multicultural
narrative, “multiculturalism is a unicultural phenomenon,” as Steyn said. What,
possibly, could these other civilizations know that the west refuses to
embrace? I believe broadly speaking, that these other nations, recognize just
how valuable and fragile their traditions are in an ever more globalized world,
and they in turn recognize that their norms and practices must be protected.
These people are deeply adapted on a subconscious level to their institutions
from which they derive comfort and a sense of moral purpose, a direction in a
directionless world.

Multiculturalism has been advocated for a number of different
reasons, generally on the grounds that it will increase social cohesion and
stability, however, the requirement for greater social stability, is not
natural nor necessary; most of the west has adopted the mass immigration
narrative, and this is wrong. It is not wrong because immigrants are by their
nature wrong, they are not, and it would be foolish, clumsy, and facile to
think so; immigrants are some of the most wonderful and hardworking people in a
society, and often the most driven in making that culture their own. This
immigrant attitude is unlike the domestic elites who increasingly seek to
undermine the adopted culture of the immigrant: often for reasons as spurious
as the west has a colonial past, or that we have a culture that is no better
than anywhere else; both may be true, but they lack a certain nuance and
context. This self-depreciation causes the author and most conservatives toward
a desire to wretch. There can be no plausible reason anymore for a Eurocentric
or Anglocentric attitude, however one should comfortably be able to say that
their place, time, and culture, is most suited to them, and it should be no
shock that one would desire to preserve those permanent things attached to
environment and place in which they were fostered.

So what drove this desire to quell social unrest in the many
nations of the western world, almost all of whom have adopted some form of
multicultural policy? I’d suggest that it has largely been driven by the desire
to integrate a growing body of immigrants drawn from non-traditional source
countries; in the past, in Canada, America, and to a lesser extent Europe
immigrants came from at least relatively speaking—on a global scale—similar
cultures. In the Anglosphere, most migrants were from England, and the requirement
to assimilate was both self-evident and relatively easy; however birth rates
collapsed both in the old world and the new and it became the directive of both
governments and capitalists to search for new sources of labour. Both the
welfare state and the corporate machine remained hungry. But did we need this
ingress of foreigners? The answer seems simple to the conservative and that is
an affirmative “NO.”

This is because the onrush of migrants has been a component of
unsustainable economic growth. What I mean by this is that our economies are
capable of contracting and expanding naturally as is necessary, and this is not
happening. Instead, we use a vast labour pool enable business ventures to
expanding to scales much larger than would be feasible without an influx of
labour. At the same time, our modern welfare state has run into hard times in
the face of an aging, and under reproducing society.

We are living, personally, and nationally on a line of credit, one
we keep borrowing to pay down. Really, a pension, or a mortgage is but a means
to expand when funds are lacking, and pass on the expenses to a second
generation. We used to build our homes about or attached to a small business
and gradually expanded them over decades, not buy whole hog, and promise to pay
it down over 25 years.A straightforward example: the first is my native Canada

and the temporary foreign worker program. The Toronto Star reported on the lack of
suitable employees for rural Canadian business particularly in food services,
noting that, “they may have to forgo growth opportunities,” this is true, if
current positions are going unfilled despite rising wages is a simple indicator
that expansion is unsustainable, and perhaps these business will have to close.
In fact it could be argued that for many franchise establishments in Canada the
prior decade worth of growth should have never happened because under normal
circumstances the ability would not be there, but in our constant hunt for both
GDP growth and profits sustainability gets left at the door, fiscal
responsibility is nowhere in sight.

The same goes for the welfare state, where the aging population
and low birth rate was unpredictable to the reformers of the 1960’s; this indicates
a need for policy reform that both simplifies and limits the access to social
services and welfare. These institutions are simply not suited to operate on
the kind of scale they have been implemented. Of course instead of recognizing this,

and being honest with the electorate, more immigrants are left to fill the gaps
created by an aging population; this would be a good thing, and in fact wise,
if it was not for the fact that Douglas Murray astutely observed. “Immigrants
get old too,” and not only old, but birth rates also decline, from Statistics
Canada (2003): Fertility rates among foreign-born women start to decline relatively
soon after they arrive in Canada, and eventually reach those of women who were
born in Canada, according to a new study in the latest edition of the Report on the Demographic Situation in Canada.” This is not surprising, upon arriving in a new homeland, immigrant mothers and fathers are subject to the same multitude of factors that drove down the birthrate in the west. It is obvious that a consistent tide of newcomers is necessary to prolong and maintain the social security state, and pension systems. Alternatively, something has to give and will. We are already seeing it in Europe with both the rise of the right wing nationalist parties (good andbad) and the collapse of the European welfare states.

From this point, two governing principles may be established from conservative
thinking and then directed toward the formation of an argument against
multiculturalism. Firstly, everyone and all peoples have their right to a
unified and unique culture, that does not mean we are slaves to it, but that
people from all places are entitled to a national identity, and that
multiculturalism through its pluralist prescription undermines the rights of the
people’s ownership over their own regional heritage. Secondly, multicultural
ideas lead to conflict because they inherently undermine the standards, norms,
and prescriptions universal in a culture as espoused by Philip Rieff in Toward

a Theory of Culture Part of The Triumph of the Therapeutic. Key
to Rieff’s positions is the recognition that a culture is based on, “a shared
vision of moral behavior,” and, is it feasible that two distinct cultures do
vary, at least partially, in their definition of and means of enforcing
positive behavior?

State sponsored multiculturalism has led to a number of different
consequences, one of which is an increase in cultural tensions and conflict,
which has supposedly been reduced by the migration toward multicultural policies
in the first place. One of the great tragedies or victories, of liberalism is
the focus on the self. The self-actualization and autonomy of liberalism is
generally a good thing. Reiff stated that an effective culture enhanced
autonomy by inculcating norms so deeply that they became autonomous within
individuals in a society and therefore created an expectation of predictable
behavior by the individual in society. However, this focus on the identity of
the newcomers and the culture they bring with them does and has persisted for
generations, were assimilation would be more beneficial. An obvious case is
German Turks, and French Algerians, who despite their large numbers have failed
to integrate effectively into either French or German society. This is not an
error on behalf of the immigrants, but rather a response to the incentives
placed on immigrants in these countries. Both countries have established
significant barriers to acquiring citizenship, and by treating their local
culture as something exclusive, and difficult to subsume both cultures direct
migrants back to their traditional culture, often one divorced from its
original, local context, and now increasingly mutagenic and toxic as it is
infected with both poverty and discontent at perceived racism and xenophobia.

An effective example of identity politics driving new loyalties as
well as conflicts comes from Britain, where two riots illustrate the change in
identification of immigrants over a couple of generations. Immigrant activism
in Britain peaked according to Kenan Malik in the 1970’s and 1980’s

where both Asian and Caribbean migrants aggressively rioted against discriminatory policies
instituted by the government. However, in Lozell in 2005, these same Asian and Caribbean
British groups were fighting in the streets over allegations that an Asian man raped a black British woman.

It seems initially proper to assert that immigrants have failed to
assimilate into various western societies, but placing the onus exclusively on
the newcomers is specious; it is the duty of the nation to foster both an
interest in the local monoculture as well as a means of education. All the
largesse of the government cannot do anything for newcomers if the communities
and people who make up a nation remain prepared to reject and protect their own
culture so ferociously they drive immigrants back toward a twisted version of
their own traditional culture extradited and trapped in a foreign enclave.

Edmund Burke established the traditional notion of honouring the contributions
of the past through the maintenance of institutions and ideas unique to the
heritage of the society, but this is exactly what multiculturalism deprives the
collective from doing. By establishing that within all borders all cultures are
equal, we set a precedent that diminishes the contributions of the local at
behest of the foreign. We sacrifice the unique local culture, rooted in both
history and place, for an imported mosaic without a foundation upon which to

Philip Reiff was insightful when he wrote, “[Culture serves] to
control their dis-ease as individuals . . . Books and parading, prayers and the
sciences, music and piety toward parents: these are . . . instruments by which
a culture may produce the saving larger self.” It is this larger self that both
gives the individual a sense of purpose, strength and direction, and gives us the
community a sense of the ethical. Nonetheless, these norms can be confused and
constricted until the laws by, which we govern ourselves and the community consensus
either disappears or shrinks as “little platoons,” organized around ethnic and cultural lines.

The war of ideas remains useful in principle, and certainly
this is no cause for censorship, however, it would be remiss not to suggest
that the majority of the population is not interested in the war of ideas. Nor
do the majority have the means to fight it; few people have the time, the
energy, or the concern to research and think deeply on an eclectic collection
of opinions instead choosing to base their behavior off the norms established
by peers. Again, this would be no concern if it were not for the fact that,
mixing cultures can leave an unclear perspective on collective norms and goals.
Each of these unclear perspectives on what constitutes social well being and
group wellness contributes to a snowballing of minute social breakdown, until
neighbors look at each other and cease to understand what drives the others
behavior and desires. These conflicts can only be exasperated by establishing
equivalences between local cultures and those from beyond the borders.

Nevertheless, Irving Kristol was prescient when he suggested that
soon those who spoke out deliberately against multiculturalism, or cultural
relativism, would be branded as reactionaries and racists. Kristol knew that a
new standard established by progressive academia sought to destabilize the
western order, something they viewed as the origin of all oppression in
American society. I have experienced this same trend in my undergraduate
lecture halls where any suggestion that Canada is made up of a convergence of
British, French and Aboriginal cultures, is simply close-minded. We are not,
British, French, or Aboriginal according to the majority. Instead, we are
Canadian: from there I am served a list of vague platitudes about how Canada is
too complex to be defined, how diversity is our strength, and all cultures have
something to contribute. This would be of no consequence if those speaking in
opposition could recognize that things like the common law, French Legal Code,
Parliamentary Democracy, and Aboriginal aid throughout Canada, which
facilitated the spread of central government across the vast territory. Instead,
one must recognize the Hindus, the Somalis, the Polish, the Chinese, and
Filipinos as equal players in the Canadian story, which is simply not the case.

Not only do we deny our own history, but we also deny the
uniqueness of the vast collections of people who have arrived on these shores
since 1867. We do a disservice to ourselves by denying our own contributions to
global wellbeing, and we do a disservice to our migrants. Irving Kristol
recognized that immigrants come to the west to become a member of their adopted
culture not to carry their old ways with them. To Kristol, multiculturalism “invalidates” the immigrant perception of the host culture. Making it less than any others and making their experience unremarkable or unexceptional. Likewise, Kristol recognized that the maintenance of immigrant culture was not a state affair; in fact, the immigrant's culture could be maintained comfortably through a couple hours of parent directed instruction at day's end.

In conclusion, it is necessary to again touch on mass immigration
because it closely relates to the current multicultural orthodoxy, which
through its establishment in many states theoretically facilitated the
integration of a flood of newcomers to a society. These issues remain closely
tied and conservatives need a reasonable position on immigration to serve as
support to the opposition to multiculturalism.

Conservatives, must be carefully not to oppose immigration as a
whole, and must be tactful enough to recognize the many ways it may enrich a
society. However, the conservative must also work to establish a stable,
ordered, and modest position on immigration. It is imperative that
conservatives recognize that with mass immigration may come mass change and
this is part of the reasoning behind opposition. No change, for purposes of
change alone is good change; instead, one should do their best to advocate for
slow, controlled, and measurable benefits at every turn with efficient recourse
if unforeseen consequences emerge.

Conservatives must also be wise enough to recognize that mass
immigration serves an immoral end because it utilizes people as a means to
facilitate an unsustainable lifestyle in the west. Despite, the cringing and
crying of the economists, the sky will not fall during the next recession;
populations in the west are the highest they have ever been. Our numbers in
developed countries are massive in comparison to the population of various
states just a hundred years ago. A simple return to the status quo, perhaps a
much more pastoral and modest one, is all that is occurring. But, instead of
recognizing and reconciling with this change we use the influx of newcomers as
a means to shift the debt burden established by previous generations onto the
newcomers, who in search of a better life, find themselves picking up the
detritus left by the dead and dying. Instead of living modestly and honouring
the compact between those living, dead and yet unborn, we have left an anvil
suspended over the newcomers instead of ourselves, and we will pay, both
through cultural capital and industrial capital, it is only a matter of time.
My apologies for the poor formatting, but it seems unalterable.