Monday, May 28, 2007

“Multiculturalism” and meta-ethical subjective relativism

There have been some posts floating around the blogosphere denouncing "multiculturalism". First, I'm not at all convinced there is such a thing as "multiculturalism" as any sort of cohesive intellectual or political movement. Of course, academics and politicians express a wide range of opinions and arguments, some of them astonishingly bad.

I'm always suspicious and skeptical when I see an otherwise obscure point of view criticized or condemned in general terms without specific examples. It's one thing to criticize some specific instance of stupidity or criticize something like "religion" in general—it's not like this whole religion business is new to the intellectual arena—but I suspect hysteria and a hidden agenda when some new intellectual fad is taken to Threaten The Very Soul Of Western Civilization.

A particularly disappointing instance of this sort of irresponsible hysteria can be found at anticant's arena. Ignoring that the post is hearsay, anticant's non-Muslim correspondent describes a violent, criminal assault against first his Muslim girlfriend and then himself.

"Yes, that´s ‘multiculturalism’," says anticant.

I call bullshit.

Who, other than anticant (who appears to hate nothing more than a word) excuses or condones this sort of action? anticant does not offer us any description of multiculturalism by a proponent, only characterizations offered by opponents: Gates of Vienna and Melanie Phillips.

There are, most probably, a few moronic academics and Islamic apologists who would excuse such criminality. This is the way of academics: They are pretty much free to write whatever they please, exposing their thoughts to critical scrutiny and sometimes public ridicule. Any specific person who would excuse or condone such behavior would definitely earn my own condemnation. But I see no evidence of an intellectual movement, a "school of thought", a political organization which would warrant such blanket criticism.

Even given the most uncharitable assumptions about multiculturalism, that "cultural acceptance" does objectively excuse anything, anticant's evaluation is still fallacious. Even if Islamic culture accepts violence to prevent miscegenation, Swedish culture accepts imprisonment to prevent violent assault; both activities are at least on "equal" grounds.

Insofar as meta-ethical subjective relativism is concerned, anticant's inference would be completely unwarranted. Meta-ethical subjective relativism denies that any ethical belief—including the belief that "cultural acceptance" excuses anything—can be objectively justified, that is, justified without reference to anyone's actual subjective belief. At worst, meta-ethical subjective relativism entails that the issue anticant mentions is, in an objective sense, a conflict between values held by two competing societies: The citizenry of Sweden and a sub-subculture of its Islamic immigrant subculture.

But the whole point of meta-ethical subjective relativism is that our subjective ethical beliefs do not follow from an objective evaluation of the situation. An objective evaluation just tells us what is happening or what can happen. An objective evaluation is utterly silent on what should happen; it does not establish any sort of normative belief, it does not tell us if we should approve or disapprove of an activity. There are only facts about what we do approve and disapprove of.

If anticant had substituted a single word, and said, "Yes, that´s Islam. Phew!" I would have agreed without reservation. Islam is a violent and misogynist culture, and I thoroughly disapprove of their violence and misogyny. They also believe—and this is why Islamic culture is especially virulent and dangerous—that their violence and misogyny is commanded by God. There can be no reasoning, no negotiation with someone who believes that his ethics are commanded by God.

Neither anticant himself nor the linked articles offer the slightest bit of evidence that multiculturalism is anything more than "showing respect and tolerance to other cultures and faiths." The construction of multiculturalism as
[A]ll minority values must have equal status to those of the majority. Any attempt to uphold majority values over minorities is a form of prejudice. [Phillips]
is an obvious straw man. Why shift the blame from Islam, where it is uncontroversially deserved?

Any time someone shifts a sound argument to a fallacious argument, alarm bells should go off. They are attempting to trade on the soundness of the underlying argument to make point otherwise insupportable. This transference technique is so time-honored that every sensible person should be sensitive to its use. What is the insupportable position being argued? A confident answer must rely on a detailed analysis of Phillips and Baron Bodissey's essays, but a superficial reading does nothing to eliminate the usual suspects of authoritarian nationalism, Christianism and outright racism.

I am a critic of Islamic culture just as these sorts of assholes [update: I am referring to only Phillips and Bodissey] (although I don't at all support slaughtering all the brown people who pray in funny ways). But the enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend.

27 comments:

  1. In a couple of hours I leave for a week's holiday. I have only just seen, and hastily perused, this confused outpouring, and have no time to answer it in reasoned or detailed terms.

    All I would say, for now, is that it is you who erects straw men, and uses confused terminology.

    You can, of course, if you choose, brush aside the personal experiences recounted by my Swedish blogger friend as 'hearsay': to loftily sneer at them, as you do, is to my mind deplorable.

    I never said that Muslim misbehaviour in the West is either tolerable or 'multiculturalism'. Please don't put words into my mouth.

    It is you who defines 'multiculturalism' in an idiosyncratic way. "When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, it means just what I choose it to mean - neither more nor less."

    I may - or may not - resume this debate when I return.

    Meanwhile, happy word-spinning.

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  2. I've known anticant for a time now and am familiar with his opinions, with which I've not always been in agreement, but one thing I'm most sure of: he is not the person described in the post under discussion.

    There must have been a misunderstanding and this attack on his person does not seem to me to be fair.

    When one reads something one must be sure what one reads has been completely understood before making any adverse comments on it.

    Otherwise clarifications should be requested.

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  3. Of course you do need to be aware that multiculturalism as an ideological stance IS promoting segregation instead of integration!

    Multiculturalism is nothing more than a huge social experiment, conducted by and large by socialists- a spin off of western relativism and self-hatred.

    Now- look up the word "Pluralism". That is what every society should be aming for! Instead of segregating immigrants (which is painfully the way multiculturalism is aiming at), pluralism means coexisting- with integration and assimilation of different cultures. Not building socially segregated ghettos, which is all the more probable when dealing with muslims.

    Remember; Its not the first generation muslims that is the hard-line radicals. It´s the second generation, and the third. It all comes down to the muslim enclaves getting ever more isolated. Without a feel of belongin to a society, the youngsters turn to madrasas, quranic schools and radicalism.

    As I have stated before; you in USA have just not got a clue! The total amount of muslims in USA is about the amount of muslims living in the Greater London area alone!

    In little Sweden we have a muslim population that amounts to one third of it´s counterpart in USA!

    Multiculturalism IS one of the worst kind of racist ideologies ever to be deployed on the Europeian continent. Soon to be shown in a theater near you!
    Good luck!

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  4. Oh, oh oh! I almost forgot.

    If all cultures are equal, then cannibalism is just a matter of taste, innit?

    When it comes to islam; muslims adore a man that was a murderer, a pedophile, a robber, a liar, a breaker of contracts, a slave handler, a warmonger, a polygamist (even by arab standards), a caravan robber, a rapist and more!

    Mo is not just concidered to be the best of the best. His actions is concidered by muslims to be perfect and something to strive for!

    Is this a culture equal to the judean- christian one? To western democratic humanist ones? To your own?

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  5. Crap! I forgot...

    I do not think that every muslim is a bad person- not at all!

    I also do not think that every German during the thirties and fourties was bad people; nor is every Russian, North Korean and what not bad persons!

    BUT! The ideologies they sometimes are serving under (and sometimes belives in) are evil. Just plain EVIL!

    Over a billion people have been murdered in the name of islam during the past 1400 years. That is a track record worth mentioning!

    As of to day, more than 8429 deadly terror attacks carried out by muslims(that we know of), since 9/11.

    Hundred of thousands (if not millions) of people- humanbeings- has lost their lifes as a consequense of islamic supremacy agenda. In just six years!

    Please! Do tell me now why I should excuse these atrocities?

    With hope of a fast recovery
    Sincerily
    pela

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  6. anticant:

    It's really hard to determine what alternative to reality you're inhabiting.

    You can, of course, if you choose, brush aside the personal experiences recounted by my Swedish blogger friend as 'hearsay': to loftily sneer at them, as you do, is to my mind deplorable.

    It is a matter of irrefutable fact that your post actually is hearsay. But I explicitly state that I am ignoring that your post is hearsay, and I accept at face value the claims in your post as fact.

    Furthermore, I explicitly call the actions "violent, criminal assault[s]." In what way does this constitute "sneering"?

    I never said that Muslim misbehaviour in the West is either tolerable or 'multiculturalism'. Please don't put words into my mouth.

    In what sense do I claim that you consider Muslim misbehavior to be tolerable? Re-reading my essay, I'm at a loss to find a passage that could even be misinterpreted as making such a claim.

    On the other hand, the plain, charitable reading of your post and the linked material clearly implies that "multiculturalism" entails tolerance of such criminal activity. In what sense here am I misinterpreting you?

    It is you who defines 'multiculturalism' in an idiosyncratic way.

    I'm not trying to make any particular case about "multiculturalism" itself; I'm objecting only about your own and your linked authors' hysteria. As I explicitly state in the opening paragraph, "I'm not at all convinced there is such a thing as "multiculturalism" as any sort of cohesive intellectual or political movement."

    Any definitions that I employ are either quoted from your own sources or inferred from your own comments.

    I may - or may not - resume this debate when I return.

    You may, of course, begin a debate if you choose. This would entail first reading my actual words.

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  7. Jose:

    There must have been a misunderstanding and this attack on his person does not seem to me to be fair.

    The only sense in which I might be interpreted as attacking anticant's person is my use of "assholes" in the last paragraph. I meant to apply this term only Phillips and Bodissey; I apologize for being vague enough that it might well have been interpreted as applying to anticant, and I have clarified my comments.

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  8. Guys, you are having a transatlantic moment. BB, you contend that there is not "the slightest bit of evidence that multiculturalism is anything more than "showing respect and tolerance to other cultures and faiths."

    But in the UK, I think I agree with anticant that there is a "school of thought" (your words), although not a political organisation, which tends to anticant's definition (improved by me by the insertion of the word ALL):- "the inane belief that ALL contradictory cultures and belief systems can exist peacefully alongside each other in the same space without social stress and sometimes actual conflict."

    In fact, I would rather characterise the school of thought as a strong committment to the principle that all cultures and belief systems should be accorded equal deference, which leads to an almost wilful blindness that some cultures and belief systems have such opposing views on various issues that allowing them all to flourish completely unchecked in the same space will frequently lead to social stress and sometimes actual conflict.

    In the UK, this school of thought has the popular label "multiculturalism". This may be an unfortunate label, because confusing, but it exists. (I agree I don't like it).

    You all (BB, anticant, the various commenters, me for what it's worth, agree that Islamism (as defined by Melanie Phillips) is bad.

    Anticant was making the additional point that British multiculturalism as defined above is silly. His example was the fact that his Swedish friend approached the Iranian guy with totally the wrong (as in inaccurate) set of cultural assumptions.

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  9. pela68

    Of course you do need to be aware that multiculturalism as an ideological stance IS promoting segregation instead of integration!

    Sez you. Can you substantiate this comment? Who are these shadowy multiculturalists? If multiculturalism is such a Threat The Very Soul Of Western Civilization, then it should be possible to cite any number of primary sources.

    I'll say again: there are, most probably, specific individuals who do in fact support segregation; such people deserve specific criticism: Cite someone calling for segregation and criticize their actual position and arguments.

    The rest of your post is filled with entirely unsubstantiated assertions of fact.

    If all cultures are equal, then cannibalism is just a matter of taste, innit?

    If you would like to actually read my work on meta-ethical subjectivism, indeed if you would like to actually read the post you're commenting on, feel free to come back. You might also want to study a few basics, such as the difference between documented facts vs. making things up, logical arguments vs. the fallacy of argument from incredulity.

    When it comes to islam; muslims adore a man that was a murderer, a pedophile...

    No argument there. Again, it's helpful if you actually read the post you're commenting on. For instance:

    Islam is a violent and misogynist culture, and I thoroughly disapprove of their violence and misogyny. They also believe—and this is why Islamic culture is especially virulent and dangerous—that their violence and misogyny is commanded by God.

    Do tell me now why I should excuse these atrocities?

    Do tell me now precisely where I ask you to excuse these atrocities. Good grief.

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  10. potentilla

    [Y]ou contend that there is not "the slightest bit of evidence that multiculturalism is anything more than "showing respect and tolerance to other cultures and faiths."

    No, that's not what I contend. I contend that I do not see any such evidence. Certainly neither anticant nor his sources show any such evidence. All speak in vague generalities and cite no primary sources.

    But in the UK, I think I agree with anticant that there is a "school of thought" (your words), although not a political organisation, which tends to anticant's definition (improved by me by the insertion of the word ALL):- "the inane belief that ALL contradictory cultures and belief systems can exist peacefully alongside each other in the same space without social stress and sometimes actual conflict."

    I'll have to repeat my exhortation: Show me the evidence for the existence of this school of thought. Cite and criticize primary sources. Show the evidence for their political influence.

    There's a right way and a wrong way to criticize these sorts of ideas. The right way is to find and cite proponents of an idea and criticize their work directly. Find and cite evidence of their political influence, and criticize that.

    I have no love for Islamic culture. I'm married to an Islamic aposate who was severely oppressed in an Islamic culture.

    What anticant's sources do is create a vague term, describe the most uncharitable characterization, and "argue" about that straw man. I've seen this argument pattern before, and it's not just fallacious, not just intellectually dishonest, but also sinister.

    Why take a powerful, direct criticism of Islam and employ it as a fallacious criticism against a vague, undefined, generic word? I smell a rat.

    There's a rhetorical pattern which employs this kind of fallacy, the equivocation switcheroo:

    1. (The most uncharitable interpretation of) X is completely ridiculous.

    2. X is therefore completely ridiculous.

    3. Anything that can be labeled as (a more general interpretation of) X is therefore completely ridiculous.

    The most egregious example that comes immediately to mind was the opposition to the (US) Equal Rights Amendment when I was just a lad. This argument was actually made:

    1. (The most uncharitable interpretation of) The ERA entails that unisex bathrooms would be legally compelled, a completely ridiculous position.

    2. The ERA is therefore completely ridiculous.

    3. Anything that can be labeled as (a more general interpretation of) equal civil rights for women is therefore completely ridiculous.

    I haven't examined anticant's source in sufficient detail to figure out specifically which switcheroo they're trying to perform, but I'm very suspicious (on the general principle that the source appear to be right-wingers, and also on pela68's third comment: "Is this a culture equal to the judean- christian one? To western democratic humanist ones? To your own?") that they're trying to justify some sort of cultural authoritarianism or covert racism.

    Anticant was making the additional point that British multiculturalism as defined above is silly. His example was the fact that his Swedish friend approached the Iranian guy with totally the wrong (as in inaccurate) set of cultural assumptions.

    I don't buy this reading. I think anticant was simply making the point that Islam is terrible (I agree) in an ordinary Western ethical context (to which I subscribe), and "multiculturalism" entails that we must be tolerant of such ridiculous garbage.

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  11. For assholes of all persuasions:Sendahole.com.

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  12. Can't send a hole but can send a bubble :-
    Without a mention that this kind of multi-culturalism, especially in postmodern conditions, is really an essential part of Capitalism - without this mention - I really cannot see a way to avoid the mess you lot have made for yourselves.

    But as capitalism is the big "Oopps!!!" word then maybe my comment helps to ironically stabilise this tricky wicket.

    But oh dear me you guys have got yer knickers in a twist so a word from this old-fart does no harm.

    I'm back to my re-readings of that old master Maupassant because the question here is this : "How might Maupassant have written this blog or replied to this blog or written the original Anticant blog that began, in a sense, this frayed eventfulness.

    best wishes from Zolainkspots

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  13. I don't know anything about anticant (I haven't read the rest of his blog) so I can't debate the possible meaning behind his post. I rather suspect that a couple of his commenters "read" your post as "pro-multiculturalism therefore = pro-Islamism", btw (ie didn't really read it at all).

    I will be on the look-out for a good example of the school of thought which I characterise. It's a difficult thing to Google. I suppose one example would be that in the UK, we have state-funded faith schools, which are allowed to select pupils on their (or their parents') faith and teach religion. Most of them are Anglican; some are other faiths, including Islam.

    Meanwhile, here are a couple of links from very left-wing sources which suggest to me that anticant's use of the word "multiculturalism" is not out of the British mainstream usage. From the Guardian. Trevor Phillips and Polly Toynbee. TP = (black) head of Commission for Racial Equality, PT = prominent left-wing journalist

    Melanie Phillips, btw, used to be a Guardian (ie left-wing) journo and had some sort of Damascus conversion. She writes for the horrible right-wing Daily Mail. I think possibly her main hobbyhorse is being anti-Islam. She tends to be a rabid conspiracy theorist on almost every topic.

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  14. AT Present there co-exist horridly acted-out phantasies of 'multi-culturalism' and islamic 'fundamentalism' -- amid a horde & pandaemonium of others.

    AS A convert to islam & student of sufism I want to assure you all that some muslims at least do not make bombs out of themselves and beat their wives.

    WHAT Needs to be kept in mind is the fact of the historical exhaustion of the cultural impulse that gave us western civilisation.

    IT Has been, altogether, a good long run of 2500 years at any rate; and, now, we are exhausted.

    AT This point, Asia is rising, near and far; and, alas, centuries of physical horror yet loom.

    THE Important point about the obvious idiocies of exoteric islam is that MuHammad (pbuh) stated clearly that this racket would be the /last/ religion:

    IN Islamic exegesis we have the principle that any text has 'seven layers of meaning' -- in the present case this includes the implication that (after the religious impulse, or instinct, is finally exhausted) in time human being will grow up.

    THE Corollary of that is that the future states of Nature's evolving self-awareness will necessarily take on post-human forms.

    HERE And now?

    I Congratulate those persons who in their personal development to-day anticipate & embody the future post-religious state.

    IN A specific technical sense you are, indeed, so superior, whereas I am not so gifted. In fact, as a person who, owing the complex intersection of nature & nurture, shares in the still-general religious instincts of mankind, I would be in a false position and living dangerously against my instinctual basis to try to occupy your opinion-bases.

    IN Precisely the same way, the reasonable humanist paints a ridiculous spectacle at life's ending when, suddenly, fear looms and they 'find Jesus' (usually in the boot of the family motor-car!)

    WHEN I became muslim it was on account of a dream in my twenty-eighth year, in which I lifted down Jesus, Mary's Son, from the cross in the fable, and he smiled at me. I said:

    'FROM Now on I will take responsibility for my own wrong-doing.'

    NOW AS to /evolution/, in my share of the common progress of us all & our work together, this was indeed progress -- precisely, away from the obscene sado-masochistic content of christianity. And yet, now, we confront the hideous paradox of muslims -- votaries of an optimistic faith -- blowing up the inhabitants amid the ruins of a preceding pessimistic creed.

    NO One who is not semantically-ill can condone such vileness.

    BUT, As well, on this physical molecular scale of existence -- with its messy high signal-to-noise ratio -- the problem of evil is as real as mental- & imaginal-illness, itself.

    ON More-and-more refined electronic levels, of course, images of exquisite beauty & heinous ugliness can -- do! -- co-exist, and, with NO harm to the beholder. Alas, /en masse/, we are not yet wholly 'there'. What 'I' am now doing, therefore, is to inhabit a good deal of the time the internet-like realms of /'alam al-mithal/, the mental worlds of creative phantasy in which, indeed' 'I' already have rescued 'you' all. You who anticipate already some aspects of post-human being are, of course, perfectly entitled as reasonable people to dismiss this sort of stuff as rank mysticism. But, in fact, I cannot do my visionary work unless, indeed, you do your humanistic & rational work -- all content of thought, all phantasies including 'science', multi-culturalism' and 'religion', all of it is physically real as so many fields of coherent electrons. All of it subsists in Dr Hawking's 'light-cone', ans as all is recoverable, nothing therefore can be lost. There approaches a tipping-point; and, then, all will necessarily 'click', fall into place.

    I Realise, of course, that all of this amounts to a demand to be taken on faith and at my word.

    SCIENTIFICALLY Speaking, at least in those cases where temperament does not preclude active participation (in the same way as all are not gifted to be scientists!), the opportunity does exist to take part and, indeed, see for yourselves. A good start (for those who can stomach 'nonsense' -- grin!) is Miss Barabara Hannah's book on alchemical active imagination. This, together with the popularising works of Idries Shah, and the fictions of Mr Jack Vance & /Sr/ J L Borges, may serve to trigger some beneficial perceptual changes -- and, as well, I have put in place certain safeguards so that no one will have a breakdown; nor shall a healthy scepticism cause any moral harm to anyone who had ought not to become involved.

    ALL Is well, and indeed very well,

    s/Wook 'abd al-'Abru/, CC [/retd/] & South Minnesota Gentleman-Farmer

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  15. potentilla:

    I rather suspect that a couple of his commenters "read" your post as "pro-multiculturalism therefore = pro-Islamism", btw (ie didn't really read it at all).

    Ya think? ::chuckles::

    Bodi's article does not give us an actual definition of "multiculturalism", does not appear to be written by a proponent of anything self-described as "multiculturalism", and notes that: "Any discussion on multiculturalism in today's poisonous climate risks conflating unrelated issues," and observes "[t]he widespread - but false - belief that it may be linked to terrorism." That's pretty much the point I'm trying to make, especially about anticant's sources.

    The Socialist Worker article also seems to be making my own point: Prosaic notions of ordinary tolerance of diversity are being recast as a ridiculous straw man in the equivocation switcheroo to promote racism, Christianism and authoritarianism.

    It is one thing to criticize specific elements of Islamic culture on their own merits; every culture has objectionable features.

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  16. Emmett:

    Islamic "fundamentalism"—in the cultural sense, is not a fantasy. One need only look at the legal codes and accepted social practices of countries such as Pakistan and Saudi Arabia—if they say that their government, society and legal system is "Islamic", who am I to contradict them?

    The point is that benign cultural practices should not be lumped in together with the abhorrent ones. Accepting the former does not entail accepting the latter. To argue against "multiculturalism" as a vague, generic term argues that to accept the benign entails acceptance of the abhorrent.

    I really don't care whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Eid, Easter, the Solstice, Darwin's birthday, or nothing at all. It doesn't bother me at all if you spend Sunday morning kneeling in church, prostrating in a mosque, watching football or cleaning your home.

    I don't care if you want to have one spouse or twenty, of either sex, the same or different from your own—so long as everyone freely consents and has sufficient personal power to make a truly uncoerced choice. I don't care if you want to abstain from sex before marrying, or if you want to have sex with anyone who consents.

    Furthermore, I don't care how benighted, cruel, exploitative or tyrannical a country is: No country deserves invasion, occupation, and foreign rule.

    IN Islamic exegesis we have the principle that any text has 'seven layers of meaning'

    This is bullshit. See this post. This sort of bullshit exegesis allows you to justify anything. It's easier to simply abandon the text as an authority and work out your ethical beliefs directly.

    'FROM Now on I will take responsibility for my own wrong-doing.'

    Good for you. I approve. Almost by definition, you don't need god to take responsibility for your own actions.

    I'm pleased that you're a fan of Jack Vance. He's one of my favorite writers; I plan on exploring the philosophical content of his work in the near future.

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  17. anticant has been hithertofore an eminently sensible and intelligent guy. I'm especially puzzled that he seems to have fallen for this whole anti-"multiculturalism" bullshit.

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  18. IT Is a useful heuristic, tool, merely & not always appropriate of employment -- I mean the perception of layered & latent meanings, in texts. This stuff of course can be -- is, alas! -- abused; but, when it conduces to a better perception of 1) shadow & 2) possibility, then for a developed 13th-century personality such as myself, it is the /sine qua non/ & "all that old shit," as they say, here in southern Minnesota & At Home Among The Un-Mahomaten God-Damned & The Hog-Farming (smirk!)....

    ANYWAY, The more-important point, from my viewpoint, is that 'it all' of course does begin as, precisely, phantasy. In our extraverted western set-up, of course, this leads straightaway to, you guessed it, Paulie Wolfwits, new strip-mauls everywhere, Auschwitz and all of the rest of the filth of -- instantaneity!

    [CAUTION: I neither deny nor trivialise anything; I remember what my dad said he saw at Bergen-Belsen, in 1945; and, nothing we can say, now, may make any worse the petty nastiness of late-modernist extreme state-liberalism!]

    ALSO -- And, this is a point I have not rehearsed enough of late! -- by 'western' I most definitely do mean to include islam. That assertion, once enunciated, should be so self-evident, I think, that I don't need to bore & insult everyone here with a rehearsal of the facts of cultural monotheism & its fruits of scientific realism & /cet/.

    AT Any rate, afterward -- and, old MuHammad (pbuh) made some crack about this too, once! -- again after, mind you, there comes China.

    s/Wu 'abd al-'Abru

    PS: Have you read Vance's last thing (as far as I know), /Lurulu/? To tell you the truth, for a loving portrait of an adventitious arsehole, indeed, Cugel the Wayfarer cannot be beat & the /ouevre/ is most certainly to be commended to the biographers of /any/ 'baby-boom' 'leaders'.!

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  19. To be honest, I don't think Vance's latest two books (Ports of Call and Lurulu) are among his best. (But so what? He's a magnificent writer and has produced any number of excellent books and a few masterpieces.)

    Myron cannot indeed hold a candle to Cugel (only Fafhrd and Gray Mouser can hope to compete), and I must admit a certain resemblance—at least regarding vanity and condescending self-righteousness—between Rhialto and myself.

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  20. I Think of Vance as the Bulwer-Lytton of often-fop futures; and, whilst I find Myron and Jaro (latter in /Night Lamp/) sympathetic young men, indeed, well, 'tis Wayness Tamm and Skirlet Hutsenreiter for me, every time, every time

    AND, Then, there are the peerless /Lyonesse/ books....

    B Wook, CC, Cadwal Conservancy, Bureau 'B' (/retd/) & IPCC-affiliate (emeritus)

    PS: Speaking of /emeriti/, in /The Languages of Pao/ Vance indeed captures the Evil God-damned Morally Insane & Crazed Old Man Professional Complete Sonofabitch-imago, and that perfectly -- Don Rumsfeld revealed in all his vampiric & senectuous, prostatic, glory!

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  21. I've been meaning to write a post about multiculturalism for some time, ever since reading a particularly asinine comment I have long since forgotten by Andrew Sullivan. Perhaps I should do so for this blog this week.

    Critics of multiculturalism tend to conflate it as a social policy with lazy cultural relativism as an academic pursuit. Unfortunately, we now live in a culture where "I want to understand" is often equated with "I want to excuse." Other, related, related areas of confusion occur between "acculturate" and "assimilate." At no point during Anticant's post do I find any indication of politics or academic thinking that would lead one to assume that "multiculturalism" -- even in its bastardized conception -- was "at fault" for the disgusting situation his correspondent found himself in. Unless they are backhandedly referring to the immigration policies that let the "filthy Wogs" in in the first place...

    I've never quite understood how "multiculturalism" equates itself to ghettoization and segregation. Someone must elaborate further, so that I may be convinced (or not) that San Francisco's Chinatown is Warsaw circa 1938.

    Some of this conflict may come from inter-continental confusion: European multiculturalism may be (I confess to being unfamiliar with other European countries besides the United Kingdom and France) constructed and construed in a different manner from that which exists in America. Coming from one of those "mult-culti" areas of the United States where 6 out of 10 individuals is a minority, I just don't see it. We have ethnic neighborhoods, and our share of violence, but nothing that seems to indicate a fragile and moribund society.

    If all cultures are equal, then cannibalism is just a matter of taste, innit?

    Multiculturalism is most assuredly not cultural relativism. Someone mentioned straw men, earlier? Shove a fencepost up the behind of that statement and you've got a scarecrow.

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  22. I think multiculturalism is a coded way of talking about not liking the presence of Muslims in the west. And I think the real problem which everyone is referring to is the problems many Muslim communities have had in integrating into their adopted lands. This may be partly because of racism, partly because of a real sense of alienation, for which I don't know the reasons.

    I will hazard a wild guess of the sort Larry hates, that this is a bigger problem in Canada and Europe and not such a big problem in the U.S. because racism is a bigger problem in Canada and Europe. When you don't feel accepted by the whites, you withdraw into yourself. When the whites don't give you jobs, you can't integrate. Etc.

    Like I said, wild guess. In the absence of studies, it's difficult to talk about this stuff in a manner that doesn't offend Larry's rigorous soul. ;) But honey, that dissertation you mentioned was a systematic study, at least, of this very phenomenon.

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  23. I think the way Phillips and "Bodissy" talk about anti-multiculturalism seems very much like a coded way of talking about racism, Christianism, and keeping out those funny-looking brown people who stick their butts in the air when they pray.

    I think the way some representatives of racial and cultural groups talk about multiculturalism is a coded way of talking about replicating their native environments in their host nations at taxpayer expense.

    I think the way some academics talk about multiculturalism is indeed to excluding a priori the majority privilege just because it is the majority and privilege every minority viewpoint just because it's the minority.

    I don't know how to solve the underlying issues. (Well, actually I do, but no one seems interested in my solutions.) All I can do is call bullshit when I see deeply fallacious arguments and patently irrational positions.

    And honey, I don't hate guesses. I hate guesses masquerading as arguments. Furthermore, the dissertation may have been about multiculturalism, but it was a "systematic study" only in the sense that a tortoise is aerodynamically elegant.

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  24. James: I had a slightly different destination in mind for that fencepost.

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  25. MR Jack Vance, in /The Grey Prince/, deals with this whole business of abstract conception, and its hideous pitfalls, in a side-splittingly witty satire, esp of urbane liberalists; who dwell on some fifth or seventh (and, simpering!) level of removal from reality; who take fits over the 'rights' of a number of disparate alien groups with whom they share a planet; and, who get their hyper-credentiallised & non-productive, highly-academic-more-than-somewhat, arses, well, just kicked (and massa-creed!) -- by the very objects of their factitious benevolence....

    AND, Mr Vance's as-delightful /Araminta Station/ trilogy (in which I, Bodwyn Wook, make my 'first' appearance!) rather draws a more-pointed parable about initially-uncontrolled immigration & its hazards; his sense of the ludicrous and tragic position of the tenured (and, thus, categorically un-free) theoretical class especially is poignant, inasmuch these lost souls resorted to helot-labour from abroad in the first place because of professionalist prejudice & a corresponding immature, or neurotic,aversion to dirty fingers.

    AS A peaceable mahometan visionary student of sufism, I of course have seen beyond 'the future' and perceive (in the actions of imaginal work) that in fact (from L /facere/ --'to do', or 'to make') all is well.

    BUT, Alas, meanwhile we must continue to toil on this moleucular level & in the deep faecal exudate of statistically-ordinary animal human being quite simply because ninety-nine /per cent/ of the poor bastards honestly take their diurnal homeostases as 'values' and 'higher' feeling.

    IN Face of this sort of ignorance, you who do not need religion, are the cutting edge of a new post-humanity.

    HOWEVER, Since this all is still at the very beginning, you will perhaps have an inkling when I tell you that your condition -- in light of what awareness shall become, I mean -- is, at present, awfully base & crude. Now, you must not go on the rag & foam at the mouth unduly over this embarrassing-enough circumstance, however, as I would wish you to know also that in an n-dimensional set-up you in fact are being envisioned & given free creative powers, as much as you can handle I mean, by a variety of workers at different points, both in the past & future -- they are akin to so many station-masters on the way and, outwardly, are employed in a variety of workaday-roles. As well as number who have their being among the Hopi Indians & the tibetan Buddhists, two are with Genghis Khan; and, the US Justice department of President Wilson is a surprising hot-bed of these types. They mainly function in many situations as /impedimentia/.

    (CURIOUSLY, At present, none are within scores of miles of Whitehall, or hundreds of miles of the american federal district -- this is one of those periods that so to speak has to be written off as an 'action-field' for any co-ordinated outward work directly on public circumstances.)

    A Good book that conveys an image of much of this, indeed, is /Way Station/, by sf-writer Clifford D Simak. If you should happen to obtain and read a copy, please, afterward do /not/ think about it over-much & in time the analogy being presented will suddenly 'pop' into understanding. In any case, the stationmaster-role is prophylactic and you need not be afraid for the long-term -- you have enough work on your hands as it & as the serious non-religionists you are (and it is your temperamental /duty/ to be!) in meeting the terror of everyday as humanistically & morally well as possible without dedending on any divinities. All of the 'gods' and /spirits/ and all of that ilk, all of these are all for you nevertheless & beneath all of the apparent deceptions of outward opposition is -- unity. And, I am telling you in so many words, you are being taken care of:

    SO, Now, disbelieving this as you must (except in the one /per cent/ or so of your minds that are directly accessible to other times), now go forward bravely & saying 'it is not so'; and, then, we will sure help you, /amin/.

    s/Bodwyn Wook, CC [/retd/], Cadwal Conservancy, Cadwal Planet & IPCC-affiliate [emeritus]

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  26. Thanks for the tip on Way Station. I'm a big Simak fan. I'll order it posthaste!

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  27. I Am sorry (in my preceding remarks) to have drifted so far off frequency!

    BY 'Multi-culturalism' what we are discussing, of course, is state-liberalist & hyper-credentiallised '/policy/ multi-culturalism'.

    ALL I can say is to be ware! of the notorious range & variety in human individuals!

    IT all boils down to this:

    IN Our case (mine, notably), /some/ of us can become Mahometans and /successfully/ sort out the fly-shit from the pepper.

    ON The other hand, a whole lot cannot & cannot even go 'niggers' (or, whites!) moving into the neighbourhood.

    POLICY-Liberals, operating abstractly and from on high, for urgent career- and prestige-reasons /need/ to assume things like a universal /tabula rasa/, 'brotherhood of man' and that the common ruck are endlessly malleable, only vended the 'right' kinds of pornographic images in their Tee Vees:

    THIS Is Nature's way of getting rid of a whole load of fatal (and, probably, congenital!) smuggery, at least among /soi-disant/ elites!

    AS To the /congenital/, I suspect that this is a factor that state-liberalism simply /cannot/ accomodate in its subsidised 'narrative':

    I Can 'do' difference -- and, a whole shitaree of assholes here, all raised under similar (bland & boring, un-interesting!) school-regimes of /faux/-tolerant moral indifference & vacancy /nonetheless/ cannot.

    [Sorry for so much conflation -- I've hay to get up!]

    BEST, B Wook, Gentleman Farmer & Mad Mahometan In The Lands Of (Immense, Profound!) /JaHiliyya/

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