Multiculturalism endangers democracy professor says
June 11, 2012 | Joanne Hill - Correspondent
TORONTO – Canada’s government policy of multiculturalism endangers Western liberal democracy because its emphasis on group identity and collective rights erodes individual freedom, warned Salim Mansur.
The University of Western Ontario political science professor, Toronto Sun columnist and author of, Delectable Lie: A Liberal Repudiation of Multiculturalism, was a guest speaker at Beth Tikvah Synagogue’s Shavuot program.
Human society is naturally multicultural and this is “a source of joy,” said Mansur, while its opposite, a monocultural society, would be so boring it would “drive us to despair.” However, he said, there is a vast difference between what occurs naturally and a government-imposed, legally enforced ideology based on the false premise that all cultures are equal.
“The core premise of this idea of multiculturalism as official policy...came to mean [that] all cultures are of equal merit and deserving of equal respect,” said Mansur. “This premise – upon which multiculturalism as an ideology, an official policy, rests – is false.”
It is a false premise, he explained, because “cultures are not equal.... It is individuals who are born equal in terms of possessing inalienable rights of life, liberty and property in Lockean terms or the pursuit of happiness as the American Declaration of Independence proclaimed.
“The basis of liberal political philosophy is the equality of individuals. And, since only free people can be equal to one another, freedom then takes precedence over equality.... The primary criterion that makes possible all human achievement is freedom and freedom is meaningless unless it means individual freedom.
“On the basis of any criterion chosen to judge cultures, what we will find is the indisputable reality of inequality among cultures. This is why I contend that multiculturalism is a ‘delectable lie,’ a pleasing idea that is ultimately destructive of the West’s liberal democratic heritage, traditions and values based on individual rights and freedom.”
He said official multiculturalism’s emphasis on collective identity and its concessions to group demands “undermines the principle of individual freedom and corrodes liberal democracy from within.” It also “undermines the secular principle of a liberal democratic state in which politics and religion are kept separate.”
Liberal democracy was achieved in the West at great expense and it needs to be guarded, said Mansur.
“The culture of liberal democracy is not immune to the values of other cultures [that are] inimical to the values of individual freedom and, therefore, much precaution is needed to protect [it].
“Individual freedom is always vulnerable to the collective threat and its protection requires great care and vigilance. Multiculturalism is one such threat, more pernicious because it is more insidious, as people of seemingly good will in a liberal democracy are easily smitten with the idea of all cultures being equal and deserving of equal merit.”
Delectable Lie: A Liberal Repudiation of Multiculturalism is available at www.amazon.com.