Friday, July 15, 2005

The Failure of Multiculturalism

Perhaps the BBC is starting to get it.

The radicalisation of some younger members of Britain's 1.5 million-strong Muslim community has led to often heated debate. Now questions are being asked about whether British-style multi-culturalism is succeeding or failing. British politicians are not only having to review domestic security. They are being forced to think again about the mix of liberal policies pursued by successive governments since the 1960s - collectively known as multi-culturalism.

Multiculturalism was designed to bring different communities together, but its critics argue it has only served to keep them apart.

How could it not? When people concentrate their energies on the things that make them different from each other - language, customs, religion, history - it can't help but drive wedges between them. A nation cannot survive if its people view the world in terms of us and them. People need to focus on the things that they share in common, the things that unite them and make them citizens, if they wish to maintain a viable society.

Theodore Roosevelt said over eighty years ago that, "The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, of preventing all possibility of its continuing to be a nation at all, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities, an intricate knot of German-Americans, Irish-Americans, English-Americans, French-Americans, Scandinavian-Americans, or Italian-Americans, each preserving its separate nationality." Today we could add a couple more groups to Teddy's list, but it would only reinforce his point.

This is why multiculturalism is such a corrosive sociological phenomenon. Emphasizing differences by celebrating them is the surest way to erect barriers and to dissolve the bonds which glue a diverse people together as a nation. Indeed, that's perhaps the chief reason why the Left so enthusiastically pushes it.

Support For Terror Declining

This Washington Post story by Robin Wright tells us that support among Muslims worldwide is down for Osama and up for democracy:

"Most Muslim publics are expressing less support for terrorism than in the past. Confidence in Osama bin Laden has declined markedly in some countries, and fewer believe suicide bombings that target civilians are justified in the defense of Islam," the poll concluded.

The results, which also reveal widespread support for democracy, show how profoundly opinions have changed in parts of the Muslim world since Pew took similar surveys in recent years. The poll attributed the difference in attitudes toward extremism to both the terrorist attacks in Muslim nations and the passage of time since the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

The new poll also found that growing majorities or pluralities of Muslims now say that democracy can work in their countries and is not just a Western ideology. Support for democracy was in the 80 percent range in Indonesia, Jordan, Lebanon and Morocco. It was selected by 43 percent in Pakistan and 48 percent in Turkey -- the largest blocks of respondents in both countries because significant numbers were unsure.

"They are not just paying lip service. They are saying they specifically want a fair judiciary, freedom of expression and more than one party in elections. It wasn't just a vague concept," Kohut said. "U.S. and Western ideas about democracy have been globalized and are in the Muslim world."

They still don't like George Bush or the United States all that much, nor will they until the U.S. abandons its support for the existence of Israel and gets out of Saudi Arabia altogether, but it's hard to escape the conclusion that were it not for the President's policies these trends in the Islamic world would both be tracking in their opposite directions. Bush, whether they like him or not, is giving oppressed people around the globe a genuine hope for a better life.

Massacre at Sea

Humberto Fontova observes the anniversary of the massacre of innocent civilians seeking to flee Fidel Castro's workers' paradise by recounting the horror:

In the predawn darkness of July 13, 1994, 72 desperate Cubans - old and young, male and female - sneaked aboard a decrepit but seaworthy tugboat in Havana harbor and set off for the U.S. and the prospect of freedom. A few miles into the turbulent sea, 30-year-old Maria Garcia felt someone tugging her sleeve. She looked down and it was her 10-year-old son, Juan. "Mami, look!" and he pointed behind them toward shore. "What's those lights?"

"Looks like a boat following us, son," she stuttered while stroking his hair. "Calm down, mi hijo (my son). Try to sleep. When you wake up, we'll be with our cousins in a free country. Don't worry." In fact, Maria suspected the lights belonged to Castro patrol boats coming out to intercept them.

In seconds the patrol boats were alongside the tug and - WHACK!! - with its steel prow, the closest patrol boat rammed the back of the tug. People were knocked around the deck like bowling pins. But it looked like an accident, right? Rough seas and all. Could happen to anyone, right?

Hey, WATCH IT!" a man yelled as he rubbed the lump on his forehead. "We have women and children aboard!" Women held up their squalling children to get the point across. If they'd only known.

This gave the gallant Castroites nice targets for their water cannon. WHOOSH! The water cannon was zeroed and the trigger yanked. The water blast shot into the tug, swept the deck and mowed the escapees down, slamming some against bulkheads, blowing others off the deck into the five-foot waves.

"MI HIJO! MI HIJO!" Maria screamed as the water jet slammed into her, ripping half the clothes off her body and ripping Juan's arm from her grasp. "JUANITO! JUANITO!" She fumbled frantically around her, still blinded by the water blast. Juan had gone spinning across the deck and now clung desperately to the tug's railing 10 feet behind Maria as huge waves lapped his legs.

WHACK! Another of the steel patrol boats turned sharply and rammed the tug from the other side. Then - CRACK! another from the front! WHACK! The one from behind slammed them again. The tug was surrounded. It was obvious now: The ramming was NO accident. And in Cuba you don't do something like this without strict orders from WAY above.

"We have women and children aboard!" The men yelled. "We'll turn around! OKAY?!!"

WHACK! the Castroites answered the plea by ramming them again. And this time the blow from the steel prow was followed by a sharp snapping sound from the wooden tug. In seconds the tug started coming apart and sinking. Muffled yells and cries came from below. Turns out the women and children who had scrambled into the hold for safety after the first whack had in fact scrambled into a watery tomb.

With the boat coming apart and the water rushed in around them, some got death grips on their children and managed to scramble or swim out. But not all. The roar from the water cannons and the din from the boat engines muffled most of the screams, but all around people were screaming, coughing, gagging and sinking.

Fortunately, a Greek freighter bound for Havana had happened upon the scene of slaughter and sped to the rescue. NOW one of the Castro boats threw out some life preservers on ropes and started hauling people in, pretending they'd been doing it all along.

Maria Garcia lost her son, Juanito, her husband, brother, sister, two uncles and three cousins in the maritime massacre. In all, 43 people drowned, 11 of them children. Carlos Anaya was 3 when he drowned, Yisel Alvarez 4. Helen Martinez was 6 months old.

"I Hate The Sea" is the title of a gut-gripping underground essay by Cuban dissident Rafael Contreras. It's about some young men Rafael met on the beach near Havana. They stared out to sea, cursed it and spit into it. "It incarcerates us," they fumed, "worse than jail bars."

Yet mankind has always been drawn to the sea. For most of us the sea soothes, attracts, infatuates. The most expensive real estate always faces the sea. "Water is everywhere a protection," writes anthropologist Lionel Tiger, trying to explain the lure, "like a moat. As a species we love it."

Yet Cubans now hate it. Che was right. The Cuban Revolution indeed created a "New Man" - but one more psychologically crippled than even Che imagined. In Cuba, Castro and Che's totalitarian dream gave rise to a psychic cripple beyond the imagination of even Orwell or Huxley: the first specimens in the history of the species to actually hate the sea.

So what's the alternative if you can't flee Cuba? Well, in 1986 Cuba's suicide rate reached 24 per thousand - making it double Latin America's average, making it triple Cuba's pre-Castro rate, making Cuban women the most suicidal in the world, and making death by suicide the primary cause of death for Cubans aged 15-48.

At that point the Cuban government ceased publishing the statistics on the self-slaughter. The figures became state secrets. The implications horrified even the government.

Yet all we hear about Cuba is about the horrors at Gitmo, where the criminals and terrorists are behind bars. On the rest of the island these run the country.

I wonder how Noam Chomsky, the good folks at The Nation, and sundry other pro-Castro apologists observed this special day.

NEA: No Education Agenda

Captain's Quarters reports on the National Education Association's agenda for its July 7th assembly. The agenda, Captain Ed notes, "lists all the new action items under consideration and the action taken on each. How long does one have to read down the list before the NEA actually addresses an issue having directly to do with educating students? The first item? Third? Fifth? How about ... fifteenth?"

Here's what comes ahead of education at the National Education Association:

1. [Defeated, no description]

2. Fighting Wal-Mart

3. Investigating the positions of financial firms regarding Social Security privatization

4. Adding "multiethnic" and "other" as options on ethnicity questions

5. Celebrating the 40th anniversary of the NEA and ATA

6. Forming coalitions to "protect" Social Security

7. Explaining the difference between two different pension plans

8. Requesting an article for their newsletter on "health problems from exposure to fragrance chemicals".

9. Getting outside funding to allow 25 more people to attent the EPA Tools for Schools Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Symposium

10. Creating a workgroup on health care

11. Sponsoring "political training" for Congressional candidates friendly to NEA priorities (see above!)

12. [Defeated, no description]

13. Opposing "billionaire Eli Broad and any other entities to remove elected school boards from cities"

14. Repealing the Social Security offset and explaining the differences between states' approach to Social Security for teachers who move

Five of the top 20 have to do with Social Security politics. Only two items in the top 30 have anything directly to do with educating children. As Michelle Malkin points out, however, they made room during their efforts to demand a withdrawal from Iraq (number 61), oppose CAFTA, (number 63), and support the boycott of Gallo Wines (number 47).

No doubt the items which were defeated were motions to support some policy or other favored by the Bush administration. One reason education is in trouble in this country is that the people and organizations into whose hands it has been entrusted are too concerned with advancing a liberal political and social agenda and only secondarily concerned with maximizing educational excellence.