The men without a country
"Islamic extremists have created "no-go" areas across Britain where it is too dangerous for non-Muslims to enter, one of the Church of England's most senior bishops warns today. The Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, the Bishop of Rochester and the Church's only Asian bishop, writing in the Telegraph, says that people of a different race or faith face physical attack if they live or work in communities dominated by a strict Muslim ideology."
Bishop Nazir's comments are more than just another warning against the growing presence of Islamic extremism in the West; they are a sign that the open, liberal public space, a condition once considered an irreversible harbinger of things to come by those who forsaw The End of History, may now be passing into oblivion, at least in parts of Europe. The Telegraph continues:
Writing in The Sunday Telegraph, he compares the threat to the use of intimidation by the far-Right, and says that it is becoming increasingly difficult for Christianity to be the nation's public religion in a multifaith, multicultural society. ... Echoing Trevor Phillips, the chairman of the Commission for Equalities and Human Rights, who has said that the country is "sleepwalking into segregation", the bishop argues that multiculturalism has led to deep divisions.
Nazir Ali's larger criticism is that Multicultural Project has achieved the precise opposite of tolerance and that European societies are in danger of being split up into new ethnic enclaves.
Paul Hasluck, a talented writer who went on to become Australia's Governor General in the 1970s, recalled scenes which were commonplace during his childhood in Western Australia in the 1920s in his autobiography, Mucking About.
Kalgoorlie schoolboys seemed to be given to chanting derisive rhymes. There were convent schools as well as state schools. The state school urchins used to follow the convent boys down the streets chanting.
Catholic dogs jump like frogs
And eat no meat on Friday.
Catholic dogs jump like frogs.
In and out of the water.
Hasluck's recollection reminds us that not so long ago -- within living memory -- it mattered very much whether you were Irish or Polish, Jewish or Protestant, Chinese or Filipino. But those difference -- as pundits analyzing Barack Obama's victory in the Iowa caucuses never cease to point out -- seemed have become less important over the decades. In that context, Bishop Nazir Ali's warning that "no-go" areas have cropped up in Britain are all the more astounding. The perverse accomplishment of the Multicultural Project has been to reverse the process of community building it set out to hasten.
Why this paradoxical result should be the case is an interesting question to consider. Hasluck's biography itself provided a clue to the answer. The public space increased as love for the nation increased. As people began to identify themselves as Australians the relative differences between them decreased, as did the jeerings. But not only did a healthy patriotism actually expand the public space, it was, Hasluck argued, the prerequisite to respect between nations -- an observation that would shock the politically correct multiculturalist, who normally believes the precise opposite. Hasluck's argument is simple and commonsensical and for that reason probably incomprehensible to the post-modern. Describing his feelings following a return from England as a child, he wrote:
My own deeper love and knowledge of Australia is refined by a shared love of England. In love of our country each of us realizes a common humanity coming from deep wells. A feeling for one's own country is the clearest way to feeling deeply for men in other countries. The folly and failure of so many attempts by internationalists to do good comes from the fact that they lose sight of the true goodness in other countries when their own senses are blunted to the goodness of their own.
The observation that a genuine appreciation of other cultures must begin with a respect for one's own may seem self-evident until one realizes how rarely it is made. That argument naturally extends itself to a critique of multiculturalism. Having destroyed the feeling of security that comes from belonging to a larger home, the country, multiculturalism has left nothing for individuals but a retreat into the doubtful safety of sect, race and tribe. The Pale is back; and we are all beyond it.