Good intentions, gone awry
George Jonas, National Post
Published: Thursday, June 15, 2006
To illustrate that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, the example of multiculturalism will do. As a social policy in this country, it has not so much backfired as led to its predictable consequences: It awarded citizenship to aliens, alienated citizens and turned two grand solitudes into several petty ones.
The alleged terrorist plot revealed this month in Canada didn't come out of the blue. Like the atrocities in New York, Washington, Madrid and London, the Toronto plot was made possible, perhaps even rendered inevitable, by well-intentioned intellectuals and moralists labouring mightily to improve the world during the last 40 years. Elements of what grew into Islamist militancy have been inadvertently nurtured in the hothouses of the West's political culture since the mid-1960s -- that is, long before many of its victims, and most of its perpetrators, were born.
One leading hothouse was set up in Canada. In fact, the entire country was turned into a hothouse. As newly-empowered politicians in the 1960s, inspired and validated by the spirit of the times, Pierre Trudeau and his merry band of sorcerer's apprentices were in position to embark on what seemed to them an intriguing social experiment, designed to alter this country's ethno-cultural makeup, along with its institutions and ethos.
Simply put, the country's brave new progressive-liberal-socialist mandarins decided on a three-step program for revamping Canada culturally and demographically. It entailed (a) reducing immigration from "traditional" (read: West European) sources; (b) increasing it from non-traditional sources; and then (c) advancing from Conservative prime minister (till 1963) John Diefenbaker's ideal society of unhyphenated Canadians to the Trudeaucratic Liberal ideal of a multicultural Canada.
By encouraging hyphenation, multiculturalism was said to build on an earlier Canadian tradition, the so-called "cultural mosaic." In contrast to the American "melting pot," with its gung-ho patriotism and crude pressures of assimilation, the cultural mosaic had the appearance of a more elegant and decorative model of nationhood. The political fashion of the pre-war period saw it producing a richer royal tapestry for the Crown in Canada than America's republican monochrome. In reality, the notion of a mosaic had less to do with elegance than with British (and French) standoffishness -- the reluctance of the founding nations to share the country with the riff-raff of the world on a completely equal footing. The hint of apartheid built into the concept of a "mosaic" was there to ensure the dominant position of the founding groups.
Multiculturalism aimed for the very opposite: It was to do away not just with the British-French, but the essentially European or First World character of Canada as a nation. Trudeau's ambitious, unannounced, possibly unexamined and merely intuitive design would, within two or three generations, take Canada out of the ambit of Christendom altogether and establish it as an advance pawn of the Third World in the Western Hemisphere.
As an incidental benefit, multiculturalism might also drown the noise of Quebec's demands for cultural distinction in the din of other distinct cultures clamouring for attention.
If this wasn't Trudeau's plan, God alone knows what he thought the natural consequences of his policies would be. In any event, one result was a rapid retreat from the principle that immigration should serve the interests of the host country first. Next came the notion that the host country isn't a legitimate entity with its own culture, but just a political framework for various co-existing cultures. Finally, a new type of immigrant was encouraged to make his entrance. Reincarnated from the era of the Great Migrations -- periods of population shifts during which large groups of people, having despaired of finding a future for themselves in their native lands, invade other countries in massive numbers -- this kind of newcomer no longer sought to merely fit and prosper. A conqueror rather than a settler, his quest was to tailor a new country to suit him, or carve out a congenial niche in it for his own tribe, language, customs or religion.
Trudeau and his acolytes didn't facilitate this because they wished or expected their policies to contribute to alienation, dissension, and terror in the world. Canada's pirouetting bon vivant leader neither desired nor envisaged the 21st century being ushered in by disaffected Muslims shooting Dutch politicians, crashing airliners into Manhattan skyscrapers, blowing themselves up in buses and trains, and allegedly plotting to behead Canadian prime ministers. Trudeau & Co. pursued their policies because, stumbling about in a mixture of psychoactive fumes and what Tom Wolfe called a "quasi-Marxist fog," they came to believe that the ills of the planet were due to Western ways, and the sooner they could replace the crumbling edifice with a '60s-type New Left Utopia, the better.
If they had no real blueprint for it, it didn't matter: Blueprints were for fuddy-duddies, linear thinkers, not for the free spirits of the spontaneous generation. In the prevailing Zeitgeist, they could wing it as they went along.
Intellectual fashions rise like tides, easily overwhelming scholarship, logic and common sense, at least in the short run. In this climate, early warnings, like the British politician Enoch Powell's "rivers of blood" speech, could be -- and were -- swept aside as so much reactionary twaddle. In the heady atmosphere of the times no one in authority could -- or perhaps would -- note the potential for trouble in multicultural paradise, namely that a well-meaning attempt to limit cultural dominance by any one group within a country, harmless and equitable on its face, has the capacity of turning a nation-state into a railway station in which passengers mingle, occasionally sharing a destination but no destiny.
Railway stations and airport terminals can evoke the most profound sense of alienation in human beings. It's no coincidence that trains, buses, subways and airplanes are among the preferred targets of terrorists. Making a country resemble Grand Central Station is a bad idea for this reason alone. Multiculturalism hasn't been the sole cause of the spate of suicide bombings and assassinations since the 21st century began, but it's proving to be a potent ingredient in causation's baneful brew.
The problem of Muslim radicalization has been on the agenda of all nations since 9/11. But Canada faces a unique dilemma because the doctrine of multiculturalism is seen as intrinsic to our national identity. The recent disruption of an alleged homegrown Islamist terror plot has caused many Canadians to ask: How can multiculturalism -- which preaches tolerance above all else -- be squared with a militant, intolerant creed that demonizes non-believers?
It is ironic that Trudeau a child of privelege when from a fascist separatist world view to a "the west is evil world view". I don't even grant that Trudeau had good intentions. His was an attempt to destroy Canada and remake it in his image.( Kind of like Pol Pot and other Marxist leaders). We live with the tyranny of the Charter of Rights and freedoms. Trudeau fostered a society of all rights and no responsibilities. A society where the nanny state relieved one of all responsibilities. He was trying to make us into the Borg Collective or Cuba with one glorious leader: Trudaeu. He is the spiritual father of Chretien and Martin and leftists like Dryden. I am sure he would be quite happy at how his policies have divided our society and turned us into a "