Submitted by Daisy (United States), Mar 24, 2006 at 10:45Tomas,
"Are you sure, that you do not confuse me for somebody else?"
My face is quite red -- Please accept my apology. I apologize because I did confuse your words with another posters condescending words. (Who? Not many on this site .. but still too many who manage the trick of looking down [from a lower place!] upon the USA!) I must be more careful (as my husband would have no difficulty agreeing with.) in listening before I leap. But there is a bright side to my mistake and that lies in the outcome. I've read your response and re-read your first post more carefully.
When you say:
"The freedom of speech is a cultural feature, and not a - so called - universal value. Any society must have a basis, a set of values that are so commonly accepted by virtually all it`s members, that they are rarely discussed or mentioned. This is in essence what culture is about. Thus a multicultural society is a contradiction in terms. There can be a multitude of cultures witin the same legislative juristiction, but the legislation has to rest on one, commonly acknowledge base, and such a base must be monocultural, when it comes to what should be given the upper hand in case of disagreement. Cultural relativism will eventually lead to legislative relativism, which also has another name: Anarcy. The only ones who have ever benefitted from anarcy are totalitarians, whom people will then turn to in there dispair."
(In quite fluent and expressive English! "Please bear with my occasional flawed spelling, I`m a welder by trade, and have tought myself English." !!!)
You most eloquently express a belief I heartily share.
However when you say: "Multiculturalism is the American reality, but in Europe it`s a new thing ... " I think I see a semantic difficulty ... I wonder if you'd agree that the 'multicultural' experience and even the intention behind the experience is vastly different in the USA and Europe? It seems to me that the European version of Mutliculturalism arises from moral and cultural relativism and rests in a "forever separate but unequal" reality stemming from both Muslim and European fears which play out in a social power struggle between powers which wish to dominate. In the USA we recognize the journey into assimilation as difficult .. but also as an essential necessity towards becoming American. Those of us who lack more immediate experience in this realm need only remember the route our ancestors took in order to support the often tall order to integrate and assimilate. It actually works pretty well.
While we certainly have some of the same cultural relativism and multi-culti wishes here in the USA as Europeans do - and probably for some of the same reasons - "cheap" labor provided by illegal immigrants ( but with ultimately high moral and economic costs ) that is not the default mode of Americans.
One example of old world mutliculturalism in the USA shows up in the fact that Spanish is widely and effectively considered a first language throughout the USA (For Americans: Doubt it? Can you recall the last time you were asked to hit #1 'para continuar en espanol"? Okay) Despite the support for such a degrading misuse of the American dream (support which comes from both ends of the political spectrum) in the main, USA holds integration with an eye towards assimilation as the goal. Legal immigrants are welcome to bring certain traditions into the 'melting pot' such as food, music etc. which the whole can then take or leave ( - food we usually take - to the detriment of our collective waistline - but that's another story!) The immigrants primary language (at one time!) was expected to be English -- people were free to keep and practice their religion and are certainly free to pursue life, liberty and happiness along with the best and worst of the rest of us. Legal immigrants (at least) are expected to become equally American .. "E Pluribus Unum" is not a vague concept here: Americans actually believe that Out of Many we are One.
Europe has a different complicated task to deal with since there IS such a thing as a monolithic Dane or Swede or Englishman .. In spite of this idea of the " European Union" (good luck) Europe has no concept of the "melting pot". Europe, at the same time is heavily invested in 'peace at all costs' (good luck with that idea!) and a sanctimonious approach to dealing with racism ( 'since we are so peaceful we can't be racist' seems to be the idiotic thinking .. good luck with that too) ... Maybe you'll just have to settle for picking your immigrants more carefully. With Europe's history one shudders to think what the solution to getting rid of the people Europeans don't want could be. Maybe a concerted effort on addressing the phenomena of 'Hate America first' (experienced on both sides of the Atlantic) could be a good first step in a healthier direction.
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