Friday, December 13, 2013

Political Correctness as the Route to Tribalism

As the world mourns Nelson Mandela, one has to wonder how much it really understands his message. In this region black activists are angrily suing the major police forces in a class-action for $190 million total. In my backyard the school board has very publicly outed a high school vice-principal for blacking his face and dressing up like a popular rapper for Halloween.

How the 'Black Action Defence Committee' thinks that threatening to to put our police into bankruptcy helps the cause of social cohesion and respect for their contribution is beyond me. By naming him specifically in their suit they have chosen to ruin the retirement of our county's former police chief. The impact on future recruitment for such high-profile but essential jobs is likely dire.

That the kids at our high school may actually admire the rapper being featured for Halloween clearly seems not not occurred to our school administrators. The number of male teachers is in serious decline. Does anyone connect the dots?

In this country we use the term 'multiculturalism' for the politically-correct perspective that no mainstream political party today dares to deviate from. The trouble with the word is that no-one seems to know where its limits are.

We are now into the 'Season'. More topical would be the 'Silly Season'. This time of year used to be called Christmastide or the Christmas Season, before that just Christmas, (and before even that Saturnalia). Whatever it gets called, there is no getting round that fact that since the long ago conversion of the barbarians of Western Europe: "Jesus is the Reason for the Season". 

Indeed to get the Christ (Dominus) out of all time we are increasingly being encouraged to re-frame our history as CE (Common Era) or BCE (Before the Common Era). According to Wikipedia this change was first cooked up by non-Christian academics way back in the 19th Century, but it seems to  be getting a lot more traction in recent times. We can expect some editors to soon lose their jobs if they have not already complied.

Can we take it then that the Ancient Greek City States and Republican Romans, by being 'Before' do not now have anything in 'Common' with us - we whose culture is still largely based on how they saw the world? Taking the Anno Domini out of our lives is multiculturalism at its silliest. Christianity has widely influenced human development in the last two thousand years. Nether a modern secular mindset nor strong belief in another religion can alter that fact.

Every nation (we are still in a world of nation states) has a core set of beliefs and mores. These may be styled as a founding ethos for newer states, or as a social consensus for more elderly countries. There are no exceptions. For a nation to remain socially coherent a set of benign core beliefs or standards must be widely shared. Witness the disintegration of Syria and of Somalia, in both of which this is not true. Every national ethos can and will change over time, but it must remain coherent for the state to hold together. Much of that coherence flows naturally from a country's past. Banning signposts to that past never works.

A strong national culture must be inclusive not exclusive, but it must not give in to incomers importing historical grievances from outside, or lifestyles and beliefs significantly at odds with a nation's experience. In our Canadian version of  'multiculturalism' we are seeing too much of both these days. The 'silent' majority is increasingly just that. Without a widespread appreciation for the cultural norms we inherit from those who built our nation, we descend into petty fiefdoms.

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