Friday Ephemera
The Thrill of Costume

Second Childhood

Some time ago, in discussing multicultural ideology and its effects, I wrote

During a conversation about the ‘cartoon jihad’ uproar, I used the phrase “emotional incontinence.” This did not go down well. I was promptly told, in no uncertain terms, that I mustn’t “impose” my own cultural values. Apparently, to do so would be a form of “cultural imperialism,” an archaic colonial hangover, and therefore unspeakably evil. I was, apparently, being “arrogantly ethnocentric” in considering Western secular society broadly preferable to a culture in which rioting, murder and genocidal threats can be prompted by the publication of a cartoon.

I was informed that to regard one set of cultural values as preferable to another was “racist” and “oppressive”. Indeed, even the attempt to make any such determination was itself a heinous act. I was further assailed with a list of examples of “Western arrogance, decadence, irreverence, and downright nastiness.” And I was reminded that, above all, I “must respect deeply held beliefs.” When I asked if this respect for deeply held beliefs extended to white supremacists, cannibals and ultra-conservative Republicans, a deafening silence ensued.

At some point, I made reference to migration and the marked tendency of families to move from Islamic societies to secular ones, and not the other way round. “This seems rather important,” I suggested. “If you want to evaluate which society is preferred to another by any given group, migration patterns are an obvious yardstick to use. Broadly speaking, people don’t relocate their families to cultures they find wholly inferior to their own.” Alas, this fairly self-evident suggestion did not meet with approval. No rebuttal was forthcoming, but the litany of Western wickedness resumed, more loudly than before.


In terms of leftist political rhetoric, cultural equivalence has broadly come to mean than no objective judgment should be made as to whether [a given set of] practices and beliefs are better or worse than any other, or have consequences that are measurably detrimental given certain criteria. The actual moral and practical content of a given worldview is, of course, to be studiously ignored, as this would imply some kind of judgment might be made. In common usage, this assumption reduces analysis to mere opinion and is corrosive to critical thought for fairly obvious reasons. In order to maintain a pretence of ‘fairness’ and non-judgmental equivalence, there are any number of things one simply cannot allow oneself to think about, at least in certain ways.

Diana West, author of The Death of the Grown-Up, was recently interviewed by the National Review. The following extract seems relevant to the above:

I would describe PC life in a multiculti world as being marked in part by self-censorship based in fear - fear of professional failure, opprobrium or social ostracism. I would also describe this same self-censorship as a form of childishness… The fact is, buying into multiculturalism - the outlook that sees all cultures as being of equal value (except the West, which is essentially vile) - requires us to repress our faculties of logic, and this in itself is an infantilising act. I mean, it’s patently illogical to accept and teach our children the notion that a culture that has brought liberty and penicillin to the masses is of no greater value than others that haven’t. In accepting the multicultural worldview, we deceive ourselves into inhabiting a world of pretend where certain truths are out of bounds and remain unspoken - even verboten.