The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Like Us

The power elites would have us believe that anyone who would argue against broad-based, unrestricted, and unvetted immigration from countries with a significant Islamist presence (i.e., the kind of immigration that has occurred in Europe over the past decade, and the kind that Hillary Clinton is championing today) is a racist, a bigot, and a xenophobe, all rolled up into one. When the Left and the media hurl those insults at people who dare to question their near-religious zeal for multiculturalism, the conversation tends to stop. After all, who wants to be called a racist, a bigot, or a xenophobe.

In a fascinating article on this very subject, Leonard Hadar suggests that power elites (most often, progressives) who champion unrestricted immigration from the Middle East are modern day Whigs. He writes:
According to Whig history, our societies have been moving in an almost linear fashion towards more advanced forms of enlightenment and liberty. Values like secularism, religious freedom, individual rights, women’s rights and free markets, representing the progressive future, were bound to overcome the reactionary forces of the past, represented by religious oppression, absolute monarchism, coercive government and backward-looking tradition, with liberal democracy being the culmination of this forward-looking process.
In the early part of the 20th century, mass immigration by Catholics and Jews followed the Whig interpretation. Over generations, those immigrants integrated into American society, adopted our values and mores and became productive citizens. The modern progressive argument is that Muslim immigrants will do the same. There may be a few bumps along the way (e.g., terror attacks) but in the main, everything is good. But is it?

Hadar writes:
So why should we assume that Muslim immigrants from the Middle East and South Asia wouldn’t play the same role in the sequel to that movie? Presumably the same economic, social and cultural pressures that eventually helped Anglicize the Catholics and the Jews in this country would do magic for today’s Muslim immigrants. And those who don’t share that expectations are part of the reactionary past: angry old white men who cannot come to terms with the changing demographics of the country.

But these upbeat expectations assume that many things that may be wrong, including scientific and economic progress, and other forces of modernization like industrialization and urbanization, are so powerful that they force one to leave the traditions of the past behind to embrace liberal and secular forms of identity.

We are told to remember that the granddaughters of the families who emigrated from highly stratified, patriarchal and religiously oppressive Italy’s south now wear a bikini when they go to the beach. As do the granddaughters of the ultra-Orthodox Jews who immigrated to America from the shtetl in eastern Europe. Why shouldn’t that happen to the granddaughters of the Muslim immigrants from Egypt?

But wait a minute. Why do things seem to be happening in reverse in the case of many young Muslim immigrants in Europe and the United States? Their grandmothers, growing up in the 1950s in, say, Alexandria, actually looked “like us,” wearing the latest European fashion and a spiffy swimsuit on the beach. It’s their granddaughters who are now wearing veils, the hijab and the burkini to make sure that they don’t look “like us.”
There is every indication that Islamist thought, driven by a strict interpretation of Sharia law, is driving the direction of far too many Muslims. That a non-trivial percentage of their community and culture is moving away from modernity. It happened in Iran in the 1970s, throughout many Arab countries in the last quarter of the 20th century, in once secular Turkey over the past decade, and is happening today in countries like France, Belgium, and even the U.K. That is historical fact, and it cannot be dismissed with multicultural psychobabble.

And yet, the Democrats and their media supporters shut down any conversation of these issues. Even GOP elites run in the other direction and yet, events over the past 50 years tell us a far different story. Ironically, the arguments in favor of unrestricted immigration from countries with significant Islamist often go to "religious freedom" and the claim actions to restrict immigration are not in line with "our values." Hmm. It's odd that a subset of the immigrants in question are Islamic supremacists and the anti-liberal values they espouse will be in direct and obvious conflict with "our values."

It is true many Muslim immigrants will follow the Whig theory of immigration. Many will integrate and become productive members of our society and culture. The big questions are: how many will not, and more importantly, will they exhibit their lack of integration by trying to modify our laws, our values and our culture through a combination of violence and agitation. That's what makes the Muslim immigrant subgroup different that other conservative religious subgroups that came before them. It's one thing to remain insular—our society can accommodate that. But it's another to try to co-opt our culture and threaten our society.

Hadar concludes with this telling commentary:
And as multiculturalism becomes a form of secular religion in the West, many liberals also try to deal with their cognitive dissonance by insisting on the preservation, if not the celebration, of regressive Muslim traditions, like the hijab. Liberal intellectuals, who spend much of their time denigrating evangelical Christians and warning of their plans to challenge the rights of women and gays, become apoplectic if someone dares to criticize Muslim traditions. Islamophobia!

Demonstrating the challenges liberals have in trying to keep their progressive narrative intact, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a self-styled feminist and a leading global promoter of multiculturalism, appeared recently at a gender-segregated event in a mosque, singing the praise of Islam on the main floor where only men were permitted, while women were watching Trudeau from the balcony.

“Right now we have these political leaders — ironically, politically liberal leaders — who are just putting blinders on their eyes about their values,” Asra Nomani, a liberal Muslim, told Canada’s National Post. “That’s the big differential for liberals, they fancy themselves as honouring the women’s body and yet the segregation by its very definition hyper-sexualizes women’s bodies. That’s the great irony.”

Perhaps not such an irony. As liberals like Trudeau discover that Muslim immigrants are not ready to become “like us,” they conclude that they are left with only one choice: to become more like them.
It may very well be that progressives would consider becoming "more like them" if it allowed them to mindlessly embrace the god of multiculturalism. But not everyone is a progressive, and there will be pushback. In fact, the pushback has already begun.