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Collectivism with a grudge

The always-solid Belmont Club, pondering the newly segregated Sarajevo, captures my unease with multiculturalism:

Maybe the real threat to multiculturalism are the demagogues who see identity politics as the road to power, even if that process involves the destruction of the larger polity. Under the color of multiculturalism, the ship of separatism steams majestically on.

Although I think it might be better phrased as “the real threat to tolerance“.

I can’t recall anyone claiming to push multiculturalism who wasn’t, at the end of the day, really pushing some kind of identity politics. Inevitably, identity politics is nothing more than collectivism with a grudge. I think its no coincidence that the cities I’ve lived in where race relations were the most civil (Richmond, Virginia and San Angelo, Texas) had very little in the way of vocal multiculturalism/identity politics/race hustlers, while the cities that had the worst race relations (Boston and Dallas) tended to be well populated with the breed. It reminds me of the way cities with the strictest gun control have the highest crime.

In my experience, genuinely civil multi-cultural communities tend to be somewhat segregated. The key, I think, is mutual respect, not to be confused with the naive and purblind cultural relativism of the multicultural pious.

3 comments to Collectivism with a grudge

  • K

    Identity politics is like an engine and the fuel is racial or sexual hatred. Each “victim” bloc must be kept angry in order to push the piston of political activism. The piston does the work of raising the politicians, professors or bureaucrats catering to and or members of those groups into their offices.

    E.G. Larry Summers at Harvard asks a question construed as disrespecting women in science. Anger ensues. Congressional hearings occur, a “quota” for women in research is established.

    Non victim groups find that they are unjustly deprived of job opportunities. Some feeble protests occur (backlash!) The piston swings down again leaving the benefactors of the first cycle in place, awaiting the next impluse.

  • See my take (as a former British Ambassador in Sarajevo) on all this Bosnia thinking at http://charlescrawford.biz/blog.php?single=292

  • CFM

    I was also posted to the former Yugoslavia, on and off from 1990 to 1997. A corporate slot.

    What immediately impressed me about this supposed Multicultural society was the strength of resentment just below the surface. Under communism, the people had been alternately encouraged to campaign for increased influence for their ethnic groups, and repressed when their efforts met with any success. As long as a rough balance of resentments prevailed, things stayed pretty quiet.

    When communism finally died of inevitable rot, all bets were off. Add the never-say-die ambitions of Slobo and Red Mira, and, well, Boom.

    Multiculturism is a lie. It is identity politics. It is separatism. And, it is an ideal tool for statist use: to divide and conquer.