Multiculturalism and the Myth of Compromise

For the last few decades, Western civilization has been attempting to avoid the difficult levels of thought – analysis, synthesis, and most of all, evaluation. No one wants to be the one to point a finger and say, “That’s just wrong.” For one thing, as we learned from Charlie Hebdo, doing so can get you killed. But we also know that repercussions can take other forms as well – job loss, lawsuits, public ridicule, and personal rejection (I don’t have as many friends as I used to). We have been basking in the luxury of sloppy, pseudo-intellectual mock thinking and it may cost us everything. The horrors of 9/11, the Boston bombing, the Fort Hood shooting, and the Paris massacre demand that civilized people adjust their thinking about two closely related ideas: multiculturalism and compromise.

As a long-time veteran of public schools I can speak to the influence of multiculturalism in our education systems. It appears to be the result of our attempt to rid the public square of Christian influence and replace it with a purely human credo; rather than teach students to discern good from bad in the biblical sense, we’ve taken the easy road and decided to go with “tolerance” also known as “multiculturalism.” If nothing is truly bad, then we can all skip down the road together, holding hands and singing People of the World. No judgment, no shame; no shame, no retaliation; no retaliation, no war. That’s the dream.

That works just fine as long as the cultures we have to deal with are not noticeably different from our own. Western societies, steeped for so many centuries in the Christian worldview, can live side-by-side without the necessity for repudiation, but throw in a mindset that has rejected biblical justice since Isaac and Ishmael,  Jacob and Esau, and we have a different challenge: if we don’t wake from this Prozac-laced, guilt-ridden haze and realize that not all cultures can be safely welcomed, we will lose it all.

I once had a college professor who said repeatedly, “Culture is just one group’s way of getting to the waterhole, “ and there’s a certain truth to that, but what my professor didn’t acknowledge is that not all cultures make it to the waterhole, and  some get to the waterhole by hitching a ride on the backs of those who already have created a clear path, and then opening fire on them. That’s what happened in Paris last week.

There’s little point in going to the “most Muslims are good” argument; it’s irrelevant. Most Germans were good, as well, but that didn’t help the Jews. Perhaps the radical jihadists are just aberrations of the likes of Torquemada – nevertheless, they exist and they can’t be dealt with if the West continues to swallow its morality like a piece of gristle and welcome these hideous people with open arms. Shortly after 9/11, during a discussion with an honors English class, my students – every one of them – insisted that the 19 terrorists responsible for the attack were not guilty of anything awful because they were just following their beliefs. It made me furious, but not with the kids; it made me furious with my colleagues who taught them such drivel, taught them to bow to the god of multiculturalism, regardless of the human sacrifice he demanded.

The sister of this sloppy thinking is “compromise.” That’s the recommended method for dealing with the inevitable conflicts between cultures; it is the chief doctrine of liberalism, but it doesn’t mean what it sounds like it means, and it has invaded areas where it has no business being.

The concept of compromise is not, and should not be, applicable to moral issues. For one thing, the logical Law of the Excluded Middle prohibits such a thing – it is either right or wrong to murder a child; such a thing cannot be compromised on; there is no middle ground here on which to stand. What would a compromise on that issue even look like? It’s okay to kill a kid but only on alternate Wednesdays? It’s okay to murder little Johnny if he is deemed by his parents to be substandard, or if his existence is inconvenient?

Can we compromise on issues like the national debt? It’s good to yoke our children to the oxen of perpetual obligation if – if – what? What can possibly mitigate that wrong? Can we compromise on health care? Is it copacetic to deny the elderly care so those younger can have it cheaper? Is that morally acceptable? No, of course not, but that’s the deal the Democrat Congress passed and the president signed. Can we compromise with terrorists? According to Hillary we must respect their views – how do we respect female genital mutilation? How do we pretend that they aren’t beheading children, raping little girls, or crucifying Christians, committing atrocities that society hasn’t seen for hundreds of years? How do we compromise on that? Limit the numbers they torture per month?

On the other hand, we can easily compromise, and should be willing to do so, on non-moral issues. I want a blue chair, but my husband wants red, so we agree to buy the red and blue striped Lazy-Boy. That’s an acceptable compromise.  John wants to go to the races, Mary wants to go to the ballet, so they compromise – she goes with him to watch cars whiz around in circles and later that night they both dress up and watch people hop around a stage in toe shoes. No moral issue there, either.

For one thing, compromise requires trust. I couldn’t negotiate with my husband about the living room chair if I didn’t trust that he would order the chair we agreed upon. Mary couldn’t consent to go to the races unless she was sure that John would follow through and take her to the ballet. So if we transfer this idea to politics or foreign policy, there’s going to be a problem.

So, of course we shouldn’t compromise with those who say clearly and loudly that they want to kill us, or with those whose “moral” code clearly gives them permission to lie. Can we turn a blind, oh-so-tolerant eye to the heinous crimes committed by these people? Can we say, like my students, “Oh, they’re just following their religion,” and cave to whatever demands they make in the name of compromise?

And we have been caving to their demands: we are teaching our public school students about all the blessings of Islam, allowing special prayer time for Muslim students in public schools where the Christian kids are not allowed to openly pray. We are altering school menus so as not to offend the 1% of students who don’t want to be in the presence of pork. (We’ve never done that for our Jewish students, but then they never threatened reprisals if we didn’t.) We have allowed this president to pack his administration with Muslims – as compromise? as a bow to multiculturalism? Or, perish the thought, under that guise committing a form of treason.

The trouble with the myths of multiculturalism (or political correctness) and compromise is that they are as shape-shifting and shadowy as a ghost, as duplicitous and sneaky as a thief, and as vicious and unmerciful as the Assyrian hordes. America will rue the day she invited them in – unless we take a deep breath, screw up all our courage and send the both of them packing.