‘What do Australia’s founding fathers and cultural diversity have in common? Both celebrate this country’s great multiculturalism’, Scott Morrison believes.
The Prime Minister last week visited a Buddhist temple in Berwick to bring news of a $280,000 grant for a language and religious school the local Sri Lankan community is building there. He noted approvingly that Sri Lanka, like Australia, is a ‘multicultural, multi-faith nation’.
Multiculturalism has done a lot of “good” for Sri Lanka as the latest terrorist attacks on Easter Sunday so vividly demonstrate. And yet, the Morrison talks of the strength of Australia as a ‘multicultural’ nation, where all cultures must be celebrated and promoted by the government.
I respectfully disagree.
May I humbly suggest that our Christian Prime Minister stop promoting “multiculturalism” and instead promote the Judeo-Christian culture of Western democracy which has given the world outstanding examples of freedom and prosperity.
Christianity is the most traditional religion and culture of Australia. Christianity has unquestionably played a central role in the development of democracy and the rule of law in this nation. To ignore such an obvious fact results in a diminished understanding of our national identity.
And yet, the Christian image of Australia has already been damaged by the state-imposed ideology of multiculturalism, which is in essence an ideological movement opposed to the western concepts of democratic principles, culture, and identity. It is basically an anti-Western and an anti-Christian ideology.
Indeed, radical multiculturalists look forward to a time when Australia may never again be culturally united, if united means unified in beliefs and practise, and to a time when Australians will be less a culturally definable group. Such a multiculturalism encourages immigrants to maintain their birth country cultures and religion, granting these individuals privileges which are denied to native-born Australians, and denounce the idea of integration as “un-Australian”.
The combined effect of these efforts is to promote the complete deconstruction of the Australian cultural identity. This loss of cultural identity may cause our nation to fragment into enclaves of religion and/or ethnicity.
Take for instance the traditional cultural manifestation of Islam. In such a religious culture, no priority is given to democracy, free speech or religious freedom. Hence, if a Muslim immigrant is told to celebrate such a culture, then he will almost certainly revert to a form of religious experience that is antagonistic to the values and principles of our western democracy.
In the United Kingdom, for instance, a study commissioned by the Policy Exchange reveals that four out of ten young British Muslims wish to live under Sharia law. In answer to the question, ‘Do you personally have any sympathy with the feelings and motives of those who carried out terrorist attacks?’, 24 per cent answered in the affirmative, with 13 per cent expressing ‘a lot’ of sympathy towards the terrorists.
In answer to the question, ‘How loyal would you say you personally feel towards Britain?’, 16 per cent of these young British Muslims feel ‘not at all loyal’ or ‘not very loyal’. According to the academic who conducted this survey, Dr Munira Mirza, ‘the emergence of a strong Muslim identity in Britain is, in part, a result of multicultural policies implemented since the 1980s which have emphasized difference at the expense of shared national identity, and divided people along ethnic, religious and cultural lines’.
Samuel Huntington was an American political scientist who argued in the 1990s that future wars would be fought not between countries, but between cultures, and that Islamic extremism would become the biggest threat to world peace. He also predicted that if democratic elections were held in most Muslim-majority countries of the Middle East, chances are that these elections would bring radicals into power who, by appealing to their religious loyalties, would be most inclined to deny a broad range of human rights to religious minorities.
His prediction has actually been fulfilled. The recent fall of authoritarian regimes throughout the Middle East has been fueled by growing Islamic persecution of minority religious communities. It is a tragedy that Western nations whose governments claim to be defenders of democracy and religious freedom, can so bluntly ignore the brutal repression in these Muslim countries of all religions other than Islam.
The fact is that culture is a key element for the realisation of democracy and the rule of law. Robert A. Dahl is emeritus professor of political science at Yale University and he identifies the underlying cultural conditions leading the realisation of democracy and the rule of law. ‘Where these conditions are weakly absent, democracy is unlikely to exist, or if it does, its existence is likely to be precarious’, he argues. Among these conditions that are ‘essential for the stability of democracy’, Dahl identifies ‘weak sub-cultural pluralism’ and ‘democratic beliefs and political culture’.
Professor Dahl therefore concludes that ‘democratic political institutions are more likely to develop and endure in a country that is culturally fairly homogeneous, and less likely in a country with sharply differentiated and conflicting subcultures’. Conversely, he explains that too much cultural diversity objectively ‘threatens to generate intractable social conflicts whereby democratic institutions would be simply impossible to be maintained’.
Of course, some may claim that immigrants living in Australia would be the first to support our state-sponsored multiculturalism. As a person who migrated to Australia from a Latin American country in order to enjoy the blessings of equality before the law and human rights for all, I feel deeply offended by such an assumption.
Indeed, the main impetus for socially divisive multicultural policies does not come primarily from our average migrant, but from the country’s political and intellectual elites who advocate the recognition of group rights and religious diversity over individual rights and cultural harmony, which are central to the survival of our liberal democracy.
These efforts by our nation’s political leaders to deconstruct the nation they govern by means of misguided state-imposed ‘multiculturalism’ is, quite possibly, an act of betrayal without precedent in human history.
Dr Augusto Zimmermann is Professor and Head of Law at Sheridan College, Perth; Professor of Law (Adjunct) at the University of Notre Dame Law School, Sydney and President of Western Australian Legal Theory Association, WALTA.
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