Ian Bushfield, humanist and secularist, is between countries and between jobs, but it is obvious his thoughts are with Canada and the BC Humanist Association. In anticipation of returning to Vancouver at the end of July and reassuming his role as executive director of BC Humanists, Bushfield has critiqued Humanist Canada’s response to Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report on Storify and on his own blog, Terahertz. His critique was well received by Humanist Canada:
Wow and thank you Ian.Our Board will indeed have a close review of your notes. With Your permission, I would like to share the entire discourse with our Humanist Canada community. Thanks again. Respectfully, Eric Thomas, President Humanist Canada
Next, Bushfield directed his attention to Canadian Atheist posts and discussed them on Twitter and on Storify. As you see from Bushfield’s first Twitter comment on July 9, his “goal” was to
Write blog on compatibility of secularism & multiculturalism. . . .
There are numerous definitions of myth, but for purposes of this post, myth is defined as stories we tell ourselves about ourselves. Bushfield subscribes to the Canadian myth that multiculturalism works and is compatible with secularism.
In his July 9 Storify article, “Multiculturalism, Interculturalism and Secularism,” Bushfield focuses on T M (Terri) Murray’s article “Polite Self-Censorship No Environment for Free Speech,” which was recommended on Canadian Atheist on July 8.
In order to advance his thesis and give him a focus for his research, Bushfield misquotes Murray in the first paragraph of “Multiculturalism, Interculturalism and Secularism”:
Yesterday I wanted to put together some thoughts on how multiculturalism, in framework of Canadian government policy, is entirely compatible with secularism and actually promotes a human dignity better than alternatives. This stemmed from the various strawmans of multiculturalism I see, eg this article that starts a paragraph with “Proponents of multiculturalism…” without naming one or what they actually say.
Murray’s exact words are,
Multiculturalism’s proponents have garnered popular support for the illiberal notion that all citizens in liberal democracies must demonstrate respect for religion or religious believers.
If Bushfield had quoted Murray exactly, he may have had a basis to criticize her article.
Bushfield goes on to perpetuate another Canadian myth:
Pierre Elliott Trudeau, one of the most popular Prime Ministers in Canadian history, is responsible for much of Canada’s policy on multiculturalism. Born in Quebec, he’s reportedly a Catholic, but a couple years ago I came across an obscure reference that he was briefly an early member of the Humanist Fellowship of Montreal (one of the groups that went on to form Humanist Canada). My point isn’t that Trudeau was a through-and-through atheist, but that there is a possible intellectual connection between multiculturalism and Humanism in Canada. But that’s for next time.
Bushfield must be reading articles about Pierre Trudeau written after Trudeau left office and especially those articles that compare Trudeau to Brian Mulroney. In any comparison between the two, Trudeau would win. However, it was Mulroney who “won the largest landslide majority government (by total number of seats) in Canadian history.”
Research makes it clear that Pierre Trudeau was not an atheist; in fact, as Michael Ruse points out,
There was surprise and in some quarters almost distress when it was revealed after his death that [Trudeau] was deeply committed to the [Catholic] faith.
However, Trudeau may have been a humanist; humanism and Catholicism are not incompatible, and he most certainly “is responsible for much of Canada’s policy on multiculturalism.”
Another one of Bushfield’s tweets indicates he is planning another Storify to
attack critique David Rand’s guest post “Secularism Betrayed: A Summary” and praise a comment by Indi. However, as Bushfield says,
But that’s for next time.
In preparation for “next time,” I recommend Bushfield read Neil Bissoondath’s essay “No Place Like Home.”
Thanks for the pointer to Neil Bissoondath’s essay. It is a little gem. Humanists in Québec have been warning against the consequences of multiculturalism since day one. For a long time we were quite alone in the humanist community, humanists in the anglophone provinces being constantly reminded that multiculturalism=canadianity, thus doubting multiculturalism was like doubting motherhood or apple pie. In Québec, multiculturalism was always perceived as a sophisticated ploy by P.E. Trudeau to make the original (and constitutional) biculturalism of Canada irrelevant. To a large extent it has succeeded outside Québec and New-Brunswick by making French «just another foreign language». It seems at last humanists in the anglophone provinces begin to realize multiculturalism may have solved one problem (the inconvenience of French speaking Canadians) by creating a whole batch of new ones. Mr Bushfield is, like any director of a group of humanists, entitled to his opinions. He certainly should not assume they are shared by all humanists in Canada or even in British Columbia.
Michel Virard, president,
Association humaniste du Quebec
and also one of the Directors of Humanist Canada.
I currently have no official role with the BCHA and don’t purport to speak for them. Veronica’s post is a bit disingenuous by leading with that.
Michel, has AHQ or HC produced any public position papers on multiculturalism? Alternatively, can you point me to what you’ve written in a personal capacity on the subject? I’d be interested in reading it.
I was under the impression it was an open secret. This tweet is suggestive: https://twitter.com/ibushfield/status/616688818217951232
(Please note all the publications of AHQ are in French)
AHQ has produced a memoir to the Quebec government regarding laïcité. Although not named as such, a wide interpretation of official multiculturalism is behind almost all the impediments to a desirable true neutrality of our common institutions.
If you want a better handle on what we think of multiculturalism at the AHQ, I think several published papers by Daniel Baril (anthropologue), our AHQ porte-parole, will give you the gist of it. As a starter this recent one:
However multiculturalism is like tea leaves: one can see in it things which are not there and conversely, hence before any meaningful discussion on it, a careful agreement on what we mean by the word is de rigueur. I tend to be pragmatic and I propose to take for its meaning what the politicians, bureaucrats, judiciary think it is for them because they have the power to implement it and they sure do it. Perhaps it is not the “perfect” multiculturalism one may dream of, but it is the one that matters. And that multiculturalism is rooted in cultural relativism, a concept to which no one is forced to subscribe and yet is nonetheless implicitly inscribed in our Canadian Charter of Rights. For all its appeal as a “peace and love” doctrine, multiculturalism has a dark side which cannot be easily reconciled with humanist ethics. Just last week, we had a beautiful illustration of the problems it can (and will) generate: the failure of the Child protection service (DPJ) in Québec in protecting children in the Lev Tahor sect case can be traced directly to the pervasiveness of “multiculti thinking” within the DPJ itself. This is a recurrent and frequent problem with sometimes catastrophic consequences. You are certainly aware that one of the Shafia daughter, Sahar, was signaled to the DPJ. To no avail. The inquiry upset the father. The file was closed. Now she is dead.
> I tend to be pragmatic and I propose to take for its meaning what the politicians, bureaucrats, judiciary think it is for them because they have the power to implement it and they sure do it.
Uh huh. But of course you pragmatically ignore what they actually *do*, as well as the real world data that comes in proving that it works spectacularly well. Such as the fact that Canada is #1 in the world for opportunity for immigrants (http://www.cicnews.com/2015/04/canada-ranked-globally-opportunity-standout-results-tolerance-immigrants-044961.html) – so much for Bissoondath’s faux concerns – and the #5 happiest country in the world (http://worldhappiness.report/) – not bad for a country so heavily invested in such a disastrously failed experiment.
Sure, yeah, totally – makes perfect sense to trust what politicians say, and not pay attention to what it is they actually do. Very pragmatic.[/sarcasm]
> And that multiculturalism is rooted in cultural relativism, a concept to which no one is forced to subscribe and yet is nonetheless implicitly inscribed in our Canadian Charter of Rights.
Cultural relativism is not “implicitly inscribed” in the Charter. Quite the opposite, the Charter takes a very absolute position on several cultural values. What part of the Charter do you see saying, for example, that there is room for cultural beliefs where women are required to submit to men? Multiculturalism is enshrined in the Charter, but multiculturalism is only cultural relativism in your demonstrably wrong interpretation.
> Just last week, we had a beautiful illustration of the problems it can (and will) generate: the failure of the Child protection service (DPJ) in Québec in protecting children in the Lev Tahor sect case can be traced directly to the pervasiveness of “multiculti thinking” within the DPJ itself. This is a recurrent and frequent problem with sometimes catastrophic consequences. You are certainly aware that one of the Shafia daughter, Sahar, was signaled to the DPJ. To no avail. The inquiry upset the father. The file was closed. Now she is dead.
And then there’s this. You seriously want to argue that the failure of the DPJ was *actually* due to “multiculti thinking” (and, by the way… you do realize that term has very nasty roots, right? i mean, it literally has its roots in places like Stormfront)? I didn’t read the actual report; I only read a La Presse article on what it said (http://www.lapresse.ca/actualites/justice-et-affaires-criminelles/201507/09/01-4884304-lev-tahor-la-sq-et-la-dpj-ont-failli-a-leur-tache-conclut-un-rapport.php), and admittedly my French is a little spotty, but I see *NOTHING* in there about multiculturalism being to blame. I see the usual bureaucratic bullshit: lazy and incompetent officers took their “incomprehensibly” sweet-ass time, jurisdictional conflicts between the DPJ and SQ, diffusion of responsibility, etc.. *NOTHING* to do with multiculturalism run amok. I don’t see officers who cared too much about not offending religious feelings; I just see officers who didn’t care. Forget about multiculturalism, if you want *real* evil to happen, it takes bureaucracy.
As for the Shafia case, you are lying. There’s no nicer way to put it. You are leaving key facts out and distorting what remains to make it fit your narrative. You want to imply that youth protection services heard Sahar Shafia’s complaint, but then backed off when Mohammad Shafia expressed outrage that his religious/cultural freedom was being violated. I can’t believe you would stoop so low as to distort her story for rhetorical points.
You seem to be conflating multiple, separate events into one. CPS got involved multiple times, but not always because Sahar called for them. In the first case you’re probably thinking of, concerned teachers called them. Sahar refused to cooperate. Nevertheless, CPS investigated anyway, so Mohammad was informed, and he threw a fit, demanding to know who had called them. CPS continued to investigate, but Sahar told them things were getting better. Eventually CPS concluded there had been a fight (over whether Sahar was to wear the veil), maybe threats of violence, but it was now settled, and Sahar did not want to be removed from her family, so the file was closed. In the second case you’re probably thinking of, Sahar told a teacher a year or so *LATER*, very shortly before she died, when she was dating that boy… and *THEN* she expressed concern for her life. CPS was called again, and *this* time Sahar cooperated. But Mohammad did not know about this and never objected, and it was too late anyway – she was murdered only a week or two later.
So no, it is *not* fucking true that Sahar sought help from CPS, then her father found out, and CPS backed off out of fear for upsetting Mohammad’s religious responsibilities, and to pretend so is fucking dishonest. CPS did one investigation that Sahar did *NOT* want and actively resisted, and only backed off when it seemed to them that it was just a short-term fight that had gone out of control, but was now resolved. *That* investigation Mohammad found out about, and threw a rage about, but it made no fucking difference at all to CPS (though it might have made Sahar decide to be more careful about hiding how scared she was). *That* investigation was the one that was closed, because Sahar said she was fine. The investigation Sahar actually *wanted* was much later, and Mohammad never knew about it, and for all we know it might have worked, but Sahar ran out of time.
Really, I can’t even *fathom* how you could possibly think multicultural thinking would make someone even *conceive* of doing nothing for a bunch of kids living in squalor, or for a girl under threat of being murdered by her father. What is your freaking headspace like that you think there actually exists a human being who would go, “hm, it looks like there is a very real chance this girl could be murdered… buuuuuut, I *really* don’t want to offend her father’s religion, so I guess I’ll just do nothing and hope for the best.” Do you *really* believe there are people like that?
Ok… I’ll bite…
“Multiculturalism’s proponents have garnered popular support for the illiberal notion that all citizens in liberal democracies must demonstrate respect for religion or religious believers.”
That is not what it is about. In fact, in Canada, at least, the foundation of multiculturalism is the two solitudes that characterize English/French relations. Unlike the melting pot that is the United States, where you leave your identity at the door when you become Murican, Canada has embraced diversity largely because of the divide between french/english. This manifests as part of our heritage and identity as being sensitive to cultural differences and has led to canada being a leader in other areas like gay marriage and various other minority rights.
Difference is acceptable.
I don’t respect the Bible. I don’t respect the Quran. I don’t respect the Torah. They are books. Written by people. But I do understand that I am not the centre of the universe, and other people have different opinions, and they have a right to express those opinions.
That is fundamental. I don’t give a shit if draw muhammed day offends muslims, and I equally don’t give a shit if hijabs offend feminists.
Suck it up. Grow a pair. You are not a special snowflake.
Multiculturalism is not about bowing and scraping before some religious idol, or showing the proper respect… for blah blah blah.
Its about people not fucking killing each other over whether Jesus took a shit, or fucked the shit out of Mary Magdelane. You get to express yourself and your religion as per our Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Its about preventing bloody… generational…. religious wars. And if you think….oh we are civilized, we are past that, you’re living in a dream world. Humans all over the world are killing each other because of ideas and identities, religious or otherwise.
Multiculturalism is simply about not killing each other. That wolf is always at the door.
“Multiculturalism is not about bowing and scraping before some religious idol, or showing the proper respect… for blah blah blah.
Its about people not fucking killing each other over whether Jesus took a shit, or fucked the shit out of Mary Magdelane. You get to express yourself and your religion as per our Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”
Where did you get that definition, snowflake-the Weather Network?
Damn Trudeau Liberals ruined everything, I know.
> Where did you get that definition, snowflake-the Weather Network?
People who live in glass houses should not throw stones. Where do *YOU* get your definition of multiculturalism?
Have just finished reading *several* scholarly papers on the topic, I can say with some confidence that Joe’s definition is essentially correct.
I never thought the two of us would be agreeing with Joe on here.
Difference is acceptable as long as the two differing ideas are NOT contradictory.Multiculturalism works so long as cultures have similar fundamental values. However, it miserably fails when there are Fundamentally Contradicting Values which we can clearly see in many parts of the world now including Canada.
You are not self-centred nor do you see yourself in “the centre of the universe” if you REJECT bad ideas, criticize wrong cultures and do NOT accommodate people who promote and practice them. This brings us to the recent popular idea that there is NO bad or good idea. I totally deny that. There are, have always been and will be good and bad ideas, better and worse ideas. There is no way to consider FGM, slavery,human sacrifice, Chinese foot binding, Hindu wife burning, etc as good ideas or JUST some different ideas from some other cultures that “we do not understand”. They are BAD ideas simply because they work AGAINST human well-being regardless of how people who believe in and practise those ideas may FEEL or THINK about them.
I think this annoyingly popular notion that ALL ideas and cultural/religious practices deserve EQUAL respect or EQUAL right to be promoted and practised REGARDLESS of what they STAND FOR and EVEN IF they contradict the most fundamental human rights and liberal principles, is so wrong. NO they DON’T. Totalitarian ideas in any form, be it religious or non-religious, do NOT deserve respect neither their supporters and promoters deserve a free platform to promote those horrible ideas in a civilized society.
“EVERYONE is free to promote whatever they want regardless, even the ones who have ideas totally against liberal principles” is by no means the definition of freedom of speech in my opinion. It can’t be! it contradicts the very existence of the concept of “freedom of Speech” because freedom of speech cannot even exist and could have not been born in a totalitarian context.
You say you don’t give a shit if draw muhammed day offends muslims, and you equally don’t give a shit if hijab offends feminists. Meaning that you do NOT differentiate between GOOD and BAD ideas. BOTH MUST BE equally treated. You do NOT care what different ideas STAND FOR or represent or Which one stands for and promotes humane values and which one stands for the opposite. You see both as EQUALLY entitled to being promoted, Not EQUALLY respected as you say later, but they BOTH deserve the SAME right to be promoted and practised because it is a free country and we must allow people to freely express their ideas REGARDLESS of what those ideas stand for. There is no BAD or GOOD idea. There are JUST different ideas.Who are we to judge??
Well, I have a huge problem with that. Who are WE NOT TO JUDGE??? Who are We to PRETEND we know so LITTLE about human well-being, humane treatment of people etc. that we consider putting women in a cloth bag just a different idea that deserves equal respect????
In what messed-up society do you think would any respectable human being be “indifferent” toward a group of people who promote ,say human sacrifice (which is BTW a very religious practice still popular in some remote villages in South east Asian countries)or slavery,subjugation of women or any other BAD ideas that CONTRADICT liberal principles?
Well, then we need to check the holy Bible and the holy Quran before we talk about FREEDOM OF RELIGION which is actually freedom to promote , practise and even WORSE validate through connection with divinity, ideas such as inferiority of women, slavery, totalitarianism, etc. you name it, so MANY BAD ideas not just DIFFERENT ideas.
I think, The shift towards duality and rejecting polarity is inherently problematic. The idea that you CAN be both an Abolitionist and a Plantation Owner AT THE SAME TIME, is ridiculous. So is calling yourself a feminist but putting the first symbol of anti-feminism on your head (hijab, which basically is a revamp of the Jewish modesty culture for women, sexualizes even a woman’s hair and in the extremist view even her face, puts men’s sexuality on women and promotes rape culture).
I was born and raised in a fundamentalist muslim country and lived for several years in one of the most moderate muslim countries in the world with around 40% of non-muslim population and a secular constitution but muslim governance as the majority of parliamentary seats holders. In BOTH I saw so much discrimination and fear.
The reason for that was very clear to me , both countries were multicultural and multilingual, HOWEVER the MAJORITY of people and the majority of politicians and decision makers BELIEVED in a specific God-sent manual that allows all that horrible ideas to flourish,be practised and be promoted as an unquestionable BEST way of life for muslims and an ACCEPTABLE way of life for non-muslims who like you, believed they must co-exist and respect those ideas regardless.
please do not tell me “various interpretations” of scriptures and various types of religious people exist. I know that, but it can NOT go that far as long as you believe those manuals are word of an all powerful divine entity that you MUST SUBMIT TO, Because the word of GOD is explicit and very transparent, the Maximum interpretation variations would do is to ,for example, say wife beating wasn’t meant to be an actual act of caning but a ceremonial one to teach the wife a lesson of obedience!!! and this must be not only respected and accepted because some idiots actually believe in it, but in a sharia-based country like where I was born, be the basis of MY human rights as a female because there is NO WAY to go around it as long as people BELIEVE it is heaven sent.
Now, Joe, you tell me that WE have to ACCOMMODATE ALL ideas EQUALLY and ACCEPT and ACCOMMODATE people who believe in, practise and PROMOTE all those cheap inhumane ideas to PREVENT religious wars and conflict???
No my friend, as far as I have seen, it actually works the other way round, I have actually lived that, and it works the opposite way because the ideas that such religious people subscribe to are absolutely TOTALITARIAN, even the most moderate followers still believe the books are HOLY and cherry picking also has its own limitations. Religion in general is a totalitarian belief-system and people surrender their critical faculties to it.
It is a mistake to expect people who subscribe to such belief systems and practice them fully (not the non-practising ones) to respect and understand liberal values. It DOESN’T work that way. It very much SEEMS to work well so long as those people are NOT the MAJORITY and do NOT hold influential decision making positions in the society.
Their ideas fundamentally CONTRADICT liberal principles and values such as gender-equality, etc. and by giving them a free platform to brainwash more people and attract more supporters, you like it or not the polarity that multiculturalism strives to eliminate is GRADUALLY created. It is just the matter of TIME and I have seen it where I lived, before I immigrated to Canada.
Sorry that it is a very boringly long comment and thanks for reading it.
We have to decide what sort of country we want our children to inherit. If we prefer a totally secular and liberal society we have to make it so.
Don’t leave it to chance. There are a lot of competitors out there. In Christianity alone, there are dozens of American Franchises, already on the ground, who crave more political influence.
Obviously I can’t speak for Joe, but I take issue with some of the distortions in the above comment.
> Difference is acceptable as long as the two differing ideas are NOT contradictory.
So difference is acceptable as long as it’s not real difference?
> However, it miserably fails when there are Fundamentally Contradicting Values which we can clearly see in many parts of the world now including Canada.
No multiculturalist has *ever* considered selling out their core values on important issues – like human rights – for the sake of accommodation. That is a bullshit straw man peddled by anti-multiculturalists.
It is true that multiculturalism does suggest giving up some of your traditions and beliefs when they clash with the traditions and beliefs of others. But the things it suggests giving up are mere cultural trappings,* not fundamental core values, and *never* human rights. That just hasn’t happened, ever, and no multiculturalist would advocate it, or ever has.
*(And even then, it’s a suggestion, not a rule – if you want to hold on to some cultural tradition, then you can… so long as it does not harm anyone else or violate the core values of the society, or human rights in general.)
And I can prove it. Reality and evidence don’t really seem to have much impact on the anti-multiculturalists, but the evidence is literally all around them. Just look around: There is no issue in Canada with our fundamental values being compromised for the sake of accommodating illiberal religious or cultural practices. Nor has there ever been. There has never been a time when Canadians were saying, “gee, they carve up women’s genitals in their culture… maybe we should be more tolerant of that in Canada.” Or, “gee, they murder albinos because they’re bad luck… maybe we shouldn’t be so judgemental about that in Canada.”
Even in the case of hijab ban, which the anti-multiculturalists wave as their battle flag, that holds true. There has never, and will never, be a time when Canadians will ever say, “gee, maybe we should tolerate women being forced to cover up”. That just won’t ever happen. Ever.
Multiculturalists say that if you *CHOOSE* to cover up, then you should have the right to do so. If you *CHOOSE* to advocate stupid, backward, and intolerant ideas like those behind the veil, you should have a right to do so. You can’t do anything that harms anyone or violates our core values (which include human rights), but so long as you’re not threatening violence, you should be free to advocate whatever stupid, backward, and intolerant ideas you please. And everyone else is free to point out how stupid, backward, and intolerant those ideas are.
> I think this annoyingly popular notion that ALL ideas and cultural/religious practices deserve EQUAL respect or EQUAL right to be promoted and practised REGARDLESS of what they STAND FOR and EVEN IF they contradict the most fundamental human rights and liberal principles, is so wrong.
But that is not multiculturalism. The proof is in the pudding. You mentioned “FGM, slavery,human sacrifice, Chinese foot binding, Hindu wife burning”. Are *any* of those things legal, or even *tolerated*, in Canada? Do you *seriously* believe that if you stood up in Canada and said “honour killing is part of my religion!” (or for something less extreme, “marrying a 9 year-old is part of my religion!”) that Canadians would even *momentarily* give your claim any respect? If you do, you’re really out of touch with reality.
Canada (before Harper came along, natch), was *always* one of the top defenders of human rights in the world… *AND* at the same time one of the most multicultural in the world. The anti-multiculturalists just ignore those facts. They can’t square it, because it contradicts with what they think/want multiculturalism to mean.
> “EVERYONE is free to promote whatever they want regardless, even the ones who have ideas totally against liberal principles” is by no means the definition of freedom of speech in my opinion.
Your opinion is wrong. But of course, you’re still free to express it, even though it’s offensively stupid. That, FYI, is how free speech works.
> The idea that you CAN be both an Abolitionist and a Plantation Owner AT THE SAME TIME, is ridiculous. So is calling yourself a feminist but putting the first symbol of anti-feminism on your head (hijab, which basically is a revamp of the Jewish modesty culture for women, sexualizes even a woman’s hair and in the extremist view even her face, puts men’s sexuality on women and promotes rape culture).
That *is* ridiculous. And it should be pointed out. Again, multiculturalism does not, and never has, say you can’t point out stupidity, hypocrisy, or outright violations of human rights. Again, just look at Canada, poster child for multiculturalism: Canada has always (before Harper) been quite outspoken and active about promoting human rights.
You are playing the same dishonest game as the others, pretending that since we support a woman’s right to make a bad choice, that means we support the bad choice. That’s obviously bullshit.
> You say you don’t give a shit if draw muhammed day offends muslims, and you equally don’t give a shit if hijab offends feminists. Meaning that you do NOT differentiate between GOOD and BAD ideas. BOTH MUST BE equally treated.
While it’s not my business to defend Joe, I have to point out that you’ve really jumped the shark at this point. Choosing to ignore something evil does not magically mean you think it’s good, or equal to good. Nor does it mean you think it deserves equal and treatment with good things. Seriously, come the fuck on.
To even arrive at that conclusion requires a deliberately dishonest distortion of what Joe said. He never even *implied* that he approved/disapproved of those things. All he said was that he didn’t care if *OTHERS* had a problem with them. And what’s wrong with that? So long as he’s not hurting them, their feelings are not his responsibility.
Your position seems more than a little confused – one minute you’re ranting about how bad it is that multiculturalism tries to respect everyone’s feelings, then next you’re accusing Joe of being an amoral monster for not respecting the feelings of Muslims and feminists.
For the record, while I don’t agree with the way he put it (I *do* give a shit if Draw Muhammad Day offends Muslims, and obviously I care about offended feminists because I am one), I understand what he was trying explain – though that seemed to have sailed right over your head. He was saying that multiculturalism does *not* mean you don’t have the right to be offended by other cultures. You very much do. Muslims have to suck it up and tolerate Draw Muhammad Day, and feminists have to suck it up tolerate women doing very un-feminist things, like choosing to wear the veil. Oh, sure, both groups can speak out and *criticize* these things. But at the end of the day, if people choose to do them, the Muslims and feminists don’t have to like it but they have to accept that those people are free to do them.
> It is a mistake to expect people who subscribe to such belief systems and practice them fully (not the non-practising ones) to respect and understand liberal values. It DOESN’T work that way. It very much SEEMS to work well so long as those people are NOT the MAJORITY and do NOT hold influential decision making positions in the society.
So at the end it all boils down to “fear the Muslims!”.
Yeah, okay, you know what? I’m really not afraid that a) there are anywhere near enough fundamentalist Muslims who want to force sharia on people; and b) that even if a bunch of fundamentalist Muslims managed to get elected to positions of power, they’ll somehow manage to scrap the Charter and 35 million Canadians will just shrug and let them do it.
But you know what’s really damning about your irrational fear of an Islamofascist takeover? It’s that if it were to ever happen, do you know what one of the first things they would do would be?
They’d scrap multiculturalism.
Think about that.
You are right, they would scrap multiculturalism, in the event that they were a majority.
Up until they achieved majority status, they would use multiculturalism to isolate their tribes and obfuscate civil law.
Also, a lot of our nations resources will continue to be directed away from the community at large and this money will continue to be directed towards many exotic foreign coffers: just like it is today.
A secular society would be less inclined to enable tax deferrals reaching foreign religious enterprises of dubious charity value.
> Up until they achieved majority status, they would use multiculturalism to isolate their tribes and obfuscate civil law.
Oh… gee… that would be really evil of them, wouldn’t it?
So, I guess we’d better take action! We should “take advantage” of multiculturalism to get our non-religious beliefs and practices acceptance until they are socially normalized, then get into positions of power which we could then use to force our beliefs and practices on everyone.
We could force our non-belief. This would surely backfire.
Right now Canada invests a lot of money in multiculturalism. We sponsor it. This stupid English solution to their Anglican-Roman divide.
A secular society would, most likely, spend a lot less money fostering divisions that originated overseas.
I do understand the impulse to respect this multiculturalism government adoption. It is a lot like conservative-ism. They are the default position as in “why bother”.
“it miserably fails when there are Fundamentally Contradicting Values which we can clearly see in many parts of the world now including Canada.”
So what if it ‘fails’ under extreme conditions. Every system ever created by humans would fit that bill.
Would you throw out democracy because Libertarians and Communists exist?
They have fundamentally contradicting values…
Here is the thing though, democracy doesn’t fail because the people I disagree with get elected.
Same with Multiculturalism, it is a process, not some ideal state of being.
“if you REJECT bad ideas, criticize wrong cultures”
You are participating in freedom.
“and do NOT accommodate people who promote and practice them.”
You are seeking to oppress others and reserve freedom only for yourself.
“They are BAD ideas simply because they work AGAINST human well-being regardless of how people who believe in and practise those ideas may FEEL or THINK about them.”
I think overusing the shift key is a bad idea… but the internet is what it is. But I stand by your right to keyboard pinky finger abuse.
“Totalitarian ideas in any form, be it religious or non-religious, do NOT deserve respect neither their supporters and promoters deserve a free platform to promote those horrible ideas in a civilized society.”
Totalitarian ideas… like that government can tell people what to think and say about religion?
Ideas don’t kill people, people kill people.
“freedom of speech cannot even exist and could have not been born in a totalitarian context.”
You can’t force people to be free. You can only lead by example.
Freedom of speech does not mean ‘making good choices’, at its core it implies that people should have the right to say what they believe. Freedom of speech absolutely includes the right to speak out against freedom of speech.
Human rights apply to everyone, even those who hypocritically try and limit the speech of others while reserving that right for themselves.
“You say you don’t give a shit if draw muhammed day offends muslims, and you equally don’t give a shit if hijab offends feminists. Meaning that you do NOT differentiate between GOOD and BAD ideas.”
No, that is not what I mean. I said what I mean. I don’t give a shit if people are offended by ideas, regardless of what I think of those ideas. I judge ideas all the time, but I don’t restrict other people’s right to have or express them.
“Who are we to judge??”
You are free to judge, and be judged.
“I saw so much discrimination and fear.”
You don’t need religion for that.
“Now, Joe, you tell me that WE have to ACCOMMODATE ALL ideas EQUALLY and ACCEPT and ACCOMMODATE people who believe in, practise and PROMOTE all those cheap inhumane ideas to PREVENT religious wars and conflict???”
Well no. I didn’t say that at all.
You are making a false equivocation between wearing a headscarf, which is a fashion choice and multilating people’s genitals against their will.
In canada, sex changes are legal. They involve an individual making a decision about their body.
In canada, boob and nosejobs are legal. If someone wants cosmetic surgery, that is between them and their doctor.
I wouldn’t choose any of those for myself, but it is not my decision.
I also have no real problem with adults who choose circumcision, assuming they are mentally competent.
FGM is illegal in Canada, because it tends to be forced on women, and it can be very damaging to them.
If I had my way, MGM would be illegal too, but many people still make up any excuses they can for this barbaric practice. It is cultural, it is stupid, but I am not the High King of Canuck, so its not my decision, all I can do is use my freedom to try and convince other people that it needs to stop. That is how freedom and democracy work. It’s not perfect, it’s just better than the alternatives.
Well, this is a rather old post but I can’t help replying and this is a reply to Indi as well.
First, I’d like to emphasize that English is not my first language, it is actually my third language so there must have been and there may be linguistic hiccups here and there in my comments. But I am trying to express myself in the best way I can. As for this sentence:
“I think overusing the shift key is a bad idea… But I stand by your right to keyboard pinky finger abuse.”
I agree and I get your sarcasm! However, I used the caps lock to highlight the the “key words”, exactly the same way we bold the key words in a piece of writing. That was my mere intention.
Secondly, I think I need to repeat that I was born and raised a muslim in a shaira based muslim country and lived in a semi-secular muslim country for several years. I know almost 80% of Quran by heart (its original Arabic text) I have studied Islamic thoughts, Islamic history and Islamic theology in university. Hell! my closest relatives are muslims!!!
Therefore, the cliche strategy of labelling and name calling and the cheap disgusting conclusion that “So you hate ALL muslims or you think ALL muslims are bad” that Indi has used by writing sentences like :
“So at the end it all boils down to “fear the Muslims!” Or “you have Irrational fear of muslisms”
and other pathetic stuff like that which people who dare to raise their voice against any barbaric ideology or cultural practice usually receive, are totally irrelevant here. At least such “labels” are not applicable to me.
I have no “irrational” fears of any kind and it is really frustrating and ridiculous that we, the immigrants with 100% islamic background, 100% islamic upbringing in 100% islamic societies, get such comments from you people.
Why can’t you see that people like me, we simply KNOW (sorry if the caps lock is irritating!!) what we are talking about and unlike some people who do not have even remotely similar experiences, knowledge of the subject and background, I can NOT be manipulated by any sort of propaganda (mostly supported by the Wahabi petrol dollar) or psychological games such as the famous “white guilt ” or name calling as soon as you become a whistle blower or if you care about the truth and social change, and you dare to be politically incorrect name callings like “intolerant”, “racist”, “anti-cultural diversity” or “fear monger”. That doesn’t work on me.
Actually, My skin is much thicker than that! So Joe can call me hypocrite for believing in cultural change and fighting barbaric religious ideologies instead of just letting them be freely promoted, practised and accepted as a norm under the cover of multiculturalism; and Indi can call me irrational muslim hater who “rants”.
I will never believe in something just because It “feels good” or I “like” it to be true. I do not practice wilful blindness and I am not “naively optimistic” about anything. I believe things based on evidence and I have more than enough experience and knowledge to think the way I do.
One more thing, I am not familiar with political correctness. There is no political correctness in the middle east. Islam mandates such and such and that’s it.Period.Theocracy has no political correctness. A spade is called a spade over there.So please pardon me if I am too politically incorrect.
Of course I have my fears, RATIONAL fears, but since I have moved to the West, I am now afraid of neo-liberal utterly “misinformed” and “naive optimists” as Richard Dawkins once called such people, as much as the hardcore islamists. Both are dangerous and threaten secularism.
In response to only one of Joe’s comments (I won’t address all because of time constraint):
“You are making a false equivocation between wearing a headscarf, which is a fashion choice and multilating people’s genitals against their will.”
First: head scarf as a fashion choice? No. definitely NOT. Such assumption comes from lack of enough information about the status of women in Abrahamic religions. I don’t waste your time here with details, As I said before, a woman’s body must be covered fully because it is sexualized. that includes a woman’s “hair” in islamic thought (from direct explicit verses of Quarn). Women do not wear it because it is pretty. It is NOT like any traditional costume or a cross to show group identity.In most muslim countries it has defied and in many cases abolished the beautiful traditional costumes that we had.
It is mandated because in islamic ideology it is WOMEN’S responsibility to NOT to entice men sexually by their hair or any form of their physical beauty (here also comes the reason for wearing black, not to draw attention).
Same goes to a woman’s face in the extremist view. A woman’s face is considered as her owrat too (owrat=private part).
It IS a ridiculous sexist idea, it IS a revamp of the old Jewish custom of making sure a woman was wrapped up like a mourner to protect her modesty and a later Christian repurposing to denote her inferiority in the eyes of god and man. It is completely sexist in origin, and that makes it inherently sexist today because the idea of modesty, especially in patriarchal religion, is one of the foundational pillars of rape culture.
“Making women the sexual gatekeepers and telling men they just can’t help themselves not only drives home the point that women’s sexuality is unnatural, but also sets up a disturbing dynamic in which women are expected to be responsible for men’s sexual behavior.”
— Jessica Valenti (The Purity Myth: How America’s Obsession with Virginity is Hurting Young Women)
A civilized society that works toward achieving gender-equality must work against this idea being considered as a NORMAL or an accepted culture. It must come up with educational programs, social activities , etc, to raise awareness about it instead of supporting this idea that : ,well, it is part of their culture and religion, we are multicultural, so let them be!!!! We are a free country and we have freedom of religion, so do not even try to insult their religion by questioning hijab!
I do not expect that from a civilized society that boasts gender-equality.
In some muslim countries in early 1900s our grandmothers and grandfathers went back to the origin of hijab and decided it was sexist and wrong and started to EDUCATE the society about it.
Unlike today,(EVEN here in the supposedly free Western society where we get immediately labelled as intolerant, opposer to cultural diversity, insulter of personal religious beliefs, etc. )they HAD the support of their pro-modernity governments to educate muslims about such practices. So, many removed their hijabs and hijabi women were among the most conservative, the most anti-modernity and the least educated group of people. I sometimes ask my Canadian friends how come reform, progress and religious enlightenment is good for Christians but not for muslims? How come you support all conservative muslim practices, like hijab, and always show conservative muslims as victims of some sort while in reality that cannot be farther from the truth? but when it comes to you, conservative Christian practices must be toned down, you ridicule them and do not take them seriously. Why do you stand in the way of Islamic enlightenment?
About “Choice”: I do not believe in extreme individualism. Many of our choices as individuals can have impact on the society as a whole. For instance: I can not say let’s do not abolish slavery because say 5% of slaves are happy the way they are and they are on the streets protesting to stop abolition movement. I cannot say It is their choice, it is their belief,they do not feel oppressed so we have to let them be because we cannot force them to be free. I can not be so individualistic to not see the whole society, I can NOT sacrifice the abused 95%, the whole human rights, dignity and value, the truth and reality of slavery and all the next generations of black people because of a group who for any reason have made such a choice (this is just an example to make my point as clear as possible, hope you get my point).
On the other hand, I should SUPPORT cultural CHANGE through Education and Social Activism. All social changes start by a small group of people becoming awakened, realizing a problem ,then start questioning the norm, the holy , etc and then create ripples of change that “gradually” reach the other layers of society.
It is not like that suddenly all members of the society realize the problem, and stand up for their rights and liberate themselves form whatever form of oppression they are experiencing.
In fact, it is the exact opposite, In the beginning of any social-cultural change There are MANY who do not even see the problem. they are so conditioned , so used to the status quo that they do not even realize they are oppressed. They want to continue living the way they do. Many due to the lack of information , the lack of knowing their human value and rights. Is it their CHOICE? .NEVER.
There are many women who self-objectify, or self-oppress , that is not anything new or hard to understand. in case of FGM for example (I know it is illegal in Canada, the point was not about FGM, it was an example to make my other point clear), Women of the family are the ones who perform FGM on girls. They whole heartedly believe it is good. Is it women’s choice to believe in that? No. They were taught and raised to believe this way, they were raised to self-oppress. Should we stop abolishing FGM just because they have a religious belief that it is the right thing to do to protect their daughters virginity? Of course not because the HARM associated with such practices (mostly physical abuses) are very obvious.
but when it comes to something like hijab or psychological abuses that religious ideologies cause people, and the society as a whole, the harm is not as obvious. So, we get lost.
If my husband tells me to wear hijab, it is abuse, he is abusive, he is imposing his idea on me and that’s bad.I should not submit to him.I should fight against him and do not let him to abuse me. But if I wear it voluntarily because a patriarchal God (who is obviously man made)tells me to do the exact same thing, and I submit to him, he is not abusive. I am not oppressed or abused in any way. It suddenly becomes my “choice”!
Sorry, such choice arguments, do not consider the fundamental reasons that “coerce” a choice, so they have little value for me. Choice only makes sense when you have real options and you face NO consequences by choosing any of them. Not wearing hijab has many consequences, from spiritual punishments to social stereotyping. choice has meaning when you are not raised and indoctrinated to believe in something as holy unquestionable way of life. Choice loses its meaning when you are taught to believe in something as the direct order and word of an all powerful entity that you are under his surveillance 24/7.
We can also see psychological defence mechanisms of different sorts in response to cognitive dissonance in many women. I experienced that too. trying to justify all the oppressive cultural practices against me and show them as something beautiful that I chose myself!!!
In the end,in response to only one of Indi’s comments: ” that even if a bunch of fundamentalist Muslims managed to get elected to positions of power, they’ll somehow manage to scrap the Charter and 35 million Canadians will just shrug and let them do it.”
Well, it took less than 2 million people out of 30 million in Iran of 1979 to establish Islamic republic, it took a minority of Germans out of a big majority to establish Nazism. I hope you are right though.Maybe I am over-reacting (?).
and I hope EU countries, Canada and the USA continue rejecting defamation of religion resolution.
If it were only so.
Multiculturalism stands in opposition to secularism.
It’s either one or the other.
Because they purport to accomplish the same goals, there is much confusion about this.
In a secular society there would be no political support for religious based primary or secondary education.
There probably is no hard and fast logic behind the words; it’s just where the votes line up behind these concepts. You can argue that both are compatible with each other. In the neighborhood it is otherwise. Just another case where mob-rule, or more properly, tribal rule, masquerades as national democracy.
I totally agree. Thanks!
Fascinating discussion to this Murican. (Where the melting pot metaphor hasn’t held sway for some time now.)
As a Canadian, growing up with American TV definitely provided a somewhat skewed view of the US.
Trying to reconcile multiculturalism with secularism is like trying to make religion and science compatible. It is impossible.
Cultural diversity is an essential part of the human experience. It has been with us since the dawn of time and will (I assume) continue to be with us as long as humanity survives. Multiculturalism and secularism are two distinct and incompatible ways of managing that diversity.
Multiculturalism stresses cultural relativism. It gives priority to what divides us, associating the individual with the particular ethno-religious community into which he or she was born. The ultimate expression of multiculturalism is Lebanon, where even the national symphony orchestra must respect religious sectarian quotas when hiring musicians. Multiculturalists pander to such communities, thus favouring and empowering traditionalists and fundamentalists — to the detriment of moderate believers, non-believers and society in general. One particularly egregious example of this is allowing the wearing of the niqab, a blatant symbol of a powerful international fascist movement, during citizenship hearings.
Secularism stresses universal human rights and values. It gives priority to what unites us, our common humanity. It rejects religious privilege. In public services it refuses to accommodate traits which are mere choices, such as political opinions or religious beliefs — but of course it must and will accommodate more innate characteristics, i.e. objective factors, such as genetics, gender, health status, sexual orientation, etc.
Many secularists have written extensively about multiculturalism. (Read a few articles by Maryam Namazie for example.) Its inherent dangers have been discussed and documented for years now. Anyone who still refuses to understand is being wilfully ignorant.
In 2014, the Quebec Charter of Secularism, one of the best pieces of secular legislation ever proposed in any jurisdiction in Canada, was defeated by an alliance of multiculturalists and islamofascists. I am not talking about any formal, organizational alliance, but rather a simple convergence of interests and propaganda. Both groups engaged in specious accusations of “racism,” “xenophobia,” “intolerance” or “islamophobia” whenever they encountered opposition. During the Charter fiasco, this web site, canadianatheist.com, provided some of the worst examples of that fanatical hatred of Quebec nationalism which was the overriding tone of Charter opponents in Canada outside Quebec and a favourite strategy of both multiculturalists and islamists to distract from the REAL issue, which of course was secularism.
On another site, multiculturalists displayed a complete lack of intellectual and ethical integrity by indulging in vicious slander against me and against the organization Atheist Freethinkers of which I am president. Our crime? We took a principled stand for the Charter of Secularism, and we refused to be distracted from that issue by the irrelevant question of Quebec separatism.
Multiculturalism is not only incompatible with secularism. Multiculturalism is THE principal expression of anti-secularism in the 21st century. The main ideological weapon of anti-secularists today is multiculturalism.
Trying to reconcile (strawman) multiculturalism with (David Rand’s version of intolerant) secularism is like trying to make religion and science compatible. It is impossible.
Multiculturalism is no strawman. It is a well funded and politically well defended policy. It seems that every college student is returned to us with a very confident understanding that multiculturalism is vastly superior to the dreaded melting pot.
The melting pot is not responsible for the proliferation of profit-driven religious franchises lining the streets of hometown America.
Very Well said. Merci David.
Thank you, Immigrant!
In my latest blog I have expanded on my July 16th comment. You may want to read it:
Secularism Versus the Multicultis