With all the immigrants, purported refugees, if you will, streaming across the border into Canada, we are perforce becoming what is euphemistically termed a more and more ‘multicultural society’. but one must stop and ponder just what on means by ‘multiculturalism’. Enjoying an Indian curry? A bit of Irish dancing? Hearing a wee bit of a brogue in the local Tim Horton’s?
Of course, the wooly mammoth in the room is a certain culture beginning with ‘M’ started by someone whose name also begins with ‘M’. Well, said culture not only has a different menu, but also a rather different view of the role of men and women, as well as sexuality, how God works, free will, warfare, lying, the role of the State, and so on, than, say, Christianity, which is a bit more multicultural than oft makes for good neighbours. Polygamy is a bit different than curry.
This raises the question: Can certain cultures really thrive together in the same society? An answer is pressing, as Muslim immigration (and immigrants from other groups) is fast overtaking birth as the primary means of growth in most western nations.
Here is the rub: Culture and society are not really, in their essence, two separate things. Rather, they go together like ice cream and apple pie, but even more intimately, for what makes a society really is its culture. Whatever way one defines a ‘culture’ (and many definitions have been offered), they must include all those things that make a society cohere, and, as the etymology of the word implies, that is primarily a society’s religion.
All society’s have a religion, a principle that binds them together, whether that principle be Christianity or atheistic Marxism. All of the customs, practices, beliefs and the daily aspects of life flow from the society’s religious principles, which are the primary component in its culture. That is why Pope Saint John Paul II declared in Centesimus Annus that “At the heart of every culture lies the attitude a person takes to the greatest mystery: the mystery of God. Different cultures are basically different ways of facing the question of the meaning of personal existence. When this question is eliminated, the culture and moral life of nations are corrupted”.
To be cohesive, and achieve a common good, a society must have some level of cooperation on the level of religion and of culture. Of course, no one objects to Chinese restaurants, exotic art, and products from other ‘cultures’. I would not mind wearing a toga or my native kilt, rather than the chafing cotton ‘pantaloons’ known as ‘jeans’ we are accustomed to in our culture. But this, need it be said, is a rather superficial view of culture. Culture on the deeper level, affecting how one actually lives one’s life, views other people outside the culture, and practices one’s faith, can make common living problematical.
There is a critical point at which cultures that are so radically different cannot coexist, which is why they tend to form enclaves of their own, living together in their own separate societies, leading to fragmentation of the larger society. Look around at the so-called ‘gay culture’, concentrated in Toronto around Church Street, or the Muslim culture (at least, those who take their faith seriously) who live in common neighbourhoods, even common houses; they are now demanding that sharia law be imposed on these enclaves, even if non-Muslims happen to reside therein. And, of course, we are all aware of ‘first nations’ culture, forming their own societies on reserves where the laws of Canada and the respective provinces no longer apply. Now, I just heard, there will be ‘indigenous’ courts.
Once upon a time, we in Canada were a Christian society, founded on the principles of Christian revelation. We still live on the remnants of that heritage which, like the soft sands of Prince Edward Island, is being eroded away at a ever-quickening pace.
For now, let it be said that the ungoverned Trudeaupian attempt to build a multicultural society is recipe for societal unrest, fragmentation and ultimate failure. There may or may not still be an entity called ‘Canada’, but it will not be unified and, therefore, not really a society; rather, it will be a grouping of separate societies, each with different ends, some of which include the absorption, dissolution and ultimate destruction of other cultures and societies.
We should air these differences out on the table and ask ourselves, can we really get along?