Romanticism is at the roots of multiculturalism
August 05, 2008
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, in The Sydney Morning Herald, on how moral equivalence allows fanaticism to flourish in our midst:
I WAS not born in the West. I was raised with the code of Islam and from birth I was indoctrinated into a tribal mindset. Yet I have changed: I have adopted the values of the Enlightenment, and as a result I have to live with the rejection of my native clan as well as the Islamic tribe. Why have I done so? Because in a tribal society, life is cruel and terrible. And I am not alone. Muslims have been migrating to the West in droves for decades now. They are in search of a better life. Yet their tribal and cultural constraints have travelled with them. The multiculturalism and moral relativism that reign in the West have accommodated this.
Many Western leaders are terribly confused about the Islamic world. They are woefully uninformed and often unwilling to confront the tribal nature of Islam. The enemies of reason within the West are religion and the romantic movement. Both the romantic movement and organised religion have contributed a great deal to the arts and to the spirituality of the Western mind, but they share a hostility to modernity. It is not reason that accommodates and encourages the persistent segregation and tribalism of immigrant Muslim populations in the West. It is romanticism and its descendants. Multiculturalism and moral relativism promote an idealisation of tribal life, and have shown themselves to be impervious to empirical criticism. I see today's Western leaders squandering a great and vital opportunity to compete with the agents of radical Islam for the minds of Muslims, especially those within their borders. But, to do so, they must allow reason to prevail over sentiment.