July 18, 2005


A victory for multiculti over common sense (Mark Steyn, 19/07/2005, Daily Telegraph)

It has been sobering this past week watching some of my "woollier" colleagues (in Vicki Woods's self-designation) gradually awake to the realisation that the real suicide bomb is "multiculturalism". Its remorseless tick-tock, suddenly louder than the ethnic drumming at an anti-globalisation demo, drove poor old Boris Johnson into rampaging around this page last Thursday like some demented late-night karaoke one-man Fiddler on the Roof, stamping his feet and bellowing, "Tradition! Tradition!" Boris's plea for more Britishness was heartfelt and valiant, but I'm not sure I'd bet on it. The London bombers were, to the naked eye, assimilated - they ate fish 'n' chips, played cricket, sported appalling leisurewear. They'd adopted so many trees we couldn't see they lacked the big overarching forest - the essence of identity, of allegiance. As I've said before, you can't assimilate with a nullity - which is what multiculturalism is.

So, if Islamist extremism is the genie you're trying to put back in the bottle, it doesn't help to have smashed the bottle. As the death of the Eurofanatic Ted Heath reminds us, in modern Britain even a "conservative" prime minister thinks nothing of obliterating ancient counties and imposing on the populace fantasy jurisdictions - "Avon", "Clwyd" and (my personal favourite in its evocative neo-Stalinism) "Central Region" - and an alien regulatory regime imported from the failed polities of Europe. The 7/7 murderers are described as "Yorkshiremen", but, of course, there is no Yorkshire: Ted abolished that, too.

Sir Edward's successor, Mr Blair, said on the day of the bombing that terrorists would not be allowed to "change our country or our way of life". Of course not. That's his job - from hunting to Europeanisation. Could you reliably say what aspects of "our way of life" Britain's ruling class, whether pseudo-Labour like Mr Blair or pseudo-Conservative like Sir Ted, wish to preserve?

Strip away the multi and you find no British culture to assimilate folks to anymore.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 18, 2005 8:01 PM

Don't know much about "Europeanisation" but, if it means to be less tolerant towards intolerance then count me in!

Religion kills, and religious intolerance has a history of killing unmatched by anything else thats nasty in civilization.

We, the stable folks, have to weed out the cells of intolerance from where they hide inside all legite religions.

We all know about what I am referring... each of us has been to a or seen a sermon or priestly talk or whatever your group may call it where the words like..."those folks" or "that group" were used in such a way that it was clear to all that some kind of intolerant comparison was being made.

Posted by: Oldkayaker at July 18, 2005 9:41 PM

I think its there, but they are going to have to dig deep to find it. What Britasin needs is a really conservative party. Bring back the House of Lords and Fox Hunting. Tally Ho!

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at July 18, 2005 9:42 PM


Why stop there? Bring back a real monarchy where the king or queen has real power and the authority to wield it.

Posted by: Dave W. at July 18, 2005 10:33 PM


No, it means the opposite, to stop tolerating tolerance:


Posted by: oj at July 18, 2005 10:40 PM


There's plenty to assimilate to, from the language to orderly queuing to supporting the cricket team.

I'm on Steyn's side when it comes to mulitculturalism versus integration.

But that's not remotely the point. That Steyn is using this terrorist act to beat his multiculturalism drum is pretty shoddy.

And that your first reaction to this bombing should be identical to Galloway and the apologist, West-hating Left ("it's our own fault") is very disappointing.

After 9/11, there were lots of reactions. The reason you lot love Blair so much is that he never once voiced the worst, the most shallow and misguided: "You Americans need to look at yourselves and what you did to make this happen."

The correct reaction was to affirm that this kind of pointless, pathetic evil won't change anything about our way of life, except that we'll be more determined to prevent and punish the terrorists.

That is also the correct reaction to the London bombings. I find your use of it to make ignorant anti-British jibes shabby in the extreme.

Posted by: Brit at July 19, 2005 4:51 AM

Brit -- I think the point is that the bombers (BBC word, the English don't use terrorist anymore) *did* line up nicely in queue, bought their tickets in English and most likely cheered for a particular soccer team.

If that is your culture, then how is stating such anti-British?

Posted by: Randall Voth at July 19, 2005 7:11 AM


There is no British anymore.

Posted by: oj at July 19, 2005 7:50 AM


More to the point, how is your comment relevant?


After 9/11, Americans said a big 'thank you' to those who supported them unreservedly and unequivocally, and an equally big 'screw you' to those who suggested that they should share the blame.

As a Briton, as an Englishmen, a sometime Londoner or indeed as a white westerner, whichever you like, I would now like to extend those same sentiments to you.

Posted by: Brit at July 19, 2005 7:54 AM

Mr Blair, said on the day of the bombing that terrorists would not be allowed to "change our country or our way of life". Of course not. That's his job.

What a great line.

Other than that, I'm mostly with Brit on this, particularly since "British" is a null set. There are some interesting reports, though they seem to be more ambiguous than the reporters are admitting, suggesting that the London bombers didn't intend to be suicide bombers but were misled about when the bombs would go off. I don't know what the world is coming to if you can't even trust your Al Qaeda controller any more.

Posted by: David Cohen at July 19, 2005 8:00 AM


You are correct of course, and the bombing of London certainly was an unwarranted attack which any decent person would blame the people who performed and sponsored the attack and not the victims of that attack.

What the excess of multiculturalism has done is destroy the glue that holds societies together. Being British, or American for that matter, is not a matter of what you watch on TV, which sports team you root for or what foods you eat. There are some of us who watch Sabado Gigante, root for the All Blacks and eat gefilte fish who consider themselves perfectly American while doing so.

What makes one American or British, since the admission of a fair number of immigrants, is the sense of connectedness with others in the nation. Although I live in NJ, what happens in Oregon does matter to me. One also should have a basic acceptance of the society around him. People who don't want to live in a society like the UK should simply move, not blow things up.

A 'moral equivalence', which teaches that people should be allowed to self-isolate in ghettos where they are taught not merely to dislike anyone not of that ghetto but that it is OK to butcher them as well, is worse than 1000 suicide bombers.

A 'multiculturalism' which tells people not to learn the language of the majority culture, especially when that language is quite simply the world's financial, military, diplomatic and scientific language and will be for the foreseeable future is little different from keeping those people as human chattel.

Posted by: bart at July 19, 2005 8:41 AM


Spot on in every respect.

The multiculturalism versus integration debate is a valid one, and multiculturalism is a largely terrible idea.

But this act by terrorists brainwashed in Pakistan is nothing to do with it.

In general, we're far from perfect in Britain regarding integration, but we're not the worst either. The national cricket team thing is not just flippancy. The current squad includes a Vikram Solanki and a Sajid Mahmood. The previous captain was a Nassar Hussein. 'Prince' Naseem Hamed and Amir Khan are national boxing heroes. Zadie Smith, Meera Syal and Monica Ali are best-selling authors. 'Goodness Gracious Me' and 'The Kumars at Number 10' are among the best-rated comedy shows.

Of course, timezone-bound armchair cultural analysts are entitled to say whatever they like about places they've never visited, on their own blogs.

Posted by: Brit at July 19, 2005 9:33 AM

i think most of the criticism here is regarding the double game that the british government was playing vis a vis terrorists using london as the center of their european operations. any word yet on extraditing terrorists back to the u.s. when requested ? if you let terrorists operate openly in your country, as britain did, then it is no surprise when you eventually get attacked from within.

Posted by: cjm at July 19, 2005 10:29 AM

Neal Stephenson had a nice phrasing on this:

The basic tenet of multiculturalism (or "honoring diversity" or whatever you want to call it) is that people need to stop judging each other-to stop asserting (and, eventually, to stop believing) that this is right and that is wrong, this true and that false, one thing ugly and another thing beautiful, that God exists and has this or that set of qualities. The lesson most people are taking home from the Twentieth Century is that, in order for a large number of different cultures to coexist peacefully on the globe (or even in a neighborhood) it is necessary for people to suspend judgment in this way.


The problem is that once you have done away with the ability to make judgments as to right and wrong, true and false, etc., there's no real culture left. All that remains is clog dancing and macrame. The ability to make judgments, to believe things, is the entire it point of having a culture.

Posted by: Mike Earl at July 19, 2005 10:39 AM

Brit -- Who is blaming you? You are raging at a lost penny.

Posted by: Randall Voth at July 19, 2005 11:43 AM

As much as I like Stein I think blaming this on multiculturalism is a bit off. What this really boils down to is how to deal with citizens who openly admit to being enemies of the state. In Britain they have for the most part been given a pass except for some outrage expressed by a few right-leaning newspapers.

In America we spy on, harass, and ostracize them. Whenever possible we nab them and ship them off to Gitmo. Even prominent figures such as university professors (Al-Arian) are arrested and sent off to jail. And in the cases in which these traitors decide to arm themselves we simply kill them - whether they be white christians in Waco & Ruby Ridge, black communists (SLA) in Compton, or Indians at Pine Ridge.

Posted by: Shelton at July 19, 2005 12:02 PM

...blaming this on multiculturalism is a bit off. What this really boils down to is how to deal with citizens who openly admit to being enemies of the state. In Britain they have for the most part been given a pass...

But that is multiculturalism, or at least a predictable consequence of it.

Posted by: joe shropshire at July 19, 2005 12:38 PM

Integration to what? There is no Britain anymore.

Posted by: oj at July 19, 2005 1:24 PM

The Wall Street Journal has two good editorials on the bombers today. These guys may have been assimilated at the surface, but not at a deeper level where their loyalties lay. The surface can fool you. You would have thought that Timothy McVeigh was assimilated to his country, right? I don't think that McVeigh was the product of multiculturalism. For any young, "disaffected" male, which just means a young punk with resentments, there is always some wingnut ideology willing to ensnare him. Erich Hoffer's "The True Believer" covered this phenomenon well.

Posted by: Robert Duquette at July 19, 2005 2:17 PM


No, McVeigh and Eric Rudolph are misguided reactions to multiculturalism.

Posted by: oj at July 19, 2005 2:26 PM

We'll never get rid of punks with resentments, no matter how monocultural we become.

Posted by: Robert Duquette at July 19, 2005 2:31 PM


I think the point of bringing up multiculturism is not to blame the British, but to suggest that those who are ARE to be blamed, haven't been for some time.

I suppose it treads close to saying, "you let them do it," akin to those who the US "made them do it", but I don't think it should be taken just as such.

And on another matter, what is this thing with queuing anyway? I once saw an article that talked about this with pride, and I thought it might be a joke. My American mind, "they're proud of standing in lines?"

Posted by: RC at July 19, 2005 4:30 PM


There is a difference between apathy toward and open hostility toward the country. Every society will have a percentage of citizens that just don't care - immigration and integration have nothing to do with it.


Its just part of socialist society - in America only the poor have to wait in lines.

Posted by: Shelton at July 19, 2005 6:19 PM

Multiculturalism is not the problem. People move to England from India or the Philippines and do not blow up the trains.

Islam is the problem.

And not even all of Islam. Muslims move to England from Nigeria and while they have done nothing to curb Islamic terrorism, so far they are just bystanders.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at July 22, 2005 3:12 PM

one of the reasons the Brits have reacted so well to the explosions is that they've been routine for thirty years--between the irish and palestinians--and it reminds them of the blitz, when the German Darwin cult bombed them. This is their culture.

Posted by: oj at July 22, 2005 3:17 PM