Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Rejecting multicultural liberalism

Razib Khan usually posts about genomics, but now he explains why he does not call himself a liberal:
I believe that Islam-critics, from the unhinged neocon Right to the ultra-secularist New Atheist fringe are correct in many of their critiques of the nature of the Muslim subcultures of the West, and the barbarism of Islamic culture more generally. The word “barbaric” makes many people wince, and it’s not really acceptable in “polite” company (the company which I generally keep), but I don’t have a good word handy. I don’t believe that we should invade Saudi Arabia so that women can drive and not need to wear the abaya. I find it barbaric, and personally objectionable, but it does not rise to the level of something like slavery or genocide.

Among many liberals these sorts of assertions are ludicrous on their face. You can’t generalize about a whole religion like that. I think this is hypocrisy, as American Left-liberals regularly generalize about white Protestants (or quasi-Protestants, like Mormons). Not only that, they express snobbish disdain for the genuine kernels of truth which lay the seed for the paranoia on the xenophobic Right. Reality is complex, but when there are truths to be faced which are not congenial to the narrative of White Male Oppressor, the truth becomes very simple and stark.

Generalizations which shed a negative light on White European civilization are acceptable (if debatable) in polite Left-liberal society. For example, it is common to assert that Western civilization in the years before 1000 A.D. was barbarous, boorish, and primitive. This is a fashionable assertion as an inversion of the narrative of superiority which once reigned supreme. Of course, it ignores the real exceptions such as the Carolingian Renaissance, or Ireland before the Vikings. It invariably pretends as if the Byzantines did not exist.
As usual, he has hard data to back up his opinions. His friends are liberals, but they cannot bring themselves to admit that a major religion is dominated by barbaric beliefs.

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