Multiculturalism goes too far when it Tolerates Totalitarianism

Respecting other cultures and living in coexistence with others are important values, yet multiculturalism certainly goes too far when it is extended to respecting totalitarianism. Many advocates of multiculturalism deem all opposition to Islamism generally to be Islamophobic and intolerant. Theocracy which Islamists advocate is not compatible with freedom of religion, surely a cornerstone of multiculturalism. Many multiculturalists do not seem to grasp that a nation state requires a common civic religion to unite its citizens and that elevating a traditional religion into a civic religion is inherently intolerant since this excludes members of religious minorities as well as atheists and agnostics from the practice of civic religion. 

Yet of course a civic religion is not necessarily tolerant or democratic as state totalitarianism also constitutes civic religion. Therefore the only civic religions that are acceptable are those that embrace democracy. Islamists distort traditional religion into totalitarian ideology and when they gain control over a country they turn this ideology into civic religion. Multiculturalists often discount the need for civic religion in viewing civic religion as imperialist. The problem is that democracy does not work without pro-democratic civic religion and that is something that many multiculturalists refuse to accept. 

On occasion it seems that multiculturalists seek to turn multiculturalism based on the academic doctrine of “cultural relativism” into a new civic religion that stands in contrast to the ostensibly “Western imperialist” liberal democracy. While “cultural relativism” may be a useful research methodology it is politically inherently in opposition to the Western-derived liberal democracy which falls into the category of “imperialism” according to this line of thinking. Here multiculturalism has surely gone astray in accepting and tolerating the neo-imperialist Islamists while deeming culturally tolerant liberal democrats to be cultural imperialists.

Published by Daniella Bartfeld

Daniella Bartfeld is the founding director of the Aliyah Organization.

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