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May 18, 2007

Multiculturalism Linkage

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

* Is multiculturalism a huge and destructive social experiment that's being forced on us by irresponsible elites? Fjordman certainly thinks it is.

* Coming your way soon: some perhaps not-very-welcome new housing and sheltering patterns.

* The number of illegal immigrants arriving in the European Union every year may be as high as 500,000.



posted by Michael at May 18, 2007


Multiculturalism is certainly a social experiment that's being forced on us by irresponsible elites. Whether it will prove "huge and destructive" time will tell. I'll vote for "probably".

Posted by: dearieme on May 18, 2007 8:00 AM

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Fjordman's thought provoking piece is what was missing. While communism and leftists are offered as villains, there is no mention of the role capitalism is playing in advancing multiculturalism. Global free trade, off shoring of jobs and tax shelters, the use of illegal immigrants to break unions ... the is list is impressively long.

Capitalism has always offered its own version of 'multiculturalism', one that views all the people of the world, regardless of their culture, as a combination of labor resource and consumer market. Today capital is almost totally borderless around the globe. Regardless of the local religion or mores or wishes of the populace, corporate capitalist deals are made with various dictators and oligarchies (China, Saudi Arabia, Columbia ... etc.) so that oil and other resources can be extracted, factories set up to avoid more stringent environmental or labor protections elsewhere and so on.

When this version of multiculturalism is imposed from the top down by westerners on other peoples around the world, it is called Progress or the Triumph of Capitalism. When individuals (in large numbers) use the global systems of transportation and communication to move to where the power of capitalism is greatest, where they can imagine themselves advancing their lot in life, suddenly the evils of multiculturalism become a topic among those who have been benefiting from it the most. Among them the good folks of Fairfax Co. VA, a pricey D.C. suburb, whose lifestyle depends on loads of cheap labor for the construction of McMansions, the yard work, the take out gourmet food they consume ... It's just that the laborers whose cheap labor makes that lifestyle possible need to live close enough to actually do the work and THAT is distasteful. I suspect there were many slave owners who hated the nasty way slaves lived down in their hovels, but at least the slave owners recognized that their own wealth and status were dependent upon their slaves and so learned to live with it.

I have many questions about immigration and multiculturalism, but it seems to me that the real villains are not the under classes yearning for a better life, but the uber-capitalists who have made the world what it is.

Posted by: Chris White on May 18, 2007 3:04 PM

Look at it this way: you won't have to travel to have that exotic third world experience anymore.

Posted by: ricpic on May 18, 2007 4:30 PM

The inability of Mr. White to apply 2-step-ahead logic is amazing - for someone with university education (I presume you graduated college at some point?)
Please reread the "economic lesson for dummies" that BIOH gave you in "poverty" post (try not to get sidetracked by easy impulse to get offended, it's good for you - just like green tea).

To recap: it's the government's redistributional(read: leftie) policies that force uber-capitalists to offshore jobs. It's the government's deals with unions that keep trade labor salaries artificially high - and how we know they're too high? - why, I can hire South-American contractor for 1/5 the price that unionized one will charge me. So the employers rater avoid unions. Remember - every business exists for profit, not for charity.

You think Global trade is such a horrible thing, right? Let's see how many days you'll survive w/o your Fiji water, patchuli parfume, Birkenstocks and palestinian "martyr" scarf? All imported, you know.

Heck, how many days will you survive w/o gas for your car?

Posted by: Tatyana on May 18, 2007 5:45 PM

The most notable feature of institutional "multiculturalism" as I witness it in California is how little it's about tolerance of real cultural differences. I do see plenty of caricatures: sanitized mythologies, genericized African, Latin American, Chinese, or Native American accoutrements. I see these fictional cartoon cultures pinned to kids whose skin or name is just-so, but whose actual culture is X Box, quads, the NBA, and (if we're lucky) Harry Potter. For adults, we now have Mexican Drinking Day pretty well-established alongside Irish Drinking Day (albeit with notably worse beer), but really, all the identical stuff that happens on both days and the days after is culture, and the rest is a token excuse for culture to unfold itself.

Real tolerance for cultural variance would start with tolerance for different personality types and different group dynamics. This is precisely what we don't have (mostly, I think, due to seriously hard-wired resistance to curiosity), and no mural or parade or crappy public poem is gonna change that.

Posted by: J. Goard on May 18, 2007 10:52 PM

From reading the links above, and other thinking, I'm convinced that this is a time of cultural shift. Maybe I'm exactly the disoriented identity lacking youth that Fjordman worries about (I'm 24 living in Berkeley), but I'm not convinced that what we're moving too is unsustainable or lacking in cultural luster. To me, some of this seems like old people whining about culture change. Does the new culture make sense? No, its a bunch of myths, false promise of salvation and then a healthy dose of contradiction and nonsense (both celebrate and deny difference -- proud of your community but no "in-group out-group" racsisms.

So. What's the big deal.

To me, culture is often about this sort of illogical myth, ritual over sense. The myths of multiculturalism fit well in a global economy that requires people to be inter-operable in the producing hours of their life. The virtues of older cultural identities aren't lost -- people are just a little fat (undisciplined) in their cultural practice -- by and large the remnants are preserved by dedicated communities (from the boy scouts to born agains to organic and slow cooking).

Posted by: ChuckyDuBoise on May 19, 2007 3:02 AM


While I'm as auto as didactic gets (i.e. no college degree) I think I've got a reasonable head on my shoulders. Without going into all the issues I have with BIOH's "economics for dummies" I will point out, much as certain economists might attempt to argue otherwise, that it is not exactly a hard science. There is a whole lot of faith, supposition and political POV that goes into a given economic position. One aspect of all attempts to boil economics down to a few paragraphs is over simplification to the point of becoming so distorted as to be meaningless.

Taxes on business were higher in the fifties than today and there were more unions with a higher percentage of the work force unionized. Our economy then was growing rapidly and the strongest in the world. Corporations hired workers, gave them good wages and benefits packages, and made profits that kept shareholders happy. Of course, then they were American companies rather than the truly global corporations they've become; and shareholders did not expect to retire on their stock profits at 45.

So, in the context of this thread on multiculturalism, let's take your contractor situation. Over here is a native born union contractor and over there a S.A. day laborer with questionable documentation. The latter will work for $10 an hour and the former wants $50. So, you hire the latter. To survive on this pay he pools his resources with seven friends doing the same thing. They rent a two-bedroom apartment (all they can afford close enough to get to where the work is) and there goes the neighborhood. Your economically logical decision has resulted in the exactly the sort of multicultural morass you complain about. Isn't another axiom of economics, "you get what you pay for?"

I do not have problems with global trade per se, although for both political and economic reasons I try to buy local whenever I can and seek out "Fair Trade" items when local isn't possible (coffee does not grow in New England.) I have a problem with that idea that business interests who hire loads of well-connected K-Street lobbyists to not only advocate for, but in many cases write, legislation are somehow the victims of supposedly leftist governmental policies.

Posted by: Chris White on May 19, 2007 8:28 AM

tatyana, let's see how long we can survive without importing food. ....thanks to open borders and mass immigration we can no longer feed ourselves.

Global trade is not 'free' trade or capitlism - the system you speak of is tweaked and lobsided - china restricts her imports and controls her currency and economy and corrupt (paid off by chinese) US politicians open trade from there to here - a one way street. That's not 'free' trade.

and you're also apparently not aware that cheap labor STIFLES innovation - the classic example is the roman empire's reliance on slavery while steam engine technology was used for nothing but tricks and curiousities.

andrew carnegie ripped out his factories every 8 months or so an put in new equipment, henry ford double daily wages and cut the work week to find the BEST workers. real industrialists innovate, they don't try to find the cheapest labor with the most lax labor laws

Posted by: me on May 19, 2007 9:39 AM

Now we're talking, *me. (unfortunate alias, if you ask me. But hey, English is not my first language, what do I know?)

Forgive me, Mr.White, if I find it more interesting to continue the discussion with *me. You sorta contradict yourself when 1st hinted that you have issues with economic argument as stated by BIOH because it's tainted by political POV, and in a few paragraphs said you buy local and "fair trade" (this term can only be used in quotes, sorry) out of political reasons. I'm not qualified to compare America of the 50's to today's (I wasn't born yet, I lived in a different country, I'm not an economist - take your pick), so I'll leave it to those who know.
I think the politics are consequences of economic matters, not the other way around. That's why, incidentally, I think it's ridiculous to say this or that president is responsible for economic prosperity - the guy just happened to sit in the Oval office when the stocks soared!

*me, I'm against open borders, so let's cross out that assumption of yours.
Abundance of cheap incoming labor differs from slavery in one important aspect: it's a voluntary labor that's being paid for. As soon as the human resource market gets saturated with supply, the demand will go down (as seen in other industries than construction - computer programming, f.ex. It was incredibly easy to get a 5-figure job as a programmer before 2000 - and where are all those positions now? I knew somebody who become a yoga instructor after getting 120k a year being a programmer at Sony Corp - and Indian guy who went back home with the money he earned during boom.) I'm still talking about immigrant labor, btw.

Any attempt to artificially control human resources market, as in every other market - in other words, any attempts of governmental regulation of free market capitalism, no matter how the government calls itself at the time and a Republican or a Democrat is the President, is bound to make matters worse. Either by keeping the wages artificially low by allowing uncontrolled mass immigration, or artificially high, through pondering to parasitic unions.

Good industrialist innovate, you say. Wrong. Industrialists are not driven by benevolence, they operate by profit margin. There are various ways to make profit - making the product more attractive, on one hand, and making it cheaper to produce on the other. Technological innovation belongs to the former, cutting expenses, like finding cheap labor and bribing government officials to remove red tape - to the latter. Another venue - finding "virgin" consumer market to sell your goods. Hard money matters, not philanthropy.
I find it a troubling sign that big companies form alliances with the government, but I think it's inevitable as soon as the government builds up barriers to business - after all, it's cheaper to pay off the bandit than to fight him (think the Corps) - but that victory is short-lived. You can never pay enough to the blackmailer - he'll always want more.

Posted by: Tat on May 19, 2007 12:07 PM

Hmmm, did I indicate that I thought I was exempt when I noted "There is a whole lot of faith, supposition and political POV that goes into a given economic position." ? Did anyone in any comment laud or damn a given President for their effect on the economy? Wasn't this thread about multiculturalism?

I thought I was pointing the way a given approach to economics (hire the lowest bidder regardless of any other considerations) can influence multiculturalism (who is the lowest bidder, how do they survive on what they're paid).

Posted by: Chris White on May 19, 2007 6:46 PM

I agree with Chris White. There are indeed massive social changes afoot due to rampant capitalism that don't seem to get examined as they should.

NAFTA didn't make Corona beer any cheaper, and believe me I've noticed. "Free trade" is corporate-speak for finding slave labor elsewhere, without pesky things like safety rules, or dare I say, conscience.

I found Fjordman's article shrill and paranoid, unsourced and seizing on bizarre incidents as proof of conspiracy with tabloid intensity.

May I also point out that "noted blogger" is less of a credential to me than, "acknowledged watercolorist". Every blogger, all ten million, considers himself "noted", whilst watercolorists rarely have such egotism.

Posted by: Deschanel on May 19, 2007 9:03 PM

Dechanel: ""Free trade" is corporate-speak for finding slave labor elsewhere..."

It's not "slave labor." It's "desperately poor people trying to improve their lot in life by working hard..."

Me: Free trade benefits the US even if other countries impose trade restrictions. Those trade restrictions harm the population of the country imposing it. That's a basic staple of economics. Get it through your head.

Posted by: jult52 on May 20, 2007 10:26 AM

"suddenly the evils of multiculturalism become a topic among those who have been benefiting from it the most. Among them the good folks of Fairfax Co. VA, a pricey D.C. suburb, whose lifestyle depends on loads of cheap labor for the construction of McMansions, the yard work, the take out gourmet food they consume ... It's just that the laborers whose cheap labor makes that lifestyle possible need to live close enough to actually do the work and THAT is distasteful."

Chris White, I lived in Northern VA for over 35 years and there are MANY neighborhoods in Fairfax County. The neighborhoods being destroyed by over-crowded housing are not those of the folks most profitting from "multi-culti" nonsense. No, these neighborhoods - and their schools etc - are not in the gated developments that our elites live in. They've seen to that!

Posted by: D Flinchum on May 20, 2007 2:25 PM

>Dechanel: ""Free trade" is corporate-speak for finding slave labor elsewhere..."

It's not "slave labor." It's "desperately poor people trying to improve their lot in life by working hard..."

You're right, it was hyperbolic of me to say "slave labor".

But in America, shipping Tammy in Florida's job to Bangalore, so that Rajiv can pretend to be "Joe" on the phone for your customer service needs, about which he has minimal shit-giving..

Meanwhile, Tammy is out of a job, perhaps with kids. Taco Bell employment seems a popular answer from free-trade sorts, as if that were panacea.
But now it's our Tammy who's a poor person desperately trying to improve her lot in life by working hard. Except the jobs she might get have been exported to India. Or Mexico.

So Tammy's OUR problem. She gets welfare instead of a job. Her 2 kids are raised in poverty, and become teenage menaces.

We're told that this is all Tammy's own fault. With her high-school education we're told that if only Tammy showed some initiative she could be a bank president, or something, in the Bizarro-world of those who are the architects of utterly screwing the working class out of a livelihood so they can save a nickel.

The constant lecture that Americans receive: "Yes , we in big business are throwing you off the bus of American economic life, on a massive scale, but hey- maybe your cute daughter will win on "American Idol" or something. Good luck."

Posted by: Deschanel on May 20, 2007 8:23 PM

Coming your way soon: some perhaps not-very-welcome new housing and sheltering patterns.

These kind of laws about how many people you can keep in your house are the classic examples of how to segregate your neighborhood without being accused of bias against minorities or the poor. Minimum lot sizes and lawn maintenance ordinances are others.

Posted by: Noumenon on May 22, 2007 12:04 AM

Every issue in the world has both positive and negative side likewise multiculturalism also have it's own..But it is the issue we can't predict what will happen in the future..My answer is it have more negative side than a positive.

Posted by: sakthi on May 22, 2007 8:27 AM

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