Monday, 23 November 2015

Susan Devoy fails to fight for chance to teach new immigrants

I know it’s hard to pick a winner, but do you think Susan Devoy might have been the least prepared and least competent Racist Relations Commissar since the ridiculous role was invented? On any issue on which she chooses to make a stand, she invariably takes the wrong one.

See, this is what we’ve been talking about: one of the biggest failures in recent decades has been the failure to fully welcome new people to new western countries into the values that made western cultures great.

Yet, in a bizarre parallel with the “safe spaces” on American campuses that students demand to avoid having to challenge their stunted young minds, Susan Devoy backs the Auckland Regional Migrant Services who intend to ensure that new people to our western country should not have to encounter Christmas, lest it offend many of the reasons they probably departed their last country of habitation.

A leading Auckland migrant settlement agency is avoiding the word Christmas and will instead be talking about ‘happy holidays’ and ‘season's greetings.’
    The Auckland Regional Migrant Services (ARMS) says it has taken the move so non-Christians and those who do not celebrate Christmas do not feel excluded [and] to be multiculturally sensitive …
    As an inclusive organisation that respects and welcomes people from all backgrounds and faiths, we use terms such as 'festive', 'happy holidays' and 'seasons greetings'," said [a representative from the Auckland Regional Migrant Services].
    "This is not new. We have been doing so for years. This year, for example, we have organised a festive multi-ethnic pot-luck lunch for all migrants and ethnic communities." …
Devoy, who is also the agency's patron, said references to Christmas were not banned at the agency but the terminology it used aimed at being inclusive.
    "The lunch you refer to has always been called a festive lunch.
    "The Auckland Regional Migrant Services works hard to include peoples from all faiths to work together in peace and diversity," Devoy said.
    "Migrant Services uses language that will encompass and include everyone; it is not designed to exclude anyone."

Well, yes it does. It excludes those who value western culture, and might like to enjoy a Merry Christmas.

Think about it.

Why should westerners always be so backward about supporting the elements of western culture—one of the most important parts of which is that, unlike the primitive places so many have escaped, it is so inclusive, that it does invite everyone in? Yet if we westerners ourselves are busy bowing and scraping and apologising for all those things that are so importantly western–-and Christmas is one of things, for many more reasons than today’s religious mythology—then why on earth should anyone seeing the craven cowardice think there’s anything to really respect?

As Leighton Smith just argued (and on this we do agree), if there’s any group that really should be out there promoting the superiority of western culture, then it’s the very service that meets new immigrants to this western culture and helps them settle here.

This story tells you how poorly that point is understood and promoted, most lamentably by those most needing to understand it.

For them, [explains Walter Williams of a similar crowd] all cultures are morally equivalent and to deem otherwise is Eurocentrism. That’s unbridled nonsense. Ask your multiculturalist: Is forcible female genital mutilation, as practiced in nearly 30 sub-Saharan Africa and Middle Eastern countries, a morally equivalent cultural value? Slavery is practiced in Sudan and Niger; is that a cultural equivalent? In most of the Middle East, there are numerous limits on women — such as prohibitions on driving, employment, voting and education. Under Islamic law, in some countries, female adulterers face death by stoning, and thieves face the punishment of having their hand severed. Are these cultural values morally equivalent, superior or inferior to those of the West?
    Western values are superior to all others. Why? The greatest achievement of the West was the concept of individual rights. The Western transition from barbarism to civility didn’t happen overnight. It emerged feebly — mainly in England, starting with the Magna Carta of 1215 — and took centuries to get where it is today.
    One need not be a Westerner to hold Western values. A person can be Chinese, Japanese, Jewish, African or Arab and hold Western values. It’s no accident that Western values of reason and individual rights have produced unprecedented health, life expectancy, wealth and comfort for the ordinary person.

This last point is so crucial I’ll say it again: One need not be a Westerner to hold Western values. Western values are able to be embraced by anyone. They are inclusive, not exclusive. They are held by choice, not by race.

Memo to Dame Devoy: It’s not about being white and racist—because (as George Reisman also thoroughly points out*), Western civilisation is not a product of race:

Once one recalls what Western civilisation is, the most important thing to realize about it is that it is open to everyone... The truth is that just as one does not have to be from France to like French-fried potatoes or from New York to like a New York steak, one does not have to have been born in Western Europe or be of West European descent to admire Western civilisation, or, indeed, even to help build it. Western civilisation is not a product of geography. Indeed, important elements of ‘Western’ civilisation did not even originate in the West. ‘'Western civilisation is not a product of geography. It is a body of knowledge and values. Any individual, any society, is potentially capable of adopting it and thereby becoming Westernised."

I once gave Tariana Turia the example of how western values are open to everyone: After talking with her I was off to a concert in which a piece of music written by a Russian was about to be played by a Chinese soloist, under a Peruvian conductor, in front of an orchestra containing Jews, Asians, Africans, Arabs and who knows what. Their race was irrelevant; their musicality wasn’t. That’s an example of western values in practice: they are open to anyone who wants to embrace them.

This is the real antidote to the ghettoisation of new immigrants, and the danger of that incubation turning into some of the disasters people see overseas. Overseas, they wonder why second- and third-generation immigrants especially sometimes see nothing to respect in the place of their birth and become ripe for plucking by bastards wholly unapologetic about their barbarity. But is that any wonder when so much of what they see around them is people apologising for everything about their place?

Memo to all of us: We should never be afraid to promote the superiority of western culture, and never feel we need to wring our hands for saying that. If we ever fear it, we might remind ourselves of Thomas Sowell’s important observation that

 Cultures are not museum-pieces. They are the working machinery of everyday life. Unlike objects of aesthetic contemplation, working machinery is judged by how well it works, compared to the alternatives. The judgment that matters it not the judgement of observers and theorists, but the judgement implicit in millions of individual decisions to retain or abandon particular cultural practices, decisions made by those who personally benefit or who personally pay the price of inefficiency and obsolescence. That price is not always paid in money but may range from inconveniences to death.

So, memo to the Auckland Regional Migrant Services: Merry Christmas.

May I recommend you pass that on to those the government has charged you to help.

* I thoroughly recommend a good reading of Reisman’s essay in which he makes the argument most thoroughly: “ Education & the Racist Road to Barbarism.”


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