Wednesday, January 16

Don't rile the natives, or what do Canada and Chechnya have in common?

For background on Section 13 of Canada's Human Rights Act, which is the basis of the discrimination complaints against Maclean's magazine and Ezra Levant, see these Pundita posts:
Jan 8: Maclean's Magazine Affair reveals deep fissures in Canada's democracy
Jan 14: Canada's version of The Minority Report: pre-crime and presumption of guilt in Section 13 cases
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
If I thought medication would help, I suppose I would tell a psychiatrist that I'm always on the lookout for the British counterinsurgency. I don't like admitting this to you -- paranoids generally don't unburden themselves for obvious reasons; you could be a Redcoat spy. But as there is no other way to explain the reasoning behind my view of Section 13 of Canada's Human Rights Act (see the last two Pundita posts about Section 13), I have let you in on my secret.

I am not prejudiced against the British, you understand; I'm waiting for them to make another try. There is a difference.

Section 13 is a direct consequence of Canada's official multicultural policy, which is written into their Charter of Rights and Freedoms under Section 27.

But what is multiculturalism and how did it come about in Canada? Here is the Canadian government's explanation. Yet mountains of books and scholarly papers have been published in the attempt to answer the question. None of them are worth a plug nickel in my view, unless they explain that multiculturalism in its modern version was a British invention for managing native populations.

So when I review published criticism of the Section 13 complaints against Maclean's magazine I can only shake my head in wonder at such blindness. The critics, whether from Canada or America, are doggedly determined to pin blame on human rights commissions, or Liberals and the Political Correctness movement.

Let us be clear. The war between the American colonies and Britain ended, but the ideological struggle never did. That struggle has been played out most recently in Iraq, which saw the British approach to managing the natives in Basra in open conflict with the US attempt to block Iranian weapons from entering Iraq. My nightmare is that it's being played out in Afghanistan as well.

What are the two sides in the struggle? The British colonial model (BCM) is that you allow the natives you rule in foreign lands to keep to their own ways as much as possible without your losing control over them. This approach arose out of practical needs to keep tribal rivalries from spilling into wars that the British home office would find hard to control.

On the topic of democracy the BCM says: What use it is to teach these tribes democracy when the first thing they'll do with it is tear each other to pieces and balkanize into territories the size of a postage stamp?

The BCM is basically a conflict-management model.

The American Government Model (AGM) is built on the defense of liberty and the protection of individual rights. That the United States has often betrayed the model when applying it to foreign relations does not invalidate it.

I see in the conflict between the BCM and AGM the age-old struggle between maintaining order and self empowerment.

Now we proceed to Pundita's one minute history of the modern world.

In the post-World War Two era the BCM seemingly went into eclipse. But on close inspection -- and Canada is a good example -- in many places the BCM continued to influence government policies even in countries that had won full independence from the British.

The BCM produced a way of thinking that is so deeply ingrained in post-colonial countries that I believe this is why many Canadians don't see that Section 13 poses threats to their freedom beyond the issue of freedom of speech.

When push comes to shove the BCM is so useful at maintaining order that there hardly seems a contest between it and the AGM.

Here we come to a snag, which became evident when British rule left countries that often were creations of Colonialist deals and alliances.

In the many bloodbaths that followed it was clear that all the BCM had ever done was keep a lid on situations. In horror, the British tried as best they could, given their own very difficult situation after World War Two, to right the wrongs of the BCM in former colonies.

They soon learned that several governments in the former colonies preferred mass slaughter as the means to managing uprisings, despite all the years of British influence under the BCM.

The British got a chance to redeem themselves during the Cold War, and particularly toward its close, when they threw considerable resources at helping Eastern European countries learn the ropes of democracy.

Then came the end of the Soviet Union. Then followed the golden years when it seemed that globalization had obsolesced the ideological struggle between order and freedom. Somehow, unrestricted trade between nations would translate into freedom and order for all.

Then came 9/11, followed by the Democracy Doctrine and Bush's announcement that he planned to export the doctrine to the four quarters. At this news people around the globe thought they were experiencing an earthquake. No, it was just millions of government officials hitting the floor with a thud after fainting in horror.

And here we are today. Where exactly is "here?"
Canadian multiculturalism is looked upon with admiration by many world leaders - particularly His Highness the Aga Khan. In a 2002 interview with the Globe and Mail, the 49th Imam of the Ismaili Muslims described Canada as "the most successful pluralist society on the face of our globe", citing it as "a model for the world."

He explained that the experience of Canadian governance - its commitment to pluralism and its support for the rich multicultural diversity of its peoples - is something that must be shared and would be of benefit societies in other parts of the world.

With this in mind, he went on in 2006 to establish the Global Centre for Pluralism in partnership with the Government of Canada. The Centre seeks to export the Canadian experience by promoting pluralist values and practices in culturally diverse societies worldwide, with the aim of ensuring that every individual has the opportunity to realize his or her full potential as a citizen, irrespective of cultural, ethnic or religious differences.
Do not assume that the Aga Khan is a rustic. The first Aga Khan suppressed a regional rebellion against the British Raj in India, which earned him the only personal gun salute that the British accorded a native leader. For their loyalty the British Raj heaped high rank and nobility on the Aga Khans.

The present Aga Khan has used his position and wealth for the betterment of countless people, and he's done it so well that it reflects a kind of genius. His work in international development has been an influence on me for many years.

But we cannot expect all things from one person. The Aga Khan is not the flagship for democracy. He's got a lot of tribal peoples to look after, and who are scattered in more than 30 countries that have varying degrees of freedom and prosperity.

The Aga Khan has taught his people to practice tolerance for other cultures and religions, and to live in peace with those whose ways of thinking are radically different from their own. So it's no wonder that he would embrace Canada's multicultural policy and promote it around the world.

To complete the picture of where we are today, let's listen to Yossef Bodansky explain Russia's new approach for dealing with natives. Actually, you'll have to listen to a summary of my hastily scribbled notes from radio broadcasts because I have not yet read Seffy's new book Chechen Jihad: The Next Wave of Terror.

Surely the book addresses the title topic. But during his conversations with John Batchelor and John Loftus on their respective radio shows, Seffy focused on outlining how the Russian government defused the Chechen rebellion without further bloodshed:

After years of attempting without success to brutally suppress the rebellion, Putin and his technocrats noticed that the more they suppressed, the more this drove the Chechens into terrorism.

Putin saw another way when it became clear that the Chechens were fed up with the foreign neo-Salafists who had taken over their rebellion. Those usurpers belong to the Global Caliphate by the Sword crowd -- al Qaeda and kindred.

Most Chechens weren't interested in being rulers of the world. They just wanted things like jobs, education, and enough to eat. But they didn't want to live under Moscow's thumb because that would destroy their way of doing things. And they didn't want to live under Salafist rule because that would do the same.

So Putin&Co. went to Chechen leaders and said, in essence,'What we want is for you to stay with Russia. What you want is to retain your tribal forms of government. So why don't we make a deal that gives us both what we want? You stay with Russia and keep your way of doing things.'

Seffy termed this deal the Russian Model, which caused me to throw my pen in the air and shriek, "What does he mean Russian model? That's the British model for keeping the natives in line!"

But the approach was Open Sesame. The deal has been so well accepted by the Chechens that if I correctly recall from Seffy's conversation, there are now 12 times the number of Chechens serving in Russia's security forces as Chechens still running around the hills and talking about blowing up Russia.

Several of the latter types have left for Iran and other parts of the world where they can work on the Global Caliphate plan. But the Russian Model has so far been such a success at quelling the Chechnya rebellion that Moscow wants to apply the model to other regions.

Seffy suggested that the United States apply the Russian Model to Afghanistan and other parts of South Asia/Central Asia. To support his argument he laid out the bottom line:

Does the US want to continue promoting democracy when the tribes are determined to continue their ways? Or do we want their help in guarding thousands of miles of oil pipelines that are vital to the West?

To this I exclaimed, "He's asking America to act like the British Raj! Meet the new boss! Same as the old boss!"

I know at the back of my mind that the BCM is far older than Britain. It goes back to the Roman Empire and much earlier. Again, it's a conflict management model, which served ancient empires that based far-flung trade on managing the natives.

So if it wasn't for the fact that humankind can't go on for eternity with countless tribal governments carried by a few highly productive nations, the BCM would be the clear winner in the argument with the AGM.

That is something Canadians need to ponder. And everyone needs to notice that debates between multiculturalism and assimilation are sucking oxygen from the debate between freedom and oppression.

I understand the issues connected with "visible minorities" and immigration management in the face of declines in the majority population. I know that these are pressing issues for governments that must deal with large numbers of immigrants who arrive from vastly different cultures.

And yet these are conflict management issues, which are not the linchpin of a nation's democracy. My last two posts pointed out that Canada drifted away from being a liberal democracy, to the extent the country ever was one. How much more drift do Canadians want, before they wake one morning and realize they're living in a police state?

Democracy is not a given. And multiculturalism is not an equivalent value with democracy. Nor is it an equivalent value with human rights. Nor is it equivalent with progress.

I am haunted by the words of a village elder in Afghanistan. He wanted his daughter to become a doctor because that was what she wanted to do with her life. There was no school in the village yet he refused to give up his dream for his daughter.

So measure that dream against pipelines. Then tell me whether any nation should go ahead and rile the natives in Afghanistan or do business as usual. Tell me whether a thousand miles of pipeline are worth the life of one good man.

I hear voices wafting from the Great North: 'But Pundita if we don't keep all these diverse immigrants happy we won't be able to keep our economy going! Then Canada won't be in a position to help that man!

Do you really think that's the kind of answer that produced the U.S. Bill of Rights?

You cannot confuse tolerance with respect for human life. Even the British at the height of their colonialist enterprise understood that. There were times when they knew they had to draw the line:
... the British in India were faced with the practice of “suttee” -- the tradition of burning widows on the funeral pyres of their husbands.

General Sir Charles Napier was impeccably multicultural: “You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours.”
I am not asking Canadians to give up multiculturalism entirely. Just ask the British what happens when multiculturalism trumps the values that support democracy. Then realign priorities.

Yes, tolerance is good up to a point. Respecting other people's heritage is good. But in this era the conflict between freedom and order is a pivotal struggle in many nations. It's even arisen in Canada in the form of the Maclean's affair and Section 13.
Some points in the above writing brought for criticism and questions, which I answer here.

No comments: