MULTICULTURALISM says we should have no arrogance about our own culture and we should be open to the teachings and practices of other cultures. We should at least look at cultures to see if they have something to teach us.
But given the way the human mind tends to streamline and simplify, multiculturalism has been streamlined in many minds into "my own culture is evil."
The original purpose of multiculturalism was to prevent the self-righteous arrogance of European and American Judeo-Christian cultures. There was a time when they encountered people from other cultures and they judged them to be barbaric, savage, or simplistic. In many cases Europeans and Americans used force to impose their own "superior" culture on the native cultures they came across.
This kind of blind arrogance is ugly and it is right and good that it has been discredited. It other words, multiculturalism is a good thing.
But in our passionate commitment to multiculturalism, we tossed out a very important item: Our own culture. We should look our own culture to find what's good about it, and we should do it just as impartially and as appreciatively as we look at other cultures.
One of the things we will find is that the basic principles of liberty and equality are so pervasive in our culture, we take them for granted. They are like water to a fish. They go into the background and we stop noticing them. Some Americans have told me "we don't really have a culture."
But if our pervasive right to liberty and equality were suddenly taken away and we were dropped into some exotic and seemingly attractive culture in say, Somalia or China or Saudi Arabia or the Maldives, the lack of natural freedom and equality would be shockingly noticeable.
But we don't live in those cultures. We enjoy all the protections of liberty and equality we have enjoyed our whole lives. In fact, many of those liberties and equalities have improved over our lifetimes. This all seems right and proper to us.
But it is not natural. It is not inevitable. It is not "self-evident." In fact, if you look at the history of civilization, what you see is a glaring lack of liberty and equality all over the world and as far back as we have historical records. And unless those liberties and equalities are protected and defended, they will be lost. Really.
Jihadis are actively working to take them away and replace our guaranteed rights with the law of Allah (Shari'a). Luckily for the blind multiculturalists who think their own culture is evil, others are busy protecting their liberty and equality for them at the moment.
You probably know all this already. But when you encounter someone who has this my-own-culture-is-evil attitude, speak up and explain this concept. We need every ally in this fight we can get. Our culture of liberty and equality needs to be defended. As Robert Spencer said, "People who are ashamed of their own culture will not defend it."
Explain to them what the world is like in other parts of the world. Explain to them how women in Saudi Arabia cannot go outside their home unless they are accompanied by their husband or a male relative. Explain to them that in Iran they have "clothing police" that go around beating and arresting women if their ankles show. Explain to them that in Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Somalia, if a woman is raped, she is usually jailed and sometimes stoned to death for "fornication." Encourage them to watch Osama the movie and Not Without My Daughter.
You can do all this with the attitude that you are on their side. They want to be multicultural. You can wholeheartedly agree: Multiculturalism is great. Studying other cultures is illuminating. And then educate them on how some other cultures live today. Compare and contrast those cultures with the freedoms and equality we enjoy in this culture.
Explain to them also that there are billionaires, and tens of thousands of skilled Jihadis, and well-funded groups of politically-savvy lawyers, all working actively to overthrow our own government and establish those same restrictive laws on everybody here. They are successfully intimidating with violence and also waging jihad by gaining concessions.
Liberty and equality are not ours alone. They are features of many cultures. But they are salient and foundational features of our own culture, and in the interest of appreciating all cultures, these features should be seen for what they are: Precious and worth protecting. Handled the right way, even a young, passionate multiculturalist should be able to see that.