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For Americans, this is an illuminating book in many ways. Some of us tend to think of Canada (when we think of it at all) as a country pretty much like our own, where the only real difference is that the people pronounce “out” and “about” differently; but of course Canadians not only have their own history but also their own distinctive ways of thinking about politics, culture, and value – many of which, indeed, have taken shape in reaction to American ways of thinking. So it was with multiculturalism, which in the beginning was viewed as an effective way of distinguishing Canada from the United States, of whose “melting pot” philosophy many bien pensant Canadians heartily disapproved. Canada, they insisted, would not be a “melting pot” but a beautiful mosaic, a melange, a smorgasbord – yet instead of sharpening Canada’s profile vis-à-vis its neighbor to the south, the new policy, Mansur complains, only served to make a “weak national identity….even weaker.”
Still, he suggests, it was not until 9/11 that it became fully clear just how much of a threat multiculturalism poses to free societies. For multiculturalism, he explains, turns out to be nothing less than “the slippery slope that leads to the acceptance or appeasement of the politics of jihad within a liberal democracy.” The kind of liberty we have enjoyed in countries like the U.S. and Canada, Mansur reminds us, is a glorious exception in human history: in most times and places – and certainly in Communist and Islamic societies – the human individual has been “a cog in a machine…a means to an end as defined by the collective. This is the politics of jihad, which has been the normal condition for humankind in history, and only for brief tantalizing moments in history has the promise of history, as what ought to be the condition for humankind, appeared on history’s stage.”
While the phenomenon of creeping jihad has quite clearly exposed the danger of multiculturalism, however, Western politicians and multiculturalist ideologues have decided perversely – “like dope addicts” – that the answer “is more multiculturalism,” including gradually giving in to demands for parallel systems of sharia law, in the absurd hope that if Islamic demands are met, “Muslims will respond by respecting European values.” Yet as Mansur underscores, Islamists “are not ideologically motivated to seek coexistence on terms set by others; for them, coexistence means setting the terms for others on the basis of shari’ah values that are incompatible with liberal values.” Indeed.
“The world is naturally diverse,” Mansur observes. “But the moral strength of liberalism comes from its refusal to make a fetish of this diversity. The liberal vision sees above and beyond diversity in respecting individual rights, and by defending liberty on the basis of securing individual rights liberalism acknowledges that the naturally given diversity finds its best unfettered expression through the lives of individuals as free agents in history.” Delectable Lie is the testimony of a man who has seen the world from both sides – the free and the unfree – and who, after doing some very serious and responsible thinking about liberty and identity, has come to understand exactly why Western freedom and multiculturalism are mutually incompatible. It would behoove those of us who have been fortunate enough to live our entire lives in the free West to heed his wisdom, and defend our liberties as zealously as he does in the pages of this invaluable book.
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