Fighting in the Trenches of This Culture War
For a Canadian "Festival of Literary Diversity," some cultures are more equal than others.
For over 15 years, I have been operating a small publishing house, which is Canada’s sole conservative and pro-Israel publishing house. We publish some of the greatest Canadian, American and international authors who support fundamental freedoms, liberty, justice and individual rights as opposed to group rights. Our authors generally oppose cultural and moral relativism, and for that reason they are generally shunned by leftist publishing houses who naively believe that all cultures are equal.
I am the son of a Holocaust survivor who lost his parents and then eight-year-old sister in the gas chambers of Auschwitz. When someone tells me that all cultures are equal, I ask if the person believes that the culture of Nazi Germany or of ISIS is equal to the culture of Canada or the United States. The person usually walks away at that point.
Recently, as part of my publishing duties and the need to see if there are any upcoming opportunities for our authors to speak, I came across an event near Toronto called the Festival of Literary Diversity. Looking at the photographs of the 20 or so authors speaking or appearing, I could see that almost all were brown or black and they were mostly women.
Mantua Books also publishes brown women (Farzana Hassan, The Case Against Jihad), brown men (Professor Salim Mansur, Delectable Lie: a liberal repudiation of multiculturalism and Islamism and the Qur’an Problem), as well as white Jewish women, aged Christian men, gay Jewish men, all what we might term “conservative” thinkers, but who are actually “classically liberal” as much as conservative.
So, I decided to write to the Festival organizers to see if their definition of “marginalized diverse authors” could include our authors, most with Ph.Ds, who are shunned by mainstream leftist publishing houses despite their qualifications to write in their chosen fields on politics and culture.
It occurred to me that readers might like to peer into the trench, where I, a 67-year-old, former practicing lawyer, a developer of affordable rental housing for low income working people (which I insist gives me “progressive” credibility) am fighting in this war every week.
Of course, we are losing most every battle we fight. It is hard when academia, the mainstream media, and NGOs and government bureaucrats are all lined up against you. But I fight on; if my father could survive Auschwitz, I figure I can survive this.
So what follows is my correspondence with a Festival organizer, to give you some insight into one small, polite skirmish in a much larger War.
From Howard Rotberg to A.L.:
Re: Festival of Literary Diversity, in Brampton
We are a small publisher, based in Brantford/Hamilton, in business for over 15 years, publishing great authors, most with Ph.Ds, most of whom have been shunned by mainstream, leftist-oriented publishing houses, because of the authors conservative (or classically liberal) political beliefs.
We have white and brown authors, Christian, Muslim and Jewish authors, who write about ideologies and values in contemporary political culture. Our authors are experts in their field, and are professors, journalists and others living in Canada or around the world.
Please refer to our website, www.mantuabooks.com.
Our writers are usually opposed to cultural and moral relativism and political correctness that inhibits freedom of expression or that caters to group rights as opposed to individual human rights and maintenance of our liberal democratic justice system. We are opposed to naïve advocacy of multiculturalism based on the mistaken belief that all cultures are equal. We believe that cultures that oppress women, gays/lesbians, children, ethnic and religious minorities are not equal to those that uphold the rights of same.
Despite the quality of our writers, we are routinely marginalized by mainstream media who often refuse to review our authors’ works because, notwithstanding our great conservative tradition in Canada, these media feel that they want to publish or write about left-leaning authors not conservative ones, and so we are shunned and marginalized.
We think that a Festival of Literary Diversity should embrace a diversity of all books as long as they meet the requisite standards of intellectual discussion and our Canadian traditional values of liberty, justice and "peace, order and good government.
Let us know if you want the publisher or some of the authors to participate in a festival of diversity that is in fact diverse.
From A.L. to Howard Rotberg:
Thank you for this. I appreciate and understand where you are coming from. We also do not support the views of people and movements who disenfranchise marginalized groups, but we cannot approach this from a perspective of viewing other cultures as inferior to Western democracies, regardless of whether we agree with their practices or not. As such, we celebrate the rights, complexities and humanity inherent in all cultures, understand that growth comes from meeting one another on common ground, and seek to elevate discussions where cross-cultural dialogues are respectful, mindful, and encourage us all to learn.
Many thanks, and all the best to you in your continued work.
From Howard Rotberg to A.L.:
Thank you for your polite and considered response.
I simply want to point out to you that I work with marginalized authors who are marginalized by leftist media. Words like "diverse" or "marginalized" are highly politicized terms useful for attaining power or reducing power of those with whom one disagrees with politically.
The fact that you cannot bring yourself to state the obvious - that some cultures like that of Nazi Germany or of ISIS - are culturally inferior, tells me, the son of a Holocaust survivor, that the effect of your sincere efforts is to dignify cultures that abuse women and gays and religious minorities; surely you would be hard-pressed to make the argument, say, to Yezedi women, victims of the evil culture of Syria which includes a culture of rape..
I disagree that there is "humanity" in all cultures. Nazi Germany and ISIS are the opposites of humanity.
Finally, it sounds nice to say that we should be "respectful" in all discussions. But, in my book, The Ideological Path to Submission … and what we can do about it, I point out that "the Oxford Dictionary defines “respect” as “a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities or achievements.” But to me, Islamists who use beheading, rape and sexual assault, torture, persecution of ethnic and religious minorities and gays, and disregard most human rights, do not deserve our “deep admiration” and do not show any great “qualities or achievements.” We must be clear on this.
My friend, Hamilton writer Gary Gerofsky, has this to say about “safe spaces” where we share our supposed “common ground”:
“I am really confused about the notion of ‘meeting on common ground.’ If there were such a viable concept/place as ‘common ground,’ then can it be defined? If not, then where in the rich spectrum of values and ideas is there a common platform for our minds to meet? Why should there be a common ‘safe place’ when people disagree about significant basic ideas which are diametrically opposed to western values which have made modern western civilization the best place on earth to be living?”
I would recommend that you read Professor Salim Mansur's Delectable Lie: a liberal repudiation of multiculturalism, Diane Weber Bederman's Back to the Ethic: Reclaiming Western Values, and my own, The Ideological Path to Submission... and what we can do about it. Hopefully, readers of those books that are published by Mantua Books will come to understand that cultural relativism, the idea that all cultures are equal, plays a large part in being unable to defend the war against our freedoms and liberties and individual rights.