When the cult of multiculti goes too far

Mark Steyn on the response of the Western world to the uproar over the cartoons of Mohammed in Denmark.

Steyn is as good as usual, and one statement at the end of the piece haunts me:

Very few societies are genuinely multicultural. Most are bicultural: On the one hand, there are folks who are black, white, gay, straight, pre-op transsexual, Catholic, Protestant, Buddhist, worshippers of global-warming doom-mongers, and they rub along as best they can. And on the other hand are folks who do not accept the give-and-take, the rough-and-tumble of a “diverse” “tolerant” society, and, when one gently raises the matter of their intolerance, they threaten to kill you, which makes the question somewhat moot.

This is something I wish weren’t true–that those of us who are trying to live our lives as Christians are part of the same culture as the “worshippers of global warming doom-mongers,” etc. We are, though, despite how much we would like to separate ourselves. While our culture may be decadent, it is still ours. We, the Church, built it, and perhaps there is still a chance that it can be redeemed. If so, we will be the driving force behind that mass repentance, but when I see such frankly pitiful reactions to challenges like the response of the radical Muslim world, I can’t help but think that we’re on our way to collapse like Rome. What will arise out of the ruins of the West? Let us hope that it is not, as Steyn suggests, that one day Sharia and emasculated Western multiculturalism will be one and the same thing. I do not wish that day upon us, but nor do I despair if it comes, for as J.R.R. Tolkien wrote:

I am a Christian, and indeed a Roman Catholic, so that I do not expect “history” to be anything but a long defeat — though it contains (and in a legend may contain more clearly and movingly) some samples or glimpses of final victory.

As food for thought, I ran across a poem written by G.K. Chesterton in 1915, “A Song of Defeat,” that encapsulates the mood in which our current struggle puts me:

The line breaks and the guns go under,
The lords and the lackeys ride the plain;
I draw deep breaths of the dawn and thunder,
And the whole of my heart grows young again.
For our chiefs said ‘Done,’ and I did not deem it;
Our seers said ‘Peace,’ and it was not peace;
Earth will grow worse till men redeem it,
And wars more evil, ere all wars cease.
But the old flags reel and the old drums rattle,
As once in my life they throbbed and reeled;
I have found my youth in the lost battle,
I have found my heart on the battlefield.
For we that fight till the world is free,
We are not easy in victory:
We have known each other too long, my brother,
And fought each other, the world and we.

And I dream of the days when work was scrappy,
And rare in our pockets the mark of the mint,
When we were angry and poor and happy,
And proud of seeing our names in print.
For so they conquered and so we scattered,
When the Devil road and his dogs smelt gold,
And the peace of a harmless folk was shattered;
When I was twenty and odd years old.
When the mongrel men that the market classes
Had slimy hands upon England’s rod,
And sword in hand upon Afric’s passes
Her last Republic cried to God.
For the men no lords can buy or sell,
They sit not easy when all goes well,
They have said to each other what naught can smother,
They have seen each other, our souls and hell.

It is all as of old, the empty clangour,
The Nothing scrawled on a five-foot page,
The huckster who, mocking holy anger,
Painfully paints his face with rage.
And the faith of the poor is faint and partial,
And the pride of the rich is all for sale,
And the chosen heralds of England’s Marshal
Are the sandwich-men of the Daily Mail,
And the niggards that dare not give are glutted,
And the feeble that dare not fail are strong,
So while the City of Toil is gutted,
I sit in the saddle and sing my song.
For we that fight till the world is free,
We have no comfort in victory;
We have read each other as Cain his brother,
We know each other, these slaves and we.

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