Understanding the Paris Riots: Multiculturalism and the Self-Liquidation of Europe

by | Nov 10, 2005 | Europe, POLITICS

On November 9, 1938, the Nazi government launched a vicious pogrom in which thousand of Jews were rounded up and sent to concentration camps, while bands of young Nazi thugs smashed the windows of Jewish homes and shops. Kristallnacht–the “Night of Broken Glass”–sent through the world a premonition of the dark and murderous future that […]

On November 9, 1938, the Nazi government launched a vicious pogrom in which thousand of Jews were rounded up and sent to concentration camps, while bands of young Nazi thugs smashed the windows of Jewish homes and shops. Kristallnacht–the “Night of Broken Glass”–sent through the world a premonition of the dark and murderous future that lay ahead for Europe.

Over the past week and half, almost exactly 67 years later, another band of young thugs has taken to the streets in an orgy of brute violence, complete with racially and religiously motivated killings. But there is a strange difference.

Then, the violence was directed against a hated racial and religious minority, in the name of the native majority. Today, it is racial and religious immigrant minority that is initiating a terror campaign against the native majority.

Europe never learned the real lesson of the evils of Nazism. Rather than reject the deepest premises of the Nazis, they have inverted them into a new form, so that Europe no longer seeks to liquidate its racial minorities–but instead empowers those minorities to carry out the self-liquidation of Europe.

The standard view of Nazism is that the root of the Nazi atrocities was an excess of certainty and selfishness, which gave the Nazis the confidence to impose their interests by force. In reality, even a cursory examination of Nazi propaganda shows us the opposite. Rather than advocating of rational certainty, the Nazis were dogmatic subjectivists–Hermann Goering famously declared that “two plus two makes five if the Fuhrer wills it”–which inspired their hatred of the mind and their worship of brute force. (An Italian Fascist would declare that “when I hear the word ‘culture,’ I release the safety catch on my revolver.”) And as for self-interest, the Nazis were thoroughgoing collectivists, who held that the interests of the individual must be ruthlessly sacrificed to the interests of the race. Hitler declared “Du bist nichts, dein Volk ist alles”–“you are nothing, your race is everything.”

But what happens if you think–as do most academics and those in the mainstream political left–that certainty and selfishness were the fundamental vices of the Nazis? You will be ready to accept any of the real fundamentals of Nazism–so long as they are cast in a more skeptical, self-deprecating form.

That is precisely what Europe has done. The Europeans have accepted ideas that derive directly from Nazism–both in their philosophical fundamentals and in their historical pedigree–but in a more “politically correct” version.

The ideology of these altruist Nazis is Multiculturalism.

I got my first inklings of this some years ago, as a philosophy student, when I became aware of an academic controversy over revelations that two influential 20th-century philosophers–Martin Heidegger and Paul de Man–were Nazi sympathizers. Most of the controversy centered around whether this involvement with Nazism (Heidegger joined the Nazi Party, while de Man expressed sympathy for the Nazi cause) detracted from the value to be found in their philosophical work. But few comments addressed the philosophical similarity between Nazi ideology and the ideas of these two philosophers.

This is a crucial question, because Heidegger and de Man were two founders of the most influential contemporary school of philosophy, called “Deconstruction,” which has provided the theoretical foundation for Multiculturalism.

In its essence, Deconstruction is an assault on reason in favor of the same dogmatic subjectivism held by the Nazis. It is the view that there is no such thing as objective truth, no way to prove anything by reference to facts and evidence. What, then, is the basis for any assertion about what is true or false, good or bad, right or wrong? All of these ideas are determined, not by objective facts, but by an inescapable web of irrational assumptions and subjective emotions. And what shapes those assumptions and emotions? Contemporary Deconstructionists conclude that they are shaped by collective social forces, by modern academia’s holy trinity of “race, class, and gender.”

So here we get the two essentials of Nazism: the rejection of reason and the mind in favor of the worship of brute emotion, and the elevation of the collective over the individual. What, then, distinguishes the ideas of the modern intellectuals from the philosophy of the Nazis? The addition of an altruist twist. The Nazis were certainly pro-self-sacrifice, because they advocated (and enforced) the sacrifice of the individual self to the collective aggrandizement of the race. But the modern intellectuals declare that they are even more altruistic because they want to sacrifice our own race to other races.

This is the essential meaning of Multiculturalism. The Multiculturalists accept the vicious Nazi assumption that an individual’s ideas and values are determined by his race–but, they say, the cardinal sin is to be too racially self-assertive, that is, the worst thing you can do is to assert the universal truth or superiority of your own group’s culture at the expense of the ideas and values of others. “All cultures are equal” is the Multiculturalist theory. In practice, this means that we must be ready to subordinate our own culture–the culture of Western civilization–in order to show our “respect” for the cultures of every other group on earth, from the Eskimos and Patagonians to the culture of, say, the North African Arabs.

The meaning of Multiculturalism becomes clearest when it confronts the religion of Islam.

The Muslims also denigrate reason, not in favor of personal emotion but in favor of an equally subjective faith; in Islam, two and two make five if Allah wills it. As for the relationship of Islam to other cultures, the Koran is very clear. People of other cultures are to be forcibly converted to Islam–under threat of death–except for a few whose existence may be tolerated so long as they accept the status of “dhimmi,” second-class citizens who dutifully accept a whole series of restrictions lest they offend the sensibilities of Muslims.

Multiculturalism is a program for self-imposed dhimmitude. I have already pointed this out in stories I have posted about the absurd lengths to which Western Multiculturalists are willing to go to expunge our own culture out of an obsequious respect for Muslim “sensibilities.” The examples range from the trivial (removing a public sculpture of a pig in rural England, because Muslims consider the pig an “unclean” animal) to the ominous, such as Britain’s proposed law making it a crime to criticize someone else’s religion–essentially banning dissent against Islam.

But nowhere are the results more ominous than in France. The riots there are described as the product of France’s failure to “assimilate” Muslim immigrants from North Africa, and various reasons are cited for this failure. But the most fundamental reason is that Europe has long ago lost any real interest in assimilating its immigrants. Indeed, it has rejected the very idea of assimilation. To induct others into European culture–why, that kind of cultural self-assertion would be just like the Nazis. Instead, Europe has gone out of its way to “accommodate” other cultures–by encouraging immigrants to live for decades sealed off in their own enclaves.

What touched off the recent riots, for example, was not a heavy-handed presence of the police and French authorities in Muslim neighborhoods. It was the fact that the police had, until recently, treated these areas as “no-go zones,” left to be run by the Muslims themselves. [From the NY Post:]

“With cries of ‘God is great,’ bands of youths armed with whatever they could get hold of went on a rampage and forced the police to flee

Robert Tracinski was a senior writer for the Ayn Rand Institute from 2000 to 2004. The Institute promotes the philosophy of Ayn Rand, author of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. Mr. Tracinski is editor and publisher of The Intellectual Activist and TIADaily, which offer daily news and analysis from a pro-reason, pro-individualist perspective. To receive a free 30-day trial of the TIA Daily and a FREE pdf issue of the Intellectual Activist please go to TIADaily.com and enter your email address.

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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