How Pluralism Fails
A pluralistic society is one that welcomes people of every ethnicity, religion, and ideology. That society will believe that this diverse amalgamation of cultures is ideal, and that this diversity is beneficial to all. But is this society correct in its beliefs? Is the democratic approach of taking many views from many different peoples, cutting off bits and pieces, and gluing those pieces together to form one all-encompassing collage that we call "law" actually what is best for each and every party included?
Many people are quick to throw up their arms and yell "Racist!" at the merest hint at questioning the precious diversity of modern society. But for those who want to see things as they really are it's important to analyze all aspects of life, stripping them down to a very basic level so they can examine how and why these things occur in the ways they do. Therefore we must analyze this "fact of life" in a practical way, looking at the functional aspects. Let us dig deep and take a look from a non-racial, non-religious, and non-ideological perspective—discrimination has nothing to do with it.
In order to discuss this combination of cultures we need to first define what culture is in this context. To use a broad, generalized definition, we could define culture as all of the characteristics of a society that bind them: the visual and aural art and aesthetic aspects of life; the knowledge, history, and values of the people; the way in which they live, including food, drink, interaction with one another, and public behavior. When defined thusly, it quickly becomes very obvious that many of the modern, liberal societies in the world today simply cannot fit this definition; put in the simplest way, these societies lack any form of solid cultural bond—they are culture-less.
This is largely due to the culturally pluralistic nature of these societies—that is, taking in and trying to integrate many different cultural groups into one larger social order. Contrary to the image that these states try to project, it is impossible for a society to successfully cater to every-and-all interests. But this is the Utopian vision that we, citizens of these great super-powers, are expected to hold as an ideal, because this pluralism is a central principle of the democracy and "way of life" that "we" wish to promote, and because that very same "every-and-all" state is the exact goal of these culture-less countries.
We are told that it will be a world without prejudice and bigotry, where people of every race, sex, and age can take part equally in all aspects of life. We can all have a high paying and prestigious career, live in a large home that has two or three expensive sports cars in the garage, have supermodel wives and husbands with whom we will have beautiful little children with zany names, and together we will fight life's evils and emerge triumphant over war, poverty, disease, drug addiction, crime, et cetera. What we are not told, however, is that this blissful state of life is an impossible lie.
We can eliminate our prejudices, and in fact it would probably be in our best interests to do so, but the inescapable fact is that different people will continue living with different desires, wanting to live in different ways with different things—isn't this the very thing that makes diversity a wonderful thing in the first place?
As members of these aforementioned modern, liberal societies, we are forced to try serving almost every cultural group one can imagine: Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, atheists, pagans, Satanists, gays, straights, blacks, whites, foreigners, racists, sexists, liberals, conservatives, Marxists, anarchists, Nazis, cripples, athletes, movie stars, poor people, homeless people, rich people, gang members, cops, robbers, cowboys, Indians, goths, emos, preps, dogs, cats, babies, moms, dads, brothers, sisters, the elderly, the unborn, the dead, Paris Hilton, and so on. With this fact, it's impossible that every situation can be handled in a way in such that nobodies toes are stepped on, especially considering the way democracies work: whatever is popular becomes standard. Conversely, many groups are simultaneously seeking "better," special treatment from these societies as wholes. If one party gets their way they will only leave other parties at a loss; no matter how you look at it, the governments in control of these areas are either to be continuously making exceptions of rules for every group or leaving many upset and potentially angry.
So one must understand that this is not an argument stemming from xenophobia, hatred, or anything of the sort, as it really has much less to do with the heritage or origins of these groups than it does with how they wish to conduct life. The argument that pluralism fails is an argument that stems from a desire to preserve rather than destroy, and that acknowledges every day truths that we can witness happening around us right now. A society operates best when its citizens are united in culture—bonds in attitude, behavior, and shared values that make them an organic whole—and any state that continues wishing to make their world "one," in the way we see it being pursued today, must be prepared for prolonged conflict in the forms of violence, class division, racism, and inevitably, internal wars of varying degrees.
The "rights" of all individuals (that may be granted in their homelands) cannot be respected when laws have to adapt to so many different desires, thoughts, and opinions; certain groups will be offended by others when they are forced to live amongst one another; the goals of others, "good" or "bad," will always have to be compromised as they are forced to consider opinions of those they might not care for. With this we can consider true Nationalism—as opposed to the border worship we are led to believe is Nationalism today—under which all cultures (nations) operate on consensus to what is best for the whole, and feelings will not be regularly hurt because the people of these nations share a cultural bond that makes them feel close to one another.
The Western world is highly dysfunctional. When a society is pulled in so many different directions, there is no choice but to settle upon the lowest common interests of different groups. Therefore we see mass media, transitory entertainment, the "sex industry" in its various forms, profit margins for businesses, and other forms of individualized self-interest growing in popularity and prominence all over the place. We're all concerned with ourselves to an extent, and when we share no strong meaningful bonds with those around us, we end up interested only in the one thing we will always care about: ourselves. This creates an even more difficult situation: If we can't possibly serve different groups of people, is it reasonable to think that we can serve billions of individuals in a person-to-person basis?
If we wish to be truly diverse then we must preserve our differences instead of forcibly mashing everyone together, in the process creating a culture-less, neutral ("gray") goo where there could easily be healthy, culture-centric communities. The most rational, and perhaps peaceful, conclusion that can be reached is the realization and acceptance of the fact that not all people are the same and that we shouldn't try to force them to be. With this realization and the necessary actions taken because of it, many clashes can be averted, and healthier societies will arise across the globe.
Until then, we'll continue to watch TV.
August 30, 2007
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