I begin with a disclosure. Salim Mansur is a friend of mine, so if I were in any way skeptical of his deposition I would not have consented to write this review. Friendship is too precious a value to risk giving needless offense, either by being too brutally honest or by producing a piece of dishonest puffery. And since even the best of us have written problematic books (including yours truly), it is best in such cases to say nothing adverse in print and leave it to others to dissect the writer’s efforts.
That I write a review of a friend’s book, then, means that I suffer no crisis of conscience in praising it for its many virtues: clarity, painstaking research, intellectual scrupulousness, a surfeit of historical and juridical information, and a powerful argument backed by strict evidence and leading to a set of forceful conclusions.
Mansur presents his thesis with lucid precision in his Introduction: “The idea of an ‘official’ multiculturalism program to be sponsored by the state, supported by tax-payers, and monitored and enforced by thought-police (human rights commissions) was at best dubious, and at worst by its very nature poised against Western liberalism. Moreover…it was based on the false idea—another official lie, really—that all cultures are equal.”
The result of this pernicious fantasy was a reversal of cultural norms and the scuttling of reasonable expectations. If all cultures are equal, the heritage culture has no priority and no legitimate claim upon foreign minorities to adapt to the social usages and conventions already in place. “As immigration changes the demographic profile of a liberal democracy,” Mansur writes, “multiculturalism empowers immigrants from non-Western societies to demand that their host country adapt to the cultural requirements of immigrants instead of the other way round.” And this is plainly what has happened. “[I]f the ride continues unchecked,” he concludes, “the end then is predictable.”
Delectable Lie is a detailed exfoliation of this root argument, examining how multiculturalism—and, of course, its corollary, political correctness, which discriminates against the expression of dissent—have inexorably sedimented themselves in the political process, “twisting our history” as they did so, “tearing apart” national identities and invidiously replacing them with “even older identities of a pre-modern past,” thus effectively eroding the “idea of nation as a people…identified on the basis of kinship relations or language.”
One has only to look at the importation of Sharia law into Europe and the proliferation of no-go zones, in effect Islamic mini-emirates, in European cities to see how cultural civility and national coherence can be subverted. In the U.S. Islamic advocacy proceeds apace, terror attacks are a constant menace, mosques pepper the landscape, the President appoints Muslim Brotherhood sympathizers to influential posts, and the Shariate relentlessly advances. In Canada—Mansur’s chief concern—Islamic organizations flex their muscles, terror plots are hatched, mosques and religious schools indoctrinate the young, and our human rights commissions see to it that criticism of Islam is muted, punished and all but ruled out.
One recalls Ottoman thinker Said Nursi who prophesied nearly a century ago, in his famous Damascus Sermon, that “Europe and America are pregnant with Islam. One day they will give birth to an Islamic state.” The way things are going, he may have been right. And it is via what Mansur calls the “delectable lie”—the idea of cultural parity, the raising of the concept of “diversity” (which really means “conformity of opinion”) to the status of a social paradigm, the practice of accommodation to the sensitivities of immiscible groups in the fatuous conviction that the favor will be reciprocated, the untenable belief that the desire for freedom, prosperity and electoral democracy reigns in every human heart, in short, the diktats of multiculturalism—that Nursi’s vision would be realized.
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