Perhaps the most apt manner to describe multiculturalism as an ideology and government policy in western liberal democracies would be what the incomparable English writer, journalist and non-conformist, Malcolm Muggeridge, wrote in his 1970 essay, The Great Liberal Death Wish.
Perhaps also no contemporary of Muggeridge (1903-90), nor anyone after him, made as incisive a dissection of the deepening liberal malaise in the 20th century as he provided. He also exposed apologists of liberalism and their untiring efforts to discredit and dissolve the West as a uniquely gifted civilization.
In every culture there are to be found some dissidents or skeptics questioning its legitimacy and moral authority as those in the former Soviet Union—Andrei Sakharov, Alexander Solzhenitsyn and others not as well known—did. They exposed the lies of a system that rationalized the organized effort of tyranny to extinguish freedom, and their sacrifice eventually contributed to its demise.
But the oddity about skeptics in the West, as Muggeridge wrote about them and their liberalism, is the death wish to undo a culture where freedom, having sunk deep roots, thrives. They would replace this culture with a pale shadow of one negating all that is noble, life affirming, uplifting and founded on the values celebrated by the Christian church.
This is the great liberal death wish, a twisted psychology of that intellectual class which willingly goes out to buy the lies of a culture that entombs freedom, as was done in the Soviet Union—and continues in places such as China and Saudi Arabia—and fashion these lies as a cure for manufactured ills in the West, with the purpose of undermining it.
Muggeridge wrote, the “great liberal death wish arises out of a historical, or maybe biological, necessity, rather than out of any rational, or even irrational, considerations. Civilizations, like classes and families and regimes, degenerate, and so must be wound up.”
The strength of the West measured in terms of freedom—of Prometheus unbound and its creative spirit unleashed soaring upwards despite risks—resides in its assimilative capacity and openness to share its freedom with those beyond its cultural boundaries seeking the same.
Yet keeping the West strong requires perseverance and vigilance. The spirit that soars also can sag through fatigue, the creative can begin to lose fecundity, freedom can become corrupted in time, and decay can loom over that culture ever larger.
It is in these circumstances that false hope readily may be planted and false remedy readily sold. The curative unthinkingly bought turns out to be medicine hastening the end.
Muggeridge again: “Previous civilizations have been overthrown from without by the incursion of barbarian hordes; ours has dreamed up its own dissolution in the minds of its own intellectual elite.”
Multiculturalism is in appearance the most pleasing of liberal barbiturates offered to stave off the West’s demographic decline through immigration. For it to work the requirement demanded is suspension of critical and discriminating thinking replaced by politically correct speech that must offend none except, if need be, the patient (the West) requiring the cure.
And so Muggeridge would have said that multiculturalism being one big swindle it is a “sedative rather than a stimulant, a slough rather than a precipice; blurring the edges of truth, the definition of virtue, the shape of beauty; a cracked bell, a mist, a death wish.”