sábado, 27 de enero de 2007

Pascal Bruckner: multiculturalismo vs. ilustración

Les paso el dato de este artículo del polémico escritor francés Pascal Bruckner, en el que critica duramente al multiculturalismo en nombre de los valores de la ilustración. Como verán, el debate europeo es candente, y tiene resonancias e implicancias importantes para nosotros. Acá también debatimos temas como la multi e interculturalidad, la modernidad, los derechos de las minorías, la política hecha sobre valores étnicos y tradicionales, etc.

Enlightenment fundamentalism or racism of the anti-racists?

Pascal Bruckner defends Ayaan Hirsi Ali against Ian Buruma and Timothy Garton Ash, condemning their idea of multiculturalism for chaining people to their roots

"What to say to a man who tells you he prefers to obey God than to obey men, and who is consequently sure of entering the gates of Heaven by slitting your throat?" - Voltaire

"Colonisation and slavery have created a sentiment of culpability in the West that leads people to adulate foreign traditions. This is a lazy, even racist attitude." – Ayaan Hirsi Ali


One tends to forget the outright despotism of minorities who are resistant to assimilation if it isn't accompanied by a status of extraterritoriality and special dispensations. The result is that nations are created within nations, which, for example, feel Muslim before they feel English, Canadian or Dutch. Here identity wins out over nationality. Worse yet: under the guise of respecting specificity, individuals are imprisoned in an ethnic or racial definition, and plunged back into the restrictive mould from which they were supposedly in the process of being freed. Black people, Arabs, Pakistanis and Muslims are imprisoned in their history and assigned, as in the colonial era, to residence in their epidermis, their beliefs.

Thus they are refused what has always been our privilege: passing from one world to another, from tradition to modernity, from blind obedience to rational decision making. "I left the world of faith, of genital cutting (7) and marriage for the world of reason and sexual emancipation. After making this voyage I know that one of these two worlds is simply better than the other. Not for its gaudy gadgetry, but for its fundamental values", Ayaan Hirsi Ali wrote in her autobiography (8). The protection of minorities also implies the right of individual members to extract themselves with impunity, through indifference, atheism and mixed marriage, to forget clan and family solidarities and to forge their own destinies, without having to reproduce the pattern bequeathed to them by their parents.


The Enlightenment belongs to the entire human race, not just to a few privileged individuals in Europe or North America who have taken it upon themselves to kick it to bits like spoiled brats, to prevent others from having a go. Anglo-Saxon multiculturalism is perhaps nothing other than a legal apartheid, accompanied - as is so often the case - by the saccarine cajolery of the rich who explain to the poor that money doesn't guarantee happiness. We bear the burdens of liberty, of self-invention, of sexual equality; you have the joys of archaism, of abuse as ancestral custom, of sacred prescriptions, forced marriage, the headscarf and polygamy. The members of these minorities are put under a preservation order, protected from the fanaticism of the Enlightenment and the "calamities" of progress. Those termed "Muslims" (North Africans, Pakistanis, Africans) are prohibited from not believing, or from believing periodically, from not giving a damn about God, from creating a life for themselves far away from the Koran and the rites of the tribe.

Multiculturalism is a racism of the anti-racists: it chains people to their roots. Thus Job Cohen, mayor of Amsterdam and one of the mainstays of the Dutch state, demands that one accept "the conscious discrimination of women by certain groups of orthodox Muslims" on the basis that we need a "new glue" to "hold society together." In the name of social cohesion, we are invited to give our roaring applause for the intolerance that these groups show for our laws. The coexistence of hermetic little societies is cherished, each of which follows a different norm. If we abandon a collective criterion for discriminating between just and unjust, we sabotage the very idea of national community. A French, British or Dutch citizen will be prosecuted for beating his wife, for example. But should the crime go unpunished if it turns out that the perpetrator is a Sunni or Shiite? Should his faith give him the right to transgress the law of the land? This is the glorification in others of what we have always beaten ourselves up about: outrageous protectionism, cultural narcissism and inveterate ethnocentrism!

Pascal Bruckner, born in 1948, counts among the best-known French "nouveaux philosophes". He studied philosophy at the Sorbonne under Roland Barthes. His works include The Temptation of Innocence - Living in the Age of Entitlement (Algora Publishing, 2000), The Tears of the White Man: Compassion As Contempt (The Free Press, 1986) The Divine Child: A Novel of Prenatal Rebellion (Little Brown & Co, 1994) Evil Angels (Grove Press, 1987)


2 comentarios:

Anónimo dijo...

Si “asimilación” significa la adhesión de todos los habitantes de este planeta (naciones, etnias, religiones, etc.) a los principios expuestos en la declaración universal de los derechos humanos, entonces estoy de acuerdo con el autor del artículo.
Pero si por “asimilación” se entiende la subordinación de las porciones “atrasadas” a los intereses de las potencias capitalistas en nombre del progreso tal como lo entiende las corporaciones transnacionales (que están destruyendo la Tierra), entonces no estoy de acuerdo.
Soy un simple mamífero, no soy sociólogo, pero creo que es poco serio hablar pestes del multiculturalismo poniendo de relieve sólo lo más detestable de cada minoría (matrimonios forzados, el uso de la burka islámica, los crímenes de honor, etc.) En el caso peruano, por ejemplo, ¿es asimilación si los pobladores de Combayo, Cajamarca, se someten a los designios de la Minera Yanacocha? ¿Debe este pueblo permitir la contaminación de sus tierras y de sus aguas sólo para que el Estado peruano pueda recibir unas cuantas migajas en la forma de impuestos? ¿Es “asimilación” si la etnia Achuar consiente sumisamente que Pluspetrol envenene sus aguas con plomo, cadmio, benceno, etc., para que la “civilización” llegue a ellos sólo en la forma de jeans, polos y cervezas?
Gracias profesor Tanaka por permitirme opinar.

Anónimo dijo...

La novedad de la multiculturalidad es su adhesión al estado-nación y su proyecto modernizador (entiendase, abolición de las diferencias culturales). Otro elemento problematizador es la globalización y su distancia de un sentido de comunidad (a la Weber). Hay que remitirse entonces a las mediaciones ideológicas, a los discursos nacionalistas que se erigen para "preservar", "activar" o "dinamizar" la multi(inter)culturalidad. Pero bueno, en realidad estoy opinando sin haber leido el texto...sólo quería decirte Hola Martín desde la dualidad del México profundo e imaginario. Techi M.