O Intermitente<br> (So long, farewell, auf weidersehen, good-bye)

O Intermitente
(So long, farewell, auf weidersehen, good-bye)

quarta-feira, outubro 01, 2003

Johan Norberg: Open borders - for immigrants as well pt 7/8

  • A integração social dos imigrantes, fundamentalismo e populismo

    I am thinking about the more important question if there is a risk that immigrants with very different values pose a threat to the liberal society. Will we see a great influx of people who do not share the values of the enlightenment, secularisation, equality, tolerance? The populist Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn raised this issue, and apparently many Dutch felt that it was a real risk. And it was not racism, it was and is a legitimate concern. We have to discuss this seriously.

    To understand the issue we must first ask ourselves if our societies become less liberal with immigration? Specifically, does the presence of between 12-15 million Muslims in the European Union result in an import of the oppression of women that is prevalent in Muslim countries?


    So what we must strive for is that Islam goes through the same secularisation and modernisation that we did, to separate the teachings of religion from the state. And I think that Muslim immigration is contributing to that. Not merely because Muslims in the West have a natural vested interest in the tolerance of the non-Islamic societies in which they live. But also because now the most creative thinking and new interpretations of Islam is coming from Muslims in the west. Here the transformation of the teachings, which is outlawed in Muslim countries, is going on. It can create a more secular and tolerant form of Islam, that might change the Muslim countries as well. It also builds a stronger connection between Muslims and the west that makes religious conflicts of a bigger scale less likely in the future. It is not our genes that make our societies strong, it is our ideas. If we can get people of different backgrounds and ethnicities to share those ideas, so much the better.

    It is true that there are people who are attracted to fundamentalist teachings today, to the doctrines of hatred, and some even turn to terrorism. In that case it is necessary for us to stand up for our values. As Karl Popper concluded, to be tolerant against the intolerant, is to help the destroyers of the open society. The call for violence from the one-eyed sheikh in the Finsbury Park Mosque in London and the terrorist cell within the Islamic Cultural Institute in Milan, would never have been tolerated had they been neo-nazis. And perhaps that also goes for the violent preaching from some of the Imams big Dutch cities. But for some politically correct reasons we allow people to preach hatred and murder for religious reasons. It is time for our liberal societies to stop apologising, to get back some self-confidence, and state that tolerance and freedom is our way, and those who are out to destroy that deserve no toleration.

    The problem is perhaps that we aren?t sufficiently aware of the western values ourselves. Liberal, enlightenment values have been undermined from the inside, in our countries. For example, some post-modern scholars of multi-culturalism think that we shouldn?t impose our values on other cultures. And some even propose that we should tolerate female gentile mutilation and forced marriages, or suggestions for more leniency against murder for the sake of so called honour when daughters do not obey their fathers. Those who say that it is wrong to impose our values are of course self-contradictory, since they make a claim to exactly what kind of moral rules we all should follow when they say this. But more important is that the idea that we shouldn?t impose our values is bizarre. Of course we should. We should force everybody to accept every other human being as a free and autonomous individual with the same rights as himself. That is the law of a liberal, open society, and that is what has created the most creative and humane societies in world history. Everybody who wants to enjoy that society must conform to it. If a particular religion or tradition is opposed to that, so much worse for that religion and tradition. To explain that has always been the cause of us liberals, and we must do that in this debate as well.

    posted by Miguel Noronha 4:22 da tarde
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    "A society that does not recognize that each individual has values of his own which he is entitled to follow can have no respect for the dignity of the individual and cannot really know freedom."

    mail: migueln@gmail.com