Saturday, September 30, 2023

Caleb Anderson: Biculturalism - a promised land or a wilderness experience?

Some years back I read a comment by Jordan Peterson that biculturalism would never work.  He used Canada as an example and said it had not worked anywhere else.

At the time this seemed an extraordinary statement and I couldn't figure out his reasoning.  You do not spend more than thirty years in the New Zealand education sector without weathering relentless assertions of the bicultural promised land.  

From pre-service training, and throughout our education careers, biculturalism has been presented as step number one, and multiculturalism as step number two.  It was asserted that the former would naturally segue into the latter, in fact, it was a necessary prerequisite for the latter.  

No one dared to challenge the reasoning, or to ask for concrete and enduring examples as proof of this assumption.


With the passage of time, and further reading and reflection, I have come to see, in large part, what Jordan Peterson meant.  It is becoming increasingly apparent that state-sanctioned biculturalism has a very dangerous side to it, unperceived even by many of its often well-meaning proponents.  

Human beings are fundamentally tribal.  Tribalism (in the more universal sense) is etched into our DNA, it is the way we route when push comes to shove.  Deep in the very substrate of our unconscious is a voice that says you are safer with those you know, than with those you do not, with those who look like you, over those who do not.  

It is worth emphasizing a second time, that we are often, especially initially, not consciously thinking this, this is automatic.  

Even those who rail against the assertion of these deep archetypal tendencies, by the vehemence of their response, demonstrate the proof of these facts.  Their reaction might be termed "reaction formation" by a Freudian analyst i.e. the projection of an inclination of which they prefer to be in denial.

State-sanctioned biculturalism automatically produces competing forces, sufficiently differentiated to see each as counter-forces to be reckoned with.  

When this is coupled with the age-old struggle to survive, or even thrive, to protect those closest to you, to be the "first through the door", it isn't difficult to see how a significant "├Âther" group can be perceived as having more privileges than the group to which you belong, and to be standing in the way of advancement.  

It also provides plenteous opportunities for manipulation, or gain, by brokers of social change, and by those who think the primary determinant of history is the exercise of power.  Division pays dividends if your goal is radical social change.  The more pronounced the division, the higher the dividend, at least initially.  

I agree with Jordan Peterson that multiculturalism is a much better way forward and that this is seldom (maybe never) achieved by heading down a  bicultural path first.  

Multiculturalism stands as a potential bulwark against the emergence of competing forces sufficiently large to create the disorder and chaos characteristic of sudden change.  Not insignificantly, it also has the potential to de-weaponize tyrants and malcontents.  

Multiculturalism tends to create more highly differentiated opportunities for mutually beneficial cultural interface  ...  opportunities that tend toward cohesion rather than conflict, cooperation rather than competition, and gradual integration rather than state enforcement.  

This doesn't mean that there are no bumps (or potholes) on the road toward multiculturalism, but the tensions are more easily survivable, and perhaps even productive of good.

Almost every violent revolution has been fueled by the manipulation of competing groups, whether these be economic, racial, or religious.  

Multiculturalism, by its very nature, mitigates the emergence of radical activist forces inclined to forcibly advance one worldview over another. 

Biculturalism, by contrast, is more likely a wilderness than a promised land experience.  At least that's how it seems to me.

Caleb Anderson, a graduate history, economics, psychotherapy and theology, has been an educator for over thirty years, twenty as a school principal


DeeM said...

Splitting humans into 2 groups is bad enough.

Then apply the half-witted Kiwi concept that one group, who are all genetically part of the other group to some degree, are a 17% "wonderful" minority.
Then continually berate the other group (83%) with how hard done by, culturally superior and spiritually elevated the minority are, culminating in the perpetual funding and positive discrimination of this uber-group by the rest.

When in actual fact, the first group - who are no longer really a distinct group at all since most have had their DNA watered down to well below 50% - have a brutal history littered with atrocious practices, were technologically primitive, had a terrible life expectancy and were ruled by superstition.

Now that is a recipe for disaster. All sown by the woke idiots who currently rule the roost in government, academia and the media.
It'll all end in tears!

Max Ritchie said...

This slide into Maori superiority (for a select few) started some 50 years ago. The beneficiaries have now pushed too far and a significant majority have decided that it’s got to stop. The problem is that unless the ship of state is turned around it’ll just be an interval and the whole thing will start again. ACT’s referendum might do it but National will have to come on board. Luxon will have to get off the fence.

Anonymous said...

According to Stuff the Julian Batchelor anti co-governance march was a joke pushed into the alley ways by a much larger diverse group of marchers promoting co-governance and proudly chanting rhyming mantra denigrating the others.

My questions:
How accurate is the Stuff story?
Do the co-governance marchers in fact represent the current NZ psyche?
Is it delusional to think this destructive bi-culturism can be dissipated?
Why is the reality in Dee M’s note so ignored and even considered by some to be offensive? (Remember the public figures who were called out by referring to Maori as Stone Age?)
Is New Zealand society now too tribal to even ever be multicultural?
Why is NZ quoted in Australia as an aspirational example of social engineering?

Anonymous said...

In the scenario of a National - Act coalition ( without NZF): it is likely that Luxon would refuse to support a referendum.

Even if Seymour makes it a condition for coalition, he could easily lose this negotiation.

That is when National will approach Labour for a " grand coalition".......
That is when voters will know that their wishes regarding co-governance are totally ignored by the political class.

Robert Arthur said...

Bachelor is very optimistic and very brave. If the msm coverd 50/50 co governance objectively, with case studies such as the Tupuna Maunga Authority disaster, the sentiment against would be so overwhelming Bachelor would not need to march. Arranged against him is a vast body of modern maoridom coordinated through the national network of govt subsidised marae rebel propaganda centres, and especially backed by the myriad maori, trace maori and sympathetic to maori now in govt and Council jobs, teaching, secondary, te reo, tertiary education, esp social and Maori Studies and related, all dependant on ascendant maoridom for continued soft employment and careers. Until the rationale of his case is taken up by the msm Bachelor is hugely disadvantged. Winston ad Shane are two of the few mps who have a clear grasp of the threat and dare to articulate it and their intent toward it.

Doug Longmire said...

Most of us heartily wish to go back to the days when a New Zealander was a New Zealander, and we were all equal under the law.

Doug Longmire said...

Regarding Maori "co-governance" which in fact is just Maori sovereignty in disguise, and is also a clear breach of the Treaty, which stated clearly, equal rights for all New Zealanders, the following aspect is overlooked:- It has intrigued me that Maori people are (incorrectly, but persistently) described as being "indigenous" to New Zealand.

By contrast, the Polynesian Rat, which the Maori settlers brought with them in their canoes, is most certainly NOT ever described as being "native" or "indigenous" to New Zealand. It is described as an "introduced species from Asia" which is a threat to the native, indigenous plant and bird species of New Zealand.
Likewise, the South American Kumara which they brought here is clearly recognised as not being “indigenous”. The truth is - we are all settlers here.
The "Maori" people were originally from Taiwan. They were an indigenous tribe that fled Taiwan approximately 5,000 years ago. There were about 20 such tribes in Taiwan. After leaving Taiwan, they travelled by boat down through Melanesia, with some intermarrying, and finally settled in the Pacific Islands. They carry Taiwanese and Melanesian DNA today. Their language is still recognisable to Taiwanese today.
Being skilled in ocean travel, they made their way to New Zealand about 600 years ago. They also settled in Tahiti, and there is some speculation that they travelled to South America at some stage, which is where they obtained the sweet potato, kumara. So it is fair and accurate to say that they "colonised" New Zealand, but they still have a totem in Northland linking them to their homeland, Hawaiki.