poison pill culturesis in the process of irreparably harming Western culture and democracies.
First, let's define what a poison pill culture is. By citing a poison pill culture, I refer to members of a given community who refuse to accept, acknowledge, or constructively participate in the cultural mainstream that they have embedded themselves into. In some cases, these groups multiply their numbers and political power by leveraging the free speech, security, goodwill of a given community to their advantage while undermining that very community to harm it.
The most recent evidence of the phenomenon can be measured in Britain. In an article called, "4,000 PEOPLE A WEEK TRYING TO LEAVE UK" by Michael Knapp, Home Affairs Editor of the Daily Mail, a dangerous phenomenon is brewing.
The country’s biggest foreign visa consultancy firm has revealed that applications have soared in the last seven months by 80 per cent to almost 4,000 a week. Ten years ago the figure was just 300 a week.Why?
“They’re saying ‘I can’t put my children into the right school, but if I move abroad I can’. Most people are very patriotic and don’t want to leave. They’re almost terrified about it. But they say they just have to.Sound familiar? There's more.
“It’s a shame people at the top don’t recognize they’re not doing enough to retain highly skilled workers in this country. A lot of them are quite young, and they’re not idle. They just can’t see a future for themselves in this country. They want to get married and settle down and buy homes, but they can’t see it happening here.
“And time and time again they are saying to us they don’t want to be seen as racist because they are quitting because of immigration. We tell them of course they’re not.”
A few weeks ago, Bill Moyers Journal interviewed Bruce Bawer on the battle of fundamentalist extremes.
BILL MOYERS: Do you think Europe is committing cultural suicide?I do not believe this is bigotry or racism at work per se. What is becoming increasingly clear is that geography has played an important part in shaping cultural differences and the reality principle that maintained the balance was [and is] unified geographies - nations, states, neighborhoods where mutual understandings are exercised casually.
BRUCE BAWER: At the moment it's hard to deny that it is, yeah.
BILL MOYERS By refusing to do what?
BRUCE BAWER: By refusing to embrace and stand up for their own democratic values.
BILL MOYERS: You describe so well the values of democracy, pluralism, tolerance and sexual equality that took root in modern Europe. Why aren't they powerful enough to absorb and assimilate and mitigate these tribal customs?
BRUCE BAWER:I think that for one, I think that European leaders in many cases have lost confidence in the values of their own society. They've placed multi-culturism above democracy and freedom.
BILL MOYERS What do you mean by multi-culturism?
BRUCE BAWER:I mean an attitude that all cultures are equal, or value systems are equal — that we should respect other value systems and not judge them by our own value system. Now if you're talking about a value system that is patriarchal and undemocratic and hostile to human rights, then you've got a problem.
However, with the advent of globalization and the weakening of national allegiances we are witnessing the unwelcome or unwitting infusion of hostile cultures into the spaces of benign or unsuspecting cultures. And the result is no melting pot of happy endings.
A comprehensive and profoundly disturbing study is reported by Michael Jonas in the Boston Globe, "The downside of diversity - A Harvard political scientist finds that diversity hurts civic life. What happens when a liberal scholar unearths an inconvenient truth?"
Putnam is the nation's premier guru of civic engagement. After studying civic life in Italy in the 1970s and 1980s, Putnam turned his attention to the US, publishing an influential journal article on civic engagement in 1995 that he expanded five years later into the best-selling "Bowling Alone." The book sounded a national wake-up call on what Putnam called a sharp drop in civic connections among Americans. It won him audiences with presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, and made him one of the country's best known social scientists.This article is worth reading whole.
Putnam claims the US has experienced a pronounced decline in "social capital," a term he helped popularize. Social capital refers to the social networks -- whether friendships or religious congregations or neighborhood associations -- that he says are key indicators of civic well-being. When social capital is high, says Putnam, communities are better places to live. Neighborhoods are safer; people are healthier; and more citizens vote.
The results of his new study come from a survey Putnam directed among residents in 41 US communities, including Boston. Residents were sorted into the four principal categories used by the US Census: black, white, Hispanic, and Asian. They were asked how much they trusted their neighbors and those of each racial category, and questioned about a long list of civic attitudes and practices, including their views on local government, their involvement in community projects, and their friendships. What emerged in more diverse communities was a bleak picture of civic desolation, affecting everything from political engagement to the state of social ties.
The diversity debate is getting hotter and our public schools are the front lines of many of the battles. Cultural and political suicide is not an option.