It is fair to say that in these politically correct times there is a lack of political leadership around many contentious social issues that many politicians and community leaders hesitate to speak out about.
It is also a truism that politics abhors a vacuum. However, we should be careful not to fill the vacuum with another vacuum.
This thought is prompted by the controversy generated by the visit to Australia by the 23-year-old Canadian alt-right activist Lauren Southern.
Southern — who had already tried to drum up publicity over her initially rejected visa application — pulled another stunt upon arrival in Brisbane by wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the slogan ‘It’s Okay to be White.’
This was followed by Southern — who speaks fluent soundbite — telling the media how pleased she was to be in country committed to “Western culture — something that may not be here for much longer if left-wing Australian politicians continue their pathological worship of multiculturalism.”
If Southern’s heart is in the right place, her arguments certainly aren’t. For many of the things she is saying on western culture and multiculturalism, claims to stand for, and literally wears on her ‘T’, are mutually exclusive.
Yes, ‘hard’ multiculturalism poses a danger to Western culture when migrants from countries with conflicting cultural values migrate and are not encouraged to integrate with the norms and values of their new country.
But, no: the answer to multiculturalism is not to practice a different form of identity politics — a new form of tribalism — by being proud of ‘whiteness’.
What is actually worth defending about Western culture (and is the antidote to identity politics and multiculturalism) is the fundamental principle of respect for the individual — regardless of superficial differences such as those that are literally skin-deep.
If Southern really wants to defend Western culture and all it should truly stand for, she should buy a new T-shirt.
This one should be emblazoned with that famous quote by one of the greatest proponents of the respect for the individual, Dr Martin Luther King: “judge not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”