Pluralism means that instead of finding one answer, we tolerate all answers at the same time because individuals are equal and each is entitled to think and do whatever fits them. Multiculturalism, usually called “diversity,” is an ethnic version of pluralism.
In the theory of Leftism, egalitarianism, all that matters is the individual. The individualistic individual seeks what he desires, and there is no order on a level above him except for some basic janitorial stuff like avoiding murder. Culture, heritage, family, faith, values, and even civilization itself are deprecated.
However, these philosophies are paradoxical. The individual needs a larger order so that he may feel significance to his acts beyond satisfying his own urges. Groups have their own standards, and these are not universally compatible. And at some point, you need an answer, standard, purpose, or goal and not a pluralistic panoply.
For the last fifty years, the West — following the lead of America, which adopted “freedom” and later pluralism as its guiding light of exceptionalism — has been following egalitarian thought in increasing intensity. As that tendency seems to wither in a blur of Soviet-style internal conflict, new test cases are arising to challenge the dominance of egalitarianism.
One of the first of these cases asks whether a minority group has the right to set up a community for itself which is exclusive of all other groups:
In Bay View, only practicing Christians are allowed to buy houses, or even inherit them.
Prospective homeowners, according to a bylaw introduced in 1947 and strengthened in 1986, are required to produce evidence of their faith by providing among other things a letter from a Christian minister testifying to their active participation in a church.
Last summer, a dozen current and former resident members filed a federal lawsuit against the town, its ruling Bay View Association and a real estate company, claiming the Christian litmus test was illegal and unconstitutional.
Looking at the surface, this one is easy, following the egalitarian interpretation of the Constitution and Western values that has held sway since the French Revolution: if an individual is denied, his rights have been denied, and therefore this situation is unfair.
But a new interpretation is holding sway with many which says that an individual also has a right to community standards, and that those are necessarily exclusive. For example, it seems silly to force the Black Panthers to accept whites or the Ku Klux Klan to accept blacks.
If the town loses, there is a legal “catch” in the lawsuit that will have ripple effects across our society:
The lawsuit charges that Bay View Association, although private (some private entities including gentlemenâ€™s clubs or the Boy Scouts, for example, historically have been able to discriminate), acts in effect as a governmental entity, endowed with the powers to police and enforce laws.
The standard “if it acts like government, rules that apply to government apply to it” could influence everything from free speech online to behavioral rules at amusement parks. Those, too, are private entities which act in the place of government. This could also apply to private security and even arbitration like Title IX sexual assault complaints.
Even more, America — and with it, Western Europe — is going to be forced to clarify pluralism. If we go with the individualistic determination, then no group will be able to maintain exclusivity, which will be destruction for all sorts of communities. If we allow groups to set standards, then look for further balkanization.
Either way, the fact that this challenge is being fought by the town suggests a sea change in attitudes in the West. People want the ability to choose community and have standards, and recognize that the individualistic model leads to no ability to have standards and thus, every community becoming generic and losing its authentic character.